Eternity Wraps the Christmas and Resurrection Stories in Love

“Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43b-45, NLT)

I have seven nativities scattered around our home, not to mention our nativity Christmas tree ornaments. My Christmas newsletter’s 7-day devotion “A Savior Was Born for You,” begins with Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I find that leading up to Christmas, I focus on the birth of Jesus, the Son, the Child, and I neglect the government on His shoulder and why the Son was given. Instead, I think of Mary’s and Joseph’s devotion to God and His plans even though they didn’t fully understand them. I think of the miracle of the virgin birth, the angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth, the shepherds watching their sheep and then adoring the Great Shepherd. I smile and remember the wise men coming from the East bringing gifts and worshiping the All-Wise King.

Beautiful stories of God’s love, His goodness, and His glory. Beautiful stories and promises made possible by the self-sacrifice that was to come.

What if we started the Christmas story by telling the Resurrection story?

Continue reading Eternity Wraps the Christmas and Resurrection Stories in Love

A Savior is Born for You

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)

Wonderful Counselor . . . Mighty God . . . Everlasting Father . . . Prince of Peace!

What if we prepared for Christmas in a different way this year? What if we deeply listened to our Wonderful Counselor, intently observed our Mighty God’s works, fervently prayed to our Everlasting Father, and fellowshipped with the Prince who brings peace that passes understanding?

“How small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14b, ESV) Listening for the loving whispers of Jesus counseling us.

“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.” (Luke 19:37, ESV) Observing our Mighty God’s works.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3, ESV). Praying for a deeper relationship with our Eternal Father.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV). Fellowshipping with the Son of God who made it possible to rest in His peace.

A Child is born, a Son is given, a Ruler governs. The Gift’s name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. All the world needs.

Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor who leads us in all wisdom. He is our Mighty God who overcomes the world. He is our Everlasting Father, our Abba, in whom we live and move and have our being. Jesus reigns victoriously and is our Prince of Peace!

Loving Father, Thank You for giving the world Your only begotten Son, Jesus, so that we could have eternal life in You and in Jesus. Empower us to walk more closely with You as we prepare to celebrate Your amazing gift.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

From the “Promise Walk” newsletter Christmas devotional. Download the 7-day Christmas devotional when you register for the newsletter.

Please share how you are preparing to celebrate Christmas.

The Greatest Gift

“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah.
Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, 
which I will show you.”
(Genesis 22:2, NLT)

The first time ”love” is mentioned in the Bible is in this Scripture. Abraham had walked with God for many years, and God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many descendants through Isaac. Now, God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise, the son he loves, his only son.

Only son . . . Loved son . . . Sacrificial son

For three days, Abraham and Isaac, along with servants, walked to the land of Moriah, Jerusalem today. For three days, Abraham focused on the death of Isaac and his resurrection, for he knew God could raise Isaac from the dead, Hebrews 11:19. But God provided Himself a ram for the sacrifice, Genesis 22:8-14.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.'” (John 3:14-16, ESV)

No food, no water, only manna from heaven, and the Israelites complained to Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” As a result, God sent fiery serpents to bite and kill many of them. They confessed their sin to Moses, and Moses prayed to God on their behalf. God told him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Everyone who had been bitten was to look at the serpent and live. (Numbers 21:4-9)

Sin confessed . . . Advocate prayed . . . Life restored

A picture of what was to come. A picture of the Good News.

Even though all people have sinned (Romans 3:23), God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sins and my sins, so that we might have eternal life. That life is knowing our Everlasting God and Jesus (John 17:3).

Gift of Forgiveness . . . Gift of Eternal Life . . . The Greatest Gift

When we think of Christmas, we think of Gabriel announcing to unmarried Mary that she will bear the Savior of the world. We think of the trek from Nazareth to Bethlemen and no place for Mary to give birth to Jesus. We think of the manger, the shepherds coming to see Jesus, and the gifts of the wise men.

Then, we turn our eyes to Christmas decorations, purchasing gifts and wrapping them, cooking, and festivities. Do you still send Christmas cards?

A time to turn from our busy preparations and meditate on why it was necessary for God to send His Son into the world.

Beginning in Genesis 3:15 and throughout the Bible, God shows the world that He will provide a Messiah who will defeat Satan and sin, One who will pay the price for all sin. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

The message of Christmas: God loved the world and sent His Son to bring eternal life.

Father, thank You for loving the world so much that You sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins so that we could live with You forever. We praise You for this amazing gift. We celebrate the greatest gift we could ever receive. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How are you celebrating Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

Prepare Him Room … A Review

Susie Larson’s Christmas gift to readers is a new Advent devotional that walks the reader through the book of Luke, taking us on the less-traveled path of self-reflection and resetting our priorities because of the life-changing gift that Jesus offers to each of us. “He not only offers us His presence, He offers us His very life” (Susie Larson).

Often, we’re distracted with our Christmas preparations. Have you begun to think of all the gifts, decorations, food, celebrations, cards, and toys you need for Christmas? When we become so distracted with our to-do lists in preparation for the season, we find no room for the holy moments that prepare us to receive our Savior and blessed King of Glory. 

In Prepare Him Room, Susie Larson explores the book of Luke in a unique way. She invites us to push away the clutter of the world’s Christmas season and refocus our priorities. In other words, Larson asks readers to fast from distractions and clutter. She challenges us to feast on King Jesus.

Fast from distractions and clutter. Feast on King Jesus.

Larson approaches the season in a different way in this beautiful devotional. She walks us through the book of Luke, a chapter a day for 24 days. Readers meditate on the chapter in light of God’s gift to the world – Jesus.

Each devotion ends with a prayer that helps the reader prepare room for Jesus and a prompt to fast from worldly distractions like impatience, a commercialized holiday, worry, and much more.

This prayerful devotional might be what you and others around you need to prepare room for Jesus this Christmas. It was for me.

I received a complimentary advance reader copy for my honest review. 

Father, thank You for Susie Larson’s unique approach to preparing our hearts and spirits for memorializing the coming of our Savior into the world to bring us life eternal. Thank you for Susie Larson. Bless her with an advent season that is fuller and deeper with You at the heart of the season. Bless each reader so that they take action to prepare room for Jesus this Christmas in their hearts and homes. May You be honored by this. In Jesus’ name, amen.

How are you preparing room for Jesus this Christmas?

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