Thursday, December 3, 2009

Perfectly Packaged Gifts of Christmas Encouragment

In the past few days several perfectly packed gifts of Christmas encouragement have come to my Inbox and I'd now like to "regift" them to you! Merry Christmas!

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

There's a lot of pressure to have a "perfect" Christmas with great gifts, caroling, and family. Often that makes our actual Christmas a let-down.
We forget the first Christmas was far from perfect - Mary had to give birth in a stable! What blessings from God can you find in your disappointments of the season? - BibleLeague.org


"Those who obey His commands live in him, and He in them" I John 3:24

Christ lived in Mary until He had to come out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs.
He will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem, and every day you live will be a Christmas. You, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.
God in us! Have we sounded the depth of this promise?
-Max Lucado

A lesser woman might have argued with Gabriel. “No thanks, Buddy. My future's already mapped, and I like it as is. Go away, okay? Find someone else.” But that wasn't Mary's style. Instead, she mustered her courage and spoke words that changed the course of history: “I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants” (v. 38).

Sometimes our lives take unexpected turns just as Mary's did. We're settled in a nice rhythm, and then God disrupts it by giving us a task riddled with risk or inconvenience, or circumstances force us to exchange precious plans for pain and uncertainty. How can we mimic Mary's example when we're tempted to turn and run the other way? Here are my thoughts…

Believe the words Gabriel spoke: “The Lord is with you.” No matter the direction our path takes, we need to remember that we're not alone on the journey.

Regard the change in plans as a blessing in disguise. God's purposes are far beyond our understanding, and we simply need to trust His wisdom and sovereignty.

Maintain a surrendered heart. Let's consider ourselves as servants of God as Mary did. Life is about Him and His eternal purposes, not about us.

Perhaps your plans for 2009 took an unexpected turn that complicated everything by human standards. You're a grandmother who's raising a grandchild rather than enjoying retirement as you'd planned. You're a woman whose marriage has undergone stress or ended. Perhaps you're changing careers or moving to a new city because of your present career. Maybe you're a mom whose teenagers' bad choices are affecting you. Or maybe you're sensing a nudge to lead a Bible study or small group, participate in a short-term missions trip, or care for a senior parent. Doing so will complicate your comfortable life, and you're tempted to say no.

Whatever your circumstances, know that God is in control. He sees life from an eternal perspective, and His plans are excellent even if they feel like bothersome complications sometimes. May that knowledge give you the courage to say yes as Mary did. – Grace Fox


You Can, Because He Can
I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. Job 42:2 NKJV

You can ask the Lord because He will not give you a wrong answer.

You can wait upon the Lord because His timing is always perfect.

You can trust in the Lord because He makes no mistakes.

You can hope in the Lord because He holds your future.

You can rest in the Lord because He is in control of your life.

You can lean upon the Lord because He is completely faithful.
-Roy Lessin

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