Hope and Life Are Yours!

By David Shibley

What are you facing this week?

Just today I’ve felt the heartache of friends’ marriages hanging by a thread, a partner’s business that must get a miracle – fast, and a beautiful young girl who loves Jesus and loves missions who has been diagnosed with cancer.

What about you?  Are you facing personal, family, or financial trials this week that threaten to engulf you?  There is HOPE! 

Remember what else is going on this week.

This Friday Christians worldwide will honor Christ’s atoning death that tore open for us the way into God’s presence, His grace, and His family.  As F. W. Krummacher wrote in The Suffering Savior, Christ “covers our guilt with His obedience, and our deficiencies with His fullness.” Then this Sunday we as believers will celebrate Christ’s mighty triumph over death. “Because I live,” Jesus said, “you will live also” (Jn. 14:19).

No matter how tough your circumstance your heart can pound with hope.  I don’t mean flimsy, man-based optimism; I mean Bible-based, blood-bought hope. Many years ago Konrad Adenauer, who was then Chancellor of West Germany, came to Billy Graham with a serious question.  “Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?” the chancellor asked.  “I believe it with all my heart,” the evangelist replied.  “Good,” replied Mr. Adenauer. “Then there is hope for the world.”

Even with all the challenges in the world – from Cyprus to Syria and from the White House to your house – there is great hope for the world – and great hope for you – because Jesus died and rose again.  The living Christ, who this very moment is interceding for you, is the cornerstone of your hope.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pe. 1:3-4, emphasis mine).

You have been born again to a living hope!  I want to be very clear.  Christ is our hope.  His resurrection, His return, His rule; this is our hope.  No Jesus – no hope.  With Jesus – great hope.  All our hope is wrapped up in Him.  He is “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).

The Bible scholar, Kenneth Wuest, observed that this hope is “an energizing principle of divine life in the believer.”  It is an attitude of expectancy – both of the future glories of heaven and present blessings because we are God’s children through faith in His Son.

Through Christ we have . . .

  • Hope of a home in heaven.  “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
  • Hope that He will come again.  “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
  • Hope that the scales of justice will finally and forever be balanced.  God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
  • Hope that we will be reunited with loved ones already with the Lord.  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout . . . . And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall .always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
  • Hope for the unrivaled reign of Jesus Christ over all the earth.  “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:13).

It’s all because of Jesus.  “Christ is in you, the assurance of all the glorious things to come” (Colossians 1:27, J. B. Phillips Translation).

It is this Good News of hope through a crucified, risen Redeemer that He has commissioned us to take to all the world.  And we’re doing just that, thanks to partners like you.

In this Holy Week, I’m asking you to honor our great Redeemer with a love gift of gratitude for so great a salvation.  By giving to advance the Gospel you assault the devil and a world system that idolizes possessions.  You break free from cynicism and the tyranny of the spirit of Mammon.  You put Jesus and others before yourself.  You do what God says to do and what He did Himself.  “God so loved the world that He gave . . . .” (John 3:16).

As you prayerfully determine where you will sow your offering, please consider a gift to the ministry of Global Advance.  Thank you – and God bless you and your loved ones throughout this week of remembrance and celebration.

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Shouldn’t We Reach America First?

By David Shibley

Some actually pose this question to me aloud.  Many others I know are thinking it – “David, we’re not even evangelizing our own country.  We’re losing ground right here.  How can we possibly talk about evangelizing the world?”

It’s a good question – with a good answer.  Jesus Himself gives the answer: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Ac. 1:8).  These are concurrent assignments – one does not exclude the other.  In fact, we cannot be fully effective in evangelism here without a commitment to what God is doing globally.  At the same time, we cannot broad-jump to an unreached people group and carry no concern for our neighbors’ salvation.  We are to proclaim Christ where we live, beyond our own city, and because we are a covenant people, we’re also assigned to bless all the families of the earth (see Genesis 12:1-3; Gal. 3:13-14).

Jesus wants His disciples to thing and believe big.  He said, “Be My witnesses in Jerusalem” – to your entire city!  Then He stretched the disciples’ vision even broader, commissioning them to reach the ends of the earth.  It’s as if the Lord were saying, “The very smallest terms in which I want you to think is taking whole cities.”

