December 6 – For the Children

Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 9:1-6

If you ever become a legislator and you want to make sure a bill passes, make sure there is some provision in that bill that can be advocated for with the line “think about the children.” Once that line is uttered, all debate has to stop – well, at least according to some people. There might even be some who will disagree that the part of your bill you are pushing is good for children, or even that other parts of the bill might be bad for children and respond with, “I am thinking of the children, that’s why I’m against this.” I may sound a bit cynical about this, but the truth is that many have taken an important idea – caring for children – and have used it to seek power and influence over others.

Long ago, children were not given that value by most of society. Children were to be seen and not heard. They were useful to have as extra hands on the farm in an economy that was more agrarian. Back in biblical times, the firstborn son was important to carry on the family line, but the others were of decreasing value except as farm hands. God, though, understood the importance of children. In fact, one of the signs of the day of the Lord dealt with children. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

In a world that reminds us of all that we do “for the children” we have a lot of people doing bad things to children. They are torn apart in the womb. They are abused after birth. They and their innocence are taken and used to provide unseemly pleasures for some and financial gain for others. They are used as pawns in divorce cases when parents split up and pawns for political purposes. Just as John the Baptist was the Elijah who prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus, we long for the Elijah who will come before the dreadful day of the Lord appears. We live in a world where the horrendous sinfulness that surrounds us is revealed in part by our treatment of children. I wish I could tell you when the next Elijah will be coming, but I can tell you what we need to do before He comes – just to make things easier. Strengthen families.

The message to come will end up with the hearts of their parents turning to their children and the hearts of the children turning to their parents. In other words, families will become stronger. The Bible has some great ideas to help your family grow stronger. Husbands, love and respect your wives. Wives, love and respect your husbands. Parents, don’t provoke your children. Children, honor your parents. Love each other without conditions. Forgive each other in all circumstances. Give grace as you extend forgiveness. The key to being able to do all these things is a relationship with Jesus Christ. God is the greatest example in all of these ways of dealing with each other, and we are called to follow His example by loving, forgiving, and giving grace to others, especially in our own household. Sometimes we “let our hair down” around family and treat them worse than we treat the rest of the world. Why not make today the day you practice love, forgiveness, and grace with your own family first.

Lord God, as I look at our nation I see a country that has lost its priorities. Our families need to be strengthened and we need Your help to do that. Help me to show more love and grace to my family. Let my example of forgiveness inspire others to forgive. Let the love Your people show to each other cause others to seek out Your love for them.

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December 5 – Christians Die Well

Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 3:13-18; Philippians 1:18b-26

The pictures were horrific. Members of ISIS marched a number of Christians out to their execution ground. One by one they were killed. As they were killed, many of them proclaimed their love for Jesus and the truth that Jesus loved them. In their battle to instill fear into the hearts of all who would oppose them, especially Christians, members of ISIS forgot one very important thing. Christians die well. Christians have been dying for their faith in Jesus Christ since enraged Jewish leaders stoned Stephen. Christians have endured persecution at the hands of the Jews, the Romans, the barbarians, other Christians, the Communists, and countless other groups. During all of those persecutions, more often than not, Christians died with the name of Jesus on their lips proclaiming His love to their persecutors.

There is a confidence the Christians have in the face of death. That confidence is based on the belief that we have already died to Christ. We have been crucified with Christ, yet we live for a purpose: to proclaim the love God has for each and every person through Jesus Christ. If we are really committed to Jesus we want nothing more than to see others, especially our enemies come to know the grace of Jesus Christ. It is a paradoxical truth that where those in power have oppressed Christians, the church has grown stronger. And so it was that Paul, who was involved in the stoning of Stephen, came to understand that truth. He put it this way: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

In some countries, coming to know and acknowledge Jesus as Savior is a death sentence. In others, it may not lead to death, but it will lead to extreme hardships. I have met Christians in countries where those hardships come. Lost jobs. Lost prestige in the community. Harassment. Ridicule. Physical violence. It is one of those things we haven’t had to warn people about in the United States, but Christians around the world must: when you commit to following Jesus, you are signing your own death warrant. The strange phrasing in Paul’s words reminds us that death, rather than being feared, is gain. Some may question this and say, “Why not end it all immediately when you become a Christian?” There are two reasons we don’t. First, we don’t play God with our own lives. If we believe that God is in control, we shouldn’t take over for Him. Second, our lives are meant to reflect Jesus Christ to a world that needs to hear the message of redemption. To live, truly is Christ.

