Archive

Posts Tagged ‘wonder’

Christmas Eve 2014

December 24th, 2014

Christmas is for the child in all of us – the eternal, ageless spirit within that never grows old nor grows bored.

“When the shepherds had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Luke 2:17-20 NKJV.

Christmas is for the child-like heart in every one of us who hears or reads the story of the Nativity with wide-eyed and open-mouthed wonder that God Himself – Almighty and Eternal – would come into our world in a way unimagined, to a place unspectacular, and at a time unexpected in the likeness of His frail creation, in the form of a dependent, helpless child. Christmas is not for the pseudo-sophisticated who think they have all the answers.

Christmas is for child-like hearts who embrace the wonder of His coming as a child who would become Savior and Redeemer of all. Jesus Himself said, “Except you change and become as little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4 NIV. There is much of spiritual reality that is reserved for  child-like hearts.

I love this picture of Kaylee, our almost three year old great grandchild with whom we will spend Christmas Day. I want to never lose the wonder I see in her eyes as she explores and learns. Gayle and I are so grateful for your partnership and support of EveryDay Life across this year, all too quickly passed. May you never lose the wonder of endless discovery of this One who came to be your Savior.

A blessed and joyous Christmas,
Allen and Gayle Randolph

Christian Communications, Inc.

Kaylee and Christmas Tree 2014

Devotionals , , , , , , ,

Christmas Wonder

December 16th, 2014

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

Christmas holds both the mystery of the Child and the majesty of the Christ.

This Advent, my thoughts and comments are about “Christmas wonder.”

Life presents moments that pique your curiosity until you just must know more. Some of those are coincidental; a few, but more than you might realize, are providential. I regret any time I was too busy to notice moments of divine providence. I am grateful for every time I allowed God to interrupt my plans with His opportunities. Such instances can change your course and shape your life in unexpected ways.

Christmas should be one of those times. On the first Christmas, the eternal and almighty God personally came into our world at an unexpected time (after 400 years of Heaven’s silence), to an unlikely place (to a stable, not a palace), and in an unimaginable manner (in a natural process possible only by supernatural means). The Creator became as His creation; the Eternal became subject to mortality; the Omnipotent became conventional.

Christmas holds both the mystery of the Child and the majesty of the Christ, presenting questions only God and faith can adequately answer. The Apostle Paul described the Incarnation to Timothy, his young protégé, “Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ appeared in the flesh and was shown to be righteous.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NLT. Peter simply wrote, “[We] were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16 NIV.

I love the Christmas story as told by Luke. Read Luke 2:1-20. Angels fill the Judean night with praise and pronouncements to humble shepherds routinely busy about their drab and daily life. Leaving their flocks, the shepherds hurried to find this One of whom the Angels sang. Of course, the shepherds told Mary and Joseph their story, as they later, “spread the word that had been told them about this child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.” People’s “wonder” is variously translated as, “amazed, marveled, or astonished.” Christmas should arouse wonder and amazement.

Mary’s response provides my thoughts and comments today; “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 NIV. What a model of spiritual life for you and me. Mary “treasured and pondered in her heart” the words and workings of God. Spiritual discovery originates in the heart, then engages the mind for understanding and the will for appropriate action. Generations earlier, Solomon gave strong counsel, “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.” Read Proverbs 4:21-27 NKJV.

Mary’s attitude was reverential; Mary “treasured” the Angel’s words that began her journey of obedience and trust, as she embraced the awe-filled story of the shepherds’ angelic visit and pronouncement, just as she would esteem the Wise Men’s journey from afar. She placed high value on all that God said and did and cherished it all in her heart.

Mary’s posture was wonder and worship. Mary “pondered” the Angel’s words. “Ponder” is the process of, “putting one thing with another in considering circumstances.” Mary was deliberate, reflective, and ultimately receptive. Mary’s reasoned response was, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior for He has regarded the lowly estate of His maidservant . . for He who is mighty has done great things and holy is His name.”  Read Mary’s joyous Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55.

This Advent, my prayer is that Christmas is released in your heart with fresh wonder and discovery.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adversity

October 25th, 2013

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT.

There is too much worry, yet too little wonder of the love of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “adversity.”

Ever have times when you felt like everything was working against you? Anyone might feel like that on some occasion. Be careful; you could easily begin feeling sorry for yourself, which is a major waste of time and emotion. Life is not always fair, and the winds of circumstance are not always favorable. Time and circumstance happen to one and all.

