Advent 2017: Joy to the World: Day 27

Jesus Christ Is Lord

by

Today's Text: Matthew 11:25-30, John 3:16, John 6:41-50, Philippians 2:5-11

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:25-30, John 3:16, John 6:41-50, Philippians 2:5-11

Among my friends, I am notorious for tweaking recipes.

I’m out of baking soda? Oh, maybe a little extra baking powder will do the trick.

I only have one egg and the recipe calls for two? One egg will do, and just a little extra oil for moisture.

When it comes to baking, precision is required to get the correct result. But my impatience gets in the way again and again. Rather than going to the store and getting what I lack, I make do. And because of this, my baking creations have been known to elicit such comments as, “This tastes like feet.”

That’s what happens when you defiantly mistrust the recipe. What comes out of the oven is never what you intended.

After pages of Scripture full of laws and edicts recorded in the Old Testament, salvation is boiled down to one ingredient: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

His only begotten Son.

Jesus Christ.

He is it.

Scripture lays it out so clearly. I know that Jesus is at the center. Only He brings salvation. Only He brings hope. Only He is the bread of life (John 6:41). Yet, I try to tweak the recipe.

I feel lonely? Perhaps finding the perfect man will satisfy this longing.

I feel out of control? Perhaps prayer and my to-do list will put my mind at ease.

I feel anxious? Perhaps Jesus plus a little wine could help.

I try making substitutes to the recipe, adding to it, tweaking it. But regardless of my improvisation, the result is never what I wanted. Something is always missing. Some anxiety always remains. Something always tastes… off.

Perhaps this is why Scripture is so insistent upon the centrality of Christ. Because God knew our tendency to mistrust the recipe, to want to add to it or make our own substitutions. So again and again God’s Word homes in on this: Jesus is the only way. There is no need to complicate things any further.

So many days I settle for a little of Jesus and a lot of my own strength, while Christ is standing before me, saying, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28,30).

I look to the cross and then turn to every other earthly promise for fulfillment, and all the while Jesus is standing before me saying, “Truly I tell you, anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life” (John 6:47-48).

The clearest, most life-giving recipe of all is one name, repeated over and over again.

Jesus.

Jesus.

Jesus.

That is it, my friends. He is it. Don’t try to add to Him. Don’t substitute Him for something else. Without Him, we perish. With Him, and only with Him, we have eternal life.

Thanks be to God for our Savior Jesus Christ. To believe and trust in Him is to feast on the bread of life sent to us from heaven. He alone brings nourishment for our souls today, and the promise of relationship with Him, both now and forevermore.

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  • Rachel Sherrod

    Oh, how i needed this reminder of how I don’t need to add to Him or substitute anything for Him, that He’s it. Only Him and nothing else. He just wants us to come and make Him center of it all.

  • Yes He is! And I am constantly adding to the recipe when I know He is all I need. His grace and mercy on us is so precious as we constantly look everywhere else for what He promises to provide . Thank you for the study it is truly eye-opening . Thank you for continually pointing our hearts in the right direction . Thank you Jesus for SRT !

  • Karoline Ernst

    And thanks for the responses, everyone!

  • This is the absolute best devotional I have read in SRT (and I have been reading their devotional for over a year now). Thank you for creating such a realistic correlation to our mistrust in earthly possessions when Jesus is the center of everything we should ever do.

  • I think this is the realest devotional I’ve ever read. It really spoke to me, I definitely need to stop ‘tweaking’ and completely rely on Jesus

  • Rebecca Leek

    So how do we, practically speaking, focus our day-to-day lives on a relationship with Jesus? I don’t want to over think it, as Jodee Bucur wisely points out, but I also don’t know the tools, the method, to actually put Jesus at the center of my life so He is all I need. I already pray every day and think of Him all day long, I try to disciple to my very young children, and I take part in fellowship with other Christians, and I want to do more charitable activities. What am I missing? Because I want to feel that deep down Yes, Jesus is all I need. I know it, sure. But at what point should I catch myself that I might not be putting Jesus at the center so that He is all I need? Thank you, SRT community.

  • Jodee Bucur

    Omg the best devotional yet. I agree!!! So simply put. Jesus is all we need. Our relationship with him. That’s it!!! Not what others think we should be doing or believe. Sometimes I think we ladies get to involved in the competition of things. It’s very easy to get lost in the most simple of messages. Don’t Over think it.

  • Sarah Rivera

    Karoline – thank you for honestly asking questions and earnestly seeking to improve! The biggest “take-away” I received from this devotional was to just rest in Jesus. No you aren’t constantly praying or reading your Bible or trying to gather more “good Christian points.” Jesus is enough. He is it. There is no “and.” Be free and joyful in fully knowing what Christ has accomplished for you!

