12 Days of Christmas Day 8

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 8
Eight Maids a Milking

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12

On the eighth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, eight maids a milking. Everyone knows that babies need milk to grow strong bodies. A strong person is someone who can discern what is evil and deicide on what is good. God describes His word as milk for the new baby or new person in the faith.

God has revealed His word through His Son and through His Scriptures to make us strong people. If we are going to have a strong life we’re going to need a strong light, one that shines bright, exposing the evil and expressing the good.

God’s word reveals to us what is good, right, and true so that we might live in His blessing and His beauty. In the verse for this day there are eight maids a milking and in Matthew 5 there are eight beatitudes for living in and living out God’s word. These are critical characteristics to the Christian life that must be learned, or we will be susceptible to evil.

And there are eight maids a milking, eight servants of the master’s house. Learning God’s word involves submitting to God’s servants so that we can learn and live in God’s good news. We all need someone or somewhere to learn God’s good news in an environment of love. To neglect God’s word and God’s work will mean that we will live lives that are anemic and ignorant of what is good.

What say you?

12 Days of Christmas Day 7

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 7
Seven Swans a Swimming
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith Romans 12:6
On the seventh day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, seven swans a swimming. Swans are beautiful birds, but that’s not how they started out in life. Those swans started out as ugly ducklings. They must grow up and mature into what God created them to be and so that they can do what God purposed them to do.

I hear people talk about God’s plan for their lives and some of those lives look dark and ugly, but they insist that this is the life God had planned for them. Have you ever thought that God had a person in mind more than a plan in mind? Sure, both are important, but God doesn’t have to take us down some ugly path to make us the person He wants us to be. In fact, God has given each of us the gifts of grace to become the person He dreamed we would be.

The lesson of the swans is that God is in the business of building beautiful people. God’s grace is available to each of us to become all He dreamed we could be. Do you know what ugly paths do to our lives? They create ugly passions, perspectives and patterns in the lives of those who take them. The truth is that God’s dream for you and me never ends and even when we take an unnecessary ugly path He meets us on that path with the promise of something beautiful over and over again.

If we insist on being ugly ducklings, we will pick up ugly habits that we have a difficult time letting go of because of pride and shame. However, the quicker we let go of those ugly hurts, habits, and hang-ups the quicker we begin to become the beautiful person God dreamed of in the first place. God has a person in mind and that person will find the plan He has in mind for the world that they live in. Let’s let God make us the beautiful person He has in mind for His beautiful purpose He has in mind. Can you see what I’m talking about?

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 6

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 6
Six Geese a Laying
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good… the sixth day
Genesis 1:31

On the sixth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me six geese a-laying. It’s my understanding that in China people used to hand out an egg to each of their friends when a new baby was born. What’s inside the egg? A baby chick, new life.

The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God created life. Life is a God idea! Life is the product of love and God being love created life. He chose for you and me to be created and to know a life of love. It’s important for us to understand that life comes, not only from somewhere but from Someone. Being the result of love makes all the difference in this life. A man without a maker is a man without meaning. God is our Maker and because of Him, this life has meaning, a reason for being here.

Life is to be an experience of love not just an existence of labor but that again is what Adam chose. And before we get to down on Adam let’s remember that an existence of labor is what we make life when we refuse to live in God’s love.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, more then we can hold in our hands. And new life is what Jesus was telling Nicodemus about in John 3. A new life can be the gift anyone can have when they choose to embrace and experience God’s love. Paul writes about it in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where he says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What’s the lesson of this gift? That life is a God idea that comes from God’s love to anyone and everyone who will surrender this existence of labor to experience His Love. Did you realize that good news? Are you living and sharing that good news?

12 Days of Christmas Day 5

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 5
Five Golden Rings
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired than gold, even much fine gold, sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Psalm 19:7-10

How do you show your love? Put a ring on it and make it gold to boot. God has shown us what He values in His law & testimony. The five golden rings remind us of the first five books of the Bible where God shares His testimony and His treasures with us. God values us and He values life, so He revealed those values to us in His creation and His commandments.

The problem is that Adam had sold us into a world that doesn’t value love and life. We were born into a world, a life, that exists in selfish survival and success. So, when God reveals His values to mankind, those values seem unattainable because of our selfish, sinful disposition.

God, however, reveals His values to us because He loves us, and the hope is that we will love Him because He loves us. We get it all confused and begin to think that how we live will determine who love. But God once again reveals to us that what we love determines how we live. And God sent His Son into this world and He fulfilled the law, not because of how He lived but because of who He loved.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul… making wise the simple… enlightening the eyes… enduring forever. God loves us and values us so much that He gave us His testimony and values to enlighten us, encourage us and envelop us in His love. And He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” Fall in love with the One who loves us, and we will find the life of the one who created us. Do we desire Him and His word more than us and our wants?

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 4

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 4
Calling Birds
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four calling birds… So, what is a calling bird and why are there four? There have been several explanations of a calling bird, from a canary to a mocking bird to a black bird. It’s generally agreed that we’re talking about a black bird here. But why are there four? There are four calling birds because there are four gospels in the Scripture that tell us about the life and times of Jesus.

The primary focus of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John are to reveal the incarnation of Jesus and his interpretation of life to the world. Jesus was the God-man, God come in the flesh, to bring God’s love, life and light into this world. If you want to begin to understand faith, hope, and love and you want to live in this covenant relationship with the One who truly loves you, begin reading the gospels. Find out who Jesus is and was and how He lived His life during His time on the earth.

