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But he gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. Philippians 2:7 (NCV)

Christmas has long been touted as a holiday when we think of love. We give gifts. We travel across the country (or sometimes the world) to spend time with those we love, all in the name of Christmas. Churches hold extra services, relationships are restored, new relationships are built, all in the name of Christmas!

The ultimate example of love comes in the form of grace. Grace is, and always has been, God reaching out to man. When Adam and Eve sinned, who was it that sought to restore the broken relationship? God, God reaching out to man.

When Moses killed the Egyptian and ran for his life, wandering for forty years when God had chosen him to lead his people out ofEgypt. Who came to restore the broken relationship and restore hope? God did. God reaching out to man.

When David had an affair and spent months in agony and cover up. Who reached out to restore the relationship and offer forgiveness? God did. God reaching out to man.

On a small, dark hillside inPalestine. When religion had a stranglehold on worship. Who came to restore the path to God and eternal life? God did. God reaching out to man in the form of a little baby.

Grace has always been about relationship, not rules. What better example of a relationship than that of a young couple gathered around the bedside of their first-born child. The wonder. The awe. The realization that this little life would change their lives forever and produce a legacy, a heritage that would go on for years.

That’s grace. God reaching down to man in a way that would build a relationship with the people he desires to reach most of all.

That’s grace. God offering forgiveness to you and I when we don’t deserve it. When we’ve rebelled, gone our own way, refused to forgive others, abused others with our fists or our words.

This Christmas, amidst the glitter and brightly colored packages. While you sit at your meals or play your new games. Spend some time with the babe in the manger. The one who gave up the glories of heaven to endure the pain of the cross on your behalf. You can do nothing to deserve this gift. It’s freely given because God loves you and wants to forgive you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, on this Christmas day, I thank you for coming to earth. So often we get so caught up in celebrating the holiday we forget to worship the reason. All praise and honor and worship is due you. Alleluia. Amen.


“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 (NLT)

Some of the toughest choices father’s make are in regards to their children. We, especially as men, grow up with dreams. We play games in which we always want to come out the winner. As we grow older, reality sets in. Sometimes it sets in hard. We can’t keep rewinding the game clock until the ball swishes through the basket or goes into the empty net or splits the uprights.

It’s no wonder then, that when our son(s) come along the dreams start over again. No offense against the women of our world. They have accomplished great things, fantastic things. Even so, there’s something special about the bond between a man and his son, just as there is between a woman and her daughter. Gender doesn’t really matter. Parents grow up with the hope that their children will somehow attain all they had hoped to attain when they were kids. But sometimes life deals cruel blows.

It’s always been that way really. Abraham had the tough decision to send Ishmael and his mother into the wilderness. Later he had to lay his son of promise, Isaac, on an altar. Only the last minute call of an angel and rustling of a ram in the thicket saved Isaac from being offered up as a sacrifice.

David had the tough choice of going to war against his son, Absalom. Even though he pled for the safe return of his son, the young rebel was killed in battle.

But perhaps the toughest test of love came from God himself. From the day he decided to create this world we live on he longed for relationship. He created beauty from trees and flowers, majesty from mountains and valleys, power from weather and the seas and the wonder of life from innumerable life forms, both seen and unseen.

All that he created gave him great joy. He looked and saw it was good. But it lacked the one thing he longed for above all else. It lacked relationship. So God created mankind to bring him relationship the relationship he’d always wanted. But mankind failed. There was only one thing Father God could do to restore that relationship. It was the hardest thing any of us parents would be called upon to do. He had to give up his only son.

He looked down through the ages and saw the pain his son would suffer. He saw the guilt that would be placed on his shoulders. He saw the physical and emotional abuse that would be executed on his innocent son so that my sins could be forgiven. He watched him die on a tree so I could live forever.

That’s love. That’s tough love. Tough love says I’ll do whatever it takes. Tough love says I’ll give up whatever I need to get the relationship I want to have with you. That’s what God is saying to each of us. He gave all he had so he could have a relationship with you. All he asks in return is for your love through obedience to his word.

PRAYER: Father God, as a parent I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to give up a son so others could live. Especially when the ones who benefit have nothing to give in return. I have nothing to offer you in thanks for your salvation. Thank you for loving me anyway. Thank you for sending Jesus so I can have a relationship with you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

It’s the difference between religion and relationship. It’s the difference between peaceful living and stress. It’s the difference between holiness and sinfulness. It’s the difference between abuse and encouragement. It’s the difference between prison and freedom. It’s the difference between fear and courage. It’s the difference between defeat and confidence. It’s love.

Love excites us, brings peace into our lives, cures us of the addiction to sin, encourages us, frees us to be ourselves, gives us courage to survive attack and confidence to use the gifts we have to better the world around us.

In the Old Testament God gave his people all sorts of rules and regulations to show them how to live lives free of all the bad stuff life throws our way. Never forget, when He created Adam and Eve in the garden, He never intended that they be separated from Him. Their sin in the garden destroyed everything. God created us in His image to enjoy life, to enjoy love, to enjoy each other.

The Bible says Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. That wasn’t just physical nakedness; it was emotional and spiritual nakedness as well. The underlying power of their lives was love, the love of the creator-God to them and their love for Him in return.

Then ‘sin’ got in the way. Sin is really just another way of saying ‘getting what I want in my way’. When sin entered, our relationship with God, ourselves and others was forever changed. There was only one thing that could rescue us from the emptiness and pain of life: LOVE.

True love, Godly love never ever hurts. Period. There are so many things that get in our way, that keep love from showing itself. People get in the way by abusing us for their own selfish purposes. Our past keeps us from enjoying the forgiveness that only Jesus offers. Religion keeps us from enjoying the freedom of enjoying all that God has given us. None of these things are powered by love.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn us or to accuse us or to remind us of all our faults. That job is reserved for religion. Jesus came to love us, just as we are, where we are, regardless of our propensity to rebel against Him.

Don’t try to truly love your neighbor or your enemy until you have learned how to love God and yourself. It won’t happen. Only when we are completely enveloped by a love for God and ourselves will love flow to those around us. When that happens, when we learn to love God and ourselves, love for the other people in our lives, even those who hate us and hurt us, will be a natural result, not a forced action.

PRAYER: Father. I thank you today for your unconditional, unending and undeserved love. I confess to you that the love I’ve learned in life hasn’t been all that great. It’s brought pain, shame, guilt and remorse. I need to learn to love you and myself so I can be free to love others. I’ve hurt so many people in my life and now I resolve to love them your way through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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