Friday, December 30, 2011

being refreshed...

December 30, 2011

Acts 3:20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

I think I’ve forgotten this or I guess the more honest answer is that I have allowed my situations to cloud this realty. I have not sought God’s presence merely for the benefit of Him but more as a way to seek help or just to make it through a situation. Yet, I’ve been reminded that we are to be refreshed when we come into His presence. He is to overshadow any problem that we may be experiencing. I needed to be reminded of this!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Growing Pains, hurt!

December 29, 2011

1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump

I suppose as we sit and look back at our lives the object is to see growth; we should be able to notice that we are much stronger in our faith than we once were. We should see that our trust in our Savior is stronger than it used to be. If we are growing in our personal walk with God then we will absolutely see this; in those quiet moments with God we grow. Yet, sometimes our growth is more dramatic but it is also more painful. I remember as a child having horrible pains in my knees; they hurt with what I was always told was growing pains. I’m not sure what goes into having growing pains all I know for certain is that it hurts. This past year I had spiritual growing pains. It was a hard year for our family in many ways and many areas. It tested what I had learned about God and showed me many areas of failure in my life. It put each and every truth that I have learned to the test and God never failed me. He kept every promise that He had showed me, and even in the bad situations He answered my prayers for the best. I grew but it was painful. For many years I have heard the saying that growth comes from pain, and this I can attest to is true. I can also say that even knowing what I know, and how hard it was to walk through this year, I would do it again. I would do it again just to feel God holding me up. Just to know Him like I have this past year, just to have no one else to turn to and to know He was enough. He never failed me and He made me new; He made me grow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prayer Magnified...

December 28, 2011

Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous

I have for several years kept a prayer journal. Its basicly a binder that I write my prayer requests in; I have different sections for the different people in my life. I believe wholeheartedly that it enhances my prayer life to have my requests written down. There is just something about seeing it. A couple times a year I have to re-write it because as God answers the prayers my notebook just becomes congested. This is also an overwhelming experience to have such evidence that God answers prayer. We know it and we believe it because God’s word tells us so; yet, there is again something about holding tangible evidence in your hands confirming it. Seeing really is believing. This year for Christmas from a sweet dear friend I received a beautiful journal. I have decided to make this journal my “My Journal of Answered Prayer”. I will write in it as God answers my prayers. This will be a reminder to me and my children that “…He hears the prayer to the righteous” even when those prayers don’t end like I think they should they always end up the best.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Always Remembering...

December 24, 2011

Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins

Matthew 1:24 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel!” (which means God with us)

May we remember this and be thankful for it during this Christmas season and each day of our lives!

Friday, December 23, 2011


December 23, 2011

Numbers 23:19 God is not man that he should change his mind. Has he said and will he not do it? Or has he spoken and will he not fulfill it?

Doesn’t sound like a typical Christmas verse, does it?  Well maybe not, but I think it fits. It fits because God kept His promise to send a savior. He promised Eve that her offspring would crush the serpent under His heel, and that’s what Jesus did. Every Messianic prophecy was fulfilled at the manger. We can know that God keeps His promises; so when His word says “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you…(Jeremiah 29:11) we can believe that’s exactly what He will do. He keeps His promises!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For the love of Christ...

December 22, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us…

As I have said before, probably many times, I love Christmas and that is primarily because I love Christ. How can a believer love Christmas without thinking on and reflecting on their Savior? His main purpose for coming to earth as a helpless baby was of course the cross, and His willingness to die for the sins of many; that and His obedience to His Father. All of that and much more, is what is wrapped up in pretty paper each Christmas for us as believers. We get to reflect on our love for Him and what that love motivates us to do for Him at this time of year, every year. What a great gift, but one so easily squandered as we are busy with other things. How sad that we allow this season pass us by without even a thought for the Savior it represents. Like everything else in life we must be deliberate in our choices to think on Him, we must decide to make this special time of year completely reflect all He has done for us, and lastly we must teach our children our love for this wonderful Savior.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

tender ruler...

