Mighty God 5

Luke 1:39-45

As children my cousins had a very visible and simple way of showing their delight. Whenever something made them extremely happy they would hop up and down, literally leaping in their joy. Christmas mornings or surprise birthdays would find these children bouncing straight up and down in happiness. What a wonderful display of sheer joy.

After learning that she would bear the Son of God, Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, of whom Gabriel has spoken. What happens with Elizabeth? What does the Holy Spirit cause Elizabeth to recognize? Why did the baby (John the Baptist) leap in her womb?

The gift of Jesus is the gift that brings more joy than any other present any person might find under the Christmas tree. And two of the first people to recognize the wonder of God’s gift were John the Baptist and his mother, Elizabeth. Just the sound of Mary’s voice was enough to stir the unborn John as he recognized the woman who would bring forth such a blessing to the world.

The Holy Spirit, with the aid of the moving baby, made Elizabeth also recognize what was going on. These two women and the unborn child were part of the miracle of Christmas and the arrival of God on earth. These three would be among the many witnesses who would see the mighty God of all things manifested in human form through Jesus.

And this was a cause of great joy. Certainly Mary was filled with joy, so much so that she rushed to share the event with her cousin. Elizabeth was filled with joy when she realized the import of what was happening. And the joy of our mighty God even reached an unborn child, filling him with such emotion that the confines of the womb could not prevent his own leap for joy.

The celebration of Christmas can become so humdrum and familiar that we miss the amazing truth to the whole story. It is the celebration that the mighty God of the universe has reached out to us. God loves us so much that he sent His Son to be with us. This should cause great joy.

May this holiday season fill you with such happiness that you are willing to break through any confines and constrictions in your life and leap for joy the way John did.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can your joy be renewed?

Mighty God 4

Romans 8:35-37

Discussing the concept of family at our most recent Bible study we were to take some time and think about our own families and our past. We examined what type of family we each had, looking at what qualities we saw in each. And thinking back over all the years with my own family I came to realize that over all the years, all the events in our lives, the marriages, the travels, the sadness and joys, there was love as a constant thread.

And the same can be said of us as members of Christ’s family. Jesus was sent by God to live among mortals, to be our spiritual brother no matter how much time separates when we live and when Jesus lived.

In his letter to the believers in Rome Paul offers encouragement. What life afflictions are mentioned in today’s passage? How does Paul sum up what it sometimes feels like to be a Christian? What is the conclusion?

Jesus Christ was born to a small family, entering the world as a little child. Yet, he was also our mighty God. And part of his incredible might is the love that he brought to us all, all those who are part of the family of Christ. That love remains constant over all the centuries and will remain constant in all the years yet to come.

The story of Christmas seems fixed in time in the long ago, but the story of the joy that Jesus brings is a new story that we receive every day. It is easy to keep the image of Jesus as a tiny baby in a manger during this holiday. But we should never forget that he is also the mighty God who brings joy.

Christmas is the story of God making us conquerors, victors over all those problems we may have and victors over the burdens of sin. The love of our mighty God brings us the joy of victory over all of life’s troubles. His love brings the joy of victory over all the hardships we may face.

As we near the celebration of Christ’s birth let us be reminded that the child born is also the Son of God who delivers us with his power, the power of love. And let us never forget the bond that God’s love has with us. It cannot be defeated or blocked. It cannot be diminished or taken away.

The love of God expressed through his Son, Jesus, is a love that is with us always. And in all things we are more than conquerors through him.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What does God’s love help you conquer?

Mighty God 3

Exodus 17:9-13

I love to play games, especially games of military tactics and strategy. I love the challenges of thinking through what moves need to be made and how I can defeat my opponent. We have often made jokes about my desire to play games because I am usually the loser. But I don’t lose every time. I am familiar with the elation that comes with winning. There is a thrill to see success in your plans, victory over an opponent. There is joy in winning.

Today’s passage may seem far distant from the story of Christmas, but it relates to the title of “Mighty God” and the concept of joy. What is Joshua doing? How does Moses help? What is the result?

Taken at face value the story seems like a myth involving some magic on the part of Moses. Although Moses needed to keep his arms and the staff of God raised to ensure victory, the victory came because of the power of God. By lifting up the staff while on a hilltop Moses was serving as a reminder to Joshua and his soldiers that God was with them to deliver their enemy into their hands.

