Tag Archives: Gospels

10 Rock-Solid Promises for 2023 and Beyond!

2023 has many more days to go. We don’t know what the future holds, and it can be unsettling to think of what might happen. Amid the uncertainty and unknown of the future, there are some certainties to which we can cling. Here are 10 rock-solid promises we can carry with us through each day of 2023 and beyond.

1. The Lord will personally go ahead of us.

We are unsure of what 2023 holds for us. As we embark on a new year, it can be frightening to walk into the unknown. It was for the Israelites.

They found themselves standing beside the Jordan River. Enemy nations and unknown land awaited, and we can discern the Israelites had feelings of fear. What was going to happen? How were they going to accomplish the goal? And, the Lord makes a sweet promise to them.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8 says, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.’ Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, ‘Be strong and courageous!…Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

The promise the Lord makes is for personal guidance. As Israel crossed the Jordan, faced enemy nations, and traveled through an unknown land, The Lord personally went ahead of them. The same promise is for us in 2023.

As we face the enemies of bad health and financial struggles, as we walk into the unknown lands of lost jobs and new opportunities, The Lord says he will personally go ahead of us. “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you; I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).

2. The Lord will always be there to help us.

Since he is not leaving us, the Lord will always be there to help us.

  • “Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me” (Psalm 118:7).
  • “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” Psalm 121:2).
  • Hebrews 13:6 says, “So we can say with confidence, ‘My help comes from the Lord, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

No matter where we find ourselves, the Lord is always willing to help us.

3. We can ask for help with confidence.

We can ask for help in any and every situation, and we are assured the Lord understands. According to the rock-solid promise of Hebrews 4, the Lord will respond with mercy and grace.

Hebrews 4:16 encourages, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

4. We can cast our anxieties upon the Lord.

There’s little doubt 2023 will bring its share of anxieties, but the Lord promises we can cast those cares upon him and he will help us find peace.

We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amid the anxious moments of the year, remember this rock-solid promise, and cast your anxieties upon the Lord.

5. The Lord will ensure our needs are met.

Perhaps one of the major contributors to our anxiety is concern about having enough. Enough money to pay this month’s rent; enough time to get everything done. Enough resources to meet our needs. Start looking at the bank statement and our schedules, and our anxiety level raises. The Lord has a promise for these moments. “I will ensure your needs are met,” he assures us.

In Matthew 6, Jesus points to the birds, and reminds us they do not worry about having enough food, yet they always have plenty. He points to the flowers and reminds us they do not worry about their appearance, yet they are always beautiful. Verse 33 reminds us as we seek after the Lord, he ensures all of our needs are met as well. The Lord promises we do not have to worry about having enough; he will make sure we do.

6. We can take our fears to the Lord.

There are always events happening around us invoking the natural reaction of fear, and when we are feeling afraid, the Lord promises he will help us.

  • “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).
  • The Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

When fearful moments creep into 2023, the Bible suggests we look to our trust in the Lord for strength.

7. The Lord will help us with heart break.

Heart break is unavoidable as we go through life, so you and I may experience a broken heart this year. I certainly hope our year doesn’t include heart break. I don’t have it on my list of wanted experiences, but if it occurs, Scripture promises the Lord will help.

Psalm 34:18 promises, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

If you land in a season of broken heartedness this year, you can rely on the Lord to help. He will walk with you through that time and into a better season.

8. The Lord will help with those tough decisions.

Hard decisions seem to always present themselves in life. You and I are put in between a rock and a hard spot. No matter what we decide we feel something is lost. The Lord offers help in those moments.

The Psalmist reminds us the Lord guides our steps and directs our paths. James 1 tells us if we lack wisdom, we can ask and the Lord will generously grant it to us. When tough decisions come, remember, the Lord will help you decide.

9. We are not alone.

There may be times in 2023 when we feel isolated, but as mentioned above, the Lord is always with us, and we have one another. 1 Peter 5 reminds us all believers are going through the same thing. We can rely on one another. We can ask one another for help. We’re certainly not on this journey of life alone.

