Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.
“I have set my face like a stone determined to do His will.” Isaiah 50:7
When I am starting something new, there’s the excitement and freshness of this new thing. Perhaps I’ve been thinking of it, dreaming of it, praying for it for a long time. I bring energy, zest, and enthusiasm to the table. I’ve researched and planned and am ready to go.
And then when I’m nearing the finish line of said dream or project, I receive a fresh burst of energy because the end is in sight. I’ve almost reached my goal.
But it’s in the messy middle that dreams fade, marriages fail, jobs lose their luster, and parenting seems not quite so fun.
“It’s in the messy middle that we must “set our faces like a stone and determine to do His will.”
If you’re in the middle of a messy middle, take heart. Mary and Joseph had to deal with them in their lives too. Join me on this short podcast today to reflect upon messy middles and how we can persevere through them. And remember,
Once the shepherds had gathered their wits about them and understood the angel’s message, they ran to Bethlehem to find the Savior. And find Him they did.
The shepherds surely shared with Mary and Joseph about the angels’ visit, and unable to contain themselves, they lost no time in sharing this hot-off-the-presses news about the baby King they found in a manger with anyone who would listen.
Jesus has that effect on people. He likes to stir things up. When the sacred intersects the ordinary, spectacular things happen. The lame walk. The blind see. Sinners are forgiven. Addictions are broken. And angels sing—and not just for Jesus’ birth. Luke 15:10 tells us that whenever another soul is won to heaven, heaven celebrates.
What About Us?
Perhaps your story isn’t as flashy as a million-watt sky filled with angels. But the reality is, you’re a different person than you were before Jesus, and that is a story that deserves to be told. In the way only you can tell it. Never underestimate the power of a changed life to reach others.
Like the shepherds, be alert to those God has primed for your story. As a matter of fact, pray for God to send those who need a word from you. Let’s look at a few ways to share:
Practice your story.Write down a 1-minute version of your story. Your life before Jesus, your conversion and your life after Jesus. And share it when God opens the door for you to do so.
Give tangible help. Bring a meal to a family with a new baby or to a family going through a hard time. Pray that God opens a way for you to share with them, either now or in the future.
Volunteer to teach a class at your church or lead a neighborhood Bible study. Both children and adults need to hear that Jesus loves them enough to have died for them.
Write out your story longhand or on your computer so that future generations of your family will have a copy. You never know when your story will be able to reach through time to influence others.
Mary and I appreciate you joining us over Advent for this series. Be looking for our New Year’s podcast over the next week. Merry Christmas to your and your family!
Christmas To Do-ers List, Day 2: Make Room for Him
Christmas To Do-ers List
Day 2: Make Room for Him
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Can you imagine being Mary perched on a donkey, already in the pangs of labor, as they entered the city of Bethlehem? I am sure she was hoping for a quiet place, a haven to give birth to her son. But that’s not what greeted her. A city teeming with people and noise, with nary a haven in sight.
Or perhaps you identify more with Joseph, with the full responsibility of Mary and the imminent birth on his shoulders. Every inn was packed; every door he desperately knocked on slammed in his face. No room.
As we consider Mary and Joseph’s plight that night, one of the most important lessons we can take from this story is to make room for the Savior in our lives. In the whole city, one innkeeper took pity on their plight and offered what he had for their use.
What about us? Do we make room for the Word Made Flesh in our lives? John 8:37 tells the sad story of those who have no room for the word. But when we make room for Jesus, when we give Him what we have, He changes everything. The more room we give Him in our lives, the more changes He makes. And the more He uses what we give Him.
While it’s a good start, Jesus is asking for more than just Sunday morning. We need to make room in our schedules, in our homes, in our leisure time, in our work, in our hearts.
Rather than being a once-a-week commitment, Jesus wants to be our everyday priority.
When we pray about our schedules, Jesus can multiply our time, help us to make the right connections and opportunities. When we invite Him into our families, He can soften and quicken the hearts of ourselves and our loved ones to bring about necessary change. When we pray about our leisure time activities and hobbies, He can spark creativity and opportunities we may not have had otherwise. When we give Him our work, He can help us weather difficulties and inspire us with new ideas. When we step out in ministry, he can bless our five loaves and two fish into much more than we imagine. Making room for Him is the key to change in our own lives.
Determine how you will make room for Jesus this Advent.
What does your devotion time look like? Are you meeting with Jesus in the morning or evening? If not, when can you make time for Him?
Is there an area of your life that you have put up the “no vacancy” sign at, that you haven’t yet yielded control of to Jesus?
Can you make room for an extended time of prayer once during Advent? Perhaps as a mini-retreat in your own home or somewhere else?
Is there a step of ministry God is asking you to take for Him?
Please share any ideas of how you will make room for Jesus this season in the comment section below and enjoy the music selection for today: Do You Have Room?, by Shawna Edwards.
Let’s be To Do-ers of His word this Christmas season by making room!