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Daily Devotions 12-14 to 12-20

Daily devotions to encourage your faith.

December 14

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Names are important. To us in twenty-first century America, names serve mainly as a tool to distinguish between people. Very seldom do we think about why we were named with the name our parents gave us. I remember when we named our children the struggle of deciding, “If it is a boy we will call him . . . and if it's a girl she will be named . . .”

When we chose our children's names, we did take time to research the meaning of their names. But when the Hebrew mothers gave names to their children, they chose names that reflected the character of their children.

Names are also significant to God. Our God revealed His nature through many different names in the Old Testament. In our study of the Psalms, when God composed His birth announcement for His Son, He wanted His readers to know what His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be like. God did this through the names He gave Him. Usually birth announcements are sent out in the days after the birth takes place, but God sent out this birth announcement some 700 years before Jesus was born

Ponder his names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Each is worth a lifetime of meditation.

--The Wonderful Counselor laid in that manger, bringing heart-changing, life-giving wisdom to all who'd put their trust in him.

--Massive and merciful. The Mighty God cares for his own. (1 Peter 5:7-7).

--The angels sang because the Everlasting Father had come to extend arms of redeeming grace to all who give their hearts to him.

--Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He purchased your peace with God, he works peace into your heart, he gives grace for peace with others.

What’s in a name? If that name is Darin Smith, not very much. But, if the name is Jesus, everything is in that name! His name is the source of our salvation. His name is the hope of our hearts. His name is a name worth knowing, because it speaks of a Savior worth loving. His name is everything. His name unlocks the door of heaven and closes the gates of Hell. His name saves the vilest sinner; redeems the darkest soul; and secures the precious saints. His name may be Jesus, but that name cannot tell us all there is to know about Him.

The name Jesus is above all names! “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Every knee shall bow!

Father of mercies and God of all comfort, may our neighbors come to know that's who you are, by the way we love and serve them this holiday season and all year! Father of mercies and God of all comfort, extend both through us today. We want to be conduits of your great compassion. Your name is above all names. May it be above every name in my life – all things ordered properly – so we can glorify your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

December 15

Deuteronomy 18:15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him."

It is clear that not one single prophet completely revealed the will of the Father except Jesus Christ. When Christ came He completely revealed the Father to the people; He explained the Father to the people.

John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

A true prophet of God was:

*Called by God

*Told the people what God said

*The people were to listen to him

*What He spoke from God would come to past.

*If what he spoke didn’t come to fruition, he was not a true prophet sent from God and the people were not to listen to him (and, consequently, he was to be stoned to death.)

From every interaction we have with him in the Scripture, Jesus doesn’t see himself as another prophet, or the last prophet, or the greatest of all the prophets, but as fulfilling all prophecy. Again, Jesus was not just a prophet but the fulfillment of all prophecy. Pastor Tim Keller has famously said on this: “Every religion has a prophet who is pointing people to God. Jesus is the only one who says ‘I am God and I am coming to find you.’”

While we don’t have time to delve into it all, Jesus is Prophet who proclaims God's truth to us, Priest who sacrificed Himself to save us, and King who reigns over us. Jesus as prophet, priest & king isn't Neapolitan Christology--choose your favorite "flavor". It is a fearful thing when God must write these words over a church: "Truth has perished" (Jeremiah 7:28).

Do you believe all the words of Jesus are true? Jesus didn’t come just to speak truthful words. Rather, he alone is the word that makes us true. We need the whole Christ. Simply put, Jesus is all the truth/wisdom (Prophet); all the mercy/grace (Priest); and all the peace/hope (King) we will need today.

Father, renew our minds with your truth, season our words with your grace, compel our hearts with your love, and temper our reactions with your Spirit. You alone are worthy of all praise. Thank you that your Son has never said or done anything that is not 100% in line with your character, ways, glory, and for our own good. Thank you for saving us! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

December 16

Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Kingdom of God and of His Christ is a great, major theme of the Bible. The Kingship of David’s throne was the great ‘type’ of Christ’s everlasting rule. Christ as “King” is representative of infinite power and authority. The Kingdom speaks of majesty, dominion, the defeat of all enemies and the overruling of all oppression, and the security and prosperity of those who are the King’s subjects. For the Jew to remember the Throne of David was to recall the halcyon days of glory, when Israel ruled the inhabited world of men. “No enemy will subject Him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress Him. I will crush His foes before Him and strike down His adversaries” (Psa. 89:23-24).

In the first gospel promise, Christ was promised as a Man, the Seed of the woman. In the Abrahamic Covenant, Christ was promised as the preeminent Son, the first-born in a family of innumerable offspring. In the Davidic covenant this Son became an anointed King whose kingdom would stretch from shore to shore, would fill and subdue the earth, and would endure forever as the final and everlasting Kingdom (Daniel 2). In 2 Sam. 7, when David wished to build a house for God, the Most High said, “No, I will build a house for you!” Could there be a grander or more noble theme for human history? The blessings would flow as “far as the curse was found.”

