Finding Immanuel

Finding Immanuel

“All the outs in free!”

We shouted those words so that our friends could hear from their hiding places: from under trees, behind laundry piles, inside dog houses, or disguised beneath a collection of blankets. We’d search for and find many of our chums, but there was generally one in our game of hide and seek that went undiscovered. Yelling the familiar chant let the outstanding hiders know that they could step into visibility without penalty.

 

As I think back to the frustrating task of finding someone who did not want to be found, it makes me glad that Jesus doesn’t hide from us. Yes, there are times when I feel I can’t find Him. He feels absent from my life, as if He’s taken a “hands-off approach” and left me to my own devices. As I wrote in my last post, the process of searching for Immanuel can feel long and arduous.

 

In these seasons, we must intentionally dig deeper to find the fertile soil beneath our clay hearts. It’s there that Christ remains alive, active, and ever-present.

 

We may weep and lament as we search for Him, but through the process of searching, we find. That’s when the joy comes. That’s when we discover fullness of joy in His presence. In the journey of finding, we often recall what we already knew. We find truths that we encountered before.

 

The process of finding helps us to not simply know, but to know again.

 

As we seek what is hidden, the process of remembering proves a valuable tool. When I searched for my best friend in our childhood game, if I remembered how much she loved dogs and tended to hide somewhere close to them, I could spy her out almost instantly.

 

Finding Immanuel

 

By calling to mind—remembering—what I already know about Christ, I can also find Him more readily.

 

As I actively remember— things like His character revealed throughout the Bible, or the promises He declares in His Word, the blessings He lavished upon me in the past, or victories and freedom that He helped me attain—suddenly I can see His subtle fingerprints in my life. My eyes open to things that He is doing right now. I begin to identify ways that He is moving in my current trials and circumstances.

Victorious, Bible Study, Esther

When you can’t see God’s activity, you might begin to feel hopeless. Come and discover His active involvement in your life today with the Bible study: Victorious

The Christmas Story

 

The story of Christ and His birth in Scripture recounts many who found Jesus through a process of active searching. They took the time and trouble to recall the promises and truths of God’s Word, which provided a type of roadmap leading to the discovery of Immanuel.

 

The Magi

 

The wise men depicted in Matthew chapter 2 are believed to have traveled over 800 miles in their search for Jesus. Talk about a long journey! In the process, they examined promises of God’s Word and followed the star that led their way. When they found Jesus, Matthew 2:9-11 tells us that they were overjoyed beyond measure and fell to their knees in worship.

 

The Shepherds

 

Angels revealed the Word of the Lord to unsuspecting shepherds during the night. Through this miraculous announcement, the shepherds were compelled to seek Jesus. In doing so, they discovered for themselves the good news of great joy.

 

Finding Through Remembering

 

We, too, can remember the word of the Lord and His activity in our lives, which will help us find Immanuel when we are compelled to seek Him.

 

Active remembering can take on many forms:

 

Memorial Stones

 

Present day memorial stones help us recall the Lord’s involvement and provision. Reminders like photographs of special, spiritual milestones call the Lord’s mighty work to the forefront of our memories. Embellishing and decorating our homes with Bible verses keeps our hearts focused on Him. We can document our experiences in writing through letters or emails to loved ones, journals, or even blogs.

 

Prayer and Meditation

 

Prayer and meditation allow us to draw near to God with a true heart, in full assurance of our faith (see Hebrews 10:24).  After encountering the shepherds and hearing of their angelic experience, Matthew 2:19 tell us that Mary meditated on these things. She treasured the truth in her heart.  The psalms are also filled with examples of recalling and pondering on the mighty works of the Lord.

 

Communion and Worship

 

Communion is a practice that, as the Bible teaches, is a specific act of remembrance. We remember the work of Jesus on the cross, the power of His blood, and His ultimate sacrifice.

 

Worship is certainly a practice that calls to memory the promises, freedom, and victories that the Lord gives. I love to belt out old songs that helped carry me through difficult times. I also cherish the new songs that quench my thirsty soul and help me focus on the Lord’s character. The shepherds who found Jesus praised God for the fulfillment of the promises and for all they’d seen and heard. We’re wise to do the same.

