Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16th: What Do We Believe About Christmas?

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger.” Luke 2:16

I wonder if the shepherds truly expected to find a babe wrapped is swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. What was running through their minds as they headed into Bethlehem? Did they grasp the significance of the event? Did they know that the promised Messiah had arrived in Israel?

I can only imagine the look of astonishment on their faces as they arrived at the stable behind the inn and found exactly what the angels described. A baby wrapped up and lying in a feed trough. Did they bring up the subject of him being the Messiah with Mary and Joseph?

Ummmm…this might sound crazy, but earlier tonight some angels, well we think they were angels…they were really shiny and they sung incredibly well, told us where to find you and your baby. They also said something about him being a Savior and Christ the Lord. We know, we know, sounds totally crazy, but, ummm….anyhoo, is he? We mean is he really the Messiah all of Israel has been expecting? Is he the Savior?”

As they stood in wonder before the manger, or knelt as we like to believe, did they understand that God had become man? Did they worship him as Lord of all or just offer their congratulations and go and tell their wives about the unbelievable night they had just had? I wish we knew more about what became of the shepherds. Did they follow this child as he grew? Did they hear the stories from Nazareth as he started his ministry and wonder if it was the same person? Were they there when he was crucified?

What did the shepherds believe?

What do we believe?

Do we believe that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us? (John 1:14) Or do we just think it is a nice story to tell at Christmas? Do we believe that he came to save us from ourselves, to redeem us from our sins? (Titus 2:14) Or do we believe he was a great teacher that gave us some great ideas on how to play well with others? Do we believe that he grew up and offered himself as a living sacrifice so that we could have eternal life? (John 3:16) Or do we equate him with the Easter bunny, a nice myth that we enjoy talking about during December and around March or April?

We have the privilege of seeing a much bigger picture than the shepherds did. We have the whole story written down for us. His whole story had not even unfurled when they met Jesus. We have read from his birth to his death and how his church began. All they knew was what the angels had told them, and that the sign God gave them was true; they did find a baby lying in a manger. And it seems that was enough for them to go and spread the good news to everyone they met.

Is that enough for us? Is the sign of a baby in a manger and a man on a cross and an empty tomb enough for us to believe He is Lord? Do we believe that Immanuel came to earth for us? To be with us?

That is the point of the whole Christmas story: to tell the world that God became flesh, so that he could live among us, love us, shepherd us, then die for us, conquer death and finally redeem us.

In a world where so many have no idea what they believe, we must be a shining light of faith. We can tell the world of the Messiah that was born for us so that He could die for us. We can tell them the Christmas story. The same one the shepherd’s told so long ago.

Angels from the realms of glory
Wing your flight o'er all the earth
Ye who sang creation's story
Now proclaim Messiah's birth

Come and worship, come and worship
Worship Christ, the newborn King

Shepherds in the fields abiding
Watching o'er your flocks by night
God with man is now residing
Yonder shines the infant Light

Angels, from the Realms of Glory
~James Montgomery~

December 15th: It Is Well

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men whom his favor rests’.” Luke 2:13-14

Words seem to be failing me tonight. I am overwhelmed by my list of to-do’s and my lack of energy to get it done. And now my dog has run off. In the rain. At night. I am just a little distracted.

Were the shepherds distracted that night? Did they notice a difference in the air, or were they worried about the sheep wandering off, the leaky roof at home, the lack of food in the cupboard, or the barrenness of their wife? Was life overwhelming them when the angels made their announcement and then broke into the Hallelujah chorus? Did they feel like they didn’t have time to slow down and listen and find out what all the fuss was about that night?

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” Luke 2:15

Apparently not. They stopped dead in their tracks and soaked it all in, and then hightailed it to Bethlehem. Whatever distractions they may have had fell away and nothing mattered but finding the child wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. There was no vote taken, and the pros and cons of leaving their post in the fields were not weighed. The road trip into town was planned and executed in a mere matter of minutes. Nothing else seemed to matter but looking into what the Lord had told them.

Oh if I could be that focused. I do believe Satan is shooting some serious arrows my way right now. He wants me as distracted as possible. He is doing a fine job of it too. I have a stack of lovely Christmas cards sitting on my desk still in the boxes. I have presents that need to be wrapped. Good grief, I have presents that need to be bought. And now, I have a dog that needs to be found.

The distractions are weighing me down and blinding me from what I need to keep in my line of sight. I must remember that His favor rests on me and He is my peace. He alone will supply what I need when the world around me is spinning out of control and I can’t find the STOP button. So tonight, it is not my words that I need to see in writing, but His. I need His words of hope and reassurance that I belong to Him. When times are easy and when times are overwhelming, He never lets me go.

