Getting through the wilderness ©

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you: my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. -Psalm 63:1 NLT
Dry.
Hot.
Weary.
Thirsty.
Oh, so thirsty.
I have never been or had the desire to go to a desert. However, I know what it’s like to be really dry and thirsty on a hot summer’s day. All I want at this point is a very large glass of water. Until I get one, I complain about the heat and the thirst and fuss about things until I get that glass of water.
When I finally get a glass of water. I guzzle it down instead of sipping. I don’t enjoy it. I am just desperate to be hydrated. I’m so thirsty, I don’t’ savor the water. I just get it down my throat. Usually what happens is I feel sick because I drank too fast.
David knew what it was like to be hot and thirsty. He was in the wilderness of Judah for quite a while when he hid from Saul. The wilderness was a desert. The place was hot and barren. David felt physical thirst as he walked day in and day out finding places to hide in order to save his life.
David penned the words of our scripture today. “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). Yes, David wrote from a physical need, but he also had a spiritual need.
There are times in our lives when we feel as if we are wandering in our own personal deserts. We call out to God and he seems so far away. The enemy attacks and we feel powerless. We long for God’s presence. We search for him. We call out to him, longing for his living water. Sometimes we feel as if he is so far away we could never reach out to him.
David spent his time in the wilderness praising God. Even during insomnia, David declares, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right-hand holds me securely” (Psalm 63:6-8).
I didn’t get anywhere fussing and complaining about the heat and being thirsty. In fact, I made myself thirstier by constantly opening my mouth. The same is true during our times in the wilderness. We don’t get anywhere by complaining about our situation. The Israelites ended up in the desert for 40 years instead of the 11 days it should have taken them to get to the promised land by complaining.
What are we missing out on by complaining in the wilderness? Could it be our time in the wilderness is made longer due to our complaints?
Jesus understands what we are going through. He spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness after he was baptized. During that time, he didn’t eat. He didn’t spend the time groaning about his hunger, but instead, he spent it talking to his Father.
We need to take the time to nourish our souls by giving praise to the Lord. Let us remember all the good he has done in our lives up to now. David did this. “I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy” (Psalm 63:2-5).
Instead of complaining, praise the Lord. Rest under the shadow of God’s wings. He is walking with you and is beside you even if you don’t sense him there. Jesus is with us in the wilderness, urging us to keep going. He knows where the oases are. He guides us there if we but follow and trust him.
Don’t give up! You will get through this! When God gives you his living water, yes, drink deeply. Savor every mouthful, even if it’s just like the morning dew, small but enough to get you through. Your soul will be satisfied. You will get to the other side. But for now, just keep holding on and moving forward.
Prayer: God, I am struggling in the wilderness. I am dry. I am thirsty. I am frustrated. There are times I feel you are so far away. Please let me know your presence today. I am sorry for complaining about my circumstances. I choose today to give you praise. I want my eyes to be on you. I want you to walk with me through this time in the desert. I am trusting you to get me through. And when I do, may I savor your living water. May I enjoy your presence. May I enjoy you and not rush through just to get to the next thing in life. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Advent Reading 24- Jesus the Baby (Christmas Eve/Day Reading)

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” -Luke 2:1-12 NLT
 
Christmas is about Jesus the baby. For some reason, many Christmas cards have Jesus with a halo around his head and soft velvety animals around the manger. It also has three wise men bringing gifts to the new-born. There are a few misconceptions in these images.
 
First of all, Jesus didn’t come with a halo alongside Mary and Joseph, if he did many people would recognize him and probably thought there was something strange about him. Isaiah spoke of Jesus being simple and all throughout the New Testament, Jesus is spoken of as being humble. There may have been some cute little animals around Jesus but more than likely the donkey which Mary and Joseph rode on as well as the sheep that were brought with the shepherds. And the greatest misconception are the wise men. First of all, we don’t know if there were three of them, we just assume because of the three gifts. It could have very well been an entourage of men from Babylon and the east. They arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was a child more than likely a toddler about 2 years old.
 