 

As we face difficult trials and situations that make us question, “Where is God in this?” we do well to recall that He remains near.  When we seek, we will find Immanuel, God with us. We’ll discover that His promises still stand. We’ll learn to see God’s subtle fingerprints as readily as His indisputable miracles. And we’ll remember that He is with us always.

 

May God’s Word strengthen you today,

 

 

 

 

Finding Immanuel

 

 

Searching for Immanuel

Searching for Immanuel

She swaddled her firstborn tightly then laid him in a manger. A manger of all things, since there was no room for them in the lodging place.

 

It was a time of gathering. Of scurrying from here to there to register for the census, each in his own town. While the well-known manger scene is portrayed as lonely and quiet, the town of Bethlehem was most certainly not. Jesus came as Immanuel—to dwell among people, and entered the world in a season of hustle and bustle.

 

For many, the birth of Christ went unnoticed. God, who had been silent for 400 years, seemed as absent on the day of Jesus’ birth as he had for the preceding centuries.

 

The Lord’s coming was foretold. His people believed. Some waited with eager expectation. Yet in the fulfillment of time, Jesus was just a blip on the days’ events.

 

And so it seems today.

 

When God Seems Absent

 

We know and believe that this sacred holiday season points us to the Lord. We learned as children that His name, Immanuel, means God with us. He came to dwell among us and gave his life so that He could live in our hearts. And yet, we fix our minds on earthly things.

 

Like our shopping list.

Or our circumstances.

We focus on our financial woes.

Or our mean boss who seemingly wants to harm us.

We quietly obsess over broken relationships.

Or our marital issues.

The biggest struggles seem to come when we recognize Who God is, yet endeavor to see His presence in our lives.

We quietly wonder, “Why does God seem so absent?”

We question, “Is He still for me?”

“Does He see what’s going on?”

“Why did He let ___ happen?”

“Has He released me from His grasp?”

 

Rarely would we verbalize such thoughts, yet they linger in our minds, stirring doubt and insecurity. We thought we knew the truth about God and that we trust Him fully, but in the chaos of life, we question whether He remains active in our lives.

 

In this season, especially, we ask, “If Jesus is Immanuel, where is He?”

 

Searching for Immanuel

 

I received encouragement through a recent article in The Joyful Life Magazine. Author Ashley Mesa’s words touched my heart. When I experience dry and dusty seasons in my faith, I must dig a little deeper, through the stony, clay-like soil of my heart to discover God’s nearness. Such seasons require intense worship, focused prayer, intentional time in His Word, and deliberate communion with Him.

 

When things like grief and doubt and insecurity and anger and loneliness set in, I know I have a choice to make. I can continue to flounder, allowing what I can see to influence my level of faith. Or, I can press into God, abide in Him through my trials, and re-discover His immoveable and constant presence.

 

Time is a precious commodity in the holiday rush so for me, digging deeper means meeting with Him before sunrise when necessary. Over a cup of hot coffee, I let worship music blast through my earbuds and concentrate on praising Him for His character as each song reveals.

 

A focused period of prayer follows, where I pour out my heart to Him. I lay it all out—my hurt, frustrations, and confusion—and ask that He turn my heart toward His goodness so that I’m less focused on my circumstance. I specifically ask that He remind me of His nearness throughout the day.

 

Next, I pour over a short section of Scripture, writing down each word that speaks to my heart. Meditating on His truth sets a foundation for communing with Him through prayer and random (mostly silent) conversations throughout the day.

 

I discover that my God hasn’t moved an inch. He is right where He said He’d be—with me through every trial and circumstance. At my side through every celebration and victory. Leading me through every change and unforeseen event. Indeed, He is Immanuel. He is here. And He always has been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Inspirational Gift Ideas (plus a few bonus ideas)

15 Inspirational Gift Ideas (plus a few bonus ideas)

My dad was a giver. I loved watching how he’d pour his energy and efforts into making the perfect gift for those he adored. From home-cooked meals (yes, my dad prepared the meals in our family) to a one of a kind, handcrafted step stool in a child’s favorite colors, from ornate, handmade Christmas decorations, to sacrificially purchased items, each gift originated deep in his heart. It was carefully considered, often met a need, and portrayed his incredible generosity.

Most of the gifts my dad gave to me are still displayed somewhere in our home. They were treasures intended to become heirlooms. Indeed, they have.

