Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wrapping It Up

Here we are again, heading into the final stretch of another year. Christmas is right around the corner and the hustle around me is almost overwhelming.

Do you hear the Lord whispering to your heart? Slow down. Be still. Here I am. Waiting and ready to be found. I don’t want to let another moment, let alone a year, slip by without basking fully in my Savior’s glory.

Are we so focused on wrapping the presents that we miss the present God has fully unwrapped for us already? Jesus, coming in human form and enduring all He did for us, isn’t something to be taken lightly. We don’t want to only tune in one day of the year but I do want to celebrate what Christmas is truly about and not have it simply brushed aside in the hurry.

I find myself completely enthralled with the awesomeness of the story of Christmas. Is it just me or is the fact that God chose everyday, ordinary people to play such amazing roles in His great plan reassuring? 

In other words, because of Christ, we’re all able to be used in God’s great story!

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:7-11 (NLT)

Did you catch the fact that the first people, other than Joseph and Mary, to hear the good news of Jesus’ birth were shepherds? Maybe it’s because I raise sheep for a living and know all too well how shepherds can be viewed by others that I always find such great delight in this passage.

God uses who He chooses!

We find ourselves reflecting a lot at this time of year and sometimes we can be overly critical of ourselves. I’m not going to lie, I’ve dropped the ball on countless occasions this year. But you know what, God is still using me! He doesn’t disqualify us from service because of our weaknesses, He uses them for His glory. Does that make anyone else want to jump up and down with praise for our great King?

As you go about your plans for Christmas this year, I pray Jesus will permeate every part of it. As we wrap up another year don’t rush past all of the wonder and splendor of our Savior. Let’s each walk into the new year humble, teachable and ready to put feet to our faith.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

When The Cup Is Empty

The plates keep spinning as I try desperately to balance what seems like an endless to do list. Just don’t stop moving or the fine balance, or the facade of what now looks like balance, of life will coming crashing down.

The demands of everyday life often make me feel like a salmon swimming upstream. I’m in constant motion but sure don’t feel like I’m making any headway. Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? Let me tell you, you’re not alone!

You’ve heard it said, “My cup runneth over” from Psalm 23:5. Well, an all too common occurrence in our society today is “My cup runneth empty”. How many times have you been giving and giving and realize you ran out of “stuff” to give long ago and still keep dipping in for more.

There is a reason we’re told in a flight safety rundown we need to put our own oxygen mask on before we help others. When we don’t take in what’s needed to keep us going we’re useless to those around us.

The past month and a half I haven’t done a good job of putting on my oxygen mask first. As such, my cup had long since run dry and was choking  on the remaining dust. Rather than take the time needed to invite God into fill me up, I gritted my teeth and tried to continue on in my own strength.

I’m sure many of you already know this but that is NOT fun! We grow weary and burn out creeps at our door the entire time. Stubborn pride whispers lies to us that we can do it all and do it on our own.

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Cry out to Jesus and repent of pride. Allow God to breathe fresh air back into you. Dig into His word and let Him pour new life into your cup.

I pray you can find your “oxygen mask” quickly next time life sweeps you off your feet and tries to drain your cup. You can’t give what you don’t have!