Archive

Archive for December, 2018

After Christmas

December 26th, 2018

Christmas Changes Your Past and Promises Your Future.

“When the angels had gone away into Heaven.” Luke 2:15 NKJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “After Christmas.”

Waiting for Christmas can seem interminable for children, as well as ourselves. For adults, each day grows more and more busy with preparations until the awaited day arrives. The family and friends gather; the dinner is served and enjoyed; the kitchen and plates are cleaned up, family gifts are shared, and carols sung. But then what?

As a mere calendar event, Christmas inevitably concludes. As a heart experience, Christmas is forever. I would suggest that how you enter the Christmas holidays is not as personally impactful as how you continue and coordinate the celebration into daily life. Consider Joseph and Mary’s experience of the angels’ visit and startling announcement. Obviously, Joseph and Mary could never be the same as before that miraculous night in Bethlehem’s stable.

But the initial aftermath was not as idyllic as you might assume it should have been. Disruption appeared to be their new normal. Christmas does not promise that everything will always be pretty and peaceful, or that it will remain so after Christmas.

In Luke’s narrative of the Christmas angels singing to shepherds on a Judean hillside, there came the inevitable moment the Bible describes this way, “When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven.” Predictably, angels return to Heaven and people return to everyday life. After seeking the Child of which the Angels sang,“The shepherds returned [to their flocks], glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.” Luke 2:15-16 NKJV.

Matthew writes of a similar experience, of Kings coming from afar to see the child of promise. Like the shepherds, “They departed to their own country another way.” Matthew 2:12 NKJV. I know those words merely describe the different geography of their journey home, but I cannot avoid the application that life is never meant to be quite the same after you have seen and worshiped the Christ. Read Matthew 2:1-12.

Life returns to normal or unfolds in ways you could not foresee. An angel came again to Joseph in a dream, warning of Herod’s evil determination to destroy the young Messiah. The Angel warned Joseph and Mary, “Flee to Egypt and stay there until I bring you word . . when Joseph arose, he took the young child and his mother and departed for Egypt. And was there until the death of Herod.” Read Matthew 2:13-23 NKJV.

People can choose to be transformed by such moments of Heavenly encounter or choose to remain unchanged. Angels are divine visitors. This world is not the Angels’ home. Inevitably, Angels return to Heaven, while our lives continue to be lived here. Families must be provided for. Responsibilities must be fulfilled. Work awaits to be done. And even more importantly, an unbelievable story must be told.

You cannot bow at Christmas with a true heart of worship and remain as you were. Christmas holds the power to change routines, shift priorities, adjust values, and transform lives forever. Ultimately, the season and celebration of Christmas will pass, but meanwhile the Savior can and will change your life everlastingly, if you will allow.

Christmas is about so much more than the pageantry of a manger, or a night sky filled with an angel chorus, or the shepherds, or Eastern kings from afar, or a young couple submitting themselves to a Sovereign God. Christmas is truly and only about the Savior who changes lives now, and for eternity. Paul summed it up well, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God.” Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. When you embrace the true Christmas, you embrace life abundant now, and eternal forever.

Today, I pray for you to invite Jesus into every day and moment of your life.

Christian Communications 2018

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

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Devotionals

Empty Hearts

December 10th, 2018

Empty Hearts Produce Empty Lives. 

 “That you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:19

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Empty Hearts.” 

 Life can and should be exhilarating. But too soon, life fills with routines and responsibilities. Remember when life was exciting, exhilarating, and filled with anticipation? Remember Christmas when you were a child, your first day of school, your driver’s license, your first date, or finally falling in love? But everyday life doesn’t always feel that way. Yet in Christ, life can be that way.

Little by little, each day the daily stuff of life wears away the mysteries and wonder. School introduces homework, and a job demands even harder work. Dating becomes complicated, even confusing. A driver’s license and car require gasoline, insurance, repairs, and responsibilities. Falling in love eventually requires rent or mortgage, and bills. 

 Too soon, spontaneity yields to a schedule that becomes repetitive, and you find yourself trudging through life feeling unsettling emptiness, with something deep inside telling you that life is meant to be more. That experience is not because of what you put into your life. That results from what you leave out of your life.

Life without Jesus as its center will never be all that you long for your life to be. Absolutely nothing can take God’s place or fill the void His absence leaves. You see, that void, that emptiness you feel in your soul, runs deep. You cannot mask the emptiness, nor fill it with enough stuff. You cannot ignore it with busyness nor, silence it with noise.  

Francis Schaeffer, noted theologian and Christian philosopher, wrote, “Man has a purpose. You and I were created to be in relationship with God. When a person forgets his purpose, he forgets who he is and what life means.” Life does not work well when you forget who you are and what life means.

Life cannot be what it is meant to be, when you leave God out at the fringes or out altogether. God alone can make sense of everything else about your life. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life – life in its fullness.” John 10:10 TEV.What you have, God will make it enough.God makes friendships and relationships enriching. God makes who you are,meaningful and satisfying. God makes what you have, fulfilling and rewarding.

God fills your future with hope, today with satisfaction, and every tomorrow with unlimited possibilities. “I know the plans I have for you, ‘says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. Embrace your future. Hold fast to hope.

The Bible narrative begins with these words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered. . and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2 NKJV. Anyone’s life is unclear until Jesus is invited to come in and set it right, overflowing it with life and fullness,and bringing light and understanding. He is there, just waiting for your invitation to do so today, and affirming every day that follows.

 The Apostle Paul described filling the void of an empty heart and an empty life, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you may know the love of Christ that passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Read Ephesians 3:14-19 NLT. Don’t try to live your life, even a moment of it, without Jesus overflowing in your heart.

Today, I pray for you to make room for Jesus in everything you are, have, and do.

Christian Communications 2018   

Website and archives: allenrandolph.com

facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

Devotionals