Come Lord Jesus

Most believers will be celebrating Jesus’ birth today (We understand and respect those who choose not to.). However, might a fervent prayer all believers have be “Please come back soon, Lord Jesus.” 

Oh, that His bride would be holy, ready, and yearn for the Groom’s return. May we make ourselves ready. Have a disdain for this world and long for the next. Come, Lord Jesus. 

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12:40).

“To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who are alive and remain hall be caught up together with them in the clouds and meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The Love of Children

Sunday night we caroled to our neighbors. We love seeing each of them. Many of the longtime neighbors tell us how they have figured out the night we will carol and that they look forward to it. We are grateful for the marrieds’ efforts to bundle up their children for Kansas temperatures to carol with us. This year it was cold and snowy.

Looking into the eyes of those we sing to and seeing the expressions on their faces is a blessing. There always appears to be one thing that is special above the music, food, and friendship. Our neighbors love to see our little grandchildren.

I marvel at God’s design and the “magnetic attraction” little children possess. If you have “littles,” might you consider how God could use them to brighten other’s lives? “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth” (Psalm 127:4).

A tough nut to crack

God could have sent His Son Jesus to earth at any point in time, with a giant comet or any other appropriate regalia for the King of king’s arrival. However, God chose a stable as His birthplace and parents who were under public suspicions of impropriety. Jesus had humble beginnings and a life characterized by humility. 

Yet, how often would you describe a brother in Christ, a Christian leader, or a pastor as humble? Today, humility is synonymous with weakness.  People admire others who assert themselves because no one “pushes them around.” 

Now consider whether others might describe us as humble. Have you noticed how everything within us (me/you?) knee-jerk reacts to anything that requires humility? But praise be to God for His all-sufficient, enabling grace should humility be the desire of our hearts and prayers. 

“… Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Note: I just finished reviewing proof checks for reprinting two Moody books, Spring and Colorado. I had forgotten how much I love those Moody books. They encourage children in the Lord Jesus and the values of Scripture. I wish my children would have had them to read when they were young. Consider blessing your family with the whole set. I’ve never heard from a dad who was disappointed with those books. Blessings, Steve

Gratefulness Part 2

Raising grateful children is far more than merely having children who superficially say, “Thank you.” Last week Seriously began this thought on gratitude that ultimately has eternal consequences for our children.

We learn from Deuteronomy 28:45-47 the deeper, underlying fault (the second “because”) that led to Israel’s disobedience. What is that fault? They weren’t grateful. “Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.” They weren’t grateful because they weren’t noticing and valuing God’s blessing of “the abundance of all things.” 

Dads, our positive or negative example, is impressed upon the hearts of the children. Do you recognize God’s blessings, and then do you sincerely praise Him out loud, in the presence of your family, in good times and bad? Grateful hearts create an ongoing awareness of God’s grace, mercy, love, presence, power, provision, and even chastening. 

As we thank Him and speak it out, it helps our children learn to appreciate His blessings versus assuming and expecting them.  

Will your children have an entitlement mentality when they are grown, expecting God to continue to dole out blessings, or will they be grateful for all that God has done and continues to do for them? What about you? Where are you on the gratitude scale? Do you declare that gratefulness to the Lord not only in private prayer but continually aloud in the presence of your children?

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).


Christmas Peace and Joy

Christmas family photos, Christmas letters and cards, gifts purchased and wrapped, house decorated, events attended, holiday baking completed, colds and stomach viruses—all added to an already full life and schedule. Does it make your head spin as December descends on you? Does each additional task put a little more dread in your heart and raise your stress level another notch? While I am all about planning, organization, and scheduling to make Christmas a special season (here’s an article about that), that doesn’t eliminate the extra time and work involved. On top of it all, this is the season we want to be filled with joy and have peaceful hearts. Is it possible?

In Our Minds

When the next thing comes and our minds start to calculate the time parameters, including where and when it can fit, we have a choice. We either let the feeling of pressure crush in on us and move into stress mode, or we give thanks. To give thanks, we immediately take that thought captive: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We evaluate what we have to be thankful for in it. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Then that becomes our focus rather than the focus of self and how to accomplish it. That’s a pretty simple formula based on two powerful Scriptures. What is the outcome?

As we thank the Lord for this need or activity, our hearts move from self to God. Truly, aren’t we grateful that He has provided funds for gifts and ingredients to bake special treats? If we struggle with the Christmas letter or photo, can’t we give thanks for friends and family we will connect to with them? As we plan to do Christmas decorating, aren’t we happy that those decorations are a constant reminder to our families of the beautiful gift of Jesus Christ born to save us from our sins? Even in sickness, we can be thankful for the family He has given us, that the illness is temporary, and that we can be there to care for the sick one.

Ultimately in gratitude, we put Him in charge rather than our owning the outcomes. After all He has told us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He doesn’t want us to carry the burden. We move out of me having to be in charge and work everything out and into “God will carry me through. I am grateful for what He has brought into my life, and I trust Him through it.”

Whose Got It?

Who do you think has peace and joy—the woman who is stressed and pushing toward perfection in all that she undertakes or the woman who is grateful and rests in her Lord? I have done it both ways, and my natural tendency is toward perfection and the stress that accompanies it. However, I much prefer peace and joy. Gratitude puts our thoughts on Jesus. It quiets our hearts. It puts a smile on our faces and makes us more enjoyable to be around.  

May I encourage you the next time Christmas stress threatens to descend on you that you immediately push it out with gratitude. Be thankful out loud if necessary since sometimes those negative thoughts can seem to be more domineering in your mind than the right ones. When you speak gratitude out loud not only you benefit, but your family does as well. With this sweet little plan, I can’t help but wonder if December 25th will arrive, and you will have a joyful, peaceful heart that has been worshipping your Lord through the whole month.

Teri Maxwell 

Posted in: Mom's Corner