Dave Holland - Lover of Jesus, Friend of God, Author

Know Jesus Everday

God is preparing you for something more and He is patiently formulating  his plans with great forethought. You will find fulfillment only when you discover God’s purpose for your life.

Dave Holland lives to help people become more like Jesus. His life mission is to love God and love people. He has been serving God for 50 years and found that Jesus is the sole foundation of Christian living.

Dave studied the Gospel of Luke for over ten years while writing the first book in the Daily Jesus Series. Christmas Jesus is the first installment, followed by Every Day Jesus, covering the first four chapters of Luke. Thanks for joining us on this journey to know Jesus every day. His third book, Extraordinary Jesus, continues the devotional series in Luke 5-9. The series follows the format of a paragraph from Luke, followed by explanation and illustration, and concludes with a prayer.

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The Day Heaven Went Silent
BY Dave Holland

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. Luke 2:6

 

I saw him, the Ancient of Days, in a vision. I recognized him as the Captain of Angel Armies, the Glory of Heavenly Splendor, the Object of the Father’s affections.

The Son was resplendent; He is the Light of very Light, the God of very God, clothed with power, might and dominion. Innumerable legions of angelic creatures sang his praises and marched at his command. Suddenly, without warning, the Son stood from his throne and strode toward the exit gates of heaven.

Descending from his throne, the Son flung off his mantle of omnipotence. The angel multitudes gasped. Then He marched toward the gates, discharging his infinite knowledge. Finally, he drained his omnipresence as He opened the gates to leave.

Jesus abandoned heaven’s glory to be born a vulnerable babe. For the first time in eternity, heaven was without the presence of the Son of God.

“Whoosh! What was that?” the angels cried as the Breath of Heaven blew out the door. He left heaven and poured Himself into a tiny human body far away on the dark planet. Did the music suddenly stop? Were the heavenly hosts perplexed when the object of their eternal affection was absent? When the Singer of the eternal song departed, did heaven go silent?

Heaven rejoiced in the radiance of God’s glory for eon upon eon. The love dance transpiring between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit twirled in rhythm from time immortal. The friction from their constant expression of love toward one another created such a warm glow that the universe basked in its light. But then, the Son departed.

How did God feel the day Jesus left heaven to pour himself into a human body? Visualize the moment that the Trinity’s love party stopped. Did God grow lonely for his Son? Did he mourn his loss? Could God suffer the empty nest syndrome?

Yes, God knew the end of the story. He knew his Son would return in victory. But that does not change the loss he experienced. God the Father sacrificed the immediate presence of Christ to send his Son to earth. Love presents itself in sacrifice.

Jesus intentionally left heaven to become human. Paul describes the heavy price Jesus paid to become one of us:

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. Philippians 2:5-7.

What did Jesus willingly give up becoming that Child in the manger? Christ empties himself of his divine privileges of all-power, all-knowing, and all-presence to become a vulnerable babe. Beyond that, he also emptied himself of the heavenly fellowship and glory that he shared with the Father and the Spirit.

Before his arrest, Jesus prayed, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed,” (John 17:4–5.) I think Jesus also longed for the fellowship of the Father. In my words, Christ was saying, “I want to be with You, Father!”

It is hard for us to fathom the expense the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit paid to enable Christ to be born among us. They endured this pain to redeem us from every kindred, tongue, and tribe. God loves us so much that he allowed this great sacrifice to bring you and me into his family. Heaven lost the glory of the Son for a season that we might receive the glory of the Son for eternity.

When God Called Saint Nick
BY Dave Holland

We couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve, so we snickered and played the guessing game. We taunted one another with our imagined gifts to open on Christmas morning. “Guess what I’m getting for Christmas,” we snickered and made so much noise that Mom eventually came up to our room. We pretended to be asleep, but she called our bluff.

“I know you’re awake, so quit trying to fool me. I have a Christmas Eve story to tell, so lie still and listen.”

Gabriel, the Arch Angel, announced before heaven’s throne, “Your Majesty, the children are restless.”

“What? My children?” mused the Ancient Glorious Wonder.

The nine-foot angel whined, “The children of the realm stir impatiently waiting for something more.”

“Why, I gave them everything they could need. Mothers to nurture and fathers to challenge them and grandparents to lavish My love upon them. What more could they want?”

“Perhaps the dark stain still shadows their hearts, Father,” said the Son as He entered the eternal throne room. “Greed and selfishness lurk in their imaginations.”

