As we gear up for Christmas, let’s cast our minds back to where it all began. Over a year before the scene in the stable, God in His heavenly throne room summoned an angel and gave him a special assignment.
The Christmas season is upon us! Have you heard the bells ringing or the choirs singing? But Christmas isn’t just about the songs, bright lights, festivities, and colorful decorations, is it? No, it’s about much more! Christmas is about God doing an extraordinary thing through a simple girl from a small town called Nazareth.
Advent is here. Christmas is just around the corner. However, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there is an aspect of the Christmas story we tend to overlook or underemphasize. While flipping through the pages of Luke one and two and Matthew chapter one, we forget the lengthy gap that’s represented in the page that reads “The New Testament.” For us, the span between the Old Testament and New is merely a couple of pages, but for the Israelites it was 400 years.
Thanksgiving is over. The Christmas tree is coming out of storage and the house is being transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Lights are twinkling, Christmas music is playing, and the festive activities of the season are just beginning. But as we get ready for Christmas and the days leading up to it, God has brought to my attention a central theme to the season: Christmas is about worship.
Gratitude is a posture. A choice. We often overlook this truth and blindly believe that gratitude and thankfulness is a response to overflowing blessings. But Paul resets our perspective when he wrote to the Thessalonians:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~I Thessalonians 5:18
It’s that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner, and while you might not be thinking about Christmas yet, it will be here before you know it! So as we think ahead and prepare for all the wonderful, joyous activities that are coming up, let us not forget those who might not even know about Christmas—children who may have never received a gift.
Over on my Google Plus page* I’ve been sharing a few A.W. Tozer quotes which have encouraged and challenged me as I’ve been reading through Warren Wiersbe’s compilation titled “The Best of A.W. Tozer (Book One)”. One of the quotes I shared last week reads as follows:
“When God’s sheep are in danger, the shepherd must not gaze at the stars and meditate on ‘inspirational’ themes. He is morally obliged to grab his weapon and run to their defense. When the circumstances call for it, love can use the sword, though by her nature she would rather bind up the broken hearted and minister to the wounded. It is time for the prophet and seer to make themselves heard and felt again. For the last three decades timidity disguised as humility has crouched in her corner while the spiritual quality of the evangelical Christianity has become progressively worse year by year. How long, O Lord, how long?”
It’s a wrap! Over in the “Bible Study” section we’ve finally finished our adventure through the book of Hosea. After five months and forty-four posts later, we’ve come out of our adventure with a greater appreciation for God’s holiness, His justice, and mostly His incredible love--how far He’s willing to go to pursue His wayward children. At least that’s what I came away with and hope you did too!
Father’s Day was two days ago. Did you shower blessing and honor upon your father? Did you express how much you love and appreciate your daddy?
Just as our earthly father likes to be called daddy, so also our heavenly Father longs to hear the word spring from our mouths. Just as the toddler runs full speed towards his daddy, so also God wants us to always run straight towards Him. Just as a child turns to her father for every need, want, and desire, so also God wants us to turn toward Him. He wants us to view Him with the same trust, feelings of safety, and love that we associate with our earthly daddy. So He gave Himself a new name.
That word easily tumbles out of the mouth of a toddler as he runs to greet his father with a bear hug or spills out in the delighted squeal of a little girl as her father relentlessly tickles her tummy. Whether it’s uttered in joyful abandon, frustrated anger, deep-hearted sorrow, unwavering trust, or warm affection from the lips of a child or adult, the connotation remains the same.
As we continue to march through the days of June and prepare for summer, I look outside and am astounded by the abundance of greenery and beauty that accompanies spring and early summer. The songbirds have returned from their winter migration and fill the skies with their graceful aerial acrobatics and complex melodies. The deer and other wildlife have little ones by their sides, and the trees are budding forth with new leaves. All these speak loudly to me of one thing: LIFE.
Yesterday, I shared an epiphany that occurred while standing before the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was a scene that opened my eyes to see each name and wrap my heart around each life that was given. However, there was an aspect of the story that I did not tell you, a part of my contemplations that I did not share.
This iconic image from World War II has come to represent the tenacity and loyalty of America and her comrades-in-arms. But it is also a representation of sacrifice.
Today, as we reflect on the victories that have made America the world power she is today, we must also remember the millions of lives sacrificed in the process. This is what Memorial Day is all about: remembering those fallen in combat.
Editor's Note: This is the testimony and life journey of a dear friend of mine and her personal experience in treasuring God's Word. Formerly a servant in the ministry of family discipleship, Stephanie Hills is now involved in the incredible work of Bible translation. This is the story of the journey God took her on to reach this point in her life and ministry. Though this isn't the style of posts I generally share, I felt that since So I Fix My Eyes... is centered around the Bible, this topic would be fitting. I pray that you are encouraged, inspired, and blessed by Stephanie Hills' story.
They live quiet, selfless lives. They’re always on call and never have time off. They don’t work for money nor do they expect praise or applause for their daily, moment-by-moment efforts. Their greatest delight and joy is to see their young protégées walking with the Lord, happy, healthy both in body and mind, and noteworthy citizens of society. From the sleepless nights of the infant stage through the rocky ride of the teen years, they work tirelessly to see that goal come to fruition.
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