12/10/18 “Christmas Hope”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from 1 John 3:8.

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8, ESV

Explanation:

It’s a fact that angels appeared to the shepherds that night in Bethlehem. It’s a fact that there was a census that brought Mary and Joseph there and that there was no room in the Inn’s when they got there.  It’s a fact that wisemen eventually made it to give gifts to the newborn King.  It’s a fact that Jesus was born of Mary, even though she was still a virgin.  It’s a fact that God came into the world that He made to dwell with us. Jesus coming into the world at Christmas is a fact. But so many people who claim to believe this fact live like everybody else.

Far too many people claim to believe the facts of Christmas and still live like everybody else. 

The Son of God coming to the world is much more than a historical fact.  The Son of God coming into the world at Christmas is a message of hope.  God sent this message of hope to be able to experience the forgiveness of sins and a right relationship with God.  1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus Came to destroy the works of the devil.  The devil has been sinning since the beginning and everyone who makes a practice, or continual habit, of sinning, practices lawlessness (1 John 3:4).  Jesus appeared to take away sins because in Him there is no sin at all (1 John 3:5).  Here’s some Christmas hope for you – “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has bene born of God” (1 John 3:9).

Christmas is a message of hope to the person struggling to get out of debt. It’s a message of hope for single parents who struggle to have peace.  It’s a message of hope to wives whose husbands don’t love them well.  It’s a message of hope for men and women who are hurting from past wounds.  It’s a message of hope for that man, woman, or teenager who is caught in an addiction, whether it be pornography, alcohol, social media, or something else. It’s a message of hope for anyone stuck in a pattern of sin.  The message of hope at Christmas is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  Therefore, victory over sin is attainable through Jesus!

Application:

  1. Find hope for your current circumstance or struggle in Jesus Christ today.
  2. Pray and thank Him for giving you hope and help.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from John 3:16.

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12/9/18 “Jesus, Son of Man”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from John 1:43-51.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“And he said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'” John 1:51, ESV

Explanation:

I have to admit to you that I’ve never connected John 1:51 with Christmas before this morning.  I now see how important this verse is to understanding Jesus’ first advent at Christmas.  Jesus finds Phillip and tells him to follow Him (John 1:43).  A few verses later, Jesus tells Phillip where he was before Jesus saw him.  This blows Phillips mind and he immediately believes in Jesus.  Jesus tells him that he will see much greater things than this.  When Jesus says that Phillip will see “heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending,” He is recalling the story of Jacob in Genesis 28.  Jesus will be an even better way of accessing God than the heavenly ladder on which angels traveled between God and Jacob (Gen. 28:12).  Wherever Jesus is, that will be the place where God is revealed.

Jesus is not just “a son of man” He is the Son of Man. He is far from ordinary.  Referring to Himself, Jesus uses the the phrase “Son of Man” repeatedly (over 80 times in the Gospels). “The Son of Man” is a messianic title that refers back to the prophecy given in Daniel 7:13-14 that one would be given to rule over all the nations of the earth forever. Though the title “Son of Man” can sound different than “Son of God” and “King of Israel,” it’s not that different at all.  The greatest glory that we will ever see is the Son of Man, whose rule is an everlasting rule, lifted up on the cross to die for us that we might have eternal life (John 3:14-15).

This Christmas, see Jesus as the great Son of Man,  who died to give you eternal life.  See Him as glorious.  See Him as the way to access God, a much better way than any heavenly ladder.  See Jesus, the Son of Man, as the place and person in which God is revealed.

Application:

  1. Focus your attention fully on Jesus, the Son of Man, and praise Him for the life you have in Him.  Thank Him for revealing God to you.  Thank Him for giving you access to God.
  2. To further focus on Jesus this Christmas, memorize Hebrews 1:1-4 with me.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from 1 John 3:8.

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12/8/18 “Can God be Trusted?”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Acts 3:22-26.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.  You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.  And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'” Acts 3:22-24, ESV

Explanation:

We have all asked ourselves if someone we know could be trusted.  There are others who have had to regain our trust.  Maybe there are those you’ll never trust again.  Trust is such a special and valuable thing.  Can God be trusted?

One of the blessings of Christmas is the revelation that God is trustworthy.

From the same passage of Scripture that we looked at yesterday we see a valuable truth about trust.  Part of the blessing of Jesus is the demonstration of the trustworthiness of God.  Peter piles up promise after promise.  Moses made a promise, predicting the coming of a prophet like Jesus.  Peter goes on to say, in verse 24, that every prophet from Samuel on down proclaimed the same thing.  When Jesus came, He proved all of these promises to be true.  Romans 15:8 tells us that Jesus came to show God’s truthfulness.  Therefore, we can trust Him.  This is part of the blessing that Jesus brings you this Christmas. God’s trustworthiness is constant and true in a world where untrustworthiness and change.  Because we can trust God, He becomes our anchor in life.  The fact that Jesus came and demonstrated the trustworthiness of God is truly a blessing. Give this blessing away to others this Christmas.  Show and tell others about the trustworthiness of God.  Imitate Jesus, God in the flesh, and be a person of trustworthiness yourself.

Application:

  1. Confess to the Lord any dishonesty and deceitfulness that may be in you today.
  2. Ask the Lord to continue to make you a trustworthy person.
  3. Tell someone today about the trustworthiness of God – that God made promises of salvation through Jesus for many years and that He has fulfilled these promises.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from John 1:51.