So, what does this have to do with Christmas? Moses, Joshua and the Israelites experienced the joy of victory, a joy that came directly from God. They had a victory because God is a mighty God with great power.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus, but that baby was also the Son of God. He is the mighty God too.

Christmas is the celebration of the gift of Jesus, who came to be the wonderful Counselor we need. But he is more than a counselor; he is also the mighty God who is able to do miraculous things in our lives. He is the source of our joy.

The baby born in Bethlehem came to bring the joy of love to our lives. And he came as our mighty God to defeat and destroy the power of sin in our lives. He came to give us victory over the fears and sorrows, the troubles and hardships of life.

As we celebrate Christmas this year let us raise up our mighty God that we may be reminded that He is always present with us to give us the joy of victory.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you of the presence of our mighty god this year?

Mighty God 2

Matthew 1:20-23

I have gotten to the age where I do not like to travel places on my own. It isn’t that I can’t, it is just that I prefer to have someone with me to talk to and consult whenever I have questions or uncertainties. There is a definite comfort in knowing that you are not alone in the things that you do.

Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift of Jesus, a gift that will end our loneliness forever. Moving forward in the Christmas story, today’s passage is Joseph’s encounter with an angel. What information does the angel give? What instruction is given? Why is this happening?

It is easy, in my opinion, to imagine God as an all-powerful being thundering through the heavens and casting down lightning bolts on the wicked. The title “Mighty God” fits that image, and such an image can bring some comfort. It is reassuring to know that the Lord of the universe is a great and powerful being.

But in the Christmas story we have a different perspective on our mighty God. The all-knowing, all-powerful King of kings has come to earth in flesh, arriving not as a warrior king but as a helpless child born to a virgin. And this also should bring comfort. The Lord is able to do the impossible by having Mary conceive a child. He has also fulfilled the ancient prophecies, those predictions and expectations from so many years before.

But the key words here are those in verse 23. Jesus will also be known as “Immanuel.” And that name means “God with us.” We are not alone. God is among us now and forever. He has sent His only Son to live with us and be the Mighty God who is also a companion and counsel to each of us.

This is part of God’s mighty ability – to make Himself vulnerable so that we might be given that comfort and companionship that we so desperately need. God is able in His might to bring Himself to us so that we might be blessed and comforted. Through God Himself we are shown the path to that right relationship with God.

As we prepare to celebrate the holidays this year, let us keep in mind that God is indeed with us at all times. The gift of Jesus Christ is an everlasting gift of love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Where do you find God’s might in Christmas?

Mighty God 1

Luke 1:35-37

Many years ago my cousin’s wife had a baby. I asked him if they were planning another child in the coming years and he said, “I’m still trying to get over this one. The doctors said she couldn’t have a baby.”

Here in our ordinary life we saw a miracle. A baby was born to a young couple who expected that they would never have children. But, apparently, God had other plans.

In this part of the Christmas story the angel Gabriel has appeared to Mary and explained that she is to give birth to a child who will be great. He will be the Son of God. And this makes Mary wonder how it can all be possible.

How will this come about? What other miracle is mentioned? What does Gabriel declare in verse 37?

The celebration and story of Christmas is a story of miracles and the power of God. The very fact hat Jesus was born, God in human form, is a display of the mighty power of God. And so the second name for Christ is “Mighty God.”

But with the birth of Jesus were other miracles which displayed the incredible power of God. Mary, a virgin, was to give birth to the Savior. And along with Mary was her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was believed to be barren, unable to have children, yet when the angel came to Mary Elizabeth was already six months along in her pregnancy.

And how was all this possible? It was possible through the power of God. As the angel declared, “nothing is impossible with God.”

It is always exciting to celebrate Christmas, to remember what it all means, to share in the wonder and glory of the story. But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just a few weeks in the winter. The miracles of God are around us at all times.

Even in our darkest hours, in the bleakest of times, in those days when we feel lost and alone we can experience the miracles of God. When we think it is impossible for our lives to get better, when we think it is impossible for us to find happiness, remember the words of the angel.

Jesus was born two-thousand years ago but the title of Mighty God did not end when he was crucified. Jesus is still the wonderful Counselor and he is still the Mighty God who can do the impossible in our lives.

In the birth of a little baby God was connecting to a dark and hurting world and that connection still remains. Take the time this holiday season to draw near to the Mighty God who has come to fill your life with joy and love and miracles. Let him fill your life with the miracles of peace and comfort.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there something impossible that you need from God?