Christmas Devotional Day 19

O Holy Night

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

He is a light to reveal GOD to the nations, and he is the Glory of your people Israel!
Luke 2:32 NLT

In the midst of so much imperfection, the night Christ was born can be considered one of the most perfect nights ever in the history of mankind. God used imperfect circumstances and an imperfect location in the form of a humble manager to bring His perfect and holy Son into the world. God could have easily made Jesus’ birth triumphant, but He chose not to. It is through all that imperfection that made this night so holy and so perfect. The way God brought His son into the world is much the same way He works within our lives. Oftentimes God takes the imperfections in our lives and uses them to perfect us. God loves to take the physical and emotional scars and use those to grow us into stronger people. He also desires us to take what we learned from our imperfections and help others who may be struggling with the same things. Just as Jesus was a light to reveal God to all the nations, we can be that same light as well. Don’t let your imperfections hold you back. Instead, allow God to use them to shape you into the person He designed you to be, which is a light in a dark world. Give God your weaknesses so that He can turn them into your greatest strengths.

Questions: What weaknesses do you need to give God so that He can perfect you?
In what ways do you see yourself as being a light to reveal God’s truth to others?

Advertisements

Christmas Devotional Day 18

When A Child Is Born

…new hope, new life. Many things come to pass with the birth of a new child. For a season, everyone, forgets their own weariness and own problems. This tiny creature will change people’s lives…forever.

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, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 KJV

There is nothing like the announcement of a new baby to bring excitement in a family. As the song says, “…new hope, new life. Many things come to pass with the birth of a new child. For a season, everyone, forgets their own weariness and own problems. This tiny creature will change people’s lives…forever.” Expectant mothers gain a lot of attention, as friends and family are typically very intent on being involved in the entire process of pregnancy up until the very end. When the moment finally occurs, there is nothing like the sound of a newborn baby’s cry to validate the life that has been growing and developing over the past nine months, and create such overwhelming joy. The same excitement that comes from physical birth also occurs when we experience spiritual birth in that moment when we ask Christ to become our personal Savior and Lord of our lives. In fact, many people now celebrate both their physical and spiritual birthdays because they understand the day Christ came into their life is just as important as the day they came into being. Imagine the joy that was evident at Christ’s birth in that His physical birth would ultimately change mankind forever. We can have spiritual birth because of His physical birth. John 10:10 says, “One…came…that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” We have a new life all because of one child: Jesus. As you reflect on this Christmas season, be thankful for God did by sending His only Son so that we can have new life. Be thankful for that holy night when a child was born so that we could be born again.

Questions:
What led you to your spiritual birth?
What does new life in Christ mean to you?

Christmas Devotional Day 17

We Three Kings Of Orient Are

O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect Light.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

It’s often difficult for people to understand that Jesus was born just like us. He wasn’t born in a luxurious palace or a fancy hospital. He was born outside, in a manger. He came into a world filled with sin, yet he lived an absolutely perfect life. He came to lead us, and guide us into a loving relationship with God. The three wise men are a great example of what complete submission to God looks like. The moment they saw the star they likely dropped everything they were doing and embarked on a long journey that was most likely difficult at times. The men had no idea where they were going, but placed their complete trust in a star to lead them. They devoted everything to seeking Him no matter the cost. Just like the three men in this song followed a shining star to see Jesus when he was born, if we submit ourselves to God, He will direct our paths and be a perfect guide for our lives.

Questions: What are the areas in your life you need to submit to God?
Try to remember a time where you did submit something to God. What was the outcome of that situation?

Christmas Devotional Day 16

The Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, Pa rum pa pum pum A newborn King to see, Pa rum pa pum pum

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Romans 12:1 MSG

The night was silent, except for the beating of his heart. It seemed so loud to him, he wondered if his traveling companions could hear it too. He was nervous to see a king, but he kept walking, holding tightly to his drum. His heart was about to beat out of his chest. The others were carrying beautiful boxes filled with precious gifts, gifts worthy of a king. He had nothing but his drum which suddenly seemed an inappropriate instrument to play for king, not to mention a newborn baby king. If only he had a more soothing instrument, like the harp the shepherd boys sometimes play. His heart beat was deafening as he stood before the king. And then Mary nodded. The King’s mother nodded at him.. She actually wanted him to play. He raised his sticks and began to beat out of the first pattern that came into his head, the rhythm of his beating heart. And so the Little Drummer Boy gave his heart to God. He played his best. He gave his best. How often do we feel our gifts are not good enough? We compare ourselves to others, wondering why their gifts seem so much more “useful” for the kingdom. We want to teach like our Pastor, or sing like our Worship Leader. Or maybe we want to share our blessings, but at times, we don’t feel very blessed. We can’t give what we don’t have, but rather than lamenting our lack, we need to look for our “drum”, the one thing that only we can give. The truth is God already has teaching like the Pastor’s. He already has singing like the worship leader’s. And what He wants, what He can really use, is your heart. Think of ways that you can bless others this season and in turn bless God. You don’t have to spend money. You just have to give of yourself, of your heart. Just like the little Drummer Boy. And Jesus smiled at him. Think of Jesus smiling at you. Kind of makes your heart race, doesn’t it? Listen.