December 21, 2011

Matthew 2:6 …for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel

According to John MacArthur’s Study Bible, this is a quote from an ancient prophecy found in Micah and a reference of God’s words to David when He first established the kingdom of Israel. I like it because it really seems to embody who Jesus is to me. He is my ruler. To me being a ruler means you have authority; it means you are in charge. It means that He can even sometimes be stern. I have experienced this; the discipline that God gives to His own. While on the one hand you are glad that you are disciplined because that means you are His, but really, who likes discipline. Yet, even in His discipline He is caring and tender. He is my shepherd. Shepherds by definition must care for their sheep. They must do everything for their sheep; they must guide them, they must protect them and they must rule them. Jesus is both He rules and he tenderly cares for those that are His.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

knowing is not always believing...

December 20, 2011

Matthew 2:4 and when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born

When Herod wanted to know how to find the new-born king, he went to who would know. He went to the Sadducees and Pharisees; the authorities of the Jewish law and they knew. They knew exactly where the messiah was to be born; yet, they didn’t accompany the magi to find him. I find this hard to believe really; I mean here are these men who have spent their lives studying this. Was their faith so weak they couldn’t believe? Never doubt that this could be me. I could know so much about God; yet, when the time comes can I really believe what I know. It’s not the amount of knowledge that we have but how much we believe what we know!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

He Leads Us...

December 19, 2011

Matthew 2:2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him”

Some have claimed the “star” wasn’t really a star but a supernova or a conjugation of the planets. Sometimes people look to find ways to explain the miracles of God without having to give that credit to Him. However, since this “star” moved and settled right over the specific spot, the spot where Jesus was born, the only way to explain it is a supernatural act of God. This star was very similar to another supernatural act of God that is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. In Exodus 13:21-23 God’s word tells us how He lead the children of Israel; how He went before them and guided them: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” God guides His people He sometimes uses pillars of smoke and fire, He sometimes uses huge stars in the sky, and sometimes He uses His word, but in either case He never leaves His children to flounder without a direction.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The City of Bread...

December 16, 2011

Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem

The Hebrew scholars of the day knew and expected the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem. This was known and was not a surprise. Yet, when Christ presented himself to the world His birthplace didn’t matter at all. The fact that He was born in the city of Bethlehem did not sway them to believe that the miracles He preformed were further proof of His being the messiah. Recently I learned that Bethlehem means “The City of Bread” which is interesting since Christ referred to Himself as “The Bread of Life”.  Considering, that He is the bread upon which our lives depend it is very fitting that His birthplace be the city of Bethlehem.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


December 15, 2011

Matthew 1:22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying…

Matthew in his writings    quotes the OT more than 60 times; in his account of the events surrounding Christ’s birth he quotes it a dozen times. He goes above and beyond to point out that Christ’s birth was known about many many years before it actually occurred. God’s plan before the foundation of the world was that His Son would come to give His children salvation. That all started with a baby in a manager. I have always loved that!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

being useful...

December 14, 2011

Matthew 1:5-6 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab

I mostly just skim through the genealogies when I come to them. Mostly because I am unfamiliar with who they are and that’s my fault; I should be more knowledgeable. Not this one. This one is one of my favorite genealogies in scripture. Mainly because it mentions Rahab, who is by far one of my favorite women in God’s word. Rahab was a harlot who lived in Joshua’s time. She was a fairly successful one at that because her house was big and located along the Jericho wall. Through a series of events she repented of her sins and believed in the God of Israel. Rahab was also instrumental in helping Joshua and the Israelites defeat the people of Jericho. Rahab then lived among the people of Israel and found herself in the line of Christ. She is the perfect example that our pasts do not in anyway dictate how our futures must be. No matter what is hiding in our pasts we can be of use to God in our futures.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Experiencing God's Good Will...

December 13, 2011

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men

This is what the angels declared to the shepherds. Which in itself is a miraculous event, I mean you are calmly tending your sheep just like an average night, and Pow! out come a host of angels. Yet, what I find wondrous about this statement is the last part of it. “…good will toward men” the good will here is speaking about God’s Sovereign good pleasure. God gives us His peace not as a reward for some good thing we have done, and not because we deserve it. He gives His peace as a gift to those who are in His will. In those of whom He finds pleasure. How wonderful a feeling to know that I can enjoy that peace!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

He is mine...

