Your Christmas Wish

Each year growing up, I made a list of things I wanted for Christmas. I’m pretty sure “a horse” topped the list every single year (and no, I never got one). I definitely knew that in order to get what I truly wanted, I had to be nice, not naughty. Looking back, that’s probably why I never got the horse. Anyhoo… As adults, we don’t worry about making Santa’s NICE LIST so we can get what we desire most. Instead we embrace Christmas as a season of giving, good cheer, and hope for the new year. And as Christians, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Reconciliation to Almighty God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the greatest gift we’ll ever receive!

At the beginning of the New Testament in Matthew 2:11, we’re told that the three wise men brought extravagantly valuable treasures to the stable where baby Jesus rested with Mary. Upon seeing Jesus, the Magi bowed down and worshiped Him, presenting Him three gifts associated with kingship: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These men of high position recognized this child as Heir to the Throne.

Interestingly, Jesus’ birth is the only time in His earthly life that we hear of Him possessing earthly treasures. And we’re not told what Mary and Joseph did with these expensive gifts. However, in the next story of Matthew’s gospel he writes about Joseph’s dream warning him to leave Israel with Mary and Jesus, and escape to Egypt. They likely left most, if not all, of what they owned behind (Matt 2:13).

Although Christ is fully God and rightfully owns all of creation, He is also fully man. And approximately 30 years after the scene in the stable, Jesus affirmed His lack of earthly, material wealth. He proclaimed, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Jesus’ words seem to indicate that not only did He travel light, but He didn’t maintain His own homestead. Rather, His treasures, literally and figuratively, are stored up in heaven (Matt 6:19–21).

As we learn about Jesus, we see that He embodies the greater gifts in life: love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christ’s desire was and still is to share these gifts with others. In Matthew 20:29–34, Jesus encountered two blind beggars on the side of the road who called to Him as the Son of David (a reference to Jesus as Christ, or Messiah). Jesus stopped and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Imagine! The Promised Messiah stopping and asking you, “What can I do for you today?”

These two men asked for their eyesight, and with compassion Jesus healed them. They followed Him, presumably receiving both physical and spiritual sight.

So, what does this mean for us during this season of giving? Two things.

First, FREEDOM.  We don’t have to fixate on––or stress about––finding perfect gifts for others this Christmas. We also don’t have to be consumed with anticipation of what we might receive, nor with disappointment by what we don’t get. For those of us walking with Christ, we have the freedom to live unencumbered and without fear or stress because we’ve already received the best gift imaginable––life with Christ, both now and forever. Embrace the gift of Christ this Christmas! Receive Him anew with delight! Receive Him anew with joyful anticipation of a deeper walk together in the coming year as you pursue Him through His Word and prayer.

Second, AN INVITATION. This season, you’re receiving an invitation from Jesus to seek the greater gifts in life. He’s inviting you to join with Him and with His church. Jesus wants us to experience love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. This invitation is for EVERYONE!

I invite you to join with me in this: For the next few minutes, sit with Jesus. Set aside the hustle and bustle. Lay down thoughts of material gifts and treasures. With an open mind and open hands on your lap, sit with our Savior.

  • Think about what the greater gifts in life are for you.
  • Think about your greatest hopes and your deepest desires.
  • Think about who He is and why He humbled Himself and came as a baby in the manger.

Now imagine you’re sitting by the roadside, and you hear that Jesus is coming.

  • Imagine Him stopping in front of you.
  • Imagine Him taking you by the hand.
  • Imagine Him asking you, “Beloved child, what do you want me to do for you?”

This isn’t a genie offering wealth or prestige. This is your Savior, offering the best of life with Him. In prayer, look into His eyes and speak your heart. He would love to talk with you.

Friend, I’m praying for you in this season as Jesus offers you freedom from the world’s perspectives, and as He invites you to seek the greater gifts.

What is your Christmas wish?

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Running the Race of Life

As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are gearing up for our favorite running day of the year. Even non-runners love the annual Turkey Trot which leads to a guilt-free feast. Whether or not you run, we’re all called to the race of life, and we all need encouragement along the way… Continue reading

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Waiting Out the Wait

We’re not good at waiting. We live in a culture of instant response and immediate gratification. “Right now” has become the norm and expectation. Unfortunately, at different times in life, we all have to wait. Continue reading

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What CAN I do?

We experience seasons of illness and injury that engulf us like a suffocating suffering. We want to hope for complete healing. What CAN I do? I’ve pondered the depth of this question. Continue reading

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Sometimes There Aren't Words

Sometimes there just aren’t words. But in those times there is Someone who speaks… Continue reading

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Welcome to My Messy

My life is messy. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth. And whether we recognize it or not, we live in a constant battle for self-worth, fighting against isolation. Continue reading

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Your Life through the Keyhole

How we view our life each day is like looking through the keyhole of a big old door. It’s as if we’re looking at ourselves, other people, and circumstances through a tiny window. Our vantage is severely limited. Continue reading

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How Not to Hate the Wait

In our world of one-click shopping and on-demand streaming, much of life no longer unfolds over time. We want what we want when we want it. We require instantaneous life. Unfortunately, God often asks us to wait. Continue reading

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Unanswered Prayers

When someone dies, we struggle with the “why”. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? As Easter approaches, the “why” questions of the disciples mirror our own. How can we continue to trust God? Continue reading

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Who Do You Say I Am?