  • Ali Merchant

    Wow. I feel very convicted after reading this… Thank you for your words. And thank You Jesus for being our Savior.

  • Summer Parker

    Andrea hit it on the head with her recipe reference. This is my favorite from this devotional!

  • Kaye Wright

    Thank you for this lovely and simple devotional. I will carry it in my heart.

  • Julie Bagwell

    So so true! I didn’t realize I “tweak” until you explained it that way. Definitely one to revisit !

  • Diane Huntsman

    Sooooooo good. This is one to archive and revisit often! The recipe for the right life is always and forever only Jesus.

  • This really hit home with me as I read this this moroning. I am guilty in more than one way of wanting to add to the recipe and not just letting Jesus be enough. He truly is more than enough and I must trust him in every little detail. He knows what we have need of and wants us to simply trust He is in control. So thankful for this devotional!! Have a blessed weekend

  • Ruth Lorentz

    This was meant for me, too. I’m so guilty of the “Jesus…and” complex. Whenever I feel like I don’t have enough, or I’m frustrated with work or to do lists, or impatient with my kids…I need to just repeat Jesus until my focus changes to the bread of life. He is enough.

  • Thank you! I am burdened & turned to the Word…this devotional took home in my heart today.

  • Kristen Hodge

    Today’s devotional was meant for me. I have to stop trying to step in front of what God’s plan is for me with the assumption that I am in control or have the final say. Especially with things that bother me.

  • Jennifer Anapol

    Such a great reminder!! I make life so much harder than Jesus ever intended it to be when I try and Lord over my life. Thank you Jesus that I’m not in control!

  • Cat Gladwin

    Wow! I truly needed to hear this! I am reminded that it is not by my might or my strength but by the Spirit!! I am very thankful for this rebuke.

  • I’ve had a few of those baking adventures when I try to tweak the recipe! And I’ve also done that with Jesus, trying to add my own strength or working things so I can be most comfortable. But it’s all about Jesus, and he is all that’s needed.

  • Caralee Lilly

    This is the simplest most difficult truth for me. I’m continually asking “ what should I do” and Jesus is whispering sweetly…let Me. As we continue to long for our sweet daughter to return to us it has broken us that she refuses to ask us for help. Oh how my Father must feel when He has all the best things but I refuse to ask Him or simply rest in Him. So good! God is so so good.

    • Dawn

      Caralee, I too struggle in this, yet I know the answer. I heard recently that fear and doubt is forgetfulness of God. May we remember him and how good he is and his love and willingly turn and trust. God bless. I will be praying for your girl

  • Excellent analogy! Really hit home. Why is it so hard when it’s really so simple! And yet I get it because I’m the same way with recipes!

  • Whitney Wells

    As I was reading Andrea’s devotional, it was crazy how much of myself I saw in it. I make substitutions of my own strength all the time. It’s a constant struggle, but what a beautiful reminder that Jesus is enough. He is faithful. We just need to come to Him!

  • Emanuella Mutulescu

    Come Unto Me – Take 6

  • Sonja Cox

    Jesus Jesus Jesus- He is all we need!

  • Katie Morrison

    I feel like I should always have the answers, proper responses, perfect lesson plans for my class, orderly home and the most polite children. I’m not Jesus. He is. He’s my rest and my perfection.

  • Adrienna Purdy

    This is a hard word for me today. My father, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, is coming to the end of his life. He does not believe in Jesus as salvation. No matter how “good” he is, how wonderful of a father he has been to me, without Jesus, he has no chance at life. Please pray for him to turn to the true Jesus and receive salvation. And pray for my heart as I struggle to trust the goodness of the Lord in this.

    • Katie Morrison

      Praying for you and your father

    • Suzi

      Praying for you and your father this morning, Adrienna.

    • Sonja Cox

      Praying

    • Sophie Brockell

      praying!

    • Whitney Wells

      That is so hard. Praying, sweet sister.

    • Maribel Navarro

      I will pray for him this morning, and for you as well.

    • Anna HarrellGrimm

      Lord Jesus, You are able to change any heart. Open this sweet mans eyes to find true salvation even now. Thank You for never giving up on us no matter our age or number of mistakes. Give Adrienna peace and hope as she trusts You and rests in the knowledge of Your perfect love for her and for her father. Holy Spirit move today!
      In Jesus Name, Amen.

      May the grace of our Savior and the promises found in His Word bring you deep comfort! Continue to trust the heart of the One who gave up His Son for us.

