Sunday, December 23rd


“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” Luke 2:1, 4-5

Dear Heavenly Father, The prophecy in Micah had said that your Son would be born in Bethlehem and yet your chosen couple was in Nazareth. It’s fascinating to me that you used the high and mighty Caesar to move them to Bethlehem by upsetting the entire Roman world with a census. I wonder in my heart how many world decisions are driven by your plans to move your people around and spread your salvation to more souls. Public events are not just public events. Many are heaven’s private plan being enforced on earth. I’m learning to trust you with how you guide my country and state in your providence instead of judging events based on political and social reasoning. Your Christmas gospel reminds me that you have eternal purposes for people behind everything you guide or allow. It gives me peace and keeps me centered in you through every circumstance. Your providence fulfilled Scripture in having Jesus born in Bethlehem. Your providence will fulfill your spiritual purposes for me and everyone else. Thanks for being God of everything in my life with grace.

God’s good and gracious plan is behind every decision that he allows to affect our lives.

Saturday, December 22nd


“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Dear Jesus, What was your mother pondering when she peered at you in the manger with shepherds arriving to gawk at you? She knew she was a virgin. She knew you were God made out of her flesh. She knew you were her son and her creator. She knew so many things and so few things all at the same time. She didn’t know how you would live through trouble. She didn’t know how you would die and rise again. She didn’t know how she would fare being your mom. Her heart must have been so full that the thoughts just spilled over the edges. What a blessed life she experienced to have had the most intimate connection to you. Thank you for creating her and then choosing her to be your Alma Mater. Your choice brought me salvation. Help me to treasure all these thoughts in my heart too. So, I realize how rich I am without having owned anything. Amen19

God took on the same flesh as us. Is there a bigger mind blowing thought?

Friday, December 21st


“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” Matthew 2:1-2

Dear Lord, You moved honest men who were seeking spiritual peace and wisdom to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to find your son who is the personification of wisdom. And your own people were rarely ready to help them. If it were not for your word in Micah they would have been oblivious as to what to say. I know there are seekers all around me too but I fear we are not always ready for them. Help me to be ready to lead them to your Son and his story today so they find you when they find him. Give me a perceptive heart to discern when someone is really seeking to know you and the grace you have. And when my moment comes to share, give me the right words to reach into their hearts and give them grace. Amen.

God is prompting people everywhere to seek him by reaching out to his people.

Thursday, December 20th


“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.’ ” Matthew 1:20-21

Dear Heavenly Father, You turned that little couple inside out by bringing your son into our world through them. I am eternally grateful that they were willing servants and let their lives be completely changed in order to participate in our salvation. Help me to be so other oriented that I allow my life to be turned inside for the greater good of others. Make me a servant in my heart so that I do not count the cost but find it a privilege and honor to serve. I praise you for the people you made Joseph and Mary to be for all of us. Make me that kind of person too. Amen.

When we say yes to God we will often have to say no to ourselves.

Wednesday, December 19th


“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. "‘ ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:4-6

Dear Jesus, You had just been born in that beautiful little town to fulfill prophecy and join my human race for our salvation. Then after that glorious night, a power hungry king took the prophecy as his tip for murder. He wanted to know where you were to be born and the sacred prophecy was his road map to kill. Oh, how the way of the cross followed you from little on. Oh what love that you would allow such false motives to swirl around your life. Give me that same purposeful love for everyone around me that ignores the pressures of evil in order to serve the people who need me. Amen.

God forced his way into a hostile environment to rescue his dear ones.

Tuesday, December 18th


“But you Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are the smallest of the clans of Judah, out of you will come a ruler whose origins are from of old from ancient times…he will shepherd his people…and he will be their peace.” Micah 5:2-5a

Dear Heavenly Father, Oh, how the plan to send your son to earth burned in your heart until it was done. As you waited to right our wrongs and give us peace in our consciences you proudly prophesied of that day. You chose a small town and an insignificant place to give your Son flesh and bone. You demonstrated that you came for all people whether great or small, whether ancient or modern. You are no respecter of good or bad. You came to redeem us all. Now I ask, by the spirit of your Son, Shepherd my heart and life and give me peace to calm me every day. Help all your people to live in that peace and so reflect the salvation you have to their families and friends. Be our peace and help us to multiply peace in our peers. Amen.

Jesus comes to the small places and small people to give them big peace.

Tuesday, December 4th


"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed." - Malachi 3:6

Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are the just God of the universe who cannot watch me sin without pain and disappointment and a perfect need to judge my evil.  I have often wondered why you have not brought great calamity on my life because of my many sins.  But you are also the God of love and grace and you do not wish to slam down your just anger on me.  You solved your own dilemma at the cross of your Son.  You do not change!  Always just and always grace at the same time.  And so I love you in humility and truth.  I love you that you have confronted me with my sin to make me honestly own my own failings.  I love you because at the same time you have taken my sins away so I can be your own and live under you in true love and faith.  I love you O God and I will give you my best today as an offering of thanks for never changing and always forgiving!  AMEN

"To believe in God is to trust in his love that overcame his justice toward your own failings.”