Your success in life does not depend upon the good fortune of favorable events. Everyone will have their share of laughter and tears; so will you! Tears are usually the result of troubling times and/or troublesome people. Be advised; Jesus warned that those experiences have the power to steal the word of God from your heart. Jesus called such moments, “tribulation and persecution.” Your well-being comes from successfully handling such times and people. Read Matthew 13:20-21 NIV.

When adversity – big or small – seems to beset you or opposition seems to array against you, ask yourself the same question Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31 NLT. The Bible does not promise an exemption from challenging times and cantankerous people. Those are the experiences about which Paul refers. Life is more about those who are for you, than those against you. And God is for you.

Paul asks some probing questions that expose the raw nerves, yet persevering faith, of a man that experienced the best and worst of everyday life. Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NLT/6:4-10 NKJV. In his letter to Christ-followers in Rome, he asks, “Who dares accuse us . . who then will condemn us . . who can separate us . . does it mean He no longer loves us?” Romans 8:33-35 NLT. Your answers are more critically important than any of your questions.

You may feel the sting of those who privately criticize your best efforts, while you fear that any adversity results from displeasing God, just as Job’s friends suggested of him. Or from those who wonder aloud if your pain or loneliness are symptoms of Heaven’s disapproval. Or maybe from the devil’s whispers that create doubts of God’s love. Such things waste time.

Here is Paul’s answer, and I hope it will be yours: “No, in spite of all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And I am convinced nothing can ever separate us from His love.” Romans 8:37-38 NLT. The Apostle Paul was establishing this simple truth: adversity or opposition do not indicate the displeasure of a God who is unchangeably and altogether for you. Rest safely and confidently in God’s care. There is too much worry, with too little wonder of the love of God. Read Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you find your rest and refuge in Christ alone.

Devotionals , , , , , ,

Mystery and Majesty

December 12th, 2011

“When the angels had gone away . .” Luke 2:15 NKJV

“Christmas is not about listening to angels’ songs; Christmas is about knowing the Savior!”

My thoughts today are about “mystery and majesty.”

Christmas is just two weeks away, ready or not! I love the Christmas season and celebrations. I love the joyous sound of the carols and the beauty and color of the season’s decorations. I love the wonder of little children at Christmas and their barely contained excitement waiting for Christmas morning. I love the joy on faces as presents are unwrapped, and hearing “Wow!” and “I can’t believe it!” and “Just what I wanted!” spill out with hugs. I love singing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come . .” to begin the church’s Christmas celebrations. I love Christmas Eve Communions and Christmas dinners with family and friends. I love Christmas!

Most of all, I love the mystery and wonder of Christmas, a story so impossible who but God could have conceived it. Last year, I saw a promotion for a TV program that was advertised as “the impossible true story.” I doubt that it was, but those words would accurately describe Christmas and the wonder and awe this magical season can bring – a worried king jealous of his throne, wondering shepherds rushing from their fields and flocks, wandering kings with gifts from far countries, and a worshipping young couple coping with the angels’ startling appearances and pronouncements. How could this be? No wonder Mary “pondered all these things in her heart” and all who heard the shepherds story “wondered at their words.”

In the era of Google with immeasurable terabytes of information at your fingertips, not much remains a mystery anymore but Christmas is and always will be. Paul ponders the mystery as he wrote to young Timothy, “Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ appeared in the flesh . . was seen by angels and was announced to the nations.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NLT. This “great mystery” is: to where would the Savior come – not to a capital city or palace, but to a common stable in obscure Bethlehem; and in how would the Savior come – not as a powerful conqueror, but as a helpless infant miraculously born with our shared humanity; and for whom would the Savior come – not for the religious, but for the worst and best among us, sinners all.

And how did this grand introduction to your world occur? “There were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood before them . . ‘do not be afraid; I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’ . . and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’”

The shepherds could have returned to their routines and responsibilities and spent their lifetimes just retelling the stories about the angels; instead, they became eyewitnesses of the Savior. “When the angels had gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go and see this . . which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger.” Read Luke 2:8-20 NKJV. Inevitably, angels will leave; Christmas will pass; but the Savior can change your life forever! That’s when the mystery in your mind of His birth becomes the unequalled majesty of His life and purpose in your heart.

All too soon, the angels will go away and routines return. When the angels leave, will you stay as you were, or will you seek a life-changing encounter with the Savior? Christmas is not about listening to the angels’ songs; Christmas is about your heart wanting to know the Savior! You have not experienced Christmas until you have personally found the One “born to you this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” This Christmas, you can be an “eyewitness of His majesty . . until the Morning Star rises in your heart.” 2 Peter 1:16-19 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you never substitute celebration for the enduring wonder of the Savior.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , ,