Friday, December 14, 2018

John 1 - "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"

I woke up this morning singing these words to "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"....

Sweet little Jesus Boy, They made You be born in a manger.
Sweet little Holy Child, didn’t know who You was. Didn’t know You’d come to save us, Lord,
To take our sins away. Our eyes was blind, we couldn’t see, We didn’t know who You was.
I don't know if I have heard this song recently or not. It is a sad one yet one that should make everyone think about the purpose of Jesus' life while on this earth. It is sad because it shows the worldly ways of people not knowing Him. People are blinded to His love because we, as believers, are not showing it enough. Oh how my heart breaks for the state of our world. Lives could be changed if more believers would live a life of His love. What will it take to get people to quit living in the ways of the world and instead live with Him in total control of their lives? John 1:10-11 reads in The Message, "He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn't want him." Jesus' birth and death were for all people yet so many rejected Him while He was on this earth and continue to reject Him today. We may not have been the ones who spit on Him, jeered Him, watched Him get beat and cheer the beatings on, etc. but we do show signs of rejecting Him today. When we allow our calendar to get so filled up there is no time for Him, we are rejecting Him. When we begin our day making a 'to-do list' instead of allowing Him to be in control, we are rejecting Him. When we put others in front of Him, we are rejecting Him. When we are hurt by others and become angry instead of allowing Him to fill us with His peace, we are rejecting Him. We all deal with times where we do not depend totally on Him but thankfully those times have become fewer and farther in between for me. Oh how I pray for more people to seek Him. As they seek, may believers be beside them enabling them to find Him. Once He is found, may they get to the end of themselves and allow Him full reign of their life. Along with this song this morning, God had me praying for many who are going through tough times. I pray none of them will lose sight of Jesus...
  • Children who are dealing with illnesses/disease: Lilly, Reid, Richie, Natalie
  • Peggy who has been given a terminal diagnosis
  • Paula with a recent fall
  • Two little ones whose single mommy is walking down the wrong path
  • Billie who had chemo this week and others who continue their battle with cancer
  • Sherry's father and Mandy's son who had a kidney removed this week
  • Donna who is having both back and knee issues
Dear Jesus,
Thank You for coming to this earth to die and raise again for all. Thank You for walking in obedience to our Heavenly Father while You were on this earth even though You were treated so badly. Thank You for loving us even when we don't deserve it. Father, I pray for a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. I pray You will be my words, actions, and attitude throughout this day. May You be greater than me. I pray the same for all believers. I pray those who are not in relationship with You will find You. I also pray those who are in relationship with You will go deeper and allow You full control of every aspect of their life. Father, bless this day that is ahead with lots of You flowing from me. Thank You Jesus for being The One I Seek and Serve. Amen.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Luke 1-2 - "Mary Did You Know?"

I enjoyed last night's study on prophecies about the birth of Jesus, especially pondering upon how Elisabeth and Mary both had the Holy Spirit in them as they met in Luke 1. Elisabeth's proclamation of Mary carrying the Messiah in verse forty-two was one of great prophecy. Mary had already heard these words from the Angel Gabriel (vs 26-38). I can't begin to imagine how she felt to have this confirmed. Verses forty-six through fifty-six was the song Mary sang after her aunt's declaration. This song shows the depth of Mary's adoration toward God. No one can begin to understand what a thirteen year old girl would be thinking at this point. Thirteen year old girls now would have probably freaked out. I don't know any thirteen year olds that have this deep of a relationship with God. To think about Mary's faith in God one has to wonder how could it have been this way? They did not have Bibles to read to grow their faith. How could she have been so obedient? If she was that obedient then, shouldn't it be more possible now for us to be obedient with all of the 'tools' we have to dig deeper in our faith? We look back to Isaiah 7:14 and see how the prophecy of a virgin birthing the Messiah was fulfilled. A virgin. How did Mary explain her situation to Joseph and her family? As I read Luke 1:38 I see great courage in this young girl who was an obedient servant. She had some fear yet she walked in obedience. She is an example for all to follow as a believer and also as a mother. She was the only person that was present for His first breath and for His last breath. I can't imagine the emotions she went through at either of these events. I also can't imagine the emotions she went through as a mother with her son being chosen as the Messiah. Mary's devotion to God showed through in her song. This song shows, as a Jew, she knew the prophecy about her. Her song sounds a lot like Hannah's prayer in I Samuel 2:1-10. In verses fifty-four and fifty-five of Luke 1 it reads, "He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever." Mary knew the importance of her answer 'yes' to what God was calling her to do and walked in obedience as she worshiped Him. Mary was just an ordinary girl who God chose to be the mother of Jesus. It makes me wonder what things God is calling me to do that could be life changing not only for myself but for others. When I question my call to preach, I am not doubting Him. I just am asking how it can be, how it will work out, in what setting, when, etc. I want to be an obedient servant just as Mary. In the song "Mary Did You Know?" there are many questions about whether Mary knew or not the greatness her son would have. After hearing last night about how Mary knew the prophecy from the Old Testament I believe Mary did know more than we can ever imagine. Oh how I love our Wednesday night study.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of yesterday with the "Giving Project" and last night's study. Father, may You continue to bless my efforts to share Your love. May You cleanse me today so You can fill me. I pray for more of You and less of me. I pray for an abundance of Your physical, mental, emotional, financial and most of all spiritual strength throughout this day. Father, go before me with the situation this afternoon that can be so trying. May Your will be that it go smoothly with little resistance. I pray for the momma who drowned her babies to receive the help she desperately needs. I pray there will be people put in her path to be You to her. I also pray for family members who were hospitalized yesterday and those going through treatments to have people caring for them who are in relationship with You. I pray they will have a gentle touch with them. Continue to strengthen Ms. Paula from her fall and Ms. Nancy with her wrist. Thank You Jesus for being My Messiah! Amen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Luke 2:11 - "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"

