Peace, Love, & Joy | Pass Me Not | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 19 of 27 | December 18, 2019

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.” – Fanny Crosby[1]

The greatest danger to our faith is not a hostile government. Our danger is not even our trials and tribulations. Our danger is not a failure in our private business venture. It is not a failure in our career. It is also not a broken marriage, home, or family. It is not social evils, ostracization, or any form of discrimination. The greatest danger to our faith is none of these. The greatest danger to our faith is disbelief.

Rev. C. B. Samuels in his sermon “Nevertheless: The Government is on His shoulders[2] expressed how we forfeit the joy of Salvation every year. (Is 9:3) Because we only want to celebrate the baby Jesus on Christmas. Because we do not want to confront Jesus the Son on whose shoulder the government will be established. (Is 9:6)

There are two reasons why we don’t want to confront the Son on Christmas. First, we don’t want to confront out sins. And second, we don’t want to submit to God.

The message of the advent was/is clear and simple: “repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Mat 3:2, NLT) The response to this message is same now, as it was when John the Baptist preached. Some stepped forward, repented, and were baptized. And some malign the very act by their mere presence. A majority of us fall on the second lot. This is how we forfeit eternal life, and its inherent joy. We take comfort in the fact that we are born (brought up) in a Christian household, or lived in a Christian community, or know a Christian, et cetera. We take false refuge in the fact that we identify as Christians – which automatically immune us from eternal damnation. The Baptist retort “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.” (Mt 3:8-9, NLT)

The second half of the message, is the announcement of YHWH’s Sovereign Rule. “The Kingdom of Heaven is neara son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.” (Mt 3:2, Is 9:6, NLT) YHWH not only demands submission, but He declares, He is going to take it. But we don’t want to give up control. We don’t trust God enough to satisfy all our needs. We don’t want to submit to Him. We want to be the God of our own lives. And so, we forfeit the entire Kingdom of God.

Christ concluded this reality, in clear coherent words to Nicodemus. “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God… I assure you; no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (Jn 3:3, 3:5-6. NLT) Let us pray, and seek Christ, that the Holy Spirit would regenerate our hearts and save us from our own disbelief. So that we could repent, be a part of His Kingdom.


[1] https://mereorthodoxy.com/reading-the-hymns-pass-me-not-o-gentle-savior-2/

[2] Delhi Bible Fellowship South, 15th December 2019


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows (xiv) December 13: Christ, the Real Thing, the Perfect Priest (xv) December 14: Making Transformation Real (xvi) December 15: Abundant Life (xvii) December 16: An Unlikely Route to Victory (xviii) December 17: Freedom & Joy Secured in Him

Peace, Love, & Joy | The Confidence of Redeeming Hope | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 4 of 27 | December 3, 2019

For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done.” – John Piper (pg. 5)

The confidence of redeeming hope, is a beautiful wellspring of eternal courage. This is a unique brand of courage that only the faithful possess, after drinking from the fountain of life (Jn 4:14). Zechariah much like everyone else showed evidence of a disbelieving heart, upon the visitation of the angel Gabriel. (Lk 1:20) But only when he had witnessed the full proof divine work in his life, words of thanksgiving and prophesy flowed from his mouth. (Lk 1:68-71)

There is an interesting thing about Zechariah’s speech that Piper has pointed out. He notes, “filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming of the Messiah that he puts it in the past tense.” (pg. 5)

This is the nature of divine hope – that the believer believes that it has already been granted, even before it has been done. And how apt it is, that the Apostle Paul further clarifies this: “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory.” (2 Cor 1:20, NLT) This is a hope that is not peculiar to Zachariah alone. This is a hope that is evident in everyone, whose lives God has touched. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1, ESV)

The birth of Christ, our Messiah, was a confidence building – hope securing visitation for the Patriarchs of our faith. If we profess to believe, yet are unable to live the reality of this hope in the past tense, how unfortunate that would be. Perhaps, it is unfortunate. Let us pray, and seek this divine visitation personally in our lives. For Christ has open the door for us to plead for such mercy. Let us not weary another day. Let us seek and ask, to receive this life affirming hope in us. “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mk 11:24, ESV)


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy


Read previous entries in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God

Peace, Love, & Joy | Prepare the Way | Christmas Special | Devotional Series | Part 2 of 27 | December 1, 2019

What John the Baptist did for Israel. Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared.” – John Piper

It is hard to associate advent to John the Baptist. The former invokes festivity, and the later, somber piety. But both, ideally ought to hold the same meaning. John was tasked ‘to make ready for the Lord a people prepared’ (Lk 1:16-17, ESV). Advent, essentially means arrival of the awaited. And the way the Bible treats it, is by the word of repentance to prepare us for the Lord. (Mk 1:5) Why? The Apostle Luke notes, ‘to turn … the disobedient to the wisdom of the just’. (Lk 1:17, ESV)[1]

The following are four important points to ponder upon, as a way of observing advent:

  1. First, we need to accept our need of a Saviour. Because otherwise, Christmas has no meaning. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mk 2:17, KJV) Piper puts this point promptly, “Christmas is an indictment before it becomes a delight”. (pg. 1)
  2. Second, engage in somber self-examination. We can never repent, until the grace of God enlightens us of our sins. So, we seek earnestly, the heart of repentance in prayer (more so, especially in this season when we are together with our close ones). We should employ the heart of festivity in encouraging one another in growing closer to God, by making repentance a communal effort. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps 139:23-24, ESV)
  3. Third, build godly anticipation. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13, ESV) We ought to learn to build godly anticipation in the advent season; based on biblical hope of new birth – of fruitful Christian lives. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Js 1:18, ESV). The anticipation of celebrating Christmas shouldn’t be clouded by the prospects of exceeding worldly merriment.
  4. Fourth, be scripture-saturated. All the above three points we have discussed cannot become a reality in our lives until and unless we are fed well by the word of God. Piper advices, be much in the scripture, for the word of God is a great fire (Jr 23:29) that not only lights up our lives, but keeps us warm through the darkest of nights. (pg. 2)

As we enter the month of December, let us prepare our hearts in accordance to the Word and Will of the LORD, who comes to birth us anew. Let it not be in us, that He finds no room. Let the manger be in our hearts this year. (Lk 2:7)


Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy“.


[1] To understand the context of why the scripture is referring to people as “disobedient” see the sub-section “peace” in the Introduction.  


Read the previous entry in this Series:

(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas