Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
~Angels, Luke 2:8-14
The voices of God’s angels were the first to carry the good news of salvation to the ears of God’s lost creation. The good news brings great joy and peace to all who believe.
There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. She had lived as a widow since then for eighty four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
~Doctor Luke, Luke 2:36-38
God invites those who are hurting into His family. Anna had only been married for seven years when the unthinkable happened, she lost her husband. In Anna’s time that meant she lost her income, her home and her protection. She was devastated. But God has a heart for the devastated. For eighty-four years Anna came under the Continue reading “Christmas Devotions: Anna”→
For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, this virgin is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel.
~The Prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 7:14
Throughout history people have longed to see the promise of God fulfilled. God had promised that through the “seed of woman” He would rescue His creation.
Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!” But Ruth replied, “Stop urging me to abandon you! For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God.
~Naomi and Ruth, Ruth 1:15-16
Then Rahab let the spies down by a rope through the window. (Her house was built as part of the city wall; she lived in the wall.) She told them, “Head to the hill country, so the ones chasing you don’t find you. Hide from them there for three days, long enough for those chasing you to return. Then you can be on your way.” The men said to her, “We are not bound by this oath you made us swear unless the following conditions are met: When we invade the land, tie this red rope in the window through which you let us down, and gather together in your house your father, mother, brothers, and all who live in your father’s house. Anyone who leaves your house will be responsible for his own death – we are innocent in that case! But if anyone with you in the house is harmed, we will be responsible. If you should report what we’ve been up to, we are not bound by this oath you made us swear.” She said, “I agree to these conditions.” She sent them on their way and then tied the red rope in the window.
~Rahab and two spies, Joshua 2:15-21
After Moses the LORD’s servant died, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them.
~God, Joshua 1:1-4
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you. Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, so that you will exemplify divine blessing. I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.”
~God, Genesis 12:1-3
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the wild beasts and all the living creatures of the field! On your belly you will crawl and dust you will eat all the days of your life. And I will put hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; her offspring will crush your head, and you will attack her offspring’s heel.”
~God, Genesis 3:14-15
I am ready to burn out for God. I am ready to endure any hardship, if by any means I might save some. The longing of my heart is to make known my glorious Redeemer to those who have never heard.
There is a longing in the Christian’s heart that simply can not be fulfilled on this side of Heaven. It is born not of appetites, philosophies or theologies but of brokenness. The terrible sin-induced rift between God and Man has wounded us beyond comprehension. When we come to the Healer and begin our new lives as followers of Christ our wound begins to heal but a portion of it is transformed. Now instead of the sting of our own separation we become aware of the plight of those who have not yet found salvation. The ache of our hearts transforms from a selfish pain to a motivated desire to see as many as will respond to the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The longing of our hearts are to make known our glorious Redeemer to those who do not yet know.
May we never feel relieved of our holy longing to reach those who are lost and dying in their sin with the redemption and healing that can only be found in Christ Jesus!
We are happy to post Christmas Devotions this year! Starting on November 25th and every day until Christmas we will post a podcast devotoin. These daily podcasts can be found on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. In addition to our podcasts a written version of each devotion plus bonus material will be posted here each day. Let’s prepare our hearts for Christmas together this year!
Blessings, Timothy, Angelita, Tim, Esperanza, Ezequiel, Elias, and Adelena
The lesson is obvious. True missionaries concentrate on doing the work of Mark 16:15 rather than operating social-welfare programs. True missionaries serve the message of Christ, not the institutions of the church.
-K.P. Yohannan, Come, Let’s Reach the World
There are two ways that I see the church’s influence fade in modern times. Both ways have shifted focus from our Savior and his mission of to lesser pursuits. Politicising and institutionalising the body of Christ are two dangers that always transform us from world changers to a collection of insignificante voices. People from all along the political spectrum try to usurp the mission of Christ as a weapon to be used in their own power struggles. Before we blindly condemn them let us remember the words of the Disciples as they were given the great commission in Acts 1:6. “Lord is it at this time you are going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The best of us can fall into this trap.
Perhaps the more insidious trap is the institutionalising of the movement of God. We tend to forget that we are a people, a body with a Divine head. When we institutionalize what God has made we challenge the very nature of the church, we challenge the lordship of our creator. Is this not just a reenactment of the original sin? Does it come from a place of mistrust or of outright rebellion?
May we focus on the mission that Christ has given us, may we follow Him as our Lord!