My heart is full.
This year has been a struggle for so many, and my heart hurts for the many who are tired, worried, exhausted, confused, hurting, fearful, and just want 2020 to be over.
2020 is indeed almost over, but I’m concerned that many people will be further disillusioned if 2021 isn’t much different. Or if it only gets “worse.”
May I encourage and challenge you to put your hope in something – Someone – much, much bigger and more unchanging and wonderful than a return to pre-Covid life could ever be?
I don’t think that God wants life to return to what we called “normal.”
I believe firmly, with every fiber of my being, that God wants to bring the earth into a new era. An era that will be both glorious and increasingly challenging… but the glory will eclipse the challenges!
An era where His love and hope and power shine brightly in a dark and confusing and hopeless world.
An era where an increasing number of people choose to put their hope and trust in Him and not in the stock market, a political party, the Supreme Court, a vaccine, Congressional economic bailouts, their job, etc.
An era where people are either living their lives for God – willing to obey every Word that He says, sacrifice anything that He asks, love no matter what it costs, surrender their own desires for their life in exchange for what He wants – or else they no longer pretend to be disciples of Christ Jesus.
And era where those of us who know Him are fully aware that our time here on earth is short, and when and how we die is nowhere near as important as how we live… and our priorities and actions and words reflect this!
What is this going to look like? How quickly will it happen?
I don’t know.
But I know one thing.
The glory part of this future is only going to come through Jesus… and only to those who are willing to make Him their Lord. Master. Protector. For it is only those who choose to dwell in the fortress where the Most High God is master who are protected by that fortress! We have the freedom to choose whether to dwell there are to stay outside those walls of provision and comfort.
But the good news is that anyone can make that choice!
Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Jesus means “salvation.”
Maybe you know a girl named Hope or Grace. If Jesus was English, the angel would have appeared to Joseph and said, “You shall call his name Salvation, for He will save His people.”
Do you have anything that you want to be saved from?
Another name for Jesus that the Bible gives is “Immanuel.”
That means “God is with us.”
The reality that Jesus came, so God can now be invited directly into our lives, seems closer to me than ever before. He’s waiting for me each morning, just wanting me to spend time with Him! He’s my constant companion throughout the day. He’s there, directing my steps, whispering encouragement and correction both when I need either. And always, always loving me and surrounding me.
God said in the book of Jeremiah, “You will seek Me, and you will find Me when you search for me with all Your heart.” Jesus said, “He who seeks will find, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I feel like while that promise was true before, God is now making Himself so easy for us to find! I feel like 2020, with all the shut downs, has been a time when God has allowed so many of the things that come between us and Him to fall away this year. We can see so easily how fragile many of the things we’ve held onto really are. How unsteady they are and how easily they can be upended. He’s drawn near to us… made Himself available to us… so closely!
But we have to reach out. Let go of everything else we’re holding onto and reach out for Him the way a child drops their toys to reach with both arms to their parent. Reach out the way a drowning person reaches for their rescuer.
What about you?
Are you longing for something eternal?
Something – Someone – who never changes?
Someone who loves you enough to die for you?
I know Him!
I’ve drawn so much closer to Him this year that I’m lost for words when I try to describe how amazing the companionship is! When He speaks His words of love and assurance, there is a peace that passes all comprehension and a joy that is indescribable.
He is priceless, especially compared to all the things that most of us hold onto instead of Him.
He’s shoved all those things aside, and He’s standing like a parent ‘hiding’ just around the corner from a two-year-old, saying, “Here I am! Right here! Can you find Me? Come look for Me!” Not really hiding at all.
Just a step away!
I believe there are many who know Him a little but who have never heard Him speak to them. Who doubt that He would really give them the direction they so desperately want. Who might be a little afraid that if Jesus were to come to them right now, He’d say, “Depart, for I never knew you.” It’s not too late to get to know Him personally!
There are many who have heard about Him and some of it isn’t all that good. They aren’t sure God is really good. May I assure you that He is? So very, very good!
Maybe you’re not sure God could really love you. He does! All it will take is hearing Him tell you He loves you, and you’ll know!
Or maybe you know God loves you but you’re gradually realizing that something is definitely missing, because you aren’t filled with a joy and peace that fills you so powerfully that you feel like you’re about to burst… but the longing for that “something more” is growing inside of you.
Reach for Him!
But please understand that we’ve got to lay down our pride to find Him. He is God. He loves us more than we can fathom, but we have to be willing to say, “Whatever You want. Jesus, You are my Lord from this moment forward. You – the perfect One who holds the universe in Your hand – gave Your life for me, so how much more must I give my life for You? You died for me, so I will live for You!”
But He’s worth it! Oh – so – worth it!
Will you? Please!
Some of you know what to pray, because God’s been calling you… tugging on your heart… for years. Fear has held you back. You’re not sure what He’ll ask of you. Please believe me that what He’ll ask of you is nothing compared to what He will give you in return! After all, He’s God. It’s not strange that God would have more to offer than we would!
If you don’t know how to pray… if you want to talk to someone who knows Jesus in a personal way… if you need someone to point the way… if you’re still not sure about this whole Jesus-thing, but you want to talk to someone about your doubts and fears anyway, I’m here for you. Message me through Facebook. Send me an email via that email address over on the right.
Or you can pray right now.
“God in heaven, I need You. 2020 has shown me how fleeting all the things I used to hold onto really are. I’m a little scared of what You’ll ask of me, but I’m willing to give my life to You anyway. I’ve tried living my own way and other people’s ways, and it’s not bringing me joy or peace. So I choose Your way. Jesus, I believe that You are God. I believe that all people – including me – have sinned and that sin keeps me from being worthy of companionship with God. And yet I chose to believe that Your death really did pay the price for my sin. I believe that You did it because You love me, and You want companionship with me! I therefore turn away from my sin, and I invite You into my life, to be my Lord and Savior. Here I am, even though I am a mess. Take my life; transform my life. I am Yours fully from this moment forward, and I’m going to trust that You will show me how to live for You, You will empower me to live for You, and You love me with an everlasting love. I choose to believe Your word from this moment forward, and therefore I receive the new life that You offer. Thank You, Jesus!
If you prayed that prayer, will you please let me know? I want to celebrate with you! I want to encourage you! I want to come alongside you and help you learn to walk in this new and glorious life. You are so very, very loved!
For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And He will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
– Isaiah 9:6