How Great is Your Need

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Prayer that simple act of reaching out and talking to the Lord. It’s not about the many words or making a grand stand in front of others. However, prayer is simply the act of sharing our thoughts, heart, and needs before the throne of grace. It’s more than “Now I lay me down,” or “God is great, God is good!” There is nothing wrong with them as children learning to pray. However, as we grow in the Lord our prayers should change into something more mature. Yet, no matter what our age is, our prayers still reveal our heart’s cries.

As we study Scripture, it reveals different intensities in prayers. We teach our children the little singsongs prayers to speak over their meals and bedtimes. The Word also speaks of prayer, supplications, and intercessions. However, many Christians fail to realize the difference between these three words and believe me, there is definitely a difference in each one.

Think about it this way. We pray over our meals, asking the Lord to bless the food to the nourishment of our body. We offer prayers as we travel asking the Lord to encamp guardian angels and protection around us and our loved ones. We ask the Lord to move in our services and touch the lost and the hurting. When we cry out in these simple prayers, these humble petitions reach the ears of our Heavenly Father.

Another part of the definition of prayer also means “to worship”. As the Lord taught His disciples to pray, two things stick out at the very beginning. The words, “Our Father, Who art in heaven” reveals our relationship with God the Father. No one can approach the throne of grace except those who have a relationship through salvation. The second part is absolute worship “Hallowed be Thy name.” We glorify the name of our God, our Creator with words of adoration. We praise Him for who He is, and how He affects our life.

The more intense the need the more intense our prayer life should become. As we seek the Lord in supplications, the cries of our heart become stronger. We need a move in our life by the Lord. The need is real as is our desire for answers. We humbly approach the Throne of grace and it might be one, two, or more times. Abraham asked the Lord numerous times to spare Sodom if a certain number of righteous people were found. Each time he lowered the number, until he felt it was time to stop. He was not willing to let it go without asking for more grace and mercy.

However when horrible hardships come, we begin to see the necessity for the Lord and His intervention in our life or in the life of a loved one. We cry out in supplication making our needs known. Many times these are accompanied by tears and cries to the Lord, we serve. These are the times in our life when there are no words just our cries of agony. It may be to save a marriage, or the need of one of our children. How many of you have cried out for mercy while watching a loved one enduring a medical crisis? Intercession is a deep gut wrenching cry that we cannot even begin to put into words.

It is during these times of great need we discover the Lord has all the answer s we need. Moses cried out for the Lord to show mercy to Israelites as they rebelled numerous times in the desert. Hagar cried for mercy for Ishmael in the heat of the desert. Nehemiah mourned and interceded for his people when he learned of their suffering. Think about the Canaanite woman who begged the Lord to touch her daughter and deliver her from an evil spirit. She didn’t care if she was considered a dog but was willing to eat even of the crumbs as long as her cry was heard and answered. Even Jesus interceded as He hung on the cross, crying out “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

How deep is your prayer life? Are you willing to cry out for those needs that only the Lord can answer? Are you willing to intercede and not give up? Like Abraham, are you determined to storm the gates of heaven to see the Lord move in someone’s life? As long as there is breath, there is hope. Stand strong in all the Lord is calling you to. It is time to move into prayer as never before. 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. See More

Let the Battle Begin

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Recently, the topic of many people has been about prayer. The movie “War Room” has captured the hearts of many. We loved the image of how prayer can influence a single person, and an entire family. In today’s society, prayer seems to be almost non-existent. As one of the main characters stated at the beginning her prayer life was ok – it wasn’t hot but it certainly wasn’t cold. How many of us as we watched this movie realized that maybe that statement was true of our prayer life also?

Everyone loved watching how the prayers were answered and would be thrilled seeing the same thing happening with their own prayer life. However, there is a catch to it. We must be willing to make the time, be dedicated to the effort, and willing to lay our own selfish desires aside. Too often, we pray wanting the Lord to answer in the way we think is best. However, just as the Lord prayed just prior to His arrest – our prayer MUST be “Not my will, Father, but Your will.”

