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Why Did Jesus Come from Heaven?

The much-loved Christmas song "O Holy Night" paints the scene of the world welcoming the long-awaited Savior.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
 
It recounts that powerful moment when the Messiah appeared, the hope of the world coming to earth as a baby. But what caused Christ to step down from heaven and live among us, God in human form?
 
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
 
Did Jesus come to make us happy? Did He come to make us good people? No, His mission was much deeper than that. Jesus sacrificed His life to save us from the death we deserved so that we could know Him and live eternally. His mission was salvation from sin; His motivation was love.
 
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
 
This Christmas, how will you live in response to the greatest act of love the world has ever known? As you come before the Lord this week, ask Him to reveal more to you about His precious Son, His costly sacrifice, and His great gift of salvation.
 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, open my eyes to the magnificence of Jesus' birth. Teach me about the power of Your sacrifice and show me the depths of Your love this Christmas season. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).


Make Room

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

It was the moment that all of creation had been waiting for with great anticipation. Prophets predicted it. Men and women of God prayed to see it. Still, the world was completely unprepared for how this moment would unfold.

Bethlehem was bustling with congestion and busyness created by the mandatory census issued by Caesar Augustus. No one was exempt from the census that required families to return to their town of origin. Despite being very close to her delivery date, Mary and Joseph braved the long and tiring journey home to the City of David. Without the hotels and restaurants that populate large cities today, hospitality was a precious commodity under normal circumstances, but the crowds for the census had exceeded Bethlehem's capacity for this type of hospitality.

Into this hectic scene rides an expecting Mary led by her betrothed, Joseph. With the fulfillment of prophetic promises coming in mere hours, the couple found no housing in their time of need. They were surrounded by a town overcrowded with people who were too busy to make room for them.

It isn't unlike today when we gather together to celebrate Christmas. For some, the season is filled with the chaos of making plans or scrambling for gifts and decorations. For others, the Christmas season is filled with loneliness and regret. In the midst of these moments, do we make room?

The wonder of the Christmas story is this: God's power makes regular intrusions even when we make no room. No room in the inn? God still took on flesh. No room in your holiday traditions? God still calls to your heart. No room in your isolation? The Savior still invites you to intimacy with Him.

God's plan continues even if we make no room for it. The awesome and the miraculous occur every day as He calls men and women from death to eternal life in Christ and He wants us to experience these miracles. Do not crowd God out at Christmas. Open your heart, mind, soul, home, family, and traditions to God. Make room for Him — not just at Christmas but every day.

Prayer: Lord, show me where I am not making room for You. I want to respond to Your call without hesitation so that You can have Your way in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20).


The Prince of Peace

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Before Jesus' birth, Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace — a Savior whose authority would bring release from the burden of sin. Although we often search for peace in the wrong things — in financial security, relationships, or recreation — God is the only One who can bring us true peace.

The Hebrew word shalom is often translated "peace," but its full meaning has a deeper richness to it. Shalom is a sense of completeness and soundness and living well. It implies safety, good health, prosperity, tranquility, and contentment. Shalom means favor, fulfillment, restoration, harmony, and reconciliation. God is Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace.

Shalom meets the human heart's deepest longings and is the greatest measure of contentment. True shalom cannot exist in a heart that is void of Jesus Christ. Shalom cannot exist in a heart that is divided between a love of God and a love of the world. There is no room for peace in a heart that is harboring anxiety, distrust, greed, anger, or bitterness.

The Messiah is referred to as the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6. Although the text translates to "prince," the original meaning of the word embodies the power of the king. The prince here has the full authority, delegation, and dignity of the king. Only when the Prince of Peace rules in our hearts and minds can we have peace. Until we submit to His authority and power, our peace will be incomplete.

We can know eternal peace because Jesus Himself became our peace through His sacrifice (see Ephesians 2:14-18). When we allow Him to reign, peace begins to fill our homes, our workplaces, and our relationships. An inner assurance fills our hearts and our minds as we begin to trust in Him.

Are you experiencing shalom in your life? Or is there an area where you have not let Jesus reign? Confess to God the roadblocks you have placed that are preventing God's all-encompassing peace from filling your heart. If you are unsure of what is creating discord in your heart, seek the Holy Spirit's discernment to show you. Submit to the Prince of Peace's leadership today.

Prayer: Jesus, You are my Prince of Peace, and I give up control to You today. Show me the areas where I have not allowed You to reign. Thank You for lifting my burdens and giving me rest in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).


Everlasting Father

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Have you noticed that when someone is attributed with leading a certain field or founding an organization, they are labeled the "father" of that area? We call the men who shaped our emerging nation the Founding Fathers. We refer to the early church leaders as the Church Fathers. We call Hippocrates the Father of Medicine.

