Saturday, December 24, 2022

God Didn’t Send Us a Check on Christmas

“The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
– Isaiah 61:1

David Livingstone was a famous explorer and missionary who served overseas in the 1800s. He led three expeditions into the heart of Africa, making hundreds of discoveries along the way, speaking out against slavery, and taking the gospel to places where no European had ever set foot.

Although he was hailed as a hero in England, Livingstone was dirt poor and had very little help with his missionary expeditions. One day he received a letter that asked, “Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you.” But David Livingstone replied, “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a GOOD road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

Many Christians WANT to be a part of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with people who aren’t saved. But they insist on sharing the gospel on their own terms. “Count me in … as long as I won’t be gone more than a week.” “I’d be happy to help … if there’s a good road that’ll get me there.” Sadly, most Christians refuse even to walk across the street to share the Gospel. When pressed to throw a lifeline to lost and dying people, it’s easier just to send a check.

Aren’t you glad that when our world desperately needed a Savior, God didn’t just send a check? He sent His SON. And God didn’t wait for a good road before He sent Jesus to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus came to earth to build the road. He Himself IS the road to healing, freedom and salvation. Long before Jesus was born, Isaiah 61 made that clear. The chapter begins: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (v. 1).

If you have any doubt that these verses describe Jesus Christ, you need only turn to Luke 4. After Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River and spent 40 days fasting and praying in the desert, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth and went to synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke tells us, “He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him” (vs. 16-17). Jesus unrolled the scroll and read those prophetic verses from the Book of Isaiah. Then he sat down and told them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (v. 21).

Now, according to the prophecy foretold by Isaiah, what did the Spirit of God anoint the Son of God to do?

#1: Jesus came to preach good news to the poor. Jesus’ greatest sermon is his Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5-7. He began this great sermon with the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit means to be humble and empty, admitting our own unworthiness before God and our utter dependence on Him. So, first and foremost, Jesus came to reach those who were humble enough to understand the bad news: that we are all spiritually bankrupt without Christ. And Jesus also came to bring the Good News: that He had made a way where there seemed to be no way. He would conquer sin and death.

#2: Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. The brokenhearted are those who feel as if life has chewed them up and spit them out. After pouring so much blood, sweat and tears into their hopes and dreams, their hopes have been dashed, and their dreams have been shattered.

But Jesus specializes in binding up broken hearts. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 61:1 literally means “to bandage or wrap up a serious wound.” But figuratively, it means “to inspire with confidence, give hope and courage to, to encourage.”

#3: Jesus came to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Jesus came to set us free from our captivity to sin and death. In John 8:34, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” And two verses later, He follows it up by saying, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Jesus came to free us from our slavery to sin, which leads to eternal damnation in hell. Most people are slaves to their own sin, and they’re blind to that fact. But once their eyes are opened and they realize they are slaves to sin and death, Jesus can set them free.

Jesus’ mission was far too important to just send a check. So, on that first Christmas, God sent His Son. And now He is sending you—probably not to the jungles of Africa—but He is sending you to your neighbor, a friend or coworker. And He’s certainly sending you to your own family. All the people around you who don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are slaves to sin. They desperately need Jesus. So, this Christmas, God isn’t sending them a check. Since you have what they need, He is sending them YOU.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us for our Christmas morning service tomorrow at 10 a.m.: in person at 17746 George Blvd., Victorville, CA, or online on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit


Friday, December 23, 2022

Is There Peace on Earth?

 “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
– Isaiah 9:6

2022 has had its fair share of doom and gloom. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Inflation. Crazy high gas prices. Mass shootings at elementary schools, department stores and nightclubs. But despite how bad things appear, the LORD speaks to us through His word today.

In Isaiah 9, we read: “Nevertheless, [one day] there will be no more gloom for those in distress. In the past He humbled the land … but in the future He will honor [the nation]” (v. 1). He was talking about the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, but he could just as well have been talking about America today. He goes on to share the hope that is to come: “My people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned!” (v. 2). And then God tells us that His plan won’t be carried out by a massive army, a league of nations or a great political leader. God’s amazing plan will rest in the hands … of a child.

Verse 6 begins: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” At least SOME people in Isaiah’s day must have thought, “Seriously, God? A child?” To which God responded, “Yes. A child.” A very special, one-of-a-kind child. A baby boy—“a son”—born to us as a gift. And the verse concludes: “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

These are four beautiful and powerful titles that the promised child king—Jesus Christ—would bear. And here are four wonderful insights we can take from these four titles of Jesus:

Insight #1: As our Wonderful Counselor, Jesus is all-knowing. The word “wonderful” in Isaiah 9:6 is a translation of the Hebrew word “pele,” which is defined as “a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; a miracle, a marvel, something extraordinary, incomprehensible, inexplicable.” The Apostle Paul summarizes Jesus’ wisdom and counsel beautifully in Colossians 2:3: “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Remember, Jesus KNOWS you better than anyone else and UNDERSTANDS you better than anyone else, so He can GUIDE and ADVISE you better than anyone else

Insight #2: As our Mighty God, Jesus is all-powerful. The Bible is crystal clear: Jesus … is … God. In John 8:58 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am.” In this verse Jesus is calling Himself the holiest name of God, I AM—Yahweh. And the Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15-16 that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created.” And Isaiah 9:6 makes it clear that Jesus is Mighty God. “Mighty” is a translation of the Hebrew word “gibbor,” meaning “strength; power; hero; warrior.” If you need a warrior at your side to help you fight your battles, Jesus is your man.

