His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 5.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 5.

His voice was never recorded in the scripture. Only his actions. And those spoke loud. Loud love. Loud devotion. Loud obedience.

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Joseph was a simple, humble carpenter with a huge heart–a heart broken until God’s messenger appeared. The way Joseph loved Mary was pure and his devotion to her was large. Joseph could have shouted to the world that his wife to be had betrayed him and she could have been stoned in the streets.

His plan was to put her away secretly protecting her reputation, her safety–his love.

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But God…God had other plans–special plans for Joseph and Mary.

Matthew 1:20-But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

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Joseph obeyed every word God spoke to him. He watched over Mary, protected her, traveled many miles to make sure she was safe along with her unborn child, God’s child. He was there during childbirth. He was there to help when Mary wrapped this beautiful gift in swaddling clothes. He was there when Mary held this baby. Imagine his smile, his laughter, his thankfulness, and his touch–this earthly father placing a gentle kiss on Jesus’ tiny forehead. God had chosen him to be the earthly father for Jesus.

And Joseph’s story is one of the greatest love stories of all times.

Hammer

I reached into the drawer and pulled out the hammer. My hammer. The hammer with the red tape. The red tape which made me cry and smile on this day, the day before Father’s Day.

A few years ago I went out to my garage building to get my hammer, one of three. And well, what I found was none. Three hammers gone. You see, there have been times in my life when my son would borrow tools and even my Daddy and sometimes they wouldn’t find their way back into my toolbox. My Daddy just happened to be at my house on that day and I said either you or Daniel have carried off all of my hammers or left them laying at your latest projects. It had happened before so it was kind of a family joke–always on me.

Anyway, I ask Daddy if he had any extra hammers and he never said whether he had my hammer. He just left my house and within a few minutes he returned and in his hand was a brand new hammer with a piece of red tape wrapped around the handle.

He laughed and said, now, you will always know this is your hammer. Simple as it may seem, that hammer with the red tape represents to me the heart of my Daddy. He came back with a brand new hammer, not an old one. And he marked it special, just for me–his daughter. 

Joseph had nothing to give to God’s son as far as the world views gifts fit for a king.  And although Joseph’s love was never bold in voice, he gave so much more. He gave Jesus his best. He gave God’s son–his son this beautiful gift expressed in faith, trust, devotion, sacrifice, unconditional love, obedience, and adoption.

Matthew 1:16, And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

How can we be a gift this Christmas

Give our best

Smile and say thank you to the grocery store or retail clerk 

Tell the person in line behind you to go in front of you 

Pay for someone’s order in the drive-thru line

Be patient. Stop the rush. 

And never ever fail to say Thank You and Merry Christmas 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 4.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 4.

She could have said no you know, this young innocent girl. She had plans for her life, to be married, have children. But God….but God had better plans. She would be the mother of our Savior, her Savior.

And how can we not stand in awe of how Mary responded to the news from God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel. After Gabriel announced God’s plan for Mary’s life, she listened in silence and then ask one question.

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Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Luke  1:34

Only one question, no panic, no excuses, no what will people say, will Joseph still marry me, will my life be in danger? Just one question, How? How will this be? 

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And the angel reassured her of God’s greatness. Luke 1:37–For with God nothing shall be impossible. 

Luke 1:38–And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. 

And Mary turned her fear into faith, her faith into obedience, and became a great servant for God.

Candle

A few years ago while working at Samaritan’s Purse at the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Center a lady named Joanna was there.  There volunteering her time at my table. Eighty-eight years young, a retired English teacher from Tennessee. I ask if she would like to take a break after a few hours and she replied, ‘No honey. I just want to work. It is such a blessing to be here’.

There was this thing that happened on the Sabbath. Reading my Bible in the early morning and some journal notes from months past and I turned to the book of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4–Verse 3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”

Our pastor, he stands with a smile and welcomes us to Sunday morning worship and says, if you have your Bibles turn with me to 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4–Verse 3.
And there it was again, but this time on the big screen in front of my watery eyes and our pastor reads, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”

And there was Mary and Joanna, serving. Their gospels shining with the brightest of lights.

