To Timothy, my true child in the faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Timothy 1: 2


What a blessing, what a wonderful way to greet someone! Here is everything that a person could really need to make it through the day and to do it with something extra still left in the tank when the head hits the pillow at night. If we could only start out all of our interactions with others with this sort of mind set, this world would be a considerably better place to live. Consider the impact on others and on your interactions with them if you not only say that you wish them the grace, mercy, and peace of Christ but that you say it from the depth of your heart with the apparent desire that it is truly so for the person that you are speaking to.


As Paul engages with Timothy, he gets that the most important aspect of his relationship with Timothy is their common bond in and through Christ, for Paul knows at his deepest level that the connection that is made through the blood of Jesus to the true family of God is stronger than his human family ties. This is an eternal relationship that is lived out in this life. It seems that I often forget that God wants me to be the bearer of His blessings to the people that I engage with every day. If they have a relationship with Him, they are my family for now and for ever, and if they don’t know Him, I might be the one person who shows them what they are missing.


It is my prayer to God this day that I would set aside my cares, concerns, and fears so that I can bear a blessing to the people that I encounter in every corner of my world. In order to do this I need to realize that I am blessed by God in this same manner so that I think and act as a person who is graced by the presence of Christ and filled with His Spirit of peace, joy, and love. I also ask that I would value the people of my family of faith, the living body of Christ, in ways that will bring encouragement to them and glory to God. Lord, I give my heart to You; let its expression be a sweet reflection of Your love and grace.


Do not get drunk on wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.

Ephesians 5: 18, 19


A few years ago there was a popular film titled 500 Days of Summer in which the lead character, Tom, is walking down the street at a time when he is in a very up mood. Suddenly, as the song “You Make My Dreams” crescendos to full volume, everyone around him starts to dance and the whole world seems to be participating in a choreographed parade of joy that proclaims Tom’s own state of being to the world. This is a memorable big moment in the narrative of the film, and it is, fortunately, not the way that real life is experienced. It is hard for me to imagine Paul dropping everything in the middle of some city market place or square and launching into an elaborate song and dance routine. He might have enjoyed the spectacle, but I don’t think that is what he had in mind here.


What Paul does seem to be saying is that in Christ we have something that is lasting, unchanging, and unstoppable that does fill us with a sort of joy and peace that goes beyond any that we might experience or know from all other sources. Christ’s Spirit takes us beyond the temporary and out of the perishable nature of this world. He fills us with love in an enduring way that no human relationship can ever achieve. Yet, the love that God gives to us and the wisdom that He brings to our understanding of what it means to truly love others are the most important ingredients that people require in order to live successfully in our earthly relationships. For God does not want us to focus solely on Him and forego or ignore engaging with people in our world; rather, He wants us to take the changed hearts that His presence in us creates and carry Christ’s love into all of our interaction with others.


For people who know Christ, His Spirit is present in us. As we surrender and submit to Jesus as our Savior and Lord we enter into relationship with God in total. This means that His Spirit enters us at this time. Yet, many Christians continue to live in reliance upon the situational and the momentary in our lives as our source of what we perceive to be joy, peace, and love. However, when we surrender to Christ and allow His Spirit to provide us with understanding of others, our perspective is changed. He takes us out of ourselves and our easily wounded, fragile egos, and Christ opens our eyes to see people in the full light of His love, mercy, and grace. As we engage with life from this perspective with the Spirit filling and guiding us, it is possible to walk through our days with a song on our lips and the world around us seeming to move in harmony with our steps.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”

John 4: 34


During such a special time of year as the Christmas season, there is a lot of conversation and information out in our world about food. There are recipes to prepare, special meals that need to be planned, and eating often becomes the central point of gatherings of family and of friends. It would be my wish that these times of gathering and celebration would be deeply satisfying and truly rewarding for everyone involved, and I pray that the Lord will bless these times with His presence and with His peace and joy.


Still, there is a much more important way that Christ wants to feed us; for, He wants to provide each of His own with the abundant riches of a diet of pure spiritual food that is provided by His Spirit and that is supplied out of the Father’s will. When the Spirit of Christ is our primary source for nourishment, we will never be hungry; and when we view life as a banquet where our satisfaction comes from doing the Lord’s will, we will always be feasting on the very best. Then we are supplied with a cup of grace that never runs dry, and regardless of our status, financial wealth or lack of it, or physical health; the Lord provides us with a robe of honor to wear and a prominent seat at His table of blessing.


Today is the day of feasting. This is the hour for the festival of celebration of Christ’s victory. Now is the time to be filled with His purpose so that you can reach out to others with the hand of invitation that reaches across the great divide that sin causes. The party has already begun, the joyous sounds of heavenly laughter are in the air, and there is always room for more family at Christ’s table of salvation. Be filled with the Spirit and let His light of invitation shine out from you into the darkness.





Present yourselves to God as ones alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Romans 6: 13b


This is another of the ways that we have freedom and responsibility for the way that we behave in our spiritual lives, for God trusts His children with the decision to come to Him or to try to go it on our own. The Lord doesn’t tell us that going it on our own will produce a better result; since, it won’t. He did design and create us with a strong drive toward independence, and He gifted us with amazing capacity and capability. So, consider the fact that He made us in His image and then contemplate what that means in terms of what we might accomplish for Christ in our world.


The starting place for accomplishment is found in accepting the leading of Christ’s Spirit for our lives. Then it is brought to action by the ongoing filling of us with His Spirit. This is one of those points where we have a choice to make, for the Spirit fills what has been emptied of self, and the Spirit brings about true life as we yield our will to God’s. The ability to discriminate between what is dead and what is alive is granted to us by God when we are made alive in Christ; since, at that time, we are transformed from people who are eternally dead to ones who are forever alive.


How we choose to take advantage of our aliveness is the key to living in the full joy and the complete purpose of the Lord. God leads us to recognize the fact that we are alive so we can stop living in the land of the dead. We must stop trying to stay in control of every aspect of our lives and allow God to take us where He wants us to go. So, when we open ourselves to the Spirit, He will enable and empower us in ways that are beyond our imaginings.