Black birds are always making noise. The gospels continue to shout out the good news about Jesus and the good news in Jesus. It would be worth your while to take time just to read the gospels over and over this next year. It’s the great good news of how God came Himself for us in the flesh to bring heaven on earth for all who would believe and follow Jesus.

12 Days of Christmas Day 3

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 3
Three French Hens
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, three French hens. Why three French Hens? These are hens fit for a kings table. The wise men gave gold, frankincense and myrrh but this gift is given to me by my true love. There are three valuable gifts that Jesus gives to us that allow us to walk and talk in the kingdom of heaven. Those three gifts are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

These gifts cost him everything but bring us everything he has for us. Faith, hope and love. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit work in and through my life as I live from faith, hope and love. This life of heaven is lived from faith, with hope, in love. This life is an inside job that works from the inside out. Our faith determines our hope and our hope determines our love.

We come to know Jesus when we are exposed to his love and his love then develops our hope and that hope then inspires our faith. We make Jesus known in our lives when we live by faith in our hope because of His love.

Christmas is about the greatest gift of love coming to us from heaven as told in the Old & New Testaments so that we could live in this covenant friendship with God from faith, with hope in love. Three French hens, don’t let anyone take those gifts from you and don’t sell them at your next garage sale.

12 Days of Christmas Day 2

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 2
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:8-9

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves. Two turtle doves were what Joseph and Mary brought to the temple to sacrifice to the Lord for Mary’s cleansing as required by the law. There was a sacrifice for people of means which involved a lamb and there was a sacrifice for people of even less means which involved a sacrifice of flour. Their sacrifice revealed their poverty, but it also revealed God’s passion that ALL people might be able come to Him. And this sacrifice wasn’t for Jesus but for Mary who was ceremonially unclean and who would be restored to her walk and worship with God after the sacrifice had been made.

The whole event gives us a picture of how an all-loving God made a way for a broke and broken people to be in a real and rewarding relationship with Him. Sin had separated man from God. We are all born with a sinful nature, passed down to us from our parents. Adam & Eve’s sin had sold us out to our enemy, but God made a way for us to be forgiven and freed from that relationship to be in a relationship with Him. The turtle doves, a symbol of love, friendship and covenant, we’re brought to sacrifice to God, expressing the person’s will to be in a right relationship with God. It was all a picture of how God would bring the ultimate sacrifice which we could not bring for ourselves and shed His blood for us on that cross to be in a loving relationship with us.

A price had to be paid, blood had to by spilled, to cover the cost of this sinful decision of man to turn away from trusting God only to become slaves of the enemy. But Jesus would not purchase that relationship with anything temporary or perishable but with His own precious blood so that we could forever live in a loving relationship with Him.

God wants to be in a relationship with us and share his love and life with us forever. Maybe if we never forget the cost we will never forfeit the consequences of his sacrifice for us.

12 Days f Christmas Day 1

The 12 Days of Christmas Day 1
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
The old English Christmas Carol begins with, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.” This seems like an odd gift to us and there is a lot of speculation surround the motivation and meaning of this song, but this is where it begins, a Partridge in a pear tree. Now pear trees are common in cool climates, but the partridges don’t nest in trees. One speculation is that the pear tree represents the corrupt French government. The Partridge, however, is a medium sized bird that does something extraordinary. In situations where the nest is in danger the male partridge gives a signal of alarm while throwing itself in the immediate way of danger, hanging his wings and showing ever symptom of debility and weakness to decoy the hunter.
The message for us today is that God so loved us that He gave His own life to save us. Jesus put Himself in harms way so that you and I could know His way of love. This Christmas story begins with God, our true love, who is love and has love and shares His love with those who believe in Him. There is love for those who do not believe but these have chosen to live outside of His love.
One of the interesting things about this story has to do with deception. True love is deceptive in a world that lives in false love. Paul wrote that none of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory… His love put himself on our cross for our sins so that we could have his love and his life and that just doesn’t make sense in a fallen world. This true love is difficult to believe in but it’s true and it’s what God has for me and for you. Live in His love! Questions? Comments?

Follow the Star Last Day

Follow the Star Devotional Day 27
Peace & Prayer
Do not be anxious for anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Where there is peace, there is prayer. I know that sounds backwards, but I believe it’s true. Where there are problems there is for sure prayer of some sort. Let’s just say there are problem prayers and there are peace prayers. The peace prayers for those who know the privilege of His presence, power, passion and purpose in their lives. Problem prayers are those who once again need His presence, power, and passion in their lives and they’re not to sure about His purpose. These people probably see their problem as God’s purpose for their lives. I’m not real sure how you pray when you think your problems are God’s plan for your life. But the person who prays from peace just knows that His presence is with them always and has developed a relationship of conversation with the Prince of Peace through prayer. Prayer is a privilege on knowing Jesus’ presence personally in our lives. Sound, right?

Follow the Star Day 26

Follow the Star Devotional Day 26
Powerful Peace
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. John 16:33
The word “peace” is spoken numerous times throughout the Biblical Christmas story. Another form of that word might be “do not be afraid.” Peace seems like the last thing we would possess amid angelic appearances in obscure places. The shepherds at least had shepherds, but Zechariah and Mary were there alone. Peace? Yeah peace. Peace is real and its presence is one of calm, confidence, and consequence. Peace has to do with presence. It’s the awareness and anticipation of God’s presence with us. It’s not where you are but who you’re with that matters. That’s why when we’re someplace without the Someone who loves and keeps us that we are somewhat rattled and troubled trying to live this life without Him. Peace is the fruit of His presence and power in our lives. Does it seem that way to you?