I’m not sure if you follow North Carolina current events, but Governor Beverly Perdue is the center of attention in an epic dispute. Some inmates received life sentences several years ago, but they could be released from prison. Proponents have argued that “life” didn’t mean permanent imprisonment when they were sentenced; therefore, they should be released for good behavior. Governor Perdue, however, has stood firm as an opponent. She believes the crime justifies the time, and these inmates should continue serving their sentence.
As I considered the power Governor Perdue has to grant or deny this request, I couldn’t help being thankful because Jesus is our governor. Isaiah said, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders …” (Isaiah 9:6, New Living Translation). Can you imagine how miserable we’d be if God has entrusted His government to someone else? What if He had given this power to Hitler, Stalin, or someone who really doesn’t like you? Thankfully, He gave the authority to Jesus, the Prince of Peace and merciful Savior. When questions about our sentence arose, He gave His life to guarantee a favorable outcome. Although we deserved death – for all have sinned, and He saw it – He loved and gave us another chance.
Aren’t you glad Jesus is the great Governor? Better, aren’t you glad His power is eternal (i.e., He doesn’t have to run for re-election). I’m so glad I have an advocate in heaven, giving me the best, even when I deserve the worst. Thank you Jesus!
Have you ever needed advice? Have you ever been in a “life or death” situation and needed someone to be the voice of reason? Have you ever felt like saying what was really on your mind and needed someone to diffuse your emotions? Or, maybe you’ve had a lot on your mind and just needed someone to talk to.
I’ve been in some stressful situations, and I’ve discovered that Jesus is best advisor around. No matter the problem, He always has an answer! When situations provoke me to panic, His presence always gives me peace. When the sea of life starts raging, He leads me beside still waters. And, when I listen to Him, things always work out as they should. No wonder Isaiah didn’t just call Him wonderful, but He called Him a wonderful counselor (see Isaiah 9:6).
I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but remember – Jesus is a wonderful counselor. None of our problems are beyond His expertise. Try Him, and you’ll conclude: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1, New Living Translation).
Today’s recharge title is actually an excerpt from a song by the late Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers – “Wonderful.” Throughout the song, they remind the listener how wonderful God really is. As a matter of fact, throughout the majority of the chorus, they repeat wonderful numerous times. Within the chorus, Sam Cooke says, “I know the Lord is so wonderful. What about you?”
I’m not sure how you’d answer his question, but I truly believe Jesus is wonderful! Isaiah wrote it like this, and I couldn’t have said it better myself: “And he will be called: Wonderful …” (Isaiah 9:6, New Living Translation). Wonderful means “exciting wonder: marvelous, astonishing” (m-w.com), and if you think about His daily responsibilities, I’m sure you’ll agree. Each day, He rotates the earth on its axis at just over 1,000 mph, but we don’t get motion sickness. Each year, the earth revolves around the sun, coming close enough to reach temperatures above 90 degrees, but it never plunges into the sun because it’s in His hands. Currently, approximately 6.8 billion people occupy the earth, and today, He woke them up. Finally, if all 6.8 billion prayed at the same time, He could hear and answer every prayer!
I could go on indefinitely listing ways that our God is wonderful! He’s worth admiring, for He does things no one else can. No wonder Rev. F.C. Barnes sang, “There are so many wonderful things about Jesus.” Thank God for sending us such a wonderful gift
A few months ago, my dad gave me a large, rectangular cardboard box. I didn’t know what it was; I thought, “Maybe it’s something I ordered or some subscription offer.” When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised: it was a laptop computer. My astonishment wasn’t rooted in the gift; rather, I was in awe because of my dad’s timing. My old laptop had started showing it’s age, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d have to purchase another one. Long story short, he gave me just what I needed, when I needed it.