I have often wondered why the world hates Christians. Oh, there are the objectionable people who make it easy to hate Christians. But aside from those people, why are Christians so hated? I think the truth lies in the fact that Christians standing for God reveal the sins of the world. We speak God’s grace to a sinful world, but the idea that people need grace reminds them of their sins. People of the world are shocked when anyone talks about sinful behavior. They hate being called sinners. But those who truly follow Christ have a message of grace for anyone caught in sinful behavior. We proclaim forgiveness and mercy to a world that angrily replies that it doesn’t need forgiveness. Our job, as followers of Christ is to keep forgiving, and keep proclaiming the grace and mercy of God. We are to continue to do that in a loving manner that reflects the love that Jesus showed while He walked on earth. And should the time come. Our last words to those who persecute us should remind them of God’s love for them as we tell them of His mercy and grace. Live well. Die well.

Lord, we don’t like to think about dying. We especially don’t want to imagine living in persecution. We remember our brothers in the persecuted church. We pray that if needed, we could die well for You.

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December 4 – Road Work on the Way to Christmas

Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6

We all have to deal with it: roadwork. When you’re driving on vacation, or to go visit family in another town over the summer the sign you see more than any other, even the speed limit signs, is the one that says “Road work ahead.” As you sit in your car on the freeway you seek consolation in the idea that by next year the work will be finished and you’ll have clear sailing on the road. Deep in your mind, though, you know that while this road work may be finished, there will be another patch of road work two miles down the road.

While the sign “road work ahead” may be one of the signs of summer we need to understand that “road work ahead” was one of the signs that the Messiah was coming. Isaiah prophesied it and Luke repeated that prophecy as he told the story of John the Baptist. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:4-6)

In ancient times, if a king were going to travel, people would go ahead of him to make the road passable. If the roads weren’t too bad and his workers actually worked, he might never see them. They would make the pathway clear by filling in the potholes and clearing the way if the road meandered. Valleys would get road bridges made of the dirt, perhaps taken from a path being cut through the mountains. The preparation time would be enormous. John didn’t have that much time, being about six months older than Jesus as I understand the ages. His job was to prepare the people spiritually for the coming Messiah: Jesus. His message was popular among the people, but not so popular among the religious elites. Messiahs tend to be good for the average people in the land, but not so good for the religious and political leaders. John didn’t have time to deal with the politics of a Messiah, his job was to prepare the way for Him by leading people to repent of their sins and get ready for God to work.

We do a lot of preparations for Christmas: shopping, decorating, baking, and making travel arrangements. How easy it is, though, to get lost in those trappings and forget that the reason Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross and bring forgiveness and grace to all people who turn to Him. In all the preparations you are making for the holiday of Christmas, are you doing any road work. Now is a good time to look at your life and see where you need to change. Then, don’t try to change it by yourself, seek God’s grace and mercy to help bring about this change. Let God work in you to make straight paths, fill in the valleys, remove the mountains, and smooth the way. That’s the preparation for Christmas we all need to do.

O Lord, how easy to get caught up in the trappings of the holiday we celebrate and forget about the One who was born to die for us. Help me examine my life. Lord, do the road work on me that needs to be done. Let my life reflect Your love and grace to a world that needs Your hope.