Monday, December 3rd


Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down." - Proverbs 26:20

Dear heavenly Father, what a simple and clear insight you give me in this little proverb.  When I hear a word of gossip all I have to do is nothing.  I just let the thought disappear buried in my soul.  I can forget about it and make sure others never hear about it from me.  I can kill the gossip like water kills a fire.  So often I feel like there is nothing I can do to about the gossip.  But you are showing me that nothing is what I do.  Then I will keep the forest fire from burning in my neck of the woods.  Help me to replace gossip once I have killed it, with words that reflect love and truth and lead others back to you.  And thanks for forgiving me for all the times I stoked the fire instead of putting it out!  AMEN

 "Killing gossip is one of the most wholesome things you can do on earth."

Sunday, December 2nd


In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.  - Ephesians 1:11-12 

Dear heavenly Father, it blows my mind that from eternity you had my life and my salvation all planned out.  When I first came to know Christ or at other times when I struggled to understand you - and then after much struggle I found an answer from your Word, - at those times, I often thought it all depended on me and my effort.  But it didn't.  All the while, you were working everything out so I could be safe in true Christian faith.  Help me to remember this when I am perplexed about things around me now.  Help me to remember that you are working things out for me and others so each one of us will: come to faith, stay in the faith and land safely in heaven where will never get bewildered again.  Holy Spirit, you can drive my emotions better than me.  So, take over and steer me to frequent rest stops, please!!!!!  AMEN 

 "God has things planned today.  So, rest assured he will get them done, even if your list isn't finished."


Saturday, December 1st


Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge." Psalm 51:4

Dear Heavenly Father, I am amazed that after David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed that he would say that he had sinned against you and you alone.  I ask, "What about Bathsheba, Uriah and the nation of Israel?"  But that just shows how dark I can be.  I know that David knew he had sinned against them too.  But he was admitting what I often forget to admit from my heart.  Sin deeply hurts you.  You care for me more than anyone else ever could.  You have planned for me to live a godly life.  And I have hurt you so deeply with my hard heart and cavalier approach to so many things.  I am sorry.  I am so sorry!  According to your unfailing love please forgive me! (Pause for reflection on the cross.) Thank you that you love me in your Son.  I could never survive without your grace!  AMEN

"Repentance is coming clean with God for the deep sins of the heart and being cleansed by God's forgiveness from the deep grace in his heart."


Friday, November 30th


Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. - Proverbs 14:10

Dear Heavenly Father I find such great comfort in this little verse, because you are showing me that you understand how alone I feel at times.  When I am hurting inside sometimes it seems like even the most well-meaning loved one cannot open the door of my heart and enter there where I am.  Even when I am extremely happy I can sense a tinge of solitary confinement because those that rejoice with me seem to force their words.  This little jewel says that it is the lot of every human.  I am not alone in being alone.  Everyone else is too.  Except we are not alone because not only do you understand, you also are with us in every moment, good and bad.  Thank you for graciously staying with me and for telling me that you understand. Help me to find peace in you in my solitary life.  AMEN

 "You cannot be alone anywhere in the world since in God we live and move and have our being."


Thursday, November 29th


We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel - Colossians 1:3-5

Dear Lord Jesus, your word has created some wonderful people to surround me and keep me going.  Just like Paul does in the verse above, I thank you for these people who have kept my faith strong by teaching me, modeling for me and mentoring me. (List the people you thank God for here.) Thanks to what you have done through them, I trust you more and I am learning to love people more unconditionally.  And it all stems back to the gospel!  You have saved me and you have reserved for me a place in heaven.  Since I know that I will survive every problem I have, I am free to focus on relieving the suffering of others.  Thank you for the people you use to keep me free!

 "I do not need so much to be freed from my problems as I do from my morbid curiosity with them."

Wednesday, November 28th


Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. - Colossians 2:18-19

Dear Jesus, I do not know anyone who worships angels like those people Paul mentions.  But I do know some folks who go into great detail about the visions, dreams and subjective experiences they have had as Christians.  Sometimes, I am led to crave the same supernatural experiences.  But I see in your word that you are my head and that it is your words that I need.  As tempting as subjective experiences sound, they are really a fog that clouds my relationship with you and makes you hard to see.  Protect me Lord Jesus from the desire to have faith in what I experience instead of faith in you as my Savior.  In your teachings I have all the peace and joy I need for my soul.  Keep me from the uncertain ground of experiential mysticism.  And forgive me when I cannot tell the difference between authentic moments with your Holy Spirit and simple human psychological wanderings.  AMEN

"Christ given faith trusts like Job.  It trusts that God is there even though he is giving no indication to our five senses."


