Like a Christmas carol Psalm 100 plays in my mind. I hear it behind the wheel of my car, on my pillow, and in the mall. It rings out with the Salvation Army bell and sounds with the chimes of the churches I pass.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
With these words that have been stored in my heart since childhood, the Lord is calling me to my spiritual Root. I am His and He desires to claim His ownership of my being. He wants Full Custody of my heart.
Recently, I held the door for a woman leaving a local book store. Her expression of gratitude led to a conversation. She shared with me that she had just received Full Custody of her teenage granddaughter and grandson. I acknowledged both the joy of her situation and the hard road that led to such a legal result. Gratefully, I commended this Parent Grandparent for her proactive love of her children. Truly, Full Custody will carry great responsibility as well as great privilege and delight. Truly, Full Custody will change the lives of her beloved.
As we approach our celebration of God’s awesome demonstration of His love for His own, let us consider our spiritual relationship with the Christ-child. Does Jesus have Full Custody? It is a soul searching question for me, and no doubt for you as well. Let us purpose together to give our Heaveny Father Full Custody of our hearts in the coming season and ensuing New Year.
My prayer for you…that God would grant you a legacy of faith for the ages. Merry Christmas, indeed!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
All of you for All of Christmas!
The greatest gift from God to all peoples cannot be contained in packaging. Neither can it be tied with a bow. It cannot be measured by inches or valued by currency. The Unwrapped Present of Christmas bears the name of Immanuel which translates “God with us”. Surely, there is no other present so sacrificially given as God Himself becoming flesh among us. Surely, God in His unlimited understanding gifted us according to our deepest need. Surely, God’s Presence is framed by His unfathomable love.
Personally, I am not at ease opening gifts in front of others. Several years ago I was taught a valuable lesson through the young woman my son chose for his wife. A friend of mine honored her with a Wedding Shower. The very first gift she opened was a lovely robe. After rubbing her hand over it with a grateful smile she took the robe out of the box, stood up in front of a crowd of people she did not know and slipped her arms into her gift. The response to her gracious action was audible. As I reflect on this precious moment, I realize that my daughter to be sensed the value of the present given in love. She received it with full honor to the giver.
With great reverence and gratitude for God’s immeasurable love, let us Unwrap Immanuel and give Him full honor in our lives. Let us purpose not to squander Christmas this year. Stand up wth great courage and slip into the gift of His Presence in our lives. Deep in your heart you will know His delight—His Peace. Bring God Into the Moment this Christmas for the sake of faith in your own next generation.
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness… Isaiah 61:10
God’s Presence is the true present of Christmas. Unwrap Jesus this Christmas.
To view my Christmas List for our children check out my website for my blog post from one year ago.
Here are seven reasons why you should attend church with your family on Christmas Day.
1. The Genealogy of Jesus was complete.
2. Mary believed the angel Gabriel.
3. Joseph obeyed the dream.
4. It was tax time in Bethlehem.
5. Herald angels appeared to shepherds.
6. Wise men from the East followed a Star.
7. Ancient prophecy was fulfilled.
Now, if God sovereignly arranged for all these things to be in place for the birth of Jesus on earth, imagine what he could do in your family on Christmas Morning. Bring God Into the Moment. Make a faith statement to your children today. Tell them why you are Marking Your Calendar—December 25th: Attend worship as a family.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
Save the date for a date with the Savior!
As a wife, mother, Grandmother and woman of faith there are 12 things I desire for our children.
I want them …
1. To live in the presence of God
2. To grow in the likeness of Jesus
3. To find their value and significance in God their Creator
4. To walk in ever-increasing faith
5. To be raised in godly discipline
6. To be surrounded by people who believe in them
7. To know God will fulfill His purpose in their lives
8. To know that God loves them and gave His Son to prove it
9. To trust in the unlimited understanding of God
10. To place their hope in God regardless of their circumstances
11. To earnestly love God and others
12. To reflect godly character and integrity in all they do
These 12 things are the essence of Faith Feedings…12 principles to nourish your child’s spiritual development. Each of these is an extract from the book I have written to cultivate the conscience of the next generation for faith in God. They will frame and establish faith in your home.
These 12 things are also the essence of Christmas. They are Twelve Gifts that only be grasped through the Gift of God’s Son in the form of the Christ-child. This Christmas I pray that God will richly bless your family with a legacy of faith!
I invite you into my passion to change the faith landscape of our homes. Join in! Let’s stop the bleeding that is draining faith from our families and leading out children further away from God.
