His Birth and Our New Birth – Devotional for Christmas Day, 2010

’Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ’God with us’ —Matthew 1:23

I may not always “feel” the presence of God; but He is with us. He is with me. Christmas is not about the Christmas “spirit” or a “holiday” feeling or even “good will to men.” Christmas is a fact of history. God is with us and that changes everything. Through His presence we have access to Him,  and His redemption, salvation, sanctification.
If I observe and listen in the Spirit, I can confirm His presence. I see him in the face of a child. I feel His arms as I wrap mine around a little one or a loved one. I can look the the footsteps of my history and see His presence and intervention in my life. I can see lives changed by the hearing of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit.
God is with us and that means everything.
Merry Christmas.

The Hidden Life – Devotional for Friday, December 24, 2010

. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God —Colossians 3:3

It is the season of Peace on Earth. But if we look around we see a world sorely lacking in Peace. It’s because it’s a world living without God. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God. For one who is born again, it is easier to live in a right-standing relationship with God than it is to go wrong, provided we heed God’s warnings and “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7).
When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.
Peace on Earth. Goodwill to men.

Sharing in the Atonement – Devotional for Thursday, December 23, 2010

God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . —Galatians 6:14
Tonight is our traditional Sigur family Christmas gathering. I was born the oldest of nine children. Our mom and dad and one of my sisters have gone on to be with the Lord; but the rest of us enjoy getting together each Christmas Eve Eve. I am proud of our family. Our parents did a lot better raising us than I realized they were doing at the time. I am proud of my beautiful daughter, grand and great grand children. My beautiful wife and I have been together for over forty years now. It’s a wonderful time.
It makes all the more impressive the admonition that I should not boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do I long to be so closely identified with Jesus that I am of no value for anything except Him and His purposes? I don’t think I am there yet. It is said that the proof that your old life is dead, having been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you now enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ. I still don’t find it amazingly easy to obey the voice of Jesus Christ. But at least this year I have learned that should be my goal. I am trying to set aside pride and today will just say I am thankful for all the gifts He has given, especially my family. I will continue to listen for His voice and pray for the strength of obedience.
Be blessed.

The Drawing of the Father – Devotional for Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . —John 6:44

The Father draws us but not with intellectual arguments. It is a call of His will to our will. We respond as an act of will alone. For us the response is an issue of commitment. But will I commit, placing myself completely and absolutely on God, and be willing to act solely on what He says? If I will, I will find that I am grounded on reality as certain as God’s throne.
In preaching the gospel, always focus on the matter of the will. Belief must come from the will to believe. There must be a surrender of the will, not a surrender to a persuasive or powerful argument. I must deliberately step out, placing my faith in God and in His truth. And I must place no confidence in my own works, but only in God. Trusting in my own mental understanding becomes a hindrance to complete trust in God. I must be willing to ignore and leave my feelings behind. I must will to believe. But this can never be accomplished without my forceful, determined effort to separate myself from my old ways of looking at things. I must surrender myself completely to God.
Everyone has been created with the ability to reach out beyond his own grasp. But it is God who draws me, and my relationship to Him in the first place is an inner, personal one, not an intellectual one. I come into the relationship through the miracle of God and through my own will to believe. Then I begin to get an intelligent appreciation and understanding of the wonder of the transformation in my life.

Experience or God’s Revealed Truth – Devotional for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God —1 Corinthians 2:12
Most of us know someone (maybe the man in the mirror) who has run from place to place looking for spiritual experience. Rallies, retreats, and revivals are all great, as are mission trips and ministry where God moves. These experiences can excite and encourage our faith; but can not be the basis of our faith.

Faith based on experience is not faith; faith based on God’s revealed truth is the only faith there is. Faith grows fed by the day-to-day movement of God and the working out of His revealed truth in our lives.

Praise God when He blesses you with mountain top experience; but praise Him also as He walks with you through the valleys in victory and joy.

The Right Kind of Help – Devotional for Monday, December 20, 2010

And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32

Folks generally love Christmas. A child born in a manger isn’t very intimidating. We can handle that kind of God. Shepherds, sheep, wise men and angels. Again no problem there. When the lost are attracted by the beauty of Christmas, we need to hit them hard with the cross. A God who comes as a child is one thing; one who comes to die is something else. Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery.
When you find yourself face to face with a person who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.
But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is trusting in the reality of redemption, his words will be compelling to others. What is extremely important is for the worker’s simple relationship with Jesus Christ to be strong and growing. His usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.
The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, he cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.

The Focus of Our Message – Devotional for Sunday, December 19,2010

I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34

People want the blessing of God, but they can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter.  We must drive the message home so forcefully that a person cannot possibly hide, but must apply its truth. Deal with people where they are, until they begin to realize their true need. Then hold high the standard of Jesus for their lives. Their response may be, “We can never be that.” Then drive it home with, “Jesus Christ says you must.” “But how can we be?” “You can’t, unless you have a new Spirit” (see Luke 11:13).
There must be a sense of need created before your message is of any use. Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring . . . a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.
Nick Sigur

Test of Faithfulness – Devotional for Saturday, December 18, 2010

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

I just spent some time on Facebook. Perhaps the stress of the season is starting to take hold.  How was your day today? Did you start to “lose it” with the people you had to deal with, the traffic, the harried employee in the store, the child a little too anxious for Christmas.  Are the circumstances taking over your Christmas? It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances. We take our circumstances for granted, saying God is in control, but not really believing it. We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people.
The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son.
Tomorrow is the last Saturday before Christmas. Only a week left to go. Why not resolve to be used tomorrow?  As Mother Theresa said, “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.”
Be blessed.