Father God, thank You Lord for the birth of Your Son. Jesus, Happy Birthday to You! Holy Spirit, thank You for always pointing us to Jesus. Lord Jesus, may we reflect on ALL that You have done for us today. May we be reminded that it is not about us, but about You. Lord God, thank You for the gift of new life and new opportunities. Father God, may we respond to Your Good News with a come and see mentality. May we invite others to come and see Jesus. Thank You Jesus, that You are Immanuel, thank You that You are with us regardless of what we feel. Thank You that You do not have favorites. Lord God, thank You Jesus for what You have done for us. May we celebrate You not just today, but every day. I ask Lord, that You will continue meeting people right where they are just like You did 2000 years ago. Thank You Jesus, that You are our Lord and our Savior and it is in Your Name I pray, Amen.
I will never forget reading in the NLT Life Application Bible the commentary note on Matthew 2:3, “Divine guidance comes only to prepared hearts.” How true this is!
Divine guidance filled Joseph’s heart to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt so that Jesus would not be killed by Herod (2:1-9; 13-18).
Divine guidance filled the hearts of the Magi that when the star “came to rest over the place where the Child was…they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy” (vv. 9-10 ESV). Entering the house and seeing Mary and Jesus the Magi prostrated themselves before Him in worship. Divine guidance also came to the Magi in a dream warning them to return to their home country by another route (v. 12).
Divine guidance prepares us for worship and worship prepares us for divine guidance. May you allow God to prepare your heart for Christmas. May you be filled with love, awe and worship as you sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May the Holy Spirit prepare you to worship Jesus, celebrating His birthday with family and friends. May Divine guidance fill you with peace and assurance as you respond to what He has revealed to you.
Father God, prepare our hearts for Your Divine guidance this Christmas! Prepare us Father to respond to You and Your direction. Prepare our hearts to obey and worship You! Thank You Holy Spirit, for preparing our hearts for Jesus. Thank You Jesus, that Your birth, death, resurrection and ascension are preparing people’s hearts to receive Your salvation. It is not about us Lord but about You. Lord, prepare this reader’s heart for Your Divine guidance. Prepare them to respond to whatever it is that You have for them. The worst thing any believer can be is unprepared. Lord God, may we prepare room in our hearts for You and Your guidance so that we may glorify You not just at Christmas, but daily. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
The lyrics from Chris Tomlin’s “Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)” keep replaying over and over again in my mind. I cannot help but to wonder, what does “unspeakable joy” look like? What does it look like to have joy year round and not just at Christmas?
The Bible tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4 see also 1 Thes 5:16). When great and exciting things are happening in our lives, we are to rejoice and sing songs of praise to God (Jas 5:13b). Jesus, Paul, James and Peter exhort us to rejoice while undergoing trials, sicknesses, weaknesses, hardships, troubles, persecutions (Matt 5:12; Rom 5:3-5; 2 Cor 12:8-10; Jas 1:2-4; 1 Pet 1:6-9). We are to have “unspeakable joy” even when life is falling apart, run down and/or shattered. I know, I know easier said than done!
Joy, unspeakable and overflowing joy comes from God and God alone. Joy is produced in our lives by God’s Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). While I am not “bah humbug” when it comes to Christmas this year, I am fully aware that what the world sells as “joy” is fleeting and temporary at best, lies and destruction at worst. The joy and peace that come from God are lasting and happen even in life’s difficulties. When you ask Your Heavenly Father for joy, wisdom, peace anything that aligns with His character, He will give to you! Precious reader, I ask that you keep your eyes and ears open to our brothers, sisters and neighbors who are hurting. As we all know, this can be an isolating and lonely time of year for people, may we not neglect them. May they not only see our joy that comes from God, may they experience that joy as well. God NEVER teaches us anything for us to keep it to ourselves. He blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. The last thing this world needs is another jovial believer in name only. Jesus has told us who He is and what He is done so that our joy in Him may be full/complete (John 15:11).
Father God, thank You that You are Joy and that Joy comes from You! Thank You Lord, that we when we ask for anything that aligns with Your Name, character and will, You will give and do for us. Lord God, help us to be sensitive to those we encounter in this season. Lord, prepare our hearts for Christmas. Help us to have unspeakable and overflowing joy that results in our singing songs of praise to You. Thank You Father for the gift of salvation. Thank You for Jesus, thank You Jesus for entering this messy world to reconcile us to God. Lord, may we be known for our love and for our joy. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
I confess, I can let my emotions rule me in some VERY negative ways; thus, making it VERY difficult for me to live in peace with others. This is completely counter to what Paul states in Colossians 3:15, “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.”
The word “rule” is translated “umpire” in the Greek. Christ’s peace needs to be the umpire of each and every decision that believers make. The heart in both the Old and New Testament meant the core of one’s being. The heart was the seat of a person’s will or decision making. This means that my heart and each individual believer’s heart (will, decisions) needs to be at peace for the corporate body to be at peace. Oh, how this is easier said than done!