10. The best is still coming.

It may be the best year or the worst year, but no matter how it stacks up, we’re guaranteed the best is still coming. 2 Corinthians 4 says, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” What we go through today is only temporary and a better day is coming.

As 2023 unfolds, remember these 10 rock-solid promises. You can carry them with you because they are never going to change. If you are interested, we took a 10-day journey through these promises on our podcast.

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Leon’s Mess Up

Leon was the innkeeper. He was so excited to have finally landed the part, and he practiced for weeks. He had his lines – well, line – perfect.

“There’s no room in the inn,” is all Leon had to say, but Leon became so emotionally involved in the part and the Christmas story that he added a few lines.

There’s no room in the inn,” he said, “but Jesus you can have my room. Jesus, you can have it all!”

Leon may have messed up a little, but his extra lines inspire a question. How well do we allow Jesus to have everything?

From the worries surrounding our finances to the burden of guilt for yesterday’s mistakes, do we allow Jesus to have it all?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30(.

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A Shepherd’s Response

“When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.’ So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them, but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:15-20).

The shepherds were truly changed by their encounter with the Lord. Luke says they returned to their flocks praising God. This is not the only time we see a life changed due to an encounter with the Lord. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, and Saul became Paul after coming across the Lord. Perhaps your life has been changed by the Lord’s grace also. It is impossible to find the Lord and walk away the same way you came.

Make sharing your joy and faith a part of your holiday celebrations this year. God did not make a mistake sending the angel to the shepherds. The birth of the Messiah was an event causing great joy for all people. The shepherds started spreading the joy they experienced, and you and I should continue spreading that joy.

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Exchange the Gifts

Many people will be at the store the day after Christmas exchanging gifts. It is normal to receive a gift that is the wrong color, wrong size, or in some cases, just not desirable. Making these exchanges has become part of the Christmas tradition. Stores may even have extra staff to ensure the lines at the return counter do not become too long. Gifts can go back, and we can leave the store with something even better. There are many things in life we may desire to exchange, especially from the past couple years.

Gloomy is a description of many events from the past couple years. From global headlines to personal tragedies, there has been much in the way of bad news. Absorbing it all is burdensome and weary. It leaves us longing for rest just like the Israelites in Isaiah’s day.

Isaiah was delivering the Lord’s message to people amid much gloom and despair. They were toiling physically, probably spent emotionally, and struggling spiritually. Amid it all, the Lord sends Isaiah to bring hope of rest.

In chapter 9, Isaiah reminds the people this gloom will not go on forever. A different day is coming; a rest like none other is coming. Verses 6-7 say, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders, and he will be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s armies will make this happen.”

Though these words were spoken hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, they point directly to him. Israel was on the lookout for a political messiah. Someone who would establish rule and slam their enemies to the ground, but God had a different plan. God was working to establish an eternal rest. This would not be a rest just for the Israelites, but it would be a rest for you and me. This rest would not be temporary but eternal, and on Christmas day, the child that brings this rest arrived.

His arrival was not in a grand fashion, but he sure made a grand difference.

As you read this today, you may feel like the Israelites. Physically, you are toiling and don’t know how you are going to have the strength to continue. Emotionally, you may be spent, and your spiritual life is a constant struggle. As Isaiah says, the Lord offers rest to you. Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, invites us to exchange all of this weariness for his rest and peace. Allow this exchange to happen. Trade your gloom for peace, your despair for hope in Jesus.

Visitors at the Door

Peering into the stars, the scholars noticed something different and amazing one night. As they researched, their familiarity with the Scriptures caused them to follow the star. They knew a Messiah was coming, and they wanted to see him. Their journey took them to the land of King Herod, who asked a lot of questions, and eventually, their journey took them to the home of Mary and Joseph.

