Rosemary Flaaten –
Take a look at your hands. What do you see? Is your skin soft and supple? Do you have callouses from years of hard work? Are they petite and well groomed? Are they broad and muscular?
These upper extremities are a part of our body often taken for granted. We use our hands to wash dishes, send a text message, stroke our child’s hair and entwine our lover’s hand. With our hands we have the opportunity to communicate love, abuse or control.
Jesus used his hands to bless people and to make them feel welcome in His presence. When He placed his hands on people they were healed of their infirmities. Jesus’ hands were a conduit of his Father’s power and peace.
The Psalmist declared, “Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You led your people like a flock of sheep”. (Psalm 77:20 TM) God used the hands of Moses and Aaron to infuse His power. These two men simply became the channel through which the Most High God passed on the clarity of His will, His power and His love. God used their hands to bless others.
Are you allowing God to use your hands? Are your hands, whether petite or enormous, silky or rough, being employed as an instrument of God’s love? Do people feel touched by the breath of God in your presence? As people who have a personal relationship with Christ, we have hidden in our hands the presence of God. Think of the responsibility. Think of the potential.
What’s hidden in your hands? Take a look at your hands and renew your commitment to use them for His glory.
PRAYER: Dear Father, infuse my hands so that they may be a conduit of Your love and blessings. Amen.
Quote: “Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” (Hymn – Take My Life and Let It Be by Frances R. Havergal)
By Carin LeRoy –
During the Christmas season I do the traditional decorating, trimming the tree, baking all sorts of goodies, shop for gifts and spend too much. I also display a manger scene. When my husband and I were first married his aunt gave us a tiny manger with Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. Years later, I purchased a larger ceramic set which included three wise men, shepherd, barn animals and camels. I place that set out in a prominent place for others to see. I love to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and want my family to remember, too. It’s easy to get distracted by the stress and commercialism of the month and lose sight of what we’re celebrating.
Since most mangers include wise men worshipping Jesus, we assume that they arrived at the time of Jesus’ birth. However there is evidence in scripture that they did not arrive until much later when Jesus was an older infant or toddler. Matthew 2:11 refers to them coming to a house and seeing a child. They traveled from a foreign country to find him—possibly hundreds of miles—so the journey was hard.
When I consider the long and difficult trip the wise men took to see Jesus and their determination to find him, I believe it was at great personal cost and sacrifice. Months of wandering through desert, storms, crossing rivers and unfamiliar territory, they possibly had enemies and wild animals trying to attack them. I’m sure they were exhausted. Yet they carried on until they “saw the child with his mother Mary.”
What did they do once they found Him? They bowed down and worshipped Him. They gave him gifts of great cost—gold, frankincense and myrrh. When we truly seek Jesus, we will find Him. He is waiting for us to discover who He is so we can have an intimate loving relationship with Him. The Magi discovered that day the real person of Christ, the son of the living God. When they returned to their country, they left Him and went home another way—signifying a changed life. They were never the same. It was worth the long arduous journey.
Let’s press ahead in our walk with Jesus and seek to know Him better. Let’s let the Holy Spirit create a deeper longing in our life for Him. Are we willing to sacrifice as the Magi did so that we might catch a glimpse of just how wondrous Jesus really is? As we celebrate this season, let’s remember to take time to bow and worship Him for who He is—Savior and King.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for sending Your son, Jesus, to earth. Give me a heart that seeks You and desires to worship You. Thank You that You alone are Savior and King.
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh,” (Matthew 2: 10, 11 NIV).
By Hally Franz –
The name “Sandy” reminds me of a perky, smiling blond from the 1970’s – hardly the image of a devastating and destructive storm that recently ravaged the Eastern U.S. coast. I did a few minutes of research and learned the following about hurricane names.
Hurricane names for both the Atlantic and Pacific are selected several years prior to the current season. Atlantic hurricanes were given names starting in the 1950’s, those on the Pacific starting during the 1960’s. A committee at the World Meteorological Organization decides the names to be used. I found 21 listed for each year, one for each letter of the alphabet with the exceptions of letters Q, U, X, Y and Z. The list is rotated every six years, and names are reused, unless a storm has been especially horrific. In that case, the name is retired and replaced in the rotation.
