If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We serve a God of second chances and new beginnings. No matter what 2013 looked like, it is gone. Today you begin again. If last year was one of triumph, great—remember, but don’t live there. Press on. If last year was one of failure, or loss—praise God for this new beginning.
The image in my head this morning is of the land after a snowfall, when nothing has yet touched the surface of the snow. It is fresh, clean, and waiting.
So…go make snow angels.
Have a blessed 2014, Beloved of Christ.
One thing I ask of the Lord; this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
Just to be with God. Do you ever want that? Do you ever have those moments when you get past wanting from God and just want God?
If you are anything like me, those moments are too few and too far between.
But then, the New Year is about fresh starts and making changes, isn’t it?
So, how many things are you asking God for in 2014?
How about just one?
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
We are coming up on the New Year. When you think about it, it’s just an arbitrary date on an imaginary calendar. I mean, it’s not like Wednesday is going to look different from Tuesday. Sky will still be blue, grass green, gravity should remain fairly constant.
We look at the New Year as a time to start fresh, to begin (or re-begin) new things. We wonder about the future and what it will hold for us. What opportunities await us in the coming year? What challenges? What treasures lie in our paths, and what monsters lie in wait? It can be an exciting time—and a scary time.
As you gird your loins for January 1, ask yourself the same question David asks: With God as my light, my life, my protector, what can possibly frighten me?
Chew on that today.
He was a miser, a scoundrel, a skinflint, a crook—He was villainous, ominous, monstrous—a schnook!
This is the description of Ebenezer Scrooge from the musical Scrooge, currently running at LifeHouse Theater. If you read last weekend’s post, you know that I have the privilege of playing that very miser, scoundrel, skinflint, etc.
If you didn’t read last weekend’s post…ummm…why?
I love story. I love the way a good writer can get inside your head and show you pictures of yourself reflected in a fictional character. I love the lessons we, as readers, or audience members, or even performers, can learn from the characters we experience.
Here, then, are a few lessons we can learn from old Ebenezer. Continue reading
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
Not through political activism.
Not through military strength.
Not through personal charisma.
Not through any power of man.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Chew on that today.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:7)
I’m not really a fan of big government. I would just as soon that the government leave me alone for the most part.
But His government? I’m all in.
I’ve said before that the best form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. Because of sin, that kind of rule is not possible for any length of time.
Outside of Christ.
One day Jesus will rule here on Earth in the flesh. His reign will go on and on and just get better and better.
Until then, we can know his government in our hearts and lives.
If you belong to Jesus, his peace, his power, his rule in your life is growing each day. Oh, you may not feel it all the time, but it’s happening.
Chew on this today: are you allowing Christ to govern your life, or are you getting in his way?
Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
It’s Christmas Day. A day when we celebrate peace on Earth. A day that can be, ironically, one of the most hectic and stressful of the year. For some of you, today will be a reminder of why you see your family only a few times a year. Others might know the awkwardness of being the extra wheel at someone else’s gathering, or the pain of being alone.
Except you’re not.
Remember, he is the Prince of Peace.
Peace between you and God.
Peace that passes all understanding.
Peace that allows the Lord of the universe to make his home in your heart.
Peace with your freakish relatives.
Peace within the tumult of your own heart.
Embrace the baby today. Celebrate this Prince who brings you peace.
Everlasting Father, (Isaiah 9:6).
I hope you have a great dad. I hope he is loving and strong and gentle and a daily blessing to your life. I hope this, not only to make those family Christmas dinners a little less awkward, but because it will give you a better picture of God. You see, God presents himself to us in many ways through Scripture, but I think the one that hangs most people up is the image of a father. It can be difficult to see God as loving and caring if your earthly father was cold, distant, or absent altogether.
Look, this is not the time or space to get all psychological, but as we close in on Christmas I need to point something out. Whatever your earthly dad does well, your heavenly father does even better. Wherever your earthly dad messes up, your heavenly father gets it right. He is the perfection we all fall short of. He is the goal we can never quite attain. He will always be there to cheer you when you win, and comfort you when you lose. His advice will always be perfect, and his discipline will always be just. He will come to all your ball games, all your dance recitals, all your spelling bees. He will be there at the hospital bed and at the wedding altar.
He will always love you.
Always, as in Everlasting.
Walk in his love this Christmas Eve.
…Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6)
As we move into Christmas week, all sorts of emotions are getting stirred up. Although we would like to say we are focused strictly on the birth of our Savior, the fact is this can be a really crazy week. Perhaps you are rushing to wrap—or get—or think of—those last gifts. Maybe you are frantically trying to get ready to travel—tickets, luggage, ohnowhatdowedowiththedogwhilewe’regone. Could be you’re receiving guests into your nightmare of a house—good luck with that.
Or you’re moving.
Or you have someone you love in the hospital.
Or you’re broke.
Or things are just falling apart.
Given all that, I feel blessed that you’ve taken the time to read this. Since you have, make the most of the moment. Let the words soak in:
He is Mighty God.
Read it again. Go on.
This King we serve, this Lord we love, this Savior we celebrate is fully capable of meeting the challenges of your day, be they mundane or monstrous.
And he will.
Because you are his beloved.
If you asked my students, they would tell you it’s typecasting…
I get to play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge at LifeHouse, the theater my family has sort of made our second home. I am stepping into the show for the final weekend of its run, as the main Scrooge is unavailable. I am pleased to say that I was their top choice for the part after they were turned down by everyone else they asked.
Well, now, that’s not quite true…
Actually, yeah, it kinda is. Continue reading