“ Come Unto Me” by Jerry Anderson is a visual reminder that life goes on beyond the grave-that it is eternal, that after death we are taken home to that God who gave us life. Alma 40:11. The print depicts an elderly woman, who after passing through the veil of mortality is greeted into the arms of Jesus as a young woman in her prime.
And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed Him in the manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
At this time of year when we are busy wrapping our gifts and decorating and entertaining, we tend to put aside the most important gift that we can receive. We see all the expensive gifts and decorations and busyness but we overlook the simple life-changing gift that is priceless
When Christ came to us, He came as a defenseless infant, born of poor parents in very modest circumstances. We pay more attention to great fanfare events, celebrity appearances and royal weddings and births.
We don't take time to make room in our lives for the blessings that come disguised and wrapped in simple cloths.
How full is your inn? Have you filled all your rooms with the things that break, rust, dent or spoil? How many of the gifts that you received last year do you remember? What would it take to refocus your attention on the eternal instead of the temporal?
Revelations 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Jesus is standing at your door. He is knocking. He is waiting for you to open your door to Him so that He can come in. He wants you to make room at your inn so that He can fill you with blessings, satisfy your hunger, and heal your broken places.
Make room in your inn for the Prince of peace, the wonderful counselor. He has been patient with us for a very long time. He is waiting for us to make a place for Him in our hearts and minds and lives.
Make this the year that you receive the greatest gift that will not be forgotten. This gift is an ongoing gift. It is new every morning and never loses it's value. It is free but it is also priceless. Receive the gift and the Giver. Spend an eternity celebrating with the One Who loves us enough to come to an inn that has no room. He knocks and patiently waits for us to open the door. He loves you.
Col 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
We are God’s people, chosen, redeemed, and loved. Yet we treat each other with disrespect. We are poorly tolerant of others who think or believe differently. We have little patience for those who do things differently than we do.
We are one body, redeemed by the same Savior. We will spend eternity in the same heaven worshipping the same God. We need to start practicing the art of getting along with others or as my mom would say, “Learn to play well with others.”The Lord reminds us that we are one. There is neither Jew or Gentile, color doesn’t matter, language is irrelevant. Where you come from does not affect your salvation if you have accepted Christ as Savior.
We show our commitment to the Lord by the way we treat each other. The Word tells us that we will be known by our love. What message are we sending to those around us? The Lord will see how we love Him by the way we treat those He loves.
It is difficult to be nice to those who push our buttons but treating just one person well despite how they treat us will maybe soften their hearts and make them open to the message of salvation. We live in a world of hurting people. Perhaps we can be the balm of Gilead that will heal their broken hearts. And just maybe, when we treat just one of God’s people with respect and compassion, we can bring healing to our churches and our land.
Romans 8:34 Hebrews 7:25 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, Who died--- more than that, Who was raised to life---is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
When we stand before an earthly judge, we stand beside an earthly lawyer who is just as guilty of sin as we are. That person can only defend us with earthly understanding and power. We have however, a Defender Who is at the right hand of God defending us and holding up our redemption from sin as a reason for exoneration. We are guilty of the sins of the flesh until we confess them. Any earthly judge will condemn us by the words of our mouth and the evidence presented.
When we stand before the Holy God, we stand condemned until we confess and seek His Son to redeem us. We then, have no condemnation. We are one with Christ Jesus. We are in Him. He is in us just as God is in Him and in us. We no longer stand accused. We are set free from the sentence of death. We are set free to worship the one true God of the universe.
We have an accuser. The earthly prosecutor will stand before the judge with evidence of guilt. Our heavenly accuser stands before God offering lists of our sins. Jesus stands before our accuser and reminds him that our sins have been forgiven. They have been paid for by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He also defeated death at the same time. Our accuser cannot stand before God with a list because there is no longer anything on that list. It has been forgiven and forgotten by Jesus. He puts the sins as far from Him as the East is from the West.
He Who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it. He stands for us. He restores us. He redeems us. He loves us!
1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
The time will come when sharing the gospel will cost our lives. Right now, however, it only embarrasses us to admit Who we are committed to serving. The average person around us in the secular world we live in no longer believes in a God Who created the universe or sent His Son to die for us. They feel that is a fairy tale for the simple minded.
Standing for the One Who died for us shouldn’t be that difficult but it is. We have to take a stand for something and for so many years, that was politically incorrect. We are uncomfortable admitting we have a saving belief in the Lord.
Now is the time to get into the habit of standing strong in Christ. We need not stand on the street corner with a big placard but we do need to stand for Him in our everyday conversation. When talking with friends, family, co-workers, we can speak what we believe with gentleness and honesty.
I can remember a lady that I knew when I was little. She had a habit of coming on strong and ‘hitting us over the head with a 10-pound Scoffield Bible’. She gave no room for human failings and scared me to death. She lived her beliefs but her approach drove most away. I did, however, remember a lot of what she said. I believe she was one of the ones that planted that first seed of curiosity to learn more of the Lord.
We don’t need to be ‘in their face’ but we do need to keep them in prayer. Joshua told us to choose ye this day Whom we will serve. After we choose, then stand firm in the love of our Savior. He loves us and stands before His Father interceding for us. The least we can do it to stand before man and proclaim His love for us.
Psalm 19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Throughout Psalms, David and the other authors have been amazed with what God has done for us. In Psalms 8, David asks, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” God amazes us with His love and compassion for a created being. He made the universe for His pleasure. He made man in His own image and gave us sovereignty over all the earth. He gave us free will to serve and worship Him or not. He gave us a love letter of 66 books that tells us of His love and patience. His sacrifice of His Son is beyond comprehension.
