Not bound

Sometimes life feels small—our view restricted to four walls. It buries us under the weight of crammed schedules and piled-up expectations. Instead of being where we want to be, waist-deep waters resist the force of forward movement.

For the Apostle Paul, incarceration for the cause of Christ changed his approach to mission, but not the mission itself. Instead of going out into the world to share the Gospel, his letters traveled for him. He sent others in his place, while he sat in chains.

In his last letter, Paul encourages Timothy, his son in the faith, to focus, endure and remember the power of Jesus Christ.

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel. I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound.

– 2 Timothy 2:8-9

God’s message is not bound.

Even though Paul was suffering in prison, tied up for the sake of the Gospel, bound, He knew God’s message wasn’t.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can stop God’s message of hope, forgiveness, redemption and love. It cannot be contained—no matter how the world tries. Soldiers may have killed Jesus, but there was nothing that could stop Him from coming up out of that grave!!

Today, no matter how small you feel or how constraining your circumstances, keep your attention on Jesus. Find your freedom in the unbound Gospel. Jesus is alive, and His grace is enough for you and for me!

Journey to the Manger: Angel Gabriel

Jackson tells the story of God's great love with the Nativity scene he made today. Most of his retelling was word-for-word from Scripture. This story has been imprinted on his heart!

Jackson tells the story of God’s great love with the Nativity scene he made today. Most of his retelling was word-for-word from Scripture. God has imprinted this story on his heart!

Today we listened to the Angel Gabriel’s message of joy on our Journey to the Manger.

Angel Gabriel

Angel Gabriel

God sent Gabriel with a message for Zechariah and for Mary. The Angel gave each a miraculous birth announcement. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth would have a baby when she was past child-bearing years. Mary would be blessed with a supernatural conception, though she was a virgin, and carry the Son of God. These messages were incredible, humbling, extraordinary and overwhelming. Gabriel delivered each with boldness and grace.

Gabriel carried good news! Knowing that his arrival would startle both, he met the old priest and young girl with words of kindness—”Do not be afraid.” He offered encouragement and instruction. He extended hope. Read his messages in Luke Chapter 1.

Today, the kids and I made our own nativity sets (find the template here). We colored and cut and practiced sharing the amazing story of Jesus coming here to show us what love is. Then, we prayed for God to show us people who need to know God’s great love for them this Christmas.

We are God’s messengers, too! We can proclaim the Good News to our families, neighbors and friends. We can speak of Jesus, offering His kindness, encouragement and hope. We must listen to God’s voice, and be ready to proclaim God’s love and truth as the Holy Spirit leads.

The world needs God’s message of hope. Share it this Christmas!

The kids loved making their own nativities.

The kids loved making their own nativities.


Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.