No, I am not trying to disprove the nativity story. Christmas is indeed about the baby Jesus, but more so his incarnation. This is the story of God coming to earth as a human. Christmas is about God’s love stretching beyond heaven’s door to earth. His birth linked all people together, not just Jews. God called the shepherds first to witness this beautiful incarnation. They were of little importance, bottom of the food chain as far as prestige went. Jesus came as the Savior to all nations. Thus, the reason the wise men came from the east to worship him. He included the lowest of the low to the richest and most knowledgeable men.
 
Even as a baby and a child, Jesus created turbulence. His existence caused a stir and demanded a response. People either loved or hated him, accepted his love and try to squash it. Herod tried to get rid of him by murdering all boys 2 and younger (see Matthew 2:13-18), very much like the Pharaoh did when Moses was born. And just like Moses, Jesus was spared because of God’s intervention. Moses was a savior for the Israelites in the Exodus to the promised land. Jesus came as the Savior for the whole world.
 
I know in some parts of the world; Christmas seems to be a swear word. The reason is simple, people are offended by the message of the incarnated Jesus. We will cause offense by just being Christians. This should not come as a surprise to us as Jesus said this was going to happen. People are offended by Jesus because it goes against their selfish desires. Sadly, people hate God who they don’t even believe exists. God desires everyone to come to know him as their Lord and Savior. God wants us to be the bearer of his love. The question I have for us, if we were tried in a court of law, under oath, for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in our actions and words to convict us?
 
Jesus is the incarnation of God himself. Give thanks to God for his ultimate gift of love. Spend time today and tomorrow especially, to worship this amazing God. Jesus came to set us free. He came for the rich and the poor. He loves everyone. Christmas is about Jesus- the baby, the incarnation. May He be born in us.
 
Today’s Prayer is the Lyrics for O Holy Night, don’t just sing it, really read and breathe in the words:
 
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
 
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle, we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
 
Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
 
God bless you all. Merry CHRISTmas!

Advent Reading Day 23:  Jesus is I AM (Part 2)

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”  “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”  Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” -John 11:21-26 NLT

Christmas is a time of hope.  Hope because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  Jesus brings hope where there is despair, power into difficult situations, and peace that surpasses all understanding.  Jesus tells Jesus said “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”   What a blessed hope that we have eternal life and will live forever with Jesus!  Hallelujah!

Jesus is our Hope this today.  Hope for life, hope for eternal life, and hope for abundant life.  Lazarus died and was in the tomb for at least 3 days.  Martha met Him and was clearly upset with Jesus.  She trusted Him, but wondered why it took so long for Him to return when He knew His friend was ill.  She had a good relationship with Jesus and therefore was able to share what was on her heart.  Despite the pain that Martha was feeling, she said to Jesus, “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Martha had faith that Jesus could do what He said He could do.  She believed Jesus was the Christ.

Our physical bodies will die, no one can escape that until Christ returns.  However, those who believe in Jesus can expect our spiritual souls to never die.  Our souls will continue to live on for eternity.  Jesus proves His claim to Martha of being the Resurrection and the Life as He raised Lazarus from the dead.  He sees her faith and responds out of love for His friend.   Mary did not understand either why Jesus did not come sooner, she even declared that Lazarus’ body will be smelling awful and it would not be right to open the tomb.  However, Jesus asked several of the people there to open the tomb.  He lifted His eyes toward Heaven and prayed a simple prayer and then asked Lazarus to come forth.  Lazarus walks out of the tomb to the shock and joy of everyone witnessing what just happened.  Of course, we know that later on Lazarus died again, but his spiritual body still lives on.