William Carey, the father of modern missions, caught this extravagant evangelistic spirit when he challenged the church, “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.”  Protectionism juxtaposed against globalization may be argued politically.  However, a protectionist mentality in spiritual matters is always unhealthy and counterproductive.  There are no merits to “spiritual protectionism;” it is always lethal.  The most patriotic thing I can do for my country is to love the world.  And the healthiest thing I can do for the American church is to point us beyond ourselves.

A great spiritual exercise would be to spend a day in prayer, fasting, and meditating on the phrase and not for us only.  If I were president of a Bible college or seminary, I would make it the school motto.  The gospel is not for us only.  The benefits the gospel brings are not for us only.  Jesus is not for us only! “He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins – and not only for our sins but the sins of all the world” (1 Jn. 2:2, NLT).  As someone well said, “Jesus left us a Great Commission, not a limited contract with America.”

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Tribute to T. L. Osborn

By David Shibley

February 18, 2013

T. L. Osborn, one of the greatest missionary evangelists in the history of the church, is now home in heaven.  Osborn slipped into the presence of Jesus February 14, 2013 at age 89.  He was one of three people who most shaped my missiology.  His nation-impacting evangelistic meetings in over 100 nations brought millions under the sound of the Gospel and into an encounter with the living Christ.

Our family has been intertwined with the ministry of T. L. and Daisy Osborn since their ministry’s inception.  My mother was the first secretary of the newly-formed Osborn ministry in 1949. In March of 1950 neither my mother nor I was expected to survive my birth.  As my mother was in labor, my father, a Tulsa pastor who served on the Osborns’ board, waited anxiously at the hospital with T. L. Osborn.  Osborn was strongly impressed to pray for my life and my mother’s.  Turning to my father, Brother Osborn said, “Warren, we’ve got to rebuke the spirit of death right now.”

They agreed in prayer, stood in faith, and God intervened.  What appeared to be certain death for both mother and child (who weighed less than four pounds) was turned into victory for the Lord.  It is now 63 years later – and both my mother and I are serving the Lord.  On a human level, we may owe our lives to the sensitivity and faith of missionary-evangelist T. L. Osborn.

At first the records and files of the young ministry were kept in our family home’s spare bedroom.  But when I came home from the hospital, that room became my nursery and Osborn acquired office space on North Utica Street in Tulsa.  So I jokingly say I’m the guy who launched T. L. Osborn into a faith ministry!

My parents, along with T. L., Daisy, and T. L.’s brother comprised the first board of directors for the Osborns’ fledgling ministry.  Sometimes my parents took me as a child to the board meetings.  While I played in the corner, my subconscious mind absorbed the hum of their optimistic discussions about world evangelism.  I remember Osborn coming back from his now historic crusades with a passion for souls in his eyes.  We wept as we watched the pagan rituals captured on raw footage that would later be embedded in his classic mission films.

Throughout his ministry Brother Osborn kept the main thing the main thing.  “One way: Jesus! One job: souls!” was woven deep into the ministry’s DNA.  T. L. and Daisy were an exemplary team and early advocates for what we today call justice issues that affect women worldwide, especially in the Majority World nations.

As a heartbroken teenager, T. L. and Daisy came to our home to comfort our family shortly after my father’s death.  He took me aside, assuming a fatherly role, and spoke words of strength and life that helped sustain me.  Brother Osborn preached my dad’s funeral and his message of hope resonates in me to this day.

T. L. Osborn was a world class evangelist and missionary statesman of the first order.  He was often afforded an ambassador’s welcome by the heads of state of many nations.  Even non-Christian presidents and prime ministers knew intrinsically they were in the presence of greatness when they were with T. L. Osborn.  His compassionate demeanor, authority, anointing, and the dignity of his calling identified him as the Gospel’s global ambassador for Christ.  It has been my privilege to minister in 60 nations.  Almost anywhere I go I see that the large spiritual footprint of T. L. Osborn has preceded me.  This humble servant who was welcomed in king’s palaces was also joyfully received by the neediest people.

A few years ago it was my privilege to share a meal with him in his home.  “Brother Osborn,” I asked, “what is the best ministry decision you ever made?”  With his trademark smile and twinkle in his eye he replied in his animated style, “Oh, David!  That’s a good question.  I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question!  Let me think about that for a moment.”  He paused and replied, “The most important ministry decision I ever made was to invest my life for neglected people.  I’m an old man now.  I’m so glad that when I stand before Jesus I’ll be able to tell Him, ‘I invested my life for the neglected people of the world.’”

