Don't you love it when you are reading the Bible and a verse stops you or jumps off the page, causing you to backup instead of continuing to read? You then find yourself really thinking about that previous verse. You know God might be getting your attention. So, you must stop, re-read, pray by asking, "God, what are you trying to say to me?"
Luke 1:78 is that verse for me this week.
"Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78
What is the darkness? Am I living in darkness? Has any darkness crept into my life?
What is the rising sun? Or who is the rising sun? What will this rising sun do?
This verse is a follow up to a prophecy or prediction of the Old Testament.
God speaking through Malachi said, "But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves." Malachi 4:2
After the last book of the OT, God remained silent for 500 years. It was not that God stopped moving and functioning in all of who God is. But, it was during these years God was silent; silently moving and doing life-changing things. And, it was also during these silent years, that so many people turned from God and brought more and more darkness into their lives and into this world. God knew that He needed to bring in the ultimate world-changing gift, the Messiah, "the sun of righteousness."
Read Luke 1:78 again in the Message translation and let God's Word soak in.
"Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace." Luke 1:78 (Msg)
What is God saying to you through this OT prophecy and NT fulfillment?
How is God reminding you about who He is?
What darkness has God overcome in your life?
What darkness do you need God to overcome in your life?
What healing does God want to do in your life?
What impossible mission are you asking God to do in your life or your family or at your work place or in your church family?
Do you believe God can still do anything that He wants to do?
Praying for God to do many impossible missions this Christmas season.
Isn't Christmas about decorating, gifts, parties, meals, connecting with family and friends? Isn't it supposed to be fun? Quite often it is. Sometimes it's the opposite; overwhelming, stressful and dreadful, especially if there is relational strain, pain or loss.
But, how does Revelations remind us what the Christmas season is all about? Rev 12:13, 17"When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child…. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus."
God reminds us that Christmas is not about a playground party atmosphere nor a depressing den to have a pity party. But, that Christmas and every season is a battle. This passage tells us that the evil one tried to kill baby Jesus, in fact, he killed all baby boys two years and younger in order to get baby Jesus by planting jealous thoughts into King Herod's mind. Due to God's rescuing of Jesus, the evil one and his teammates declared war against all humans, seeking to prevent them from connecting deeply and personally with Jesus.
Do you sense the battle? Do you have thoughts and feelings that cause you to drift away from the true meaning of Christmas? Do we get caught up in the party theme or the pity party theme? Is it easy to drift further away from Jesus personally and relationally? If so, you are experiencing the battle. How can we overcome the battle?
Rev 12:10-12 (NLT) "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last – salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth – the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamband by their testimony. And they did not love their own lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!"
How does God equip us to overcome this war against us? Rev 12 gives us two ways:
First, is "by the blood of the Lamb." We all need the great reminder that victory only comes through the miracle of the Christmas birth of God, the miracle of the perfect life of Jesus, the sacrificial death of Jesus and the miracle resurrection of Jesus. It is by telling and re-telling the Good News of Jesus Christ. Each of us receives victory when we share the story of the "blood of the Lamb." Who is God leading you to share this Good News with today and every day? It will encourage them, but more importantly it will give you victory.
Second, is "by the word of their testimony." We all get victory when we share our own personal story of how Jesus got our attention. Do you remember when Jesus stepped out of the invisible realm and right into your reality? Do you remember Jesus getting your attention? Do you remember Jesus capturing your heart?
-Nathaniel, invited by his brother to meet Jesus and then Jesus told Nate that He intimately knew the details of his life and still loved him.
-The jailer in Acts 16 who was about to kill himself, but God intervened and he accepted Jesus and was baptized.
-Some anti-Jesus people in Athens (Acts 17), who were invited to an intellectual conversation that Paul started about the unknown god idol.
-What about you? How did Jesus get your attention?
When was the last time you shared your testimony? When was the last time you shared it with your family, your friends?
According to Rev 12, we receive victory over the evil one and the battle he has engaged us in by sharing the Good News and by sharing our testimony. Are you ready to share these two great stories? (The Good News of Jesus and your testimony).
Who is it that God is leading you to share The Good News with today and every day?
Who is it that God is leading you to share your testimony with today and every day?
Victory comes when we share these two great stories.
Share them today.
Share them every day.
Seeking to share at any moment,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.