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

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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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Where Does Peace Come From?
BY Dave Holland

 

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God Isaiah 41:10

The world broils with conflict. Can you imagine living in Israel with rockets lobbed into your neighborhood at random times? Or, in Gaza, where the country is being reduced to rock and rubble? Or in Ukraine, where soldiers rot entrenched in freezing fox holes. They fight a war nobody wants, none but a lone madman in Moscow. Where does peace come from?

Yes, chaos reigns in the world. Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide. Three of the leading causes of death among teenagers are accidents, homicide, and suicide. The United States records close to seven hundred thousand divorces per year. Bad news abounds, but good news is on the way.

People are searching for peace, the antidote to fear. They are fearful about their future, finances, and families. But we do not find peace in financial security, nor is it found in political consensus. We find peace in a person and his name is Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Over a billion people have downloaded the free Bible App, YouVersion, as they seek to learn more from the Word of God. What are these billion people looking for? In three of the last four years, the most common search on this app is not for scriptures relating to success, prosperity, or healing. The most frequent search is “Fear not, for I am with thee.”

Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Peace is a gift Christ wants to give you. He wants to give it to us far more than we will ask for it. We have not because we ask not.

The Lord’s presence conveys peace to us. According to Isaiah 43:5 God said, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Fear has no foundation in reality. We fear what might happen. We have no reason to fear because God is with us. He is with us in Florida. God is with people in Israel, Ukraine, Syria, and Gaza. He is for us and not against us. The sunlight of His favor is shining on us if we will but open our eyes to see it.

I remember my ex-wife once said I dressed like a Walmart mannequin. That is to say, bland and blase, lacking style. One of the church members once referred to me as “Robo-pastor” because, no matter what happened, I kept going about my duties. I prided myself on not reacting to circumstances emotionally. Clearly, I needed God’s work in my heart.

Following my divorce in 2005, I imagined my future, dying alone and uncared for. The thought terrified me and left me depressed. When I attended worship, I would weep uncontrollably. It was embarrassing. Long suppressed emotions were boiling over.

My circumstances shattered my life and my peace. I left a church service in San Antonio because I could not control my feelings. The Lord whispered into my heart, you are angry with Me. You thought your life, family, and future were secure, but you trusted the wrong things. Will you trust Me now?

I turned away from my anger and self-justification. God’s presence pervaded my heart and began restoring my life. This peace came from the Lord.

God’s presence guarantees His peace. The remedy to fear and insecurity rests on faith in God’s faithfulness. Healing for broken emotions flows in God’s presence. Will you trust God’s presence to guide your life? Turning to the Lord builds a barrier against depression, worry, and anxiety. Ask for His peace to flow into your heart.

Where's Jesus?
BY Dave Holland

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” 

… Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Luke 24:1-12

 

Where’s Jesus?

 

Depression hung on them like a bitter aftertaste. Jesus is dead. Their feet dragged with disappointment and disillusionment. Jesus is dead. Duty called for them at the tomb to anoint His body. Jesus is dead.

Luke 24:1-12 unfolds like a short four-act play as the writer unveils the greatest event in history. The first act shows us a group of dejected women dragging themselves dutifully to the rock cave, supposedly housing the dead remains of Christ. Someone had to embalm Him, so these faithful women summoned the courage and ingredients to prepare Him for the grave. I’m guessing they were numb with grief, putting one foot in front of the other to do what had to be done.

The women discovered Christ’s body was gone—they surely felt shock and perhaps anger. Imagine going into the mortuary to say goodbye to your dead grandfather before the funeral. You open the casket to look at him one more time, and the casket is empty. I doubt that resurrection would be the first thing coming to mind.

As the scene unfolds, light suddenly erupts in the tomb and two men clothed with lighting flash into the cave. Trust me when I tell you they didn’t beam down from a spaceship. God the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and He left two angelic witnesses to clues these poor humans in. The angels said in Luke 24:5, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

Really? Yes, really. “Just like He said back in Galilee, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” {Luke 9:22) All who believe this statement are saved from judgment and destined for heaven, according to I Corinthians 15:1-4. Believe and receive all God has for you.

The angel’s followed with a question that still haunts us, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” We fill our minds with the daily news cycle, sports, entertainments, and hobbies, yet we do not find life in them. He is risen! Look up, He is risen. He is here with you now. He is risen in His supernatural body. God incarnate is present-just a whispered prayer away.

The women raced to tell the disciples the greatest news in history and they responded with a “you girls are crazy” attitude. Disappointment makes people cynical, unbelieving, and apathetic. Except for Peter. He jumped up and ran to the tomb to see for himself. Why Peter? He was feeling the most guilty after denying the Lord three times during His trials.

The empty tomb baffled Peter, who walked away wondering what this could all mean. There are those who ponder the meaning of their lives. Jesus isn’t there in the pondering, He is risen.

The Bible says in Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Please pray, “Lord Jesus. I believe you died for me. I believe you were buried and rose from the dead. Save me from my sins, though they are blood red. Wash away regret, guilt and remorse from my soul and show me how to really live.” You are born again because He is risen.

All of heaven rejoices each time a person prays like this and Christ rushes into your heart. Where’s Jesus? He is with you, He is in you, He is risen indeed.

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.”