Are You Willing?

Pray for God’s will to be done in your life, and that you will know the path to walk in as He unfolds His will in your life. Then pray for the tenacity to stick to His plan. Pray for the dedication to spend time in relationship with Him. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth.

John 16:12 “I have many things to say to you, but you can’t bear them all now.”

Joseph was called by God to raise His son Jesus. God fulfilled prophecy in both Mary and Joseph’s lineage. Their ancestry matches from Abraham through King David. In Matthew, Joseph’s lineage begins with Abraham. In the book of Luke, Mary’s lineage goes all the way back to Adam.

Joseph was called to stay with a woman who was not his wife who was pregnant with a baby not his own. He was most certainly looked at and judged. But he knew God’s voice and went ahead being certain that God had called Him to raise Jesus. He had to trust and believe in God, in the words of an angel, in Mary, and in a dream he was given.

God was trusting Joseph as well. He chose a simple carpenter for His son’s father, not a king or wealthy man. He entrusts His son to us as well.

Is there a willingness in your heart to invite His will to be done? Are we willing to be obedient, to follow His lead?

God calls you with confidence. There are so many voices around us telling us many things, including those saying, “You can’t do it.”

In those times, the father named the children, but Jesus’ name was given to Mary first, then Joseph was told the same in a dream. This was all very different from everything he knew, and it was humiliating.

How far can your faith be stretched? Are you willing to trust Him, to follow Him every single day? Are you willing to do His will, and just that much, vs. trying to do the part God reserves for Himself?

Joseph took a stand and believed God’s outrageous promise. Be careful about telling people they can’t do something they feel God is calling them to do.

Love Has Come

Works belong to the workshop; fruit belongs to the garden. One comes from the engines of the factory; the other is the silent growth of abounding life. The factory operates with dead stuff; the garden cultivates living forces to their appointed end. Works are always in the realm of dead things. Every building is built out of dead material. 

Fruit does not come of man’s labor. It requires his diligence, but it is neither his invention nor his product. He does not make the flowers. No skill of his brings the golden harvest of the fields, or the luscious fruit upon the trees. When man has done all he can, then God begins, and life proceeds. – Samuel Chadwick

Christmas is not about the infancy of Jesus. It’s about His diety, His divine status.

Isaiah 7:14

God became a human baby without giving up His divine nature. God loves us. He loves you. He loves the people we struggle to love.

John 3:16-17

God sent His son into the world to save it.

What frustrations do you have this season? Does “Merry Christmas” still mean anything? Are you looking for the light? Is it in you? Is it being smothered by the craziness and baggage this season sometimes brings with it?

It’s easy to get consumed by the issues we’ve attached to Christmas. It’s easy to look inward and be unhappy about all the things that aren’t right. But Jesus is asking us to die to our selfish selves and look outward, asking how we can bring Jesus into the life of everyone we meet. People run ragged making Christmas happen. What words of life can you speak into someone else’s situation today?

But we only have something to give if we’re growing in God’s garden. Jesus willingly laid His power and independence aside to come to us. He had to lay aside everything that belonged to Him, choosing to do only the things God was asking of Him.

Take the time to be planted in the garden today.

Genesis 22

God asked obedience of Abraham, but he stopped him so Isaac might live. Then hundreds of years later, He gave His own son, Himself. He did that which He wouldn’t ask of us.

How are you spending Christmas this year? Who are you spending it with? Do you look like a Christian on the outside? Are you the same person when you’re with your family and no one else is watching? If not, plant yourself in the garden.

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient. Will you be patient with people this Christmas? Will you take the time to thank the gift giver?

Love does not boast. Will you share in other’s joy and celebrate their successes? Would you be able to give a gift anonymously?

Love is not rude. Are you getting together with family? Will you treat them rudely, or like guests of honor? Will you consider others more highly than yourself?

Love is not self-seeking; it keeps no record of wrongs.

Let this Christmas be the beginning of God expressing His love through you.

Hope Has Come

Romans 10:17

Luke 1:34-38
“With God, nothing will be impossible.” This is what gives us hope!

1 Corinthians 13:13

Romans 8
Hope that is seen is not hope.

1 John 3:2-3
Hope purifies. The words that we speak reflect where our hope lies.

Jesus took our place in death – he bore suffering, rejection, hatred, loneliness, depression.

Satan wants us to believe that what we have now is what we deserve and nothing will ever change. In other words, he wants us to be hopeless.

“Things are good. I know it won’t last.”
“I’m getting what I deserve. I’m reaping what I sowed in my past.”

Zechariah 9:12
God has a good future planned. Are you willing to be a “prisoner of hope?” In Christ, there is always hope. If you expect nothing, that’s probably what will happen.

Hebrews 11:1
Hope is the possibility of God’s blessing. In the dictionary, hope is the expectation of something desired, and the belief that it is obtainable. In the Bible, it’s God’s promise of something to come.

When we were estranged from God, we had no hope. Hope is faith in seed form. Faith is the ownership of what we hope for. Hope is the possibility; faith is assurance of what is hoped for. As we become more like Him, we hope for the same things He hopes for.

Gratitude, Faith, Grace

Satan may tempt you, but you always have a choice. Winners ask for forgiveness; losers look for someone else to blame.

Do we learn from mistakes? Do we repeat them? When you come to Jesus, you begin to be transformed. It happens step by step, day by day.

What are you thankful for? Are you living in the moment, or missing opportunities?

Grace promotes generosity within us. We are quicker to give forgiveness and slower to become angry. A person may not read the Bible, but they will read you like a book.

Psalm 107:1 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good; his love endures forever.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It’s not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy. When we are unthankful, there is not much grace. When we’re thankful, grace is plentiful.

James 3:5-11 NIV

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.   All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.   With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

The words of our mouths both praise God and complain about others. How can that be? We can’t have both. Ingratitude is a problem in our culture.

1 Corinthians 10:10 NIV

And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

Complainers were destroyed by the destroyer. Will you let the destroyer destroy your peace with complaining and ingratitude? Never count the might-have-beens. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus instead.

Ephesians 5:20-21 NIV

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Jonah 2:9-10 NIV

But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord .’ ”   And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

What dark whale are you in the middle of right now? Give thanks to God. No matter what. God restored Jonah’s faith and have him his life back.

Psalm 100:1-5 NIV

Shout for joy to the Lord , all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.