Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014

I Corinthians 9:15 (God's Word Translation)  "I thank God for his gift that words  can not describe."
Paul has just spent many verses describing all the wonderful ways that God shows that He is God by taking care of His people.   He showers us all with gifts that only He can give; the most amazing of all is the gift of His son, Baby Jesus!   As I spend time, effort, and gas this holiday season diligently trying to find that perfect gift for everyone on my list, I am stilled by the realization that nothing I can purchase will ever come close to the gift that our Lord and Savior poured out for us.   As much as I love my family, I know that love pales next to the love our precious Jesus extends to us.     Sweet Jesus fill us up with that love so that we might be worthy of your gifts this Christmas season.    Come Lord Jesus!

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Luke 2:10-11  (God's Word Translation)  The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid!  I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.  Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city".

Can you imagine getting that message from a host of angels?   First, I think it would be terrifying to be in the field, minding my own business, and having the sky fill with angels.  And if that is not scary enough, then they begin to talk and praise God.   Don't be afraid.......yeh right!   But the grace of God covered the shepherds and they believed.    Then, they had to have been filled with anticipation and excitement.   How they must have laughed and cheered, and I am sure they rushed to tell others.    I so wish that we would respond today to the good news of Jesus Christ they way the shepherds did so long ago.    Wouldn't it be something if we were so full of joy that we had to run around and tell everyone we met?   We have a few days left in December before Christmas arrives, how about we find ways to share Jesus with all we encounter?  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14, 2014

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV)   Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.  

I am so glad that God has offered me His love so that I may also extend that love to others.    Sometimes this world gets ugly and my emotions want to lash out in hate.    Thankfully, God has showered me with so much love that I remember that even in the midst of my hurt and anger, love needs to prevail.    This is not always easy.    In fact, it is just down right hard!   But our gracious God will provide the grace and the path.    As I stumble along this rocky road I wonder if you need to take my hand and join me.    Is there someone you need to forgive and love on a bit this holiday season?   Ask God to give you the tools to do that and then trust that God will give you enough love to share with another.   Thank you, God!

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

Matthew 1:23 (ESV)  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us). 

Can you imagine a more powerful way to send Jesus to dwell on Earth?   A virgin birth?    A lonely stable?   Wise men?  Shepherds?    Only God could plan and orchestrate such a scenario.   How amazing that He could love us so much that He would go to such extremes to save our souls!  Thank you, Jesus!  We should all be about the business of loving God back.   Can you find a way to do that this Holiday season?    

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014

John 1:17 (KJV)  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 
I am so grateful that Jesus came to us and brought us His grace because I am not a very obedient person.  It is not so much that I do not want to follow rules and regulations.   Rather, if there are too many I find it hard to remember them all and I really need to know the rationale behind the rules before I see a need to adhere to certain ones.  I am certain that I would have constantly been in trouble if I had been an Old Testament believer.  Thankfully, Jesus came to us and said "follow me".    He assures all of us that He loves us and that if we ask Him to be our personal Savior we will spend eternity with Him.  This does not give us carte blanche to behave as we wish.   Rather, it should cause us to desire to emulate Jesus as we live to serve Him.   Christmas season would be a terrific time to come to Jesus in a bold way.   Won't you renew your relationship with Him or maybe start a brand new relationship?  Merry Christmas, my friend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9, 2014

John 1:29 (God's Word Translation)  John saw Yeshua coming towards him the next day and said,
 'Look!  This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".

Clearly Jesus has moved beyond his childhood years as this scripture was recorded.  He has grown up to begin fulfilling His Father's plan.    John the Baptist recognizes this in this great man, even as many others are skeptical or even deny Jesus as the Messiah.   Why was it so difficult for so many to believe?    Why is it still so difficult for so many of us to believe?   John's words should echo in our ears.    "This is the Lamb of God!"   Thank you, Jesus.    Thank you for taking on the role handed down to you so that all of us can find that eternal salvation.    What a fabulous thing to celebrate!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Luke 4:8  (God's Word Translation)  Yeshua answered him, "Scripture says, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him'."

Do you remember this story?   Satan had taken Jesus to a high place and tempted him by saying that if Jesus would worship him, he would give Jesus all the power and glory in all the kingdoms.   Of course, Jesus reminded Satan  that only God is worthy of our worship.  Do you remember this story?
During this time of preparation of our hearts for the coming of our Savior,  do we worship and serve only our God?   Our first immediate reaction is "of course!".   We are somewhat taken back that anyone would even question that!  Then our conscience gently nudges us to rethink our quick answer.    Opps!   Maybe I put shopping before Jesus today.   Maybe I put decorating before Jesus today.   Maybe I put busyness before Jesus today.   Maybe I forgot to put the Babe in the center of my Christmas.  Thank you, Jesus for reminding us to Worship and serve ONLY our God!        