Jesus brought life into a seemingly hopeless situation.  How many times have we prayed for something to happen and it just seems like we are hitting a wall?  Jesus changed the life of Lazarus. Jesus was empowered by God the Father and the Holy Spirit; the power raised (power of faith) raised Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus gives us eternal life, because of His own resurrection.  The power of the resurrection is ours; we can seek God to change seemingly impossible situations.

What situations can Jesus’ resurrection power change? Are there areas within our hearts that we need to be recharged?  Do we truly believe Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life?

Prayer:

Jesus, thank you so much for your resurrection and life.  Thank you for eternal life for those who believe. This Christmas, may I be filled with hope and joy knowing that I am yours and you are mine.  May the hope of your resurrection power fill me with exuberant joy. As I share gifts with the ones I love, may I also share your life-giving life.  I ask for you to be seen in me so others will want to receive your greatest gift- yourself.  I worship you Jesus, the great I AM.  You have been, you are, and you will always be the Resurrection and the Life.  Amen.

For further study:

Isaiah 25:8; John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:12-58

Advent Reading Day 22: Jesus is I AM (Part 1)

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”   God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” -Exodus 3:13-14 NIV

“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”   “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” -John 8:57-58 NIV

Jesus is I AM. He is complete, one with God, and is God. God is the only one who used the name I AM before Jesus was born. The Hebrew for I AM is Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I am, will be what I am, will be). When God told Moses what to tell the people and Pharaoh, he told him to say Ehyeh (I am, I will be) has sent you. God is Living, Almighty, Holy, Ever Present, Ever Powerful, Ever Wise. God is Everlasting, our Creator, our Provider, and our King.

Jesus declared He is indeed I AM. John starts off his gospel with the words “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus was there in the beginning of time, he helped with creation, he saw the fall of man, the flood of Noah’s time, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, and so on. Jesus saw the plight of man and out of love he was sent to earth for us. What an amazing Savior and Friend!

Winds and waves obeyed Jesus. In the middle of the storm with the disciples in the boat, Jesus stood up and calmed the seas. He even walked upon the seas and told Peter, “Don’t be afraid- It is I” translated as “Don’t be afraid- It is I AM.” Demons bowed down to Jesus acknowledging him as “I Am.” When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane and the people arresting him asked Jesus to identify himself, he declared “It is I, or I AM.” At this, his enemies fell to the ground because they could not stand in the presence of the Almighty God. James said that demons even believe in God, they know Jesus is I AM, they were defeated by Jesus on the cross and in the resurrection and will be finally put in their place when Jesus returns.

No matter what you are facing today, know that I AM is with you. Despite the storms you are in, Jesus calms the storm and if not, he calms your inner soul. I AM is powerful, he is holy, he is almighty, he is God!

 

Prayer:

I praise you Jesus. You are the great I AM. You created everything around me, you even created me. Great are your works. You were there in the beginning of time and you will be forever more. I praise you for your power over sin, death, storms of life and all that comes against me. I know I am secure in your arms. I know I can trust you and so today, I lean on you. I give myself to go where ever I AM sends me and do whatever I AM tells me to do. Jesus, I AM, I surrender all to you today and forever more. Amen.

 

For further study:

Matthew 16:15-16; Mark 14:61-62; Revelation 1:8, 17; 21:6

Advent Reading Day 21:  Jesus the Son of God, Son of Man (Part 2)

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. -Daniel 7:13-14 NIV

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.   -1 John 4:9-12

Jesus is Divine and he is also human.  Often times we miss out the human side when talking about Jesus.  Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit; he grew within his mother’s womb and came as a baby.  Jesus learned how to crawl, speak his first words, take his first steps, and potty train.  He went to school, on vacations, and learned a trade (carpentry after his earthly father).

Jesus felt emotions, he laughed, he cried, he knew the loss of friends and surely family members, rejection from even his own family, anger at the temple money changers and anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He didn’t float from place to place, he walked everywhere (and he did this without Nike shoes).  He felt hunger.  He felt fatigue.  Jesus felt physical pain.  He felt the thorns on his brow, the blows of the whips upon his back, the searing pain of the nails driven into his hands and feet, and his body being pulled up on the cross.  Jesus experienced death.

