Twelve Days of Christmas Day 7: Wisdom

Cardboard box with red bow

Cardboard box with red bow

James 1:17

“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.”

Proverbs 2:6

“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”

Psalms 25:14

“The LORD’s loyal followers receive his guidance, and he reveals his covenantal demands to them.”

One gift I have wanted my kids to ask for from the LORD is wisdom.  To be able to discern and understand is one of the greatest gifts of all, for ignorance leads a people astray and lack of understanding is often at the root of the wreckage of many lives.

To be able to know God’s heart on matters we face is a privilege; He reveals insight when we are lost and opens our eyes to see sin that easily entangles us as well as our need of Him.

Without this wisdom, we are easily led astray and waste our lives on things that don’t matter.  With wisdom we live in a way that honors God and has lasting eternal value.

Although we are finite and only know in part, God is willing to give wisdom to those who ask, yet many times we don’t.  Imagine seeing a beautifully wrapped gift underneath the tree, left unopened.  Or maybe an envelope with information inside that you have been waiting for – news from a job or a physician – but we choose not to seek the answer.

This gift of wisdom is precious, indeed.  God help us to see its value and to seek Him and His wisdom in this life we live.

Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself and Your will to us.  Help us to ask You for wisdom and to never grow weary of seeking to know You more.

 

 

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Four: Love

Gift of Love

He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not, He loves ME!  The exhilarating thrill of knowing we are loved is one of the greatest feelings we can experience.  Likewise, one of the most painful feelings in the world is when love is removed.

Christmas time is unique in that the greatest gift of love, expressed in the form of a baby was given to all mankind – no one was to be left out – as a radical expression of unconditional love.

Lost ones and lost loves are vivid reminders of our need for love at Christmastime.  We were made by God to relate and to love one another, and when that love is removed, our hearts ache.

We don’t by nature like change, nor when the constancy of one’s affection is removed, but in Christ, no matter what goes on around us, His love is always steadfast.

This gift of Love was wrapped in swaddling clothes, chose humble, harsh surroundings to get to YOU and me!

Lord, we can sometimes feel unloved, unwanted and forgotten.  Thank You that You never forget and never remove Your love from us.  Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

A SEASON OF THANKFULNESS: DAY 18 – OUR HUMBLE KING

Humility

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Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

There is perhaps nothing more ironic than a King becoming a servant, saving the very ones who were His servants in the first place.

In Christ we find the perfect example of humility.  He alone could boast of all the good works He accomplished or of how great He is, yet He chose a crude birth and a lifestyle among commoners.

Materialism and comfort might have appealed to his flesh in that he was 100% man and 100% God, but He did not want those things.  They were distractions from the calling His Father had for Him.  Instead, He was single-minded in His humble approach, prizing the cost of a soul as superior by far to being praised by man.

Sober-minded and dependent upon God, Christ modeled the wisdom of humility.  He captivated the hearts of His enemies not by ruling over them, but by loving and serving them.

There will come a day when Christ returns in righteous judgment, but He first exhibited godly leadership that sacrificed and made Himself subject to the very ones He sought to save.

By laying down His own life, He made a way for the prideful, lost ones truly in a humble position to know their majestic King.

Lord, thank You for demonstrating what it means to not live for self, but to live for the glory of God, instead.  Thank you for choosing a humble life that we might know You!

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 17 – Our Provider

God provides

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Philippians 4:19

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Genesis 22:13-14

“Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”

God knows what we need when we need it – though sometimes our patience might be tested in the process.

When we accepted His gift of salvation, He gave us everything we needed right then and there, but we do not use every gift He gives us in that moment.  It is in the sanctification process we go through which causes us to access His grace when we need it.

Sometimes in the fire of life, we tend to forget that nothing happens to us apart from His will.  If He brings us to it, He will bring us through it.  But still we are tempted to stare at the waves instead of at the Creator of the waves.

Like the Israelites, we wonder if God will provide the Manna again that we need the next day.  This dependence on God tries our soul as we prefer to provide for ourselves, as if that seems more certain.

Everything that surrounds us belongs to Him – and He freely gives to us sovereignly what we need, not necessarily what we want.  This is where our trust in our relationship with God grows, that He knows what is best.

We have no earthly idea what might be around the next bend in this life, but God knows it all completely and knows what we will need, as well.  He is our Faithful Provider, lovingly giving and denying when He deems one course is better than the other.

Lord, thank You for being our faithful provider.  All that we have is Yours. Help us to steward the gifts of grace, nourishment and shelter that You lovingly bestow upon us and to seek ways to glorify You in providing for other’s needs, as well.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 16 – Our Promise Keeper

ThePromiseKeeper_620x348

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Deuteronomy 7:9

“So realize that the LORD your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

Proverbs 20:6

“Many people profess their loyalty, but a faithful person–who can find?

Romans 4:21

“He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do.”

2 Timothy 2:13

“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.”

“Everyone will let you down at some point”.  In a fragile world, this anecdote which is intended to comfort, does the opposite.  We all long for security, for people to be devoted to us, for someone who will be completely faithful to us.

Man is ultimately selfish and desires to satisfy his own needs.  It is the opposite of our flesh to deny ourselves and to serve others faithfully instead.

