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All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And my glory is shown through them. John 17:10 (NCV)

From the beginning of time Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the one who created the universe and all that is in it has had one goal in mind: to shine through you. His every thought, his every action has been directed towards making you shine! In Jesus eyes, it really IS all about you.

Imagine that! Think about how important that makes you. Think of all the other things Jesus could have been thinking about. Yet, as he was kneeling in the garden, just hours from being brutally executed for your sin so that you could be pardoned, his final thoughts were for you.

He doesn’t ask for a reprieve although he certainly could have had it. He doesn’t ask that everyone will remember all his wonderful miracles. He asks that the glory he and his father share would shine through you. Amazing.

What does that look like? What does it look like when his glory shines through you? For Moses it meant that his face shined so brightly and intensely that the people asked him to cover his face in their presence. He didn’t even realize his face was glowing but the people did.

For Jesus, on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:27-36) we are told that his face changed and his clothes began to shine. The experience for those looking on was so great they wanted to build shrines there so they could always come back and remember what they saw.

I don’t know what his glory shining through you might mean. It might mean you finally forgive yourself for the harm you’ve done to others. It might mean you forgive someone for the harm you’ve done them, for your sake, not theirs. It might mean you forgive God for not doing things the way you wanted him to.

His glory shining through you isn’t something you can do on your own, it’s something that naturally occurs when you’ve been with Jesus. His glory shining through you isn’t something you see when you look in the mirror, but it’s something others see when they serve you at the coffee shop, or meet you on the street or cut you off in traffic.

When Jesus came to earth over 2,000 years ago he came to show his glory through you through new life. When Jesus died and rose from the dead he came to show his glory through you in forgiveness. He didn’t come to glorify himself, or even the father. He came because it’s all about you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’m in awe today as I contemplate the meaning of this verse. I’m so thankful that you love me so much that you only think of me. I’m so burdened the weight of life, so worried about tomorrow. My thoughts center on what I can see, touch, feel and hear on earth. Help me to show your glory. May others know I’ve been with you by my actions, my words and my deeds. Amen.


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.


They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

Have you ever sat and listened to someone share their passion? I’m not talking about the boring person who goes into a tirade about some issue. I’m talking about the person who is so passionate about something that their words bring life to their topic.

You sit and listen to them and are so enraptured by their words that you lose all track of time. Even if you aren’t personally interested whatever it is they are talking about, their verbal and non-verbal communication mesmerizes you to the point where your entire attitude changes.

I had that once in a small way. A professor I had was so passionate about his class that I left forever changed in my attitude about it. The class? Political Science, believe it or not! I took the class as an elective because it was at the time and day I could attend. I had no interest whatsoever in Political Science. I don’t remember the professor’s name. I don’t even remember what year I took the class. What I do remember is leaving the class with not only a new appreciation for the topic, but even considered running for local office!

Passionate people breed passion in others. It’s no wonder then, that when Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus he instilled passion in them for God. He talked about Moses. He talked about Elijah and Daniel. He smiled as he reflected on the life of David. And why not? He walked with those men. He watched them grow in faith. He felt the pain of their failure and rejoiced in their victories. When Jesus talked about these men, he wasn’t just talking about stories. He was talking about friends of his.

I imagine when Jesus talks about us he is just as passionate. Sure, we fail. Some of us fail miserably. We rebel almost daily. We worry when he says don’t worry. We get angry when he says trust. We get lonely when he says he is with us always. While we grumble and live in defeat he looks on us with pride and, yep, you guessed it, PASSION.

If you didn’t know me and Jesus was talking to you about me, once he was finished talking you’d be passionate about me. Why? Not because I’m something special in your eyes, but because I’m something special in Jesus’ eyes. When you’ve been with Jesus you can’t help but feel passionate about life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for being passionate about me. I confess to you that I don’t feel like I’m much to be passionate about. But I’m thankful that you love me so much. I ask that you would empower me to be so passionate about you that my passion will breed passion for you in those I meet. In your name, Amen.

 


The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Moses and the Israelites were trapped. Ahead of them lay the Red Sea. Behind them, the Egyptian army was closing in fast. It was a hopeless and fearful situation. The Bible says that they cried out to the Lord in their fear. The answer they got was (my paraphrase) “Why are you standing here crying and whining to me about such a small matter? Put your staff up, split the sea and cross! Then turn around and watch how I will deliver you.”

