“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known”. — John 1:18
Jesus is God’s greatest message. He not only proclaims and declares God’s love, mercy, and grace, he has made it known. Only Jesus can display God to us fully, for he is one with the Father. Yet when we “see” Jesus ministering in the Gospels, we see God. If we want to know how God feels about us, all we have to do is look at how Jesus ministers to others. If we want to know what God would do for us, we can notice what Jesus does to bless others. Jesus is our window to the Father’s heart. So as this year winds down, and as you stand in the afterglow of Christmas, why not make a commitment to get to know Jesus better in this coming year by spending more time with him in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you do, you will better know God!
Thank you, Father, for giving me a window to your heart through the life and ministry of Jesus. Please bless me as I seek to know you better by knowing, understanding, and following Jesus more passionately. I pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. … All returned to their own towns to register for this census”. Luke 2:1, 3 (NLT)
Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Praise God for the gift of his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was born as a baby in Bethlehem!
Question — How would you view the circumstances of this Christmas season differently if you were certain God was working in your circumstances?
As we read about the birth of Christ, can you see how God used circumstances to guide his Holy plan and how he uses circumstances to speak to us even now?
Jesus was born in Bethlehem because God decreed it so. His birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the ancient prophets. But what would compel Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, especially late in a pregnancy?
How would they – just as human as you and I – know they were to go to Bethlehem for Jesus to be born?
In Luke 2, we see God used a bureaucratic announcement made by a secular authority to guide Joseph and Mary. Augustus said the population should be counted, and that meant everyone was required to return to their “ancestral home.” Joseph was a descendant of King David, so he headed toward David’s ancient home – Bethlehem. (Luke 2:4-5)
What does this mean?
- God knows you – You were born at the right place and at the right time. God was not surprised by your birth, the circumstances of your birth, or where you were born. He spoke you into your mother’s womb, and he knows you by name.
- You’re free to see – Knowing that God is working through your circumstances, you are free to take your eyes off the circumstances and to look around and look above. Peter took his eyes off the circumstances and walk across the water toward Jesus; only when he looked back at his circumstances did he begin to sink!
- You can be active; not passive in circumstances – Instead of saying, “Why me, God?”, you can ask, “What’s up, God?” God is working all things out. Look for where he is at work.
How would you view the circumstances of this Christmas season differently if you were certain God was working in your circumstances?
“For 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)
There is no greater gift you could give yourself than to receive the One who came to earth for us. He offers you complete forgiveness, a relationship with Him, a more abundant life and eternal life. As long as we trust in ourselves, our own good life, God will remain distant, and we remain separated from him by our sin. He asks us to empty our hands of our efforts and receive him and his gift.
I’d like to give you the opportunity right now to ask him to come into your life. There is no greater offer, nor more important decision you could make in your life. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him….”
I’ll help you put this into words. You could say to him,
“Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins. Right now I open the door and ask you to come into my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me an eternal relationship with you.”