A nudge

“You haven’t prayed yet this morning.” a little nudging thought seemed to say to me.

I know… I say back to myself in my thoughts, while grabbing my purse and phone and taking that last sip of coffee. … I’ve got to get going for my appointment this morning. I’ll pray when I get back. Besides, there’s nothing going here in this quiet morning that needs urgent prayer. It can wait a few hours.

I try to read my devotion and pray every morning, but honestly, it sometimes gets away from me. I always feel better when I do. It’s like getting dressed in the morning. When I rush, I don’t always look my best. Those shoes I grabbed in a hurry don’t really go with my outfit. I may get through the day ok, but I don’t feel great.

On this morning, I’m dressed but don’t have on great shoes. I head out for my appointment downtown, and afterwards I check my phone. There’s an urgent text from my son – COME HOME NOW. I call and text and wait to hear back from him as I’m madly driving home. And praying, urgently praying.

It all turned out ok, just some scary scammers that he wasn’t sure how to deal with. But it got me thinking. That nudge earlier this morning. God was giving me a heads up. He knew what was coming. He knew the evil that was lurking in people who are ready to pounce on the unsuspecting or vulnerable. When we least expect it. God wanted to talk with me that morning through my prayer, to reassure me, and to help clothe me for what my son would be facing in just a couple of hours. God was already preparing his angels to surround my son from such evil.

I was reminded there is nothing more important in getting ready for our day than starting the day talking to God. So this morning when I opened my devotion, I found this:

As Soon As You Prayed
God thinks highly of you, and at the very moment you started praying, I was sent to give you the answer. Daniel 9:23
God answered their prayers because they trusted him. 1 Chronicles 5:20

God starts to answer us the minute we begin praying. And many times for things we don’t even know about.

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 31 – a Kingdom with no end

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He healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the oppressed, a friend to sinners, the light of the world, conquered death and was resurrected, he was loved, he was hated, he is the image of the invisible God.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of the widows – this is God, whose dwelling is holy. He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” Psalm 68:5-6

 

Baby Jesus grew up. But his story does not end after the Christmas season is over. It is only beginning, and his Kingdom has no end.

The Gospel of John was written by John, a fisherman and personal friend and disciple of Jesus. John was part of Jesus’ inner circle of Peter, James and John. He witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ, was there during the Crucifixion, and Jesus asked him to take care of his mother Mary when Jesus was being crucified. John was the first disciple to recognize Jesus after His Resurrection, and he went on to live a zealous life and death for the sake of Christ. He was put into boiling oil and tortured, but when that couldn’t kill him, he was exiled to the Greek island of Pathmos. John had a deep personal knowledge of Jesus Christ and it shows in his writings:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:1-5

The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.
Indeed, we have all received grace after grace
from His fullness
for the law was given through Moses,

grace and truth came through Jesus Christ – John 1:14, 17

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
– Jesus, John 14:1-4

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” 
– Jesus, John 14:6

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
– Jesus, John 10:10

From Genesis 3:15 when God first promised us a Savior, to the most famous verse of the Bible found in John 3:16, God has been telling us about the promised Savior!

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

A New Year – a New Hope. It is easy sometimes to dwell on our past and look back on our mistakes, but when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God immediately wipes away our past and welcomes us with the righteousness of His Son Jesus. God hates the evil that tries to destroy this world and keep us away from Him, but God loves us even more and is willing to forgive us for any wrongdoing if only we ask and turn our heart towards him. Jesus’ life on earth shows us that His grace is not determined by how good or knowledgeable we are, who we are or where we happened to be born, but it is all because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Through our faith, we can have assurance that we will someday be in heaven with Jesus and His kingdom that has no end.

 May you have a blessed new year getting to know Jesus as your Savior and personal friend.
God’s mercies are new every morning!
(Lamentations 3:23)

* Happy New Year! *

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 29 – Wise Men worship Jesus

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And there it was – the star they had seen in the east! It led the Wise Men until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.
Matthew 2:9-12

Let us worship Jesus the way the Wise Men did. They gave Him their treasures which they had brought with them on their trip, fully expecting to see the Messiah. They believed, they sought Him, they recognized who He was, they humbled themselves, and they obeyed God rather than man. They were truly wise, and we can be also.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

* Merry Christmas *

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 24 – The birth of Jesus

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On a quiet unsuspecting night, the Savior came into the world. And the world has never been the same.

While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place. – Luke 2:6-7

As the Christmas rush begins to quieten down, the stores are closing, the gifts are bought, and the world prepares to stop for a day, remember what this simple but profound birth means to our world.

No matter what you may be dealing with this Christmas season, and so many of us are, I pray that you will stop for a few minutes on this Christmas Eve and ask Jesus to surround you with His love and peace and hope. For Jesus truly is the reason for the holiday.

* Merry Christmas *

31 Days of the Christmas Story from Genesis to John: Day 17 – Fulfillment of the prophecies

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The anticipation is beginning to build in Luke’s story. Many people were curious about what had happened and the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies. A child was to come from the tribe of Judah, town of Bethlehem, through the line of David, a messenger would prepare the way, and he would have eternal existence.

While we wait for the celebration of the birth of Christ in a few days, let’s look back at many of the prophecies that were beginning to take place.

“Daughter Zion, shout for joy and be glad, for I am coming to dwell among you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become My people. I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will take possession of Judah as His portion in the Holy Land, and He will once again choose Jerusalem. Let all people be silent before the Lord, for He is coming from His holy dwelling.” – Zecharia 2:10-13

By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined. – Isaiah 9:1-2

His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end. – Isaiah 9:6-7

The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!
Look, your King is coming to you;
He is righteous and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey. – Zecharia 9:9

May you call out today to the only one known who can heal our inward pain, give us peace among a chaotic world, and will be with us for eternity. 

* Merry Christmas *