December 8, 2011

Luke 2:10 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord

In all of scripture, Christ is only called Savior two times, and this is one of them. He is our Savior. What does that mean to us? Well, for sure it means different things to different people. Depending on your relationship with Him; or if you even have one with Him. What does it mean to me? Well, for me it changes, it grows deeper with time and with the circumstances I go through. I am not where I was yesterday and hopefully I will be farther along tomorrow. I grow more dependent on His guidance. I know that without it I would drown in the sorrows of just the everyday business of life. I know that He guides me in my choices. I realize more and more that what some would just call our genetic make-up or our personality are really choices we choose to make. I realize that I can’t use the excuse of that’s just who I am; instead, I must admit that these are choices I make. My relationship with Christ taught me this. My relationship with Him changes me; it makes me into the image of Him. He is my Savior. Hopefully He is yours too…

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the baby...

December 7, 2011

Luke 2:7 and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn

The Jewish people had known for hundreds of years about the coming Messiah. The Old Testament is full of words telling of His arrival. Yet, a stable, a manger, and a full inn isn’t what most Jew’s had in mind when they thought of their Messiah. They had a picture of a grand king coming to make the Jewish people rulers of this world. This baby wrapped in swaddling cloths could not be their king. Yet, He is. We cannot ever put God in our box and only accept Him on our terms. He’s God; He’s much bigger than that. His ways are higher; His thoughts bigger. We must accept Him on His terms; we must accept that sometimes He does things in ways we wouldn’t have chosen or that are sometimes hard to accept, but He is God and we are not.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

God's Plan...

December 6, 2011

Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered

It was absolutely no accident that at this precise time in history Caesar decided to take a census. It was not simply happenstance that caused Joseph and Mary to have to travel to Bethlehem. No, this was God’s plan. This was God’s work to fulfill all of the prophesies that had been told about the coming Messiah. In this one verse we can easily see that God uses all things to bring about His will. He is in complete control. For me this is a calming peace to know that God has such control; for others maybe not so much.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Being Blessed...

December 5, 2011

Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.

I marvel at this young woman, who was really just a young teenage girl, how she was so grounded in her faith to be chosen for this great honor. In Luke 1:42 the angel says to her “blessed are you among women…” when God looked upon this girl He saw in her a heart that loved and praised him. In her Magnificat, which is a song of praise (Luke 1:46-55) she recites several Old Testament passages from memory. This was a young girl who loved God and believed that He would accomplish all that He said He would. Unlike Aaron who didn’t believe the angel when told his wife would conceive, Mary knew that the words the angel spoke would happen. She knew this because she knew God, and she knew that in Him all things are possible. She did not let the hardships that her situation would bring upon her stop her from worshipping. Instead of concentrating on how hard it would be to do what God was asking of her, she worshipped. I wonder when faced with a difficult task we must do in order to obey God’s will for our lives how many times do we grumble and complain instead of worship.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Angel #1...

December 2, 2011

Luke 1:19-20 And the angel answered him, “I am Gaberiel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will remain silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time”

Angels play a huge role in the story of Christ’s birth. Interestingly enough they are always men, and yet, none of my nativity sets have men angels; Oh, well just an interesting side note! Anyway, this visit of the Angel Gabriel was to Aaron. He and his wife Elizabeth had been unable to conceive children. In this day in age that would have been looked upon as a bad thing; it would have placed an unbearable stigma upon Elizabeth. Yet, the Angel Gabriel tells Aaron that his wife would conceive a son that they would name John. Aaron doesn’t believe the words of the angel standing in front of him and suffers from his unbelief with the loss of his voice.  The baby that Elizabeth will conceive and give birth to is John the Baptist. I think that Aaron’s and Elizabeth’s part of the nativity is an interesting one. I think it teaches us about waiting and trusting in God’s timing. God’s plan was for them to have a son, yet, it wouldn’t happen when Elizabeth wanted it to, and it happened in spite of Aaron’s unbelief; it happened in God’s timing and that timing was perfect. John the Baptist had a special role to fill and the timing of his birth was important. As we pray for things, one of the hardest things to do is realize that God’s timing might not be our own, and finding the faith to be alright with that.

God's Role and Jesus Sets...

December 1, 2011

Psalm 111:9 He sent redemption to his people

How can you talk about the Christmas Story or explore the characters of the nativity without talking about God? You can’t really or at least in my opinion. It was His plan all along; to send His Son, as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths to save a dying people from their sins. It was His Angels who heralded the coming King, and it was His Star that led to the baby. It was His compassion, love and justice that commanded the sacrifice of Jesus. Although He isn’t represented with a figurine in any of my many Nativity Sets (or Jesus Sets as Jackson calls them), God is a part of the story.