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December 3 – The Challenge, The Opportunity

Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 3:5-12; Philippians 1:12-18a

The play was designed for John Fuqua to cross over the middle to make the catch for the first down and get the Steelers into good scoring position. Time was running out, so it would need to be quick to get the next play off. The play took longer than planned, as quarterback Terry Bradshaw had to avoid a strong Raider rush. Amazingly, he got clear and threw the pass. As the ball came towards Fuqua, Jack Tatum, a safety for the Raiders, jumped on the play and knocked the ball away from Fuqua. The TV announcer at the time called it an incomplete pass. He didn’t notice that Franco Harris, Steeler running back, had caught the deflection before it hit the ground. When he noticed, Harris was well on his way to scoring the winning touchdown in a play that NFL Films has said was the greatest play of all time.

I don’t think one member of the Steelers watch Harris score that touchdown and say sadly, “that wasn’t how we drew the play up.” I think even the intended receiver, John Fuqua, was probably ecstatic with the way things worked out. The most disappointed man on the field must have been Jack Tatum who made a great defensive play only to see an even greater offensive play. I’m sure that those who sought to put Paul into prison wanted to stop his preaching of the gospel. It seemed like a great defensive play at the time, so to speak. The problem for those attacking Paul is that not only did the palace guard, chained to Paul and thus a captive audience, learn about Jesus, others were emboldened to preach the gospel because of his chains. Some with noble reasons, others for financial considerations. “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” (Philippians 1:18)

At one time in the United States the only religious arguments we had dealt with denominations. We didn’t argue about whether or not God should be involved in the public discussion, we argued about the churches involved. Ok, many Americans were worried about whether or not the Roman Catholic Church was going to control things here in America. Fortunately, that part of the argument is no longer a major issue. We are too busy trying to let America understand that believing in God should not disqualify us from speaking on issues of importance. We understand what William Penn said when he said that “Men who are not governed by God will be governed by tyranny.” While many lament the fact that others are opposing the idea of God in the public discussion, let’s rejoice. We have an amazing opportunity to re-establish the importance of God. When the world no longer assumes the presence of God, we have the opportunity to proclaim and teach about the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

So many people have no understanding of who God is these days. Bible stories that we knew and loved growing up are completely new to people who are young adults these days. The Church is irrelevant in the eyes of many. People don’t even go to church anymore for their children. They want children to make up their own minds about God. That, of course, without ever exposing them to any information about God other than they might see in the media which will most likely be negative. We can lament, or we can accept the challenge in front of us. Our call in the face of opposition is not to fall back into our churches and decry a failing society. Our job is not to live as hermits while the world falls apart. Our job, our joy, is to preach the gospel of grace, the gospel of a God who loved people so much that He sent His only Son to earth, which is why we celebrate Christmas, to die on the cross to forgive our sin and restore fellowship with Him. The challenge, the opportunity, lies before us. We must accept it and share Jesus.

Lord God, the challenge is great, but You are greater. Give me strength to share Your love in my world.

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December 2 – Greater than Jonah…

Psalm 90; Isaiah 1:24-31; Luke 11:29-32

Perhaps the greatest sign of the apocalypse will be normalcy. It’s interesting to hear people react to some of the things that Jesus said. One of my favorites is when they talk about the days of Noah. I’ve been told that Jesus is coming back because we are living in the days of Noah. Jesus described those days as a time when people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the Ark. (Matthew 24:37-38) In my understanding, that means that life will continue in a normal fashion until that day that Jesus comes again. So many people look for signs or indications that Jesus is returning that they miss the obvious message: there is nothing special about the way people behave that indicates the return of Christ.

In another discussion of signs, Jesus reminded the people about Jonah. When talking to the Jewish leaders during His time on earth, Jesus warned the people of that time that the only sign they would receive would be the sign of Jonah. What was the sign of Jonah? A call to repentance. The difference between the people of Nineveh and the people of Israel at that time was that the people of Nineveh heard Jonah and responded to his message by repenting. Jesus compared the people of Nineveh to the Jewish people, and the pagans won out. “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11:32)

What kind of sign do you need? Or, do you really need a sign? Noah was a prophet who built a great ark while proclaiming the judgment of God as he built (or so I understand.) Nineveh, though wicked, was the most powerful city on earth at that time; they received the message of Jonah as a sign from God. They repented. But, even greater than Jonah and his message; something even greater than Noah and his message has come. Jesus is greater than these two or any other person proclaiming the need to repent from sins. Jesus not only calls us to repent, He gives us the grace we need to overcome our sins. The problem with a message that focuses on repentance is that a person might repent, but then falls back into the clutches of sin. How many times have you said, “Oh, I’m not gonna do that again,” only to be committing the same sin a couple of days later. The power of Jesus is the grace He extends so that we can overcome the power of sin in our lives.