Gift-giving has since become an important and significant tradition in our family. I adore pouring deep thought and consideration of individual personalities into the gifts I give. When I choose a gift, my aim is that it will fulfill certain criteria:

  • It surprises its recipient, often because it’s something she hadn’t considered for herself.
  • It’s something that can be enjoyed for a lengthy period. I may not always aim for heirloom like my dad, but I do hope a gift will bless its new owner for several months, if not longer.
  • Its a gift he’ll love.
  • It doesn’t put me into debt. I like to pay cash, thank you.

That’s a pretty tall order, wouldn’t you say?

Inspirational Gift Ideas

As Christmas approaches and numerous gifts are needed all at the same time, it can be difficult to put as much energy as I’d like into my selections. Maybe you feel the same way.  So I’ve done some of the work for all of us.

Below, you’ll find a list of more than 15 inspirational gift ideas that the adults in your family are sure to cherish for months and years to come.

** This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the costs of operating this blog and ministry and help provide for our family needs. Thank you!

The Joyful Life Magazine

give the gift of joy all year long

A magazine, you ask? Yes! I received the premier edition in the mail a few days ago and The Joyful Life is unlike any magazine you’ve ever seen. It’s beautiful and robust (huge, actually) and comes out quarterly. If ever there were an heirloom-quality print publication, this is it. Over the last few days, I’ve savored one article each day as a part of my devotion time. This is a gift that will bless and bless. Click here to learn more!

 

Inspirational Jewelry

Nearly all women love jewelry, and with a touch of added inspiration, who can resist these beauties? Meaningful words, especially when they point to Christ, can encourage us all. Click here to shop jewelry!

 

 

 

 

Mug Me!

A little reminder for the morning to stay focused on God’s strength.

 

I’m a coffee mug junkie. With a cupboard (nearly) full of fun mugs, I can tell you where each came from. Morning after morning are filled with jokes, sentiments, photos, and memories from those I love. Click here to shop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Flip Flops

Unique Gift IdeasWhat’s so great about the Sanuk flips? They’re ultra-comfortable, even when spending long hours on your feet. This brand is a favorite in our family—we’ve spent hours and hours in them at Disney theme parks and they are foot savers to be sure. PLUS they’re cute and far more reasonably priced at this time of year than in summer. Click here to purchase!

 

 

Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is another family favorite – a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that we sometimes argue over. It’s perfect for yard work or relaxing outdoors, it’s small and easy to pack when traveling, and it’s a device we use every single day. Shop here!

 

 

God’s Word

I know, you might be slowly switching to the Bible apps on your phone. I am too. But we interact differently with a paper Bible. I love knowing that the verse I’m looking for is on the top right side of the page, highlighted in orange with a star next to it.  The She Reads Truth Bible and the Study Bible for Women are two of my favorites.

 

 

Kindle Paperwhite

This is a tried and true e-Reader in my life. In fact, I left mine behind on a trip a few months ago, so this is on my personal wish list. I can read at night with low light so as not to disturb my sweetie. I also appreciate the non-glare screen that makes reading outdoors comfortable and easy. The newest version is even waterproof! Click here to shop!

 

 

Instant Pot

Another item on my wish list. I can’t provide a personal testimony about this one, but the time savings and delicious meal options look too intriguing to pass up. This is certainly a more practical than a sentimental gift, but the gift of time savings can sometimes change lives. Inspire those you love to re-establish the tradition of family meals at home. Click here to shop!

 

Essential Oil Diffuser

Inspirational Gift IdeasI’ll be honest. This investment was a game-changer in our family, especially during allergy, cold & flu, and “I-just-can’t-sleep” seasons of life. This is an amazing gift for newlyweds, new moms, or anyone looking for healthier lifestyle options. This one is available through my friend Jess Davis and her Young Living business. The link is for the retail option but there are wholesale/membership deals available too! (Be sure to check out their Black Friday specials!)

 

Picture Frames

One of my favorite gifts to give. There is a nearly unlimited assortment of frames available from simple to ornate. Decorating our homes with smiling faces and happy memories is a great way to help us prioritize what’s most important throughout the year. Click here to shop! Remember, Hobby Lobby always offers frames at 50% off!

 

Journals

A beautiful journal can make quiet times even more enjoyable and there are a plethora of beautiful options from which to choose! I have adopted the habit of keeping a nice journal with me always, to take notes at meetings, on the go, and even at church. It’s nice to have all my chicken scratches collected in one easy-to-find location. Click here to shop journals.