    • Alyssa Anthony

      Praying for you and your father

    • Michelle

      Praying for you and your father. My father also does not know the Lord and thinks if he just follows the 10 commandments (which, he doesn’t), he will be fine. Praying that Jesus will be so close to your father in this time and for a softened heart to receive Him.

  • Churchmouse

    “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.” Yep I need reminding of this. Sometimes I’m more like the Jews in the passage who are complaining and arguing with Jesus. I look at earthly ‘evidence’ as if it is more valid than God’s Truth. I place more value on human ‘wisdom’ than on the Word of God. I wonder and worry instead of trusting and praying. Jesus trusted in Whom He knew : His Father. I need more of His attitude.

  • Courtney Cates

    We always should turn things other than Jesus when we feel incomplete. Christ is all we need.

  • Cheryl Carrasco

    I want to beautiful analogy. No you can’t substitute things in a recipe and expect the same results. So is it with God and His word. Thank you.

  • Melanie Bisson

    Oh how perfect for today. I know how I feel when I read the Word, but oh how often I let my bible sit there in the morning in lieu of surfing my phone. As if it’s a chore. Ugh.

    • Annissa Hackney

      Melanie- I am guilty of surfing on my phone instead of my Bible too. I needed this reminder this morning. Too often I allow the things in my life to distract me from the one thing I need to survive my day- time with the Father in the Word. We got this sister!

      I used to say that I was using my phone as an alarm when I was having my devotion so I wouldn’t be late for work. I found that it was a distraction from the Word. I am getting an actual timer to use instead so I won’t be tempted to jump on the phone instead of reading and praying.

      • Sadie

        Yes! I find trying to read the Bible while having any type of “screen” nearby is such a distraction! I have my best times with God when I sit on my couch with just my Bible and no electronics within sight or reach.

  • Magan SeagrovesKeith

    As I’ve reflected on 2017 this week, I’m brought back to that word I chose for the year…rest. If only we’d rest in Jesus during our struggles, anxieties, fears, and valleys like we do in our mountain moments we’d find real JOY. May 2018 be a year of finding joy in the only One that can bring true rest, peace, and joy!

  • Lake Girl

    How often I too substitute the wrong thing, and the result is not at all what i hoped. The recipe is right there in front of me, focus on the most important ingredient, Jesus…only Jesus works…there is no substitute.

  • Sally Burkholder

    Dear Heavenly Father…. keep blessing the women and men who faithfully seek your will and heart and share with so many, the truth from your word! Amen.

  • What a great reminder that was already on my heart as I am reflecting on the new year to come. Today’s my birthday, and after a truly tumultuous year, I love that I get to start both a new calendar year and a new year of life at the same time. This year (actually longer) I’ve been burdened with emotional and mental weights, from deep-rooted pain and fears and anxiety arising from my mom’s ultimately declining health. It felt like the emotional work (which I could barely call “healing” work) would never end and I would spend the rest of my life weak and afraid. This morning I felt a whisper of hope telling me I have a future and the very opposite of what I fear will happen – I will not quickly fade away from a weak spirit but rather will continue my healing journey to be stronger and have an impactful future because of it. I am so excited to study Matthew with SRT in the new year as I desperately want to see myself as God sees me and to accept His love for me and to find total confidence, strength, and healing in it. I look to Jesus to see what God thinks of me, and will look to Him as my only recipe for healing and strength in my new year!

    • Leslie Blackshear

      May God bless you Amy, may He strengthen you and give you peace.

    • Anna HarrellGrimm

      He loves you, Amy! I have wrestled with anxiety myself over the years. He is willing, able and desiring to work in our lives and to give us freedom from burdens. He doesn’t want any of us to stay stuck in the pit of anxiety and fear. It’s ok to take baby steps. The Christian walk itself is a continual process of letting go and choosing to take God at His Word. Praying for you! May the Lord bless you in the new year as you seek Him with all of your heart! He is working! Don’t become discouraged!

    • Anna HarrellGrimm

      And happy birthday!!

    • Amy Kuo

      Thank you so so much Anna! That means a lot to hear your story and encouragement too’

  • Savannah Gilmore

    Great reminder this morning to not turn to any earthly thing. Only Jesus! ❤️

  • Karen From Virginia

    Jesus. What a lovely Name. There’s power and love and hope in that Name. Jesus. I need rest and hope today. Hope in Jesus. I’ve been weary and need a breakthrough with my pain and me believing that that I’m not a hopeless case. When I hurt I feel that way. But God says He has good plans.

  • Tatum MeadowsBlack

    Jesus. Only Jesus. This was such a great reminder this morning.