Many years ago, a pastor shared about a woman who came to him asking for prayer for her daughter. Her heart was breaking because her child was not walking with the Lord as in the past. He told her how to pray. “Whatever it takes, Lord. I pray that You will use whatever it takes to bring my child to her knees before you.” A week later the woman returned angrily complaining. “My daughter’s life has been turned upside down. Her hours at work were reduced to only part-time. Her roommate announced she was getting married and moving out. She can’t afford the apartment and doesn’t know what she is going to do. Did I pray wrong?” Wisely the pastor shared “If you prayed ‘Whatever it takes!’ then no.” The woman was appalled at this. “How could you say this is the Lord in her life? Her life is falling apart and it’s all my fault.” She failed to comprehend the Lord wanted to use these events in her life to bring her back into a close relationship with HIm.

Actually this is true for the majority of us, we must hit rock bottom before we truly see our need for a Savior. It is when we see our marriages failing, that we need to cry out more than ever for our spouse and our marriages. When our child has strayed from the Lord, we need to stand in the gap and intercede. As the world beckons our loved ones away from the Lord, are we willing to cry out for His mercy and grace? Drugs, alcohol, and lusts are others that sway our loved ones away and we need to loudly proclaim the Word of the Lord over them.

“Whatever it takes, Lord!” is one of the powerful and difficult prayers I can imagine. How can I say that? Simply, because we have no idea what it will take to bring a loved one to the feet of the Lord. What did it take you to see your need for a relationship with the Lord Jesus? Each person has a different breaking point. Yet, it is so hard to watch our loved ones and friends going through agony. Nevertheless, if we want to see the Lord moving in their life and our own, we must stand back and let God be God.

Are we willing to press in to all the Lord has placed before us? Laying aside our own selfish desires, we must seek His face and His will. We can’t rely on the pastors and preachers to do our praying for us. In all honesty, it is not their job. Yea, I know there are some that totally disagree with that statement. However, think about it this way. Jesus taught all of His disciples to pray. Yes, He often went up to a place of solitude to pray and probably spent some of the time praying for His followers, but He also expected His followers to seek after His Father also.

The choice is yours today. Are you willing to seek the will of God in your life? Are you willing to come away and spend time seeking His face? Are you willing to lay self aside and cry out to the Lord as never before? Let the cry of your heart be “Lord, let Your will be done.” Are you willing to open your heart and spirit to see as He sees?

I pray today that you will make that decision to walk closer to the Lord than ever before. I pray that you will feel Him tugging at your heartstrings drawing you closer than ever. I pray today would be a day to remember as a day the Lord touched your heart for good. Yes, today is the day the Lord desires to move in your spirit. Draw closer to the Lord and feel His Presence surrounding you today. For today is the first day of the rest of your life. Let our battle cry begin for our self, our spouses, our marriages, our children, our churches, and our communities. Draw up your sword of faith and let the battle begin. See More

Just Two Little Letters

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One little word, with two little letters, yet many Christians fail to see the power behind them. Alone they are simply letters without any special value or importance but when placed together they can change the whole concept of a sentence. Together they have the power to change our lives, not only individually but also in our homes, our churches, and communities. How can two small letters of our alphabet have that much importance and influence? One simple answer, because they have the ability to reveal our hearts before the Lord. If is the word; so small word yet so significant in our Christian walk.

We all want the blessings of the Lord, yet how many of us are willing to lay self aside and truly seek after it. The answer to this particular question is found in Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. Look at the seventh word behind the number one. IF! We want His blessings but there are stipulations to them. We must be obedient to all He has placed before us.

Yes, I know this is from the Old Testament and too many people will immediately jump on a bandwagon and loudly proclaim that we are living by the New Testament now. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross ended all of the Old Testament regulations. However, take a moment and listen to my ramblings for a moment. Yes, absolutely the perfect sacrifice of Jesus ended all our needs for animal offerings to atone for our sins. We no longer have the need for the laws and regulations that the Israelites had to observe.

However, in the New Testament He also gave us guidelines to live by. Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ These two commandments reveal the Christian walk. Our first priority is to love the Lord our God and our second is to love our neighbors. If we are obedient to the Lord then we will see His blessings upon our life. He wants a people who are not only willing to talk the talk but to walk the walk He has placed before them.

