In the time of Christmas and New Year holidays, I found myself not devoting as much time to the Lord as I normally do. While still in prayer every day, I was not reading the bible and really praising God in the way that He deserves. This morning I opened my bible to Psalm 36:7, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God!”
His love is so precious, so amazing, and I am so undeserving of it. But as I have said before, despite how undeserving I am, my God loves me anyway. I want to praise Him this morning.
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts. Psalm 36:5-10
“Your Love, Oh Lord” by Third Day is a beautiful song based on this passage of scripture:
Another amazing song by Third Day, “King of Glory”:
Who is your hero? What is it about them that makes them someone to look up to? Are they kind? Are they smart? Are they successful? What really makes them your hero? Do you try to live your life like theirs because you want to be like them? Do you think that being like them would make you happier or give you a better life?
There is one hero with whom no other hero can compare.
Why can no one compare?
Because this hero was created in perfection; he has not a single flaw in the eyes of God. He came here to save mankind from themselves.
My hero is Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:35-40
He came here to save the lost, to serve others, to live according to God’s will, to suffer and to die so that we could live. I think that is something to look up to. He is truly deserving of being called a hero.
The song “Hero” by Abandon really moved me and this video made by Kristen S. makes the message even more moving.
His love was so great it’s unimaginable…
In Hebrews 11, many examples are given of people who lived their lives by faith in God. People who experienced amazing things because of their faith in God and people who endured incredible hardship and suffering because of their faith in God. What drove this faith? The belief that God was the creator of the universe and that he had a plan of salvation and eternal life for all those who followed him in faith. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1. Now what then does it mean in Hebrews 11:39-40 when it says, “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”?
What is this better thing that God has in mind?
The return of his Son Jesus Christ to reign here on Earth. For all those that have received eternal salvation to live in the Kingdom of Heaven when it descends to earth and there is a new heaven and a new earth.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’
And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’ And he also said, ‘It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” Revelations 21:3-7
God has promises for us that have not yet come to pass. In faith we stand firm in our belief that these promises will happen. God does not lie. So, many have died before receiving all of God’s promises, yet when His time comes for all of His promises to be fulfilled. All who have lived by faith, dead and alive, will receive what has been promised.
Do you have any thoughts and insight on Hebrews 11:39-40? Please share if you do.
In the childhood story of the Three Little Pigs, the little pigs learn a lesson about building materials. Each of the pigs had built their house out of different building materials. The first little pig built his house out of straw. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. He third little pig built his house out of bricks. Now I’m sure each of those little pigs in the story spent a lot of time building their houses and were proud of their accomplishment. But, one day the big bad wolf came along and he put each of these little pigs’ houses to the test. As the story goes, he stood outside of each house in turn and blew as hard as he could to get to the little pig inside. Unfortunately for the little pigs with straw and stick houses, he blew right through the house and he killed and ate them. The little pig with the house of bricks could not be reached by the wolf and so he was the only little pig to survive the attacks from the big bad wolf.
Does this story remind you of anything? Well, it instantly brings to my mind Jesus’ teaching about building on solid foundation.
Building on a Solid Foundation
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 7:46-49
So do you see the similarity here? The big bad wolf is like the storm that comes and tests the foundation your house is built on. The big bad wolf is the devil. He brings trouble into our lives to see if he can knock us down. But, if you build your house on a solid foundation of God’s word and follow His teachings, then you will withstand even the greatest of storms. So which little piggy do you want to be, one that gets eaten or the one that survives?
The Word tells us that Jesus is the light of this world (John 8:12).
There are many references to light in the bible. God uses light as a way to explain his ideas to us, such as in the parable of the lamp which was spoken by Jesus.
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Luke 8:16-18
Jesus is the light of the world, his light shines for all to see. His light shines as a beacon for all who are willing to come and receive salvation. Everything will be brought into the light where nothing can be hidden. So what is the significance of Jesus saying to “pay attention to how you hear”? He explained it for us.
The True Family of Jesus
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.”
Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.” Luke 8:19-21
All who listen to Jesus’ teachings and follow them become a part of the family of the God, a part of the body of Christ.
Stepping into the light takes you into the loving arms of God.
When we are in a pitch black room we try to find light. Without light we are blind to our surroundings. We are more likely to stumble and fall in the dark than in the light where we can see what is in our path. What many people seem to forget is that what we are celebrating at Christmas is light. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the light that he brought into the world.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:6-10
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Isn’t this a wonderful thing to celebrate, the life of Jesus Christ and the light that he gave to us. The light that leads to life. God’s love gave us the greatest Christmas present ever, his Son.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
Do you believe? Have you asked Jesus into your life? To reveal himself to you?
To me, feeling the presence of Jesus in my life is the most amazing gift. It’s greater than anything else I have ever experienced. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus says that we will do even greater works than he did?!