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Day 28: The Gift of Himself

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NASB

We have spent the past 28 days taking a surface level look at many of the gifts God has richly bestowed upon us. Paul said in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” It would take volumes of books to record all of the wonderful gifts God richly blesses us with. However, none of the gifts is comparable to the gift of Himself.

When God sent us the gift of His Son that first Christmas morning He sent us the Son of God, God in the flesh. John records the coming of Christ by simply saying, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). The word “dwelt” that John used is the exact same word as “tabernacle” This verse could be translated “The word tabernacled among us.” The bible teaches us that the Old Testament Tabernacle is an earthly shadow of what is in heaven. (Hebrews 8:5). In fact, every aspect of the Tabernacle points to the person of Christ. The Tabernacle was God’s dwelling place among His people. God dwelt in the innermost part of the tabernacle.

Now through Christ, we have access to the heavenly Tabernacle. The one not made with human hands but crafted by God Himself. Through Christ, we have access to the inner most part of the Tabernacle. There is a single gate to the entrance of the Tabernacle. Jesus is the gate and we must inter through Him. (John 10:9). Once we enter the gate we see the altar. At the altar a blood sacrifice is required. Jesus made that sacrifice for us once and for all. (Hebrews 7:27). Through the blood we can now approach the bronze laver where every crimson stain has been removed and we are washed whiter than snow. Now we can enter into the sanctuary where we see the table of showbread representing our communion with Christ, the golden lamp stand representing our walk in His light, and the alter of incense where we lift up our petitions and praises. Just beyond the sanctuary is the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God. This is a representation of the throne room of God; the very throne that we can draw near with confidence, because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Christ. The gift of Christ made God’s presence available to us all. All who would call on His name and be saved.

God sent us His Son as an invitation to come into His presence. He knows us and loves us and wants us to know Him and love Him back. For this reason, He gave us Himself as the greatest gift anyone can ever receive. A gift of long ago, a gift of today, and a gift of eternity. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 28 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 26: The Gift of His Might

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NASB

This is probably one of the most misused verses in all of God’s word. I’ve heard Christian football players quote this verse claiming victory in the football game. I have always thought, what if the opposing team has a Christian claiming the same verse? Obviously, this is not the original intent of this wonderful verse.

When one looks at this verse in its original context, they will see Paul saying in the previous verse, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” In other words, Paul is saying he has faced the best of life and the worst of life. Since he has faced both the best and the worst in life, he knows how to be content, for his strength is not found in his circumstances, his strength is found in Christ, regardless of his circumstances.

As Christians we will face a whole host of circumstances. Some of those circumstances may be wonderful while others may be awful. However, as Christians, we don’t allow our circumstances to lord over our lives, Jesus is Lord over our lives. Since we are in Him and He in us we find our strength in Him and Him alone. Regardless of what we face in life, we will not be dismayed, for our strength is in Christ and we can do all things through Him, Jesus, who strengthens us.

Just as Philippians 4:13 is one of the most misused verses in the bible the great Christmas Carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of the most misunderstood. This classic Christmas Carol was written in the 15th century when some words in the English language had a different meaning than they do today. The word merry is one of those words. In the 15th century, the word merry did not mean happy as it does today. Instead, it meant mighty. In the same way, the word rest meant keep. If this song were written today, instead of saying “God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day,” it would say, “God keep these mighty gentlemen let nothing worry you. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.” It’s not as poetic, but you get the point.

As Christians we will have more than a happy Christmas, we will have a mighty Christmas, as the original meaning of merry calls for. It is happy, but also mighty. It is mighty because Jesus Christ was born. Since Jesus Christ was born we have access to God. Since we have access to God we know we are kept in Him and are therefore strengthened through Him to be mighty. For this reason, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. In Christ, we are mighty. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 26 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 25: The Gift of Beautiful Feet

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:14-15 NASB

When the angel appeared to the shepherds that first Christmas night they said, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10). His declaration was  that the good news of Christ’s birth was for “all the people.” Later in this same chapter Simeon declared that Jesus came for both the Jews and the Gentiles. Again, He is for all the people.

