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The Christ Effect

The Christ Effect

Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. . . All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us.’”  —  Matthew 1:18,22,23

Take time during this deployment. . . during this Advent season . . . to think on these truths of God from the Christmas story.

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

1. disrupted the lives of many.

Zechariah and Elizabeth, a priest and his wife, having a baby (John the Baptist) at a very old age; Joseph and Mary, having an “unexpected” pregnancy; the shepherds, having an unusual day on the hillside!  “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Zechariah), standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him:  ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John’” (Luke 1:11-13).

How has Jesus disrupted your life?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

2. fulfilled the lives of some.

Anna and Simeon waiting expectantly at the temple for the Christ Child!  “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel’” (Luke 2:25-32).

How has Jesus brought fulfillment into your life?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

3. determined the life calling and ministry of one.

John the Baptist’s calling!  “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins . . .” (Luke 76,77).

How is Jesus presently determining what you do in life?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

4. made some look forward.

Zechariah looked forward with prophecy!  “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (Luke 1:67,68).

How is Jesus changing your perspective of the future?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

5. moved others to look back.

Zechariah also looked back at the fulfillment of prophecy!  “He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us—to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham. . .” (Luke 1:69-73).

How has Jesus changed the perspective of your past?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

6. compelled simple acts of faith and obedience.

Mary’s obedience!  “But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’. . . ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said’”  (Luke 1:30-33, 38).

How is Jesus presently compelling you to acts of obedience and faith?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

7. stimulated some to evangelism.

The shepherds spread the good news!  “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them”  (Luke 2:17,18).

How has the coming of Christ compelled you to tell others about Him?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

8. stirred others to praise.

Mary, Zechariah, the angels, the shepherds—all praised God!  “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:13,14).

Because of Christ, is praise a daily part of your vocabulary?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

9. motivated a few with a sense of urgency.

The shepherds were quick to respond!  “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger”  (Luke 2:16).

Is there a new sense of earnestness, and determination in some area of your life because of Christ?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

10. inspired contemplation.

The crowds (Luke 1:66) and Mary pondered!  “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”  (Luke 2:19).

How has Christ changed what you meditate, consider, study and reflect upon?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

11. created fear and astonishment.

The crowds and the shepherds were in awe!  “The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things”  (Luke 1:65).

Are you sometimes astonished (or perhaps even fearful) when it comes to Jesus?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

12. affirmed the place of Israel in God’s promised prophetic plan.

The angel (Luke 1:16), Simeon (Luke 2:32) and Anna spoke of God’s plan!  “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”  (Luke 2:38).

Are you thankful that once God begins something He always brings it to fulfillment?

The coming of Jesus (and the events accompanying His coming) . . .

13. opened the doors for Gentiles to be saved.

Simeon declared that Jesus would be, “A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel”  (Luke 2:32).

Are you grateful that you are included in God’s plan of salvation through Christ?

Questions to Share:

1. Has deployment caused you to think about Christmas in new ways this year?

2. Which of the thirteen questions above was particularly meaningful to you, and why?

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