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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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.

Liquid Fire
BY Dave Holland

I learned that Christmas is not about lights or candles, cakes or carols, but entirely about a Savior who loves us enough to become one of us.

For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:30-32

Gently falling snow paved my walk to our village church on Christmas Eve so long ago. We lived a few blocks from the church I pastored in that small New England town and I expected the Light of the World to visit us as we celebrated His birth. I was preparing early for a full house of festive worshippers in my first Christmas Eve Service. Life could not have been better – until it wasn’t.

I approached our small white colonial church building with the tall steeple noting it looked so warm and inviting. The church and the stained-glass windows glowed with subtle glory waiting for the people to arrive.

The first to come was the woman with Jesus’ birthday cake, baked in the shape of a cross. Someone came up with the idea that since it was Jesus’ birthday, HE should have a cake. I expounded on the idea by saying, “Hey, why don’t we conclude the service with everyone lighting their candles as we sing ‘Silent Night’ and gather at the front of the church putting our candles in the cake?” That’s when peace on earth almost became hell in church.

Nearly two hundred souls crowded into church that night to celebrate our dear Savior’s birth. Children fidgeted during scripture readings. People sang Christmas carols with gusto while angels sang harmony. Ushers efficiently distributed the communion elements, and everyone solemnly partook of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. I mused it was the perfect Christmas Eve service. The time had come for the grand finale.

I directed people toward the four-foot long birthday cake baked for sweet baby Jesus and gave the fateful instructions, “Ushers, turn out the lights and ignite the candle of the person on the end of each row, then each one lite your neighbors candles for the glory of God as we all sing, ‘Silent Night’ processing by the cake.” The radiant glow of the room grew with increasing intensity as people came forward to place their candle in the now shining cake. As two hundred wax candles began to accumulate the cake was transformed from beaming to a blazing inferno. The strangest sight began to unfold in slow motion. Liquid fire began to flow over the edges of the cake onto the floor and the young pastor thought, “Oh my Lord, I’m going to burn down the church with all the people in it!”

Miraculously, the fire went out as soon as the flames hit the floor. No one fried that night.“Praise God in the Highest” the angels surely sang. A little boy in the back who didn’t get to place his candle in the cake began crying, “But Daddy, I want to start a fire too.”

The lights quickly came back on and the parishioners went home that night glad to be alive. One look from my wife silently said, “You silly, silly man.”

I’m thankful the grace of God did not allow us to burn up that night. This event reminds me that Jesus came to save sinners of whom I am chief. I learned that Christmas is not about lights or candles, cakes or carols, but entirely about a Savior who loves us enough to become one of us. I went home a humbler man that Christmas Eve as I realized God was preparing me for the birth of His Son in my heart. The first quality we need to welcome Jesus this Christmas is the humility to know that life is really all about Jesus, the King of Kings.

 

Lord Jesus, help us focus on You during our Christmas celebrations.
To often we are obsessed with decorations and liturgies rather than
on the Son of God. We want to see You Jesus, touch You, worship You
in all Your glory. You are the gift that we seek, You are the Light of our lives. Happy Birthday Jesus!