Many of us know the greatest stories ever told. And often our focus is on the action or players or outcome. But the stories of the Bible have another purpose. A.W. Tozer said, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” Continue reading

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Fear or Faith at Work?

It’s no fun living like a double agent with different personas at work v. home. How do we overcome fear of living out our faith at work? Do we have to talk about Jesus in order to be a witness at work? Here are 3 critical truths. Continue reading

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Why Work?

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain). If we’re honest, we all want to know the why… Continue reading

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Greatest Gift: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

What’s your favorite Christmas carol? One of my all-time favorites is the “12 Days of Christmas” as sung by John Denver and the Muppets. Corny, maybe. But then I found out the meaning behind the words… Continue reading

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No More Masks

Masks. We all wear them. We’re afraid to let people see and know the real us. We hide behind our masks and often fake it. But freedom comes when we live out our truth. Continue reading

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What's Your Superpower?

If you were approached by a genie wanting to grant you one wish for any superhero power, what would you ask for? My first thought: ask for something I could use in the battle between good and evil… Continue reading

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Work in Heaven?

As Labor Day approaches, most Americans anticipate a well-deserved day off work. For many of us, work is a daily grind. But what if work isn’t supposed to be a grind? And what if our work doesn’t end with our time on earth? Have you ever thought about work in heaven? Continue reading

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Better to Have Loved & Lost?

As human beings, we cannot live healthy, abundant, prolonged lives without love. We are created to love. We long for love. We will do crazy things to show our love. But at some point in our lives, we will all lose love. What then? Continue reading

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2018: The Year of Open Doors

As we approach the mid-point of the year, most New Year’s resolutions are a faint and distant memory. But what if 2018 could still become “The Year of Open Doors” for you? Continue reading

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Sit Among Your Weeds

Today I start with a confession: I’ve been struggling. Weeds are the straw that broke the camel’s (my) back, so to speak. The last little burden that became unbearable. But from my weeds emerged a transformative message from God… Continue reading

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Consider My Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are to Texas what tulips are to Holland, azaleas are to Augusta, and cherry blossoms are to Washington DC. But what makes bluebonnets so remarkable is that they’re WILD. These words came to mind: “Consider how the wildflowers grow…” Continue reading

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A Promise from God

Whether our requests are big or small, at some point we all wonder if God hears us. Does the Creator of the universe care about our prayers for a new job, loneliness, a persistent cough, or help paying bills? In a word: Yes! Not only does He care, He promises so much more. Continue reading

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The Intersection of Faith and Work

We all work. Our workplaces may look different, but they share a commonality: intrinsic value to God’s Kingdom. Your work has eternal value. Continue reading

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Which Way Did He Go?

We can’t focus on both Jesus AND circumstances. It’s impossible! If we choose to focus on circumstances, suddenly it’s as if Jesus is gone. Continue reading

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Why “Do Good” For No Reason?

We genuinely want to help others. But it hurts when there’s no response or, worse, a bad response to our good efforts. So why keep trying? Continue reading

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When Enough is Never Enough

When was the last time you had everything you wanted? Splurge to lift your spirits. Save for something big. What is enough, really? Continue reading

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Cross the Starting Line - Just Start!

Is it harder to cross the starting line or the finish line? We often don’t move forward because we’re too afraid of the unknown. Just start! Continue reading

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Getting What You Ask For and More

If a fairy godmother was standing in front of you right now tapping her glittery wand, what would you ask for? What’s your #1 wish? Continue reading

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What Would Your Last Words Be?

If you knew you were going to die and you could speak to a group of people, what would you say? This is the story of Rachel Barkey, age 37. Continue reading

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I Am Second

We push hard to be first but we’re broadsided by reality. Life can stink! New life is possible once we stop trying to control our destiny. Continue reading

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Treasures in the Lost and Found

Have you lost something you loved and couldn’t replace? Favorite things are too precious to easily let go. That’s how God feels about you. Continue reading

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Who is Jesus?

Around the world, people today are laying down their lives to talk about Jesus. Who is He? Continue reading

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Love Notes from God

Until recently, I never realized how many love notes God sends us every day. He speaks. We have to be ready to look and listen. Continue reading

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Wallenda’s Praise & Prayer at 1500'

Nik Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. No net, no harness. Wallenda’s peace and courage came from Jesus. Ours does too. Continue reading

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Not Everything Happens for a Reason

“Everything happens for a reason” suggests there can be a good twist. Even terror, murder & abuse? No! Not everything is good or from God. Continue reading

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