Winter Break Reflections 2014 15 .pdf
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Saturday, December 20, 2014 – Monday, January 5, 2015
Saturday, December 20
ADDITIONAL READING: Isaiah 7:10-14
Have you ever been asked to do something by your
parents, and your first response is less than excited to
oblige to their wishes? When I was in high school, my
first response to my parents asking me to do something
was often “Why?” Then my parents would get frustrated
that I questioned them as opposed to simply doing
what they asked the first time.
Look again at Mary’s first response to the angel
Gabriel’s declaration that she would bare the King of
Kings; the Messiah. (1:34) “Say what?!” she said (in the
Holly-Lutton-paraphrase). “Mm-mm. No way. That is
impossible, sir!” Her first response was less than
excited. To be fair, I bet she was scared out of her mind!
A baby? Before she was even married? Is God insane?
Gabriel explained God’s plan to Mary. He encouraged
her, reminding her that “nothing is impossible with
God!” God is present! He is working miracles all around
her! Look what he did for her relative Elizabeth!
God can do all things, and never abandons those he
calls. He calls each and every one of us for a purpose
(Matthew 28:19-20, Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 2:9) and
equips us to fulfill that purpose (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 2
What is God calling you to do over this Christmas break
that might be scary or challenging?
Sometimes God asks us to do hard things because, in
the end, it will benefit others and ourselves, and it will
glorify him! We don’t have to do anything alone,
because He is with us, empowering us to take on the
Luckily, when we don’t always have an enthusiastic first
response, God is patient. He calls us again and we get
the chance to respond in trust. “I am the Lord’s servant.”
Gracious God, may I begin this Christmas break willing
and ready to be your servant. Thank you for being
patient; giving me second chances to respond to your
call on my life. I praise you for nothing is impossible for
you! May my thoughts, words, and actions honor you! In
Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.
College Park Church
Sunday, December 21
2 Samuel 7:1-16
ADDITIONAL READING: Luke 1:26-38 & Romans 16:25-27
David has just come through a difficult season of his life.
Fleeing for his life and marital issues were just some of
his problems. Now, he’s sitting in his very luxurious
palace, probably with all the finest amenities; flat screen
TV, surround sound, leather theater seating, plush
carpet, state of the art kitchen, probably even a robotic
maid. Ok, maybe it wasn’t that nice but the Bible tells
us it was “a house of cedar”, which at that time was the
best of the best. In his palace, David finds himself in a
reflective mood. Thinking back to all the ways God has
provided and cared for him. Taking him from the
lowliest of shepherds and elevating him to king. With
that pondering David realizes, “I’m living in this palace
and the Ark (the very presence of God) is living in a
tent!” That’s like the Queen of England or the President
of the US coming to visit and you furnish them with a
very nice cardboard box in your backyard. It just
doesn’t seem right, does it?
David doesn’t feel right about that, so he wants to build
God a house. A noble thought, right? Here’s God’s
response through the prophet Nathan,
“I have not dwelt in a house from the day I
brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day.
I have been moving from place to place with a
tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved
with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their
rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my
people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a
house of cedar?’”
God is fine living in the tent, why? Because God cannot
be contained. I’m sure David’s intentions were pure,
but later in David’s life he will try to “contain” or at least
rationalize some things in his life apart from God. God
is saying, “David I am everywhere and anywhere. All of
creation is my home, not just some fancy place with
stained glass and wood work.”
This Advent season, be reminded that God doesn’t
have an address. Wherever you are in life, whatever
you are doing or facing, God is there. That’s the beauty
of Christmas; we celebrate the birth of Immanuel, “God
with us”. Not “God at such-and-such address”, but God
May you know the presence of God through his Son
Huntington Church of the Nazarene
Monday, December 22nd
ADDITIONAL READING: 1 Samuel 1:24-28
Mary had much to be thankful for. We can recognize
this immediately. She was to be the one to give birth to
the Messiah! The virgin, Mary, would be the mother of
the Son of God. I wonder what this felt like? I wonder if
Mary had any doubts, fears, or thought she was not
good enough? Often times when God speaks to me,
my reaction is to believe I am not capable.
Verses 46-56 describe Mary’s beautiful declaration of
praise to God. If Mary doubted, had fear, or felt
inadequate in any way, those concerns were not what
she focused on. I admire and am challenged by Mary’s
words because in her response I see nothing but faith.
Mary could have addressed many of her fears, but
instead she declares over and over again that God has
provided, is providing now, and will continue to
provide for her and the rest of God’s people. She knew
that above all of her anxieties and fears, her identity was
in God. And being one of God’s children meant being
loved and provided for.
Let Mary be a reminder to all of us how magnificent
God is, both in the miracle of the Virgin Mary but also in
Mary’s response. As God’s children, we must trust that
God loves us and will continue to provide even through
what seems like the impossible.