Now T. L. Osborn rejoins his wife Daisy at the feet of Jesus.  Their joy is complete.  Their reward – incalculable.  “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament.  And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

David Shibley is founder and world representative for Global Advance, a ministry that equips thousands of church and business leaders annually in many nations to help fulfill the Great Commission.

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Reasons for Hope in the New Year

By David Shibley

Do you dare to live in hope in such a chaotic world?

Much of the landscape looks bleak both globally and nationally.  Piled on top of the dread of what may unfold, you also may face personal challenges that threaten to overwhelm you.  And yet – you can live in hope, not baseless optimism but solid, anchored hope.

Your Grounds for Hope

When the Bible speaks of hope, it simply means we know God will make good on His promises.  Bible-based hope rests on God’s promises.  In fact, these promises are so certain that Scripture sometimes speaks of future events in the past tense, as already accomplished.  Hope is an extension of faith.  If God said it, you can go to the bank on it.

The Bible is teeming with hope for those who put their trust in Christ:

  • “Be joyful in hope” (Rom. 12:12).
  • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you” (Eph. 1:18, NIV).
  • “The hope which is laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5).

I want to be very clear.  Christ is our hope.  His return, His rule, His global glory – this is our hope.  No Jesus – no hope.  With Jesus – great hope.  He is “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).

Your Hope Through Christ

Through Christ we have:

  • Hope that He will come again. “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
  • Hope of a home in heaven.  “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).
  • Hope that the scales of justice will finally balance. God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31).
  • Hope that we will be reunited with loved ones already with the Lord. “The dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
  • Hope for the unrivaled reign of Jesus Christ over all nations. “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

So, anchor upward.

Jesus is going to win!

His church is going to win!

His kingdom is going to win!

It’s all because of Jesus. “Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all the glorious things to come” (Col. 1:27, Phillips).

One day Christ will crush Satan and every human power that defies His rule.  Grief, heartache, and loss will be gone forever.  “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

This assurance buoys us today.  If you take the long look, today’s discouraging snapshot yields to a beautiful love story culminating with Jesus as the great kinsman-redeemer and His church as His bride.  So trust Him for your future, and trust Him for today.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13, NIV).

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I’m Not Dreaming – It’s a White Christmas!

By David Shibley 

“What would you like for Christmas?” Naomi asked me.

“Do you see that chair by our fireplace?  I want to sit in that chair with a hot cup of coffee and watch our grandkids open their presents.”

Well, that’s exactly what I got this Christmas.  All five of our grandchildren – ranging from 9 to 6 months – laughing and playing together in joyful chaos.  And God also gave the “fine touches” surrounding that scene – a roaring fire, beautiful Christmas music, four generations of Shibleys praising God for His faithfulness, and snow.

That’s right – snow!  The heavy, wet kind that creates a winter wonderland.  The one day of the year that it snowed in Dallas, Texas, was Christmas Day! And there were our sons and grandkids making snow angels and teasingly tossing snow balls at each other on our front lawn.  What a sight!

I’m watching this raucous behavior from the warm safety of our living room, holding little Lyla,  our newest grandchild.  As I watched her eyes twinkle with excitement I thought, “I’ll remember this Christmas for the rest of my life.”

Big changes await us in the New Year.  Great opportunities.  Great challenges.  Maybe we as a nation will tumble over a “fiscal cliff.”  Maybe they will limit the amount of charitable contributions we can deduct from our taxes.  There are many unknowns – but there are also the certainties of what we know.  I know my Redeemer lives (Job 19:25).  And I know that our gracious, loving, faithful Father is already going before us, making every crooked place straight and every rough way smooth (Lu. 3:5).

“You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance” (Psa. 65:11).  Praise the name of Jesus.

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Handel’s Missions ‘Messiah’

By David Shibley

I have just listened to the complete presentation of the greatest oratorio of all time – Messiah by George Frideric Handel.  Every year during the Advent season I make it a point to enjoy this uplifting worship experience.

This year I was struck especially with how Handel explicitly conveyed the spread of the gospel after Christ’s resurrection, culminating in the reign of Christ and His worldwide worship.  The composer’s thrilling unfolding of the gospel story weaves the story of Jesus beautifully – His prophesied coming, the Nativity, Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, His resurrection and ascension, the victory of the gospel over its opponents, and finally the global reign and worship of Jesus Christ.