Questions: How can you bless God by blessing others this holiday season?
Are you giving your best to God?
If not, how could you give your best to him today?

Christmas Devotional Day 15

The First Noel

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel; Born is the King of Israel!

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NIV

It is widely known that Noël is the French word for Christmas, but do you know the original origin of the word? Noël comes from the Latin word natalis, meaning “birth.” Therefore, the title of the hymn, fully translated, is “The First Birth.” This song is about the Nativity Story, the birth of Jesus as we see in the Bible. Angels came to Joseph and Mary, telling them “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus came to save us from our sins. That is what this season is about for us: the remembrance of this birth, and the life of Jesus. He was born here, lived here, died here, and was raised again here, all so that we had a new way to find relationship with God. This song reminds of the hopes and the expectations of salvation that came with the birth of Jesus, and serves to remind us that, no matter where we find ourselves in our lives right now, that this Jesus was here, and we will always have hope in that. This is a chance to celebrate not only the newness of his life, but this season all provides you an opportunity to start your life over with a new birth. Whatever sin, whatever shortcoming, whatever failure, whatever weakness you have, a child was born, and he has come to save you.

Questions: What are the things that you need Jesus to save you from?
How could this birth change the lives of people you know this holiday season?
What will you do about it?

Christmas Devotional Day 14

The Christmas Song

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by a chior, And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

I live in the high and holy places, but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed, And what I do is put new spirit in them, get them up and on their feet again. Isaiah 57:15 MSG

If there’s one song that has the “Christmas Spirit” it’s this one. It makes us think of a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. Or maybe we imagine carolers coming to our doors while we offer them some tasty, homemade apple cider fresh off the stove. We attend parties at friend’s houses and services at church. Let’s not forget about being all bundled up on Christmas morning with our families while the most beautiful snowflakes fall to the ground. And then in the midst of our Christmas illusions, our children storm into the room yelling “Mom!” or “Dad!” because someone hit them or because one of them use the other’s pellet gun without asking or because one of the neighbors took the basketball away that they had or because they fell off the zip line. Oh, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, can we not stay in our little piece of Christmas paradise just a tad bit longer? That’s life, isn’t it? No matter how perfect we try to paint the canvas of our lives, there will always be something extra put on it that wasn’t in our minds when we dreamed it. Something that cramps our perfect picture. Something that breaks our heart.

A relationship that ended. A loved one who died prematurely. The betrayal of a friend.

Did you know that God isn’t surprised by the interruptions in our lives? In fact, nothing surprises Him. Don’t mistake bad things happening in your life as Him not being in control. No, this is not about His ability but about His sovereignty. While we may wish that bad things would never happened in our lives, they will happen. Jesus said we’d have trouble (John 16:33), but He also promised that He’d calm us in the midst of it (John 14:16). So, no matter where we are in life, whether we expected to be on the path we are on or not, rest assured, that our God can make broken things beautiful. Friend, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who’ve been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Press on and trust in the One who will never let you down.

Questions: How have you seen God in control in the midst of life’s interruptions?

Christmas Devotional Day 13

Still, Still, Still

Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow. For all is hushed, The world is sleeping Holy Star its vigil keeping Still, still, still, One can hear the falling snow.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.Psalm 46:10 NIV

Still, still, still… These words do not seem to have a place in the hustle and bustle of a busy life, especially at Christmas time. Parties, presents and projects usually have us in a frantic frenzy as we rush from one event to the next. Often, before we know it, Christmas day has come and gone and we realize that, despite our good intentions, we never experienced the peace that comes from truly relishing in God’s amazing love for us. Isn’t it interesting that God commands us to “Be still”? Do you think it’s because he knows we sometimes have a hard time doing it on our own? What happens when we actually take time to be still? The answer lies in Psalm 46:10…”Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”. When you are still before God, you better understand that whatever you are facing, whatever your day has been like, you can completely rest in the fact that God is God. He’s awesome and amazing and sovereign. He loves us more than we can imagine and He’s got things under control. Spend time today purposely pursuing stillness in different moments. Perhaps you could wrap up in a blanket & head outside for a peek at the stars, wondering what that holy star looked like, the one that signaled Christ’s birth many years ago. Maybe take a minute to watch your young child sleep and you wonder what Mary and Joseph thought of their newborn son as you gaze at your own child’s sweet face. Open your Bible, read a favorite Scripture…then sit and wait.

Questions: What truths resonate in your soul about Christ as you take time to be still before Him?