Where is our hope, then, if no one can ultimately be perfectly faithful to us?  This longing can only be fulfilled by One.  Not just any one, but the very one Who is the only One who has ever kept all of His promises.  His track record is perfect and He delights to fulfill His Word.

We tend to want flesh to be faithful to us to feel secure, but flesh is created, fallible and does not know the end.  God foretold the promises that He was going to keep before they were even on the horizon.

When the chips are down and it feels like God has forgotten, we only need to look to His Word and see His faithfulness throughout all of time.  We need to then hold onto His promises and talk to our Heavenly Father about our need for Him to meet us in our place of need.

God is incapable of lying; His promises are yes and amen.  He receives the glory when He meets our needs according to His wonderful promises in His Word.

Even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful still.  Not because we deserve it, but because he will not deny those who are His.  What a faithful God – covenant maker and keeper forever.  Amen.

Lord, when we were unworthy and could never repay You, You still chose to pursue us anyway, making promises to us and keeping them.  Thank You, our Faithful friend and God, lover of our soul!

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 14 – Our Covering

Photo Credits: pursuedwithpurpose.blogspot.com

Photo Credits:
pursuedwithpurpose.blogspot.com

Psalm 5:12

“Certainly you reward the godly, LORD. Like a shield you protect them in your good favor.”

Psalm 85:2

“You forgave the iniquity of Your people; You covered all their sin. Selah.”

Romans 4:7-8

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin.”

The imagery of a cozy comforter protecting us from the chill of winter provokes a smile on my face, reminding me of the comfort Christ’s covering brings to His children.  To Adam and Eve, He provided a literal clothing to cover them.  To all of Adam and Eve’s descendants He provided Himself as their covering.

We tend to attempt to rely on ouselves for a covering.  It just would not seem right to allow someone else to take care of our messes.  Yet our excuses are empty and our covering ultimately has holes in it.  We could never provide the perfect solution to our sin problem.  We are flawed and others cannot cover us, either.  We will stand alone before God in the end.

But how will we stand?  If we have accepted the free gift of Christ’s salvation, His atonement (at-one) united us with a Holy God, completely blotting out all of our sins.  When we appear before God on the judgment day, He will see Christ, our faithful Savior, providing propitiation (appeasement to God) for every single one of our sins.

Covering us with His grace and unconditional love, we finally belong.  We belong to His family and He protects and watches over those underneath His canopy of forgiveness.  Why would anyone want to be without this covering, when it is the answer to our soul’s cry to be safe, loved and known?

What a beautiful gift it is – this covering God provides through Jesus – lasts forever and our sins will never be counted against us.  No ordinary covering could accomplish such an act of uniting the unholy with the holy; no, only God Himself could provide that perfect sacrifice.

Jesus, thank You for covering all of our sins and washing away the burdens of this world.  Thank You that your covering is not temporary and will not wear out.  Knowing You is eternal and You never give up on us.  Praise be Your Name!

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 13 – Our Comforter

Photo Credits: quotesgram.com

Photo Credits: quotesgram.com

Psalms 31:13a

“For I hear what so many are saying, the terrifying news that comes from every direction.”

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 30:5

“For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning.”

On days like this when news of terror is filling the airwaves and in moments of fear, uncertainty and heartbreak, we who are in Christ have this hope: our living God is our faithful Comforter.

The rain falls on the good and the bad; all will see troubles on this earth, but it is often at the worst moments when we are closest to God.  The accusations and attack of the enemy encircle us, trying to defeat us, but if we will press in and seek God, we crucify the flesh and find ourselves at a higher place with Jesus.

Like Job, who had counselors who knew all of the religiously correct phrases, we, too, will need to go past the surface of psychology, positive thinking or religiosity offered by the world around us to arrive in Jesus’ arms and the sweetest comfort known.

True comfort does not mean having our own way.  It is a place of rest, trusting in our sovereign Father and peace in His promise to take our greatest sorrows and turn them into a place of healing, instead.  It is weeping in His presence and laying our burden at His feet, knowing that He counts every tear and that everything matters to Him.

Perhaps the greatest comfort is that Jesus chose to walk among us not just so we could understand and know Him, but so He could identify with our suffering and we could have confidence to come to Him who patiently endured the most severe suffering for us.

Lord, please ease the pain of those in shock and horror now and draw them to You – the only sure source of comfort at all times.  You are our refuge, our Healer, our living Hope.  May you be the One we run to above and instead of all else.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 12 – Our Wise Counselor

Photo Credits: www/pixabay.com

Photo Credits:
www/pixabay.com

Ecclesiastes 7:10-12

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?” for it is not wise to ask that.  11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing; it benefits those who see the light of day. 12 For wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection. But the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

James 1:5

“But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.”

When I am tempted to give in to emotion or make a rash decision, it is to God that I run.  What a precious gift that we can come to Him and seek His wisdom in all things.

Recently I was reminded of this privilege when I was trying to understand the best course of action in a situation.  “Why are you trying to figure it out on your own?” ran through my head.  I guess that is my natural disposition – to try and come up with my own solution, but the foundation of that decision should be to seek wisdom from God above all else.