How can we be a gift this Christmas…

We shine our lights brightly by serving others

We shine our lights so others can see Christ

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 3.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 3.

When Micah prophesied of Jesus’ birth he told the town of Bethlehem, But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting–Micah 5:2.

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Blue Bird

Think about these words, “though thou be little among the thousands” of other cities, God chose Bethlehem for Christ’s birthplace. I wonder what the residents of Bethlehem thought of this news. Did they feel worthy? Did they ask why Bethlehem? God chose the town of Bethlehem to be written in history as the birthplace of our King. A city whose name would be in songs, praise, and where travelers visit yearly to get a glimpse of this tiny town.

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And he reached out his little hands to mine–his fingers still filled with dirt from the day before and the day before.  And he smiled his shy and said, “I saved this for you, Mrs. Miller.”

To the eye seeing without the heart it was very insignificant–small others may say. The tangerine he picked up from the extra breakfast table from his second grade class.  And I have no doubts he comes to school on some days–hungry.  But he shares this gift of fruit with me–one of the greatest gifts I have ever received–this gift from a little boy who had very little to give.  And my heart cried on the inside that day.  For him.  For his brother.  For myself.

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And thou they may be little–oh how significant and precious children are in our lives.

How can we be a gift this Christmas….

Listen to our little ones. Listen to their stories. Listen to their laughter. Listen to their giggles. Listen to their hearts. And soak in the moments.  Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Teach them kindness and above all else, Pray for our children.

1 Samuel 1:27, For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

 

 

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 2

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 2

There’s Mamas and Daddys sitting by bedsides in pediatric intensive care units this morning–waiting for any signs of healing.  Sons and daughters–waiting as their parents take their last breath.  Children waiting in orphanages and temporary homes–waiting to go back home or someone to take them to their new forever home.  Others–waiting for the phone to ring to hear the doctor’s voice–news of health tests– the call, an offer of a much needed job. And others just waiting–waiting for things to change for the better.

And sometimes the hardest part is not the news–it’s in the waiting.

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Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, “Israel was a dying nation, filled with confusion and doubt. Everyone yearned for the great days of the kings—David, Solomon and all their glory. And it was here that the prophets—men such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah—urged the people to keep the faith. Their message was, Wait for one more King. This one will be the greatest of all, and He will end our struggle forever.

Wait for one more king. This One will be the greatest of all, and He will end our struggle forever. Our light in the dark. Wait, for He is coming.”

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How is it we wait through the difficult, the hard, the tears, the pain, the silence, the uncertainty of tomorrow. Pray and pray harder. Hold on and hold on tighter.  Hold on to Him. And even though it seems at times God is silent in our waiting–never doubt He’s not working in the quiet. He never left the children of Israel. And He will never leave us.  He promised.  He’s coming again.

Psalm 62: 5-7, My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

 Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Hebrews 13:5, For He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” 

Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  

Titus 2:13, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

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While in the waiting season of my Grandpa’s dying I would sit by his bedside.  And on days when his breath was strong he would talk.  He told me how he and my Grandmother drove to the orphanage to get my Daddy.  In my family the adoption was not talked about, but on this night my Grandpa remembered.

As I was looking through old memories a few years ago I found one of my Daddy’s baby photos.  I remembered what my Grandpa said about their drive home– how my Daddy was sitting in my Grandmother’s lap and he looked at my Grandpa and smiled at him.

And my mind began to wonder–this baby, my Daddy–he was sitting up and smiling–he had to be older than an infant.  And I didn’t ask my Grandpa on that day Daddy’s age…how I wish I could relive that moment and ask more questions.

My Daddy’s birthday–September 9th.  A little over three months old and he could have very well spent his first Christmas at the orphanage.  And God knew my grandparents were coming.

Jesus–He’s coming.  For certain–He’s coming. God promised. And we wait.

How can we be a gift this Christmas….

Show your love to a child in need this Christmas.  Call your local schools–ask to sponsor a child this Christmas–volunteer throughout the year.  Seek out a family who are foster parents–ask what are the most needed items.  Find a local children’s home and ask how you can help a child this Christmas.  Seek out organizations who provide needs for children and give what you can, purchase products in support of orphan care.  Consider becoming a foster parent–a lunch buddy.

And always, every chance include your children in the ministry of giving.  Make Christmas cards for the children in the children’s homes.  Collect and donate items such as cereal and other household goods, toys.

Psalm 82:3, Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

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His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 1.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 1.

Not the number of shopping days that remain or the number of days until Santa comes. It’s His coming. 

It’s preparing  our hearts for the coming of the greatest gift we will ever receive.  Preparing our hearts for Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6–For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

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For four hundred years God remained silent.  And then the angel of the Lord spoke to Zacharias. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias; for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John (Luke 1:13).  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).

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She stood in the midst of the falling rain one hand gently touching the red of the poinsetta and the other on the cold hard stone.  And she decorates where her husband was laid to rest many years ago.  I know the joy he brought to her, his family, and his church.

And this is not her first Christmas without him.  But there she was, tiny raindrops clinging to her hair strands and she–still grateful for the gift of him.

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Our greatest gifts are never under the tree wrapped in paper with the largest of bows.  This December, this Christmas season–let’s not miss the gifts of family, friends, strangers.  And most of all let’s not miss the GIFT of JESUS.

How can we be a gift this Christmas…

Show your love to a widow this Christmas season–buy or make a small gift, tell them they are important to you–to others. Pray for them.

And always, every chance include children in the ministry of presence. 

Honour widows that are widows indeed. 1 Timothy 5:3

 

 

 

 

 

His Coming. Daily Devotions to prepare our hearts for Christmas.

His Coming

His Coming.

 Christmas.

Let’s prepare our hearts.

Remove the lists and clutter and noise of the world and make room for Jesus this Christmas.

Make room for true worship.

The promise of a King. His Birth. His coming.

Daily Christmas Devotionals Coming to a beautiful grace beginning December 1st.

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And there is this thanksgiving

And there is this thanksgiving

The flashing sign says Please Give Thanks. The song on the radio plays loud, Only Jesus and the leaves dance their farewell spin–freefalling slowly with the wind.

And he stood so humbly in the pulpit on the eve of gratitude and said, ‘We can all use a little thanksgiving in every day.’

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He wraps the nails with the smallest of wires as tight as crippled hands will allow into the form of the cross of his Savior. Five hours for one cross and he wants everyone in the church to have his gift to give.

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His name is Tobias and his name means Yahweh is good–God is good and he was born with a broken heart. There’s this orphanage in China where parents take their children when they can no longer afford their child’s medical care. There they say their final good-byes and leave their babies and toddlers with blue lips, blue fingernails and the brokest of hearts.

That was Toby’s home. And there he was loved, cared for, and prayed over.  Toby was adopted earlier this year by a family in the United States who knew the expenses of his medical treatments, his much needed by-pass surgery and they also knew there could be a greater cost of broken.  Over the past few days brave Toby has been fighting for his life after his heart surgery.  His heart is sealed but his lungs are still in need of healing.  His forever family–they don’t share any bloodlines between them only heartlines and they wait by his side in the ICU where they have been for days and prayers are being lifted all over the world for this strong warrior.

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Zacchaeus, he climbed a tree just to see Jesus and a blind man shouted His name even though the crowd tried to quieten him–stay where you are, they said.  And a woman who after she was freed of her demons took up her cross and followed Him all the way to the grave and empty tomb.

And we are all in need of Him and there’s still this reaching for one touch of His garment.

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We sit close–she and I and her blue eyes has this glint of a heaven star and she says, ‘Granna, the Grinch hates Christmas.’  And she said, ‘you know why–because his heart is too little.  But it grows Granna and he loves Christmas now.’

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And there is this thanksgiving…

For leaves that dance.

For a pastor who speaks truth.

For a man with crippled hands forming the smallest of crosses sharing his gifts.

For Mamas who hug tightly to children who never grew as a seed in her womb but through the miracle of another.

For children with blue lips and blue fingernails and their forever families and their caretakers and medical teams.

For those who could not be hushed and whose lives poured out buckets of trust, obedience, grace.

And to a grand baby girl who knows when we allow our hearts to grow, then and only then can we fully love with the greatest of thanksgivings.

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:4