The second time I see that two letter word with such power is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. I see so many post asking the Lord to bless this nation and make it great once more yet we hear little about the people of this nation repenting of the sins in the land. If we want to see the Lord move on our behalf then we must be obedient to all the Lord has called us to. We do not have an option to pick and choose which of His truths we are to follow. We are to follow all of them. Sin must be dealt with and repentance is a vital part. We cannot only ask for forgiveness but we must also turn from our wicked ways. Anyone can say “I’m sorry”, but true repentance means to stop doing evil also.

Are we as Christians willing to lay aside self and seek after the Lord in the coming days and weeks? Are we willing to allow the Spirit of the Lord to reveal those things that are not pleasing to Him? Are we willing to repent and turn away from the sins that so easily beset us? Each one of us has to dig deep and discover just how much we are willing to walk the walk. Will we fail; at times yes! However, when we fall, we have to once more cry out in repentance and rise up and begin that walk toward righteousness once more.

Today is a new day and the choice is before you. Will you choose your way or the Lord’s way? His way will bring blessings and a security of knowing that He is Lord of your life. You will find love, joy, and peace unlike anything you have ever known before. The choice is yours.

 

Forever Changed

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It’s the second day of the 2016 and so many people are looking for things to be better for them and their loved ones in the coming days and months. Many endured hardships unlike anything they suffered before. For many it truly is a year they never want to go through again. Hardships, deaths, sickness were just a few. Some suffered major financial problems, while some stood helplessly aside as loved ones agonized with health issues. It was a difficult year for many.

As we begin this year, we want and need changes to occur in our surroundings. Too often, our focuses are on the natural, a better job, marriage, or relationships. And to a degree that is normal for us, simply because we are human and we love our creature comforts. However, we have to ask our self one question. What is our desire for the coming year in our relationship with the Lord?
Are we willing to allow things to remain status quo? Too many of God’s children are simply floating along surviving on spiritual fumes. They have lost their hunger and thirst for their first love. Oh, they still love the Lord but they have allowed the cares and concerns of the things going on in their life to weigh down their heart. They no longer seek Him as their source of strength. It’s time to turn back.

Some of His other children have made choices contrary to Him and His ways. All of us have fallen from time to time. However, some continue to walk in their sin and make excuses why God understands. It is too easy to justify our actions. “God knows my heart!” “The Lord knows that I am simply human.” The lists of excuses are endless. Yet the Lord calls His children to live a life of righteousness and holiness. We are not capable of being perfect. Only Jesus had that ability. However, we make choices every day that reveal our hearts and whether we are more interested in serving self or the Lord. We ask the Lord bless us, and too often we actually mean, “God bless my mess!” We fail to realize that God will never bless our sin. The truth is God hates sin, but He doesn’t hate the sinner.

We see that pattern repeatedly in Scripture. The woman caught in the adultery saw the conviction of the Lord as she lay at the feet of Jesus. However, she also found forgiveness, grace, and mercy when the Lord spoke to her. He didn’t condemn her but He told her to go and sin no more. Think back to the paraplegic that was lowered through the roof by his friend. Jesus instructed him to “take up his bed and walk. Scripture reveals that just a short time later Jesus find the man in the temple. “Go and sin no more,” were His instructions.

The Lord wants His children to see the hope that He has placed before them. He wants us to walk in holiness and uprightness. As His people who are called by His name, we MUST be different from the people who have never experienced His grace and mercy. We are called to be different, unique in a lost and dying world. The reality is that we will never win souls to the Lord if we act, talk and do the things they do. We must be light in the darkness. We must be salt!

May the Lord minister to your heart tonight how precious you are to Him. I pray He ministers to you the reality of your walk before Him. I pray your heart will draw closer to the Lord than ever before and be all the Lord has called you to be. 1 Peter 2:9-10: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

 

There is so Much More

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I heard the Lord speak to me early this morning with one word. At first, I thought it was a word for the year (I wrote about this the other day). However, as the morning has gone by, He keeps dropping tidbits within my spirit.

Increase is defined as: become or make greater in size, amount, intensity, or degree.

In all the Lord has shown me this morning, the definition He is revealing to me is greater intensity.

Our relationship with Him must increase in intensity. This applies in the Word, prayer, wisdom, praise, worship and one on one communion.

As we increase in the Word – truths will be revealed that we have never seen before but will line up with what we know as truth at this point. As we increase in the Word, we will see an increase in our hunger for more of Him and His Word.