Where do you need to be reminded that your identity is
completely in Christ? How might you be allowing your
doubts, fears, or feelings of inadequacy to keep you
from pursuing Christ? We have no greater purpose in
As Mary reminds us in verse 48, “you take notice of all
your lowly servants.” You have provided for us and will
continue to do so. It is for this reason we give you praise
for being the only constant in our lives we can place our
hope in. Help each of us to place more of our identity in
Tuesday, December 23
Malachi 2:17 - 3:1- 5
ADDITIONAL READING: Luke 1:57-66
Can you imagine what it would have been like being a
prophet in the Old Testament? Telling the people of
Israel (who don’t like listening) what God is trying to tell
them over and over and over again.
Then when some of them do listen and it doesn’t
happen right away they get angry with you. Not a fun
job if you ask me. In this particular portion of Malachi
the people are frustrated that the Messianic promises of
Haggia and Zechariah (prophet’s before Malachi) were
not fulfilled. But Malachi fills us in. He tells them that
they aren’t ready; the way for the Messiah must be
prepared. “Behold, I send My Messenger, and he will
prepare the way before Me.” (3:1)
“before Me” indicates that the LORD promises that HE
himself will come- not merely a new or better prophet,
but the LORD himself to fulfill the old covenant that the
people are waiting for.
This is GREAT news but it’s interesting because like
many Old Testament prophets, Malachi, mixes up the
two Advents to come; the previous long awaited
coming of the Messiah, Jesus in the manger, and the
now long awaited second coming, return of Christ.
He speaks of John the Baptist who will prepare the way
for Jesus’ coming but when he speaks of Christ he
speaks to his Second coming – our Advent – what we
are still waiting on.
Malachi speaks potent truth here about Christ’s second
coming. When the Lord comes, he will preform two
complimentary works: he will purify some sinners (v. 24) and judge others (v.5) The images used for that
purifying work, the refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap, stress
both it’s thoroughness and severity. If we prefer the
Lord’s cleaning work instead of judgment, this is the
price that must be paid.
Charles Spurgeon puts it like this…
“If any of you, my hearers, are seeking the Lord at this time, I want
you to understand what it means: you are seeking a fire which will
test you, and consume much which has been dear to you. We are
not to expect Christ to come and save us in our sins, he will come
and save us from our sins; therefore, if yon are enabled by faith to
take Christ as a Savior, remember that you take him as the purger
and the purifier, for it is from sin that he saves us.”
Are there “fires” you have walked through this year?
Can you see them as God refining you? Or do we see it
as God abandoning us. HE IS COMING. He will return,
we wait now in eager expectation. The question is what
are we doing in the passing time in between? Will we
allow ourselves to be shaped into the person God
wants us to be? Identify your fire, and then pray for
strength to endure it.
Wednesday, December 24
Isaiah 53:4-12, Revelation 5:1-14
To give ear to the prophecies of Isaiah and John today—
it stirs my heart with worship! As the birth of Christ
approaches tomorrow, reading about the “already” of
the spotless Lamb (Jesus) being crushed, and believing
with faith in the “not yet” of that same Worthy Lamb
doing what “no one in heaven or on earth or under the
earth was able” to do (Revelation 5:3), causes the Holy
Spirit in us to breathe prayers of praise for the truth that
It makes us want to close our eyes and attempt to
imagine the unimaginable beauty of that moment when
Jesus Himself will stand before the throne with the
appearance of a slaughtered lamb and open the scroll,
while heaven and earth acknowledge—the worthy Lamb
has come at last.
Revelation really knows how to drop the mic, doesn’t it?
The scene in Isaiah, on the other hand, we can picture it
happening as we read it. At least a little. That’s because
between then and now—between the time of Isaiah’s
prophecy and this moment we sit here today with
leather-bound or smartphone versions of God’s Word
in our hands—what Isaiah said would happen
happened! The Lamb of God was pierced for our
transgressions. Jesus Christ was led like a lamb to the
slaughter before John’s very eyes!
While we can believe and even imagine the unfolding
of Isaiah’s prophecies because we have a firsthand
narrative of the actual events, John’s prophecy in
Revelation is a bit more difficult to picture. None of us
has seen Heaven! This prophecy is not yet fulfilled. And
yet, to read about it causes us as believers to exhale an,
“Amen, come Lord Jesus!”
Here we are—you and I and this poor, fallen world,
smack in the middle of the Already and the Not Yet.
We believe with faith that the Lamb of God was crushed
for us, and we believe with hope in the truth of God’s
Word, that that same Lamb is worthy and will open the
scroll in Heaven and break its seals and look into it at
just the right time, and ransom people for God. And
He—our Jesus who was dead and rose for us—will
appear and every creature in heaven and on earth and
under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them
will say all together:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and
- Revelation 5:13b
Tomorrow celebrates when it all began.
