Saturday, December 17, 2016

December 17, 2016

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

Secular people go into Christmas hoping. Spiritual people go into Christmas with hope!

What's the difference?

The hoping people approach Christmas focused on what they want while people with hope rejoice in what they have!

Which are you?

People with hope have Jesus and their hope comes from Him. Hope has a name and it's name is Jesus!

The reason for hope is found in what the angel said to Mary, "For nothing is impossible with God!" Or, to put in another way, "Everything is possible with God!"

I find a lot of hope in that! 

How about you?

Heading into this Christmas celebration I am one who has hope! Here is why I have hope and how you can find hope, too!

I hope in Jesus because of creation!

John writes in His gospel, "In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God! Everything was created by Him...."

Jesus shared in the creation of the universe! At His word everything that is appeared suddenly from nothing!

How do I know that? Because it's in the Word!

Why do I believe that? Because it's in the Word AND because nothing is impossible with God!

I hope in Jesus because He came in the flesh!

When "the Word became flesh" and Jesus was born as a baby in a Bethlehem manger through the mystery of the incarnation, as many as 300 specific prophecies were fulfilled!

Because Jesus' coming filled every promise of the ancient prophets I know I can trust all of His promises! When I hope in His promises I will never be disappointed!

I can hope in Jesus promise when He says He will come again! 

I hope in Jesus because of changed lives!

Writing in his second letter to the Corinthians referred to those changed lives as "new creations"! Certainly if He created everything in the beginning He can recreate a heart that hopes in Him for salvation!

I know He can change lives because He changed, and continues to change my life! And over forty years of ministry I have watched Him change hundreds of lives!

I don't have to come into Christmas hoping but I can can in hope! I hope in Him because of His creation, because of how He came in the flesh as prophets foretold and because of how He has changed lives!

During this Season and throughout 2017 I will celebrate the hope I have in Jesus!

Hope has a name and it's name is Jesus!

Do you have that hope?

December 18, 2016

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

The angel came bringing good news!

And not just good news - good news of great joy!

That announcement presupposes that there was some bad news going on. Uh, yeah! This proclamation came to a people whose politics were bad news. They lived under Roman oppression. And their economy was bad news. They earned very little and much of what they did earn went to the Romans. There was an ultra-wealthy ruling class and a lot of really poor folks and no welfare program. Even worse, their religion was a disaster! It was oppressive, demanding, impersonal and corrupt. This was the world the average Jew lived in! And there was no hope on the horizon!

But then in a remote pasture to some lonely shepherds, hope came! Good news was announced!

As a pastor, I live in a world of bad news. Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear some bad news about someone. I have my own bad news to deal with, too. How do I cope with all the bad news? What am I to do in an ever worsening economy, an ever expanding increasingly oppressive government, and a religion that is daily attacked and minimized?

What are you to do?

Well, I am a minister of "the Gospel". What is the "Gospel"? The "Gospel" means "good news"! In a world of bad news I believe the good news! The very same good news that the angel brought to the shepherds! The good news that Christ has come! A Savior is born! The Savior died for my sins to conquer sin and rose again to conquer death! For me! For you! For everyone who believes and receives the good news!

Am I to deny the bad news? Am I to ignore it? No! I speak good news to it! I deal with bad news in the power of the good news. I live in the knowledge the the good news is more powerful and longer lasting than the bad news! The good news is more real than the bad news! The good news means more and brings more joy in light of the bad news! My hope is in the good news!

As we move into this week before Christmas and as you celebrate Christmas at your church and with your family and in your quiet time with the Lord, rejoice at the reality of the "Gospel" the good news of salvation! God has conquered sin and death and through the power of the good news living in and through you and me He is conquering evil. Rejoice that the bad news will end but the good news is eternal - and only gets better!

That is your good news report for today!