In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is referred to as the Everlasting Father. While this title may be initially confusing, Isaiah did not confuse God the Father with God the Son.

Just as we use the term "father" to mean an originator or pioneer, the Bible did as well. We see the following descriptions in the Old Testament: "Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute" (Genesis 4:20-21). Eliakim was called the father of the inhabitants of Jerusalem: "He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah" (Isaiah 22:21).

Isaiah's description of the Messiah calls Jesus the Everlasting Father—the founder of everlasting life. Isaiah is saying that Christ will be the pioneer of God's revelation for eternal life. He will be the founder of the New Covenant with God. He will be the founding father of a new people who will be made from every language, every tribe, and every nation.

The gospel of John tells us, "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known" (John 1:18). Because Jesus was the only human on earth who had dwelt with God the Father in heaven, He was in a unique position to change how we relate to God. Jesus is the One who revealed the heart of the Father to humanity. Jesus is the One who revealed the holiness, righteousness, and justice of God. Jesus is the One who revealed eternal life and how to receive it. He expressed the love of God to humanity when He paid for the wages of our sins on the Cross of Calvary.

Because of Him we have eternal life; He is therefore our Everlasting Father.

Prayer: God, thank You for being the founder of everlasting life! Thank You for expressing Your love to me through Your sacrifice. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made" (Psalm 145:13).


Wonderful Counselor

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

No matter who or what we are - men or women, young or old, rich or poor - we cannot help but be impressed with the Wonderful Counselor. He alone is perfect and the only One who can meet all of our needs.

We have no fear of disdain or judgment when we share our heart with the Wonderful Counselor. He never tells us that our problems are frivolous or insignificant. He never grows tired of listening to us or bored with what we have to say. When we approach Him with our concerns, He says, "I know all of your problems, in far greater detail than you do, and I already have an answer for your troubles. I have comfort and joy for your troubled and sorrowful heart. I have blessing waiting for you. I have just been waiting for you to come to Me."

Christ's supernatural wisdom far exceeds any human wisdom. When Jesus is our counselor, miracles happen and transformation takes place through the power of God. Only Christ has the ability to see into our hearts, even into the corners that we try to hide from ourselves. Only Christ has the authority to forgive our sins and give us a fresh start. Only Christ has the power to give us eternal life with Him. Only Christ can heal our hearts and souls.

Whatever you are going through, Jesus the Wonderful Counselor is longing for you to come to Him with your burdens. Only He can make you whole. Only He will always listen no matter how long you cry out to Him or what you have to say. What is burdening your heart today?

Prayer: Wonderful Counselor, I need to give You my burdens today. Thank You for always being available and for always wanting to hear from me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).


The Best Advice

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Several hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah described Him as Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus is the wisest counselor we will ever know, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). He does not simply possess some wisdom, but all the treasures of wisdom. His expertise is unrivaled in providing guidance for our lives.

Have you ever sought the wisdom of a counselor? Maybe you needed perspective on a relationship, or help to walk through grief or depression. Counselors provide guidance, support, and encouragement. Yet, no matter how helpful, well-trained, or how well-intentioned human counselors are, none can compare to our Wonderful Counselor, Jesus Christ.

Christ's wisdom is not marred by human logic or reasoning; He does not see things from faulty perspectives. He is Truth. He knows all things. His counsel is not tainted with worldly thoughts or self-serving motives. His counsel is not contaminated by bias or manipulation. The counsel of Christ is pure.

No matter whose godly advice we seek on earth, we should always seek the counsel of Christ first. He possesses wisdom and knowledge that no human counselor or teacher has. He wants to be the One we immediately seek out when we stumble. He wants to hear about our heartaches and pains. He is the best listener we will ever know. When we place our burdens before Christ, He will fill our troubled hearts with peace.

Prayer: Wonderful Counselor, thank You that I can come to You and know that You give wisdom and guidance that no one else can offer. Help me to remember to come to You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory" (Psalm 73:24).


What Is Man?

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

The source of all of our troubles, individually, corporately, and culturally, is the lack of a godly perspective. When we don't have a right view of God, we don't have a right view of mankind, nature, or creation.

In Psalm 8:3-4, David said, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?"

David, the shepherd boy who spent many nights in the open field looking up at the stars as he watched over his flock, was able to praise the maker of the stars. He was able to see beyond the creation to the Creator God. When he saw the galaxies dancing in the sky, he was awed not by the stars, but by the majesty of the One who flung the stars in their orbits.

The God who created all of this did it with such perfection. "What is man that you are mindful of him?" said the psalmist. How small we are in the vast, cosmic setting. How astounding that the God of this vast universe, the God who orders and controls it all, would think of us and send His Son for us.

Prayer: Creator God, when I realize all that Your hands have made, I am amazed that You should care so much for me. Thank You! I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea" (Job 9:7-8).


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