“When I consider Your heavens and the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of Him?” Why did God choose to create infinite beauty and variety for us? His love for us is the only conclusion I can arrive at. He sees us as the apple of His eye. He rejoices over us with singing. He created a heaven of such intense beauty we cannot begin to understand it.
During the spring, I watch barren branches burst into beauty. The variety of shades of green are amazing. The promise of rebirth in nature around us builds in us a desire to get out and celebrate His designs. The summer weather encourages exploration and activity. The fall brings forth beauty in the fall foliage. It has been a long tradition of traveling just to see the splendor of His beauty. Even the cold of winter gives us such beauty in pristine white fields and the contrast of pure white snow and the deep green of evergreens.
Who are we that God would go to all the effort to create for us such a display of His glory? He does it so that we can get some inkling of the depth of His love. When life is hard and we don’t understand why we must stand the challenges of painful events, these are the reminders that He is still in control and loves us in infinite ways.
Romans 8:1, Hebrews 4:16 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We have been forgiven by the One Who created all things, the One who is the Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. No matter what we have done, what poor choices we made or the rebellion we pursued, God has chosen to forgive us. We cannot sin beyond His ability to forgive. As long as we truly and honestly repent, He is faithful and just to forgive.
Sometimes I wonder why He will forgive when I do the same dumb thing repeatedly. But He simply wants us to learn from our mistakes and move on. We tend to hold on to our past sins and hold them up as a banner, never seeking forgiveness or accepting it when we do seek it. We don’t believe that God is big enough or willing enough to forgive. We hold onto our guilt and refuse to forgive ourselves. Do we feel greater or wiser than our Savior? Do we think we know something He doesn’t?
Psalms tells us that His ways are higher than our ways and that He knows our thoughts before we do. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and nothing is hidden from Him. Even with all our weaknesses and failures, His love for us is limitless. He loved us and paid for our sins while we were yet sinners. He paid the price on the cross for us.
Our enemy, the devil, stands before Him condemning and accusing us. He tells Jesus, “Somebody has got to pay for their crimes.”
Jesus replies with a smile, “Been there, done that.”
Satan did his best to destroy our Redeemer but he was outsmarted by our God and King. He knows his time is short and his defeat is guaranteed so he is doing all he can to alienate us from God. One of his greatest weapons against us is the burden of unnecessary guilt that we carry. If he can make us concentrate on the past, we can't concentrate on the mission the Lord has set for us to accomplish.
Therefore, let us come boldly before the throne and confess. He will forgive. He will accept us and He will welcome us with open arms. Just like the father of the prodigal son, He will run to us and dress us in the pure white robe of His bride. He loves us.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.
We all have our broken places. We all have areas of
pain that are buried deep so that we don't think about
what hurts. Fractures in our hearts, spirits and bodies
build walls that are hard to get around or over. The Lord
has everything we need to heal those places. He has
been bruised for our iniquities and by His strips, we are
He knows the pain and hurt and loneliness we feel for
He has been there also. He hurts when we hurt and He
grieves with us when life hands us losses that are more
than we think we can handle.
Some issues may not be healed in our lifetime, but we
can learn and grow and be a witness to others of the
Lord's great mercy and plan for us. Others will be
watching the way we deal with everyday problems.
Whether the problem is short term or long term, how
we deal with the problems speaks in a loud voice to those
He has not given us an easy path. His disciples and
prophets all lived a life of sacrifice and most died as
martyrs for Him. They believed in the promise of His Word.
He will not forsake us when we continue to live for Him
despite the challenges that we face. We may be afflicted
with financial disaster or life threatening disease or relational
destruction in our lives. But the Lord has already lived
through and dealt with these issues.
He had no home during His ministry. His disciple denied Him and another betrayed him. He has borne our afflictions and will grieve with us but He will also stand with us through it all.
We must be open to allowing Him to help us heal our own
broken places, despite the pain. Then we can help heal the
broken places of the ones He sends to us.
2 Cor 3:4-6 Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The letter of the law was given to show Israel that they could not keep the law, they needed an intercessor to stand for them. The law required constant sacrifices to attempt to atone for their sins. It seemed that there were never enough to pay the cost of their sins. The cost of sin is death. They needed a perfect sacrifice to cover the total cost of their sins. Jesus, the Son of God, stepped up and paid the full cost with His life.
The Spirit gives life not through following a long list of rules, He gives life through belief in Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen. He, Jesus, paid the price we could never pay. Our belief in Christ gives us the qualification to share what Jesus did for us.
We do have the competence to tell the world of the free gift we were given. We have all the tools of the trade to share the freedom of following the way of the Lord. We have the competence in Him to be ministers of the new covenant—the covenant of grace instead of rules and regulations.
We do not lack the competence. We lack the confidence in our ability to effectively share the good news with our friends, and family. We lack the confidence in our ability to stand up to the world that scoffs at the message of Christ’s salvation. We fear what others will think or say about us. We fear how our jobs will be affected.
When we learn to lean on the Holy Spirit to give us the confidence and grace to share the hope that we have for eternal life, we can relax and trust the Spirit to give us the words to say. When we learn to rest in Christ, we become a pleasing aroma to God. (2 Cor 2:15).
Please join us as we grow in Christ through our weekly devotions, written by Catherine Donaldson