As we increase in prayer – we will begin crying out for others in both the natural and in the spirit realm. There are those that need to be set free from the captivity and chains that have held them captive for years. Others are in need of intercessors that will stand in the gap calling out their name before the throne of grace. Pray for salvation, deliverance and a turning away from the things of the world for those He lays on your heart.

As we seek Him in the Word and seek His face in prayer – He will reveal wisdom for the coming days. It will be His wisdom from on high. Some of what He shows us must be kept quiet for the time being. It is being revealed for direction in prayer and supplication. Other times, when He reveals His heart, He will instruct us to share with others. Be alert to all He speaks to your heart. When in doubt then hold on and pray until you receive clear direction.

Praise and worship will be a joint effort at times and at other times, they will be two entirely different avenues into His Presence. Your praises will be a rejoicing in all the Lord has accomplished in your life and in the lives of those around you. It will be a time of thanksgiving and celebration of His love. Praise must become a second nature to you, not only as a time of thankfulness but that those who ae lost around you will see your joy no matter what your circumstances are.

Worship will become a time to proclaim Who He is in your life. He is your Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is your Savior, your Healer, and your Deliverer. He is the Great I AM. He is your Everlasting Peace; and He is your Strong Tower. He is your Lord of lords and King of kings. He is your Strength and the Lifter of your head. Let no one sway you from these truths. There is no one like our God.

Most of all increase your time of communion with Him. Let there be times of basking in His Presence and resting in His love. Let it be a time where you sit and listen for that still small voice of the One who created you. Commune, talk, and listen with Him daily. As you wait for Him to minister to your heart, your relationship will increase in ways you could only imagine.

Yes, increase in all the Lord lays before you this year. Allow His Spirit to lead and direct you as never before. He has much in store for those who are willing to take that step closer and increase in all He is calling us too.

 

It’s All New

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The countdown has begun. Some are at parties, others at church services and many like me are enjoying the evening at home. Yet, as these last few hours draw to a close, we often look back at the blessings, trials, and tribulations we endured in the previous twelve months. Some were good, some were hard, but through it all, one fact remains. As Christians, we were never alone. We might have sat in our homes by our self, but the Spirit of the Lord was and is always with us.

Many endured great sadness with the loss of a loved one. Others welcomed a little bundle of joy into their expanding family. A few discovered the heartache of family rifts while others embraced a new family member through the union of two loved birds. Some fell into sin, while others finally got to the end of their rope and realized their needed for a Savior.

The list could continue for quite a while of what has taken place in our lives. However, as you look back can you see the hand of the Lord in your life? Did you see His protection? Perhaps, you saw His grace at a time when all else seemed to be chaos. Did you find His divine strength when yours had perished in the midst of your battles? Or did you suddenly discover a faith that you had never known before? Maybe, you finally realized the matchless and endless love this great Savior had for you. Before the clock strikes twelve, will you take a moment and think about how the Lord has touched your life the last 365 days.

Then as the clock hits that ‘magical’ moment of midnight, realize that even through tomorrow is the beginning of a New Year that His mercy is new every day. Praise the Lord that He will walk with you throughout the coming year. He will be with you in the good times and the bad. His strength will enable you to take the next step of His divine journey for your life. His love is un-ending. His grace and mercy will there for you throughout the coming year.
This year could be the best year of your life, no matter what events take place. How? The answer is very simple, by pressing in more than ever into the things of the Lord. Are you willing to lay aside the things that you think are important and seeking His desires for your life instead? Can you make the decision to dig into His Word as never before? In your desire for a deeper relationship, are you willing to lay aside the time to see His face in prayer and communion?

Every one of us who has cried out in repentance asking the Lord to become our Savior has a decision to make not only now but every day of the coming year. What are you willing to do to draw closer to the Lord in the coming year? If you want a deeper relationship, then expect to lay self aside. If you want a deeper walk, then expect to take the steps to make it happen. It does not come to any of us on a silver platter, but He will meet us every step of the way.

Yes, His mercies are new every morning. As you lay down tonight, remember in the morning as you open your eyes, that He is with you and always will be. Yes, in just a few hours, it will be the first day of the New Year, but it is also the first day of the rest of your life. Take that bold step of faith and enter into all the Lord has for you. I pray this will be a year of great blessings and growth in the Lord.