In the cycle of redemptive history, when it appeared as though God’s promise had failed, God’s people pleaded the promises of 2 Samuel 7 (see Psa. 89). Then “in the fullness of time,” at just the right, appointed moment (Gal. 4:4), the Messiah was born from Joseph of the house of David and in the city of David (Luke 2:4, 11). The LORD had “raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David” (Luke 1:69). The first words of the New Testament declare that Jesus was the “son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). Who else would be privileged to know that besides Shepherds?

When during His earthly ministry, Jesus performed a mighty work, He was declared to be the “Son of David.” When He disputed with the religious leaders regarding His identity, He confounded them with the question referenced from Psa. 110, “How can the Messiah be both David’s Son and David’s Lord?”

When the gospel was preached, it was announced that “from this man’s (David’s) seed God has brought to Israel the Savior, Jesus, as He promised” (Acts 13:23), and at the church council in Jerusalem James, the brother of Jesus declared that historical events had verified that the Lord had returned to “rebuild David’s fallen tent” (Acts 15:16).

Know that the offices Christ fulfills as Prophet, Priest, and King are undertaken only for His people, His elect. God’s covenant faithfulness and steadfast love are for those who are designated the “bride of Christ”, those who have said “Lord and bowed to Him” (Psa. 45:1). He possesses the “key of David”.

When He shuts, no one can open. When He opens, no one can shut (Rev. 3:7-8).

Father, as time moves toward Christmas, we pray that you would help us to get our

heads around the fact that the one who came in utter humility that first Christmas is the

one who from all eternity without any beginning has always been your only begotten Son,

your Beloved. Father, we pray that as the Lord Jesus is beloved to you, that he would be

beloved by us, that we would love him and want to serve him and would want other

people to find him to be their Savior. We pray in his strong name. Amen.

December 17

Isaiah 51:1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn."

I don’t know if you have ever seen the television show called “Intervention,” but it is fascinating. They take a person who has some addiction problem and sit them down in a room and they are confronted by people who love them and those people force the person to get some help or else they turn from them.

What God does in this book of Isaiah is to sit Israel down and confront her. She has a big addiction problem—her transgressions and sins. This has caused a major problem in her relationship with God and God offers her a way out. He offers her His blessings.

It is easy for us to be discouraged when we look at ourselves. At the time the LORD sent Isaiah with this word, true Israel—the elect remnant of true believers in their midst—was reduced to a small number. They were surrounded by Babylon on every side.

And so are we. But our resurrected Savior has graciously fit each of us here together in his body and left us in this world to be his witnesses. Some may reproach us, saying, “You aren’t much of a witness.” I beg to differ!

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my shield, my stronghold" (Psalm 18:2). Mess with me, you're messing with him. The One—Jesus—who was to come to earth (and has) is enough—even during times of great divine discipline.

So, today, you'll swindle yourself into believing you're more righteous than you are or run in humble weakness and failure to the Rock of Hope. This is why Charles Spurgeon said:

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

Let the world toss to and fro, but we who stand on the Rock must set our feet and throw the lifeline of the gospel to as many souls as possible.

Father God, you are faithful. You and you alone can bring comfort and rest into our weary

and wandering hearts. Help us this morning, Lord, for we are not faithful. Grant us your

amazing grace and new mercies this morning that we might trust Jesus Christ and Him Crucified

are our only hope and joy in this life. We ask these things in His name. Amen.

December 18

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Sometimes in life, you just have to jump in and “get your feet wet.” There is no time to plan. There is no time to ponder. Just get in there and go after it!

That is what the Apostle John does in the opening of his gospel. Matthew starts by giving the human genealogy of Jesus Christ—the God/ King. Mark starts by giving information of the forerunner of Jesus Christ—the God/Servant. Luke starts by explaining why he undertook his research concerning the life of Christ—the God/Man.

But John just plunges right into the depths of theology concerning Jesus Christ—the God/Son. That baby born in Bethlehem was the Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13). John does not wade in; no, he dives in!

As we look toward the celebration that is Christmas day, we want to break down John 1 verse-by-verse. So, let’s look at four aspects of this first verse today.

--Fact #1: Jesus Christ was in the beginning. The emphasis of Genesis 1:1 is that in the beginning God created everything and the emphasis in John 1:1 is that in the beginning Jesus Christ created everything. Jesus Christ continually was in existence at the beginning of all things

Jesus Christ was in existence when the angels began, when the atmosphere began, when the heavens and when earth began. He was in existence when all life began, both animal and human. That means He is God!

--Fact #2: Jesus Christ was the Word. This is a key title in this chapter: First - He is the Divine Word - 1:1; Second - He is the eternal Word - 1:2; Third - He is the creative Word (1:3); Fourth - He is the incarnate. Word (1:14); Fifth - He is the rejected Word (1:10-11). What John is saying here is that Jesus Christ—who is the totality and embodiment of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords—was continually in existence at the beginning of everything. Everything Christ says is the Word of God. Everything Christ is truly is the Word of God. Everything Christ does is the Word of God. He is God revealed in Person.