“Aye, it shades their minds from comprehending the gift of My great love for them.” The foundations of heaven shook as the Father stood to make a pronouncement. Raising the scepter of His power, He thundered the pronouncement, “I propose gifts for all the children of the realm, gifts to delight and gifts to make merry the hearts of children everywhere. Call Saint Nick to create a plan to carry out my decree.” With the thunderclap of His scepter upon the sea of glass before His throne, the decree went forth.

Millions of heavenly creatures flapped their wings and bowed their heads before the wondrous wisdom of the Ancient Father. But how could Saint Nick possibly carry out the royal decree?

Paradise resumed its singing, and Cherubim blew the horns of holiness day and night. Soon, the halls of heaven rattled with the joy-filled cry of Saint Nick, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Gather round seraphim and angels galore, for I have a plan to carry the Father’s love to the ends of the earth. An abundance of life evermore for all who believe and receive the fullness of life. Father will write peace and joy in the sky and etch it in human hearts. We need food in abundance, beautiful wrappings, and lights to brighten the celebrations.”

The Holy One’s laughter reverberated through all creation, “I knew Saint Nick would invent a plan to fill my children’s hearts with joy.”

Saint Nick bowed before the Ancient of Days, “Yes, Great Father, but there is a price.”

He decreed with nostrils flaring and hair flying, interrupting Saint Nick, “No price is too much for My children, no extravagance too generous for My love.”

“But what is the price?” the angels cried.

Saint Nick’s shoulders shook, and he heaved with sobs of travail. “Father, Your children long for fame and money. They desire to be given whatever they can imagine. The dark stain holds them as slaves and blinds them to the gift of Your love. They fight and argue while lusting for more, evermore.”

Not a wing fluttered. Breathless angels hung still as heaven waxed silent. Finally, the angels whispered, “So what is the price?”

All heaven wept, “Who is worthy to pay the price? Who can heal the blindness that blocks the vision of God’s love?”

“The children need to see, the children need to see, the children need to see,” chanted the seraphim.

Just then, the object of the Father’s love for eon upon eon stepped up to heaven’s heights. His hair was white like wool and His face shining like the sun, His garments shone like burnished brass and His voice like the sound of many waters—the Son, the Apple of the Father’s eye, said, “I will pay the price, I will go to Bethlehem to be the baby born to die. Then the children will see the ultimate gift and they will want no more.”

 

Slowly, the Son dropped the robe of His power and shed the scepter of His authority. He laid down His glory and left heaven silent. 

Whispers and whirring of angel armies set all heaven abuzz with the cry, “What could this mean?”

The Father rose from His throne. “Gabriel, it’s time. Blow the trumpet. Angels form into choirs. Guardians of light burn a pathway to the City of David—a baby is born this night to fulfill my promises.”

Launching into action, all heaven jumped at the Father’s commands. Then sleigh bells and reindeer hoofs split the skies.

“Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” shouted Saint Nick with glee. “The light of the world has come. The Son of the Most-High God is born in a manger. The Gift of all gifts blesses all children everywhere. May the Son heal blind eyes and cleanse the dark stain with His own blood. Children everywhere rejoice the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world has come!”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Mom finished her story and said, “Sleep now, little children. Dream as I dream. I dream of the Son given to you, the Son who can drive dark stains from hearts. Sleep now. Dream of what you can give on Christmas morning, for it is in the giving that genuine joy will flood your heart. Giving what matters most is the price of Christmas. God gave us the life of His Son with all His love. Now we must give to one another with all our love.”

God Still Speaks
BY Dave Holland

God is nearer than you know, and He is not silent. Many Christians yearn for a better relationship with the Lord, and they wonder why He seems to be distant.

Consider Zacchaeus in Luke 19. This successful businessman lived his life in luxury. But something was missing–he wanted to be closer to the Lord. When he heard Jesus would pass through his town, he ran ahead and climbed a tree to see Jesus.

Traveling to Jerusalem Christ passes through Jericho. Josephus, a noted Jewish historian from the first century, calls this city the “fattest region in Palestine.” Taxes gathered there would make a chief tax collector like Zacchaeus wealthy. But he wants something more from God. He needs what Jesus offers–love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Christ looks up and sees Zacchaeus. The Master moves toward him and invites Himself to Zacchaeus’ home. Jesus sees you and invites Himself to your home. Welcome Him now.

God wants to speak to you. Listen. The Word of God is our primary source of revelation, but God built like old-fashioned radios. If you calm your heart and dial in to the Spirit, you can hear from God in prayer.

Allow me to challenge you with this exercise. Find a quiet spot in your home where no one will disturb you and commit to sitting before the Lord for seven silent minutes.

Don’t be surprised by the onslaught of thoughts screaming at you. Dismiss the feelings that shout at you to go get something done. Let go of the guilt and regret that cling to you. Believe that Jesus took care of all those things on the cross. Ask Jesus to come to you.

