December 25

[Merry Christmas! Read the final devotional in The Dawning of Indestructible Joy and then our offering below.]

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

John 6:51

So the meaning of Christmas is this: the Son of God came into the world to bear witness to the truth in a way that it had never been witnessed to before.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 79*

Jesus came to show us the truth of God’s love, grace, and goodness in a way never before seen.

Remember the reason behind all the giving of gifts, the feasting and fun, the joy and singing, is the commemoration of the Divine entering the world He created. God the Father giving His only Son as a means of salvation and restoration for the world.

Have you considered the uniqueness of His coming as a Babe? His stooping low to become like one of His own creations? not to rule and reign, but to give His life as a ransom for many?

Take a moment to consider Him today.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

Let the revelation of Truth behind the season bring transformation to your life.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of grace, truth, and life. May the heart of Christmas stay with me throughout the year. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Annie Spratt on Unsplash]

 *© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 24

[One more day. Don’t let the anticipation and love of God’s coming as a Babe get lost in the shuffle of the season. Read John Piper’s devotional for December 24, and if you have one more moment, read what follows.]

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of the brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.

Micah 5:2-4

Christ is the yes of all God’s promises, so if you trust him, they will all be your inheritance.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 73*

It’s Christmas Eve. An exciting time, especially for children anticipating whether their hearts’ desires will be fulfilled Christmas morning.

Think back to a time when you anticipated a great gift. Were your hopes fulfilled? or did you find yourself disappointed?

If you received what you desired, how long did the excitement of the greatly anticipated gift last? a week? a month? a year?

What about disappointment? did the heartache last a day? a week? has it left an unhealed wound on your heart?

This Christmas Eve, remember Baby Jesus is the Yes! to all God’s promises. He is the One gift whose joy will never dim and who will never disappoint.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:5 NIV

Ask God to help you fully receive the gift of Indestructible Joy.

Father God, open my heart to all You have for me in Jesus.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 23

[Just two more days until Christmas. We pray you are coming to know the indestructible joy He came to bring to those who believe. Begin by reading the December 23 devotional in The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.]

He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.

Micah 5:4-5

Yes, there are enemies on earth that must be defeated if we are to have peace. But, oh, the great enemy called sin and judgment – that is the greatest and worst enemy. The gospel at Christmas is: Christ has trampled this enemy underfoot at the cross. So for everyone who trusts in him, their sins are cast into the depths of the sea.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 71*

Inner peace. Peace with God. These are the blessings of Jesus’s coming to defeat the “great enemy.”

Have you found the peace He offers you? or are you still wrestling with fear of punishment? shame? condemnation?

Come before the Babe in the manger and see yourself as new in Him. Untouched by the temptations of the world. A future of new and good choices yet to be made. Your past redeemed for His use, for the good of His Kingdom.

Ask the Prince of Peace, the Good Shepherd, to rule in your heart and your life.

Lord Jesus, thank You for defeating the greatest enemy: my own brokenness, my own weakness when it comes to temptation, my own rebellion against the Father. Lead me, guide me, direct me in the path of peace. I willingly come under Your leadership and grace.

[Feature Image Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 22

[Today’s post follows the reading of December 22 in The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.]

“This is the covenant that I will make… I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Hebrews 8:10

And he would powerfully move into our lives and write his will on our hearts so that we are not constrained from the outside but are willing from the inside–to love him, and trust him and follow him.

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 68*

How has the Babe in a manger written His will on your heart this season? Are you feeling constrained or released?

A new year is fast approaching. Have you considered how you might love, trust, and follow Him in new and deeper ways?

Jesus, You completed in Your birth, death and resurrection what I could never do on my own. Write Your truth on my heart that I might love and trust and follow hard after You. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 21

[This devotional is intended to be read following December 21 in John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.]

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 16:15-17

Saving faith is based on a spiritual sight of Jesus as he is in himself, the all-glorious Son of God.

–John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy,  page 66*

I wrote a paper once on this Scripture. The professor of New Testament made the statement… This was the turning point in Matthew. The place where things changed for the disciples and especially Peter.

We are not sure when it happened, but at some point Peter’s eyes were opened to really SEE Jesus. To understand He was Emmanuel, God with us.

What about you? Imagine Jesus standing before you and asking, “Who do you say that I am?” Or maybe, “Who am I to you?”

How would you answer?

Lord, You are the Light of the World, my Savior, the Son of God. You are good and glorious. I praise You and give thanks that I can call You brother and friend. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash]

© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 20

[Five days until Christmas. Is your joy increasing? Today, John Piper’s devotional connects with me on a personal level. Hope it does with you too. Read December 20 and then the post.]

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:11

Jesus purchased our reconciliation. Jesus enabled us to receive the reconciliation and open the gift. And Jesus himself shines forth from the wrapping – the indescribable gift – as God in the flesh, and stirs up all our rejoicing in God.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 64*

Is Jesus’s gift of reconciliation sitting unopened in your life?

