This beautifully designed devotional will delight and encourage you in your daily faith walk, giving you just the encouragement and inspiration you need during the busy holiday rush. Heartwarming readings offer special reminders of just how much the heavenly Father loves and cherishes you, not only at Christmas, but all year long. Each inspirational thought is accompanied by a related scripture selection and refreshing devotional reading that will leave you feeling perfectly blessed.
About the Author
Shanna D. Gregor is a freelance writer, editor, and product developer who has served various ministries and publishers since 1996 to develop more than 60 books that express God's voice for today. With a passion to see the truth of God’s Word touch lives through the written word, she continues to serve through the open doors God sets before her. The mother of two young men, Shanna and her husband reside in Tucson, Arizona.
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The Christmas, God Wants You to Know ...
By Shanna D. Gregor
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
He Sent His Greatest Gift Just For You
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1 JOHN 5:11 NIV
Each Christmas, no matter where the Anderson family went for Christmas, they opened at least one gift on Christmas Eve. But before a single gift was touched, the eldest in the house read the Christmas story, followed by a prayer.
This year was the first time in years that all nineteen children and grandchildren were able to travel to Grandpa and Grandma Anderson's house. As Grandpa picked up his Bible, everyone scurried to assemble, and a hush fell over the whole house as each one found a seat in the living room.
Four-year-old granddaughter Lizzy crawled under the Bible and into his lap, and she sat patiently until he finished. As he started to shut his Bible, Lizzy asked, "Grandpa, what was your best Christmas present?"
Expecting the older grandchildren to wiggle and squirm at the potential delay, he started to refuse, but children and grandchildren were listening intently—waiting to hear his answer. So, looking deeply into his youngest granddaughter's eyes, he said, "Of all the presents I ever received, the best gift ever was the one I received from God—when I asked Jesus to come into my heart, and He came and has never left."
Lizzy looked at her grandfather and said, "I want that to be my best present ever, too!"
* * *
I pray this Christmas I will not lose sight that You have given me the best present ever. Amen.
He Will Meet All Your Needs
"For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things."
PSALM 81:10 NLT
Brent had lost his job in August, and Hope would be on maternity leave for at least two months after the new baby arrived. Hope tried to push aside thoughts of what Christmas would be like without his income for the older two children. She prayed she could get the best price on a few groceries with the cash she had in her purse that day.
She marked the things she could get off her list, careful to add up what she was spending in her head, and estimated the tax. She got through the checkout line and dropped the two pennies she had left into the donation jar, thanking God she didn't go over.
She set her groceries into the car and started to shut the trunk when a young courtesy clerk called to her. "Ma'am, you have two more bags," he said.
"No, I only had these few bags. These two aren't mine."
He set the bags into her trunk and pointed. "That guy driving away told me to bring them to your car." Stunned, she peered into the bags to find the items still on her list. With tears of joy, she thanked God for meeting her needs once again.
* * *
Thank You for never allowing me to go without but always providing what I need, Father. Amen.
The Comfort Of His Peace
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never die, and no one can steal them out of my hand."
JOHN 10:27–28 NCV
The great American evangelist Billy Graham said, "Christ alone can bring lasting peace— peace with God—peace among men and nations—and peace within our hearts." Life can become so loud, you want to cover your ears and find a quiet place of peace to hide from the noise. As God's child, His peace lies within you. It is always with you, but sometimes you need to turn it up.
Think about the lullabies that quiet children when they are agitated, upset, or afraid. As the song plays, tears subside, and a calm pours into the room. Much like a soft, comforting song, God's peace can silence anxiety, confusion, fear, and stress. His peace flows through you, bringing a knowing that with God, all things are possible, and He holds your world in the palm of His hand.
This Christmas, listen for God's voice, and allow Him to bring security in the midst of whatever circumstance you're facing. Take comfort in His peace!
* * *
Lord, I look to You for comfort today. I listen to Your voice and find comfort in Your presence knowing You have filled me with Your peace. Amen.
The Blessing Of Serving Others
"And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' "
MATTHEW 25:40 ESV
The choice to serve others can leave an impression in the hearts of that person and sometimes their families for generations to come. One man's decision to serve others is eloquently captured in a movie called Schindler's List. The final scene takes place at Oskar Schindler's grave as those he served placed stones on his grave. Even today there are small stones of all shapes and sizes placed respectfully one on top of the other on his gravesite.
Perhaps each stone placed is a promise made by the one who left it to remember something significant. Perhaps they are thanking God for one man's courage to stand up when it seemed no one else could. Maybe they owe their very lives to him because without him they would never have been born. Others may hope they have enough boldness for what they believe in when their time comes to stand.
Schindler chose to serve others and make a life-saving difference in their lives by doing what he could do. No matter how small your service to others may seem, God will use it to bring blessing to your life and to the lives of those you serve!
* * *
Thank You for the opportunity to serve others. May I recognize the opportunities as they come and take action, bringing blessing to their life and pleasure to You, God. Amen.
You Can Trust Him To Keep Every Promise
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."
ISAIAH 7:14 NKJV
God always keeps His promises. In the Garden of Eden, God made a promise after Adam and Eve disobeyed God's only command—and ate of the tree in the center of the garden. Satan deceived Eve, which led to the promise that Christmas—the birth of the Messiah— would come. God said, "And I will cause hostility between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel."
From that day in the garden, God reminded His people that He would deliver on His Christmas promise. In Deuteronomy 18:15, God says the Messiah will be a prophet like Moses. Isaiah heralded the coming of Christ a number of times during his life, including the declaration in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling Christ's conception and birth. Micah, Zechariah, Exodus, and the Psalms reveal details of the promise serving as reminders that lead to the delivery of the Christmas promise found in Luke 2. God made a Christmas promise, and two thousand years later, that promise was delivered.
* * *
Thank You for every promise You've made to me. I trust You will deliver what You have promised right on time—just as You delivered the Christmas promise that gave me the gift of eternal life. Amen.
He Loves To Hear You Pray
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
PSALM 116:1–2 ESV
Elaina stood outside her daughter Tabitha's open bedroom door, watching her set out her things in preparation for the next school day. She could hardly believe she was already a teenager—growing up so fast.
Elaina turned to go to back to the kitchen and suddenly stopped when she heard Tabitha begin to pray. The words were so conversational. She had learned to talk to God anytime or anywhere, like she would her very best friend. She listened to her daughter's honest and open heart—words of adoration and praise poured from her lips.
For just a few moments longer, she listened and then returned to the kitchen. I love hearing her pray, she thought. She thought of her own prayer time with the Lord and how many times over the years her children had heard her pray. Then, deep within her heart she heard the Lord say, I love to hear you pray even more than you enjoy hearing your child pray. She suddenly felt like a little girl again, talking to her Father, God!
* * *
Lord, let my time with You bring me closer to You. Remind me how much You love to hear from me, and never let me forget how important our relationship is. Amen.
He Expects You To Share The Good News
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord."
LUKE 2:10–11 NCV
Imagine the magnificent display of majesty as a great congregation of angels woke your household with a burst of praise and an exclamation that God was born into the world as a baby, with a simple message—believe and live forever! The holiness of heaven came down and kissed the earth to celebrate God's promise fulfilled. God's plan to bring man back into relationship with Him was, by faith, already done!
When something wonderful happens, you share it. In this instant, God trusted men once again with a powerful secret. God was now flesh, in the earth. God's greatest desire was to return His gift of eternal life to His children. Once again, God would be a Father to all who would receive Him.
Visualize the shepherds' excitement. They went immediately to see the baby, Jesus. They shared with Mary and Joseph their experience.
Remember how you felt when you received Christ? Let the fire of God's greatest Christmas gift stir you once again. You hold that revelation in your heart, but God expects you to share the Good News with everyone.
* * *
Stir Your gift within my heart today. Like those who heard the angelic host of heaven worship and praise God—give me the courage to proclaim God's revelation to others. Amen.
He Will Always Answer You
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
JEREMIAH 33:3 NKJV
Derek had found the set of club chairs his wife really wanted to put in the den at a consignment shop. They looked brand new. The lady selling them said they were rarely sat in because they belonged to her mother and she kept them in her formal living room— where they only entertained at Christmas. The problem was he needed another person to help him carry the big, overstuffed sectional out of the house before his wife got home from Christmas shopping.
He had texted and called several of his buddies, but the only one who replied was his brother-in-law, Matt, who was away on business, and he wouldn't be back in town until tomorrow. He went next door to his neighbors' houses, and no one answered the door. Several hours had passed, and he was growing concerned that his surprise would be ruined when another buddy finally returned his call and said he'd come over right then.