Let Justice flow like a river; righteousness like a never failing stream. Amos 5:24
OPP (opportunity for action): Purpose to pray The 12 Things I desire for our Children on a regular basis. Commit them to memory and heart speak them to the Lord when you awaken in the night. Adorn you child’s Growing Robe with these 12 Gifts of Christmas. They are gifts to last a life-time…even into eternity!
Give the gift of Faith this Christmas. Faith Feedings is available to purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Feedings-Principles-Spiritual-Development/dp/1940269520/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448914097&sr=8-1&keywords=faith+feedings
Faith Feedings is also available at http://christianbook.com
It seems that my tidy list of Christmas Blog reflections has been interrupted by terror on the home-front. My All I Want for Christmas theme has been overshadowed by considerations of allegiance and unthinkable encroachment on the land of the free.
The words, I Pledge Allegiance…, came to the fore-front for me on December 5th during my early morning meeting with the Lord. The Bible passage scheduled for me that day was Philippians 2:5-11. Verses 6-11 are oft quoted ones and are invaluable for understanding the Nature and Character of Jesus Christ. On this morning, however, it was verse 5 that got my attention: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. In deep humility and outrageous courage, I share my Journal entry for that day with you.
“The word attitude grabs me. How could my attitude be the same as the One who offered up everything for the sake of my eternal life? I have such a long way to go. But, praise God, I am on the way. My attitude is growing toward Jesus, not away from Him. It is allegiance that makes the difference. Allegiance rules attitude. The word allegiance stands out to me today because of the recent murder of innocents on the west coast of the American mainland. The female (wife) of the couple pledged her allegiance to the rule of terror just before spraying a room with bullets that ended life on this earth for fourteen and permanently scarred twenty-one others. To this end, the man and the woman offered themselves up to their misplaced allegiance. O God of abounding Love and Truth, I offer myself up to Jesus. Enable me to have the attitude of Christ who offered all He had and is for me.”
“We call it radicalization. They call it allegiance.
We call it violence. The Bible calls it murder.
We call it hatred. God calls it evil.
We call it unforgivable. Jesus calls it crucified.”
On second thought, All I want for Christmas stands. All I Want for Christmas is radical faith in an allegiance-worthy God. It is what I want for you as well!
Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory the Father (Philippians 2:9-11)
OPP (opportunity for action): Nurture your child’s spiritual development by introducing God’s radical love for them in the form of the Gift of the Christ-child. At this time of year there are numerous opportunities for giving…from food and warm clothing for the needy to the Salvation Army bell ringer at the storefronts. Aid them in finding ways to be givers rather than getters this Christmas. Pray in your home for comfort for those who lost their beloved and covering on our Nation for the sake of His Beloved.
Your sense of adventure defines your approach to life. Do you live on the edge of the next new thing to try and to master? Or are you one who holds back in the safe and unchallenged places of life? Are you a risk taker or a safe player? Your sense of ADVENTure defines your approach to Christmas. Do you bask in the wonder of God’s gift to the world in the person of His Son? Do you sell short the true meaning of Christmas and miss the essence of God’s love in it? Are you a joyful participant or an overwhelmed overseer of gifts, decorations and groceries? Believe me, I know of what I speak!
Advent is the season of spiritual preparation that leads to an event too great to fathom in the human mind and too wondrous to capture in the human heart. Advent anticipates the adventure of a life time. It clears the pathway for a journey that exceeds climbing the highest mountain or diving in the deepest sea. Advent takes us beyond the world’s woes to a place of love and peace that the world knows not. May God in His goodness increase our sense of ADVENTure.
There is sadness in a world that chooses an atheist as the Grand Marshall of a Christmas parade. There is shallowness in the availability of an Advent Calendar with a toy on the twenty-fifth day. There is hopelessness in a “Happy Holidays” greeting and the banning of manger scenes in public places. But take heart! God is with us in it all. Therein lies the true beauty of Advent. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means God with us (Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).
It takes a whole lot of ADVENTure to fully grasp the Biblical truth that a child conceived by God’s Holy Spirit and born to a virgin would be called Immanuel and live with us. Advent is about seeking God in all of His fullness so that we can fully receive the gift of His Son, the Christ-child. .
You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord… Jeremiah 29:13
May God stir in you a sense of ADVENTure so that you might find Jesus in a new way. Be prepared to be God-awed this Christmas.
OPP (opportunity for action): Connect the Christmas dots in your family. Supplement your Advent candles and calendars with the reading of the Christmas story as told by Matthew and Luke (Matthew 1 !-14, Luke 1:1-20). Teach your children the concept of giving to Jesus by gifting to others. Bring Jesus into the moment in your homes this Christmas. If you do not ADVENT your child’s Christmas, who will?
Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn. Psalm 22:30-31.