These days it’s not popular to talk about sin. The idea that sin exists is anathema to a culture that celebrates differences and idiosyncrasies as part of the diversity of all people. We are in a “do your own thing” culture that believes in “live and let live” on every issue – unless you believe that someone else is wrong; someone else is a sinner. While we need to look inside ourselves first and seek God’s forgiveness for our sins, we also need to remind the world that in the midst of their sins, no matter what they may be, Jesus died to bring forgiveness for our sins and grace to overcome those sins. I don’t mention specific sins often, rarely do people who mention specific sins focus on their own sins – they focus on the sins of others. I proclaim the grace of God that forgives the sins of all who seek God’s forgiveness and gives us the power to overcome those sins so that we aren’t stuck in our sins forever. Something greater than the message of repentance is here: accept the grace of God in your life today.

Lord, so many people live in a pattern of continuous repentance. They know that something is wrong, but they can’t stop what they’re doing. Let them experience Your grace so that as they repent of their sins, they can experience Your power in their lives to overcome those sins.

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December 1 – The Eternal…Right Now

Psalm 90; 2 Samuel 7:18-29; Revelation 22:12-16

Every once in a while you read about them. The person who’s been with a company so long that people can’t believe that they’re actually retiring. After 30 or 50 years of working the same job and being a fixture at that business or educational institution, they plan on doing something else and there’s a big hole in the hearts of all the people who have been involved with that business either as a consumer or a fellow worker. Their lament is familiar: “They’ve been here forever! I can’t imagine them not being here. But life goes on.

As December rolls around, people’s minds focus on Christmas more and more each day. We look at the entry of Jesus into the world as the beginning of the time of the Son of God. The theological truth, though, is not that God the Son began to exist when He was born of Mary; the truth is that God the Son has always existed as a member of the triune God. He existed before time began; He will exist when time ceases. He will never retire. No one will ever be forced to imagine life without God. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)

While it’s true that no one is forced to imagine life without God, there are many who try. For some reason, they have decided that they want to live without the benefit of God’s presence or grace in their lives. Perhaps they have decided that since they can’t see, feel, touch, or hear God that He doesn’t exist. Sometimes they make feeble challenges calling on God to do something if He really exists. Usually those challenges go against the nature of God. He doesn’t zap people with lightning just to prove a point. He doesn’t make the earth quake just because it will cause a person to believe in Him. What He does do is provide for His people. He forgives our sins in His mercy. He gives us grace to strengthen us and allow us to fellowship with Him.

The true joy in knowing God is not in knowing things about Him. The fact that God is eternal; that there was never a time when He didn’t exist and that there never will be a time that He doesn’t exist really isn’t important for our day to day life. What is important for each of us is that not only is God eternal, He is personal. He knows me. He knows my strengths. He knows my weaknesses. Sometimes I don’t love myself as I think of my weaknesses. God loves me in the midst of my failures. He gives me mercy when I deserve judgment. He gives me grace that transforms a man with my great sins into a man He can use to show His love to others. This eternal God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, is also a God of the right now. He loves me, right now. He loves you, right now. He gives me the grace I need to be transformed into the image of His Son, right now. We are a country of the immediate, the right now. We serve a God who loves us, right now.

Lord, I am grateful that Your love and grace comes to me right now, because now is when I need it. I thank You that You have loved me, forgiven me, and filled me with Your grace. Change me by Your grace to be a person who can show Your love and grace to others.

