Archives For Devotional

The concerts are over and candle-light services are nearly complete. No more caroling, food drives, corporate holiday parties and the sound of Salvation army bells are quickly fading. The world will soon say goodbye to “the holidays” and will soon pivot its attention to New Year’s and Super Bowls.

The world may soon have Christmas almost in it’s rear view mirror, but for Christ’s church the wonder and joy of Christmas never ends. Isaiah prophesied that a virgin will conceive and bear a Son whose name will be Immanuel, God with us. He came to earth that day, and remains with us in every day. The Creator of the universe stepped aside from the full display of His majestic glory and dove headlong into His creation.

The day Christ was born slipped by, uncelebrated throughout the world. It was not for lack of Instagram, satellite communication or weak cell phone coverage. It was not because the postal service lost His birth announcement or a webpage failed to update. Christ entered time and space as planned. The seclusion from the abusive prying eyes of the world kept King Herod from carrying out yet another satanic attempt to assassinate the Savior.

Beyond the safety of our Savior, the world did not see the eternal significance of the first Christmas for the same reason that it cannot understand Christmas today. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Eyes that are blind to the truth can never see the glory of the Savior who was born.

The world cannot see Jesus, but the world can see Jesus in you.

Here are five windows through which those without hope are able to see Jesus in our lives:   Continue Reading…

Glory of the IncarnationIt’s a joy to reserve this part of the year to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. This, of course, is what Christmas is about in the truest sense. Amid all the tinsel, the gingerbread cookies, and the trees and stockings and gift shopping, true Christians pause to reorient our thoughts and our affections to what Christmas is really about: the incarnation of the Son of God.

And that kind of theological shorthand has become so familiar to us that we cease to be amazed at the truth we speak of when we speak of the incarnation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

God. Becoming man. The infinite, eternal, self-existent, self-sufficient, almighty God, without shedding His divine nature, taking upon Himself—in addition to His divine nature—a human nature—truly becoming one of us. In the incarnation of the Son of God, it can properly be said that the immutable, unchangeable God became what He wasn’t, while never ceasing to be what He was.

The incomprehensibility of that thought alone is sufficient to bow our hearts and intellects before divine wisdom in worship. This kind of mind-bending wisdom is so lofty—so far beyond our natural understanding—that we wouldn’t believe it if Scripture didn’t teach it so plainly. We already referenced John 1: The Word was God, and the Word became flesh. We also see it in Philippians 2:6–7, where Paul tells us that while Christ was existing in His very nature as God nevertheless assumed to Himself the very nature of a servant, and was born as a man.

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Christmas eveChristmas is almost here. It’s a time to celebrate what God did. He brought everything together to do what we could not. He brought salvation to ill-deserving humanity in the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ. Like a perfect conductor, God orchestrated all things for the arrival of heaven’s King.

That night, some 2000 years ago, God pulled off a jaw-dropping display of sovereignty. He demonstrated himself the hero as he conducted his plan that he made before creation for the arrival of the God-man. The arrival of the long-ago-promised, long-awaited-Messiah was a stunning demonstration of God’s sovereign grace towards sinful humanity. Despite the obstacles of humanity’s sin and contrary historical events, God was moved by his own mercy to sovereignly orchestrate history in order to bring us the Christmas Gift; the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Consider the majesty of God in his heroic demonstration of sovereignty in bringing us the Person of salvation:

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Hey Christian! Please stop talking about gun-control, just for a second, and think.

At least fourteen people were shot in San Bernardino, Ca. and Terrorism has not been ruled out.

keep-calm-and-close-your-mouthIf your first thought in reading that first line is something like,

“Ha! So much for strict gun control laws! or “I thought California was a liberal state!”

then I just have one request. I beg you: Please don’t talk to anyone! don’t update your status on Facebook. Don’t talk to anyone at work. I don’t care what you have to do, whether it’s take a cold shower, turn off your internet, go on vacation, or whatever it is, please don’t say a word.

14 people just died, and if they didn’t know Christ they are suffering divine judgment in hell. 

Do you realize that? Do you believe that? Sometimes I wonder whether Christians truly believe in hell. It’s so important to train our minds to think eternally!

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November 25, 2015

A Thanksgiving Pause

by Eric Davis
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It’s almost Thanksgiving. But, there is still today, which is considered the single busiest travel day in the US. AAA estimates that 47 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles for the holiday. Airlines report that over 90% of their seats will be filled today.

With all the hustle and bustle, thankfulness may flee a bit. It doesn’t always come natural for various reasons. Some of us may be immersed neck-deep in immense trials. Perhaps giving thanks right now seems impossible. Others of us may be struggling to have a thankful heart towards God for no apparent reason at all. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving is an opportune, and, perhaps, a necessary time, to grow in the grace of God-ward thankfulness. In Christ, we are never without reasons for gratitude, even in the darkest of life’s valleys. But thankfulness is less of a pixie-dust emotion felt, and more of a grace cultivated through discipline.

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So, whether you are standing in the TSA line, running to catch a connecting flight, in between trains, or on your way to grandma’s, here are a few of my favorite quotes and meditations on thankfulness which I hope will prepare our hearts for tomorrow’s wonderful holiday; Thanksgiving Day.

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Judging from Facebook and Twitter, It seems like everyone has the Refugee crisis figured out. Very few have come up with a balanced and cautious view like this one. It seems like most people including Christians are on either extreme of the pendulum. Some say things like.

You should let everyone in! Jesus wouldn’t deny anyone. Quit being a coward!

Or.

