The celebration of the first noel and the anticipation of the last noel are closely connected. Both events teach the same truth — and what is that truth? God has his hand on human history and your place in it. Both the first and last noels teach us that God has not abandoned us, that God is not ignoring us, that God has a plan and a purpose and that He’s inviting us to get plugged into that plan and purpose. You may not know what tomorrow will bring, but you don’t have to be afraid. You may have no idea how things are going to turn out, but you don’t have to be afraid. You may be headed into unknown territory but you don’t have to be afraid.
The blessing of God calls for being in “the place of ‘His’ choosing.” Have you ever considered that idea in your life? Does anyone consider that idea when they accept a new job, or when they move to a new city, or when they make a huge purchase, or when it comes to who they marry, or when they decide which school to attend? I’m not saying it’s always easy to know, but isn’t that the best place to be? Isn’t that the place of greatest blessing and usefulness? Then for crying out loud, get there and stay there.
In the ancient world, parents chose who their children would marry. Do you think going back to such a custom would be advisable today? Since parents no longer make such decisions, do parents bear any responsibility in the choices made by their children regarding a spouse? If so, what are they? Further, does the Bible offer any guidance for single adults who may be praying for and searching for a mate? Believe it or not, Abraham provides valuable direction not only for parents and single adults but also for those who want to be prepared to address such serious issues as they arise.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ then you stand at the center of the world you inhabit. But wait! How does that idea mesh with such biblical phrases as consider others as more important than yourself, and he who is greatest among you will be your servant? Living and residing at the center? Really? Yes, it’s true! And it’s time to take your place in the middle of things. Get out there every day and let the focus be on you.
Love is the distinguishing mark among distinguishing marks in the lives of those who follow Jesus Christ. Love demonstrates the deepest level of maturity as a Christian. Love models the life of Christ and reveals the overflow of the Spirit from within. Yet, how do we know if love is on display in our lives? The answer is easy. Take the love test.
In its design, the church is uniquely equipped to reach out to every age group and say: We care about you. We want you. Come find a home here. But designs don’t reach out to people, people reach out to people. Brotherly kindness not only reaches out and brings others in, but it reaches out and brings others in again. Forgiveness is not a one-time event for a one-time failure. Forgiveness is an event that occurs again and again and again and again and again in the church.