  • This devotion was so me! I need to have more Jesus and less me in 2018! Thank you SRT

  • Tracy Sims

    Lord, open my heart to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

  • I was struck by this scripture passage, “5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Phil.) I want to follow Jesus’ example and empty myself! Father God, empty me of anything that does not serve You, so that all is left is my faith in Jesus. Amen.

  • Brittany Buckner

    Thank you! I’ve been so worried and impatient on waiting for us to be matched with a baby to adopt. This was exactly the reminder that I needed to just believe in Jesus and trust in His timing and way. He takes my burdens away and I can rest in that!

  • Ann Erwin

    I love the analogy to a recipe. All I need is Jesus. Jesus. Jesus

  • I think my word for 2018 is going to be ACKNOWLEDGE. As in, “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” from proverbs. My recipe will always be wrong without it. If I am not acknowledging Him or looking to Him as Churchmouse says, I will not be reflecting Him either, in the peace and joy I am meant to feel in my heart and to reflect to those around me.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Jesus!
    I brought my husband home, yesterday. He is home for the first time in eleven and a half weeks. He is weak and has a lot of improvement, strengthening to accomplish ~ all things are possible with Christ Jesus! Pray that he increases his fluid intake.
    Praising God for His miracles!

  • Denise Deck

    Thank you for these words. They came at just the right time for something that just recently happened.

  • Katy Wright

    Only Jesus, nothing else. Thankful for the reminder this morning.

  • So timely. I was just telling my husband last night how tired I was. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally worn out. Jesus. He is the answer. Not more sleep, not more self-care, not more wine, not less responsibilities, just Jesus. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When my eyes are on Him, my priorities fall in line and everything else melts away. Just Jesus.

    • Becky

      Yes, when my eyes are on him, my priorities fall into place. And my anxiety goes down. And my soul calms down. And then I start to feel the peace and joy that I KNOW I was created for.

    • Emily B.

      Exactly! Amen to that!

    • Clare

      Shannon, you echo my sentiments exactly!

  • What a relevant analogy! Thank you for sharing such a simple truth in a way that I can immediately embrace and put into action.

  • I love this!! However, I don’t seem to be able to calm or change my anxious feelings, thoughts, fears. I pray, read Scripture and repeat but as soon as I finish, it is as it was before–anxious feelings, thoughts and fears still there. Sometimes it makes me doubt my salvation. I do know though, my only hope for change is Jesus so repeat, repeat, repeat.

    • Jenn

      Sheila prayers for you today. Prayers that you can truly let go and give it all to God and he will give you peace in your heart. In Jesus name, Amen.

    • Kay

      Sheila, I struggle with this too! A dear friend of mine is fond of telling me, “Once you give your worries to Jesus, leave them with Him! Stop trying to take them back.” She sees what I never can: that I don’t have enough faith to trust his solutions, I want to instead insert or override with mine. I have made some progress in this area this year, but I have a long way to go. I pray God gives us wisdom, strength and courage to do more than believe in Him; we need His help to trust Him, too. Jesus will give us peace if we will only let Him.

      • sheila

        Thank you. I pray both of make progress in this area this year.

    • Annette

      Joyce Meyer teaches that we need to replace the anxious thoughts with God’s truth. Can’t just cast them away because it leaves an empty spot that allows them to come back. Pick a verse or a promise and when the anxious thoughts return speak over them with the truth.

      • sheila

        I need to find some Scriptures to use as fighting words against Satan for sure. Thank you.❤

      • Emily

        I love this!! Going to send this on to a friend who’s daughter is really struggling with fear and anxiety!

    • Kristen

      Please don’t doubt your salvation. I’ve done that too. If you accepted Jesus as your Savior and repented, believe He is the Son of God, and the only way, then you are saved. Focus on the scriptures that deal with anxiety. You can google them and write them on cards. I’ve heard it’s good to post them around your house and on your mirrors so you can remind yourself. May God give us His peace and may we feel His love, presence and power. In Jesus” Mighty Name! Amen!

  • This was amaze.

  • Posted too soon. This really hit home for me today. I have been struggling with something for a week now but while I was reading this I realized I was trying to substitute the main ingredient in the recipe. Thank you Andrea for making this so clear for me today! He alone is all I need!

  • “He alone brings nourishment for our souls today, and the promise of relationship with Him, both now and forevermore.

  • Debbie Gartland

    beautifully said

  • Andrea, this was amazing. Such a clear, perfect example to tie in this huge concept. Jesus is the only ingredient! This is something I’ll be thinking on for a long long time from now, in terms of the recipe. This is perfect.

  • I love it! “He ALONE brings nourishment for our souls…” There is no substitute.

  • CJ Avakian

    Loved those words! Jesus is our absolute gift and everything we need!

  • CJ Avakian

    The clearest most life giving recipe of all

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