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 2021 looked like for you, 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 2022, 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 2022?
How about just one?
Happy Year’s End, Beloved
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 Saturday is going to look different from Friday. 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.
Happy Thursday, Beloved
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it (James 4:11).
So, now that the extended family is gone…tell me.
How many snide remarks were there?
How often did you mock Weird Uncle Dave because, well, look at him with that silly comb-over and that “girlfriend” who is, what, half his age and is obviously only after him for his money and is totally playing him for a fool?
Or what about Great Aunt Susie, who insists on bringing her “Famous” eggplant casserole that causes brave men to weep and pit bulls to lie down and die?
Or Cousin Jimmy, who’s working retail…still.
Christmas is over.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved
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.
Happy Tuesday, Beloved
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?
Happy Monday, Beloved
Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
We know him by many names.
Lamb of God
Prince of Peace
Light of the World
The Bright Morning Star
Man of Sorrows
Lion of the Tribe of Judah
The Author and Finisher of Our Faith
Bread of Life
God calls him by another name, the name which is above all names.
And here’s something really crazy. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, do you know what God now calls us?
Yes, you do.
How can that be? What can that mean?
Chew on that today.
Merry Christmas, Beloved
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, I’m not gonna get all psychological on Christmas Eve, but 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 today, Beloved.
…Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6)
We’re almost there. The “Sleep in Heavenly Peace” part.
So why am I stressed?
As we move closer to Christmas, 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 time. 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’regoneandwasthatacoughdoyouhaveCovid?
Could be you’re receiving guests into your nightmare of a house—good luck with that.
Or you’re moving.
Or someone you love is sick.
Or you’re broke.
Or things are just falling apart.
Given all that, I feel pretty spiffy 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.
Now, say it out loud.
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.
Because you are his, Beloved.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, (Isaiah 9:6)
There can be a lot in a name. My name is Michael, which means, “Who is like God?” I like that—it’s a constant reminder of the answer…Nobody. When I begin to get a little too big for my proverbial britches, my very name brings me back to earth.
Jesus has been given the name Wonderful Counselor. Think about it—what does a counselor do? A good counselor does three things—listen deeply, see to the heart of the issue, and offer wisdom. So, we serve a God who actually listens to us—listens deeply. He doesn’t just pretend to listen to you while he is mentally planning out his day, the way I might. He actually considers every word you speak—and those you don’t.
Jesus also sees to the heart of your issue—after all, he knows you better than you do—remember Psalm 139? You couldn’t hide the truth from him if you tried, so knock it off already.
Wisdom? Uh…do I need to point out that his words are the very words of God? Literally? Yeah, worth listening to.
You, Beloved, have a Wonderful Counselor. Walk in his wisdom today.