So as I type His words out, I am praying they flow through me and drag my gaze back to Him. That the distractions fall to the wayside and my only desire is to stay in His presence. I pray His words bring you the same peace I know they will bring me.

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord of God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.” Micah 5:5

“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:1-5

“To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.” Jude 1-2

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, tho trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

It Is Well with My Soul
~Horatio Spafford~

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14th: He is the God of Christmas Reminders, Wonders and Miracles

“This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:12

Christmas has become a time for miracles.  We watch a little more closely for them at this time of year.  If someone is healed from an illness in December, it is a Christmas miracle.  If a baby is born on or around Christmas day, the child is called a Christmas miracle.  If something, anything, happens that is out of the ordinary, yes, it’s a Christmas miracle.

We have come to expect the miraculous at this time of year.  And if the opposite happens, someone passes away during Christmas or a tragedy occurs, we wonder if God has denied us a miracle, a sign of His presence in our lives.  But sometimes our miracles arrive in ways we never expect. We might not get the miracle we so desperately wanted, but we get a reminder that God is with us.  And sometimes, that is just what we need. 

Eleven years ago, I was praying for a sign from God.  I was praying for my very own Christmas miracle.  We had suffered a miscarriage and we were hoping and praying that another child would soon be given to us.  December had kind of blindsided me that year and the emotional roller coaster was beginning to get the best of me.  I think that it would not be an exaggeration to say that I desperately wanted to find out that I was once again pregnant that Christmas, but it wasn’t to be.

I knew a couple of weeks before Christmas that I was once again not pregnant.  But in the midst of my pain and questions, I found shelter under the wings of my Heavenly Father.  I was finally feeling at peace. Oddly enought, my newfound peace descended the night before I found out we were not pregnant.  God's timing is always perfect. I knew if we were not to get ever get pregnant again I would be disappointed, but there had been a shift in my outlook.  I somehow knew I would survive if it were God’s will that we only have two boys.  I realized I trusted Him and that my faith had survived the heartbreak of losing a child. 

Christmas was bittersweet that year.  I don’t think I made it through one Christmas carol without crying.  But the spirit of the season seeped into my broken heart through the joy I experienced watching my almost 5-year-old and almost 3-year-old countdown to Christmas.  There is something about a child’s joy at Christmas that can help mend a multitude of hurts, or least ease the pain.  They were so excited about Christmas and Santa and all the trimmings that I felt a respite from my grief.

This peace and affirmation of my faith was my Christmas miracle.  My Christmas was more about the baby in the manger that year than the gifts under the tree.  I had a child in heaven that was worshipping at my Savior’s throne.  My child, one I had never had the privilege of holding, was right where we all longed to be...in His presence.  That knowledge is what brings the peace that surpasses all understanding.  It is the peace that came to earth when a baby boy was laid in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths. 

The shepherds were not looking for a sign that night.  They were watching their sheep and just trying to stay awake.  Then the angels of the Lord showed up and gave them a sign they had not requested, but one they so desperately needed.  The angels told them where they could find Christ the Lord.  Where they would find the peace and joy their hearts had always craved. 

The angels told them right where to find their very own Christmas miracle.  The first one the world would ever know, and the one Christmas miracle the world would always need. 

This Christmas our youngest son will be celebrating his 10th Christmas.  His joy and excitement warms my heart every year.  He still believes in Santa and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  As far as he is concerned, Santa just falls in the category of Christmas miracles. 

My Christmas miracle eleven years ago was discovering that my faith was on a firm foundation and that I could trust my God.  My son turned out to be my Labor Day miracle.  God is not choosy about which holiday it is when He blesses us with a miracle.  He is okay with reminders, wonders, and miracles all year round. 

His Son is the only Christmas miracle we really need.  The rest of the miracles He gives, whether they happen at Christmas or on Groundhog Day, are just grace seasoned with love.

The First Noel, the Angels did say

Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay

In fields where they lay keeping their sheep

On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

~The First Noel~

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13th: He is Christ the Lord

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” 
Luke 2:11

He is Christ the Lord. 

I love Christmas. 

I love the decorations: glittery trees, nativity scenes in all shapes and sizes, ornaments from long ago and those made with little hands, and houses strung with heaps of lights. 

I love the music.  I begin to sneak my collection of Christmas tunes out right after Halloween.  Okay, maybe just a little listen in July.  The hymns of old, the timeless melodies, the songs sung as praise to a newborn King, I love them all.  And just for the record, there are four Sundays in December.  Christmas songs should be sung in every church service. Every. Last. One.  No other songs.  Just Christmas songs.  If you know a worship leader, please pass that along.  Thanks.

