Wednesday, December 14, 2011
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).
When I go on a trip, before I even leave home, I check on the map where I am headed. I make sure I have the necessary directions to arrive at my destination. If I have some place specific to be, I want good directions. I am not fond of getting lost. Directions provide guidance of how to travel from point A to point B. With today’s GPS systems, one can have step-by-step directions from door-to-door.
An angel appeared to several people on this journey to Bethlehem, preparing them for journey with two simple words of direction, “Fear not.” The journey of life, like that journey to Bethlehem 2000 years ago, can seem frightening, overwhelming. At the time of the birth of Christ, the journey to Bethlehem was a dangerous one to on which to embark. The route, a seventy mile journey which Joseph and Mary took was in rocky highlands in which bandits lay in wait for those who risk traveling. The travel is exhausting and vastly uncomfortable.
However, God told the travelers to “Fear not” for He was with them. As God was with those weary travelers long ago, He is with us today. Our journey may not be without pain, it may not be without risk and it may be tiring and uncomfortable. Dear one, fear not, for God is with us; we need no other direction.
Digging deeper: 2 Timothy 1:7; Mark 6:50; Matthew 17:7; Revelation 1:17; Genesis 26:24; Isaiah 41:13; Romans 8:15
Sunday, December 11, 2011
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive Him…. There was no room for them in the inn” John 1:11, Luke 2:7b
Anticipation and dread mix together as the e-mail is opened. Then the words “we thank you for applying but”; rejected again. Louise Brown wrote “I could write an entertaining novel about rejection slips, but I fear it would be overly long”. Rejection hurts; it pierces the heart and wounds the pride.
The Christmas story is not without rejection. It came about because man rejected God. How this must grieve the Father’s heart. No room at the inn for the weary travelers, one who is carrying the Christ child, purports rejection. Back in that time, hospitality was very strong part of the culture and yet no one could make room or give up their comfort for a very pregnant woman. This rejection speaks much about the very heart of mankind during that time and of mankind right now.
Christmas today is stilled filled with rejection by mankind. Room is still not given for the Savior; comfort is not put aside to do the work of the Father. Too many still reject the ultimate gift, that of eternal that God in His infinite mercy offered by sending His son, who experienced rejection before He was even born.
Neal Maxwell writes “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus”. Are you handing out the rejection slips? Are you rejecting the greatest gift of all? You need not; just accept Him into your heart and know true acceptance for none are rejected.
Digging deeper: I John 1:9; Joshua 25:15; I Kings 18:11; I Peter 2:4; Psalm 94:14
Thursday, December 1, 2011
“It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth." Matthew 15:11 (NLT)
I watched with curiosity as my husband took a drink of his coffee and then dumped the rest down the sink. He then reached into the cupboard and took out a filter, poured a second cup of coffee into the mug, which he then drank. You see, the first cup had coffee grinds in it and for it to be more palatable a filter was needed to get rid of the grinds.
Not everything we think or feel should come out of our mouths. We should not let the words we speak hurt others; rather we are “to encourage one another and build each other up” (I Thessalonians 5:11). We are admonished to speak the truth, but to speak it in love; in other words, filter what comes out.
The best way to filter what comes out is to filter what goes in our minds. We are admonished to “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8). Therefore we need to be conscientious about what with what we are filling our minds. What kind of music are we listening to, what is our chosen reading material, what are we watching on television or in the theater? How are we spending our time? Perhaps the more time I spend in the Word and with the Father, the less will need to be filtered that comes out of my mouth. How about you?