Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fit for a King

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasurers, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matthew 2:11

Most Christian homes will have at least one nativity scene set up as part of their Christmas decorations. In addition to the stable with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, there will be shepherds with sheep, and more than likely, three wise men with their camels. This is a lovely picture and has become the traditional view of Christ’s birth.

On the night Jesus was born, the angels announced it to the shepherds, who immediately hurried to see the Messiah. They then ran to share the good news with others. The wise men, or magi, were traveling from the east using the star to guide them to the location of the new king. These men were familiar with the stories of an expected savior, probably passed down from the time and teachings of Daniel in Babylon. They were coming, as was custom, to honor the newborn king.

Because of the three types of gifts presented to Jesus, we assume that there were three wise men. Most likely, there was a caravan of several men, because the distance between home and destination was great. Upon arrival in Bethlehem, the star directed them to a house where Mary and Joseph stayed with Jesus. Though still a baby, He was no longer a newborn.

The gifts of the wise men were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world. Gold was a precious metal. Frankincense was a perfume or incense. Myrrh was an anointing oil.

These gifts also honor Jesus in a special way as God’s son.Gold honors His kingship and divinity. Frankincense honors His priesthood. Myrrh honors His suffering and death.

What gifts can we give to honor the King? Obedience to His word and sharing His love with others. Don’t get lost in the celebration of Christmas and forget the reason He came was salvation.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for Your willingness to step down from glory to become a servant in order for me to share eternity with You.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

God's Gift

“8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:8-12


The Christmas holiday brings thoughts of sharing and giving to others. Many will feel compelled to donate money to charities or homeless shelters. Others will volunteer time to serve meals or distribute toys to those less fortunate. The attitude of generosity and love seems to hover over our collective society. How I wish this could continue throughout the year and not just for a season.

Gifts – given and received – also become the focus for celebrating. Don’t lose sight of the greatest gift – God’s Son. Jesus, the promised Messiah, savior of the world.

As you gather with friends and family this year to celebrate Christmas, I would like to challenge you to read the full account of the birth of Jesus. Imagine yourself on the hillside among the shepherds tending the flock of sheep. Gaze with wonder upon the angels as they announce the birth of Jesus and rush alongside the men as they hurry to the stable to find Christ the Lord, just as the angel told them. Feel the amazement, not temporary fascination, but holy wonder – adoration.

Now that you truly connect to the real reason for the season, spread the word. Tell others about this most precious gift. Ponder the meaning in an attempt to understand it and be amazed by it. Celebrate Christ.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for giving the gift of salvation. Please help me remember the true meaning of Christmas and to spread the word.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Entitlement

“Behold God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

I grew up with please and thank you as part of my everyday language. Consideration of others and gratitude for kindness was embedded in my upbringing. Admittedly, there have been times when I forgot to say the words. That’s when to ask if it’s a polite courtesy or true gratitude.

Gratitude is a matter of the heart. Our sinful nature directs us to feel entitled to the actions and attention of others. Unfortunately, that carries over to our relationship with God. The Lord, however, owes us nothing but judgment for our sin. He has freely offered His grace, love and, mercy and paid the cost for our sin Himself.

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have the gift of salvation. Even though He hates our sin, He offers comfort and mercy for those who seek Him. The Lord alone is entitled to our devotion and praise.

An attitude of thanksgiving, as we go through each day, will discourage the feeling of entitlement.

Dear Lord, thank you for Your mercy and the gift of Your salvation.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Selfish Prayers

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
James 4: 1-3


Prayer should be a part of a Christian’s daily life. It is, after all, direct communication with God. He loves us and wants us to ask for our needs and wants – even though He already knows what they are.

Have you ever wondered if your prayer might cross the line and become selfish? I think of my dogs and their dependence on me. In return for my care, they give me unconditional love, but at times, they also have selfish demands. Am I guilty of such demands of God?

Philip Yancey, a Christian author, has shared five signs of selfish prayer.

1) Focusing on your own comfort – Usually when trying to get out of a tough situation, you make a desperate plea to the Lord.
2) Focusing on what makes your life easier – You treat God as “the genie in the bottle” who grants wishes.
3) Focusing on things – You look at material things as the solution.
4) Focusing on status – You look at how it impacts your social or church status.
5) Focusing on fear – You concentrate on things you can lose rather than what you can gain by giving God control.

Remember that it’s not selfish to ask for needs or wants, as long as your request doesn’t interfere with your walk with God. He must have preeminence as your first love. He wants us to ask and trust Him for provision. When we desire Him first, doors are open to so much more because we have our priorities right.

Dear Lord, I want to thank You for Your love and praise You for Your glory. I know that by trusting You, my needs will be met according to Your will.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Prayer and Thanksgiving

I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth thy marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in thee; I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
Psalm 9: 1, 2


It’s hard to believe that the calendar has turned another page and we are in November. This time of year always brings childhood memories of Thanksgiving holidays spent with family. It meant cold weather had hit and we might get snow, gathering at a family member’s home for fellowship and turkey dinner, and parades followed by football all day on the television. Fond memories of a simpler time, unmarred by the concerns of adulthood.

Life is different now. Many of my family members will celebrate the holidays in heaven and the remaining ones have family commitments or live too far away to allow us to come together to share the holiday.

As a Christian, I would like to turn my thoughts of thanksgiving to the Lord. Just as King David wrote in his Psalm, I will praise Him with my whole heart. He deserves and desires no less. He has blessed me beyond measure.

Yes, I am blessed materially with shelter, transportation, and food. But the blessings overflow – I am loved – by family, friends, and even my dogs. Most importantly, the Lord loves me.

Let’s begin this holiday season by counting our blessings. Start each day this month by naming one. Don’t forget to thank the Lord for it in prayer. By December 1st it will be a habit and easy to continue as holiday stress melts into praise.

Dear Lord, thank you for Your many blessings. Help me to remember that all I am comes from You and to be glad and rejoice.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Life Happened....

For those of you who are reading my posts – I wish to explain my long delay in posting another devotional. I purchased a home in October of 2016. It had carpet, which is not as forgiving as other flooring when you have multiple dogs sharing your space. In June, my contractor was able to schedule the remodeling of my den and replacing the carpet with vinyl flooring. The flooring also went down in my bedroom, master bath, and office. That meant everything was scattered and moved from room to room as progress was made over several weeks. Writing came to a standstill.

I was additionally blessed with my first great-grandbaby on August 9th. He is a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness.

Now, my office is back in order and writing has resumed. The Lord has prompted me to share my thoughts again on this blog. My prayer is that whoever reads my words will receive a blessing and be inspired in their own walk with the Lord.

Kathy ~

Friday, May 19, 2017

But If You Don't

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 
But if not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3: 17-18

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, three Israelite teenagers taking a stand for God when facing their Captor, King Nebuchadnezzar, is one of my favorite examples of courage in the Old Testament. Knowing that their refusal to bow to the king and worship him surely meant death, they chose God and trusted in His deliverance.

None of us can be sure of what we will face tomorrow. We all make plans that may or may not happen exactly as we expect. My dogs trust me to make decisions that will benefit them. We need to rely on the Lord even more. He alone sees the beginning and the end simultaneously. He knows the plans He has for each of us.

Courage to accept God’s design for our lives develops through a close relationship with Him. Whether He saves us from the fire or not, we can trust we will not face the trial alone. Just as He was in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, the Lord assures us that He is beside us during every trial. We can rest in the knowledge that the outcome reflects His love and plan for us.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the plans You have for me and the courage to face whatever trials may come.