You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
here we are — it’s the end of the month we come with open hands, grateful hearts for all the ways You’ve seen us through every moment, each joy, tear or struggle we thank You dear Lord for grace upon our weary hearts blessings that flowed to each and every part mercies cascading from Your haven wish we knew how to truly give thanks. In quiet meekness, simple, authentic worship all we know to do, offer as our gift is our heart, soul and mind fully as we move forward into this Christmas time and new year.
As I reflect back on this year I am so grateful for every single aspect of it. There’s not a single thing I can think of that I am not thankful for. Even in the hard places—the times when I struggled or when someone dear to me was struggling.
I started the year with something I had never done before and that was to ask God for one word that I would focus on for the year. One word He would give me that I would let God teach and instruct me in how it applies to my life and my heart but more than that, my relationship with Him. (See January's post My Word Focus for 2015 )
I felt God wanted me to learn what it meant to commit myself to Him and so for this very first word focus, my word for the year was commit. Boy did I have a lot of learning to do! Here it is, December 28th and I still feel like I have a lot more learning in this area. God took me from that one single word, commit, and transformed it into: I cannot commit if I am not fixing (focusing, giving all of my attention to) my eyes on Jesus, humbling myself before Him and obeying Him in all areas of my life.
Perhaps I will always be working on what it truly means to commit myself to Him. Not just my writing and editing career or even my health and weight issues, but my whole life. My WHOLE being. The very inner parts of me that I don’t want to expose to anyone and especially not to God. God has made it clear He wants every single part.
I do not have a word to focus on for 2016 yet. I cannot say if I will take this same focus into the new year or if God will show me something else He wants me to grab onto. But whichever way it goes, I know that He plans on weaving it all together and by the end of 2016, I will have a deeper understanding of who He is and who He wants me to be.
I hope you will pray and ask God for a word focus for 2016. It has truly enriched my life and my relationship with God and I know it will with yours too. And when you do find out what your word for 2016 is, will you share it with me? I would love for us to pray together as God instructs us in all wisdom and understanding of His Word into the very inner parts of our souls and beings.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
My heart hammers in staccato beats
staring up at the figure on the cross. I cannot believe this is the boy that I fell in love with as a child. I remember like yesterday that baby boy...
We passed by the stable and I peeked inside instead of food for the animals to my surprise there lay a baby in the manger surrounded by a man and a woman and a strange light. The sheep, goat and donkey all lay around they didn’t seem to mind their trough taken up with a bundle of human sleeping so sound. I wanted to get closer but my mother wouldn’t stay and we walked off in a hurry the other way.
I saw glimpses of him for a couple of years I watched as he learned to walk and talk
he was like no other child I’d ever known. So many times I tried to get near to him circumstances kept me away and unengaged thought maybe I’d get to play with him one day until they left unexpected — was he afraid?
I’ve thought about him often, that little cherub face there was such a special something I never seemed to place. And here I stand so grief-stricken as I look up amazed that the little boy I admired, is being treated this heinous way. I know it’s him — I’ve never forgotten the babe I can see it in his eyes as he looks down upon me with such grace. My heart feels so much compassion, so much love I cannot bear this sight of him hanging on that rugged cross by Jews and thieves condemned.
I was such a little girl when I spied that tiny peaceful miracle always wondering why he was born in a dirty, rugged stable my pondering turns sudden and anew why didn’t that innkeeper give him a room? And could it be that’s all he wants from me and you? A room within our hearts, a place into our lives not just a stable behind the scenes but a home in our hearts to dwell and abide.
This Christmas season I pray you will be filled with Emmanuel. God's gift to us, wrapped up in love and laid in a manger. His name is Jesus and when we confess with our mouth's and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord, He comes to live...abide...in us. In the form of His Holy Spirit.
Emmanuel...God with us.
Now. Tomorrow. Always.
He has come to bring you peace. Will you accept His free invitation to receive His salvation today?
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “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.” When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures,
they presented gifts to Him:
gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:1-2 & 9-11
Wise men three you came from afar seeking a king you followed a star.
I can’t help but wonder why did you go what really compelled you
to seek him so?
The perfumes you brought fit for a king you gave them away to a small babe.
Did you understand who he would become did you even realize who he really was?
Wise men three you traveled so far lighted by a star falling on bended knee you honored The King of kings.
If wise men still seek Him I wonder how far we will go seeking our One True Star?
At Christmas time (or all year through) will we go out of our way to seek the Christ child anew? How far will we go to follow Your light?
The only present — our hearts a perfume of worship to give so precious, so perfect our only true gift presented on bended knee in our quest of Him just like the wise men three.
I started thinking about this last Christmas but never quite followed through on my inquisitiveness until now.
Why did the wise men seek Jesus?
These men were seeking the one they had heard would be the King of the Jews. They were looking for The Messiah. What is interesting is that these three men were not Jews. They were Gentiles and yet, they sought after the One who would be king. Don’t miss this fact: Jesus lived in Bethlehem for 2 years and His own received Him not. The Jews didn’t honor Him, they didn’t look for Him and didn’t pay Him any attention. Yet, three men from another country desired so much to know this King that they pursued Him with all of their hearts, giving up all they had, until they found Him. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Matthew chapter 2 we read this: “With ourselves, we must give up all that we have to Jesus Christ; and if we be sincere in the surrender of ourselves to him, we shall not be unwilling to part with what is dearest to us, and most valuable, to him and for him; nor are our gifts accepted, unless we first present ourselves to him living sacrifices.” ¹ I want to be a wise (wo)man. I want to seek after God with my whole heart so that in my worship to Him, it will be a most precious ointment of sacrificial worship to Him. It’s a high calling but so worth the living. Will you become a wise man and seek God too?