When you call on God, He is always there. He is ready to answer your prayers when you connect with Him. Although He knows your needs before you ask, He wants to hear from you. He desires a relationship with you.
* * *
Thank You for always being there when I call on You. I trust You for answers and the strength I need to face whatever challenge comes my way. Amen.
He Will Not Fail You
"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you."
JOSHUA 1:5 ESV
Alisha stood to the side of her new apartment building, allowing the movers to pass in front of her. Her hands were full of a box of precious things she had packed and brought with her in her own car—pictures of her family—the faces of those she had left behind just two days before. Now, she and her husband, Stewart, were on their own. Everything familiar was gone.
As she hugged her parents, her father leaned down and said, "Remember, God was with us when we moved here—He'll be there for you in your new place. Just listen for His direction and guidance and follow Him." Alisha remembered when her family moved to the small town she grew up in. Her mother had become very ill, and there was no one to call. God had sent an older lady from down the street to care for her mother, Alisha, and her sisters so her father could start his new job.
Over the next few months, Alisha reminded herself of the many times that God had been there for her family. His unfailing love gave her guidance and showed her the way.
* * *
God, You have never failed me, and I know You never will. Amen.
There Is More To Him Than The Manger
"There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor."
DEUTERONOMY 33:26 NLT
"Grandpa, what's a manger?" six-year-old Morgan asked as she watched her grandfather set the Nativity scene out on his lawn. Grandpa dropped the extension cords and motioned for Morgan to join him on the porch swing.
"When Jesus was born," Grandpa started, "His parents had traveled to another city. It was required that everyone come into the city at that time so the hotels were all full. There was no place for them to stay, so a kind person who owned a hotel let them stay in the barn. The stand that held the animals' food was called a manger and was probably about the size of your little brother's crib. It was the perfect place for baby Jesus to sleep His first night on earth."
Morgan nodded, and Grandpa continued. "We celebrate Christmas as a reminder that God came to earth as a baby, but it isn't just about a baby's birthday. God made a lot of promises to the people who love Him. One of those promises was that a child would be born who would save the world."
Choose this Christmas to spend some this season in holy wonder—considering with gratitude and worship all that God's love for you brings.
* * *
God, thank You for sending Jesus so I can experience Your promises in my life each day. Amen.
Father Knows Best
"The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us").
MATTHEW 1:23 NIV
"Mary Did You Know," a song written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Green, quickly became a Christmas favorite as soon as it was released. It asks Mary, Jesus' mother, if she knew the wondrous things Jesus would do.
When the angel appeared to Mary and told her she had been chosen by God to deliver His Son to the world, she trusted God and said, "Let it be unto me." The appearance of an angel and the good news that God had chosen her was probably scary but very exciting. Looking back over Mary's life, there were great miracles but also great pain and sacrifice.
How many times have you wished you had not made a certain choice, even though you knew it was God leading you to do His will? If Mary had known that her son's life would be cut short, if she had known the tragedy and heartache she would experience as she watched Him be ridiculed, beaten, and hung on a cross to eventually die, would she have instead said, "Not me, God, choose someone else to bring Your Son into the world"?
* * *
Heavenly Father, when the path You have placed me on brings sacrifice and pain, give me the strength to hold on to You and see it through, trusting that You know best! Amen.
He Supplies Grace For Every Season
"For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring."
ISAIAH 44:3 NKJV
It's just one thing after another with this house," Bridgett told her mother over the phone. "First the air conditioner went out, then the pool pump. Now that we finally have an offer on the house, they find termites and the first-time buyer is freaking out. I don't want to wait for another contract if they back out. Three months is too long for the boys and me to be living in one state and Ted in another."
"Oh, honey, I'm so sorry," her mother, Sonya, responded. "I know you're frustrated and you don't want to hear this, but God knows exactly when you guys need to go. He supplies grace for every season you go through." Bridgett let out an exasperated sigh, but her mother continued. "The wonderful thing about a difficult season is that eventually it will end. You will get through it. He's given you everything you need—every ounce of strength—to get to the next season."
"Thanks for reminding me that He never fails—and He will give me the grace to do what I need to do this time, too."
* * *
Father, I rely on Your grace today for all the strength I need to get through the big ordeals and even the simple frustrations. Amen.
Excerpted from The Christmas, God Wants You to Know ... by Shanna D. Gregor. Copyright © 2014 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
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