 

Quality Pens

It seems the older I get the more I enjoy a good-quality pen. Waterman has been a favorite for years and is a lovely gift for recent graduates, career-minded loved ones, or anyone who loves to write. It’s a great gift companion to a journal too. Click here to shop!

 

 

CodeNames

We adore family games and this is certainly in our top 5. It feels a little complicated to learn but is rather easy to grasp. And it’s easy to play with a small OR a large group. Click here to shop!

 

 

Willow Tree Figurines

I’ve only given a Willow Tree figurine gift once, but have received several over the years and I LOVE them! Their beauty and sentiment stir my heart and makes these figurines a classic and timeless gift. Click here to purchase.

 

 

 

What Christmas gifts have you already selected this year? And which are on the wish-list you prepared for yourself? I hope this list will help you with a few of the hard-to-buy-for loved ones on your list!

Many blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is King of the World

Jesus is King of the World

For those of us living in a democracy, it’s a little hard to grasp the role and authority that Jesus has as King of the world.

If we think back to the fairytales we heard as children, we might recall an old man in a story – usually the father of a prince or princess who was the object of the story – who ruled as king. Everyone in the kingdom did what the king said.

Some kings were good and kind, others were mean and greedy.

We try to apply our fairy tale understanding of a king to the British royals, but their reign – along with other present-day monarchies – is constitutional in nature. There are few monarchs with absolute power and political reign.  So our point of comparison is found lacking.

Considering Jesus as King of the world is not easy to fully understand. We rely on the Holy Spirit to give us all spiritual wisdom and understanding and turn to Scripture for clues.

One way that Jesus is revealed in the Bible as King is through His sovereignty.

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, sovereignty means supreme power or authority. To be sovereign means to have undisputed dominance, to be excellent, absolute, or royal.

When you consider Jesus – especially at this time of year – do you think of Him as one with undisputed dominance?

Again, in this series we’re looking beyond the manger and straight into the impact and influence that Christ has on our daily lives.

Do you see Him as King of the world?

King of your life?

King of your heart?

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favorite Bible verses that emphasize the sovereignty of the Lord, and then I’ll share how their revelation impacts me personally.

As we pause to reflect on Jesus this season, my hope is that this gaze into His character will inspire you to embrace more of His nature as King.

Before we examine His sovereignty, however, I’d like to remind you of a couple of important points:

  • He is a God of love. I wrote about His love for the world in my last post. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so here before going forward. Gaining a deeper understanding of His love will help us embrace His sovereignty in our own lives.
  • The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word – Hebrews 1:3 (HCSB). When we look at God we see Christ and by looking at Christ we see the Father. Also consider Colossians 1:15 which says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.

What Scripture Reveals about Jesus as King of the World

1 Chronicles 29:11-12

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything.  Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all (HCSB).

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this passage. It’s a beautiful description of sovereignty – beyond any annotation I’ve seen in a dictionary. It just goes on and on with the awesome portrayal of Who God is as King.

Here’s how the passage translates to my personal life:

  • Everything belongs to God. Everything. My money isn’t mine. My house isn’t mine. My kids aren’t mine. Even my husband isn’t mine. They all belong to God. He holds dominion and authority over them and, since He always works for our good and His glory, I can trust (and stop worrying about) what will become of them as individuals and of our family.
  • Riches and honor come from Him. His hand makes great and gives strength. Those financial concerns that pop up – especially this time of year – are under His authority too. He will work out all the details and provide all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.

I’d love for you to read this heart-touching commentary on what it means for God to provide for us according to His riches:

“Christ does not say out of His riches, but according to His riches. Let me explain. If I were to give you a dollar, I would be giving you out of my riches. But if I were to hand you a blank check with my signature affixed for you to use as you will, I would be giving to you according to my riches. God offers us His grace according to His rich supply.” (Hawkins, O. S.. The Joshua Code (52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know) (p. 141). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition).

God’s provision and His authority are without limit, so I can trust He will care for my every need and concern. His provision may not look exactly as I’d hoped or planned, but He will provide without lack. What a tremendous gift from our Heavenly King!

Consider the next verse:

Isaiah 14:24

The Lord of Hosts has sworn:
As I have purposed, so it will be;
as I have planned it, so it will happen (HCSB).

 

Here’s how this verse encourages me personally:

  • God’s plans cannot be thwarted. Not by the enemy of our souls, not by our government, not by worldwide moral decay. His plan is perfect and I need not fret about the future. He holds it all in the palm of His hand.
  • Since God’s plans can’t be thwarted, I certainly can’t disrupt them either. When I blow it big-time, when I make mistakes that seem monumental, He is still King. He still reigns. He still loves with an everlasting love, and His purpose and plans will be accomplished. I believe there is a mom among us who needs to hear this today: You have not ruined your child or wrecked his chances for a happy, successful life. God not only sees your mistakes; He was with you when you made them – and He has already redeemed them for His glory. He uses every moment, every tear, every hardship and celebration, to accomplish His will.

One more…

Acts 17:24-26

The God who made the world and everything in it —He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands.  Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (HCSB).

The blessing I take:

We’re appointed. You. Me. In our current role as _____ (fill in as many blanks as you need), we’re exactly where He wants us. We have a Kingdom assignment here – in the season and place of our lives. It’s not a mistake – it’s a King-appointed assignment that we’re called to fulfill. He doesn’t need our help, yet He welcomes our involvement. There is no pressure to perform, only to seek His will in our day to day and walk in step with His Holy Spirit.

  • Even if you feel stuck in a loveless marriage, God has a purpose.
  • Even if your job disgusts you, God is accomplishing His ways through you.
  • Even if your kids don’t respect you, you are showing them Christ.
  • Even if you feel you have nothing to offer, God whispers the truth of who you are to Him and makes you mighty for Him.
  • Even if you’re overcome with grief, God is alongside you, comforting you and preparing the path to glory.

The King’s Eternal Reign

The rule and reign of Jesus have no end. Accordingly (in all honesty) I struggle to end this post. We could examine His sovereignty, His power, and authority, His rule and reign for days and days. If you’re hungry for more, dig into your Bible concordance or even Google some of the terms and phrases to discover more about His Kingship. Meditate on His word as truth, paying close attention to the spiritual and natural responses that you have toward each truth that He reveals.

We serve a King who is approachable and available to us. He has a plan – and it’s a good plan – for our lives. Let’s renew our commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly and trust that He will order our steps and accomplish His great purpose for us – because of the depth of His love for His children.

 

I pray your Christmas was beautiful and merry, and that the joy of the Lord – His light, His love, and His Kingship will continue to bless you throughout the new year.

Love,

 

 

 

1 Timothy 6:15-16

He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; no one has seen or can see Him, to Him be honor and eternal might. Amen (HCSB).

 

The Joy of God’s Love for the World

The Joy of God’s Love for the World

I have no doubt you’ve seen the popular verse about God’s love.

It’s plastered all over poster boards at sporting events. The verse is used by street evangelists by the hundreds. We even see it subtly displayed by some well-known retailers. But if you had to explain what it means, could you do so effectively?

John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world in this way:  He gave His One and Only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (HCSB)

 

Those without understanding are apt to question:

  • “How does anyone give a son?” or
  • “How does believing in Him give us eternal life?” or
  • “How does this keep us from perishing since everyone dies?”

Maybe you’ve heard questions like these. I know I have.

Then, there are the characteristics of God which seem opposite of the love depicted in John 3:16 – like hearing God described as “Judge,” or reading of His intolerance and wrath against unrighteousness.

Such things often cause people to shy away from what they perceive as an inconsistent Christian message.

But let’s dive in and take a closer look. It’s necessary to look at the context of the Scriptures and consider that He is a holy God.

God’s Love Expressed in Reconciliation

Holy means set apart and sanctified. It means that it is impossible for God to dwell in the presence of sin, or even overlook it. Because of God’s very nature, the people whom God created and loves cannot abide with Him when sin is in the way.

What is sin? It has a broad meaning: it’s anything that we think, say, or do that is not in accordance with God’s commands.

Anything we think.

Or say.

Or do . . .

I sin every day. In fact, all of us do and the tremendous cost of our sins is eternal separation from the Lord. Because of my sin (which includes things as simple as thinking critically toward others), I cannot enter the presence of our holy heavenly Father without a covering over that sin.

In His great love for us, God provided a way of reconciliation.