There was little sleep last night but there sure was a whole lot of praying. I am anxious to see how God is going to pour down His supernatural empowerment on me today with the things in this day. Caroling with the children and teens was fun. It was the first time many had ever been caroling. Chris and Carrie handing out hot chocolate in the middle was 'icing on the cake' for the event. Having Grammy with tears in her eyes with the singing and joining in was such a blessing. Hearing Mr. Bob holler back 'Merry Christmas' when we told him was cool. Peoples lives were touched through the evening. It was amazing to have twenty-four children/teens with four adults participate. During the night I reflected back on the evening  and prayed for each family represented to come into a personal relationship with the Lord. I prayed for Kyleigh's family as they prepare for their move and for their Daddy's upcoming year long deployment. When I see tears come into her little eyes about the changes, my heart breaks. Doc keeps reminding me it is part of being in the service. I can't imagine what this husband/daddy is going through. I will miss them so much yet I know it will be best for momma and the kids to be closer to family for that year, especially with number five due in March. As I think about our Tuesday night group, I pray for all who have moved away. I pray they have someone in their life to share Jesus with them. Some had tough home lives and we were their safe haven. Oh how I pray they have found another safe haven where they moved to. I also pray for all 'my kids' to know the true reason for the Christmas season is Jesus. It is not about the presents, the food, etc. but it is about Jesus. We would not be celebrating Christmas if He would not have been born. The commercialism has overtaken the true meaning of Christmas. It breaks my heart to see everything but nativities in the stores. How will our children and grandchildren ever know the True Reason for this season? It will only be when we, as believers, keep our focus on Him. We cannot expect them to learn it from others but we need to step up and take the responsibility. Oh how I pray my words, actions, and attitude show the True Reason throughout this season. May I remember Luke 2:11, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." This is why we celebrate not just during this season but every day.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for the blessings of rest yesterday and then the time with the children and teens last night. Thank You for Ms. Paula having no broken bones from her fall. Thank You for my Momma getting new tires on her car. Thank You for a safe trip for my brother with the many miles he traveled. Father, I pray for the two men with kidneys removed to be touched by You in a mighty way. I pray for Billie as she goes through this week with treatments to feel Your presence. I pray a cleansing in my spirit so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. Lord, I need Your empowerment throughout this day in a mighty way in my physical body. May You be greater, Lord. May You be greater. Thank You Father for being My True Reason. Amen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Romans 15:13 - "Make Room"