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014

Luke 2:10-14 (ESV)  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I being you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" 

Thank you, Father!   I pray that I might be one with which you are pleased!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014

Luke 1:38  (TEV)  "I am the Lord's servant," said Mary; "may it happen to me as you have said."  And the angel left her.

We know this story well.   What a beautiful example of obedience Mary gives us.  We smile at the wonder of the Christmas story and thank God for the gift of Jesus.  But let's look a bit closer at Mary just now.  Her decision to accept God's plan was costly.  Mary risked her very life to embrace the will of God in her life, and did so without any hesitation.  Mary identified herself as "the Lord's servant".   Wow.    Now fast forward several hundred years and picture modern woman in that same equation.  Are we willing to throw everything away for the opportunity to call ourselves "the Lords' servant"?  Maybe that is not what God is asking you to do.    Maybe He is just asking for a bit of your attention; maybe just a few moments of your time each day.   Before we come to the manger this year, let's pray that God will reveal to us how we can serve Him this Christmas and during the New Year.   

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5, 2014

Jude 20-21 (ESV)  But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 

God gave me this scripture today as I was reading to prepare my heart for Advent.   I believe that the message is to pray within God's desire rather than for my own agenda.   I believe that we are called to put all of our faith and all of our trust in Jesus and His promise that we win in the end!  This Christmas season I am trying to take on a new focus.   I am searching for the Babe in the manger in my heart rather than in the crèche.   My quest requires that I inspect my motives and my actions from a spiritual perspective rather than a secular one, and sometimes that proves to be painful.    I am eternally grateful for God's undying grace as I hobble along on this journey.   As I put down my Bible I can only smile and say "Come Lord Jesus!"   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 4, 2104

Matthew 25:45 (ESV)  Then he will answer them saying, "Truly I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me."   

As I begin my journey through Advent this year, Jesus keeps putting scripture like this in my hands and mind.    I so realize that the Babe should foster feelings of benevolence and that I  should be going out of my way to  share my abundant blessings with those in places of need.  I get that to walk like Jesus means sacrifice and risk.  But, I am busy!    I have gifts to purchase and groceries to lay in and wrapping to do.    December is such a busy month!  What's that?  What is the real meaning of the Babe in the manger?   Uh???  Wait a minute.   I know this one!   What.   Yeah I got it!  Jesus came to serve so that we might see his example, and strive to also serve others.   Hm.    A second look at Matthew makes me realize that this sin of omission disappoints Jesus.   He tells us that we not only turn our back on the less fortunate when we do not tend to them, we also turn our back on Jesus.   Oh my!    I have some serious compensation to take care of.    Care to join me?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 3, 2014

Genesis 31:3  (God's Word Translation)  "Then Yahweh said to Jacob, "Go back to the land of your ancestors and to your relatives, and I will be with you." 

We know that Jacob had this encounter with God and after consulting with his wives, Leah and Rachel, Jacob began the journey back to Canaan.   How hard is it for us to follow Yahweh's directives in our lives?    Do we even hear God's voice?   Can we discern if the voice is God's voice or simply a desire of our own heart?    Friends, God is still speaking to us.   We just need to be still and listen.    We need to follow the example of Jacob and use our trusted family and friends as sounding boards when we are sorting out our thoughts.  Then we need to put our trust in Yahweh and know that if "it" is His will, He will make that abundantly clear to us.     Right now, during this time of anticipation we call advent, let's be quiet and listen for God to move us in His favor. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

Genesis 12:2 (KJV)  "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing." 

The Lord appeared top Abram and uttered these words to him, promising to bless him.    But following the blessing, God told Abram that he, in turn, would be a blessing to others.    Let's take this scripture to our hearts and claim it for our own.   God wants to bless each of us too.   God wants us to pause during this season of Advent and search for the blessing found in the Christ Child.   God wants us to take on that blessing and savor in the knowledge that we are blessed.    Only then can we be that blessing to others.   Only then can we move in ways that illuminate the Christ within us.   Thank you Jesus for the blessing.   Thank you Jesus for giving us the opportunity to bless others, beginning in this season, and continuing through the upcoming year.   

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

Luke 2:29-30 (KJV)  "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen your salvation." 

These are the words of Simeon, as recorded by Luke, when Jesus's parents brought the babe into the temple.   Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen Christ and the moment he laid eyes on the child, Simeon knew that He was the new born King.   What a testimony!    Do we have that same certainty when we look at the Babe in the manger?  We should!   When we peek in the stable do we see Jesus, our personal Savior and King or do we see a cute baby to be celebrated during December and put away for the rest of the year?   Friends we need to relish that moment we see Jesus!   We need to take Him out of that barn and give Him a place of honor in our daily lives.  Like Simeon, we need to see Jesus as our salvation!