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December 19, 2017

2

Being a Christmas tree of life for others

by Dave Malnes

Because of what Christ has already done for us, those who trust in him are righteous. Because of Christ in us, believers are trees of life. How can we convey this to others?

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30)

With those words, Mary was to discover what it means to receive favor with God. She will learn that it does not mean a life of unbroken happiness nor promise that her dreams will come true. “There is a price to be paid by those who are highly favored by God; favor means, simply, that God is willing to use you.”

God is willing to use the young and the inexperienced in his grand plan for humanity. For Mary, Christmas meant receiving the Holy Spirit in a most powerful, intimate way. She was to bear a child called Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

The mystery behind this conception prompted Mary to ask, “How will this be?” She was about to be confronted with the reality that favor happens when God places himself into an earthly life. No longer was God a mere concept or a divine being who never engaged himself in the affairs of everyday life. God’s miraculous presence came into the life of this young girl and even Elizabeth who had a child in her old age.

“For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37)

Experiencing the favor of God in new ways is one of the best parts of Christmas! To think that God would desire to use us at this time in history is a gift that we can never imagine. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and the one who is wise saves lives.” (Proverbs 11:30) Because of what Christ has already done for us, we are righteous. Because of Christ in us, we are a tree of life.

Perhaps we can think of ourselves as Christmas trees of life this year. By faith, we exercise wisdom by saving lives through the power of his Word. Christmas is proclaiming to your world, “The Lord is with me … and with you!”

Mary found favor with God and her life was never the same. She was used by God in the most powerful way.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Those who trust in Christ and his promises have found favor with God. A life in Christ is never the same. A life in his presence responds favorably to his purpose.

Heaven is still open. Christ has yet to return. It is his desire to use us to proclaim the message of salvation so that heaven will be full.

My prayer for all of us is that we are conscious of his presence this Christmas and open our eyes to the opportunities he provides to share his presence to others through the power of his Word.

Perhaps we can tell others, “Christmas reminds me that God is with us.. and with you. That brings me true joy and peace because it rests on what God has already done for all of us through Jesus. I would like to invite you to come and celebrate that message and what it means for us.”

 

[Adapted from the Christmas Devotional Series on You Version Bible App entitled,
“Joy! To Your World! A Countdown to Christmas” by Carol McLeod of Just Joy Ministries]

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Edward Schuppe
    Dec 19 2017

    Dear Dave,

    Extremely well written. I especially appreciate your focus in the beginning on our salvation is accomplished. Having served in the South for over 40 years, this is something other mainline Christian denominations are not preaching or teaching. Here is where we as confessional Lutherans present a clearer gospel as Paul told the Colossians 4:2-6, especially verse 4.

    Thank you for this.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    The Lord’s richest blessings on all of your Christmas and New Year worship and celebrations.

    Looking forward to working with you in 2018.

    God bless, my friend.

    Like

    Reply
    • Dec 20 2017

      Thank you, Ed. Appreciate your comment. What a joy to proclaim to others what Christ has already done for us! Your gospel ministry is such a blessing to me and to many others. I also look forward to working with you in 2018. God bless!

      Like

      Reply

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