Did everyone remember to turn their clocks back this Sunday morning? If not I hope you enjoyed your sleep.
Uninterrupted sleep in safety is a blessing most of us don’t consider very often. Unless, we have been directly affected by the effects of not sleeping well we are most likely to take it for granted. Whether it’s due to an unsafe situation, environment, or in many cases a medical condition related to ourself or a loved one. Wherever we are on the scale of our sleep experience taking a moment and recognizing that the Lord is the giver of sleep and safety is time well spent. It is estimated that nearly 40 million people within the U.S. alone suffer from chronic medical conditions linked to sleep disorders and another estimated 20 million live in unsafe home situations that prevent them from sleeping in safety. King David who wrote this Psalm was very familiar with the looming threat of danger that brought the subject of sleep into many of his writings. David recognized that the Lord is his source of peace, his sustainer, giver of sleep, and his protector that keeps watch over him as he slept.
This week as you treasure this verse in your heart I pray where ever you are on the peace, sleep, and safety spectrum that this verse will help turn your eyes to the Lord. For he alone is the God of peace, the God who sustains, and the God who protects us and blesses us with sleep. That is what Psalm 4:1-8 leads the reader to do—- “….let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord…… for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
How do you hope to experience God this week– as your peace, sustainer, or protector?
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and to view previous posts.
Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Welcome to the final post in the ADORE Series: Eternal Peace—
Happy New Year!!! Did you know we are just days away from the Day of Epiphany? Friday January 6th marks the day to celebrate the day that The Wise Men or Maggi arrived and worshiped Jesus the newborn king—“And he will be their peace.” (Micah 5:5) Some traditions celebrate the combination of both the worship and gifts given by the Maggi and the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist where the “Spirit descended on him like a dove.”(Mark 1:10-11). These events are both centered on the celebration of the peaceful kingship of our Savior. If you have never celebrated this holiday you can find more information at this link —https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/epiphany.
As we take time this week to reflect on the gift of “Eternal Peace”. I think it is important to consider the gifts presented to the Son of God by the Maggi. These men had, in some cases, spent their lifetime searching for the foretold star to appear as prophesied hundreds of years before by the prophet Balaam (Numbers 24:17-19). The star was declared as the sign of the rise of an Israelite King. After the “Bethlehem Star” (click for a short video) appeared in the heavens the Maggi began their journey to the Jewish capital city of Jerusalem. Each one anticipating their opportunity to honor and worship this long awaited king with gifts suited for royalty— gold, frankincense, and myrrh. All of these gifts spoke of Jesus’ position, purpose, and perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies that brought hope for “Eternal Peace” on earth.Let’s reflect on the gifts:
The First Gift~ Gold– A gift of great value given to royalty and those who have treasure. This gift speaks to the future position of Christ as Eternal King—the King of peace.
Micah 5:2-5 “”But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come from me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.”
The Second Gift~ Frankincense– An expensive form of incense known for it’s sweet fragrance, healing properties, and being used often in sacrificial offering ceremonies. This gift speaks to his purpose to live a life that would reconcile the world to its’ creator.
Isaiah 9:6-7 “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. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The seal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
The Third Gift~ Myrrh– A balm that had a sweet aroma yet bitter flavor most used for it’s healing, preservation, and protective qualities. It was commonly used for Jewish burial preparation. This gift resembles the suffering and sacrifice that speaks to the perpetual fulfillment of the prophecies for “Eternal Peace”.
Revelation 1:4b-8 “ Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father— to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, “says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.””
Let’s carry these gifts in our lives this year to share with our world around us!
