We try so hard, don’t we? We want Christmas to be perfect.
Perfect gifts for everyone.
The prettiest decorations.
The perfect Christmas tree. . .
If you are feeling stressed trying to make it the best Christmas ever, stop for a moment. Give yourself some GRACE.
It’s one of my favorite subjects, yet it’s something I have to remind myself of often–to extend and accept.
Are You Expecting Grace this Christmas?
My friends, it’s so hard to wrap our minds around what the arrival of Grace ushered into the world. Grace Himself was born under the stars on a cold night. Mary and Joseph laid Grace in a manger, a watering trough for animals. They wrapped Him in cloths that were in the stable used for the special newborn lambs.
And despite the desperation of the hour, the seemingly lack of provision, God graced the little family with an army of stars. The shepherds worshiped and the angels sang, and it was a glorious night… the night that Grace took His first breath.
We Expect Salvation, Gifts, Candles . . .
As we prepare for the celebration of His first arrival may we thank Him everyday for the arrival of Grace. Grace that climbs inside our hearts and changes us from the inside out.
The scriptures in this week’s reading plan will hopefully remind us this week of God’s faithful grace. He extended this grace to His chosen over and over. We believe in salvation at the end of our lives, but we forget to expect His grace along the way. We’re used to gifts and candles at Christmas, but do we accept and expect grace?
Bite of Bread Verses and Prompts for this Week
(I am currently following a Jewish and Christian Liturgical calendar from “Tree of Life” Publishing, etz-hayim.com)
Psalm 126:1-3: When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Prompt: I love the faithfulness of the Lord. Though the people were exiled for a time, God in His great love and grace brought them back. Their return and their joy demonstrated the power and reality of God to other nations. What has God done for you lately that others have accredited to your God?
Psalm 126: 5-6 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
When we feel exiled, God calls us to plant seeds. His word promises that we sow what we reap. Sow seeds of kindness, truth, and love . . . seeds of faith, talent and gifts . . . these seeds will one day grow. Don’t miss any opportunities today waiting for the right day to come. Get planting right where you are expecting God to use you by His grace. What will you plant today?
Luke 3: 4-6: As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” (Reference: Isaiah 40:3-5).
Prompt: This was prophecy regarding John the Baptist who would prepare the people’s hearts for Jesus’s coming. Mountains and hills were symbolic of power and authority. Crooked paths were symbolic of not being right with God while straight path were righteous. John preached for all men to repent. Jesus leveled the spiritual terrain for all men and women, rich, poor, powerful, and weak. Repentance is a great place to start. Take some time to write down what you need to confess to God. None of us are perfect. After you write it down, thank Him for forgiveness. After we repent, we can expect Jesus to His work in us because of grace.
Zechariah 4:6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”
Prompt: Zerubbabel (probably not the name you want to choose for your baby today) was a Persian governor who led over 42,000 back to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, and he rebuilt the 2nd Temple. This verse points to hope. Hope that comes out of the least obvious place. What seems impossible to you today? Where do you feel stuck, captive, and hopeless? Write a prayer to trust the Spirit’s work in your life.
Connecting the Old with the New
1 Peter 2:4-6: As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Prompt: Do you see the similarities of this verse with yesterday’s bite? Do a Google search of the scriptures with “cap stone” or “cornerstone.” Copy them down. These verses remind me that things aren’t always as they seem. God is always at work painting a more beautiful picture.
Philippians 1: 4-6: In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Prompt: Amen!I needed that verse today. How about you? Read it again out loud. What is Paul confident of? Write it down putting your name in the verse. Live with this expectation.
This is my prayer for all of us today. Grab my hand.
To the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we lift up our hands today. We praise you and thank you for your amazing love. God, we need Your grace. For those who are lonely, please bring a friend. For those who are sick, give them grace to reach out and touch the edge of Your garment. Open our ears to the song that You sing over us in the middle of the night. May we know the melody and recognize the familiarity of its rhythm. Holy Spirit fill us to overflowing today. May living waters flow from our lips. Set our eyes on things unseen no longer persuaded by the present. When nothing else seems to be going our way, remind us of Your grace. Thank you! Amen.
Thursday Night Fellowship!
Come on over to my house via Facebook Live Thursday night at 7:20 PM ET. Throw on your stretchy pants and curl up in your favorite blanket, and let’s dig into these scriptures together. Come be encouraged and strengthened by the Word and fellow believers. It’s a Party! Just send me a friend request or follow me on FB.
Be blessed my friends. You have been chosen. You are His delight.
Christmas Gift Ideas!!
Thought you would enjoy this 2018 Holiday Catalog. Great gifts for family and friends. These are gifts that keep on giving enjoyment for years to come. Enjoy!