Every year during the busy holidays, Christians remind themselves of the real significance of Christmas: the coming of Jesus. Our hearts are filled with gratitude that God the Father sent a Savior to redeem us. And celebrating Christ's birth is a sweet and pleasant time, filled with blessings of all kinds. We love seeing colorful presents around the tree in our living room. We enjoy singing carols and hymns, thanking God for his many blessings. Some of us even enjoy "A Charlie Brown Christmas," with Linus quoting from Luke 2 at the end.
What does the word "passion" mean to you as a Christian? I think passion at its truest and deepest level cannot be defined by any dictionary. Let me show you from Scripture what I believe it means to have a passion for Christ.
As I read the Bible, I see passion for Jesus as an ever-increasing obedience to his Word. Most of us think of obedience as personal, individual compliance to God's commands. Yet obedience to his Word has implications far beyond this. It isn't merely a personal pursuit but a fervent desire for the sake of the Lord's body.
Numbers 13 contains a list of names every Christian should be familiar with. See if you recognize any of the following: Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi or Geuel.
Having trouble recognizing them? Don’t worry—it would be unusual if you did know these names. They’re the spies sent by God to scope out the Promised Land. When I say we ought to be familiar with these names, the failure isn’t ours—it’s these men’s.
God promised the prophet Zechariah that in the last days he would be a protective wall of fire around his people: “For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about” (Zechariah 2:5).
Isaiah also testifies to this: “For thou hast been a…shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4). “There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (4:6).
Are you finding your temptations stronger, your resistance weaker, your affections for Christ strangely dimming? Are you in a season when God's Word seems uninspiring and your prayer life is weak and anemic? Are you ever afraid you've slowly become lukewarm?
If so, this message is for you. There is hope for believers who are falling into a spiritual lukewarmness. There is a power available to you — and there is a Savior working on your behalf to pluck you from dullness of spirit and bring a revival fire.
As the economies of the nations shake and crumble, fear is mounting worldwide. We are seeing Jesus' words come to pass: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity… men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26).
Christ has given us a warning here: "Without hope in me, multitudes will die of fright at the things they see coming."
Often prayer is one of the most selfish areas of Christians' lives. Many of us have to admit that most of our prayers focus on our own needs.
Occasionally, we may reach beyond our own narrow concerns and pray for others. Yet usually when we tell someone, "I'll pray for you," we don't do it. Or, we pray once and then quickly forget about that person's need.
Joseph took the body…and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away" (Matthew 27:59–60).
Jesus had just been crucified and was now laid in a tomb. As a massive stone was rolled to seal the doorway, everyone had a sad sense of finality.
Scripture says a group of women, including Mary Magdalene, was sitting opposite the tomb. Those women must have been heartbroken. I can almost hear the despair in their voices: "What will happen now that Jesus is gone? How do we go on?"
Our ministry has a devotional website that receives messages from Christians all over the world. Right now believers in various nations are writing the same thing: Fear is taking hold.
As prophesied in Scripture, God is shaking everything that can be shaken. It's hard to fathom all the upheaval taking place in the world at present. Consider the many fronts where nations are in turmoil: