As we anticipate serving God in 2017, what is the single most important thing we can do? Jesus answers that question for us. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
As we anticipate living our lives for God in 2017, Proverbs 4:23 has a strategically important message for us – “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” The things we allow our hearts (our inner being) to dwell on, are the same things that will determine our attitudes and actions in the days ahead. We need to fill our hears with God’s truth and the things that are pleasing to Him.
As we begin to make plans for the new year, James reminds us to humbly yield to God’s authority over our life. He writes, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that” (James 4:13-15).
In these final days of 2016, it is appropriate to review the past year and begin to set goals and objectives for the new year. Psalm 90:12 says “So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Let’s invite God’s wisdom as we anticipate the New Year.
Merry Christmas! Over 2000 years ago, infinite God expressed His love to finite man by taking on human flesh and being born as a baby in a manger. Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatest miracle. On this Christmas day, “The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
Merry Christmas Eve! We don’t want the holiday season to slip by without it having an impact on our lives. From Angelic announcements to shepherds, to Magi bearing gifts, we are told that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Let’s ask God for a Spirit of wisdom to recognize and appreciate all that He is doing in our lives this Christmas. Let’s take time to ponder the wonders of Christmas.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:10-11). Just as the wise men worshipped Jesus and gave their treasures to Him we need to give Him our treasures and capacities as a gift of worship.
One of my favorite Christmas joys is listening to my granddaughter recite the Christmas Story. We recorded this together two years ago and it has become a special part of our family Christmas tradition. Sometimes when you hear a familiar story in a new way, its meaning can impact you afresh. Enjoy this telling of the Christmas Story through a Child’s voice.
Worship is a central part of our Christmas celebration. We are told that after the shepherds came into Bethlehem and saw the infant Jesus, they returned to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them” (Luke 2:20). From marveling at the many prophecies fulfilled at Jesus’ birth to being in awe at the incarnation (God taking on human flesh), we have more reasons than ever to glorify and praise God.