One way to tell if the gift lies dormant, is the level of joy you have in knowing Him. Do you consider Him the best gift you’ve ever received?

For years after receiving His gift of grace, surrendered, walking with Him to the utmost of the faith I’d been given… I wondered: Where’s the joy? It’s promised, but it wasn’t something I felt.

Opening the gift of Jesus can be a long journey and requires a willingness to accept the depth of your own sin and your need for Him. It takes a continued life of obedience to what you know of Him. I can tell you today, after persistent pursuit, the gift is worth the opening.

Whatever spiritual work He calls you to do, whatever may seem dangerous and makes you vulnerable to others through confession and stepping out of your comfort zone, whatever He calls you to let go of, it is all part of the process of opening the gift of reconciliation. Tearing away the lies the world has bound around your heart, laying down self for what He says is best…

This my friends, is the way to open the gift. And, Oh my! the joy I have today is indescribable. I often call it ridiculous. Because it just makes no sense. But OH! what a gift.

Father God, today I pray for all those who have not yet opened the gift of reconciliation through Jesus. Prepare their hearts to hear Your Spirit reveal truth about who You are and who they are before You. Bless them with the faith to surrender and obey. Bless them with the humility to fully receive and open the gift of Jesus. Amen.

 [Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 19

[Less than one week until Christmas. Has your journey through The Dawning of Indestructible Joy caused you to see the Babe in the manger in a new light? Read the December 19 devotional before reading these additions.]

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Acts 17:24-25

Christmas means: the infinitely self-sufficient God has come not to be assisted but to be enjoyed.

– John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 62*

Jesus came to make the Way, so we could again enjoy God’s presence in our lives.

No more guilt… no more shame… no more fear… no more burden of expectation…

Consider how you feel about God.

Do you enjoy Him? Do long for the reality of His presence in your life? Do you enjoy relying on Him in the things He calls you to do?

If not, ask Him to reveal what keeps you from finding joy in relationship with Him.

God: Father, Son, Spirit, open my heart to the joy of relationship with You through the Way You have made.

 [Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Jez Timms on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 18

[As Christmas draws ever closer, we hope you’re taking time to consider the truth behind God breaking into the world as a baby. Read what John Piper says on December 18, then read our offering.]

God put [Christ] forward… to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:25-26

Let your frustrations with this world throw you onto the Word of God. It will become sweet — like walking into paradise.

–John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, Page 59*

John Piper shared how Martin Luther found himself frustrated in pursuing self-justification. Only when God revealed Himself through His Word to be both just and the justifier of those who trust Jesus, did Luther find freedom from trying save himself.

We cannot justify ourselves. Nothing in the world can bring peace and joy. We will always end up frustrated apart from faith in Jesus.

Consider where you find yourself frustrated this Christmas season. How are you trying to justify yourself?

As John Piper suggests, throw yourself onto God’s Word. As you open your Bible, ask Him to reveal the root of your frustration and the key to peace and joy through faith in Jesus — the Babe in the manger.

Father God, You know where I am pursuing self-justification. You know where I have been deceived by the world through the teaching of self-help. Open my spirit to receive the truth in Your Word I need to hear today.

[Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 17

[Read December 17 in John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy before reading below.]

Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

Mark 10:44

Christmas. He came to serve, not to be served. He came to help us do everything he calls us to do.

–John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 56*

Oh my. That’s beautiful! and freeing! and true!

As one who has dreaded His call on my life, allowed it to burden and stress, I can say He has always been faithful to fulfill what He’s asked of me. When I let Him…

What a glorious truth to ponder! What a great new perspective on obedience.

What has He called you to do? has it felt like a burden? did you walk away?

Have you ever considered He’s asking to serve you when He calls you to do what He created you for? to help you do what He’s asking?

How does this truth change your attitude toward obedience?

Listen to His words in light of this revelation:

“… Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your glorious gift of service in my life. Taking on the burden of my sins, so I can be unburdened in serving You. Fill me with desire to embrace You as the One who serves me in all You call me to do. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

December 16

[The countdown to Christmas is heating up. Remember to slow, ponder, take time to focus on the reason we celebrate. The following devotional comes after the December 16 reading in John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.]

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45

In other words, the reason Christ took on our full humanity was so that he could die and in dying pay a ransom and free us from the power of death. And free us to be included in his own family. The ransom is ultimately about relationship. Yours to God, your merciful Father.

–John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, page 54*

The birth of a baby expands a family and they become a part of the family they are born into. Not so with Jesus. With His birth all have the opportunity to become a part of something bigger… God’s family. One tiny baby did all this!

Consider your family today and give thanks. What benefits do we receive when we become a part of God’s family?

When you consider your relationship to the Heavenly Father what one word comes to mind? Does the word give you reason for praise? Does it inspire you to know Him better?

Father, more than anything I want to have a deep relationship with You. Your Son made a way for me to come to You and there are times I have not taken advantage of it. I’m sorry for those times. Stir my heart in ways that cause me to love You more. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo seen on blog by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash]

*© 2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org