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He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

-Mark 16:15-16

Jesus is Safe (Part 5 of 5)

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. - Proverbs 18:10

In ancient times, the safest place to be when the onslaught of battle swept over the land was behind the city walls and up in the fortified tower. In the onslaught of suffering in this world, or in facing the dangers of God’s judgment— where can we run to be safe?

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower…

The name of the Lord is… JESUS!

There is only one way to be safe from the utter separation from God through all eternity and from being lost and aimless in the suffering of this world. There is only one person who is “safe” for us to hide in. Only the willingness of Jesus to die on the cross and bear the wrath of God’s judgement for us is enough. Because he placed himself in the most unsafe place in the universe— at the wrath of God’s judgement and in the midst of utter abandonment and separation from his Father— because he did not cling to the safety of the throne, but threw himself into the fires of destruction— now we know that once we accept Him we are safe. We are safe because of Jesus.

No matter what we may go through in this world, the most dangerous condition for your soul is to be without Jesus. Do you know Him? Have you run to Him and embraced Him as your all sufficient savior? He is the only safe place for your soul. RUN into the name of the Lord! RUN into the name of Jesus!

"For Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11) (NIV)

Jesus is safe.


This is shared with permission from its original appearance here.

Monica is her husband’s adoring wife, her little girl’s “Mama,” a crazy dog lover, and everyday falling more deeply in love with the Lord! In September of 2008 the Gills were blessed with a fifth tiny addition to the family (this time a baby instead of a puppy!) Grace is an ever-present wonder and a constant source of joy. Monica has been an active Bible teacher, writer and speaker for women's ministry and youth for twenty years. She loves to combat every challenge of life with this truth: Jesus is the answer! Jesus is always the answer!

 You can find Monica at www.lifewithgrace.net or contact her at monica@lifewithgrace.net

More of Monica Gill: www.lifewithgrace.net

Healthy Fear -  

This devotional was written by Dan Johnson

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid…” —Matthew 28:10

Human beings are born with two fears: fear of falling and fear of loud noises. Hundreds of other fears and phobias that haunt us are picked up along the way. We each have the ability to fear, and we should be thankful; our survival depends on it. Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine spur the heart to pump more blood to the muscles and prepare the body to either confront or run from a threat. Fear of fire, of being hit by an SUV traveling at 70 miles per hour, and fear of being eaten motivates us in some very positive ways. The problem is when we get a memory of the fear stored in the amygdala, a grape-size structure at the base of the brain. We can also have a generalized feeling of anxiety quietly invade our life like a malignancy. This makes us lurk at the edges of life hoping merely to survive.

Over and over again, Jesus told his followers to “fear not.” On our own, this is impossible. Fear is inborn, so daily life in Christ requires replacing old fears with new. The Bible teaches us to fear God, which means nothing less than caring more about what God thinks than what people think. It teaches us that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Unhealthy fear will not disappear magically, though. With daily focus on the higher, inspirational agenda of God, human fears take their rightful place. Being like Christ means transcending our biology and living as children of our great God.

How many enjoyable, noble, and significant journeys have you avoided because of fear? How many life-changing plans never materialized because of fear of failure, human opinion, or harm? In Matthew 28:10, Jesus gave one last “fear not” to his followers. Less than ten verses later he sent them out to make disciples of every person on the earth; and they went. What is fear keeping you from today?


GOING DEEPER:

1. What are your top three fears and how would the fear of God chase those fears away?

2. How much bigger would your life be if your human fears were smaller?


FURTHER READING:

Joshua 1:9-10; Isaiah 41:10


This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Looking for Jesus -

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As a family, we try to set up most of our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving (unlike the malls and other retail establishments, who decided to start before Halloween arrived… but that’s another story entirely). Some of our favorites include a whimsical and plump reindeer, a Mickey Mouse nutcracker and, of course, an angel tree topper.

Another favorite that’s centrally located on the coffee table is the Little People nativity scene. The kids love playing with these characters and it’s a fun way to help them interact with the real story behind the season.

A few days ago, I was cleaning up the normal whirlwind after the kids had gone to bed. Most of the nativity characters were strewn about the living room, although a few pieces made it all the way into the hallway and dining room. I found all of them, that is, except for baby Jesus. He was nowhere to be found.

After picking up the entire house, I still couldn’t find Jesus. Crawling on my hands and knees, I began to peer under furniture and everything else. After all, what’s the point of the Christmas story without it’s main character? 

Crawling under the children’s writing desk, I finally found what I was looking for. The baby Jesus had landed under the sofa. The picture above is exactly what I found, dust bunnies and all (just in case you were under some delusion that our lives are somehow as perfect as everyone else’s you read on Facebook).

I immediately recognized this for the poignant metaphor that it was. Even in the midst of the season where Jesus is supposed to be the focal point, it’s so easy to lose Him altogether. I say He’s “the reason for the season”, and I truly believe that. But amidst all the busyness and chaos and distraction and commercialism competing for my attention, I must admit it’s often quite difficult to keep the main thing the main thing.

Despite my general busyness and distraction, I’m grateful the Holy Spirit provides such periodic refocus back on spiritual truth. It’s a good reminder that without our intentionally getting on my knees and seeking the Savior, we will not find Him. But when we do, He will be found because He wants to be. Without such intentionality, Jesus is long-suffering with us and is (more often than not) content to wait for us to return to Him on our own volition.

