December 27, 2017

In the Fog of a New Year: Enduring Faith

There are days when we can’t see beyond tomorrow and find ourselves wondering which steps to take next. A brand new year is waiting for us and I just have this feeling, our faith will stretch and grow if by faith we follow where God leads.

This journey I’m on becomes
About faith
As I travel along
As I travel along.

Unanswered questions
Challenge me often
But faith leads me on
My faith leads me on.

His voice before me
Beckons me
Keep following after Him.

Faith takes the steps that carry me
Not knowing where I’m going
Not seeing what’s ahead.

Enduring faith leads me on
As I follow the One
Whose face before me
I will forever seek.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

December 25, 2017

After Christmas

After Christmas is a great time to continue to savor the season.

Enjoy the days right after Christmas...

The hectic phase is over and now is the perfect time to relax. You know you need it!

Listen to your favorite Christmas music and think about your favorite moments of the season and treasure the memories.

Remember the Christmas Eve service and the glow of candles all over an auditorium filled with the singing of Silent Night.

Remember the cookies and special treats everyone loved and promise you will make them again next year.

Recall the gifts that were opened with smiles and grateful hearts.

Look again at all your favorite ornaments hanging on the tree and take a trip down memory lane reminiscing about who gave you the ones you love so much.

Reflect again on the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke. Be still and savor most of all the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, who came to save us from our sins.
Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

December 14, 2017

The Christmas Invitation

Almost everywhere I shopped this past week, I enjoyed the festive Christmas music in the background. In my car I listened to the Christian stations playing the beautiful carols serving as a good reminder to bring my thoughts back to the focus of Christmas. In church I enjoyed the songs about a Savior coming to earth, God in the flesh dwelling among us, Mary and Joseph on a journey that brought them to a stable and a manger, not a comfortable room in an inn, and not a hospital with all the modern conveniences and technology.

We can enjoy all the wrappings of a traditional Christmas, presents in glittering wrap and bows, the tree all lit up and revealing years of treasured ornaments, lights outside cheering up dark winter evenings. But we don’t want to forget to take time throughout the season to remember why we are doing all of this. There is a reason for the season and it is the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord.

The birthday celebrated around the world is the birth of a Savior who came to die for our sins, whose death on a cross was a gift unto salvation, whose resurrection displayed His power over death, His power to create in us - new life - if we receive the Savior’s gift.

Because Jesus came to us that first Christmas Day, we can be born again and join His family, the family of God. Christmas beautifully reminds us of the open invitation of a Holy, Almighty God, and the sacrifice of a Savior’s love - Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

December 12, 2017

Our Mighty God

I took this photo last December at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Being surrounded by all the twinkling lights on the garden pathways was a holiday mood inducer that made the Christmas season very festive. They also had the Twelve Days of Christmas Exhibits and I took many pictures of those but they did not turn out very well-although I am including one of the exhibits below. But this festive picture of the lit trees is one I enjoy a lot. And I knew I would want to use it somehow with a Christmas post here at Devotions from the Heart.

I decided to add this verse when I read it last year during the days leading up to Christmas while studying the Old Testament scriptures foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ.

Almost every time I read this verse in Isaiah, I remember learning to sing Handel’s Messiah in the choir of the small Christian college I attended in the late 1970’s. That memory has also helped tuck the phrases of this verse into my heart and mind. These descriptive phrases tell us more about this child who was born to us on Christmas day.

Each time I read it, I like to focus on one of the phrases that describe who we are reading about in Isaiah 9:6

Today, as I quietly contemplate this verse again, and as I am reminded that God came to us a child, I recognize and acknowledge this child is Mighty God

It was God’s Mighty power that brought Him to earth through a virgin birth, and was the same power that saw Jesus work miracles healing the sick, feed thousands from a few loaves of bread and two fish, and the same Mighty power with which He calmed the seas and walked on water. 

This child is our Mighty God!

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Seven Swans A-Swimming from the Twelve Days of Christmas Exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.