When I thought about how I felt when I opened the box, I understood why the shepherds and heavenly host rejoiced in response to the angel’s good tidings: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, New Living Translation). God gave us what we needed, a Savior, and what a Savior He is! Just think about it. Without Jesus, you wouldn’t be alive, for “God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him” (John 1:3, New Living Translation). Without Jesus, you couldn’t function, “For in him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28, New Living Translation). And just think of how uncut you’d be if He didn’t remind you, “… love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, New Living Translation).
I’m convinced – Jesus is the gift I needed. Without Him, I’d be like a ship without a sail, moving aimlessly along life’s tumultuous sea. Just like Walter Hawkins, I’m a witness that “heaven sent me a very wonderful, supernatural, special gift.” What about you?
Gift wrapping is another thrilling holiday experience for many people. Some people (like me) lack gift wrapping expertise, so they resort to gift bags or the wrapping services available in the local department store. Others immerse themselves in the gift wrapping process, searching diligently for the most unique and festive wrapping paper. They fold the paper delicately and use double-sided tape so the wrapping looks seamless. Some wrap their presents so beautifully that you try not to damage the wrapping in pursuit of the gift inside.
In a season when we’re encouraged to use recycled paper to wrap our gifts, it’s interesting to note that Jesus’ parents went “green” before we were concerned about the environment. Luke notes that Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes (see Luke 2:12), or little strips of cloth used to restrict an infant’s movement. This is a noteworthy detail for two reasons. First, it shows the humility of our Savior – a King choosing a servant’s birth. Second, it was God’s way of showing how easily we could access His son. Mary and Joseph did not wrap Him in elaborate, intricate garments that only they could remove Him from. Instead, they wrapped Him in inexpensive fabric, so anyone could see Him.
Today, Jesus is still easily unwrapped (accessed). No one has exclusive rights to Him; rather, anyone who believes can have a relationship with Him (see John 3:16). I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t hide from us but made Himself accessible so we could be saved.
Last week, I wrote about my excitement during Christmas, and inquiry often accompanied my excitement. I loved to search for my presents, hoping to try them out before Christmas. But to my dismay, my mom was usually a step ahead of me. She’d hide presents in the most peculiar places – behind couches, in closets, in vehicles, etc. In retrospect, I think she hand fun out-thinking my inquisition.
On the contrary, the wise men had a different experience. God made it easy for them to satisfy their curiosity. He didn’t give them an address to plug into a Garmin, Tom Tom, or MapQuest. He just suspended a star above Bethlehem, sort of like a spotlight for Jesus. And, this star led them straight to Jesus, where they worshipped and gave Him presents (see Matthew 2:11).
I’m so glad that Jesus is still easily found today. The Bible is our GPS to Jesus, and it’s available in enough translations for everyone to understand. And even if you don’t understand, all you have to do is ask for clarity; James asserts, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5, New Living Translation). No matter your problem, Jesus is easily found; call Him!
Remember the Christmas Eve jitters? When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was the best day of the year. I still remember gazing at the boxes underneath the Christmas tree, imagining what was in each one. I remember lying in bed, tossing and turning, because I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning. Something about seeing my gifts made Christmas Eve a very exciting experience.
I read Luke 1 this morning, and apparently, Elisabeth, John the Baptist, and Mary had a similar experience. Mary went to visit Elisabeth, her cousin, while pregnant with Jesus, and when she greeted Elisabeth, John the Baptist leaped for joy in Elisabeth’s womb. Thereafter, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she rejoiced over the blessing Mary had received from God. Finally, Mary celebrated God for His kindness toward her. Long story short, they were so excited they couldn’t hide it!
Jesus is the best gift ever because He causes great excitement! While on earth, Jesus was so exciting that people behaved uncharacteristically: blind men screamed for His attention, sick people pressed their way through crowds to touch Him, and people who He had healed couldn’t help spreading the good news about Him. Jesus is the most exciting present every given. Just think about how blessed you are because of His influence in your life, and I’m sure you’ll find a reason to rejoice.