Look to the Manger

The story of Jesus’ birth reminds us of our Lord’s most humble beginnings—born in a stable among the
animals and placed in a manger. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and
to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)


One of the stunning details of the Christmas story is the manger. It’s the place where food is placed for
the livestock. In French, the word manger means “to eat.” And what food do we find in the feeding
place? Jesus!


In John 6, (v. 35, 51-57) the LORD declared Himself to be our food. “I am the bread of life. Whoever
comes to me will never go hungry, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this
bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Very truly I tell
you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats
my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real
food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in
them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will
live because of me.”


Do you think of Jesus as your food? Do you feast on Him as your greatest need and desire? He is the
sacrificial lamb. At the first Passover, the Hebrews were told to cook a lamb and to eat it all. God knew
they would need physical strength for their journey out of exile. As we eat the bread during the LORD’s
supper in remembrance of His great sacrifice, we are taking Jesus in afresh on the inside, where He
dwells by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need Him on the inside as the fuel for our respective
journeys and the light to guide us on our way. As we remain in Him, we discover in fullest measure who
He created us to be—living reflections of the image of God!


So during this season of remembering Jesus’ birth, may we not neglect the food that has already been
provided to us in Christ! May He be the supply of our every need, the answer to every prayer, and our
daily provision of strength. May our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and joy in realizing that God knew exactly what we needed and supplied His very best for our good and His Glory!

Look to the Manger

The story of Jesus’ birth reminds us of our Lord’s most humble beginnings—born in a stable among the animals and placed in a manger. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

One of the stunning details of the Christmas story is the manger. It’s the place where food is placed for the livestock. In French, the word manger means “to eat.” And what food do we find in the feeding place? Jesus!

In John 6, (v. 35, 51-57) the LORD declared Himself to be our food. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”

Do you think of Jesus as your food? Do you feast on Him as your greatest need and desire? He is the sacrificial lamb. At the first Passover, the Hebrews were told to cook a lamb and to eat it all. God knew they would need physical strength for their journey out of exile. As we eat the bread during the LORD’s supper in remembrance of His great sacrifice, we are taking Jesus in afresh on the inside, where He dwells by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need Him on the inside as the fuel for our respective journeys and the light to guide us on our way. As we remain in Him, we discover in fullest measure who He created us to be—living reflections of the image of God!

So during this season of remembering Jesus’ birth, may we not neglect the food that has already been provided to us in Christ! May He be the supply of our every need, the answer to every prayer, and our daily provision of strength. May our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and joy in realizing that God knew exactly what we needed and supplied His very best for our good and His Glory!

The Power of our Agreement

Three times in John 17, Jesus prayed that we, as believers, would be one, with the same intimate unity that He enjoys with His Heavenly Father. What is our scorecard as a nation, a culture, a community and even as individuals in cultivating the unity that our LORD prayed for?

Right now, contemporary media is working overtime to ensure that we choose a side and offer an opinion, whether related to politics, COVID-19, or any number of other issues. These days, it is assumed that winning the argument can only result from hurling insults, spewing negativity about the opposition, and/or putting a “spin” on truth. We feel compelled to take a side and draw swords, fearful that if we do not, something bad might happen. That mindset ignores the sovereign power of God to accomplish His best plans and purposes.


Do we believe that Father God will answer Jesus’ prayer for our unity? Is an answer to that prayer even possible or practical at this point? How will the cavernous gaps between humans ever be bridged? The initial step to co-laboring with Jesus’ desire for oneness is to share that desire with Him! Do we want unity enough to pursue it and believe Him for it, or is it just easier to hate and to disagree?

Perhaps a key point to remember is that people who are acting contrary to God’s ways have been taken captive by the enemy to do his bidding. (See 2 Timothy 2:15-26.) That breaks God’s heart and it should break ours, too.


Jesus desires that not one human being will be lost for eternity (2 Peter 3:9). And yet as Christians, perhaps without realizing it, we are using the power of our words to speak in agreement with satan about other people! Revelation 12:10 tells us that the accuser is before the Throne of God accusing our brothers and sisters day and night—nonstop, perpetual accusation. Every time we use our words to declare negativity over another human made in God’s image and whom He loves wildly, we are standing
in agreement with the accuser, condemning them with our judgements.


The unity that Jesus prayed for most certainly did not mean that we all just turn a blind eye to what He considers sin for the sake of getting along. But what He did command was that we love our enemies and pray for those who oppose us (Matthew 5:44). Because God is love (1 John 4:8), love is the most powerful force in the universe, not just a “feeling.” So how do we unleash the power of His love in order to co-labor in His unity-building desire for our one-ness?

The key is to guard our agreement. It is vital that we know God, know His will, and agree with Him in that. If we’re willing, He can show us what His best plan is for individuals and groups that are not yet redeemed. He can move our hearts to compassion for people who have been taken captive by the enemy to do his bidding instead of the LORD’s. We can pray fervently for the power of God’s love, His hesed, to overtake them and woo them into the Kingdom! We can pray and ask God to forgive them and to give them the same gift of repentance that He gave us!


Let’s stop using our words to predict negative outcomes about people and situations—expecting the worst and patting ourselves on the back when bad things happen just like we said they would. Instead, let’s speak, pray, and believe that the power of God’s love in Christ to redeem all things is infinitely more potent than the hatred and division that abounds. Let’s use our words to bless and to speak life, not to tear down and destroy (Proverbs 18:21).


Know that the speed of light—His light—can permanently overtake any and all forms of darkness. Given that light is the fastest speed in the universe, let’s be His light, seeking His love and compassion for every person made in His image. Then let’s release that love and light through the power of our agreement via our words.


At the end of it all, what matters is that God already owns the greatest victory of all time – the defeat of evil and darkness! Let’s purpose to line up on His team, cheering on those who don’t yet know and love Him so that they, too, stand a fighting chance of living in the light of their personal, eternal victory.


But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light, and their way shines brighter and brighter until they bring forth the perfect day! (Proverbs 4:18)

Remembering 9/11

Heavenly Father,
As we remember September 11, 2001, we lift up to You all those who continue to mourn the tragic loss of someone precious. We ask that You be the God of all comfort to them today and always. And as we reflect back on how our nation unified over and through that time of shock and tragedy, we ask that You once again accomplish a mighty work of unification across our land. We are suffering from many of the same pains and fear as we did in 2001 – fires raging in the west, not feeling safe from evil, wondering about the stability of our nation’s financial strength, and grieving the unexpected loss of nearly 200,000 souls since the spring onset of the pandemic.

This time, we ask for a lasting unification—one that only comes from knowing You and being hidden in You. We call forth Your Kingdom and a violent overthrow of every form of evil in our country. We repent on behalf of those who have been captured in the snares of the evil one to do his will, and ask that you grant them the same gift of repentance that You blessed us with (2 Tim 2:25-26). Cause our nation as a whole and every person in it to seek and find every form of security, satisfaction, and comfort in You alone.

Your Word reminds us that in the world we will have troubles, but to take heart because You have already overcome the world (John 16:33). May we believe and agree with You for the victory that is already ours in Christ. And may the power of Your love and tender mercy flowing through use serve as Your catalyst for the enduring unity that we co-desire with You.
Amen!