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Encouragement

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Priesthood!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #12: The GIFT of Priesthood!

“You shall be named the priests of the Lord.” (Isaiah 61:6)

One amazing Eternal Promise is that every believer in Jesus Christ is a priest of God.

Not just one or two men in the Church is a priest, but the Bible says EVERY living believer is a priest! Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Praise!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #11: The GIFT of Praise!

In Jesus Christ, He promises to give you “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”.

Heaviness here is akin to oppression, depression, even possession by unwelcome evil forces, earthly (humans) and spiritual (demons). Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Joy!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #10: The GIFT of Joy!

Jesus gives every believer “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3)

Paul said it best when he penned “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!”

He’s saying re-JOY! As believers – new creations – we are brought back to a place of experiencing JOY, how God originally created us, rather than complaining and disappointment. Why? Continue Reading

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Beauty!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #9: The GIFT of Beauty!

Isaiah was speaking of one of the GIFTS of Jesus when he wrote: “The Spirit of the Lord God… has sent Me…to give them beauty for ashes!” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

If you are a believer, God has made the ash heap of your old life into a beautifully vibrant and fruitful garden.

This beauty is, in part, a transaction without outward transformation, meaning that you gained the beauty of Christ because you believed in Him and surrendered your life to His Lordship.

But the inward beauty becomes more and more outward as others begin to see this beauty that God already sees in you!

Think about it. In Christ you are not only beautiful in His sight, but also to others. Why?

John helps us understand why: “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)

Essentially when Jesus is in us and our heart is renewed by the Holy Spirit, we begin to change from the inside out! Our old fruit of anger is now a fruit of patience and love. The ugly fruit of drunkenness and out of control behavior becomes the delicious “fruit” of a life put in order by God.

So thank God that He has made you beautiful in Christ. And if you’re not a Christ follower, turn to Jesus today and freely receive the beauty of holiness and purity in your life as your old impurities are washed away by His blood.

With much love in Christ,

Jeff

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Consolation!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #8: The GIFT of Consolation!

If there is a recurring theme in God’s Word it is His comfort and consolation to all who mourn. In fact Jesus said you are blessed if you are sad because in Christ the sad will find comfort, and ultimately joy!

God the Holy Spirit not only brings comfort, He is called the “Comforter”.

“The Spirit of the Lord God… has sent Me… to comfort all who mourn, to CONSOLE those who mourn in Zion” (Isaiah 61:2-3)

Zion is a metaphor for God’s Kingdom, His people… which is any believer today: Jew or gentile. The promise is this: in Christ, inside spiritual Mount Zion (Heb 12:22), you will find consolation. But I utside of Christ, there will be no true, lasting comfort.

How is it that only Jesus can console us in such a way to truly satisfy? Because He experienced it first hand and yet had the power to overcome.

One of His early disciples wrote “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

So the next time you need deep meaningful eternal consolation, or consolation over a small matter, simply run to the Throne of Grace, where Jesus is powerfully seated, and simply ask for His help. He will not refuse anyone who genuinely asks. And nothing is to big or small for our awesome God!.

Paul clearly experienced God’s comforting consolation:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

I pray you are consoled today by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

With much love in Christ,

Jeff

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Healing!

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 days featuring 12 gifts we receive becauseof Jesus.

Gift #7: The GIFT of Healing!

If you are a disciple of Christ you have been healed.

When Jesus first stood up to speak in a synagogue, in the same passage we explored yesterday, He read out of the writings of the prophet Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to HEAL the brokenhearted…” Isaiah 61:1

What has caused you to be broken hearted? At the heart of every wound is a heart wounded by sin. Think about some of your most painful wounds and you will discover a cause that is opposite of God’s will.

Divorce is one of the most painful wounds. It is caused by one party being unfaithful and unloving. But in God’s Kingdom, His people are faithful. Love is the hallmark of true followers of Jesus.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)

Sexual and physical abuse are horrible crimes of hatred, control, and selfishness. But Jesus teaches to treat others as we would want to be treated. His ways are to deny ourselves and care for others.

Rejection by a friend or family member creates deep wounds. But God’s Word says we are accepted in the beloved! He accepts us with love. He says He will never leave you and never forsake you! He’s faithful. You can trust God. And His people, true believers, display the same fruit if they really are loving Him with their whole heart.

So if you’ve been broken by the sin of others ripping a hole in your heart, turn to Jesus who suffered great heart ache and rejection. He understands what you’re going through, and He knows how to make you and keep you healthy.

But what about a broken heart over our own sin and disobedience? Are you broken over how you have treated others? Jesus says you’re blessed if you’re poor in spirit.

Why is this? In order to be healed we must admit we are sick. Admitting where we have been wounded and where we have wounded others is the first step to finding help. It is then when the Great Physician can heal us and make us whole again.

In Christ you are not defined by your past sinful wounds! Paul says to ex-homosexuals, ex-alcoholics, ex-adulterers, and the ex-sexually immoral “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)

These people were healed and no longer suffering the sickness of habitual shameful sin. Healing brings hope.

Thank Jesus for the healing He purchased for you on the Cross – by His stripes you are healed! And thank him for His resurrection power that gives us hope to live abundantly in the Spirit!

With much love in Christ,

Jeff