--Fact #3: Jesus Christ was with God. There is no doubt that whoever the Word is, He is not God the Father. He was obviously with God the Father, but He was not God the Father. In everything God is and everything God does the Word is in close proximity, He is at a coequal face to face level. Not one of us can even see God and live. The Word was at a face to face level with God, which means He is God. He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, because it was not robbery, it was the truth.

--Fact #4: Jesus Christ is God. Lest there be any doubt about Jesus Christ actually being God, it is flat out stated in this verse that He is God. Jesus Christ is Deity. John plainly says this several times (1:1; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28). The Greek text literally reads "and God was The Word". What is stressed here is that all of the character and quality of God continually exists in The Word, who is none other than Jesus Christ.

Christian, Jesus is God, which means that you are not (and neither am I). One would have to read their Bible inside out, upside, down, in a dark room, and with their eyes closed not to see the deity of Jesus Christ. Rest, worship, and be amazed…this is our God!

Father, we thank you that your Son's deity is the very rock foundation on which we are to build our lives, our families, and our churches. At His birth, Jesus was unlike any baby ever born, eternal Deity joined to sinless humanity, the Infinite Infant. Thank you for sending your Son, Father! When we don't see or understand what is going on around us, thank you that this proves that you do and you care for us - because we are yours. We walk by faith and not by sight. In Jesus' name. Amen.

December 19

John 1:2 "He was with God in the beginning."

John again wants to underscore the fact that Jesus Christ is at a co-equal face-to-face level with God from the beginning of anything and everything. Jesus was God in the beginning when everything else was created.

By way of repetition and restatement, he is emphasizing the importance of Christ's Person and Identity. He has always been God. This verse again establishes this fact and He was so from all of time in the beginning. This is no normal person who came into this world. This One was God.

May our hearts be stoked today to remember that we have a God who does not take risks because he knows the end from the beginning. He is never caught off guard, and he never panics. “God is greater than man” (Job 33:12). Every man. All men. Everywhere. Beginning to end. Forever.

Your Bible begins with these four words, "In the beginning God," they give everything in life its shape, purpose and meaning. Paradise was lost at the beginning of the world. Yet, God had drafted a plan of redemption before the very foundation of the world!

It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance-from beginning to end (Rom 2:4). He is author and finisher of our faith. "I make known the end from the beginning . . . I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please"(God - Isaiah 46:10)

What do you have to fear today?

Father, at the end of this day for some, and it's beginning for others, we praise, bless, and adore you for your tenacious love, vigilant care, and sovereign rule. You alone are worthy; you alone are good; you alone are God. As we look over our day, Lord, may our hearts rise in worship to who you are and what you have done for in the person and work of Jesus. We will never forget! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

December 20

John 1:3 "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

In the Bible, each Person of the Trinity (Godhead) is credited with Creation: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For instance, in Genesis 1:1, God created all things.

In John 1:2, Jesus created all things proving He is God. This theme of Jesus Christ being the Creator of all things is stressed time and time again in the New Testament (I Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 4:11). Jesus Christ is the creator of things visible and things invisible. Many different misinformed men and movements have tried to say Jesus Christ was created. But this verse clearly defends the truth that Jesus Christ is not created, He is the Creator.

Now think about this for a moment. The average galaxy contains 100 billion stars and there are supposedly 100 million known galaxies in known space. Einstein thought that we had scanned with our largest telescopes only one-billionth of theoretical space. This means that there are probably something like 10 octillion stars in space.

Jesus Christ created it all!

Look at the Rocky Mountains. I have read many accounts of people who traveled from the east and first saw the Rocky Mountains standing glorious into the sky and it literally caused them to stop because it took their breath away. They are staggering.

Look carefully at the animals and birds that are so intricately designed, they were created by Jesus Christ. Look at a little baby, looking up at you with those trusting and dependent eyes - they were made by Jesus Christ. They display the glory of God and Jesus Christ is God.

These are things we see, but there are other things He has created that we do not see. Certain molecules, organic existences, life things. All of it was created by Jesus Christ. No wonder He could say, “I and the Father are one” (10:30) or “he who as seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). He is the Creator and Lord of all.

We've never made Jesus lord of anything. At best, we surrender to the fact he is already Lord of all things, and live accordingly. "God has made the ostrich forget wisdom and given her no understanding" (Job 39:17). From him are all things means all things. G

We must come to grips with the fact that we live in a twisted age where man has made himself the measure of all things. God made us and all things to display the infinite worth of the Lamb in the white-hot worship of the ransomed.

Whose side are you on?

Father, on your schedule, all things will be beautiful and all things will be made new. Make your time frame ours. Please. We understand and know that you not only created all things, but you are the sustainer of all things. We submit this day to your infinite majesty and grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.