Matthew 2 records, “After this interview, the wise men went their own way, and the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped at the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with his mother Mary. They bowed down and worshipped him, then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route. For God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.”

These wise men’s example offers some pointers for anyone desiring to deepen in our relationship with the Lord.

  • They were sensitive to the Lord’s leading. When they saw the star, they followed it. They didn’t ignore the prompting of the Lord. Do we pay enough attention to the Lord to know when he is prompting us?
  • They worshipped the Lord. The wise men realized who they were in comparison to the Lord, so they offered the Messiah praise. How often do we thank the Lord for what he has done for us?
  • Matthew tells us the wise men shared with the Lord. They shared gold, which is something of value, and frankincense and myrrh, which are incense. For us, we can share the gold of our time and talents with the Lord and the incense of our prayers with him.

As you think of the wise men’s example, try putting these pointers into practice in your walk with the Lord.

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Different Views of Christmas

Given the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the characters from the Christmas account, who would you choose? I was recently asked this question, and it spurred my thinking. The people starring in Jesus’ birth story would have witnessed the events from a wide array of perspectives, yet we see much faith shine through each perspective.

Mary

Mary obviously plays a crucial role, being the young mother of Jesus. This would have been a lot for her to take on, but she does in a faithful way. Luke records the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to reveal her part in God’s grand plan. Luke 1:28 says, “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.”

After reassuring Mary his visit was to bring good news, Gabriel explained how she would be the mother of Jesus, and reminded Mary God can do anything. Mary was an ordinary girl, but she was given an extraordinary part to play in God’s plan. We know she inquired about the virgin birth, but we can only imagine what else went through Mary’s mind’ as she listened to the angel’s words.

She would have to explain this to Joseph. A pregnancy can’t be easily hidden, and people would speculate about her as they would not understand what the Lord was doing. This would have been a lot for Mary to process, and she may have not fully grasped it, but because of her faith, Mary was willing to offer herself as a servant. She realized fulfilling her purpose would have rough parts, but she trusted the Lord to be with her during those times. 

Joseph

Joseph would have to take on much in his role. Joseph was certainly put in a unique spot. Hisfiance was pregnant, but the baby wasn’t his. As Joseph was struggling with what to do, he was faithful to the Lord’s calling. Matthew 1 tells us Joseph was going to divorce Mary, but listened when the Lord told him to stay. Joseph’s response in this moment truly demonstrates his faithfulness.

Shepherds

The shepherds could have stayed in the field with their sheep and dismissed the angel’s message, but they had a different response. “When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger” (Luke 2:15-16).

The shepherds responded to the angel with much faith. Believing the angel, the shepherds acted upon their belief. The shepherds’ faith shined through brightly.

Magi

The Magi allowed their faith to push them. As they were studying the stars, they could have ignored the star introducing Jesus as another supernova, but they chose to seek the answer to why the star suddenly appeared. Their faith pushed them to investigate God’s Word.

Each of these characters has a different perspective of Jesus’ birth, but they all respond with much faith. As we all approach life from differing perspectives, we should share this commonalty with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Magi. We should approach the Lord with faith. The writer of Hebrews reminds us the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek him.

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Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:11 says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.”

You and I have been given a gift. The gift is Jesus. Jesus brings the gift of grace. He came to help us. Jesus did not stand at the top of the mountain and tell us to climb. He came down to hold our hand as we climbed. Jesus did not stand on the opposite side of a gulf and tell us to cross the bridge. He came across to help us. Jesus came as our Christmas gift.

The angel’s good news to the shepherds is for you and me also. As you celebrate today, I hope you have a moment to reflect on the gift of Jesus.

I appreciate you spending part of your day reading this, and I hope you have a blessed and merry Christmas. Please share this post.

No Broken Promises

It has been said promises are made only to be broken, and since we do not live in a perfect world, this holds true on many occasions. Someone with the best of intentions makes a promise to us, but the person is unable to keep it. For many, politics comes to mind as soon as they think of broken promises. An imperfect world leads to imperfect promises.