I love the sappy, nothing-but-happy-ending Christmas movies.  If its on Lifetime or Hallmark, I am all over it. Of course, the oldies but goodies are the favs around our house.  Christmas Vacation.  The Christmas Story.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  Miracle on 34th Street.  And there are the newer ones that bring peals of laughter from my sons.  The Santa Clause.  Elf.  The Grinch that Stole Christmas.  Home Alone.  And of course, who can forget Charlie Brown? We have our very own Linus in our home, so it is kind of a personal favorite.  I love Linus quoting Luke 2.  “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” 

I love Christmas books.  Children’s books.  Novellas.  Series of books with familiar characters.  If it has a Christmas theme, chances are it is on my bookshelf.  And kids’ books are some of the best Christmas books ever.  Mooseltoe  probably tops the list though.  And there is a new one that is wonderfully illustrated and the words so very beautiful.  A must read is the Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones. 

He is Christ the Lord.

I hate Christmas.

I hate the stress of things to get done.  Buying gifts.  Mailing gifts.  Sending cards.  Taking a family picture in which at least one child is smiling at the camera.  Wrapping gifts.  Balancing the checkbook.  Buying more gifts.   Baking cookies, cakes, and dinners.  Doing laundry (because clothes still get dirty during Christmas).  Wondering if I have been generous enough to charities, local and faraway, and feeling guilty no matter what.  Buying still more last minute gifts.  Fighting crowds and looking for parking places.  Spending even more money. 

I hate the “gimme” monster.  He shows up about October 31st, maybe November 1 if I am lucky.  He convinces my children that they need many, many, many things.  He tells them that they will be social outcasts and their future dim if they do not procure these items by Christmas morn.  He turns somewhat sweet boys into self-centered creatures and parents into crabby, short-tempered elves. 

I hate buying gifts for the sake of buying gifts.  I hate wish lists.  I miss finding the perfect gift for someone because I thought about it and picked something they would truly like.  Now it is just a dash to the store, on to the post office, and a hope that maybe they can regift it well. 

And I hate Christmas goodies.  They come with calories.  They should not.  Calories bring along their friend, Extra Pounds.  Okay, I love Christmas goodies, but hate the calories and the extra pounds.  If it is shaped like a Santa or has peppermint on it, it should be calorie-free. 

He is Christ the Lord.

Whether I am filled with Christmas spirit, or have the bah-humbugs so bad I make Scrooge look jolly, there is one aspect of Christmas that never changes. 

A child was born in the city of David, and He is Christ the Lord

My decorations may be perfectly beautiful, the Christmas cantatas glorious, the movies laugh-out-loud tear-jerkers, and the books filled with stories of miracles galore, but if I don’t have my heart and mind set on Christ the Lord, my Christmas spirit will disappear like a cheap must-have toy on Black Friday morn. 

It may be cliché, but He is the reason for the season.  If I keep my mind set on Him, the distractions of Christmas stay in perspective, and maybe, just maybe the joy of Christmases past will reappear.  There are 12 days left till Christmas.  Let us use those precious hours to love on those around us and praise the One that was born for us.

He is Christ the Lord. 

As little children we would dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we'd find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

And we were the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more about gifts
And giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying
in the rain
Because of love, because of love

And we are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

I finally found the reason for living
It's in giving every part of my heart to Him
In all that I do every word that I say
I'll be giving my all just for Him
For Him

And we are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

He is my reason to live

We Are the Reason
~David Meece~

December 12th: Do Not Be Afraid

“But the angel of the said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” 
Luke 2:10

Fear entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  (Genesis 3:10) And we have been running scared ever since.  We are born with a desire to trust and give our hearts to another, but as we grow up we learn that to do so often brings hurt and disappointment.  So we trust less and become stingy with our hearts.  Self-preservation, we say. 

In the telling of the story of the coming of Christ, every time an angel appears to give the good news, they have to preface it with a “do not be afraid.”  This makes perfect sense to us.  We don’t trust what we do not know.  And therein lies the problem.  The better we know God, the more we trust him, and the less we fear.

Adam and Eve used to walk in the Garden with God.  They had a personal and intimate relationship with their Creator.  A relationship that was untainted by sin or shame.  Then sin entered the picture and shame made them hide from the One who had the power to restore the relationship.  How often do we do that? Run from God when we need Him the most?

There are days when I royally mess up.  My anger gets the best of me.  I am impatient and unkind to those that I love the most.  My words sting and I don’t let up until I can’t even stand to be around me.  Then the shame and regret descend.  I know I need to ask forgiveness from my God and my family.  I know my attitude would benefit greatly from some time in the Word.  But shame wins out.  I run and hide and think that I am not worthy to even talk to Him, much less read His love letters to me.