Jesus did all of this so he could understand us better.  He came as the Son of Man and gave his all for us so we can have a relationship with him.  He knows what you go through on a daily basis.  Because he was human, he understands our pains, frustrations, sorrows, joys, and much more.  His humanity allowed him to relate to us not just on a spiritual level but on a personal level.

Even though Jesus was human he had 24/7 access to the Father.  He had the power of the Holy Spirit living in and through him.  Because we are connected to Christ and are God’s sons and daughters, we too can have this same relationship with God.  Jesus is the best example we can follow. In his anger he did not sin.  In his fatigue, he still managed to have time with his Father in prayer.  In his hunger, he shared with others.  He was tempted but he overcame the temptations.  He suffered rejection but he still had love and compassion for the ones who rejected him.

But you say, Jesus was divine, he could do this.  Yes, he could.  But I say to you, we can as well because we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us!  We have constant access to the Father as Jesus did.  When we struggle, we can call upon the name of Jesus and all things are possible!   Jesus intercedes for us daily.  We are the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells.

This Christmas, give praise to God for sending Jesus as the Son of Man to understand our humanity and giving us full access to him.  Ask him to empower us with the Holy Spirit so we too can live a holy life as Jesus did.

Prayer:

Jesus, Son of Man, it is easy for me to forget your human side.  I like to think of you as just divine. I guess it makes it easier to accept the divine because your humanity makes me have to look at my own humanity. I fall so short of your holiness.  Help me Jesus to desire to be holy as you are.  Help me to tap into the Holy Spirit power that lived inside you on earth.  Help me to connect with our Father daily so I can stay in that power.  Help me also to know that as you raised from the dead I will too.  Jesus, I don’t want to wait until you call me home or you return to start living for you.  I want to live for you now.  I want to live with power in my life.  I want to live victoriously.  This Christmas as I remember your gift to me, I give my life back to you as my gift.  I love you Jesus.  Amen.

 

For further study:

Galatians 4:4-7; Matthew 12:38-42, 20:20-28, 25:31-33, 26:64; Revelation 1:12-18

Advent Reading 20: Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of Man (Part 1)

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. -Matthew 16:15-17

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So, he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!  He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.   At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” -Matthew 27:41-43,50-54

For the next couple of days, we are going to study about Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of Man.  Today we are going to focus on Jesus as the Son of God.  Jesus was divine and human.  Jesus is God – holy, pure, powerful, justice, peace, and so much more.  Jesus and God are one, a part of the Trinity- God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  This is not to explain the Trinity- that’s another study in itself.

Because Jesus is fully divine, he was very capable of representing God on earth.  Jesus shares God’s nature and intentions- filled with love and compassion for us on earth.  During Jesus’ earthly ministry even the demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God.

Jesus asked the disciples who do they say he is, and Peter quickly declared that Jesus is the Son of the Living God.  Peter’s eyes were open to the truth that Jesus was indeed divine.  Peter of course later on was the father of the church.  His faith in the Son of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit changed this headstrong man into a mighty man of God.

Jesus was crucified because of his declaration as being God’s Son. It is interesting to note from the scripture above the earth shook at the moment Jesus’ died.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two, the earth shook, rocks split, and tombs opened with men and women coming back to life.  The centurion and those guarding the cross then realized and declared Jesus as the Son of God.  Jesus was laid in a tomb and three days later the power of God raised Jesus from the dead!

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we too can become sons and daughters of God.  We too can call God – Abba- as Jesus taught the disciples to call God in the Lord’s prayer.  Paul tells us in Galatians “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father'” (Galatians 4:6).

