Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.’”
Luke 2: 9, 10
“There’s Good News to Report”
“The gospel of Jesus is news, good news! It is the best and most important news that you and I will ever hear.”
Have I heard and believed heaven’s Good News?
How has this Good News changed my life?
“Evangelio (that we call the Gospel) is a Greek word, and signifies good, mercy, glad and joyful tidings, and makes all (men and women’s) hearts glad, and makes (them) sing, dance and leap for joy.”
“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
Proverbs 25: 25
King James Version
They had an appointment – God and His two perfect children, Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 says that God walked with His beloved children, in “the cool of the day.”
But on this particular evening, an interloper had come between God and the two children He loved so much. We might say that when God arrived for His date, Adam and Eve stood Him up. They didn’t show.
So God called out, “Where art thou?” Not that He didn’t know.
God knew all too well where Adam and Eve were. And yet He waited for Adam who finally answered, “I heard Thy voice in the garden and I was afraid” (Genesis 3: 10 K.J.V.)
Fear! An emotion that had never before filled the hearts of Adam and Eve. Author George MacDonald writes these perceptive words, “It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence.” I don’t believe a statement could more perfectly describe the situation Adam and Eve found themselves in on the day they chose to believe the falsehoods spread by the wily serpent rather than the truth that came from the mouth of their Creator – God.
How would you have felt? I know I would have wondered whether God would zap me right on the spot for my disobedience. And I would have been afraid, too!
Gone was the joy that had filled Eden’s perfect home. Gone was the laughter and peace.
And then, oh wonder of wonders, our Father responded. Yes, as He had warned, there were consequences to the toxin of sin. Its pollution has an effect. But God’s antidote was beyond and above anything heaven or earth could ever imagine. The head of evil would be crushed.
How? God’s solution seemed too good to be true, for He promised that He, Himself – God with us – Immanuel, would come to earth to bring at-one-ment; to bring holy harmony and peace to the universe again. God, through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ would do for Adam and Eve and all their offspring from generation to generation what we could never do for ourselves.
On a dark night, near Bethlehem of Judea, God sent an angel with this good news announcement! The moment had arrived. Heaven had turned things upside down. God had come down to live with men and women. We’re told that the one angel was suddenly joined by, “a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men
(Luke 2: 13, 14 K.J.V.).
There hadn’t been peace on earth since the day in the garden when sin tainted God’s perfection. And now, the courts of heaven were shouting to all of us who have stumbled on our journey. “There’s Good News! Fear has been replaced by peace and good!”
This is heaven’s message to you and me today. For when “God with us” came to earth, hope replaced what was cursed. What was lost was redeemed.
I love the way William Countryman shed illumination on the Good News that is encompassed by the gift of Jesus to this earth:
“Jesus embodied God’s good news not only in the words He said, but in the way He lived His life. He ate with ordinary, irreligious, ‘unworthy’ people, and He included among His followers the kind of people a religious teacher wasn’t supposed to associate with – such as women and tax collectors. He stood up for these “sinful’ people against the religious authorities of the day, and finally, He even died to preserve the integrity of His good news…The good news is that when you are least loveable, God says, ‘I love you.’ When you are least worthy, God says, ‘You are forgiven.’ Take yourself down to your lowest, most unattractive, most undeserving state – and there is God’s love for you, as alive as ever.”
Heavenly good news! And it is yours and mine this Christmas. A message which tells us God’s Son would have come to earth for the worst of us and that’s Good News for all of us!
“Hearing the good news is a beginning. The rest of our life forms our response.”
“Moonless darkness stands between
Past, O Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord; Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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