After Christ’s ascension, Handel conveys the carrying of Christ’s message and mercy worldwide:

  • Our Lord commissions His followers.  “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it” (Psa. 68:11). 
  • Handel honors the evangelists who preach the gospel: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace” (Rom. 10:15).
  • Their message spreads worldwide: “Their sound went out into all the earth” (Rom. 10:18)
  • The nations resist Christ’s lordship.  “Why do the nations rage? . . . Let us break their bonds asunder” (Psa. 2:1-3).
  • God is amused then powerfully responds to their rebellion and reaffirms His Son’s sovereignty.  “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh” (Psa. 2:4-5).
  • God breaks the uprising of rulers against His Son’s authority.  “Thou shalt break them” (Psalm 2:9).
  • Jesus reigns supreme! “Hallelujah!  For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6).
  • Jesus receives His worthy worship from every tribe and nation! “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12). 

As we rejoice in Emmanuel’s birth and look toward the New Year, be encouraged.  Jesus shall reign!

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Broken-Hearted Christmas

By David Shibley

Our hearts continue to grieve over the horrific evil that was unleashed against precious, helpless children last week at an elementary school in Connecticut.  In the midst of the pain we also remember that hope rises and prevails over darkness through the Advent of God’s eternal Son.

There are many questions.  Answers are complex and elusive.  As we try to process such unspeakable atrocities, trying to make sense of the senseless, trying to reason out the irrational, let’s walk through this against the backdrop of what we do know.  Here is what we know with certainty.

Sin always brings tragic consequences.  The Bible is clear that all rebellion against God will exact payments.  “The wages of sin is death . . .” (Rom. 6:23).  No matter how troubled the shooter was, there is no way to begin to understand such events without an acknowledgement of sin, evil, and the activity of the devil and his minions.  Jesus called the devil “the thief” and said his intent against humanity is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).  Thanks be to God, sin and death have been conquered.  Here’s the rest of the story:  “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).  “I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John. 10:10).  This is indeed Good News.

We are to minister to the broken-hearted.  Christians are always the first responders in crisis.  That is as it should be.  We are called to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2 NIV).

The Advent of God’s Son shouts that light wins over darkness.  Hope rises and prevails over darkness through the coming of Christ. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. . . . So the Word became human and made His home among us.  He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:5, 14).

Believers are to live in the light.  We are to renounce any identification with a culture that is increasingly fixated with blood, violence, and death.  Tragically, most people have chosen to reject the light – the very Light of the world whose advent we celebrate. “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).  Bring every dark thing into His light! “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

We are called to spread the light.  “Our Savior, Jesus Christ . . . has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10).  Especially this year, we are to be carriers of His light to everyone everywhere.  Wherever you go throughout the holidays, bring His light and life with you.

There are many grief-stricken parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters this Christmas in Newtown, Connecticut.  And millions more have their own stories of loss that weighs down their hearts, especially at this season.  For all who mourn, the advent of Jesus into the world is the great star of hope that bursts in dramatic relief on a dark canvass.  God broke in on our lives – with all its sorrows, pain, and death.  Jesus is our Emmauel – God with us.  God with us.  God with us.

God with us means He is also God for us.  He’s in your corner.  “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart” (Psa. 34:18).  He is there. He weeps too. And one day, “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes” (Rom. 21:4).

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On His Shoulders

By David Shibley

Each year during the Advent season I slow down a notch and enjoy two personal traditions: I turn out all the lights, put on my headset and listen to the full rendition of Handel’s Messiah, and

I meditate on the prophecy in Isaiah 9 concerning the coming Messiah’s rule.

Each of these annual experiences enriches my life in so many ways.

Without question Messiah is George Frideric Handel’s magnum opus and one of the greatest pieces of music in all history.  It is a brilliant weaving of the Gospel story of God’s redemption of fallen humanity through the work of His Almighty Son.  Although the “Hallelujah” chorus is rightly regarded as the apex of this incomparable oratorio, the true climax is the final declaration, “Worthy Is the Lamb!”

What a great lead in to meditating on the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

As I wrote years ago,

To the weary, He is wonderful

To the confused, counselor

To the weak, mighty God

To the orphaned, everlasting Father

To the troubled, Prince of Peace

Our world is in a mega-mess.  We have reached the point in history foretold by Jesus: “men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth” (Lu. 21:26).  But in the midst of the chaos, let this season remind you:

  • Jesus gets the last word over all nations and all history
  • His rule will continue to crescendo until it blankets the entire earth
  • God is so fired up to see His Son globally enthroned that He Himself will bring it to pass!