 

The Void

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It is deeper than deepest part of any ocean. Yet, it is still wider than the Grand Canyon. This void is endless yet it resides with the heart and soul of every person. We carry this empty space within our small bodies on the day we are birthed. Too often, we fail to see the root of it and especially the one thing that will completely fill the void.

Every single man, woman, teenager, and child will attempt to placate this vast region of emptiness with the things of the world. Alcohol and drugs are used in the case of many, partaking of these ‘pleasures’ until their senses are dulled. However, as the stupor wears off, the void once more makes its presence known. This will creates a vicious cycle that we see too often in the lives of a loved one, or a friend. Perhaps you have been caught up in that circle of destruction yourself in the past or it could still be hanging around your neck weighing you down even now.

Then, there are those who seek the attention of others. The very noise of the crowd, all those people around you helps drown out the sound of the void echoing deep within your weary soul. Being alone is not an option you must seek out the people and their racket. Anyone will do as long as the noise keeps you occupied. For some is it being in the arms of someone, anyone; maybe this time the result will fill the emptiness. Yet, as the morning light breaks, the void once more rears its ugly head and loudly proclaims, “I am still here. Fill me!”

Others attempt to hide from the void. They hide in their busyness. It might be the TV. You know that one eyed-demon that claims the attention and focus of countless individuals for hundreds of hours each year. They sit and flip through the channels hoping that the next channel or show will catch and hold their attention. As they sit absorbed in this past time, it temporarily prevents the sound of the void from being heard deep within their heart. For others, their busyness is in sports, or physical activities. Perhaps it’s hunting, fishing or crafts. The activity doesn’t matter, it’s the busyness that count. It prevents individuals from thinking and feeling that void, that cold empty space that can only be filled by one thing.

What could fill this place? Why is it even there? Why would anyone and everyone have that very same emptiness deep within the recesses of their heart and soul? Has it been there since the beginning of the creation of the world? When the God of all creation made mankind, He breathed life into His creation. Then we see Adam and Eve walking the cool of the day with the Lord their God. They had a perfect relationship with the Lord as they walked with Him in fellowship. Then sin entered into the picture and the downfall of man began. The void begins to clamber through each generation. Just as we seek the diversion to avoid hearing the emptiness crying to be filled today, those souls from long ago sought a diversion in the same way.

Then, when we come to the end of our rope, the end of our own futile searching we encounter the One that created us. We hear that still small voice calling our name across the ages. We learn of His love and most of all His way to salvation. His path to redemption is available to those who call on His name. The perfect sacrifice completed the journey through time. Most of all, the Lord of lords came to fill that emptiness that nothing else could. As we cry out in repentance, the void is cleansed from the filth we have allowed to enter in an attempt to fill it. He fills this empty chasm with joy unspeakable. Peace, that is indescribable begins to overflow from that once barren place. That which was unfillable in the natural, now is filled with the Spirit of the Living God. Romans 15:13 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.

Are you someone that still feels that void today? Cry out for the One who can fill you to overflowing. Call upon the name of the Lord. He is right there with you waiting. Can you hear His still small voice calling your name? Yield to it, yield to Him. That chasm can be filled with all His love, and mercy. Are you ready? More importantly, are you willing? Let the sound of His love fill you up. Let your void be filled to overflowing. You will never regret it.

 

Choose Wisely

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It’s almost that time when many people decide to make their New Year’s Resolution. For some, it will be to lose weight. For others, they want to get out of debt. Others want get to promoted on the job, buy new cars and the list is endless. We have the mindset that in the coming year, we want to achieve something in the near future. It might be to correct a shortcoming in our past, or move into another level in our personal life.

However, several years ago a church decided to encourage their flock to think of one word as their goal for the coming year. Soon Christian radio stations were broadcasting the message and around the nation, many individuals had joined heart in the movement. It was fascinating to hear the diversity and choices made across the land. This trend has continued for several years and each year more people join with the effort.

But, how do you narrow down your choice down to one word? Could it be a word to encourage you throughout the year? Or perhaps, your choice would be one that challenges you in your walk with the Lord. Others might select something that reminds them of the Lord’s love or compassion. Then there are those who choose the same word but the reason and meaning behind their choice is literally opposite to each person. Just think for a few moments what your word might be.