I sure did not want to get up this morning but when I heard the pitter patter of my four-legged buddy I knew it was time. I was grateful for the nine hours of sleep with God waking me once to pray. My first thought this morning was "I don't want to get up..." but then the Lord clearly spoke to me. "You can choose being crabby today or you can choose me, Joy." Boy does He know how to get me! Of course, with Him saying this I will definitely choose Joy. Otherwise, I might have chosen crabby for a little bit. We all have the choice to choose allowing our emotions or physical conditions making us crabby or not. We have the choice of allowing the world to set the tone for our day or allowing Jesus to do so. We can allow our circumstances to be in control or we can allow Jesus to be. It sounds so simple yet can be so hard. Today I am physically exhausted even after a night of sleep. Yesterday had some very emotional times in it. Nothing was extreme but it was there. Nothing was earth shattering but it still caused for emotional pulls. Anytime there are emotional or mental stresses my body reacts. I am grateful this is not my 'normal' Tuesday. I have to get my tank filled back up before tonight's activities. I dreaded seeing the email from the professor this morning. He mentioned something about this being a jam-filled week. He got that right! Only it is not just jammed-filled in my class but on our calendar as well. But God is good and He will see me through it. He is my strength and will be throughout this week as I allow Him to be my wisdom on when to rest and with my school work. As I allow Him this place in my life, I will be blessed with His joy and peace. Woo hoo! This week is a celebration week of His birth. It is a week to bask in His presence. It is a week to share His love with others. There is much to do but the most important thing to do is listen and obey what He puts before me. Not only do I need to listen to Him but I need to do it with a joyful heart. I need to be ready to proclaim the Good News! I need to allow Him to guide my feet and my words in the way He desires. God did not send His Son to this earth for me to mope around and be crabby. He sent Him for me to live a victorious, joyful life!

Dear Jesus,
I choose You, I choose Joy today. I choose Your strength and wisdom today. I choose You being in control of every aspect of my life. I choose Your presence to live in today. Thank You for cleansing me this morning and making me anew. Thank You for filling me with more of You so You will flow out of me in a new, different way throughout this day. Father, You know how I am feeling physically which effects my mental and emotional beings. May You fill my tank to overflowing today so people will see/hear You instead of me today. Thank You for being My Victorious Joy! Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Matthew 1:21-23 - "Emmanuel"

I don't mind being woke up in the middle of the night with an urgency to pray for someone but when it is for protection it can be a little unnerving. At 2:45 when it is for protection for my Momma, it really can be tough. The Lord had me pray for protection for her physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I was grateful when He had me pray for the physical protection to be so she didn't fall on the snow/ice. That was easier to pray than if there was someone trying to cause her problems. I understand the financial protection with the way scammers are trying to rip people off. We all need spiritual protection as the enemy tries to tear us down. I especially understood the mental/emotional protection because she is struggling with Christmas. She can't do what she wants to do. She has already backed off as the years go by of doing what she use to do but this year is tough. I so wish I were there to help her although I have had to back off of doing a lot myself. I thought of how I feel and understand what she is going through. But what we all need to remember is that Jesus' birth is what we need to celebrate. Just as I said yesterday, it is not about the food, gifts, etc. It is about celebrating His birth. The three wisemen brought gifts to show their honor to Him. It is hard to not have gifts to show we love people. When you've always given gifts, made big meals, been with family, etc., it is hard to do anything different but we must remember God is with us. He loves us. He knows our hurts and pains. But most of all He knows our hearts and He is with us no matter what. He is always with us. Praise His Holy Name for the hope we have in Him. Oh how I wish more people would find Him so they could experience such hope. I pray for more people to find His peace that makes no sense to the world and is only found in Him. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for waking me with the opportunity to pray for my Momma during the night. Thank You for the way You give her strength every day. Thank You for putting people before her that encourage her. Thank You for bringing to my mind the song my Hillsong that encourages my heart. Lord, cleanse me so You can fill me. May I be a beacon of light to all who see me today. May Your words, actions, and attitude flow through me. Lord, go before me with the situation I am facing this afternoon. I am praying for Your peace within this situation. I also pray for the meetings tonight to be full of Your presence. Thank You for being My Emmanuel! Amen.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

I Peter 3:13-18 - "Jesus Is The Reason"