Amen, come Lord Jesus.
Part of reflection from SheReadsTruth.com
Thursday, December 25
Today’s Scripture passage is an amazing reminder of
the story behind the story of Christmas. On Christmas,
we think of baby Jesus in a manger with his blessed
mother Mary and his earthly father Joseph close by.
We remember angels and shepherds who came to
visit. And this is the true account of what happened on
earth when Jesus was born.
But, the very first chapter of the Gospel of John gives an
even broader picture of what is truly going on. This
passage reveals that Jesus was more than just an
extraordinary human being. Jesus was actually the God
of the universe. And He came to bring light and eternal
life to the world.
Take a few minutes to read today’s passage: John 1:118.
As you read it, write down everything you find about
who Jesus truly is.
Now, look over the list you just made and circle
whichever aspect of Jesus is most meaningful to you.
Why is that aspect of Jesus so significant to you right
Verses 10 - 13 indicate that people have a choice in
how they respond to Jesus. Some people respond by
rejecting Jesus and others respond by accepting and
receiving Him. According to verses 12 & 13, what are
the benefits of receiving Him?
Think about that aspect of Jesus that you circled.
Thank Him for it and for being so special to you.
Think of the benefits of receiving Him as the
Savior. Know that the benefits of receiving Jesus
are for everyone who accepts Him - even you.
Don’t let this very special day go by without
opening your heart to Jesus.
Open your heart to Jesus today to receive Him
into your life - whether for the first time or for the
Allow the wonder of who He is fill your life with
Friday, December 26
Acts 6:8-10 & 7:54-59
ADDITIONAL READING: Matthew 10:17 - 22
I love Christmas, the music, the decorations, the lights,
the holiday joy, everything. I spend months getting
excited for this one day! Sadly, CHRISTMAS IS OVER.
We can all collectively sigh together… One… Two...
Who paid attention during the lesson on cause and
effect in elementary school? When there is a cause,
there is always an effect. Because Christ has been born
(cause), people began to believe and follow Him
(effect). Now, that may sound overly simplified, but
think about it. If Christ weren’t born, the world would be
so much different! It is mind-blowing and terrifying and
crazy to think about all the things that would be
different in the world.
As you read Acts 6:8-10 & 7:54-59, I want you to notice
the cause and effect in Stephen’s life. Stephen was the
very first to die for his faith. Christ was the cause and the
effect followed. Before Stephen could give his life for
Christ, he had to live his life for Christ. He had to allow
the cause of Christ to affect his entire life!
After Christmas, we see a lot of effects, right? The
thrown away trees on the side of the road, the bags and
bags of shredded wrapping paper, and long lines at the
customer service desks for returning and exchanging
gifts. But, after Christmas, do we see the effects of
Christ in our lives? THE SON OF GOD CAME DOWN
TO EARTH AND WE CELEBRATED HIS BIRTH
YESTERDAY! Where is the effect in our life? Where is
the effect of Christ in your life?
Stephen allowed Christ to affect everything in his life,
even his death. When opposition arose against
Stephen, he didn’t sink into the shadows. Christ had
influenced his life!
Think about your life. When opposition arises for you,
do you sink into the shadows? Have you allowed Christ
to affect your entire life?
Stephen lost his life because he lived his whole for
Christ. But he gained so much more. Eternity with our
Saturday, December 27th
Additional reading: John 20:1-8
Lets take a minute to read this scripture in I must say its
a little confusing to understand this verse but when you
read in the beginning was the word the word is
representing Jesus, that makes it a little easier to
understand doesn't it? Jesus is part of God and God
has made everything! That is hard to wrap your mind
around isn’t it? It’s hard to think of making every blade
of grass, every piece of sand in the ocean, all the stars in
the sky, and every hair on your head.
Our God is an awesome God and He has given us a way
to be with Him for eternity and that is by accepting
Jesus Christ. We need to remember that Jesus is our
light and when we have Him in us, there is no power of
darkness that can overcome us. We are on the winning
team. That’s a cool thing to think about. So, as we just
celebrated the birth of our Savior, you can remember
that we have so much to be thankful for.
You’ve received a gift that no one can take away, a God
that loves you! No matter what you do he will always be
there. Sure, at times things can get rough, but
remember you have a Father who loves you. So, as
Christmas has come and gone, think how you can
continue to give gifts everyday. Remember that you are
the one who could go out and let your light shine for
someone. It brings so much more joy to give than it
does to receive. Look for the opportunities that you can
be a blessing to someone else.
Give back because you have already received so much
from our heavenly Father!
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