Insight #3: As our Everlasting Father, Jesus is ever-present. In our time of need, Jesus is right where you and I need Him to be. He really, really cares for us. His plans for you are filled with love, and His work in your life is filled with love. Just like a loving father, Jesus protects and nurtures, leads and disciplines us … ALL for our good.

These first three titles of Jesus form a crescendo, leading us to the fourth and final title of Jesus. Because Jesus is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present and loving, only Jesus can truly be our Prince of Peace:

Insight #4: As our Prince of Peace, Jesus offers us true and lasting peace with God and people. On Christmas morning 1863, the great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow heard the distant ringing of church bells. It had been just over two years since his beloved wife Frances had burned to death in a house fire. And not too many months after that, Henry’s son was severely injured in the Civil War. There’s little doubt that Longfellow had sunk into a deep depression. So, as he wrote the poem that became “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” he poured out his discouragement: “And in despair I bowed my head / ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said / ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song / Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

Have you ever been there? Hurting. Discouraged. Broken. It feels like your world is crashing down around you. Meanwhile, people at church keep singing about “peace on earth and good will to men.”

But Longfellow was a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. So, he found hope in the midst of his despair. As he heard the bells, Longfellow was reminded that he could find true, lasting peace and wholeness through Jesus Christ. And he added this final verse: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep / ‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! / The Wrong shall fail / The Right prevail / With peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

2022 has been a hard year for many of us. But “God is not dead; nor doth He sleep.” No matter how depressing this year has been, you CAN experience true peace this Christmas—because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is smart enough, strong enough and loving enough to bring wholeness to whatever is broken in your life. So, give Him your broken pieces this Christmas. He is the only one who can make you whole. In fact, that’s why he came to earth in the first place. He is ready to be your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father … and your Prince of Peace.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us Sunday for our Christmas morning service at 10am: in person at 17746 George Blvd, Victorville, CA, or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Some Good News for Christmas

  “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:15

In the grand history of planet earth, the birth of Jesus Christ is the Dividing Line.

In the year 525 A.D., a monk named Dionysius Exiguus invented something that still impacts our lives today: the modern calendar. Aside from being a monk, Dionysius Exiguus was a theologian and a mathematician. He wanted to create a way to know the exact date Easter would fall, next year and the year after that. So, he developed a new calendar system where year 1 was the birth of Christ. He recognized that Jesus’ birth was the dividing line of history. Every year after Jesus’ birth would henceforth be recognized as A.D., or “Anno Domini” – Latin for “in the year of the Lord.”

It took a few hundred years for Exiguus’ calendar to catch on, and there have been some adjustments along the way. For instance, we now know that his dating system was off by about 4 years, so Jesus wasn’t born in 1 A.D. He was most likely born in 4 B.C. But that doesn’t change the fact that our calendar can date any event in history based on when it occurred in respect to the birth of Christ. Even our calendars proclaim Jesus’ birth as the dividing line of history.

This Christmas season, let’s look at Christmas from the B.C. side of the Dividing Line—and see how the Old Testament prophesies Jesus’ birth.

The first glimpse of the coming Savior of the world appears in the third chapter of the Bible: Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, their eyes were opened to the world of sin and death. In that moment their relationship with God was ripped in two. God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, and he spelled out the consequences for them. But first, he laid out the consequences for the serpent, beginning in verse 14: “You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” I think it’s clear this punishment was directed at the serpent as a species. And I think it’s equally clear that in verse 15, God was announcing a punishment on Satan, who was possessing the snake that tempted Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This is where we find the first glimpse of the coming Savior. Theologians call it the “protoevangelium”—Latin for the “first good news.” Minutes after Adam and Eve sinned for the very first time, God announced His plan to deliver fallen man and crush sin in one fell swoop. One of Eve’s descendants would save the day. Satan would bruise the Savior’s heel. And the Savior would crush Satan’s head. When Satan saw Jesus die on the cross, he thought he had won. But the cross of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the dead three days later, actually drove the final nail in Satan’s coffin.

No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. Isn’t that just like God?

Here are three wonderful insights we can take from this first foretelling of the Savior:

Insight #1: God has a solution before you’ve even figured out you have a problem. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they knew they had a problem. But they had no idea just how much devastation their sin would cause. Their sin would corrupt every living thing on earth. It broke their relationship with God, with each other and even with the animals. From that point forward, every one of their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids would be born with a sinful nature … every descendent except for one. But long before Adam and Eve could understand the consequences of their sin, God already had a solution in place. In fact, He had the incarnation of Jesus Christ in mind even before the foundations of the world were set in place.

