Merry Christmas!

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 – CSB – Read the chapter)

Merry Christmas to you! The day is finally here. Advent is behind us and Christmas has dawned. Jesus is born and the world is not the same. I hope and pray this is a day of joy and gladness for you and your family. We have been talking about the love that is part and parcel with the Christmas celebration and we will do that yet one more time this morning. But because I know you have many things to do, I’ll keep this one short. Let’s talk about the heart of love and the heart of the Gospel.

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Morning Musing: Luke 6:35

“But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

I was up early this morning composing today’s entry in my head before my fingers could hit the screen. I had a good intro and several profound points to make. It was going to be really good too. We were going to talk about one of my favorite things Jesus said on loving one another. I’d been planning on this day all week long. Then I got up and opened the Scriptures to read a bit before I wrote and the Spirit messed all of that up. Here’s what He wanted me to talk about instead.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 22:36-40

“‘Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love two for one deals, don’t you? Stores don’t do it all that often, but when they do, they are almost guaranteed to sell me on whatever it is. This is especially true at a grocery store. When I’m walking down one aisle or another and see some product is on sale, two for the price of one, all of a sudden, I’m hungry for whatever it is. Even if I don’t like it, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to expand my nutritional horizons so I can capitalize on this great deal. One day, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment in the Law of Moses. In response He offered the most important two for one deal ever. As we continue in our Advent journey this morning, let’s talk about what this means for our lives.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 John 4:9-10

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

All throughout this season of Advent we have been talking about its virtues. We started out with hope. Advent is nothing if not an injection of hope into our lives. From there came peace. When hope comes into our heart, peace is going to be the result. Then followed joy. Hope and peace together will give us the confidence in our God to lay hold of that incorrigible contentment that makes up the foundation of real joy. But right at the heart of the season is another virtue. This one Paul identified as the greatest of them all. What is it? Love. This week, as we prepare to land with both feet on the day itself, we are going to be talking about love.

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All According to Plan

Have you ever made plans only to have them fall apart? I suspect you have. That’s part of life. Sometimes, though, when our plans fall apart, it isn’t because we’ve done anything wrong. It isn’t because anyone else has done anything wrong either. Instead, it’s because God has His own plans and He’s interrupting to make sure His plans happen. This kind of thing can be monumentally frustrating, but as we’ll see in this next part of our Advent series, All Planned Out, this always works out for our good. Thanks for joining me as we talk about how God makes sure things happen all according to His plan.

All According to Plan

There’s a pretty well-known children’s book that starts out like this: “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be…” If you know the book, say the next line with me: “…a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Now, what poor soul experienced all of that bad luck before breakfast? Why, Alexander, of course. The book is entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

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