God Meets Us With Clarity

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Throughout history, humans have struggled to have a rightly ordered relationship with God. If we are prone to an extreme, it is usually to over-complicate worship and the Christian life.

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​Hope Does Not Disappoint

...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)

The new year brings an opportunity to reframe, set goals and resolutions, and write on a clean slate of sorts...in theory. The reality is, despite the symbolism of a new year, challenges are no respecter of calendars.

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Former Things Shall Not Be Remembered

"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind..." Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

This past week, we celebrated the birth of Emmanuel, God with us. We observed traditions and spent time remembering Christmases past. Now, as the New Year approaches, we look forward to the year ahead.

It isn't always easy to view the days, weeks, and months ahead with eyes of anticipation and hope, especially if the days that came before were heavy and hard.

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The Nativity Is Only One Chapter

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn...

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:7, 34-35 (ESV)

Nothing about Jesus' birth was ordinary, nor did His arrival occur in the way many expected it to.

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Let All People Receive Their King​

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord...."

Luke 2:8-11 (ESV)

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​Blessed Are They Who Believe

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."

Luke 1:41-45 (ESV)

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Light to Pierce the Darkness

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

From the very moment Adam and Eve rebelled in the garden, God began writing a story of restoration for His people. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites succumbed more than once to doubt and sin as they waited for the promised Redeemer. One can only imagine what it was like during the 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the start of Jesus' ministry. God's people must have fought disillusionment even as they clung tightly to the words of the prophets.

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God Meant It For Good

"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." Genesis 50:20 (ESV)

Here in the United States, we are told from a young age about the Pilgrims who voyaged to America in 1620 and survived largely because of a Native American man named Squanto. It's told as a quaint history of the first Thanksgiving, but the seemingly tidy story doesn't begin to explore the complex circumstances and the lives of the people who were there.

Squanto's story alone is one of bravery and mercy in the face of tragedy and injustice.

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Thanksgiving Every Day

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!" Psalm 50:23 (ESV)

The holidays give us a chance to slow down, count our blessings, and choose gratitude, but what about the rest of the year? We all know that when times are hard, when money is tight, or when illness invades, cultivating a heart of thanksgiving is easier said than done.

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Finding His Purpose For Our Lives​

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.Psalm 138:8 (ESV)

It's a given that each of us will find ourselves, at one time or another, in search of a sense of purpose. Self-help authors make a fortune on this one topic and no matter how many volumes are published, there will always be a demand for more. There is nothing inherently wrong with our desire for meaning, but as Christians, we must always look for it in light of our Creator.

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