But what if I told you there was someone who always keeps promises. What if I told you there is someone who always tells the truth? There is! He is the Lord, and we see this lived out the night the shepherds heard of Jesus’ birth.

The stillness of their night had been interrupted by an angel giving them good news of great joy, so the shepherds went to investigate. Luke’s Gospel tells us, “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16). They investigated the message they received from the angel and found that it was true. Everything was just like they had been told.

God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t change his mind or his character; he doesn’t go back on his word. Hebrews reminds us the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. He will always keep his promises. His word will always be true.

We can trust the promises given to us in the Bible. We can trust that the Lord will give us peace. We can trust that he will be with us. We can trust that he will provide for us and protect us. There is not one promise in Scripture which will be broken. God will always keep his word, so we can be like the shepherds, praising God for finding things just as we were told (Luke 2:20).

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Good News of Great Joy

The sun had set, and the shepherds were gathered around a small fire keeping warm in the darkness and coolness of night. Their sheep resting close by. It seemed like an ordinary night, but suddenly it became extraordinary. The darkness was pierced by the light of an angel, and the shepherds were terrified. Who can blame them? The darkness of night interrupted by the brilliance of an angel is enough to make the hair on anyone’s neck stand on edge.

“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord, has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David. And you will recognize him by this sign: you will find a baby, wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger.’ Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others, the armies of Heaven, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest Heaven and peace on earth with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:10-14).

Good news of great joy is what the shepherds needed. We all need good news of great joy, especially in the darkness of this era. Everywhere we turn we find negative headlines, but Christmas is a reminder there is good news, joyous news that is for everyone. This good news is Jesus. He is our way to peace with God.

The Bible says, “Do not let your hearts be trouble, but present your requests and petitions to God in prayer. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Because of Christmas, we can take the anxieties of this world and hand them over to the Lord. We can rest in the peace he offers.

The shepherds were the first to receive good news of great joy, but it is also for you and me. Allow the light of the Lord to pierce the darkness around you and bring you peace this Christmas season.

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Less Than Ideal

The census had been ordered, and everyone was to return to their hometown to register. For Joseph, that meant traveling the 90-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This was a 3-day trip, and it would be more difficult because Mary was expecting a child. The couple made the trip, and Luke’s Gospel records the birth of the child happening while Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem.

Luke 2:6-7 records, “And while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snuggly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them.”

This was certainly not an ideal situation from our perspective. Making a 3-day journey to give birth among the goats and sheep was probably not on Mary’s bucket list; however, the Lord used this “less than ideal” situation to bring salvation to the world. Amazingly the Creator of the world allowed himself to be a baby lying in a manger among the livestock. God was quietly at work.

The setting for Jesus’ birth is not one in which you would expect a king to be born, but a Savior is born. God used a livestock area as the first throne room and a manger as the first throne. This “less than ideal” situation is the last place we would expect God to work, but he did some mighty work.

There are many “less than ideal” situations in life, yet God works through them.

  • It is less than ideal when we feel all alone in a moment of life. We find ourselves amid a life season we don’t think anyone else could even begin to understand, yet God does. The writer of Hebrews tells us Jesus understands, and he is able to help us in our time of need. It may not be a perfect season, but God is still working.
  • It may be a season where you feel absolutely alone. No family close, so you’re just mingling around your house by yourself. You’re not really alone though; God is there. Hebrews 13:5 tells us the Lord will never leave us; he will never forsake us. Even when we are alone, the Lord is there with us and he is working.
  • Maybe your heartbroken and devastated. Your marriage ended as your spouse walked in and said, “I’m done.” Psalm 34:18 reminds us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and heals those who are crushed in spirit.

Much happen on that first Christmas night. We see the extent of the Lord’s love and are reminded he can work no matter the circumstances. In spite of everything happening around us this Christmas season, try to take a moment to rejoice in the truth that a Savior has been born to us.

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