November 18, 2017

This Week…Luke 2:8-14

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and 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 this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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From Ann, Ahmee, Clella, Cynda, Tina, and myself…
we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!  
God bless you and keep you!

This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have been encouraged by our writers to praise God and bring Him honor and glory… just as the angels did when they came to the shepherds to announce the Good News of the birth of the Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

In When the Glory of the Lord is Shown Upon You, Ann reminded us of our privilege and joy to testify of God’s glory…

“I therefore request us, brethren, to cry unto God to show us His glory in all aspects of life so that we can be able to testify to others.  How can we testify of His glory if we ourselves have not experienced it?  The shepherds experienced the glory.  (And, yes, they were terrified…just as the shepherds!)  But the angel said to them “do not be afraid” for he came with good news.  The testimony they had was “God brings good news.”  Trust me, God is bringing His glory in different ways and we will testify.  But I pray we will testify as we have experienced it and perceive it in Jesus’ Name.”

In God Draws Near, Clella encouraged us—through many examples—to take the opportunity we’ve been given to ‘go tell!’ others about our God and Lord Jesus…

“We may be small and insignificant from the world’s perspective, yet to God we are like the lowly shepherds–we are very important to Him. He is personal. He has drawn near to us by sending His Light, Jesus, to dwell in our hearts. During this Christmas, we have the wonderful opportunity to show others just what a personal God we love and serve by sharing Jesus—Emmanuel—with anyone who will listen.”

In Great Joy, Tina shared about recognizing the joy that we can have as we submit to God’s will…

“The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)”

Great Joy

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and 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 this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).  And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: You will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

Luke 2:8-14

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Do you recall the anticipation you felt before your child(ren) were born? Or before the birth of a niece or nephew?  I remember well.  I was concerned and expectant all at once!  I wondered if I would be a good mom, would I make the right choices as a new mom, am I ready to have some little person that I am responsible for.  Then I remembered…God has given me a gift.  Someone He is entrusting to me and my husband to rear in the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)

When my son passed his driving test and received his license to drive, he felt great joy.  When he graduated from college he was relieved he had completed this part of his journey.  I pray he will be able to find that mate God has reserved for him. A mate to help him be more complete, a mate who will encourage him to do his best and he do the  same for her. I want my son to experience the joy of being a parent. To not feel the burden, but to see the child(ren) as gifts from his heavenly Father to nurture and grow in the ways of God.  Just as Mary and Joseph did.

Despite the whispers, looks, and misunderstandings, Mary and Joseph knew whose this Child was. They knew they had done nothing wrong and had obeyed God in all of the laws. These poor parents gave their all for God’s Child.  Yet their joy was in receiving from God the huge responsibility in raising His Son.  Joseph received more instruction from God in order to keep His son safe from Herod (Matthew 2:13-14; 19-23).  Then when called to return from Egypt, Mary and Joseph chose Nazareth to raise their family there.  Not too far from the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus would perform many of His miracles.

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Father, I thank You for sending Your Son to such humble beginnings. When we reflect on Jesus’ life and upbringing, we see You in every area.  You were there and You are present now, through your Holy Spirit, to guide and watch over us in ways we cannot begin to imagine. You are the great organizer of our lives.  I pray asking for Your favor and blessing upon our nation and our people.  I ask for a revival to begin in us as we help spread Your love to others.  In Jesus’ name, I praise You and thank You, amen!

The True Meaning of Christmas…by Linus

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and 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 this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Just Like New Kids Productions

When the Glory of the Lord is Shown Upon You

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.

Luke 2:8-9

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What happens when the glory of the Lord is shown on you?  Scripture makes clear that it’s possible for every true follower of Jesus to see and understand the glory of God.  Indeed, our Lord reveals His glory to all who ask and seek it diligently.

Moreover, I believe the revelation of God’s glory will equip His people for the perilous days ahead.  Paul states that this revelation “…is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).  Therefore, as we pray, “Lord, show me your glory,” we’re actually praying, “Father, reveal to me who You are.”  And if/when the Lord does give us a revelation of His glory, it’s a revelation of how He wants to be known by us.

How many of us have prayed a prayer such as this?  This type of prayer is normally prayed when faced with adversaries we feel are beyond our control.   At a time when we are at zero, we always ask for His glory.  Why can’t we also ask for His glory when we are in our highest spirits?  I believe there we can experience more of His glory, too.  Moses’ experience with the glory of God demonstrates this truth.

The Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel without giving him a full revelation of who the God of Israel truly was. The Lord merely told him, “Go, and say I AM sent you.” But He gave no explanation of who “I AM” was.  I believe this is why Moses cried, “[Lord]…I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory” (Exodus 33:18).  Moses had a gnawing hunger and thirst to know WHO the great I AM was—to know what His nature and character were all about.  I therefore request us, brethren, to cry unto God to show us His glory in all aspects of life so that we can be able to testify to others.  How can we testify of His glory if we ourselves have not experienced it?  The shepherds experienced the glory.  (And, yes, they were terrified…just as the shepherds!)  But the angel said to them “do not be afraid” for he came with good news.  The testimony they had was “God brings good news.”  Trust me, God is bringing His glory in different ways and we will testify.  But I pray we will testify as we have experienced it and perceive it in Jesus’ Name.

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Dear Lord, thank You for being willing to show us Your glory forever more.  And I pray, asking You to open our eyes and ears to see and to hear You when You come in Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, I pray,  Amen.

Oh, Holy Night

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and 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 this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

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Through Him

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
all things were made through Him,
and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

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If you have children you may know this song, “In the beginning, God created …”  It is sung by a character, Miss Patty Cake. Toddlers love her! She has an amazing ability to keep the children motivated and moving. She also shares her love of God with them.  She retells the stories of the Bible in ways they understand and come to know who God is to them, even at their young ages.  Our children need to be secure in knowing God loves them completely. They need to see it modeled in how we react to life and how we approach God.

Even when we get it wrong the children understand and they know. We can rest on the assurance of God for His forgiveness when we let life get in the way and speak harshly to our spouse or to our children. We are to repent and ask God to help take away our pain and show us how to turn away from our wrongs. God is faithful to do what is right.

When we do this, the children learn forgiveness. They know that it is acceptable to forgive and to love unconditionally. When we let God’s light shine in and through us, our children learn.

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Father, I thank You for Your gift of our children and grandchildren. You have entrusted their lives to us and we do not take the responsibility lightly. Help us to forgive the wrong done to us by those in authority.  Help us to demonstrate the right way to live, love, and to be a light to our children and grandchildren. Help us let Your light shine through, no matter what the situation is. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Light of Men

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ),
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God Himself.
He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God
All things were made and came into existence through Him;
and without Him not one thing was made that has come into being.
In Him was life [and the power to bestow life],
and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines on in the darkness,
and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it
or appropriate it or absorb it 
[and is unreceptive to it].
John 1:1-5 AMP

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Darkness is defined as the absence of light.  The only thing that can make darkness disappear is light.  Think about it…at night a small light can be seen from very far away.  We see stars that are millions of miles away.  Makes sense, right?  As I was studying this Scripture, I had a “lightbulb” moment < pun intended 😉 >

Before I accepted Jesus, my soul was dark.  There was no light to dispel the darkness.  Life and light aren’t just in Jesus.  Jesus IS Life and Light.  Look at John 8:12 NASB:

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world;
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus IS the Light of men.  John 12:46 ESV reiterates this:

I have come into the world as Light,
so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

We do not have to stay in darkness!  I love John 1:5.  Darkness does not understand, comprehend, or grasp the Light but must acknowledge it.  Darkness cannot overtake, overcome, overpower, extinguish, or absorb the Light but must reflect it.  Isn’t that amazing? What is the best way to deal with the darkness of this world?  Add more light.  Darkness cannot hide the Light!  2 Corinthians 4:6 NASB promises: “Light shall shine out of darkness.”  Jesus’ Light shines through us.  Jesus gives us life and light.  Out of the darkness of our soul, the Light of Jesus shines.  John MacArthur puts it like this:

The light in us is His light, the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit within us.

“…And the life was The Light of men” (John 1:4).  Heaven merged with humanity and was born in a manger to bring us the gift of Life and Light.  What a Gift we have been given!

