His Coming. Christmas Devotional: The Heart

His Coming. Christmas Devotional: The Heart

That first heartbeat–the beauty of the sound. The pure awe of it.

I often think about when I saw my grandchildren’s heart for the first time through miraculous ultrasound photos.  Before the skin layers and muscles were fully developed–before they born.  These beautiful grandchildren, no bigger than a thumb, and hearts beating strong. God’s love. God’s little miracles. In His image. Wonderfully and fearfully made…..

Psalm 139:14, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

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In the beginning God spoke, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Genesis 1:26

And it didn’t take long after God breathed life into the first man and woman that mankind broke His heart.

Genesis 5:6—And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at His heart.

But God…God found Noah.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord–Genesis 5:8. 

And here’s this thing about the heart of God–He continues to give and forgive.

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He was a ruddy boy who grew to be a man–far less than perfect.  And God sought his heart and he sought God.

As Samuel was searching for the next king he became confused because God had passed over seven of Jesse’s sons. Seven sons. And God kept saying no. And Samuel ask Jesse, do you have any more children? Only the youngest he said. He is tending the sheep.

1 Samuel 16:12a—Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at, 

1 Samuel 16:7–But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, and the Lord looketh on the heart.

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1 Samuel 16:12b–And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

This is he.

The young one.

The shepherd boy.

The psalmist.

The musician.

The writer.

The poet.

The future giant slayer.

The next king

A boy who grew to be the man after God’s own heart.

The man who would be named in the genealogy of Christ.

Matthew 1:1—The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

David, although he sinned and failed God many times, Paul tells us in the book of Acts, David was a man after God’s own heart. And the promise of God, His Son Jesus would come from David’s seed.

Acts 13:22-23—And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to who also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus.

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These hearts of ours. There are no perfect ones. Some broken. Some no longer whole. Some with scars. Some with bruises. Some with holes.  And still beating because of God’s mercy and His grace.

The greatest gift our hearts will ever receive is the giving away of our hearts to Jesus. Christmas is not about the gifts wrapped under the tree, bought in a store. It’s about the gift of the heart and knowing we too can be a man or woman after God’s own heart.

Unwavering, no doubt His mother Mary held baby Jesus close. She embraced the heart of God.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Be a man or woman, boy or girl after God’s own heart 

All scripture referenced is from the KJV Bible

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 6

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 6

The dictionary states that your name is a word used for identification, called, or known. A newborn responds to the sound of his or her Mama and Daddy’s voice first and then as a toddler they learn their own name.  And in the Lackey household we quickly learned if our parents called us by our full name more than likely we were in trouble for some kind of mischief–which happened fairly often.

Your name–unique to you, chosen by your parents, often with special meanings or named after a family member or loved one.

And Jesus-He was named by His Father.

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And when the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary he revealed to her the name of her child, God’s child. You shall call him Jesus.

Jesus Christ

Christ the Lord

Emmanuel

Luke 1: 31-32, And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Matthew 1:21, And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:23. And they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:24-25, Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and He called His name JESUS.

Luke 2:11—For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And Jesus named by His Father, God–His name is still and will always be the name above all names–salvation. 

Acts 4:10, Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

Acts 4:12—Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

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The blanket of black peels away to red and blue leaving only a silhouette of the dark and planes are ascending to their high on this early morn.  School bus motors are humming, flashing their bright. And cars and trucks and 18-wheelers all moving in haste–competing with the clicking of time.

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And in the school buses are children and a driver–all with names.

Planes with passengers and crew all in flight–every seat filled with names.

And within each speeding car and truck are drivers–passengers–children–all with names.

And there’s this bus, four to be exact before the day’s travel ended–dull in color with windows lined with cages limiting the passengers’ views and the bus, marked with black lettering–NC Inmate Transport Unit. Inside sits rows and rows of men or women–all with names.

Names. And God knows them all. And there is no hierarchy of importance with God.  Only this whosoever.

John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Seek out a prision ministry and give of your time or resources

Seek out a ministry that gives to children whose parents are incarcerated and give of your time or resources

Invite the whosoever to your church, your Christmas programs, Christmas dinners

Pray for the lost.  Pray for the whosoever. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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