You shouldn’t let anyone in! You need to protect America from the terrorist, do you want another Paris?

I think its OK for us to sit down, take a deep breath and actually say “I have no idea what the right thingshut up and pray to do is.”

Our government seemed to possibly make the right call for once, and that is to take a quick pause and say “based on the fact that several people shouting Allahu Akbar just murdered over a hundred French people in public, we need to rethink and make sure we want to take in others who like saying Allahu Akbar a lot.” The dilemma lies in the fact that 25% of muslims in the world (if we believe the lady in this video and just simple math) are actively trying to murder those who are not. That leaves 75% who are probably harmless and whom we (if we have the means) probably should help!

No one person has the right answer yet, and it’s probable that if our government continues down the path that it’s been going that it will make the wrong call, but that doesn’t change the fact that you don’t know better than the government that God has sovereignly put into place. So here are my three suggestions on what we should do next regarding the Refugee Crisis.

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I have very fond memories of my grandmother, but she had one strange taste: an inordinate love of taxidermy. Her house was infested with a menagerie of stuffed animals. From the menacing buffalo head that greeted me at the door, to the glassy-eyed kudu bull who guarded the staircase, to the yellow-billed kite keeping watch over me while I played with trains. It was a pretty freaky and intimidating place to spend a weekend, and goes a long way to explain my latent agoraphobia that favors hotels over the outdoors.

But the most terrifying trophies were the leopard and lion skin rugs. My dear grandma made no effort to allay my fears that these creatures were able to maul me if I got too close.

Thankfully, none of this scarred my psyche; I still wanted to own a dog. My first puppy was a pavement special, a mutt of note. Ugly, scrawny, and dumb as dumbbell, but I’d still choose that mongrel any day of the week over a stuffed leopard, lion, or anything.

Everyone understands that a living poodle is better than a dead lion. (Of course a dead poodle is not a bad idea either). King Solomon offers us this eccentric serving of sideways wisdom in Ecclesiastes 9: 4But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

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By now you’ve heard that ISIS has struck again, and again they have directed their hate towards Paris. Over 100 people enjoying dinner, enjoying entertainment struck dead without a thought.

Before you think this is only a French problem, know that there are over 1000 active ISIS probes in the United States.

So many men and women, probably living in your neighborhood, are actively plotting someway to kill as many people as they can.

It doesn’t end there. There are earthquakes happening. Tsunamis are coming. There are tsunamiburglars murdering pregnant pastor’s wives.

There are mentally deranged killers walking on our college campuses.

There are thousands of people all over the world actively driving drunk. There are people who have no idea, but their bodies are filled with a sickness that will take their life at any second.

How do we deal with this reality?

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November 11, 2015

When Affliction is Stacked

by Eric Davis

stacked afflictionYou’ve probably been there. Unprecedented affliction enters your life. Along with it, all the new experiences. The anxiousness. The sleeplessness. The darkness, loneliness, anger, sorrow. Things compound.

By God’s grace, you seem to make it through. The storm seems to end. There is that huge relief with the breaking sun. Tears of joy come in humble rejoicing at the storm’s passing.

But then it happens. Another life-storm moves inland to your life. And another behind it. And another. Maybe it’s a reoccurrence of a previous trial. Or a compounding of differing trials; a financial on top of a spiritual. Or a physical trial consequent of a previous physical trial. Or all of the above.

The questions: “Ok, Lord, did I not meet my suffering quota for the year? Is there not some sort of trials-tap that can run dry from time to time?”

The frustration: “This just cannot be happening, again.”

The despair: “How in the world will I be able to keep going and be faithful to all the other stuff in my life with these constant storms?”

These are all normal. Perhaps not all excusable, but normal nevertheless. And there are not pixie-dust solutions to these problems, of course. We’re talking about a crux par excellence of life, after all.

Though not an exhaustive list, here are some possible explanations for the multiple afflictions God allows in our lives:

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I recently stumbled across a video where a guy who looked like he was possibly preaching, claimed to have had a real vision of Jesus. In the video he claims that, get this, Jesus asks him for forgiveness! It was just an incredible reminder of the times we are living in. We live in a day where the Church has become completely man-centered. to the point where now Jesus needs to ask us for forgiveness.

Man-centered theology is natural. We are born worshipping ourselves. It is in our veins because of original sin. We think the world revolves around us, and ultimately we think God exists for us. Man-centered theology can show up many different ways, but ultimately it is the exaltation of man and the belittling of God.

Your theology matters. It affects the way you think, the way you live, the way you approach others around you, and ultimately it affects your truman showrelationship with God.

As we were preaching through Ephesians in our Young Adult Sunday school class, it was pretty evident that a right understanding of scripture does not allow for any boasting in the Christian life. The more you read the Bible the more you realize that the Bible is God-centered, and eternity in heaven will be a celebration of the Glory of God. In fact I believe that the a major purpose of our salvation is for the angels to watch us in heaven worshipping God, and scratching their heads in utter amazement that sinful people like me will be able to be in God’s presence worshipping him. They’ve seen us sin, they’ve seen how hypocritical we are, and seeing us in heaven worshipping God will be yet another reason for the angels to worship the Trinity.

And yet despite the fact that scripture is so clear that salvation is not about us, we are always tempted to make it all about us. Have you noticed how many preachers talk about the worth of man, and seem to neglect speaking about God’s glory and His worth?

Our flesh is always telling us to think highly of ourselves. But I think we need to resist this urge to exalt ourselves. Here are some reasons to put away man-centered theology and to embrace a God-centered mindset.

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