Insight #2: As long as you are following Christ here on earth, Satan will continue to strike at your heels. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that we will be shielded from all of Satan’s attacks. Persecution isn’t a possibility for followers of Christ. It’s guaranteed. And much of that persecution comes directly or indirectly from Satan. But never forget: A blow to your spiritual heel is never fatal. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, your soul and spirit are safe in God’s hands, and nothing Satan does—no matter how ruthless or vicious—can snatch you out of your Father’s hands.

Insight #3: Remember that Satan is a dead man walking. He is a defeated foe. Satan’s fate was sealed by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 12, Satan is described as a great dragon who is wreaking havoc here on earth. And in Revelation 12:11 we read these marvelous words about the Christians who stand strong against Satan’s attacks: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Satan might look like a big scary dragon at times, but from Jesus’ vantage point he’s more like a pesky Chihuahua nipping at your heels.

God had a solution for Adam and Eve’s problem before they even understood the extent of their problem. And God has a solution for your problems before you’ve even figured out what your problems are. It’s been that way from the beginning. Before you and I even knew we needed saving, God sent Jesus to save us. And that’s good news indeed.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us for worship this Christmas season: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Give Thanks … Even When You’re Attacked

 “He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.”
– Daniel 6:27

Two friends met on the street one day. One looked really sad, so his friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?” The sad fellow said, “Three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars. And two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.”

His friend responded: “Wow! That’s a lot of money. Sounds to me like you’ve been very blessed.” But the first man responded, “You don’t understand! Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.”

Now the man’s friend was really confused. He asked, “Then why do you look so glum?”

He responded: “Because this week—I haven’t gotten anything!”

Being thankful is a choice. You can choose to be grateful for the quarter million dollars God blessed you with last week, or you can choose to gripe and complain about the hundred bucks He didn’t give you this week. Being thankful is a command of Scripture. But like every other command, it requires a conscious choice. And in one of the most famous stories in the Bible, Daniel shows us how to be thankful—even when we’re under attack.

By Daniel 6, Daniel was a respected leader who had served under a series of Babylonian kings. When Babylon was overthrown by Persia, King Darius came into power. Darius appointed 120 satraps, or governors, to rule throughout the kingdom. He also appointed three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Verse 3 tells us, “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps … that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” The other two administrators and the satraps were deeply jealous—and they wanted him dead.

So, they cooked up a law to trap Daniel. They couldn’t find any flaws in his conduct, so their only shot was to scheme up something religious. They knew Daniel was a man of prayer. Every day, three times a day, he went to his upstairs room, opened the windows and knelt to pray and give thanks to God. So, the two other administrators and some of the satraps went to the king and flattered Darius as they proposed an order: “Anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except for you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den” (v.7). Somehow, King Darius fell for it, and he put the decree in writing.

What did Daniel do after he learned about the law aimed squarely at his faith in the One True God? He could have gone into hiding for a month. He could have closed his windows and prayed silently. But he didn’t. Daniel went home, and “three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (v. 10). Because Daniel was so consistent, his enemies easily caught him red-handed.

When they reported him, King Darius was devastated—but his hands were tied, because a law of the Persians could never be revoked. Even as Daniel was tossed him the lions’ den, Darius said: “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (v. 16). The ONLY way Daniel wouldn’t be mauled to death would be if His God worked a miracle and closed the mouths of the hungry lions.

We know how the story turns out. At sunrise, the king rushed to the lions’ den. When he called down into the pit, Daniel answered: “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight” (v. 22). And King Darius issues a decree that contains one of the most beautifully concise descriptions of God in the whole OT: “He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

I’d like to offer you three steps from Daniel 6 to help you stay thankful when you’re under attack:

Step #1: Keep calm, and take your concerns to God (v. 10). When Daniel first found out that his critics had set a trap that would likely get him killed, he didn’t blow a gasket. He didn’t fly off in a rage. He didn’t hunt down his accusers and give them a piece of his mind. He didn’t even post a rant on Facebook. He simply went home and carved out some one-on-one time with God.

Step #2: Remember that God hasn’t changed (v. 10). So, give thanks to God, just as you’ve done before. When you are criticized, God is no less worthy of your praise and thanks than He was before you were criticized. There’s nothing your critics can say or do that changes who God is. God is good. God is just. God is compassionate. God is a faithful Provider. And He is always, always worthy of your thanks and praise.

Step #3: As long as you’re not doing it in a self-serving way, express your thankfulness to God openly. Notice that Daniel didn’t close his mouth OR his windows when he was commanded to stop giving thanks to God. He prayed with his windows open BEFORE the law was passed, and he prayed with his windows open AFTER the law was passed. And when he was sitting in the lions’ den and Darius asked if he was okay, he took the opportunity to give thanks to God again in earshot of the king and everyone else who was listening.

I think it’s a shame when we have a lot to thank God for, and we keep it to ourselves. Let’s not do that! Let’s be very vocal expressing our thanks to God.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (“Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God”) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or