Naming children, like naming storms, is not random. Parents-to-be often spend months pondering name choices for their children. Questions are asked. “What impression does the name leave?” “Who else shares this name?” “Will there be five of them in his class?” My husband and I tried to choose names that were easy to pronounce and spell, but unique and meaningful by definition or within our family.
We see examples of this in the Bible. Names are often connected with specific meanings. In Genesis, twins Esau and Jacob are named, respectively, based on physical appearance and position at birth.
So, when the Savior is born, certainly His name would not be left to chance.
Matthew tells us that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph to name Mary’s son “Jesus,” meaning “the Lord saves.” Isaiah prophesied in the Old Testament that a virgin would give birth to a son, who would be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”
His name was more than mere months in the making; it was the whole of time prior to His birth. It’s a name meant to send a message for generations to come and one associated with kindness and wisdom, selflessness and teaching, miracles and salvation. And, while others may share the name, none are confused about who we mean when we talk about King of Kings.
As we enter the Christmas season, let’s remember His name and celebrate His birth above all!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, be with those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Encourage and restore them through their time of loss and despair. May they find comfort at this holiday season, remembering the promises of His name.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23 KJV).
By Cynthia Ruchti –
Have you noticed that when you go through a season of difficulty, certain words take on new meaning in the lyrics you sing in church or the song carried in your heart even while you sleep? Have you been startled, as I have, to find a word popping up far more frequently in the Bible than you realized when that’s the very word you crave? Like hope, joy, endurance…?
The year someone close to our family had a heart transplant—someone who had long resisted admitting his need for God—the word heart seemed to be peppered throughout the Word of God. When he went into surgery, we handed him a Bible we’d gone through by hand to underline the word heart. We hoped the hundreds of references would quietly speak to him about a God who cares about the human heart, even broken hearts, sick hearts, damaged hearts, and desperately ill hearts.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 KJV).
“Give me an undivided heart, that I might honor You” (Psalm 86:11 NIV/NLT).
“My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26 NIV).
As this year draws to a close, I’m now seeing another word threaded throughout Scripture—faithfulness. How is it I never noticed the frequency of that word? I knew, of course, that faithfulness is important to God. But I now see it as part of the very underpinnings of a life lived for Him.
In Daniel 6:4, we read that this was said about God’s servant, Daniel. “They (his enemies) could find no occasion or fault, for he (Daniel) was faithful.” He was faithful. Faithful.
Christ’s birth itself proves God’s own faithfulness, that no matter how many years had passed since the first stirrings of the promise, He would be faithful to provide a Messiah, faithful to rescue.
I’m singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” with renewed passion this year. In this, too, He leads the way. We the faithful come to adore Him because He is the Faithful One.
PRAYER: Lord, Your faithfulness completely overwhelms me. To a world that has lost its grip on faithfulness, You come and teach the meaning of the word. The meaning of the Word. Thank You.
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago” (Isaiah 25:1 NIV).
By Jarrod Spencer –
Some things in life I think will never change, especially when living in the moment. However, other things, over the years, have seemed to change. Like a child, who seems to grow faster when I am not around him. Things in life seem to change more when you look back on their progress.
Film for cameras is one of those things that have changed drastically over the past ten years. The change is that you practically cannot find film in an average store. There simply is not a market for it anymore. Cameras have gone to digital formats and trying to find film is virtually impossible in the average department store.
Recently I saw a rerun where someone received a gift of a “filmed” camera for a Christmas gift. This scene started me to think about how film was something which seemed timeless. However, it did have its time.
What about some other things in life that have been around for years? What about tires for our vehicles? Will there ever be something that is just as comfortable but maybe doesn’t need any air to maintain a level for a good ride. Also one that has a lot more wear on them? Could they not be made out of rubber but, rather, a chemical mixture to create the substance? You may think “No, we’ll always have tires.” I think that, too. But I also thought we’d always have film in cameras.
What will the differences in the churches look like in 2022? Will there be much of a change in some of the churches by that time? Will songbooks or Bibles be practically useless? Will some churches go back to house church only or “sit at home and watch on your computer?” Will we become more casual or go back to more dressed up? Whatever does happen will affect the way we share our faith with others. Ponder it…what will be the trend in 2022?…it will be interesting to find out!
Prayer: Father, we are but specks in Your world. We do not know what the future holds, only You do. May we submit to what Your future holds. We look forward to the future knowing You’re in control.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).