With only a couple of days until Christmas I wanted to wish you a special time with your loved ones. And I know I speak on behalf of the rest of the team -- Lynn, Ian, and Tiffany -- in saying a heartfelt 'Merry Christmas' from us!
Here is a beautiful verse to settle our gaze upwards:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)
One way of keeping our thoughts fixed on Jesus is to look back on some moments in our faith life that have been especially important to us. So with that in mind I thought I would share one such moment that I've been thinking about today.
A few years ago, I went through a patch where I spent a lot of time asking God ‘What is true?’ By that, I wanted to know where to align my most basic beliefs. I was driven to ask this because there were so many opinions out there, and Bryce wasn't in a believing place at all, so that brought many questions.
Anyway, when we genuinely ask 'What is true?' God loves to answer us. And indeed he did. One night he woke me with a very strong phrase in my spirit. BAM! It was so strong that I went from deeply asleep to sitting up with a pounding heart in the dark. It was this:
Cling tenaciously to the risen Jesus Christ, your Savior.
That was God's answer to my question. Since then, when I have thought about that phrase it's been a reminder that it is Him -- Jesus -- who is to be my focus.
Looking back now, I can say that God has done many things to show me that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Door to my eternal inheritance. He has also shown me that what I have here on earth is not my identity. What is in Heaven is. It's mind-stretching, but I know how much that matters.
So, one of the things I want to say to any non-believer in my life (when the opportunity is ripe), is this:
“How you respond to Jesus Christ is the most important thing you will ever decide in your life.”
End of story. Yes. But still, it's the work of a lifetime to understand what the message of Jesus means to us. Even though I have been a believer for some time, every December looks different as I learn different aspects of the Gospel and its personal relevance to me.
This particular December, for example, I have been reflecting on the simple fact that God came to earth. And earth was the most difficult place to be. It is a hard, hard life here on earth, but how much harder would it have been for Jesus -- God -- in that state of perpetual rejection, eyeballing the darkness when his very nature could not co-exist with it? Besides the cross, a lifetime's worth of the most intense kind of warfare on earth would have been pure pain. I imagine.
It's all too easy to treat this fact lightly; but how profound it is. It’s beyond what we would think or imagine; and it is simply amazing that he did it for us.
SUMites, thank you for your friendship as we constantly fix our eyes together on Jesus and cheer each other on. You are a special breed of people, and with that I say .. Happy Christmas!