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12/7/18 “The Blessings Jesus Brings”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Acts 3:11-26.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“You are the songs of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:25-26

Explanation:

Jesus came at Christmas to bring blessings to all people.  Acts 3:25 tells just that Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy and promise first given to Abraham, that God would bless all the families of the earth through his offspring.  God sent Jesus to bless the Israelites first and then everyone else.  This means that He came to bless us.  What blessings does He bring?  Acts 3:11-26 tell us that He brings refreshment and forgiveness.  We experience both blessings together. When we repent of our sings we are promised times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19-20).  We experience this blessing of refreshing because of the second blessing, the forgiveness of sins that leads to us turning away from wickedness (Acts 3:26).  This Christmas Jesus is looking to bring you refreshment from His presence. He is also leading you away from wickedness.  Will you follow?

Application:

  1. Repent and turn away from sin and wickedness.  You cannot do this in your own power, but only in the power of Jesus.
  2. Seek the Lord’s presence and the blessing of refreshment by asking Him to do this work in your life.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will also be from Acts 3:22-26. 

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12/6/18 “The Glory of God at Christmas”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from John 12:27-36.

Highlighted Verse:

“Father, glorify your name.”  Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” John 12:28, ESV

Explanation:

When the angels appeared to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth they proclaimed glory to God and peace to man (Luke 2:11-14).  Their proclamation was one of high honor  for God.  They magnified the Lord most High.  They glorified God, elevating Him in worship.  Jesus did the same thing while on earth.  In fact the prayer in John 12:28 is a request for God to glorify Himself in the death and resurrection of Jesus (John 12:27-30).  God answers Jesus request by saying that He has already glorified His name (through the resurrection of Lazarus) and that He will glorify His name again (through the death and resurrection of Jesus).

God’s emphasis on His glory is good news for us because it is full of grace and truth for us (John 1:14).  

Christmas bring an emphasis on the glory of God.  Think about it.  God sent a multitude of angels to proclaim His glory at the birth of Jesus.  Jesus prays for God to be glorified.  God says that His name has been glorified and promises that it will be glorified again.  The glory of God is most clearly seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

God’s emphasis on His glory is good news for us because it is full of grace and truth for us (John 1:14).  His glory overflowed in grace and truth to us at Christmas in the birth of Jesus.  His glory overflowed in grace and truth for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  His glory overflows in grace and truth for us today through His Word.  Experiencing the glory of God through His grace and truth will lead us to glorify His name.  To lift His name higher than any other name –  higher than your parents names, your children’s names, the name of your spouse, or of any role model in your life.  The grace and truth of God will also lead you to lift His name higher than any other thing of this earth.    We cannot make God’s glory any more magnificent or beautiful than it already is, but we can highlight it and point people to it with our life.

Application:

  1. Praise the Lord for revealing His glory to you through Jesus and His Word.  Praise the Lord for your salvation.
  2. Examine your life and ask the Spirit to reveal areas of your life that do not glorify God.  Seek help from the Spirit to overcome these sins or unhealthy attitudes.
  3. Help from the Spirit may come in the form of accountability from another Christian or a small group of believers to meet with.  Seek out these opportunities through your local church.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will be from Acts 3:22-26.

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12/5/18 “Jesus Saves the Day”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from 1 John 3:1-10.

Highlighted Verse(s):

“You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” 1 John 3:5, ESV

“….The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8b, ESV

Explanation:

My youngest son likes to pretend to be Superman. He will dress up in a cape or an outfit and say “Superman saves the day!”  Every superhero has a purpose for showing up on the scene.  Why did Christmas happen? Why did Jesus show up on the scene?  Our verses today reveal that Jesus appeared to take away sins.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil, which is sin.

Jesus is qualified for this mission.  1 John 3:5 is clearly talking about Jesus Christ but I believe that the surrounding verses show us that Jesus is God.  Jesus is also qualified to “save the day” because He too was tempted.  Matthew 4 records the episodes of Jesus being tempted by the Devil.  Jesus shows trust in the Fatherhood of God and belief in His Word.  Like us, Jesus experienced temptation of the Devil.  Except, unlike us, Jesus did not sin.  Jesus abides completely and perfectly in God, therefore He does not ever sin.  So we see that anyone who abides in Jesus experiences victory over sin (1 John 3:6). The key to victory in the midst of the battle against sin is abiding with Jesus.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil and to take away sin.  Make that personal.  Jesus came to take away your sin, my sin.  Make Christmas personal this year.  Jesus came for your own sin, personal conflict with the Devil, and battle against temptations. Jesus came  to defeat the sin in your life. He truly came to save the day.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from John 12:27-28.

 

 

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12/4/18 “Servant Jesus”

Today’s Deeply Rooted Devotion is from Mark 10:45.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45, CSB

Explanation:

There are many delightful things about the holiday season.  It’s enjoyable to take a drive and look at Christmas lights.  It’s festive to listen to and sing Christmas songs.  It’s exhilarating to open presents.  It’s warming to the soul to spend time with family.  These are all good things, but they are not what Christmas is about.  Christmas is about the coming of Jesus Christ into the world.  Jesus is the exact expression of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3) and is fully God (Col. 2:9) and He came to us when we could not go to Him.

According to our verse today, Mark 10:45, Christmas is about the coming of Jesus who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” These words are an expression of the meaning and purpose of Christmas.  Jesus came to serve.  He did not come as an earthly king would come, demanding a throne and people to serve Him.  He came, God in the flesh, to serve us.  No matter how exhilarating it will be to open the presents given to you this Christmas it won’t be as thrilling as the present God has for you.  Open your hearts today to receive the best present imaginable, Jesus giving Himself for you on the cross and serving you for all of eternity.

Application:

  1. Trust Jesus today instead of any form of self-help or anything on earth. Trust Him above all because He came to serve.  Trust Him with your life. Trust Him with your circumstances.  Trust Him with everything.
  2. Follow Jesus’ example and humbly serve someone today.

Tomorrow’s Deeply Rooted Devotion will e from 1 John 3:5,8

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