Jesus as the Son of God has divine power which healed many, forgave sins, set captives free, raised people from the dead and enables us to become sons and daughters of God.  Paul tells us not only do we have the same Spirit of God in us as Jesus does, we have the same power which raised Jesus from the dead living in us!  As God’s sons and daughters, we too have 24/7 access to God.  We can talk to him.  We can be confident God listens to our hearts and prayers and he is always there for us.

Sing praises to Jesus today for being the Son of God.  Thank him for coming to earth to save us.  Thank him for allowing us to be sons and daughters of God.  Walk in the knowledge you and I are royalty.  We are princesses and princes of the kingdom of God!  Our dad- Father God is the King!  Hallelujah!

Prayer:

Jesus, I declare as Peter and the centurion did, you are indeed the Son of God.  Thank you for loving me so much that you came to earth to purchase my salvation on Calvary.  Thank you for making a way for me to have 24/7 access to God our Father.  Thank you for allowing me to become a son/daughter of God.  I praise you Jesus.  You are amazing and wonderful.  Words are not enough to share my gratitude for what you have done.  Jesus today, help me to remember I am royalty.  Help me to walk in victory because the same power who lives in you, lives in me.  Wow!  What a promise and truth.  I am amazed at your wondrous love.  Amen.

For further study:

Deuteronomy 33:27; Matthew 6:9-13; Matthew 16:13-21; John 3:16-17; Romans 8:14-17; Hebrews 12:4-11

Advent Reading Day 19: Jesus is Lord

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” -Romans 10:9-13 NLT
 
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. -Philippians 2:9-11 NLT
 
Jesus is Lord- every knee will bow on earth, in heaven and below the earth declaring his Lordship. The Greek word for Lord is Kyrios meaning owner, emperor, king, father, husband or master. It can also translate the Hebrew words and names of God: Adonai, Yahweh and Elohim. When we address Jesus as Lord, we are declaring that he is God and has ultimate control of our lives.
 
Allowing Jesus to be Lord of our lives is not always easy. It’s about living in holiness, separating ourselves from the world and living pure lives dedicated to God. Yes, there is salvation and we become Christians when we call upon Jesus, but making Jesus our Lord is a step further in our relationship with Him. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord we progress as Paul states many times in his letters…
 
Believing in the Lord
Loving in the Lord
Working hard in the Lord
Boasting in the Lord
Being faithful in the Lord
Being strong in the Lord
Hoping in the Lord
Standing firm in the Lord
Rejoicing in the Lord.
 
Paul teaches us that Jesus is not just our Savior but indeed our Lord. In Jesus, we live, work, pray, suffer, walk, and love. Our joy does not depend on having things our way but relying on the Lord to live in and through us. So how do we do this? “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:37-40).
 
Allowing Jesus to be Lord of our lives enables us to love him with all our hearts, souls and minds and then reaching out to others in love. We are able to do this by plugging into his power- through the Holy Spirit. Think of a lamp, it cannot glow if it is not plugged into the source. Jesus as Lord is the source of power enabling us to live holy lives. We have to be plugged into the power.
 
Think over the past week- how well did we allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives? Did others recognize Jesus in our conversations, emails, Facebook posts, actions in how we treated each other? Are we just hoping to get to heaven with a fire insurance ticket out of hell or are we desiring to be more like Jesus and have a genuine love relationship with him? Ask Christ to restore the joy of our salvation, ask him to be Lord of our lives and plug into the power living out our love for him in our daily lives.
 
Prayer:
Jesus, I want to move from just having you as my Savior. I desire you to be my Lord and my Master. I want to tap into your power so I can love you with all my heart, soul, and strength. I want others to see you in me. Jesus, thank you for giving of yourself as a lowly baby in the manger to live and die for me. Jesus, this Christmas I give all of me, leave nothing behind. I want to be holy for you are holy. Help me to show to the world that you are indeed Lord of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
 
For further study:
Deuteronomy 10:14-17; Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 14:10-12