Wisdom, likened to an inheritance, can only be given by God.  Man can hand out down insight and knowledge, but any wisdom he has was given to him and comes from above.

Wisdom from God looks markedly different from the wisdom of this world.  It is not self-glorifying, it does not boast. It serves and glorifies God as the giver of it all.  The wisdom God gives is pure and peaceful, opposite what our flesh would offer as a solution.

Contained within all 66 books of the Bible are page after page of wisdom and folly fleshed out.  Few have truly found wisdom and to those who have found it, it is a never-ceasing pursuit.  Wisdom is not a once and done possession.  It is part of the beauty of being in relationship with the most amazing genius in all the world, our God.  He gives it freely, to those who ask . . . again and again.

Solomon pleased God by asking for wisdom above all else, yet He did not utilize that wisdom in one area of his life, in particular.  Did he know better?  I think so.  His heart was turned away by his unwise decisions regarding women, and I daresay that the brief satisfaction from choosing folly instead of the wisdom he had at his disposal could not compare to the joy he could have had from walking in wisdom.

This priceless gift of wisdom is continually given to those who would humble themselves and see their need of godly wisdom.  Available to all.  That’s the all-wise God we serve – generous and perfect in all He does; available to give us counsel when we need it.

Lord, thank You for never leaving or forsaking us.  You provide wisdom when we need it and are faithful to give us grace to seek You for it in the first place.  We praise Your Name, Sovereign King!

 

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 11 – My Deliverer

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Photo Credits:
notetoselfdailyremindersforthebrokenhearted.wordpress.com

Psalm 129:2

“Since my youth they have often attacked me, but they have not defeated me.”

Psalm 130:5-7

“I rely on the LORD, I rely on Him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word. 6 I yearn for the LORD, more than watchmen do for the morning, yes, more than watchman do for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD, for the LORD exhibits loyal love, and is more than willing to deliver.”

Psalm 50:15

“Pray to me when you are in trouble! I will deliver you, and you will honor me!”

If we have lived long enough, we have all experienced someone who was jealous of us our just did not like us.  Since childhood, I have seen this reality played out in the lives of others and in my life.  I never understood it then, and I do not understand it fully now – but when we come to God, He is able to grant insight and wisdom.

The flesh wants to glorify itself and exalt self above everyone else, if left unchecked.  People vie for position as if it can bring them life, or try to make miserable the one who was placed in a position, as if they were to blame.  But God’s sovereignty and purpose is woven throughout.

I used to really get upset when I learned of people gossiping about me or someone else, but now I see it as a golden opportunity to glorify God and let it work character in, instead.  The persecution of jealousy begins to work in our character a jealousy for God’s glory and not our own.  No longer upset that someone is not a fan of us, we become upset if someone’s actions would hurt Christ’s bride, the church.  I would not want to be that person.  Sadly, we all have been at one time or another.

If we are all honest, we have all not liked some personalities. This being true of us all, we are still called to love.  We are not the standard – God is.  Popularity is fleeting.  When backbiting and slander happen even within the church, we must resist the devil and put on love.  We must care more about the church than our own offenses.

Praise be to God Who delivers us from attacks from the enemy!  Instead of being caught up in a mire of drama or becoming offended, we are freed up to have concern for the one who is offended by us.  Instead of fear of their perception, we cry out to God who defends and delivers us from it all.

Sometimes He delivers us through understanding and sometimes He defends us from attack.  Ultimately He led by the perfect example; being LORD of Lords, but choosing to be a servant.  Being mistreated and putting on love in the midst.

Lord, thank You for being our Deliverer!  Thank You for showing us a better way and opening our eyes to see the real spiritual warfare all around us.  Help your church, oh God!  May we care more about Your glory than our own.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 10 – A Relational God

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Hebrews 2:11, 14, 15, 17

“For indeed he who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin, and so he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, 14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.”

Ever feel like people do not understand you or cannot relate to you?  As humans, we tend to let personality, skin color and culture divide us from understanding one another.  Narcissistically we identify with people who are like us, pridefully thinking we are the standard.  Not so with God.

How humbling it is to consider that the King over all chose to associate with those who were nowhere near His worth.  Not because we were like Him, but because He loved us.  He radically left His throne in Heaven to be like us in the flesh so we could understand and know Him more, to set us free from our bondage to sin and fear of death.

He could have chosen to just rule over us, could have left us in our sin.  But by relating with us, He made us forever Holy – covering our iniquities and unconditionally loving us.  This relationship between God and man is the most intimate relationship to be found.  There is no part of us that He does not know completely, no hint of inequality or favoritism, no rejection.  No head games, no sinful tendencies at all.  He is our safe harbor to which we can run to at all times.

He did not have to create us, did not need our fellowship; yet He delighted to draw us near to Himself to the point of His own death for our sake.  This relationship with God is not temporary or dependent upon close proximity.  It is eternal and has no end.  Forever we will know our God, the Lover of our souls.

Lord, thank You for choosing us to know You.  There is none like You.  Help us, oh God, to never stray and to draw ever nearer to You.  I love You, Lord!