His Coming. Christmas Devotional. What is our gift to Jesus this Christmas morning?

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. What is our gift to Jesus this Christmas morning?

In the humble Mary and Joseph heard this baby’s first cry and this gift they had been given changed their entire being.  And the gift was not theirs alone.  God’s baby boy was a gift to all the world

For the heart of God loved and He gave.

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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. John 3:16

And on the chill of this Christmas morning, two thousand plus years since the birth of Christ—the sky has this lavendar glow and the Son is rising in the eastern sky.  Just what is our gift to Jesus?  How are we giving to Him?

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Are we praising God as Mary and Elisabeth?

Are we willing to drop everything and hurry in haste to see Jesus as the Shepherds?

Are we following the light of Jesus as the Wise Men?

Are we serving in silence with love, deeds, devotion as Joseph?

Are we obeying God without question–with faith and trust as Mary?

Are we dedicating our lives to Christ in fasting and praying as Anna?

Are we allowing our eyes to see salvation in Jesus as Simeon?

Are we listening as Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, Elisabeth, the Wise Men, Simeon, Anna?

Are we being thankful as Simeon and Anna–telling others of the Savior?

How are we giving to Jesus?  What are our gifts to others in His name?

There came in my mailbox this yellow envelope from an unfamiliar address and inside were cards–many cards from students. And their teacher, she’s teaching them kindness by the giving of the simple gifts to others.  And these gifts will I forever cherish.

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Our most precious gifts aren’t wrapped in ribbons and bows, only in love. 

Thanking God for His many gifts this Christmas morning. 

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. Hold on. He is coming.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional.  Hold on. He is coming.

His face showed signs of worry. Could he walk another step, another mile? Will the donkey’s weak back and tired legs hold out until the end of this journey?

And precious Mary, precious Mary.  Her back ached. Swollen ankles. The pressure of the coming child.  Her baby. God’s Son.  One more day. Could she hold on one more day?

And Joseph, this caring, loving, devoted man walked on–blisters, feet worn.

He’s coming.  

One more day.  

Hold on.

Just one more day.  

Hold on. 

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Rahab, the prostitute, a woman in Jesus’ family tree. Her story–her assurance in her family’s safety was not determined by her faith in the red rope that swayed outside her window.  Her faith was not in the soldier’s promises. She held on to her only hope, the blessed hope–the one the red rope represented and that was God. 

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Joshua 2:11-13–And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.

Joshua 2:18–Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

Joshua 2:21– And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.

There are days when we will ask ourselves, can we make it another day? And why, why are we holding on? Will today have any good news? Will tomorrow come? Wars, riots, the hurting of children, women, men, cancer, broken hearts, sickness, pain, death……

Our livest can feel like a tornado spinning, taking us down into a deep, dark hole….when we can’t take another tragedy…another senseless death…another breaking news report….when troubles and sickness overwhelm our hearts, cloud our minds

HOLD ON.

THERE IS HOPE.  

Jeremiah 17:7—Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 

John 14: 1-3–Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 

Hold on when your child is sick

Hold on when problems of this world leave your heart empty

Hold on when you are planning a funeral for a love one

Hold on when the medical reports confirm–cancer–heart attack–dementia–disease…

Hold on when someone you love walks away

Hold on when your child leaves for college

Hold on when you lose your job

Hold on when the refrigerator is bare and the paycheck never seems to be enough

Hold on

Hold on to Him

Hold on to the Blessed Hope 

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

He is coming.

One more day. 

Hold on. 

How to be a gift this Christmas

Be kind 

Serve

Love 

All scriptures referenced are from the KJV Bible. 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. Blessed are those who see hope.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. Blessed are those who see hope.

Wonder if Mary wept when all she had to wrap her new baby in were rags or if Joseph apologized to Mary–to God…I’m sorry, there are no rooms.  This is the best we have for right now.

This humble beginning, it was all God’s plan.  This gentle arrival–it was never meant to be in a palace.  And honestly maybe Mary did cry some tears and Joseph said I’m sorry a few times.  But more than anything they kept seeing hope.  And hope laid in a manager full of straw wrapped in swaddling clothes.

For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

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And there was Simeon waiting on death–waiting on hope.  He saw the child come into the temple with his parents–the child Jesus and Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God for his eyes saw his own salvation–his hope.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death: before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law. Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. Luke 2:26-32

And she came running, an instant the scripture says to see the Christ child.  Immediate. Rapid. Quick. In a moment.  This elderly widow woman, a prophetess who spent her days at the temple fasting and praying–day and night.  Anna, she wasted no time giving thanks to the Lord just as Simeon did and she took her hope out into the streets of Jerusalem and shared the good news of forgiveness and redemption.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38. 

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Thank you to photographer, Jill Miller Woodie for the use of this photo 

She tried but there was no stopping the flooding of the heart for this mama.  She signed her name and said, ‘I am so grateful you all are here.  This is the first time I have had to do this.  It’s been hard this year.’

