And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn [Luke 2:7]
The real Christmas was nothing like the Christmas as we know it today. It does not look anything like the manger scenes and illustrated books of our childhood. The original Advent is a disturbing scene of sad and desperate homelessness – more like a scene we might find under a Kolkata fly-over or basti than what we depict under our Christmas tree. The only detail Luke’s Spirit-inspired writing gives us about the actual birth of Jesus is that Mary had to lay him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. We have known this truth in our heads all our lives, but when you pause to consider what it was like…
A young peasant girl, asleep on the ground, bits of straw in her hair, wrapped in dirty cloaks and a blanket. Beside her a small, crude and dirty feeding trough in which lies a sleeping newborn, wrapped in unsanitary, blood-smeared cloths. Mary is not well-dressed or rested – she’s bone weary. No divine, heavenly glow emanates from her or the child. In fact, there is nothing about this child that points to his unique identity as the image of the invisible God, the one and only Son through whom all things were created [Col 1:15; John 1:3,18]. John states the tragedy of the very first Christmas: He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him [John 1:10].
There was no room for them in the inn…the incredible irony – when the Creator of the universe decides to arrive on planet earth, the best lodging place we can offer him is a dirty feeding trough! Let this serve as a reality check for us in the midst of our Christmas celebrations today. Bustling and bursting Bethlehem had no room for the advent of Jesus. In the midst of the Christmas lists, shopping for gifts, baking goodies, decorations and partying…will we make room? Let every heart prepare him room…and heav’n and nature sing!
The Lord has made his salvation known…He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God [Psa 98:2-3]
It is impossible to truly experience the love of God and not love others. His love has this incredible ability to heal us and empower us at the same time. We can love like Jesus because his Spirit seeks to produce the fruit of love within us. God wants to use you and me to reveal to a broken and searching world the unfathomable riches of his love – he longs to love people through us. Read more
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. [Heb 1:1-2]
Our God is not a silent God – he is a God who speaks. During the month of Advent we focus on the one moment when God spoke with searing, blazing, blinding clarity through his final, ultimate Word, Jesus – the Word made flesh. But God is a God who is constantly speaking to us. The problem is that we fail to listen… Read more
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28) .
Regardless of what we face in our lives, this above verse places a deep assurance inside us that God is working out everything for His beautiful plans in our lives. Well-known author, Max Lucado gives a brief description on this verse which illustrates how we can be absolutely happy daily because of 4 unchanging facts: Read more
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 55, 57-58 Read more
True happiness starts with a relationship with Jesus. It is sustained by following His Word faithfully. Happiness overflows into the world when we daily sow seeds of an authentic relational lifestyle.
These seeds of genuine Kingdom living are essentially cultivated by us as we listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit in our daily circumstances. Someone wise put together their top 10 whispers, which will be a useful guide to us as we cultivate habits of happiness in our day-to-day living: Read more
“ …Choose you this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
We all in some way serve someone or something one way or another. But here In Joshua 24:15, Joshua is talking to the people of God about the importance of serving God and making him the priority of their life.
The Bible reminds us that when we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s work of grace transforms us and makes us aware of His purpose for our lives. The Apostle Paul points out that one of God’s purpose for our lives is to serve Him through our good works – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
God didn’t save us to sit idle, but to serve. We were put on earth to make a contribution. We are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. You are important to God and what you do in His name and for His glory matters to God and His Kingdom.
This is what Acts 13:36 says, “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…” Don’t take your responsibility as a child of God lightly. May we as David fall asleep having served God’s purpose in our life time.
Has anyone ever mimicked you or imitated you… maybe your sibling, a friend, a colleague or even a child?!! Do you remember the first time it happened? The shock and surprise…embarrassment!
I surely do remember the first time a teen mimicked me when I was a teenager! I was so shocked! I could actually feel my ears and face flush red…I vehemently denied it but it only made the others laugh even louder and my poor friends later tried to convince me that, that’s how I did behave! For days, I kept thinking and observing my behavior very closely….and finally I had to admit that, yes, I did behave that way… somewhere I had picked up that behaviour pattern and it had become a habit!! Read more
We learn from the Book of Acts (chapter 8) that as a result of the powerful witnessing of God’s people and of the Spirit led walks and preaching of Philip there was a three fold blessing in that city:
- The demon-possessed were delivered
- Many people were healed
- Many souls were saved.
Every Missions Sunday annually, we pledge to ‘GIVE WITHOUT REGRETS by investing in His kingdom’. Why do we give? How can we give generously? Can online giving be an option in this day and age? Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9 talks about giving that honors God and His kingdom. Well known author and speaker, Nicky Gumbel shares from this passage ten reasons to give generously: Read more