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November 30 – Dealing with Evaluators

Psalm 90; Numbers 17:1-11; 2 Peter 3:1-18

It happens every year or two for teachers: the dreaded teacher evaluation. During this time the principal or other supervisor comes into the classroom with a pad of paper and write down everything that he or she observes. On that day, the teacher stands a little straighter in the front of the classroom, and, having warned the kids that the principal is really coming to check on their behavior for a week or so, begins the lesson. After the evaluator leaves, the teacher breathes a sigh of relief and relaxes knowing that the whole ordeal is over. Except, that’s changed, at least where I used to teach. Evaluators can come in at any time in a process called a walk-through.  It’s just a short look at the classroom, where, if things are clicking like they should, the teacher may not even notice the evaluator in the room. The reminder that an evaluator, or even guests, might show up at any minute, is a reminder that teachers should always be on task.

Teachers may not look forward to either the class long evaluation or the walk-throughs, but they are a necessary part of education. As followers of Christ, we look forward to the return of Jesus. We understand God’s patience, but we look forward to that time when He comes again. Amid all the speculation of when He’s coming and what’s going to happen when Jesus returns, Peter reminds us that the hope of a return has implications for everyday living. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:14)

In other words, followers of Christ, get a life that honors Christ each and every day. We don’t have an evaluator who checks our life occasionally and decides that we get to continue living, or even continue living as a follower of Christ. God isn’t going to send us an eviction notice if we don’t live perfect lives. We have a God who loves us enough and gives us the grace and the strength to live for Him each moment. The evaluators who check us out and judge us are the people of the world. They judge us not in the love of God, who wants us to succeed in our walk with Him, but in the critical spirit that believes that we will fail. And here’s the truth. We will fail. The question is, how do we do with our failure. I think our reaction to failure says more about who we are as followers of Christ than leading a perfect life.

When I fail, do I give up and wallow in my sin, or do I seek God’s mercy? When I fail do I let my life be filled with bitterness and anger, or do I let God’s grace overwhelm me? We will never be sinless, at least on this side of heaven. As we seek God’s forgiveness when we fail, though, we can be spotless and blameless in His eyes. The blood of Jesus really does forgive our sins. The key is learning to live at peace with Him. Do we spend all of our time in “fighting mode” trying to tell God how wrong He is or do we recognize that after we fight against God’s plan that God was right all along and seek peace with Him. In truth, there are two main evaluators in our lives: those people who are outside the gospel of Christ who judge us and we ourselves. God no longer “evaluates” the Christian. He did that long ago and we were called sinners. Jesus died on the cross because of our sin. God now enables us to become the best followers of Christ we can be. It is in our relationship with God that our evaluators are then able to find us blameless or spotless. It is in our relationship with God that we can be at peace with Him, and show that peace to our evaluators through our everyday lives.

Lord God, I know that You already judged me and found me guilty of sin. I also know that You forgave me at the cross. Let me live in Your grace and mercy each day. Let my evaluators see me as spotless and blameless in my walk with You and experience the peace I have in You.

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November 28 – … and Comfort the Afflicted

Psalm 25:1-10; Nehemiah 9:16-25; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Comedians have a special kind of problem when they perform. There are people, who, having imbibed enough adult beverages, think that they are funnier than the comedian and make a point of letting the comedian and the audience know that. Every good comedian knows how to handle hecklers and it’s always interesting to hear the different methods they use. Unfortunately, most of the language and insinuations prevent me from sharing any examples that I found here, but you’ve probably seen or heard about the way comedians have handled hecklers. If you are ever tempted to be a heckler, have no doubt about this: the phrase “Leave it to the professionals” should come to mind and stop you.

There are people who are “hecklers” in the church world. Oh, perhaps they don’t disrupt the worship service, but they find other ways to keep the church from moving forward. Their favorite words are “We’ve never done it that way before.” They tell others how wrong they are when the others are trying to accomplish something, yet never get involved in the work themselves. They have lots of good excuses for their lack of involvement, but they think that those who are involved should never be excused. Lest we think such people are new to church life, Paul dealt with them in the early days of the church. “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

The old aphorism that the church should “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted” is probably based on this verse. Comfortable people often they feel like since their issues are taken care of, they can try to work on the issues of other people. They become disruptive and bossy. From the comfort of my own home I can castigate any politician I want to. Were I to meet one in person, I probably wouldn’t be so comfortable. Looking at things from a biblical perspective, I shouldn’t be castigating so much as praying for them. In the same way, many people in the church often make disruptive statements away from the pastor, but are willing to point out his mistakes to other people. Here’s where we, the church, need to step up. We need to warn those people about their disruptive behavior and the cost to the church. We need to turn the disruptive statements into active prayer for the pastor and the church.