Share the gift of gold by sharing the Gospel of peace and doing our best to remain at peace with all. (Ephesians 6:15; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18)
Share the gift of frankincense by spreading the fragrance of Christ’s love daily. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Share the gift of myrrh by living selflessly and dying to our self-daily so Christ will live through us. (Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20)
Prayer of Adoration: Oh Eternal King of Peace you are mighty and worthy of all praise. Your kingdom is never ending and your love endures forever. We seek to follow after you and be instruments of your peace, love, joy, hope, and grace this whole year through. Lord as we draw closer to you we ask that you would fill us with more of you so our lives will be a fragrant offering to you. Teach us to be imitators of you so where we walk we walk in your love and peace. Help us to live selflessly by faith. Empower us to choose to be salt and light encouraging peace among our brothers and sisters. We ask all of this as we long for your triumphal return to reign as The King of Kings. In Jesus Holy name, Amen
Here is a great song to listen to as you ponder the gift of Christ by Lauren Daigle “Noel(live)”.
Welcome to the third post in the ADORE Series: Outrageous Joy—
What comes to mind when you hear “Outrageous Joy”? Is it a loud memory or a quiet gentle one? Is it a memory of a time experienced with others or a personal moment? I have experienced joy in so many ways it is hard explain the source of my joy at times. Especially when tears accompany it. This week let’s take a moment to reflect on the “outrageous joy” that Mary carried within her as the mother of our Savior. She gives a brief glimpse of it in her song found in Luke 1: 46-56. I wonder what it was like for her knowing she was blessed to carry the Savior of the world but unable to share her miraculous experience outside of a very small circle of relatives for fear of ridicule and a possible sentence of death. Her life was marked by suffering, persecution, separation, and danger. She experienced brief highlights of honor, acceptance, delight, and peace which she pondered and treasured in her heart. What gave her the strength to continue? I suggest that, like Jesus, she endured all the circumstances of her life for the joy set beforeher (Hebrews 12:2:3)– the fulfillment of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah and the message given by the angel, Gabriel. Her strength was born out of the presence of the Holy Spirit that released the power to create Jesus, God made man, and burst forth as “outrageous joy” that would sustain her and point her time and time again to “the joy set beforeher”. That same Holy Spirit that sustained Mary and Jesus while they walked the earth is alive in us. So no matter what we are facing now or in the future we need to tap into the strength of the “Outrageous Joy” only He can provide. I hope you will experience the “Outrageous Joy” of Christ this Christmas!
May I suggest starting with this Chris Tomlin song “Joy to the World(Unspeakable Joy)”? I personally think Mary’s joy is expressed well by the chorus lyrics—- “Joy, unspeakable joy. An overflowing well, no tongue can tell. Joy, unspeakable joy. Rises in my soul, never lets me go.” (check out the whole song on YouTube @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC3SwhJsLqU&sns=em ) Be careful I have had this chorus in my head for about two weeks now it is very catchy!!!
As you read the joyful Psalm below reflect on the birth of our Savior and the “outrageous joy” His birth brought into our world for us each to experience.
“ Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyfulsongs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
How will you keep his “outrageous joy” alive in your heart this week and all yearlong?
Who can you tell about the “outrageous joy” of Christ’s birth?
Leave a comment to let me know what brings you “outrageous joy”!
Prayer of Adoration: We come to you, Lord, with thanksgiving in our hearts and your “unspeakable joy” in our souls for all the ways that you love us. Your expression of love is deep and never ending. Your outrageous gift of salvation through your Son our Savior leaves us in awe of you. We ask that you the God of hope will fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in you so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit(Romans 15:13). We love you, Lord, even though we have not seen you. We believe in you and know that you are the one who fills us with an inexpressible and glorious joy-— the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls(1Peter 1: 8-9). Just as you filled Mary’s heart and soul with “unspeakable joy” as she carried our Savior and released Him for your glory. May you be glorified this Christmas season as we seek to live joyful lives in reflection of your gift of eternal life! Please strengthen us as we fix our eyes on you, Jesus, and run the race you have set before us. We want to live like you did enduring the things of this life for the joy set before us. Help us to not grow weary and lose heart(Hebrews 12: 1-3) but to consider it all joy that we will be made complete in you.(James 1:2-8)
In your holy name, Jesus– Amen
Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always
John Maxwell Team Certified inspirational speaker and author