Perhaps that’s what this verse means, in part. When we seek Him halfheartedly, we generally won’t find Him. But when we’re willing to go “all in” and seek Him intentionally with all our heart — intentionally pushing aside the chaos and commercialism of the season — He’ll not only share Himself but also lead us to embrace a deeper experience of the true meaning at the center of the Christmas season.

Has Jesus been missing thus far from our experience this holiday season? If so, perhaps we might consider this as His invitation to look for Him on our hands and knees.

After all, that’s where we will find Him.


This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Sex Therapist and Board Certified Coach, MT leverages professional-grade coaching to help Christian men (especially men in Christian leadership) successfully recover and pursue sexual integrity. His specialized coaching is convenient from anywhere by phone or video conference. 

More of Michael Todd "MT" Wilson: www.IntentionalHearts.com

How to Find Your Own Version of Christmas ‘Magic’ -  

Continued

This devotional is written by Boothe Farley

I know that as a parent, as a Christian, and as a mom who really does want to make Christmas special, I could spend my entire holiday season walking on a tightrope, trying not to fall for the secular version of ‘Christmas magic’ while also keeping myself from teetering over the edge into prideful judgement against anyone who shops on Black Friday.  That, I think, in and of itself – the tightrope-walking, I mean – would just be another ‘spell’ to combat.  There has to be a better way, right?

I have a precious friend who is in her first year of walking with the Lord.  I found her wrapped up a few months ago in a state of panic about the holiday season.  She was totally convinced she could not have a Christmas tree or participate in anything do with the holiday in general.  As the mother of three small children, I knew that she might be crossing into some very difficult territory when she declared to them, just after Thanksgiving, “Oh, and by the way – we’re not getting a tree and we’re not having presents and there is absolutely NOT a real Santa!”  

As we talked, and I realized so much of what she was expressing made sense to my mind but wasn’t really settling well with my spirit, I realized that maybe God isn’t really interested in the trees – or not trees – or the presents – or not presents – as much as He’s interested in our hearts.  We can just as easily worship no presents as we can presents, right?  Therein lies the ‘magic.’  I reminded my sweet friend of the verse we’ve all heard our entire lives, over and over again in Sunday school: 

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” {Psalm 118:24}.  

When those words were written, there certainly wasn’t a Christmas season.  There wasn’t even yet born a Christ.  And yet we clearly understand two things: God makes each day –all days.  And we’re called to rejoice in them!  My utter distaste for Christmas just doesn’t hold up in Scripture.  The Hebrew translation of that word, rejoice, actually includes a reference to the act of spinning around.  What a picture!  Every single day calls for such gladness and exulting that we should want to literally spin, like children, with an utterly carefree spirit of thankfulness and anticipation.  

And yet, when we think of Christmas, ‘carefree’ and ‘thankful’ aren’t words that often come to mind.  Certainly those shopping ’til they drop aren’t carefree (whether their credit card bills matter to them or not, their time can’t be returned to them).  But those of us who spend our time trying to ‘pick the petty’ out of Christmas probably won’t be found spinning around with joy anytime soon, either.  Feeling anxious about whether or not we’re “doing Christmas right” can become as tiresome and exhausting as zipping around the mall making sure we’ve gotten everyone the perfect gift.

The Bible is the single most economical book in the history of the world.  I don’t mean financially, necessarily – though were I a financial guru I would probably argue that aspect of the word, too; I mean, instead, economical with words.  It doesn’t say what it doesn’t mean and it doesn’t mean what it doesn’t say.  So when the apostle Paul writes in Phillipians, “Rejoice in the Lord always!” {v. 4:4}, he’s saying, quite simply, that we should rejoice always – or, like the Psalmist said thousands of years before, rejoice every single day.  The Greek translation here adds a slightly different spin – no pun intended – on the idea of rejoicing, though.  It’s meant to bring to mind the idea of being ‘calmly happy.’  So biblical rejoicing might look like the excited spins of a giddy child or like the restful smile on an old man’s face.  Rejoicing, then, has many manifestations – but only one motivation: the Lord.

Dose 1 makes Christmas all about, well, Christmas.  But dose 2 makes Christmas all about us.  Maybe the best way to celebrate this years is in buying a giant Christmas tree and singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of your lungs as you decorate.  Or, maybe it’s serving a home cooked meal to a group of homeless people at your church.  It’s probably a bit of both.  But in whatever way you choose to rejoice, don’t let the ‘magic’ get a hold of you. Let the love of the Lord – that would be His love for you – be the mover of your hands and feet.

 “Whatever you do …do it all in the name of Jesus… giving thanks to God the Father” {Colossians 3:17}

How do you find Christmas magic for your family? Do you struggle with the balance of rejoicing but not overdoing it?


This first appeared here and is shared with permission.

Motherhood is not one size fits all.

Grace for Moms is a community of moms growing together through multigenerational connection, relevant family resources and beYOUtiful grace!

Our hope is that women will feel at home at Grace for Moms – comfortable enough to share their unique story and be encouraged by others along their journey. 

This post was originally published for Grace For Moms and is used here with permission.

More of Grace For Moms: www.graceformoms.com

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