Prince of Peace

There’s always at least one thing you didn’t get done in time for Christmas, right? Maybe you forgot to buy a gift, or the batteries for the gift, or an ingredient, or that last roll of wrapping paper because you ran out. Come Christmas morning, though, all that you stressed about seems to either melt or at least move to the back out of your mind. Why? Because Christmas is about the Prince of Peace!

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

Merry Christmas, My Friend! May the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

As you gather with family and friends, may you be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ( Ephesians 4:3)

As you celebrate with food and gifts and the making of memories, I pray you sense the presence of the Prince of Peace! (Isaiah 9:6)

Everlasting Father

“…and his name shall be called…The everlasting Father” Isaiah 9:6

I hate doing laundry, and I wish somebody would invent inexpensive (but cute) disposable clothing that could be thrown away after one wearing. If they can invent disposable razors, cameras, and dishes, why not clothing?

Some things, however, don’t ever need to be disposable. The human heart was made for eternity and Christmas was God’s way of supplying for the needs that last that long. You’re not a disposable piece of junk, but an eternal soul who needs an everlasting Father to provide eternal security, unconditional love, and royal identity. Consider the beauty of the way He provided all of that! In the face of not deserving any of it, the eternal Christ entered time as a baby in order to become your everlasting Father. How would you ever doubt your worth in the face of such love? He didn’t throw you away, He became your Way … in a manger.

Whatever you may be facing this Christmas, know that the everlasting Father had you and your issue on His mind before either one of you came to be. Long after your issue has passed, you and His love will live on because since the day you received Him (John 1:12), You became His and He became your everlasting Father.

Mighty God

“… his name shall be called… The Mighty God….” Isaiah 9:6

Everybody has a god. Even those who claim they don’t have actually constructed one with the raw materials of their own human logic and reasoning. There is a God who defies reasoning yet causes everything to make sense. He is the Mighty God!

He’s not a crutch, but a cornerstone and a rock on which every foot can stand, weak or strong. No one gets through this life free of trouble, tragedy, or trauma. Leaning on Him doesn’t make you weak, but wise. Life has a way of taking you beyond your limits, of eating up all your reserves. Troubled loved ones won’t listen to reason and you feel helpless. Even your addictions require more than willpower. You need The Mighty God!

That Baby in the manger was a preorder against everything that bullies you. If He is for you…? Jesus is His name, but He’ll gladly answer to “My Mighty God!”

When You Don’t Know What to Do

“…his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor….” Isaiah 9:6

There’s nothing like having no clue what to do, especially when people are counting on you to make the best decision. Ignorance can create panic, and there has to be a better solution than faking it till you make it. Thankfully, if you know Jesus you don’t have to panic or pretend. The Christ of Christmas is a wonder of a Counselor! It was His plan all along to be there to guide you when you need Him (John 16:13). He knows the end from the beginning and everything in between, so you never have to brief Him on the situation or give Him time to weigh the facts (Isaiah 4:6). Who else knows what you need before you ask (Matthew 6:8)? He has invited you to come boldly and find grace to help in your time of need; therefore, at every moment, your Counselor stands available to point out the exit signs your temptations don’t want you to see.(Hebrews 4:16; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Wisdom is one of the gifts most unopened in His storehouse. Do you recall your Counselor’s promise to be generous with it when you ask (James 1:5)?

Do you find that you do a lot of worrying before remembering you have a Wonderful Counselor?How many times have you sought counsel from everybody else or tried to figure it out yourself before coming to Him? Your Wonderful Counselor loves you! May you experience the wonder of that love whenever you don’t know what to do.

When God Doesn’t Seem Fair

“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

The first time I read Luke 1:5-35, it looked like God had a double standard; one for Zechariah and another for Mary. The angel told Zechariah he and his elderly wife would produce a child. Zechariah responded with a question and a factual statement: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years (Luke 1:18). The angel responded with an invisible muzzle of sorts that left the priest mute for about nine months.

The same angel came to Mary with news harder to believe than old folks having a baby: she, a virgin, would bear a Child. Didn’t she do the same as Zechariah- ask a question followed by a factual statement? She inquired, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Gabriel responded with an explanation and clarification. No fair! Right?

We are wise to look at the business between God and these two people with respect for God’s verdict; recognizing His omniscience and our lack of it. The missing ingredient in Zachariah’s question and heart was faith that God’s message was true. We humans can see the outward evidence of faith by a person’s actions, but faith itself is invisible to the naked eye of everyone but God. We must view His response to these two people with the understanding that we never have enough information to declare God unfair. The same is true with any of life’s circumstances where we think God should’ve prevented this or He should have intervened in that. God knows what He’s doing. His unfathomable generosity in giving His Son should silence any doubts about His motives toward us and should make trusting Him a reasonable response when circumstances seem unreasonable. Humility and trust are the bifocals through which to view what we don’t understand. Are you wearing yours today?

He Cares!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care…. you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29,31

I’m baking like crazy, right? I let myself get distracted watching a YouTube video while measuring the flour in a cookie recipe and lost track of how many cups I’d already put in. When I rolled the dough into balls and mashed them into shape, I discovered I’d put too much flour in because the consistency wasn’t right. This is not good for a perfectionist like me, but butter is expensive so I had to suck it up and keep going. By accident, I left one cookie ball un-mashed when I slid the pan in the oven, but God allowed me to catch it a couple of minutes into the baking time. When I mashed it, the consistency was perfect! I was able to remedy my problem for the rest of the batch! God is good and kind, isn’t He? I was the only one having a conniption about those crumbly cookies, but God showed He cared because I cared. He’s got dying children to save, terminally sick people to heal, and wars to end, but He took the time to stop by my kitchen and love on me. (Tears!)

Whatever is weighing you down today, My Friend, is not a triviality to God. Bring it to Him. Sometimes He gives a solution, sometimes something else, but He always gives a care. Let yourself feel loved by Him today!

P.S.-I would love to hear your story of a personalized kindness you’ve received from God. Thanks!

Resist the Roar!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Have you ever had that feeling? You know, when you need to start on a project or follow up on an opportunity that could move you forward, but you feel paralyzed? Maybe you were knocked down and are hesitant to try again. Some call it resistance, others call it fear, but I call it the roar. A lion roars at its prey in hopes of making the hunt easier. Paralyzed prey will stand still and save its predator the trouble of the chase.

The enemy who walks about as a roaring lion specializes in exhaling the lies that can kill your dreams. Listen to that roar and you’ll never get anything worthwhile done. His roars bluster out, “You can’t do this! It’s too hard and you’re not ready! Quit now before you embarrass yourself! Who do you think you are?” If any of this sounds familiar then you, My Friend, have experienced the roar.

You have two ways to overpower his bellow that harmonizes so perfectly with your worst fears. First, drown out the roar by surrounding yourself with a plethora of positive praying people and saturating your spirit with a stockpile of Scripture. The second part is my favorite: defying the lion by doing exactly what he says you can’t do in. his. lying. face! This particular lion was defanged by our Deliverer and all he can do is roar. A roar is only noise and it can only cripple if you let it. In other words, his lie only has power if you choose to believe it. Resist him and he will leave you alone. It’s not easy, but you can execute God’s plan as if you never heard a single roar. Even the tiniest step is a powerful move!

Move forward in power. Get back in the fight! Resist the roar!