Press-in; now press-in is one of those words with several meanings. Press-in could be to press-in deeper into prayer or digging deeper in the Word. It could mean to press-in deeper into the call of the Lord on your life. Press-in more into the gifting the Lord has placed in your life. Or perhaps, you want to press-in in a deeper relationship with your spouse. The choice of deeper could have similar meanings in another person’s life and yet the intent in each heart could be entirely different.

Conviction is one of those words that immediately you think of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It requires a heart that is willing to be open before the Lord and to self. The hardest thing in the world is to honest with our self. No one likes to see the truth and reality of what it hidden deep within those dark recesses of our heart. It takes a strong heart to face truth, but at the same time, it takes a heart that is willing to lay down all else to draw closer to the Lord.
Maybe someone chooses the word ‘willing’. The challenge is to “willing’ to be obedient to whatever the Lord lays before them. It might mean to take a step of faith unlike anything you have ever taken before. Your willingness to follow His leading develops even greater in this next phase of your walk with the Lord.

Forgiveness is one of those words that can be applied in so many ways to anyone and everyone’s life. We must learn to seek the Lord for forgiveness in our day-to-day mistakes. Perhaps, He desires us to learn to walk more in forgiveness towards others. Often we need to learn to forgive ourselves especially if we are one of those individuals that are super hard on ourselves with every shortcoming and failure.

Love, faith, hope, long-suffering, and kindness are just a few others. Did an image suddenly come to the forefront of your mind as read any of those? Could your choice be ‘slower’? As you have realized lately that, you have taken on too many activities and it has had a negative impact on your entire life. Or maybe your choice with the word ‘Go!” as the Lord is leading you in a different direction than ever before.

To me, this is not something to be taken lightly. It is different from a New Year’s Resolution; it is a commitment to the Lord and before the Lord. It is a decision to strengthen your walk with the Lord. I pray that as you search your heart that the Lord will speak in His still small voice what His desire is for your life for the coming year. In addition, that you will have the heart to go after all He has for you. May your ‘word’ for the upcoming year forever change your life and walk with the Lord.

 

The Journey of Love

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Christmas is a wondrous time for many people. As Christians, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We set up our manger scenes in our homes. Gather at various churches for live nativity events. Listen to the cantatas at our places of worship and watch as our children play out the Christmas play. However, no one truly knows the date of Jesus’s birth but December 25 has been the date that used for the celebration for many, many years. Yet, for some people it is simply another day. Their job continues as any other day as they anxiously await for their shift to be over so they too can join in the festivities of food and family fun. For others, it is just a special time to get goodies for loved ones, and over eat their favorite foods.

Too often, we lose sight of the fact that Christmas was only the beginning of our Lord’s journey. We love the joy of families gathering to celebrate the birth of our Lord. Our desire is that our children will see the importance of not what is under the tree but as the saying goes, “Jesus is the reason of the season.” We sing “Silent Night,” and “Hark the Herald Angel Sings” as we celebrate the most miraculous birth of all time.

Still, take a few minutes and think about the incredible journey of this tiny babe. Many would have labeled him worthless as the very scene of His birth. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. There was no fanfare until… until a brightly lit star stood over the place of His birth. Then the heavenly hosts announced His birth to a small group of shepherds tending their sheep. Later wise men from a distant land follow that same star to discover its meaning – a small male child – the King of the Jews. Yet, this was only the beginning of His journey.

We see a glimpse of His wisdom at age twelve as He sat among the teachers listening to and asking them questions. The Word tells us in Luke 2:47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. How many of you know a twelve year old that can impress a group of teachers in this manner? Even at this age, Jesus had one purpose embedded in His heart. He wanted to be about His Father’s business.

Then years later, He steps out into His ministry. Even at the onset, His Father’s voice proclaimed for all to hear, “You are My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” As He gathered His disciples, He called the lowest of society when he spoke the name of Matthew. He called the working men, just simple fishermen as He beckoned Peter, James, John and Andrew. Others their background is unknown but all heeded His call. Not even one seems to be a person that was highly esteemed in society. Yet all have earned their place in history following the Man from Galilee.

We see the lives of those touched by His compassion. The blind saw once more. The crippled became whole. The deaf heard the sounds of life around them; their world was silent no more. He forgave the sinful, gave hope to the lost, cleansed the leper, and delivered the demon possessed. Jesus even restored life to the dead on several occasions. Those who encountered this Jesus were never the same. However, this was only part of His journey. His words taught wisdom and gave hope to the hopeless. His parables gave many reasons to ponder His truth in their hearts.