I prayed for pastors before going to sleep last night and then the Lord woke me at 3:33 to pray again. This time it was for pastors who may have people in their services over the next few weeks who only attend on holidays. He had me pray for them to preach boldly yet with His love. To preach as if this were their last day on this earth. To preach salvation and sanctification in a way people would realize Jesus came to this earth to die for everyone's sins. To preach in a way people would realize Christmas is not about shopping, food, etc. but instead is about Jesus' birth which led to His death and resurrection. Some will get it while others won't. Some will leave changed while others will leave in the same selfish state of this world. He had me pray for pastors to not give up but instead to be encouraged. That is hard to do when in situations that seem unchangeable but we must never forget nothing is impossible with God. Everything that He puts on our heart is possible when we walk in obedience to Him. It may not happen in the timing we desire but it will happen when He desires. People may not change their way of thinking overnight but as we allow Him to enable us to love with His love we will see change occur. Once again this morning, I am praying for pastors to be filled with His Spirit. I am praying His love will ooze out of them today even when presented with tough situations. I am especially praying for the pastors who feel like they have to do everything when in fact they don't; for the pastors who are discouraged to have someone in their path today to encourage them; for the pastors who feel like they have failed in their family to know it is just the enemy trying to tear them down; and for the pastors who are struggling physically to feel His strength in their body. The Christmas season is hard with added responsibilities, activities, etc. in the life of the church. May all pastors not allow the 'stuff' to blindside them for what the season is all about. May they remember the words of I Peter 3 where we are told to always be ready to share the hope of Christ in verse fifteen. We will all be around people this Christmas season who need to hear the Good News. We must not allow any opportunity presented to us pass by without speaking up. The only way to live in such a manner is to be living in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We must not allow the enemy any foothold (vs 14) but instead must be sanctified through and through (vs 15). 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for giving me the time to pray for pastors and their families. Father, may they preach boldly the True Reason for this season. May Your love flow from all who call You Father. Lord, cleanse me today so You can use me. You know what is ahead in this day and I pray for Your physical, mental, emotional, financial, and most of all spiritual strength for what is ahead. Lord, prepare me and enable me. Thank You Jesus for being My True Reason. Amen.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Isaiah 9:6 - "Where You Are (Son of God)"

Yesterday I heard this song about how Christmas can be so hard when one is missing someone who has passed. "Where You Are (Son of God)" tells how people feel when their loved one has passed. Tears flow as memories are remembered. There is hope and joy in knowing their loved one is with the Lord but what about those who don't have such assurance? How do they get through the tough days? What about those who are not in relationship with God yet their loved one was? What goes through their mind? This past year was full of deaths of people I knew. There were times there would be two or three in the same week. A lot of times we think people only die when they have lived a full life. But that is not always true. Yesterday a young mother of two lost her life in a senseless accident. Her boys are young and will experience their first Christmas without her. Not too long ago there was a young boy, I believe he was in second grade, from my hometown that died. His family will not have him with them to put up his stocking this year. I have heard stories of families of ones who passed finding Christmas presents that had been bought ahead of time. I have also heard where Christmas was celebrated early when it did not appear as if their loved one would be able to celebrate Christmas. I remember my Daddy's last Christmas. We took our food to the church and ate together as a family. After we ate, as families we went to the house and had Christmas with him. He was weak and tired easily so there couldn't be much time spent with him but we all had our 'last Christmas' with him. As the song goes...

It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are.
You're with the Son of God
You're with the Prince of Peace
You're with the One we're celebrating
And that thought amazes me.
Sometimes I still break down
grieving that we're apart
But the sweatest gift is knowing where you are
'cus you're with the Son of God.

Yes! It is comforting to know my Daddy is with Jesus. He had suffered a long time with the cancer in his body. It is hard to believe he has been gone from this earth five years. Oh how I miss him. I am grateful I had him for as long as I did. I think about Jeremy's family who lost him so early in life. My heart breaks for them just as it does for this young mother that was killed yesterday. She was only three years older than my sister was when she was murdered. Such senseless deaths to us in this world yet God knows the big picture. Perhaps He was protecting them from something ahead in their life. We may never know but we can know Him. When we do, we will receive His comfort in a great way. My heart goes out to Peggy and her family as they have their first Christmas without Mike. It goes out to Jane's family too. So, so many who have lost their battles on this earth but have gained life with the Lord. They are celebrating in heaven. We need to celebrate here on earth.

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for Your love being greater during this holiday season. Thank You for the comfort of knowing loved ones are with You. Thank You for wrapping Your arms around those who have lost loved ones. Lord, it does not matter if it has been less than a year or twenty years the pain is still there when a loved one leaves this earth. May we all find reason to celebrate in the midst of the pain. May we draw nearer to You as we grieve. Father, cleanse me so You can fill me to overflowing with more of You. May I be a beacon of light for You today to all I meet or speak to. Thank You Jesus for being My Prince of Peace. Amen.