They did just that, and, as we know, the sea parted, the Israelites crossed, and the elite Egyptian army was destroyed! The prayers of God’s people were answered but only after THEY took action. Sometimes it’s not enough just to pray, we need to act.

If God is speaking to you about an enemy that you need to stop hating and start loving, don’t just pray about it, pray sincerely asking God to show you ways to mend the relationship. Then…DO SOMETHING! That something may just mean forgiving them and moving on. That something may mean doing some tangible act to mend the relationship. Sincere prayer often requires action on our part to see God act.

There are times, of course when God will provide answers without a physical action on our part, but even then we must be openly seeking guidance from our Father to know how to act. Do we wait, or is he giving us direction? The closer we are to him in relationship the easier it will be to discern his plan for our lives.

Many times, when Jesus healed someone it required some action on their part to be healed. For example, was there something magical in the mud that Jesus put on the blind man’s eyes so he could see? No, but the act of faith to go to the pool and wash was proof of his sincerity! Was Jesus’ robe ‘magic’ when the woman touched it? No. It was her act of faith the provided the avenue of Jesus’ power to heal her.

What are you seeking God for today? Have you come to him with a pure and sincere heart? Have you come believing that he is willing and able to save? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and do something ‘spiritually risky’ in order to open and avenue for his power to flow through you?

When you come before your Heavenly Father with a sincere and pure heart he draws close to you as well. He crosses the room to meet you as you enter. He gives you his full attention. He may not give you the answer you were hoping for, but he always gives you the answer you need.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many times I’ve prayed and felt like you didn’t answer. So many times my prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling and fall harmlessly to the floor. Help me to pray with a sincere heart and a willingness to take any action that you may ask of me so that your power can flow freely through me. Forgive me for my doubt, rebellion and selfishness. Help me grow in relationship to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

 


Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord. He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well. Genesis 26:25 (NLT)

In the early days of the Old Testament it was common for people to build altars to the Lord. Noah, Abraham, Isaac Jacob and Moses were the ones who most often built altars to the Lord. The altars during this time bore special significance because they involved an action or promise by the God of the Universe and a sacrifice as an act of worship by man because of what God had done for him. Altars spoke to God’s working on behalf of man.

The early patriarchs of the Old Testament weren’t just known for building altars. The land in which they lived was dry and there was a constant need to provide water for the livestock. Out of necessity wells were dug to provide life and refreshment for the animals as well as the families that owned them. On several occasions these wells were dug as special reminders of God’s blessings and promises. As the altars reminded man of God’s forgiveness and awesome power, the wells were a reminder that God is the provider of life and refreshment. Just as all living things need water to live, mankind needs the living water that God grants us for spiritual life.

God instructed the great patriarchs of the Bible to build altars and wells, not cities and houses. The reason for this is that life isn’t about settling in and being content. Life is a journey. It’s a journey that leads us through lush valleys, desert wasteland and mountain top highs. But along the way we pass the altars and the wells and remind ourselves that God is on His throne. He is all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful and longing for a relationship with us.

In Jesus Christ we have the ultimate sacrifice so we no longer need to build altars for sacrifice. In Jesus Christ we have living water that satisfies eternally so wells are not necessary. While we no longer build physical altars or dig physical wells where God has met us, it is important for us to note spiritual benchmarks where God has met us in a real and powerful way.

These are not to be worshipped or held onto tightly. They are simply to be reminders along the journey that Jehovah God has come to us. A personal relationship with Jesus brings forgiveness when we fail and new life for eternity. Each of the most well-known altar and well builders, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses made major moral mistakes in their lives. Still God used them in mighty ways. He longs to do the same for each of us.

Live in such a way that God can reveal Himself to you so that you can build altars and wells that those who come behind you will see and use to find their own way along the journey God has for them. Altars and wells. They aren’t just for you. They aren’t just for today.

PRAYER: Father God. Thank you for the examples of men like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and Moses. Men who failed, yet experienced your love and forgiveness. You know my heart. You know my failings, my anger, and my impatience with others. You know my tendency to be content to rest on yesterday’s victories. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to move forward so that the life I live will be altars and wells that those who come behind me will be able to use as a guide to following your ways. Amen.

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