Where is Christ (judging/umpiring) calling balls and strikes in your relationships? When I lack peace in relationships, I am reminded that I cannot change the other person; however, God most certainly can and will change me (if I allow Him). When I have a disquieted spirit (lack of peace) in my relationships, I know that is when I should be the most still. That is when I should be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). Oh how often I get that wrong! I am the opposite! I flail and flounder. I get ridiculously angry and hostile. My tongue becomes an agent of death rather than an agent of life.
I want Christ’s peace more than anything in this world. The world truly cannot give the peace that Christ gives. When I do not have Christ’s peace, I (and my relationships and thus the Body as whole) do not do well! This is a process and ALL processes take time. The more I/we allow Christ’s peace to call balls, strikes and outs, the more at peace we will live with Him and each other. Only a peaceful person can be patient! The one thing the Christmas season is not short on is decision making and patience. May Christ’s peace rule in our individual hearts as we live in community with others.
Father God, thank You for Jesus! Jesus, thank You for leaving Your peace with us! Thank You Holy Spirit for helping us to live out that peace and for the peace that You produce in and through us. Thank You Holy Trinity that Your Peace is what umpires each decision we make! Father, forgive us for the times we try to find peace in our own strength. Lord God, I ask that the peace of Your presence be upon this reader today! In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart Colossians 4:2
Father God, thank You, for this new month. Lord, prepare us for December and December for us. Lord, I ask that in the midst of the busyness and the hustle and bustle, that You will remind each of us that Jesus is the reason for the season. Lord, I ask that for those who find this time difficult that You will be their confidence, hope and comfort. Lord, I ask that You will send someone into their life to encourage and speak Your truth to them. Father, I lift up all my brothers and sisters who are hurting, who are in need of Your healing. Lord, work a miracle in them, through them and for them. Father, thank You for sending Your Son into this world. Jesus, may we NOT lose sight of You this season. May we be reminded that it is about You and not about us. Father, it is the cry of my heart that Jesus’s presence will be our greatest Christmas present! Lord God, may we end this year well. May we reflect on Your character and all that You have done this past year. Thank You, Father, for the ability to come before You. Lord, make Yourself known to this reader and I ask that You will meet them right where they are. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
I am SO thankful and appreciative for the love and support that I have received from all of you who follow and read this blog! God has grown and stretched me more than words can say! Wherever you find yourself this Thanksgiving, I want you to know that you are loved and deeply appreciated! I absolutely could not do this without you!
The past three Thanksgiving’s I have read Psalm 136. After I am done reading, I have written out my own praise of thanksgiving followed by the phrase, “His faithful love endures forever.” I would like to encourage you to take some time to read and reflect on this as well. “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8) is true not just on Thanksgiving but every day. May we cultivate an attitude of gratitude! May we truly know and believe that Christ Himself is enough (as the commercialization of Christmas has already begun to tell and sell us otherwise). May God’s blessings be VERY evident to you this Thanksgiving!
Father God, Thank You for all the wonderful and amazing ways that You work in our lives! Thank You for all the ways that You bless and care for us whether we realize them or not. Father, I thank You for this precious reader. It is my joy to share what You are doing with them and what You are doing in them with me. Father, I cannot begin to Thank You enough for all the ways that You make Yourself known. Lord, regardless of where we find ourselves this Thanksgiving, may we lay down our pride and pick up grace and humility to hear the stories of those who we come in contact. I know Lord, this is the beginning of the loneliest time of year for some people. I ask boldly Lord, that You will send people into their lives. Remind this dear reader, they are NEVER alone regardless of what their feelings tell them. Lord God, may we reflect on You and Your goodness. Father, may we not lose sight that Your “faithful love endures forever.” In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.
Father God, thank You Lord for the opportunity to face this new month. Lord, I ask that You will lead and guide this reader. Prepare this reader for this new month and this month for them. Lord, may we take the time to reflect and thank our veterans for their sacrifice and service. Lord, may we also take the time to reflect on all the many, many things that we have to be thankful for, even in these difficult and hostile times. Lord, in all things may we seek You. Help this precious reader to stand firm in their challenges, help them to rejoice in the quiet moments and may they seek Your face in every decision they make. Lord, I ask that You will help us believe that You will do what we ask for. Lord, may we continue persisting in prayer, may we thank You for every answered prayer. Lord, if we are waiting for healing, I ask that You help us to not be afraid. Help us to remember that if we are not healed in this life, we most certainly will be healed and whole when we are with You. Lord, this is not snarky or with an insincere heart that I say these words. So many of Your people Lord, are going through difficult times. I ask Lord, that You will answer their prayers, give them the strength to continue on. Lord, I ask that whatever unforgiveness that we are harboring that is hindering our walk with You and others be confessed. Lord, may we repent, turn from the unforgiveness that we have. Remind us Lord, that forgiveness is a process, it is not a one time thing/confession. Lord, help our unbelief and incomplete faith in this life. Praise You Father, that when it is out time to come to You, that we will be in Your presence and we will see You in Your glory. Hear our prayers Lord and may we obey whatever it is You reveal to us, for Your glory, in Jesus’s Name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.