Jesus didn’t come for a select group of people. Nor did Jesus come only for the faithful who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday. His heart is that all would come to repentance, receive His free gift of salvation, and be redeemed. For this reason, He told His children to, “Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15). Peter tells us in I Peter 2:9 that one of the churches primary roles is, “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Every Christian is responsible for this task.

Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power unto salvation unto those who believe.” If the gospel is powerful for transformation, the opposite is true that if the gospel is not proclaimed individuals, families, communities, and societies will be left to ruin apart from the proclamation of it. If you are saved, you are saved because you received the free gift of the gospel. Now that you are saved, God has called you to pay it forward and tell others so they will not be ruined and undone.

We have already seen so many wonderful gifts that God has given to His children. Each gift is received because we received the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are greedy and dishonorable to God if we hoard all of these gifts for ourselves. God’s heart is to save every man woman and child so they too can receive His free gifts. Paul said in Romans 10:13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How will they know unless we tell them?

The feet that carry the Good News may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. For, they are bringing the Good News of Jesus to a lost world, the world of whom He loves and a world He came to save. Although proclaiming the gospel requires sacrifice on our part, it is a gift. A gift to the world in the name of Jesus. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen. Now, let us freely give as we have freely received.

This is part 25 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 24: The Gift of God’s Temple

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“ Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16 NASB

In the Old Testament God dealt with people in a physical way. He called Abram out of Ur to go and poses a physical land that God would eventually give to Abram’s decedents. Through Abraham, God created a physical nation that battled and worked in the physical realm. God, through Moses, called this nation to make a physical tabernacle, and later through Solomon build a physical temple where God would dwell and where they would worship. God used this physical nation to bring about the Messiah, the Son of David, God’s only begotten Son into this world. When the eight days of purification passed Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to fulfill the law. The priest Simeon rejoiced when he saw the baby Jesus. Simeon rejoiced for he was looking for “the consolation of Israel.” (Luke 2:25).

Today, God chooses to use the church, His spiritual house, to fulfill His purposes upon this earth. The church is not a building or a location. The church is God’s assembled believers and each believer is individually a temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Today, the church, the assembled believers, battle and work in the spiritual realm. We bear spiritual fruit. Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

When the Virgin Mary conceived, through the power of God, the Angel of the Lord said of the baby she would deliver, “AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Matthew 1:23). After Jesus death burial and resurrection, just prior to ascending to be with the Father, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20). Wow! What an amazing assurance. Jesus was born into this world as God with us, and left this world saying, I am with you always. We have life through Christ, and through Christ we have His presence through the Holy Spirit within us as temple’s of the Holy Spirit. We are never alone. Wherever we go, whatever task He calls us to, or whatever trial we face, God is with us. Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 24 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 23: The Gift of Bearing Fruit

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ 

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16 NASB

As we saw yesterday, we have the great privilege in abiding in Christ. As we abide in Him, we bear fruit thus giving the Father glory. When we give God glory through bearing fruit our joy is made full, or complete. A part of the joy we find in Christ comes from serving Christ through the fruit we bear. Apart from abiding in Christ, we cannot bear fruit.

Whereas the source of bearing fruit comes in abiding in Christ, the ability to bear fruit comes through praying in Jesus name. Jesus said, “whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give it to you.” He also said in the twelfth verse of the previous chapter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” We are not greater than Jesus, but we, the church, the children of God, will do greater, or more works than Jesus. We are doing more works since we have been doing works in His name for the past 2000 years by spreading the gospel to all the earth. Jesus said we could do these greater works since He has gone to be with the Father. Jesus is there at the right hand of the throne of the Father making intersession for those who are abiding in Him. When we abide in Him and praying in His name, we have direct access to the throne of God enabling us to bear fruit.