Rest.

Relax.

Rejoice!

“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15).  That is where history is headed.

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Here, Of All Places

By David Shibley

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Micah 2:5).

Phillips Brooks was a noted nineteenth-century Episcopalian minister.  After graduating from Harvard in 1855, Brooks served as a teacher but soon felt called to be a pastor.  He returned to school, this time to Alexandria Seminary, in Virginia.  In 1860, just as the Civil War was about to erupt in all its terrible fury, Brooks was named rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia.  It was there that his fame as a great preacher of the Gospel began to spread.

In 1865 he took a one-year leave of absence from his pulpit.  During this sabbatical Phillips Brooks visited the Holy Land.  On Christmas Eve of that year Brooks traveled the few miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem by horseback.  That night he attended a traditional Christmas Eve service at the Church of the Nativity.  The five hour service made a strong impression on the young pastor.

Phillips Brooks never forgot that night in the ancient city.  Three years later, he wrote some of the most cherished lyrics of all Christmas carols:

O little town of Bethlehem,

How still we see thee lie!

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting light;

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in Thee tonight.

 

For Christ is born of Mary,

And gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep

Their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars, together

Proclaim the holy birth!

And praises sing to God our King

And peace to men on earth.

 

How silently, how silently

The wondrous gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of His heaven.

No ear may hear His coming,

But in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him still,

The dear Christ enters in.

 

O holy Child or Bethlehem!

Descend to us, we pray;

Cast out or sin and enter in;

Be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels

The great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us,

Our Lord, Immanuel.

Many years later I too visited Bethlehem.  I will never forget my pilgrimage into the lowest parts of the Church of the Nativity.  Now cordoned off, there is on the marble floor a multi-pointed silver star.  According to records of antiquity, this is the spot – or very close to it – where Jesus was born.

I remember standing there awestruck.  All I could do was stare at the star.  Riveting through my heart was this thought – Here, of all places.  God arrived here.  God arrived here.  God arrived here!  I wept and worshiped.

Soon after I was back out on the troubled, tense streets of modern Bethlehem.  “Precious little ‘peace on earth’ around here,” I mused.  Even today, Bethlehem is a little town.  But good things do indeed come in small packages.  God Almighty compressed into eight pounds and eighteen inches.  The hinge of history in what we might call a “one stoplight town.”  Yes, “the hopes and fears of all the years” intersect here – of  all places.  So inconspicuous.  So eternally important.  God – away in a manger.

The old Scottish preacher, Horatius Bonar, understood.  He wrote, “At Bethlehem our world’s history begins.  All before and after the birth of the young child takes its color from that event.”

Where are you right now?  No place special?  Don’t be too sure.  Almighty God has a preference for putting inconspicuous places – and never heard of people – on the map.  He wants to meet with you.  Right now.  Right here . . . of all places.

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The Morning After

For the next four years and for the rest of my life, by God’s grace . . .

I will be loyal.  I’ll be loyal to the Lord, to His Word, to my wife, to my covenant relationships, and to my calling. (Romans 14:8)

I will be loving.  Following Christ’s example and empowered by His Spirit, I’ll love all brothers and sisters in Christ, all unbelievers, and those who oppose me.  I commit to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute followers of Christ. (Matthew 5:44)

I will be a light. In a darkening culture, I’ll let the light of Christ, the Gospel, and the truth shine through my life. (Matthew 5:16)

I will keep laboring. I’ll give myself fully to God’s work, knowing that my labor in the Lord is never in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

I will be lifting.  I’ll seek to lift the burdens of the needy and be an advocate for justice.  I will bring the hope of the Gospel and point people to Christ, who delivers us from despair to hope and darkness to light. (Galatians 6:2)

I will keep learning.  I’ll seek to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.  I will deepen my relationship with God and stay fascinated with all of life. (2 Peter 3:18)

I will keep laughing. Even in difficult circumstances I’ll remember there’s a brighter, lighter side of life.  “I will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).

I will keep looking.  I’ll remember that “the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. 11:15).  I’ll be fruitful today, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

David Shibley
November 7, 2012

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