Ready for Christmas?
Ready for Christmas?
By Sharon Jaynes
Girlfriends in God Devotional
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 3:2 NIV).
Friend to Friend
It seems like everywhere you go during the month of December people ask the same question. At the grocery checkout counter - "Are you ready for Christmas?" At the bank drive through window - "Are you ready for Christmas?" At the doctor's office - "Are you ready for Christmas?"
I think the answer to that question depends on how you define "ready." Let me ask you this question: "Are you ready for Jesus?" Now that puts the idea of being ready in a completely different Christmas light, doesn't it?
John the Baptist was sent by God to get the people ready to meet Jesus. Here's what Matthew had to say about him:
In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
"A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord; make straight paths for him.'"..."People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River" (Matthew 3:1-3, 5-6).
We don't like the words "repent" or "repentance" very much. They mean "to make a radical change in one's life, to turn and go in the opposite direction from sin (another word we're not too fond of today) to God". Repentance involves an element of grief over the way we have lived apart from God and a decision to run toward the Father. That was God's idea of the way to prepare for Christ's arrival in the book of Matthew, and it is still God's idea of preparing to worship Him today. Now that's what I call getting ready for Christmas!
Let's reflect for a moment on the words to this poem and then answer the question, "Are you ready for Christmas?"
"Ready for Christmas," she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high...
Then wearily sat for a moment AND READ
Til soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
"Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?"
She woke with a start and a cry of despair.
"There's so little time and I've still to prepare.
Oh, Father! Forgive me, I see what You mean!
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree.
It's the heart swept clean that He wanted to see,
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin.
So be ready for Christmas - and ready for Him.
Dear Lord, I want to be ready for Jesus today and every day. I come to You now in repentance for my sins: my sin of selfishness, stubbornness, and rebellion. I turn from my self-centeredness today and commit to keep my focus on You. God, I cannot do this on my own. I am not able. So I ask that You fill me with the power of Your Holy Spirit. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
What do you think it means to be "ready for Christmas?"
What do you think it means to be ready for Jesus?
Go back and read the parable of the ten virgins in Matthews 25:1-13. Notice the difference between the five who were ready and the five who were not. Which group more resembles your readiness for Christ?
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
A Necessary but Challenging Lesson
Dr. Charles Stanley
There are many lessons for us to learn in God's School of Obedience. With space for just two, I have chosen principles that aren't easy. Yesterday, we learned that Christians must trust the Lord. Today, let's tackle patience: Believers must learn to wait upon Him.
Have you ever wondered why the psalmist coupled the admonition to wait upon God with encouragement to be strong and courageous? The reason is that sometimes delaying is the hardest thing to do.
Modern culture is in such a hurry. Gotta have it now! Gotta do it now! Can't wait! We've been primed to stay in a permanent state of readiness. It takes courage to be still when the world is rushing past. Everything in us hollers, "Go!" while God whispers, "Wait." But people are quick to act, because they are afraid of missing out on something. Believers who buy into that attitude make a move and then hope God will bless them.
God leaves nothing to chance. He does not place a decision before us with the hope that we'll make the right choice. That would be irresponsible and out of character. The Father is more than willing to show His children what to do, because He is personally interested in their welfare. But until the Lord makes clear what is the way forward, we've got to pause and wait.
Waiting upon God is not passive. It is not lazy. It is not an excuse to be careless. In fact, the opposite is true. Those who pause are seeking His will—which means that they are praying, searching Scripture, perhaps even fasting. And they are still serving the Lord wherever they can.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.
It is All Coming to Jesus
Pastor Adrian Rogers
"For by Him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him; And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Colossians 1:16-17
This week we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "All things were created by Him and for Him..." (v. 16). In this sentence the word "for" is a preposition that speaks of direction. It's the Greek word for "moving in the direction of."
We in America have been invaded by Eastern religions. Eastern religions believe that it's all circular. Everything goes round and round. But it's not circular. It is all headed in a direction. The Bible is linear. We're moving—moving to the time when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.
Friend, it is all headed to Jesus. It is all for Him, for the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the key to the mystery of history.
People ask, "What is the world coming to?" Answer: "It's coming to Jesus."
For more from Love Worth Finding and Pastor Adrian Rogers, please visit www.lwf.org.
Brandon Heath - The Night Before Christmas
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Tuesday, December 21, 2010