The later part of His journey brought salvations, redemption, hope to a lost, and dying world. He suffered a death unlike any other. Tortured in the cruelest of methods, wounded and bruised He allowed – yes allowed – these lost souls to crucify Him. That was the plan all along. To provide the perfect sacrifice, a spotless lamb to redeem all who called upon His name. Yet even this was not the end of His journey. Dead and buried – the enemy thought he had finally won. Then just days later, the Son of God, the Son of Man arose in glorious light to become the Light of the World. Nothing and no-one could keep Him in the ground. Death had been swallowed in victory at the resurrection of the once small babe from the manger.

Look past the thrills of the past few days. Look beyond the gatherings, the laughter, and joy. See the truth of what the birth of our Lord Jesus meant for the likes of you and me. His gift of salvation is freely given to all who call upon His name and believe. With salvation comes the forgiveness of every sin and shortcoming in our life. Most of all, Jesus made a way to redeem us back to His Father. We are made whole and holy in the sight of our Father by the blood of the Lamb. The journey is complete and He has accomplished all the Father planned. We can rejoice in all the Lord has accomplished in His Journey of Love.

 

Changes are coming

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The most difficult thing in the world is change. Yet, often the most rewarding thing that happens in our life is the result of changes in our life. Most of us resist change because it pulls us out of our comfort zone. We might be in a hard place but when significant changes begin entering our life, the struggle is real. Even though we might be suffering in our hard place, at least we know what to expect from it. Perhaps the change is a grand one, like getting married or the birth of a child. Yet even these special events affect our lives are un-imaginable prior to the event. The hardest one is to lose a loved one. Our life is never the same afterwards. It might be a parent or grandparent, spouse or especially the loss of a child. There is an empty void in our heart that can never be filled.

Throughout Scriptures, we see how lives were disrupted in the midst of change but the results of those changes are seen even years later. Take Abraham for instance. Here is a man who lived in a close-knit family, with his wife Sarah, his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and all the rest of his tribe. At his father’s death, his whole life is changed. Suddenly, he hears the voice of Jehovah. The Lord has other plans for this man and his wife, to be the beginning of something big. They are to be the ancestors of a nation not yet born. Yet, how can this be – Abraham and Sarah are barren. Abraham follows the leading of the Lord and sees the beginning of this promise with the birth of Isaac.

David was the youngest of seven and nothing more than a lowly shepherd tending to his father’s sheep. Suddenly he is thrown into the limelight as he stands before the giant of the Philistine army. David refused to allow the mocking of the God he served continue. Let’s face it, the Lord doesn’t need our protection; far from it. Nevertheless, the Lord had other plans for this young lad. Changes were coming to his life that David could not even imagine. The shepherd would one day be king and even called a man after God’s own heart.

Think about Ruth as she left everyone and everything she had ever known behind to travel to a foreign land. Why? She followed her deceased husband’s mother out of love. Her future was looked dim. However, God had a plan for her future. Rahab knew the annihilation of her town was close at hand when she hid the two Israelite spies. However, her courage saved her entire family. Joining heart with these people of God, as she also became an ancestor to Jesus just like Ruth.

As God called Jonah to be an evangelist, he chose to run. His choice led him straight into the belly of a fish. Can you imagine living three days and nights in the gastric juices of this huge creator? The smell of acid alone had to be horrible. Yet, as he yielded his life, the Lord spared him and used him in ministry. Saul of Tarsus is another one who had a huge change impact his life. This persecutor of the early church encounters the Lord in a miraculous way in his journey to Damascus. He was forever changed by this one event. Peter and the other disciples leave everything to follow the Messiah not only in His ministry but to spread the Good News after His death.

What changes are you facing today? Is it major or even something small? Somehow, it will affect your life in the future. It might be something difficult, something wonderful or life altering. No matter what it is, the Lord will give you all your need to face these changes. He will be right there with you every step of the way. Trust Him. Yes, trust Him as never before. He will see you through. Rememer, God has a plan for your life too. You might not be able to see beyond the change happening right now, He does. Yes, He has a plan for your life.