Before there was Christmas


2014-12-03_9-02-58I’ve been reflecting back on several passages this past week, that in some way have become commonplace for me as a Christ-follower.  There are those passages that I’ve memorized long ago, or that I read or hear about frequently, that somehow have lost their place in the priority of my thinking.

According to one source, there are 8,674 different Hebrew words in the Bible and 5,624 different Greek words. When you string all those words together to form different sentences and ideas, and then apply them to all the different life circumstances and ministry opportunities, it is easy to see how one’s mind can loose sight of it all!

But this morning I was gripped by a thought from one of those earlier passages I read in life, which come from some of the first words in the Bible, in fact they are the 10th, 11th, and 12th words, in Genesis 1:2. In the beginning, the earth was formless, it was empty and in darkness: 2014-12-03_8-41-12

The words, formless, empty and dark really struck me this morning. Those words and the idea of them, left me feeling a little down for a moment. There have been times when I felt in the dark, or empty inside, or that things were formless and out of control. But then it dawned on me, even at that time, God was there!

When things were formless, empty and dark, God was there. His Spirit was there hovering over the waters. In John 1:1,14, it says that Jesus was there too! What a great reminder that in every circumstance, in every life situation, we never need to be in despair because God is there!

You know, one of the things I love about Christmas is the reminder that we are never alone. God sent His Son into this world, to save us from our sin, yes. But He also sent His Son out of His love for us and the desire for a relationship with us. As I head into the Christmas holiday, I’m grateful for the reminder that I am never alone, that God loves me, and has a plan for me in this life and the next.

Wow, what a gift – I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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Getting Unpacked


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Give Me Jesus

I got a text from my daughter Catie last week after I got back from India that said, “I’m praying for you as you unpack… far beyond your suitcase!” I’ve been back a week now, and I have really come to appreciate that text. That was a great prayer, and I can’t help but wonder, “Is that really my kid that came up with that!”

It has been just over a week, and I’m longing for India, and still having to process through all that I saw and learned. I came back from Uganda 2 years ago, and had the same residual feeling that carries with me today. There is something about stripping away all of life’s distractions, and just being around people that have a genuine interest and desire to learn more about God and the Bible. It is exhilarating!

I was reading through Luke chapter 10 this week, where Jesus sends out the 70, and He sends them out two by two ahead of Him to every city He was going to be visiting. They go out, and when they come back in verse 17, it says they are filled with joy and so excited! I can really relate to that feeling; it is exhilarating to be on mission with Jesus!

But in verse 20, Jesus says something that really captured my attention; He says, “Don’t rejoice over the experience you just had, instead, rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

You know, it is easy to get excited about good experiences and to be frustrated by bad experiences. But at the end of the day, Jesus says celebrate the hope that you have in Him. My mind is processing through what and how to share what I learned, thinking about the next steps, and how to build on all those great new friendships and relationships. These are all important, but at the end of the day, I can find rest in my identity in Christ.

I hope you know Christ personally, and can experience daily the peace and joy that can only come from Him. If that is something you long for, check out www.peacewithgod.net or drop me a note. Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

On the journey together,
Richard

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