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A Midnight Clear

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Isaiah 9:6, Luke 2:14

This afternoon I was listening to a song that was describing how busy the Christmas season is. There are so many things to do, and this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, to me it is a blessing to have so many wonderful friends in my life that I want to share this special time of year with.  No, being busy isn’t always a bad thing. Continue reading “A Midnight Clear”

Free from Sorrow

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Psalm 31:14-15a, John 16:22, Psalm 16:11

Sometimes I forget that I’m not home yet. I get tempted to allow grief over earthly things and circumstances take over my thoughts, and even to overwhelm my heart. I easily get distracted by fear, by past sin, by “un-smart” things I’ve done, by all the awfulness of life- forgetting to look at my blessings.

But then Jesus pulls me back to Him. His presence in my life is the reassurance that, despite all that awfulness, He is still the lover of my soul. He has no intention of ever leaving me alone. In His presence, my heart is full of joy (Psalm 16:11).

My relationship with Jesus does not mean that everything lost will be restored. It does not mean that my life will be a showroom of worldly pleasures. It does not fill my bank accounts to overflowing. It does not assure me of never being alone.

What Jesus does is this: He frees me from being in bondage to a sorrowful heart. Yes, I’m going to have grief and sorrow in this world, but that grief does not have to have power over me. In John 16:22, Jesus says, “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

In those times of deepest sorrow, I can remember the joy of the birth of the Lord Jesus at Christmas, and I can look forward to the day when I will see Him face to face, when I will finally be in my eternal home.

Born to Give Us Second Birth

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Isaiah 9:1-7, Romans 5:1-2

It’s a great relief to know that Jesus came to remove the burden I feel to always be “good enough” when it comes to living a life pleasing to God. On my own, I will never be good enough, but because Jesus came, because He extended His grace to me, I can stand eternally in His righteousness.

I ran across a poem awhile back that really blessed me, so I’m sharing a bit of it here (credits below). On this second Sunday of Advent, I want to remember to keep my eyes on Jesus and all He’s done for me- not on myself and my attempts at goodness. I’m so thankful for my Savior.

In the gloom of deep, dull darkness,
In the shade of endless night,
Jesus came a child, a baby,
Born to give us hope and light.

When we felt our hearts were broken,
Jesus met us face to face,
Loving us in word and token –
Born to give us peace and grace.

(By Jack Brown, as published on JourneyWithJesus.net)

 

The Days Are Hastening On

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Psalm 39:5, Ephesians 5:16, James 4:14

It’s Christmas-time and I’m swamped! Decorations are up, the music is being played, gifts are being wrapped and cookies are being baked. Still, there are so many things I want to do, but there’s not enough time!

I need to still the busyness of the season for a moment and bring my heart back into the place it’s meant to be this time of year.

Advent is about preparing my heart to see Jesus. Sometimes when I talk or write about the brevity of our time here and how short life on this earth is, people get bummed out. Why would we want to think about our lives ending at such a joyous time of the year?

The verses for today emphasize the fragility of our earthly lives and the importance of making wise use of our days. But this is not a morbid or depressing subject to me. See, the very instant my eyes close here on earth, they will open to finally see my Savior face-to-face!

Do you ever think about that reunion? Do you ever wonder about the sound of His voice or the touch of His hand? Do you ever get homesick for Heaven?

As joyous a time as the Christmas season is, with all its wonder, magic, and beauty, the second Advent of Christ will be so much more than we could ever imagine. In that moment when we finally blink this earthly life into history and find ourselves in Heaven, we will understand what it means to truly be home- a feeling that nothing on this earth could ever come close to.

But I want to be prepared. I want to know Him more. I want to be filled to capacity with His Spirit. I want to allow Him to fulfill His work in me, letting go of my will and giving Him full control.

Over the next few days I will be taking a look at some areas of preparation in my life and how I need to respond.

I hope you will join me as I continue this Advent journey.

The Wondrous Gift

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Luke 2:11, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8, Luke 21:1-4

One of the things I truly love to do is to give unexpectedly. To random strangers. It just takes a few dollars a week, and just a few seconds of my time. I don’t make a big to-do out of it. Just hand it over and move on before they can even realize what’s occurred. Continue reading “The Wondrous Gift”

Where Meek Souls Will Receive Him

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Read Matthew 5:5, Psalm 37:11, Matthew 11:29, Ephesians 4:1-3

I have always loved the parable of the wealthy man who owned a magnificent and priceless art collection. He had invested millions of dollars into his collection, but the one piece that he loved the most was a portrait that an unknown artist had painted of the man’s deceased son. Continue reading “Where Meek Souls Will Receive Him”

Now in Flesh Appearing

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Read John 1:1-14, John 10:10, Romans 5:17

Have you noticed lately how sensational headlines and titles to articles have become? Have you also noticed how difficult it is to read a news report or other article online these days? Continue reading “Now in Flesh Appearing”

Be Near Me, Lord Jesus

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Read John 15:13; Matthew 28:20; Proverbs 18:24

Not long ago, there was a news story about an older lady who died alone in her home. Sadly, she was not missed for many months. When it was finally discovered that she had passed away, hundreds of pages of memoirs were found in her home detailing how lonely her life was. Many people know the heartache of loneliness, especially during Christmas. I wrote the following short story to depict what would happen if just one person had intervened in this woman’s life. Let this Advent season be a time when we connect with those who are alone, when we bring the light of Jesus into a lonely life.
Continue reading “Be Near Me, Lord Jesus”

Day 2: Joy of Every Longing Heart

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Read Luke 2:10, Psalm 16

It is not a secret that I spend hours every year watching those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. I should be ashamed of how many hours I spend watching, but strangely, I’m not ashamed at all! Why these things appeal to so many people is not hard to understand.  There are recurring messages in each one, wrapped up in stories that are sappy and syrupy, but still, messages that resonate with us. Continue reading “Day 2: Joy of Every Longing Heart”

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