We Belong

Ephesians 2:11-13 So remember that once you were Gentiles by physical descent, who were called “uncircumcised” by Jews who are physically circumcised. At that time you were without Christ. You were aliens rather than citizens of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of God’s promise. In this world you had no hope and no God. But now, thanks to Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

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I know everyone one of us has felt like we wanted to be part of a certain group, but for some reason we felt like we did not belong. We have also felt like we do not deserve to have the people in our life that we have because we feel unworthy. This kind of attitude and mindset seems to be prevalent. There is only one problem with this kind of thinking: we devalue ourselves.

Yes, there is part of us that has made mistakes and has lived a life we did not want to live, but there is something incredible about grace. God grace is pulling us in and is giving us a new life that we never expected to have. Yes, we live lives separate from God. Yes, we do not have everything in a row. Yes, there are parts of our past that we wish we could escape from. Yes, yes, yes. This list of reasons why we do not belong goes on and on. We focus on our failures and God focuses on our future.

Our lives, without Christ, do not have the joy and peace; but when we realize Christ is already here and is calling us to know and follow Him, then we become filled with His Spirit. It is by the grace of God that we belong. We belong with groups who desire to help us live right. We desire to be loved. We desire to be with someone in life that will help us live out the life God has in mind. We desire all of this stuff and we belong.

We should just lay down our past, look to Christ and ask Him to be the central focus of our life. This makes Him Lord and Savior, and us His people. Our lives take on a whole new meaning because it is from a payment that we belong to God. This is a payment we did not give, but was paid for us. This payment was the blood of Jesus Christ who lived an incredible life that God wants us to live, died this death that is so incredibly cruel and humiliating and rose from the dead. He rose from the dead because, even though the world showed it did not want Him, He wanted to show the world that it was wanted.

What are you struggling with today that makes you feel like you do not belong? I hope you can see and hear the soft voice of God so loudly that your perspective changes and that you can see and know that God is pursuing you and even believes in you. You and I belong, we just need to believe this and trust this. Because of Jesus Christ everything is different. What once caused division and rule keeping, now invites all people to know grace. Your life will be drastically different if you find the grace that is around you.

#TheGospelChangesUs

December 22: Prepare (Advent 2014 Devotional)

Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

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We are now just a few days away from Christmas and celebrating once again the birth of Jesus Christ. In our passage today, we see the wise men (magi), have come to visit the toddler Jesus in his home. Even though this even took place up to two years after Jesus’ birth, there is still something here for us to see and hear during this Advent season.

The magi entered the house, bowed down and gave their gifts. So what is really interesting, to me, is how these verses today end: “they went back to their own country by another route.”

The magi left different. They still went back home, but they left different. After you and I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this year, we should leave different and not take the same path back we searched for him on. This means, we do go back into our home, work, school, life; but we are different. We do not have the same patterns, the same “rituals,” the same direction. Our new purpose is that of following Christ and helping people find him. You and I have become the angels (messengers of God) to proclaim to those who feel unworthy that the God in heaven loves and adores them and is longing to be around them.

How will you be different this Christmas season?

Jesus, too often we hear the story of your birth in this world and it does not phase us. We seek for and long to be in your presence. Help us proclaim to others your reality and your love for them, even if we feel too important. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.