Sometimes, disruptive comments can discourage people who are actually working in the church. Paul reminds us to encourage those who are disheartened. If your church is like most churches, you won’t see a lot of the disheartened. They’ll smile at you on Sunday mornings and tell you that everything’s ok. They won’t tell you about the problems they have working in the church, the problems they have at work, or problems in relationships at home. Most of us who are disheartened could tell you intellectually why the Bible says we shouldn’t be disheartened, but those emotions hit just the same. Then the shame hits and we don’t want people to know about the discouragement. I am weak in this area. What I need is for someone to be patient with me and love me anyway. That is exactly the command that Paul gives. What’s really cool about this is that he doesn’t ask the “spiritual giants” to take on this task; he asks all the brothers and sisters to do that. When I am discouraged, I can still encourage others. When I am weak, I can still help the weak. When I need others to be patient with me, I can show patience to others. God doesn’t seek perfect people to use. God perfects imperfect people who allow Him to use them to show His grace to others.

Lord God, I am grateful that when I am at my weakest, Your love for me is at its strongest. Use me to love others who are discouraged and weak. Let me show patience every day.

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November 27 – The Best Days of our Lives

Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36

There is a lot of nostalgia for the good old days. We think back to younger, more care-free days and somehow idolize those times as the best of all times. That is, unless we really think about them. When you ask most people if they would like to go back in time and relive their high school days, or their middle school days, their first look may seem like they want to, but then, if you keep watching their faces, you will most likely note a change as the realization of what the olden days were really like hits them. It doesn’t take long for most people to realize that the good old days may not have been so good.

Perhaps the reason that those days seem so good on the surface was that we didn’t have responsibilities. Oh sure, our parents may have made us do chores, but chores don’t seem like much when we think about making a mortgage or a rent payment. Having to deal with car payments and that student loan that never goes away can make the old days seem pretty good. Most of us worry when we realize that our kids are a lot like we were when we grew up. David’s words seem fairly wise then. “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” (Psalm 25:7)

We laugh, perhaps boast of our teen exploits. Then the reality of how dumb they were hits us. We’re thankful for a couple of things. First that we weren’t caught, and second that cell phones and the internet weren’t around back then. No one was there to document our stupidity. As we grow in our relationship with God, though, memories come back and we cringe thinking about what we had done in light of our relationship with Christ now. Perhaps we wonder how God could love us with things like that in our past. Perhaps we think we’ve truly experienced God’s forgiveness but we still can’t forgive ourselves. The truth is that if we have committed our lives to Him, God remembers us not based on our sin, but according to His love and grace.

That’s the key to life, and it’s the key to understanding the Advent season. Jesus came to this earth to break down the barrier that sin creates between each of us and God. David had to seek God to gain a sense of that forgiveness; the blessing of Advent is that God sought us and still seeks us so that we can live in a restored relationship with Him. He grants us grace for daily living. He grants us grace for eternal life. He doesn’t remember us for our sins, He remembers us based on His love and mercy. That’s hard for us to believe. We look at ourselves and wonder how God could love us. Our problem is that we remember the sins that God has forgotten. Our problem is that we tend to act as if we have higher standards than God by not forgiving ourselves when God has already forgiven us. During the Advent season, celebrate the God who came into our lives and brought forgiveness. Forgive yourself and place yourself in His loving arms because He truly is good.

Lord, You are good. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness. I especially thank You that my best days lay ahead because of Your grace and mercy.

(Note: during the Advent season the Christian calendar starts again. In order to continue the themes of the calendar year, I am going back to 2015 and adjusting to make these posts.)

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