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Dec
19

The Son Is Given

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.
Isaiah 9:6

One of my favorite portions of Handel’s Messiah is the joyous movement “For unto us a Child is born,” from the first part of the oratorio. I especially love how the chorus rises to the phrase, “Unto us a Son is given.” Those words, of course, are taken from Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Handel’s majestic music soars with adoration for the Son who came to us in human flesh that first Christmas.

The New Testament clarifies even further who this Son is. In Luke 1, the angelic messenger appeared to Mary and identified the Christ-child in four ways. He would be the son of Mary, making Him fully human (1:31). He would be the Son of the Highest, which made Him fully divine (1:32). He would also be the Son of David, giving Him royal lineage (1:32). And He would bear the title of Son of God (1:35), giving Him equality with the Father in all things. All of the roles the Messiah was called to fill are made possible in these distinct expressions of His Sonship.

As we worship Him this Christmas, may our celebrations be filled with joy and wonder at the fullness of what it means. Our heavenly Father has given us His perfect, sufficient Son. O come, let us adore Him!

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. —Wade
God’s love became incarnate at Bethlehem.
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Dec
18

Not All Empty

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 107:9

Our granddaughter Julia spent the summer working in an orphanage in Busia, Uganda. On the final day of her internship, she went to the children to tell each one goodbye. One little girl named Sumaya was very sad and said to her, “Tomorrow you leave us, and next week the other aunties [interns] leave.”

When Julia agreed that she was indeed leaving, Sumaya thought for a minute and exclaimed, “But we will be all empty. None of you will be left!” Again, Julia agreed. The little girl thought a few moments and replied: “But God will be with us, so we won’t be all empty.”

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that “all empty” feeling. It is an emptiness that friendship, love, sex, money, power, popularity, or success can never assuage—a longing for something indefinable, something incalculably precious but lost. Every good thing can remind, beckon, and awaken in us a greater desire for that elusive “something more.” The closest we get is a hint, an echo in a face, a painting, a scene . . . . And then it is gone. “Our best havings are wantings,” said C. S. Lewis.

We were made for God, and in the end, nothing less will satisfy us. Without Him, we are all empty. He alone fills the hungry with good things (Ps. 107:9).

Dear Lord, fill me with Your goodness and love.
I desire nothing in heaven and earth but You.
Without You, I have nothing. Thank You for the
abiding satisfaction that we can find in You.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. —C. S. Lewis
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Dec
17

Love And Support

Posted in: Daily Devotional - Our Daily Bread

I thank my God . . . for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.
Philippians 1:3,5

I received this note from a friend serving in an orphanage in a developing country: “Yesterday, as I was sitting at my office desk, I noticed a trail of ants on the floor. As I followed it, I was shocked to see that thousands of ants had blanketed the walls of our office building—inside and out. They swarmed everything. Fortunately, one of the workers . . . set to work. Less than an hour later, the ants were gone.”

After telling this insect story, my friend wrote, “So, how was your day at work?” Sometimes we need reminders of the needs of those who have left behind the comforts and conveniences of home. God calls each of us to different paths of service, and some paths are bumpy. Working in an office that is overrun by ants doesn’t appeal to anyone, but my friend is not there for the perks.

She and many other believers have had their hearts captured by Christ and think that abandoning “essential” comforts and conveniences is a small thing to do to honor Him who loves us. They need our support in the way Paul depended on his friends in Philippi—for fellowship (Phil. 1:5), for finances (4:16), and for care (4:18). When we encourage our friends who have left their familiar environments to serve God elsewhere, we show our love for the One who sent them.

Dear Lord, give me wisdom to know which of Your
workers in the fields of the world need my help.
Show me how my family can surround them
with encouragement and support.
The glory of life is to love, not to be loved; to give, not to get; to serve, not to be served.