Tuesday, November 27th


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Dear Jesus, so often I base my motivation to work hard at my job, in my family or at my church on the approval and praise of others.  When I do that, I am forgetting about you.  When I remember that you sent me into these callings and that you are watching me work and that you are the one at the end of the day that will settle all just accounts with me, then I am not so dependent on other people's encouragements or responses.  My opinions don't have to be honored and my "perfect perspective" does not have to be accepted.  I can be involved with all my heart even when I am not always recognized or followed.  Help me to live for an audience of One!  You and you only have my heart.  AMEN

"Me and Jesus will live this life of mine.  Together we will serve you without regard of your response."

Monday, November 26th


Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” - Joshua 6:2-5

Dear Jesus, what a crazy battle plans you gave Joshua.  But you wanted all of your people to know that you were the One delivering the land to them and not themselves.  Help me to remember this when you thwart my plans and take me in another direction that seems crazy to me.  Help me to quietly trust your ways and move forward in the direction you lead.  You call on me to trust your word and obey when I have no way of seeing how my life will work out.  Give me the faith to follow you in that great adventure.  I know that if you did not spare your own Son for me, that you have blessings and not curses in store for me.  Give me peace today so I comfort and encourage the people along on my journey instead of negativity and complaining. AMEN


Sunday, November 25th


Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:15-16

Dear Jesus, I love being a Christian.  I have peace in my heart. My sins aren't able to bother me so much.  I have love from you that helps me be a blessing to others, even those who work against me.  I have access to your word that guides and protects my heart from huge silly, worldly mistakes too.  But I don't always show others how happy I am to be a Christian.  Instead, I hide my contentment under surface gripes and complaints about petty things in my life.  Please help me to openly profess the joy I have because you have brought me to faith.  Don't let me be weird about it.  Just help me freely express how wonderful it is to be your follower.  AMEN

"Joy springing from within during all circumstances is one of the most powerful witnesses to Christ in a world unable to find happiness on its own."

Saturday, November 23rd


Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. - Habakkuk 3:17-18

 Dear God, I have always been amazed by Habakkuk's statement here.  I am so used to praising you for the blessings you send my way in the form or food, money, good health and a bright future.  But Habakkuk says that even if all those things be gone he would still praise you because you were his Savior.  I do get glimpses of this kind of pure praise in my soul.  But too often I feel like my praise must be purchased with some sort of worldly blessing.  Forgive me for my shallow thankfulness   Help me to rejoice deep in my heart that my eternal salvation is secure.  And give me that joy that brightens the room springing from the peace of knowing you and your final, wonderful gift of total rescue.  AMEN

 "If we have the one thing that will always be needful, then we are not needful of much else."



Friday, November 23rd


For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. - 2 Chronicles 16:9

Dear heavenly Father, I know that your love for me is unconditional.  You made and saved me by your grace.  But there are times that I have neglected your word and grace and went off to "do life" my own way.  I know that you discipline your children and I can see by what you said to Asa in the passage above that you will send me negative consequences for my sins that come from my weakness of faith.  I trust you even when you must discipline me.  I know you are using consequences to call me back to yourself.  I'd rather suffer under your consequences than be allowed to run freely toward eternal judgment.  Thank you for intervening in our lives with stern but loving rebuke.  AMEN

Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. - Proverbs 28:23

Thursday, November 22nd


On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:6-8

Dear Jesus, sometimes I cannot sleep because of the worries I have about my health or my loved ones.  I try not to wake myself with my thoughts but sometimes they are too overwhelming.  In those times I want to be like David who wrote above, "On my bed I remember You; I think of You in the watches of the night ... I sing in the shadow of Your wings."  I know you love me and protect me and that you want to give me sleep.  Help me to remember that your right hand upholds me and that I will not pass away one minute early.  So many times you have rescued me.  You are worthy of my trust.  Your gift of salvation alone makes me let go and trust you with everything else.  Thanks for being there and help me next time I cannot sleep. AMEN

 "Trusting God helps the days go smoother and the nights go shorter."

Wednesday, November 21st


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

Dear Lord, I plan so many things for myself and my family.  And sometimes I think that just because I make these plans that you and the whole universe should cooperate to make sure I get to see them to completion.  How silly of me to think that I am the center of the universe and that all good plans start with me!  I repent.  You have purposes far beyond me and whatever my mind can conceive   All of your plans lead to eternal survival too - for me and many others.  Thank you for not always cooperating with my plans and give me that heart that wants to cooperate with your plans with joy and humility. AMEN

"Man proposes.  God disposes. And then God re-proposes a new and better plan.