And I watched as the ministry volunteer who was completing her paperwork reach right through the office window opening and wrap her arms around this mama’s neck.  And they cried hope together.

How can we be a gift this Christmas

Practice kindness in everything..everywhere

Consider giving to Wilkes Hope Ministry 

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

All scripture referenced is from the KJV Bible. 

 

 

 

 

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 14.

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 14.

It was a mad rush, everyone reacting in haste, a sense of urgency, similar to Black Friday.

Day 12

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Luke 2:1-4–And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Ceasar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be tax, everyone one into his own city. And Joseph also went from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house of lineage of David:)

The descendants of King David had been ordered to pay their taxes, ordered by Ceasar Augustus. Another similarity to Black Friday. Money. And little did this small town know the birth of a King was about to happen.

Why? They were too busy, settling in for the night rather than worrying about others while Ceasar Augustus counted his money. No doubt they saw Mary great with child on donkey and Joseph, weary…before closing their doors for the night. No doubt Joseph was frantic to find a place for Jesus’ birthplace. But not one opened their doors.

Are we going to be like Bethlehem? Will we close the door on the Greatest Gift?

This is a beautiful song from Casting Crowns with a powerful message.

While You Were Sleeping

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you’re lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we’re sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we’re lying in the dark
There’s a shout heard ‘cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night

How to be a gift this Christmas

Pray for our country

Pray for our world 

All scriptures referenced are from the KJV Bible

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 12

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 12

For centuries a special breed of lambs were raised in fields just outside Bethlehem for one purpose, the sacrifice. Lambs were brought to Jerusalem at Passover from Bethlehem and were slaughtered as a sacrifice to God for the covering of the people’s sins.

The last sacrificial lamb was born in Bethlehem. He is the only one we will ever need. Forever. Not just for a season, but for eternity.

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John 1:29–The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Revelation 7:17–For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Because of God’s heart for you, for me, for us–a baby was born. The Lamb of God came with a special purpose. He came to die. And now He lives. Although it is difficult for us to even comprehend this love, God writes His heart so simple –a child can understand.

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.

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He stands all alone in the blanket of white.  This lone donkey.

And he has this special purpose to serve.

There is no where in the Bible that speaks of Mary and Joseph riding to Bethlehem on a donkey, however scholars believe this is true because donkeys were the major form of transportation in Biblical times.

But there is one sure thing written in the Bible about the need of a donkey.

Matthew 21: 1-3, And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

The cattle of the field need the protection of a donkey–The people of Jerusalem needed lambs for the sacrifice of Passover–Jesus needed the colts for His entry into Jerusalem–the animals–God used them for a special purpose. And there was Mary and Martha who gave unselfishly to their purpose of serving.  This beautiful purpose of serving.

The Lamb of God came with a special purpose–He served and He gave the ultimate sacrifice–He gave freely. Because of love.

And God gives us all a purpose and a time to fulfill our special purpose.  It’s up to us to rend our hearts wide–

Ecclesiastes 3:1, To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

How to be a gift this Christmas

Pray for God to show us ways to serve Him by serving others 

Pray for God to show us our special purpose 

Share the story of the birth of Jesus with others–His purpose

 

All scriptures referenced are from the KJV Bible 

 

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 11

His Coming. Christmas Devotional. December 11

Driving up the mountain to Boone I was surprised by a flock of small birds that flew out from some nearby trees along the roadside. The sky was covered by these tiny black specs, thousands of them flying off to some unknown destination. As I watched in wonder at God’s beauty my mind wondered to the Christmas story and the presence of angels.

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It’s dusk and another day’s work is done. The sheep are all accounted for and it’s finally time for rest. But before the shepherds could lay down their weary and aching bodies, heaven opened and God’s special messenger appeared with the greatest birth announcement this world has ever received.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:9-10

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, good will toward men. Luke 2:13-14.

A multitude, a great number, not just one angel, but thousands covered the night sky. Like snowflakes–singing angelic praises.

Luke tells us after their song and praise, the angels went away, “into heaven”.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made know unto us.  Luke 2:15

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And angels adorn our trees and our children costumed in angelic whites and golds and silvers in our Christmas programs and God sends.

I sat in awe of him–on this Sunday morning–he walked through the doors and worshiped with my church, this man whose skin may have been different but the heart the same.  He stood in the midst of our congregation and I watched him as he stood and sang during the offering song. He didn’t need a song book. He knew the words by heart. I watched as a deacon and others in my church reached out their hands in fellowship–welcoming him while the offering plate passed from pew to pew.  He was one that never returned. Could it be, we as a church have entertained angels as the Bible speaks? I believe.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2. 

How to be a gift this Christmas

Share a little of Christmas every where you go if nothing but a smile you carry

Pray for those who will be celebrating their first Christmas without a loved one

Pray for the homeless and the hurting

All scripture references from the KJV Bible