Luke 6:37 ” Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

As this year ends – wipe the slate clean…set free those feelings of resentment against others you’ve been harboring. But the very most important person to forgive is yourself. Make the decision to no longer blame yourself for self-perceived short comings and outcomes that may or may not had been within your control. Forgive others and yourself, and don’t allow guilt and blame to follow you into the new year.

Luke 9:62 ” Jesus replied, ‘ No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.’ “

To plow well – your furrow must be straight – to have straight furrows, you need to be looking forward, not back. To be of use for the Lord in the coming new year, we can’t be gazing back longingly at the life we had before we became Christians. To be His servant, we must forego all…surrendering, and relinquishing the past and all its trappings.

Philippians 3:113 ” Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead…”

With the new year fast approaching the Lord would say…Forget what is behind you. Forget the anger, frustration, and impatience you’ve had towards others. Forget those times that someone was mean and wished you evil. Forget the things you’d like to pay back someone for. All these things are now in the past…let them remain there.

Proverbs 29:23 ” A man’s pride brings him low…”

The other day I saw a poster with this on it…” If God has shut the door, why do we keep banging on it?” I pondered this for quite a while, knowing I’ve been guilty many times. We know that we know the Lord has slammed shut a door, but our foolish pride refuses to listen or realize that God knows best.
Instead we’ll stand pathetically at the door, hammering away, insisting the Lord was wrong. Pride deludes us into thinking we have more wisdom than God. When a door gets shut, we need to be thankful and at peace, knowing He wants only the very best for us.

I Chronicles 16:34 ” Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Take on a frame of mind of appreciation today for the world to see. Not just a commonplace- “Oh, thanks! You have a nice day too!” appreciation, but a gratitude for your fellow-man that will stop them short and make them curious as to what’s so special about you. That’s when you can sincerely share with them the reason for your hope and thankfulness. Have an attitude of gratitude today…it will become contagious to all those around you.

Luke 2: 14 ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

The lyrics of a beloved old Christmas carol has been swirling around in my head this Christmas morning. “Oh come let us adore Him…” When was the last time you did just that? Quieted yourself before the Lord and thanked Him for everything He’s given you…for health, and family, and blessing beyond what you know. Today, take a moment to adore Him, for He is so very worthy of your worship. May you and yours have a very blessed Christmas! Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.

Luke 2:7 “…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

After a long and exhausting week of travel on the dusty roads between Nazareth and Bethlehem, the very last thing Mary expected was to be turned away from the only place of lodging on the edge of Bethlehem. Joseph had tried repeatedly to find a quiet place for them to spend the night, but to no avail. A strange new pain slowly overtook Mary…soon coming more quickly and sharper than before – each time taking her breath away. Her time was nearing, her anxiety increasing, and all she wanted was to be away from the crowds and all the noise. Joseph had only to look at Mary’s face and hear her moan softly to realize he needed to do something – fast. Back behind the inn was a cave where the livestock were kept, and in the back was an empty stall full of clean hay. He settled Mary in as comfortably as he could…and then waited. The miracle of birth was taking its definitive course, and to both their amazement, things moved quickly and smoothly…and soon the lusty squall of a newborn taking its first breaths could be heard filling the night air. The cattle slowly turned their heads towards the noise, all the while chewing their cuds…the sheep softly bleated in response to the tiny cries as they pushed nearer in curiosity. The image of the invisible God lay nestled in Mary’s arms…Jesus was born.

Luke 2:4 ” So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.”

Caesar Augustus wanted a census of the entire Roman world, and ordered everyone to go to their own town to register. Eighty miles…that’s the distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem…not a easy undertaking for a very pregnant Mary to travel. It usually took four days to walk between the two towns, but given her physical limitations, it probably took them a week. But slowly, during that arduous process, they were fulfilling the prophecy of the Minor Prophet Micah, who proclaimed the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)

Isaiah 9:2 ” The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

The world is a dark, gloomy place…full of blackness of souls and minds. But enlightenment came, in the shape of a tiny baby born thousands of years ago, to bring life and salvation to all. The Psalmist summed it up perfectly in Psalm 36:9, ” In Your light we see light.”

Matthew 1:18 ” This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.”

Joseph had the right to give Mary a certificate of divorce if he found anything indecent about her. But the angel again appeared to bring revelation to Joseph’s confused and betrayed mind before he did anything rash. During this “God dream”, the angel gave Joseph details, even down to the name he must call the baby, thus quelling and vanishing all Joseph’s doubts and fears concerning his Mary.

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