By giving His One and Only Son to die on the cross, God Himself provided a covering that allows for our reconciliation with Him. He gave us Jesus who paid the price for our sins with His life that He laid down willingly. His blood provides the covering for our sin.

Why was there such a great sacrifice? A sacrifice of life? As an expression of God’s love for the world; for love expressed toward you and me.

Many of us wouldn’t think twice about laying down our lives for one of our children. We’d do it out of our great love for them, because we want what’s best for them, and because we’d do anything for them. Perhaps considering what you’d do for your own kids and the motivation behind it will help you wrap your mind (at least a little) around God’s love for us.

Taking God’s Love a Step Further

To gain more insight on God’s love for the world, let’s consider the verse that immediately follows John 3:16: “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 HCSB).

Some of our negative opinions expressed toward God stem from the assumption that He is condemning. But Scripture teaches us that He didn’t come to condemn us, but to save us from the cost of our sin.

Along with the title of “Judge,” (which is often reflected negatively by the world), Christ also wears the names of “Advocate,” “Redeemer,” and “Defender.”

Most of these words are common knowledge but let’s look up the definitions, shall we? These are from the New Oxford American Dictionary:

Judge:

a public official appointed to decide cases in a court of law.  a person who decides the results of a competition or watches for infractions of the rules.  a person able or qualified to give an opinion on something: she was a good judge of character a leader having temporary authority in ancient Israel in the period between Joshua and the kings.

Advocate:

a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy: he was an untiring advocate of economic reform a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf: care managers can become advocates for their clients a pleader in a court of law.

Redeem:  

compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something): a disappointing debate redeemed only by an outstanding speech   (redeem oneself) do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior: they redeemed themselves in the playoffs by pushing the Detroit Red Wings to a seventh and deciding game (of a person) atone or make amends for (error or evil): the thief on the cross who by a single act redeemed a life of evil save (someone) from sin, error, or evil: he was a sinner, redeemed by the grace of God.

Defender:

a person who defends someone or something: a defender of family values (in soccer, hockey, and other games) a player whose task it is to protect the team’s goal.

God’s Love In Action

It’s possible that you have done – or will do – something you consider terrible. Maybe you hurt someone physically, emotionally, or mentally. Perhaps the harm came through a snap decision, or an accident, or maybe through longtime contemplation.

Allow me to share a true, personal example:

As a child, my best friend and I were playing on some old farm equipment out in her family’s pasture. We sat on the machinery and started pulling levers of all sorts. Suddenly, my friend was screaming her head off.

One of the levers I’d pulled caused two pieces of strong, heavy metal to pinch together with the skin and muscle of my friend’s thigh caught in between. It was pure accident, but it caused tremendous pain and a scar that she wore for the rest of her life. I feel terrible to this day, and remembering her wails still brings tears to my eyes.

We know that our behaviors – even our accidental mistakes – come with consequences. Often, they’re not pleasant.

The Justice of God’s Love

Let’s imagine that one of the consequences of the accident I described involved legal charges or court proceedings. While questioned legally, I would have to say, “Yes. I did that. I’m guilty.”

Entering the courtroom beside me is Jesus who is my advocate, pleading my case on my behalf.

As my defender, the Lord protects me from harm.

The one who makes the final determination in my case is the judge. That role also belongs to Jesus and He judges with the love of a Father, plus the full understanding of my heart at the time of my actions, and my level of my remorse.

Should the judge require restitution or penalty of any sort – consequences for my actions – guess who steps up? Jesus, once again. He says, “I am her redeemer. I have already paid it all. Her debt was paid when I laid down my life on the cross.”

The Judge’s eternal decision: pardon. Every time, with every mistake for the children of God.

God’s Love Gives Liberty and Joy!

God is always working for our good and for His glory. Wearing the proverbial hats of advocate, defender, and judge, Jesus provides for our liberty and joy. He is not one who condemns, but one who sets us free from the bondage of sin. Glory!

God’s love for the world is greater than we can understand or imagine. Every measure of Jesus and the activity He has in our lives was planned – from the very moment He came to earth as a baby in a manger.

 

If you’d like to read the blog series for Advent, it helps us all pause and focus on Christ during this busy season. The series celebrates all that Jesus is to the world – so much more than a baby in a manger. You may click the links to read  God’s Gift of Joy to the World and Jesus is the Light of the World – a Devotion of Praise.

May you rejoice in His love this Christmas.

Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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