Close your eyes. Imagine the room you are in. In the theater of your mind, place yourself in your chair. Invite Jesus to come into the room to be with you. How is He dressed? What does He do? What does He say? To you.

I see myself seated in a sanctuary. I’m in the chair at the end of the aisle. Christ walks close to me and lays His hand on my shoulder. I am bowed, partly in deference to the Master, but mostly because of the events of my life that have left me scarred and humbled.

The scene suddenly shifts in my mind to the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. My eyes look to the west, as magnificent yellows, oranges, and reds glow in the distant sunset. “You are in the sunset of your life,” the Lord whispers into my inner ear.

“Do You mean I am going to die soon, Lord?”

“No, sunset is the time to contemplate the beauty of creation and your life. The time when there are more memories behind you than there are battles ahead. Write, tell people the story of My love. Invite them to swim in the deep sea of grace and forgiveness rather than the muddy waters of guilt, rules, and religion. Humanity knows little of the joys I have set before them. Liberate people from the shackles of sin and condemnation. Tell them about me.”

God still speaks. He will speak to you if you invite Him. Jesus said, my sheep hear My voice. 

Who is this Man Called Dad?
BY Dave Holland

It happened one summer day when I was visiting my Dad. He lived deep in the desert, and we were roofing the addition to the house he shared with his new wife. The sun blistered us with 105 degrees of pure hell as I slapped down the black shingles and Dad nailed them to their resting place.

Dad stopped for a moment to wipe the sweat from his face and said, “I’m sure a fourteen-year-old boy would rather be out having fun, but I love doing this.” He picked up his hammer and continued pounding nails. He was right–this wasn’t how I pictured visiting Dad.

“Who is this strange man? Who could love sweating like a pig roasting over a barbeque pit? WHO is this man I call Dad?

All my life I longed for his approval. The absent demonstration of manhood left a crater-like hole in my soul. Psychologists say that children who grow up in one-parent homes fill that empty space with anger. I am living proof of that adage.

Dad moved out when I was five. Afterward, I saw him once or twice a year. As a teenager, I often imagined how I was going to tell him off when he came to visit at Christmastime. But the moment he walked in the door, all that anger evaporated and I ran to him. An hour after he left, my old friend Depression crept back in with his evil twin Resentment.

Thirty-five years and thousands of miles of distance did little to soothe our strained relationship until my nephew asked me to perform his wedding. The family all traveled to Colorado for the festivities. My sister Linda randomly won the Coca-Cola Challenge and three tickets to a Colorado Rockies baseball game two nights before the wedding.

Dad, Linda, and I went to the game with the requirement that one of us run in the Coca-Cola Challenge. I was the only one healthy enough to compete.

A Rockies official escorted me to the team’s bullpen during the seventh inning stretch and prepared me for the Challenge. “By the way, this game is being televised nationally,” she said. She explained the contest involved running from the left-field wall, tagging second base, and continuing to the first baseline in less than twenty-five seconds to win. Nervous energy shot through my veins like a boy on his first date.

Boom! Blasted the starting gun. My forty-eight-year-old legs struggled mightily. The crowd of thirty-five thousand people roared their encouragement as the TV cameras rolled. I won with my lungs sucking air like a lung cancer survivor as the crowd cheered.

As the beautiful Rockies’ representative escorted me back to my seat, the jumbotron scoreboard replayed my victory run. It all felt surreal as we approached my seating section. I could see Dad watching the jumbotron and waving his ball cap wildly from his wheelchair. My mind raced back to my little league days as a ballplayer. Hundreds of times I had looked toward the stands, longing to see Dad, only to be disappointed at his absence. Now, here he is.

Dad casually mentioned on the ride home from the stadium that this was the first time he attended a baseball game. I realized then how much he had missed. Under the cruel shadow of divorce, son missed father and the father missed son.

The rare air of tranquility enveloped us as we each accepted the journey of our lives. We loved each other despite it all and in the end, that’s what matters. Reconciliation has to do with accepting your losses and kicking anger to the curb. Resentment and regret only steal your joy. Forging a new future based on peace allows love to emerge.

Similarly, humanity lost itself in all the crap of life. Alienated from God the Father, we had no path to return to Him. Until Jesus came and dealt with our sin at the cross. Christ created a new beginning based on peace, “we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation,” Romans 5:11 (NIV).

First John 4 further explains, “This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him,” and concludes, “Everyone who loves is Fathered by God.”

It happened one summer day thirty-five years later that I came to appreciate Dad. I’ve also learned Father God is my eternal Dad who never leaves. My heart is whole and filled with the love of God and love for my Dad.