And Satan cheers. 

We only know how to be afraid.  We have to learn to trust because we enter this world not knowing what an intimate relationship with God looks like.  As we give our hearts to Christ and let love conquer our fears, then we begin to get a taste of what Adam and Eve had before the Fall.  And oh, how sweet it is!

I am sure the shepherds’ knees were knocking and their hearts pounding.  Not only were the angels an unusual sight, they were also experiencing the presence of the Spirit of God.  Double whammy as far as fear-inducing scenes go.  So the angels reassure them and let them know that the news they bring will lead to great joy for all people.  All people.  Not just the shepherds.  We all get the chance to experience this great joy.

The good news is that God had entered our world.  He was going to walk among us.  Not only in the “cool of the day,” but in the heat, and the sadness, and the ugliness that is our world.  The great joy that was promised would be when we finally realized that we had no reason to be afraid of being in His presence anymore.  We could give into our desire to run to Him without fear or shame.  The angels could not contain themselves.   They were bursting with the joy of knowing what it meant to be in God’s presence and they finally got to share that good news with us. 

And that good news was that Christ was born to save us from our sins.  He came so that we would know, once again, what it meant to walk with Him and not be afraid because of our shame. He came to free us from our fears.  He brought hope and peace to a world that only knew fear and shame.  And with that hope and peace came joy.  For all people. 

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

If you are struggling with being afraid and running from the One who can free you from your fear, stop running away.  Turn and run as fast as you can into His loving arms.  He came to earth for you.  He died on the cross for you.  He loves you more than you will ever know and He is pursuing you relentlessly.  This Christmas, accept His gift and let Him wash you and make you white as snow. Let His pure love cast out all fear.

Don’t be afraid.  Let His good news bring you great joy this Christmas.  Because His good news is for you.

Jesus, lover of my soul,

Let me to Thy bosom fly,

While the nearer waters roll,

While the tempest still is high.

Hide me, O my Savior, hide,

Till the storm of life is past;

Safe into the haven guide;

Oh, receive my soul at last.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want,

More than all in Thee I find;

Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,

Heal the sick, and lead the blind.

Just and holy is Thy Name,

Source of all true righteousness;

Thou art evermore the same,

Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,

Grace to cover all my sin;

Let the healing streams abound;

Make and keep me pure within.

Thou of life the fountain art,

Freely let me take of Thee;

Spring Thou up within my heart;

Rise to all eternity.

Jesus, Lover of my Soul
~Charles Wesley~

December 11th: The Glory of the Lord

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”  Luke 2:9

In Exodus 40, the glory of the Lord was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  The glory of the Lord led the people by day and night through the desert.  They were able to witness the presence of the Lord every hour of every day.  Once the Israelites completed the Tabernacle, the glory of the Lord filled it.  In Exodus 24:17, the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire to the Israelites as Moses ascended Mount Sinai.  In Hebrews 12:28-29, we are told to be thankful and worship God with reverence and awe because “he is a consuming fire.” 

In Isaiah 58:8, the glory of the Lord is seen as our Protector, our rear guard.  If we “loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke” and provide for those in need, then His righteousness will go before us and His glory will have our backs. 

According to Scripture, the glory of the Lord is an all-consuming fire that guides us and protects us.  And this is what surrounded the shepherds as they tended their sheep.  But imagine their outright fear.  God has been mostly silent, if not completely silent to the nation of Israel for the last 400 some odd years. 

Then one silent night outside of Bethlehem, some ordinary men watching their sheep get an audience with the glory of the Lord.  Not the leaders or politicians.  Not the so called "godly"men.  Just a handful of shepherds doing what they do every day.  

These were not the teachers of the law.  These were not the priests or rabbis familiar with the prophecies.  These men were familiar with the stories of old and how the Hebrews experienced God every day, but for them it probably seemed like they had been forgotten by God.  The nation of Israel had long ago turned its back on God, so they might have figured God had turned His back on them.

How wrong they would have been.  

It was not just the angels that showed up that night to announce the birth of Christ to a group of ruffian men.  The Holy Spirit of God also showed up and reminded them that He had never left them and He had no intention of ever forsaking them. They were being sung to by a choir of heavenly hosts and surrounded on all sides by the Holy Spirit.  They were probably beginning to wonder if they had drunk to much wine around the campfire. 

The shepherds were terrified and rightly so.  If the glory of the Lord shows up, you can do nothing but hit the ground face first.  He is an all-consuming fire.  One that must be revered, but one that can now be approached with confidence because on that quiet night in Bethlehem a child was born and “he is Christ the Lord.”

