Wednesday, December 19, 2012

“He knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.”

      “You’d better be good or Santa won’t bring you anything for Christmas!” Many a parent has used these words to warn a child that Santa sees all and knows all. It’s usually used by parents to get their excited children to behave in the days and weeks prior to Santa’s arrival. According to the Christmas song, Santa “knows if you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good; so be good for goodness sake.”
How would you feel if someone really knew everything about you? What if they knew your strengths and weaknesses; your troubles; your most private thoughts? That might trouble us if the one who knew all this was not our friend. If it were someone who liked us, it would not bother us as much. What if the person who knew everything about you was someone who loved you with all their heart; someone who cared about you deeply and could help you in any way needed?
Christmas announces the arrival of someone who can do all this and more. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, God’s dear Son. Because Jesus is God, he knows when you’ve been “bad or good” – “naughty or nice.” Jesus knows when you’re tired and frustrated, excited or disappointed. He knows and understands everything that is going on in your life. He knows you better than you know yourself.
Are you facing problems? Jesus understands. He was born in poverty and had to flee from King Herod, who was trying to kill him. Are you being treated unfairly? Is a friend turning against you? Jesus was betrayed and forsaken by his own disciples. He was denied by Peter and betrayed by Judas. He was beaten and put to death by those whom he came to save. God is not oblivious to our problems. Jesus knows what is going on in the world and more importantly what’s going on in each of our lives.
“Santa knows.” These words might bring fear to the heart of a naughty child hoping to get gifts at Christmas.  “Jesus knows.” These words bring comfort and courage to those who believe in him. They bring comfort because God loves us whether we have been naughty or nice. He doesn’t like it when we do wrong. He hates the sins we commit. But, God loves the sinner. He showed that at the cross.
God knows and has the ability to do something about our situations. He can remove our problems, or he can help us cope with them. Even sin and death are no match for Jesus.
       Merry Christmas! Through Christ that’s more than a hollow wish. We can have a merry Christmas because God is on the job. He gives us the best of presents also, his own Son.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don’t make excuses. Make a sincere confession.

        Picture yourself in an airport.  You are waiting for your return flight home.  You are excited because your whole family is getting together for the first time in 15 years for a family reunion.  Then you hear that all flights might be canceled because of bad weather.  Suddenly your excitement turns to apprehension.  Instead of thinking about the good time you are going to have, you are nervously watching the clock and hoping that your flight will get off the ground.
When our lives begin to become unstable, we begin to get nervous.  Employees of a company get uneasy when they hear talk about cutbacks.  One becomes rather fearful when the hospital tells us that our loved ones condition is not yet stable.  We know that it means that things could go either way. We may get fearful when we see stock markets going up and down. We worry when we hear about problems in the Middle East. Instability makes us nervous.
When we look around, however, what do we see?  We see the world we live in is anything but stable.  Things are always changing, sometimes out of control. How quickly things change.  One day stock prices are sky high, the next day there is a crash.  One day there is peace, the next a country is embroiled in a war.  One day we are secure in our job, the next we are given a pink slip.  A house fire, a heart attack, an auto accident can quickly turn our life upside down.
It doesn't really matter what the situation is.  Uncertainty is not something we enjoy.  We like things to be secure, certain and stable.  We desire it in our job, our marriage, the economy, in the world.
How comforting it is to know that in this world of instability there are some things that never change.  One thing that is stable is God.  God never changes.  "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)  We can depend on God.  We can depend on his love, on his forgiveness and mercy, on his faithfulness to his Word.
God's Word never changes.  It is also stable.  "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8)  How comforting it is to know that we can put our trust in every word God has given us through the holy writers of Scripture.  From the details of creation to those of Judgment Day, from the prophesies of the Messiah to their fulfillment in Christ, every Word of our Lord is true, trustworthy and reliable.
The kingdoms of this world may come and go at the drop of a hat.  Our health may be taken away in the blink of an eye.  Our job may disappear as well as our retirement nest egg.  But God will always be there.  His promises and Word will not fail.  He gives us the stability we need in a world filled with instability.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stability – Is that what you’re looking for?

          Picture yourself in an airport.  You are waiting for your return flight home.  You are excited because your whole family is getting together for the first time in 15 years for a family reunion.  Then you hear that all flights might be canceled because of bad weather.  Suddenly your excitement turns to apprehension.  Instead of thinking about the good time you are going to have, you are nervously watching the clock and hoping that your flight will get off the ground.
When our lives begin to become unstable, we begin to get nervous.  Employees of a company get uneasy when they hear talk about cutbacks.  One becomes rather fearful when the hospital tells us that our loved ones condition is not yet stable.  We know that it means that things could go either way. We may get fearful when we see stock markets going up and down. We worry when we hear about problems in the Middle East. Instability makes us nervous.
When we look around, however, what do we see?  We see the world we live in is anything but stable.  Things are always changing, sometimes out of control. How quickly things change.  One day stock prices are sky high, the next day there is a crash.  One day there is peace, the next a country is embroiled in a war.  One day we are secure in our job, the next we are given a pink slip.  A house fire, a heart attack, an auto accident can quickly turn our life upside down.
It doesn't really matter what the situation is.  Uncertainty is not something we enjoy.  We like things to be secure, certain and stable.  We desire it in our job, our marriage, the economy, in the world.
How comforting it is to know that in this world of instability there are some things that never change.  One thing that is stable is God.  God never changes.  "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)  We can depend on God.  We can depend on his love, on his forgiveness and mercy, on his faithfulness to his Word.
God's Word never changes.  It is also stable.  "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." (Isaiah 40:8)  How comforting it is to know that we can put our trust in every word God has given us through the holy writers of Scripture.  From the details of creation to those of Judgment Day, from the prophesies of the Messiah to their fulfillment in Christ, every Word of our Lord is true, trustworthy and reliable.
           The kingdoms of this world may come and go at the drop of a hat.  Our health may be taken away in the blink of an eye.  Our job may disappear as well as our retirement nest egg.  But God will always be there.  His promises and Word will not fail.  He gives us the stability we need in a world filled with instability.