The light of Christmas was a baby in a manager. A baby who grew into a man who proclaimed the year of the Lord. Jesus came to “call us back to God” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, for he was anointed to bring Good News to the poor. He was sent by God to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come (Luke 4).
He came to release you. He came to give you sight. He came to proclaim to you that the Lord’s favor is available to you.
In the song “Let there be Light” (by Hillsong, album Let There be Light), the words beautifully capture the reason for Christmas:
Let there be light
Open our eyes to Your heart
Desperate just to know who You are
Shine in us we pray
Jesus have Your way
Good news embracing the poor
Comfort for all those who mourn
For the broken hearted
We sing louder
Release from prison and shame
Oppression turning to praise
For every captive
Restoring sight to the blind
Breaking the curse of the night
For all in darkness
Proclaiming freedom for all
This is the day of the Lord
Beauty for ashes
Let there be light
Open the eyes of the blind
Purify our hearts in Your fire
Breathe in us we pray
At Christmas, we are reminded that he came to us and he came for us. Jesus, a real human being, was born into this world. He became like you in order that he might save you. A star that shone high above Bethlehem announcing his coming also foretold that Jesus brought with him the great light of God to shine the way back to him. This Christmas, rejoice an say “Let there be light!” for the light has come and the light is come.
Sometimes on Sunday mornings the people of LJCF bring additional encouragements for the fellowship to hear. Not only does God speak to us through the regular preacher, but also through the experiences other people in the congregation are having with him.
Listen to some insightful encouragements shared by Cortney Kluver and Nona Schaff.
Praise God before the Good
The King of the Cursed, a excerpt reading from a devotional study “King of the Cursed” by Jonathan Cahn
As you read the Christmas story in the gospel and Matthew and Luke, you might notice that our modern day plays and retellings add a few items that are not found in the original source. This has caused some understandable frustration and confusion as many learn about the true story. The sad part is that many people conclude that the whole story is false because Christians have added artistic license or even their own perspectives to the story over the last two thousand years.
Watch this funny reminder of what elements have been added compared to what the original stories say. Be encouraged, the details added for the sake of easy story telling do not change the point of the story. The old story is true, a God man was born to save the world.
Merry Christmas. The old story is true. The peace of God is real.
Christmas isn’t just another cultural religious story made up to make the religious followers happy or convinced that their god is the real god. The story is true. The story has been incorporated into religious services and a lot of artistic license has been granted to holiday pageants and plays, but this doesn’t make the original story false.
The virgin birth was just as unbelievable to the Jewish community as it is for all of us “science minded” people today. Joseph desired to separate from Mary privately so as not to bring her into more public shame. He knew (as did the public) just as well as you and I that a child is not normally conceived outside of normal natural means. Don’t let the festive traditions, ones that were unfamiliar to the people who experienced the birth of Jesus, deceive you into thinking that all of the Christmas tradition was created by followers of the Christian church much later after Jesus was born. We celebrate because the event happened, just as the historic record (as recorded by Matthew and Luke) explains. We personalize the story because we love Him and choose to celebrate his birth and his mission.
The old story is true. The salvation of God is here.
Thanksgiving can be a hard time for many of us. Maybe sad events once occurred during this season. Maybe you don’t enjoy your family or relatives but they will be at Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe your stressed out and you don’t feel very thankful.
In the past year, America has experienced (and is still experiencing) troubling times. Communities seem to be in disarray, people feel marginalized, and it can seem difficult to show honor and love to our neighbor if we don’t agree with them. What a good time to have a holiday to focus our minds and thoughts on thankfulness!
The world may be bad at times, but God is good all of the time. As you think about the goodness of God, an attitude of thankfulness will grow. A spirit of thankfulness can feel hard to keep, but as you abide and think of Him you will find that thankfulness becomes like a close friend.
This Thanksgiving holiday, wherever you go and whomever you’re with, focus on the goodness of God and let thankfulness over flow out of you. A thankful heart produces thankful words which lead to thankful actions which help heal a broken world.
Last weekend the LJCF Youth Group team traveled with numerous high school students from around Colstrip to the annual Vision Conference held this year in Great Falls, MT. Dozens of students went and returned with inspiring stories and a new vision and thirst for Jesus Christ. Listen to their testimony about how they encountered God.
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The day I met the wrath and grace of God was the day my life changed from trying to appease God to living for God. Seeing the wrath of God I piled up for myself because of my sin made the grace of God truly amazing. Today, see your life in the light of his amazing grace. Lives change when grace breaks through. As Phil Wickham sings:
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me
“Marriage is designed by God to endure. Best-selling author Gary Thomas explores God’s purpose for marriage and explains how the best marriages are those steeped in worship. Unlike appearances, worship is something that grows more beautiful with time, making marriage more lovely through the years, not less. Gary shares how God spoke to him about his wife, and how that admonition revolutionized his marriage.”
Family Life Today co-host Bob Lepine says, “If you love God and you begin to realize that your husband or your wife is God’s daughter / God’s son, that makes God your Heavenly Father-in-law. Author and speaker, Gary Thomas, says, “When you start to realize how all of this fits together, that changes the way you love your spouse, no matter what stage your marriage is in.”
Jump over to Family Life Today and listen online or download this renewing broadcast that will inspire you to rethink the way you love your husband or wife.
FamilyLife is a Christian non-profit organization with headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and a subsidiary of Cru. President Dennis Rainey guides FamilyLife in its mission to “effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at a time.
Last week, Focus on the Family radio aired a two part presentation called “Getting a Handle on Your Family Finances” by financial author and teacher Dave Ramsey. Listen to the rest of the presentation in part two.
In the broadcast Dave says, “The flow of money in a family represents the value system under which that family operates. Jesus said it this way. He said, ‘Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.’ So what you do with money screams loudly who you are.”
We can all use a encouraging pick-me-up in the middle of the week. Have trials of the week brought your spirit down? Are you tired and need a pick me up? Have you had a great start of the week and things are going well? No matter your kind of week, the answer is always the same, “Lord I need you. Every hour I need you.”
Be encouraged with the song “Lord I Need You”, performed by Matt Maher.
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You