What is truly amazing is that the glory of the Lord is ours the moment we accept Christ into our hearts.  The Holy Spirit descends upon us and becomes our guide and our protector.  He is our rear guard and in all His righteousness He goes before us. 

Take a moment and let that sink into your heart.  We are all running around at this time of year trying to squeeze 30 hours worth of stuff into 24 hours and we are wearing ourselves thin in the process.  God came so that we could rest in Him.  So that His glory could shine all around us and bring us peace. 

In Exodus, the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.  After Christ conquered death, ripping the veil in half, God now resides in us.  We stand in front of him unveiled.  (2 Corinthians 3:18) We are His tabernacle.  Let his glory fill you up this Christmas and in the months to come.  Nothing else can or will fill the cracks in your heart and soul like the glory of the Lord.   

O ye beneath life's crushing load,

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow;

Look now, for glad and golden hours

Come swiftly on the wing;

Oh rest beside the weary road

And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,

By prophets seen of old,

When with the ever-circling years

Shall come the time foretold,

When the new heaven and earth shall own

The Prince of Peace, their King,

And the whole world send back the song

Which now the angels sing.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
~Edmond Hamilton Sears~

December 10th: Abiding

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”  Luke 2:8

The shepherds were just watching their sheep and minding their own business.  They were not expecting anything out of the ordinary that night, much less a choir of angels.  They had probably settled in for a long winter’s nap and were anticipating the same old routine.  Watch the sheep.  Count the sheep.  Sleep.  And repeat. 

Then God entered their world.

He likes to do that.  Catch us unaware.  Take Abraham for instance.  Abraham was living his life with his wife Sarah and his extended family in the Ur of the Chaldeans.  Not expecting to experience anything more in life than his father or his father before him.  The next thing he knows he is packing up the family and moving to Canaan to become a great nation and be a blessing to all nations. I would imagine moving 1500 miles from his home was not on his bucket list, no matter how many promises were made.  But he did it without question.

And God fulfilled His promises.

Then we have Moses.  His life was never dull to begin with, but leading millions of people out of slavery and into a desert was probably not his life goal.  God found him tending sheep in the desert hiding from a murder charge that was four decades old.  No matter what excuse he drummed up to get him out of the whole leadership gig, God did not let him off the hook.  He was going back to Egypt and he was hitting the road with the Hebrew nation.

With God leading the way.

What about David?  What was he doing when Samuel arrived looking for the next king of Israel?  Yep, you guessed it.  Tending sheep.  Once again, a future Hebrews 11 Hall of Famer is just living his life without any expectations of grandeur.  David probably figured he would tend sheep, find a wife, raise some kids, and hand the shepherding duties over to them some day.  Little did he know he would be shepherding an entire nation. 

As a man after God’s own heart.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  James, Timothy and Paul.  Peter and Silas.  All average guys living lives of mediocrity until Jesus showed up and called them to become fisher’s of men.  Had they chosen to continue in the only life they knew, their names may never have been known, but they choose Christ.  Not for fame and fortune.  But to bring His gospel to all that would listen, to bring glory to God, and all for one reason only…

Because God had become their world.

We get up in the mornings expecting the same day as yesterday.  We go to work, stay home, go to school, do the dishes, the laundry, and life.  All the while, never expecting anything out of the ordinary.  Then out of the clear blue sky, the extraordinary descends upon our day and we are in the presence of our Savior. 

It happens in a moment.  Our child comments of a part of God’s creation that we overlook with our adult eyes, and in that moment our eyes are opened and we see God’s handiwork.  A friend needs prayers for healing, and as we lay our hands on them and pray fervently for the cancer to disappear, we feel God’s hands on us bringing peace and hope to us in the midst of our fear and uncertainty.  We slow down and listen to the nudge of the Holy Spirit and buy an extra value meal in the drive-thru to give to the homeless man on the corner, and God’s hand stretches down and feeds someone through us. 

Ordinary moments turned into something extraordinary.

In the midst of our ordinary, as we abide our “sheep” and our daily lives, always expect the extraordinary when you let God enter your world. 

God in my living
There in my breathing
God in my waking
God in my sleeping

God in my resting
There in my working
God in my thinking
God in my speaking

Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
Be my everything
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/tim_hughes/everything.html ]
God in my hoping
There in my dreaming
God in my watching
God in my waiting

God in my laughing
There in my weeping
God in my hurting
God in my healing

Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
You are everything

Christ in me
Christ in me
Christ in me the hope of glory
Be my everything

~Tim Hughes~