(Hallelujah) Light Has Come

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
all things were made through him,
and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5

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 BarlowGirl
Alyssa, Lauren, and Rebecca Barlow

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Hmmm my Baby
Heaven sent You to me
All the worlds been praying
Who will Save
But who am I
That here tonight
I hold the One
Who’ll Bring us life

Hallelujah
We’ve been found
A Child is born
To save us now
Hallelujah
Light has come
A Savior who will set us free
The Promise for those who believe

Do you hear the angels
Sing for You, my Baby
Men and kings have come to
Bow to You
But here in my arms

So close to me
The Son of God
Now all can see

Hallelujah
We’ve been found
A Child is born to save us now
Jesus Hallelujah light has come
A Savior set us free
So praise to God on high
He has heard our cry

This Week…John 3:19-21

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…The light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil.  Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his actions may not be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God’s approval.

John 3:19-21

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How encouraging it has been to read the Seeking Him devotionals each day during this Advent season. This week we focused on the theme of Jesus being the Light of the world.  The Scriptures and the encouragement shared have helped me to prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.   Please click on the individual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Light Exposes the Darkness, Clella gave us an excellent example to compare being with or without THE Light…

“If you have ever visited a cave and the guide turned off all the lights, you know just how dark that cave is.  You literally can’t see your hand in front of your face.  To take even one step in that darkness could lead to you falling into an unseen pit, possibly even to your death…There are many people who prefer to walk in spiritual darkness because they are doing things that are wrong or their motive is wrong. They don’t want to have those things exposed by God’s Light—Jesus. They would rather take the chance of ‘falling into a pit’ than to give up their evil actions.”

In Motivated by the Light, Ahmee asked some really good questions to help us recognize ‘why’ we choose to do good/right…

“When you decide to do good or right what dictates your decision?

  • Does knowing that you are doing good motivate you?
  • Does not wanting to do wrong motivate you?
  • Are you motivated by the benefit you may receive?

Why do we do good/right?  John 3:19 says that “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”  This makes me question how, even now today, people still reject God’s light.”

In God’s Love to the World, Ann gave honor and glory to God and reminded us of the depth of God’s love…

“God’s love to the world was so unique—not just any father could do it.  He gave us His only Son to die for the sins of the world; truly, what manner of God is He?  Can any man give up his son just like that?  (No!)  In this scripture I am seeing love that is beyond my imagination.  The heart and purpose of God is clearly revealed in this verse.  God’s love is wide enough to embrace all persons….”

In Our Actions, Tina compared our love as parents with the greatness of God’s love—shown through His giving His Son to be the Light of the world…

“Our children are our world.  Our lives revolve around them.  We nurture them, discipline them, love on them, and want to see them succeed in life.  If we do this, how much more will God our Father do this for His children?…”

Our Actions

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For this is how God loved the world: He gave his uniquely existing Son so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.  Because God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s uniquely existing Son.  And this is the basis for judgment: the Light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light because their actions were evil.  Everyone who practices wickedness hates the Light and does not come to the Light, so that his actions may not be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the Light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God’s approval.

John 3:16-21

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Our children are our world.  Our lives revolve around them.  We nurture them, discipline them, love on them, and want to see them succeed in life.  If we do this, how much more will God our Father do this for His children?  As I walk through life, I am amazed at the wasted opportunities I have had to share God’s love with others.  Then when I do try, it seems to fall flat, like it is not believable.  I know God has a plan and a purpose.  I also know I should not listen to the negative self-talk I hear which tries to tell me I am a sinner and no one will believe what I have to say.  (Anyone feel this way?)

In an attempt to become encouraged, I listen to various speakers through podcasts who give encouraging talks about listening to the voice of God…being still…praying…and, ultimately, having the courage to be transparent with your life before others.  These all are good, and give many thought-provoking ways for me to rethink some of my wrong thinking.  The speakers are great in sharing their stories or allowing others to share, then I think, when is my opportunity to share?  And then, the Holy Spirit tells me ‘you need to practice telling your story.  You need to know your heavenly Father loves you completely, wholly, and purely.  You are worthy, you are a light, you have a purpose in MY plan for your life.  Pray and confess, confide in or with another believer so you can feel renewed, seeking wise counsel from those with more knowledge than you and you will be able to share your faith, your belief with others.’

I encourage you to practice your story with others.  Begin by writing it out. Be truthful. You may need to write several different versions, depending on your audience…and then practice. Become comfortable and confident in what the Holy Spirit leads you to share. You will be amazed at the outcome.

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Father, thank You for Your word.  Thank You for speakers who encourage and tell others of their walk through pain and trials.  Let us be a light for others and know You are in control.  All we have to do is allow Your might to be at the head of all that we do.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.