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Preparing For Christmas

Dear Precious Friends,
I pray you are waking up to a beautiful new day filled with joy as we walk through this season of advent preparing for Christmas when we celebrate the greatest gift we have ever received, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are reading a chapter of Luke a day in our Luke challenge and we are on Chapter 13.
If you were able to watch the Chosen last night, you saw the extremely moving showing of the night that Jesus was born. Mary and Joseph are beautifully portrayed, and the episode poignantly breathes new life into Mary’s timeless Magnificant prayer. It was as if we were there. It is incredible and the reminder throughout the series of the life of Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him" and the reminder throughout the series is "People must know".... Only one life twill soon be past, only whats done for Christ will last. Our marching orders as Christians is to make disciples. We are disciples making disciples. We are here to share the truth of the Good News!!!
What is the message of good news? It has to do with the all-sufficient and completed work that God has accomplished in Christ to remedy the problem of our sin. The good news begins with the bad news that we all are sinners. The Bible says, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The myriad of evils and problems we observe happening all around us confirm that humanity has an internal problem that you nor I as individuals, nor mankind as a whole, can solve. If we are honest, we all must admit that in thought, word and deed we have acted contrary to what is morally right and good. We have broken God’s laws and commandments. Scripture overwhelmingly testifies to this problem of sin, and experiential reality bears it out as an obvious and undeniable truth. This sin, which affects our very nature, not only separates us from ourselves and others, but also from a holy and righteous God.So, there is the fact of sin, and that we are helpless and hopeless in this condition. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot earn God’s favor or our salvation through our good deeds. We need a way out from under God’s righteous judgment. We need a way of salvation.
Now, the good news is that God himself has provided that way of salvation. What we could not do, God, out of his grace and mercy, did for us. The good news is that the love of God is so great for you, me and everyone in the world that He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to take upon himself through his death on the cross, all our sins for which we would otherwise have been judged and condemned by God. The Bible says,
“…God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8).
God became man in Jesus. He was born of a virgin. As the Son of God he was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). The life, death and resurrection of Jesus restores our relationship to our Creator God and provides salvation for all of us. In the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, God affirms that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah sent from the Father and vindicates all that Jesus taught and claimed to be as the savior of the world.
Now, what makes the gospel message “good news” is not only that God has provided salvation, but that you can be assured that this salvation applies to you personally and individually. In other words, it is true that God loves you and Jesus died for you and therefore you too can be saved. The Bible says,
“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9, 10).
At the end of Luke 12, Jesus reminded his disciples to be ready always and live with a sense of urgency about his return. In the first part of chapter 13, Jesus called on people to repent. Now, in today's verses, Jesus is basically reminding us that we are on borrowed time. I am focusing on verses 6-9 today and the reminder we need to repent now. We've been extended a season of grace to become fruitful, so we as Christians are here to be fruitful. No more playing around with religion. No more hypocrisy. No more religious talk without spiritual commitment and spiritual living. It's time to be fruitful.
The illustration of the fig tree reminds us that in the Old Testament a fruitful tree was often a symbol of Godly living. Jesus points out what happens to the other type of tree not producing fruit but taking valuable time and space and not producing anything for the gardener. We must remember why we are here and as Christians we know we represent our Lord and are called to Godly living. May we go out and be fruitful today filled with the Holy Spirit who guides us every single step of the way.
Holy and righteous Father, I know that now is the time you want me to be fruitful and that you want me to live for you with passion today and every day. Help me overcome my religious procrastination. Bless me as I seek to lay aside my fears and inhibitions about following you. Empower me to live with holiness, urgency, and a sense of joyous expectation. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Source: God's word, Holy Spirit, Billy Grahams message given numerous times.
May be an image of 1 person, tree, sky and text that says 'One Last Chance! -Luke 13:6-9 NLT-'
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