Posts Tagged ‘John 1:14’

Choose Joy

December 21st, 2017

Joy is both a gift and a choice. Choose joy.

“You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today urge you to,

“Choose Joy.”

“Merry Christmas!” Such is the all too familiar greeting, but “merry,” seems an underwhelming emotion when referring to the Eternal God coming into our world. “Joyous Christmas,” seems more appropriate to the Advent season. Open your heart and home to be overwhelmed this Advent season by a sublime joy that Peter described this way, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8 NIV.

Inexpressible and glorious joy is the proper response to the Savior. The experience and expression of the Savior’s birth, life, and unequaled sacrifice deserve no less. As the angel announced to the shepherds that first Christmas, “I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all people.” Luke 2:10 NAS. The good news is the same now as then, as is the promise.

However, Heaven’s joy did not originate on that first Christmas. The Incarnation simply dramatized the eternal purpose of the Father for all His creation to know inexpressible, glorious joy. Creation is described as the time when, “the morning stars sang together and all the Angels shouted for joy.” Job 38:7 NIV. That same eternal joy will fill your heart as you stand before God, “Who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy.” Read Jude 24-25 NKJV. Joyfully celebrating Christmas provides your opportunity to experience His inexpressible and glorious joy every day.

“In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV. Great joy is yours but never automatic. Joy is a gift God gives; joy is a choice you must make. Advent invites you to choose joy. Nurture joy; mature joy until the emotion becomes a disposition abounding from spiritual resources. Jesus promised, “If you abide in Me . . My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:7/11 NIV. You have His joy, completely.

Choose joy. Share the joy. If you are silent or unclear about your joy at Christmas, why would, or should, the world be drawn at other times to the truth you tell. Consider this. Christmas isn’t really Christmas until you share its joy with others. But a joy-filled message is not credible when coming from a joyless messenger. You can’t share something you don’t have, and you can’t keep something that you won’t share, and others will not believe something they do not see. When you give joy, you gain joy. That states a spiritual principle that also applies to inexpressible and glorious joy, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV.

Share the joy of Christmas every day, to every person, and in every imaginable way. Celebrate with abandon and without apology. Invite, include, involve, converse, welcome, laugh, love, express life, and always be real. Celebrate joyously and without apology. Incarnate the joy of His incarnation, and the timeless message an unbelieving world cannot resist. The message of Christmas remains forever unchanged, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 NKJV. Christmas offers every reason and opportunity to choose joy.

Today, I pray for you to discover the inexpressible, enduring joy found only in the Savior.

Christian Communications 2017

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Living Letters

January 24th, 2014

You are a letter from Christ . . written with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV.

Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, God’s Son and your Savior.

My thoughts and comments today are about “living letters.”

Paul’s appreciative amazement is evident as he wrote, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: God [in Christ] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believe on in the world, was taken up in glory” 1 Timothy 3:16 NIV. Those words are the clear, expansive description of the Incarnation – God becoming man that every man might be redeemed. God was manifest in the flesh. “Christ, being in very nature of God . . and being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man . .” Read Philippians 2:5-11 NIV. Read Hebrews 1:1-3a NKJV.

John marveled at the wonder of incarnation as he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word . . and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,  full of grace and truth . . No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son . . He has declared Him.” John 1:1/14/18 NKJV. Who would claim to understand the mystery and majesty of the Incarnation, that truth being well beyond our limited comprehension?

But there is much everyday that you do not understand, yet accept as truth. My Dad’s joy was being a pastor as well as a private pilot, before the popularity and affordability of commercial flights. As a young boy, I often accompanied my Dad in his small Cessna without the ability to understand or satisfactorily explain the Law of Aerodynamics. I trusted my Dad’s knowledge and experience. Nor need I intellectually explain the Incarnation of Jesus to the satisfaction of those who choose not to believe. I, for one, choose to believe the Incarnation of Jesus is true, as told in the Word of God.

Truth is more than mere facts or accurate information. Facts can change when circumstances change. Truth remains true, unaffected by past, present, or future circumstances. Truth is a Person, and that person is Jesus Christ, God’s Son and your Savior. Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am . .  the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NLT. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth.” James 1:18 NKJV.

This is my application of today’s thoughts and comments, and my challenge to you: as God came into our world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in His world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith, as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed by the “grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NIV. The dictionary also defines “incarnation” as, “a person regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality or idea.” That is meant to describe you, when God’s truth is dwelling in you and faithfully expressed in your speech and conduct.

God’s plan has not changed; God still makes Himself known by incarnating truth, as He did when “the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.” Paul was clear; “You yourselves are our letter . . known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NIV. People are looking and listening to know God’s truth radiating from your life.

My prayer for you today is that you be a living letter from God, received and cherished by all.

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The Christmas Mystery and Miracle

December 23rd, 2013

“Great is the mystery . . God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV.

No word from God is incredible, if no work of God is impossible.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the Christmas mystery and miracle.”

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, mysterious and miraculous in every aspect. The living, eternal God came into our world – at the most unexpected time, after four hundred silent years; to the most unlikely place, a stable in Bethlehem; in the most unlikely form, a baby. You don’t have to explain the mystery; God invites you to simply embrace the miracle. Paul described this incredible but true Christmas miracle this way, “Without controversy great is the mystery . . God was manifest in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV.

The heart and reason for Christmas is best expressed in the most familiar of Scriptures, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16-17 NIV. Bethlehem’s cradle foreshadowed Calvary’s cross. Isaiah prophesied, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV. Christmas is when the Father gave us His Son; the Cross is where Jesus gave us Himself as our Savior. See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV.

