A Christmas Devotional

 (the above crown, top AND bottom, says it all)
Are you looking for a Christmas Devotional for yourself, personally, or for your family?

 I invite you to read  "Who Is this Jesus? And Why Did He Come?" It is a simple, consice 25-day devotional that will point you and your family to the heart of the Christmas Season: JESUS…Who HE IS, and Why HE CAME. Each day holds one truth "to savor" as we worship our Savior this season.

 Check out this FREE ON-LINE devotional on my website: www.respitefortheweary.com (see the devotional cover on the sidebar and click).

May you and your family be blessed as you choose to cultivate a heart of worship this season for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, our Emmanuel.

Victory Belongs to His Valiant Warrior

My three previous ABC posts are entitled: Stand Steady in His Strength, Totally Trust the Truth, and Understand His Unfailing Love. Today's post is: Victory Belongs to His Valiant Warrior.

Victory Belongs to His Valiant Warrior? Long ago there was a man named Samson who was given  rare and extreme physical strength. God intended Samson to use this mighty power to begin deliverance from the hand of the Philistines who had been oppressing the Israelites for 40 years. Samson did indeed kill many Philistines with his matchless strength, but his weakness, the desire of foreign women, kept him from being known as a valiant warrior for his people. As a matter of fact, Samson is most remembered for his tragic downfall which came through a woman named Delilah. Delilah betrayed Samson by telling his enemies the secret of his strength; as a result, his valiant victories as a warrior were no longer his to obtain (...until one last redemptive act). See Judges 13-16

by Gigi McMurray
Victory Belongs to His Valiant Warrior! Another man named Gideon was also living during an oppressive time. The Israelites lived in constant dread of the Midianites' plunderous attacks. Gideon was so frightened by this raging army that he would thresh wheat in a wine press so that he would not be seen by them. Ironically, while Gideon was hiding in this place, the angel of the Lord approached Gideon and said, "The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." God saw something in Gideon that Gideon himself was not yet aware of: courage. Gideon chose to trust God's perspective of him. This inexperienced young man humbly obeyed the Lord's instruction concerning leadership and battle strategy; as a result, Gideon soundly defeated the vast Midianite army with only 300 men. God's strength prevailed and victory belonged to His valiant warrior, Gideon. See Judges 6,7.

When looking at Samson and Gideon, I see a paradox. Samson, full of strength and might, was made powerless by just one woman. Gideon, however, who was the least in his tribe and the youngest in his family, defeated a vast army of trained soldiers. Samson lost touch with his God-given gift and began using it for his own desires; in contrast, Gideon tapped into his God-given gift and kept the Lord as his Commander.

In which camp are you? Remember, my friend, each one of us has been blessed uniquely. Let us seek to use our gifts for His glory only. He wants to do great things through you and me, but our gifts and abilities are mere avenues of revealing God's glory to people. Samson missed the point and was humbled; Gideon embraced the truth and was exalted.

Fully trust, humbly obey, and then confidently march into your battle (realize you will always have an enemy that fights against the progress of His glory). But also remember this: Victory belongs to HIS Valiant Warrior.

For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? The God who girds me with strength, and makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds' feet, and sets me up on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Ps 18:31-34

Understand His Unfailing Love

My previous three ABC posts are: Rest with Him Run with Him, Stand Steady in His Strength, and Totally Trust the Truth. Today's post is: Understand His Unfailing Love.

Understand His Unfailing Love? Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor during Jesus' ministry. The unbelieving Jewish chief priests went to Pilate in order to get his permission to crucify Jesus. Pilate stood face to face with Jesus and was confused by His silent strength and unwavering mindset. In the midst of the betwixting conversation, Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" This unresolved internal conflict led Pilate to the persuaded external decision of turning Jesus over to the Jews to be crucified. Sadly, Pontius Pilate never understood the unfailing love of Jesus Christ. (See John 19:1-16)

Understand His Unfailing Love! There was another man named Nicodemus who also stood face to face with Jesus. One night, Nicodemus asked Jesus difficult questions. As he was listening intently to His answers he became confused, but he did not walk away. Instead, Jesus' inviting words of being born of the Spirit captivated Nicodemus' heart. From this middle-of-the night encounter with the great Teacher, Nicodemus began to understand the unfailing love of God, and he longed to know more of this beautiful Truth. Consequently, at the time of Jesus' mock trial, Nicodemus boldly defended Jesus before his own Jewish council; he was no longer afraid to be a Christ-follower. And after Jesus was crucified, Nicodemus loyally helped bury His body. (see John 3:1-16, 7:50-52; 19:39-40)

by Gigi McMurray
When looking at these two men, they both asked questions. Pontius Pilate was pulled to the truth of Jesus' heart, but then, he wishy-washingly stepped away. Nicodemus, on the other hand, decided to keep walking persistently forward. He asked one question at a time and gleaned from Jesus' thought-provoking words. Jesus honored Nicodemus' searching heart by giving him insight into the truth of who He is: the One who will give His life as a ransom for many.

Friends, let us seek Him with our whole heart. Remember, Jesus literally died (!) to give you His unfailing love. Today, right now, He longs to be gracious to you, He waits on high to have compassion on you. (Isaiah 30:18). Will you receive this promise, personally, right now? Don't back away from His words of truth; don't give into the pressure of the world. Instead, be persistent with your questions, and He will be faithful with His answers. Make it your ambition to understand His unfailing love and you will NOT be disappointed.

"Let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord. (Jer. 9:24)

The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.  (2 Chron. 16:9)