Bearing fruit is spiritual works in our lives that bring glory to God. All Christians are called to bear fruit. Not bearing fruit is a sign of being dead, while bearing fruit is a sign of having life. Jesus said, any branch that does not bear fruit is taken away and cast into the fire. If we have life in Jesus, by abiding in Jesus, we will bear fruit.

How then is bearing fruit a gift to us? First, it is a sign of life to us. Second, Acts 20:35 says, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” When we bear fruit we give to God by ministering to the hurting and the lost. Every Christian is called to share the gospel with the lost and minister to the hurting. When we give this spiritual fruit we are blessed. We give a blessing and in turn, receive a blessing. Jesus came that first Christmas morning as a gift to the world. A gift that continues to give through our faithful service empowered by Him. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen. And, we are blessed to freely give it to the world as it was freely given to us.

This is part 23 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of these devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 21: The Gift of a New Citizenship

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 NASB

There is a great old gospel song that reminds us, “This world is not my home, I’m Just passing through. My treasure are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” As Christians, we rejoice in the fact that this world is only a temporary residence. This world with all of its tears, trials, and tribulations will one day be a thing of the past. Some people fear this truth. As Christians we can rejoice over it.

When we lose a loved one who is in Christ we don’t “grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13). That doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. (John11:35). It means, we don’t grieve without hope. We have hope through the promise of everlasting life in Christ; the hope that Paul told the church of Thessalonica to comfort one another with. (I Thessalonians 4:18).

As we saw yesterday, our citizenship is already in heaven. If we are in Christ we have already been spiritually raised up with Christ. We can rejoice in knowing when our soul leaves these mortal bodies we will be with the Lord and that one day these corruptible bodies will be incorruptible, and so we shall be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Jesus told the thief, who was being crucified beside Him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). We often call certain places on this earth paradise. They, however, are not immune to pain, sorrow, or death. Therefore, they are not truly a place of paradise. Heaven is the only true place of paradise. There, we will never see pain, suffering, sickness, death, or sorrow. In heaven, there will only be eternal bliss with the one who came to this earth as a little baby born in Bethlehem to save His people from their sins and bring us home to be with the Father forever.

Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Today, in this world of suffering, we eagerly wait for our Savior to bring us home to heaven, a place He has prepared for us, a place of paradise. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 21 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 20: The Gift of Our Heavenly Position

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-3 NASB

Once we become a Christian by receiving, by faith, the free gift of salvation, our spiritual position has changed. Our spiritual position is no longer of this earth. Our spiritual position is now in heaven with Christ. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God has, “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Colossians also tells us that we “have been raised up with Christ.” Our bodies are limited to this earth but our spirit has been, past tense, “raised up” with Jesus in the “heavenly places. Therefore, spiritually, we are residents of heaven.

Because of this wonderful truth, Paul tells us in verse four to, “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” Immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, are all products of this fleshly world. Since we are citizens of heaven, we need to live as citizens of heaven. Since Jesus is the King of Glory, He should be our focus. Focusing on this world leads to idolatry. Focusing on Jesus produces holiness.

Truth be told, there is nothing good in this world. One day, everything in this world will pass away. For this reason Jesus said in Matthew 6:20, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” The people of this world are foolishly blinded into thinking the objects of this earth are treasures and have value when they are but temporary. Even if we were to live in the lap of luxury for one hundred years, what is that compared to the glories of heaven? James 4:14 says, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” However, as citizens of heaven, we are eternal. If we gain everything this world has to offer but never obtain heaven we have truly lost. If we lose everything this world has to offer but gain Christ, we have gained all.

People often say, “Don’t live with your head in the clouds.” Here, when Paul said to, “Set your mind on things above,” he is telling us we should live with our heads in the clouds; the heavenly clouds. When we’re focused on the things below we think and act fleshly, and worldly. When we’re focused on the things above we become godly. Through Christ, we can, and have overcome this world. As we stay focused on Him, we continue to overcome. Since we’ve been raised up with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenly places, we have the ability to stay focused on the heavenly things; the things above. Therefore, we have the ability, through Christ, and our position with Him, to be heavenly minded. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 20 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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