John described this history-changing moment with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men . . He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him . . The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Read John 1:1-17 NIV. The “Word” that John describes so eloquently is none other than Jesus, God’s Son. The mystery is that Jesus “became flesh;” the miracle is that He “made His dwelling among us.” Accept the mystery; believe the miracle. Jesus is, “Emmanuel . . God with us!” Matthew 1:23 NIV.

Let me remind you of the already familiar story of how this came about. Read Luke 1:26-38 NLT. An angel appeared with a startling announcement to Mary, a young, devout, not yet married, Jewish girl. Understandably, she is described as, “confused and disturbed,” by the angel’s words. Those would be normative emotions. She had questions because the miracle was wrapped in a mystery.

The angel’s cryptic answer was simple, “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” Luke 1:36-37 AMP. Read again the verse above; the Amplified Bible accurately translates the Greek words used by ancient translators. Simply stated, the Angel assured Mary – and you and me – no word from God should be thought incredible to you, when no work of God is impossible to Him. Incredible, but true! See Isaiah 55:11 NIV.

Jesus is the embodiment of the Word of God and the Word of God is the faithful expression of Jesus.“Search the Scriptures . . which testify of Me.” John 5:39 NKJV. The power of God flows from the word of God, then and now. While Jesus lived among us, He spoke to nature and the wind and waves obeyed; He spoke to disease and sickness departed; He spoke to sin and forgiveness flowed; He spoke to spiritual oppression and demons fled; He spoke to death and life returned. No word from God shall be without power nor impossible of fulfillment – spoken to Mary or to you!

My prayer for you today is that you never fail to see the miracle because of a mystery.

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Near to God

January 18th, 2013

Spiritual intimacy requires intention and initiative.

“Draw close to God and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 NLT.

Have you noticed that you feel loneliness when isolated from the company of others? You are at your best and happiest when enjoying a comfortable lifestyle that allows plenty of room for others. God created you to enjoy community with others and fellowship with Him. Your Adversary desires your isolation from others and your separation from God, if you will allow it. The Incarnation, when God came into our world, evidenced God’s desire for your fellowship. John marveled that “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us . .” John 1:14 NIV. Spiritually, you are safest when nearest to God and living happily alongside others.

James, the brother of Jesus, urged, “Draw close to God and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 NLT. Spiritual intimacy requires intention and initiative. What would being “close to God” mean to you? The promise is clear; the process is just as evident. When you move in God’s direction, you will always find God responding in kind. But how do you draw close to God? James describes the process simply. Drawing close to God is evidenced by two deliberate actions by you, “Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil . .” and a corresponding reaction by the Devil, “. . and he will flee from you!” James 4:7 NLT. The sincerity of the first determines the success of the latter. I am reminded of Solomon’s proverb, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 NIV. Get things right with God and you will find things better with others.

Humility is the proper posture of heart for a right relationship with God and others. How you walk with others will often reflect your heart attitude before God. Peter echoed the principle of humility this way, “All of you, [young and old], clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may exalt you in due time” . . when you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him [humble yourself], He will lift you up and give you honor.” 1 Peter 5:5-6/10 NIV. Read Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV.

Any relationship either grows or diminishes, not long remaining as they were.By their nature, relationships are dynamic, not static. That is also true of your personal and spiritual relationship with God. Any distance that occurs between you and God results from your lack of initiative, not His. A healthy, growing relationship requires your vigilance in giving a priority of time and attention.

Jesus’ coming gave lasting proof of God’s passion for closeness with you, who are made “in His image and likeness.” The invitation is His; the initiative is yours, “Draw close to God and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 NLT. When you are closer, it just feels right. “For You created everything, and it is for Your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 NLT. God finds pleasure in your company; you will find your ultimate fulfillment in His.

My prayer for you today is that your heart draws ever closer to God’s heart.

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Where Amazing Happens

March 26th, 2010

“By grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:5 NAS

“Grace is never about what you do or have; it is always about God.”

My thoughts today are about “where amazing happens.”

Ever wondered what “grace” looks like? You have seen it, even if you did not recognize it. You have received it, even though you did not deserve it. Hopefully, you have given it to someone along the way, when that was the last thing they expected. Grace is extending to another a generous measure of benevolence that is better than they deserve, and well beyond what they can repay.

Grace is best seen when you are treated in a manner other than you could expect, or benefit from more than you could have earned. Grace is not really about you or what you’ve done. Grace is all about the one that offers it. It is given unconditionally, from a source that did not have to do so.

Interestingly, the Greek word for “grace” comes from the primary root word meaning “to rejoice.” Might that connection suggest that grace rejoices one’s heart with favor and forgiveness when the pain and loss of judgment and retribution would have been expected? Grace from God is expressed in goodness and mercy. See Psalm 23:6. Goodness is when God gives you what you could not deserve; mercy is when God does not give you what you do deserve.

“We too lived in our fleshly desire, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature were the children under wrath . . but God, Who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us made us alive with the Messiah even though you were (spiritually) dead in trespasses . . for by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift, not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:3-9. See 2 Corinthians 9:14-15 NIV.

You cannot get grace by anything you have or do; you can only be given grace as a free gift.   “The Word became flesh and took up residence with us . . as the One and Only Son, full of grace and truth. Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness . . grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:14/16. In life you may experience occasional glimpses of graciousness from others, but real grace is only fully and truly expressed through Jesus the Savior.

Lately, we have been singing a simple chorus, “Your grace still amazes me, Your love is still a mystery; Each day I fall on my knees; ‘cause Your grace still amazes me.” Phillips, Craig and Dean. Grace is where amazing happens!

My prayer for you today is that you rejoice in His grace, and give grace to others.

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