Weekly Verses…

Weekly Verses…

Monday

[The shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby [Jesus], who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed…  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 
Luke 2:16-20
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
The shepherds reaction to baby Jesus is exactly what our reaction will be when we see the returning Jesus:  we will glorify and praise God for all the things we see and hear and will find that they are just as God has promised them to us. Since God kept his word in the first coming of Jesus, we can be assured that he will do it with the Second Coming of Jesus!
MY PRAYER…
Faithful and all powerful Lord, thank you for being trustworthy and true.  Help me to be faithful to you in what I   do and say and think during this stressful yet marvelous time. May I never lose faith in the coming of Jesusand may my faith in him ever shape my life to be more pleasing to you.  Amen.
Tuesday
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
While Jesus is God’s Son and Mary’s son, he is also our Son. He is the child given to the world so you and I can become God’s child.  What greater gift can we have than Jesus, and through Jesus, God as our Father.
MY PRAYER…
On a day so glorious, when the world pauses and acknowledges your gift of Jesus, all I can think to say is simply “Thank you!”  Amen.
Wednesday
Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
God’s gift to Simeon was truly precious and touching.  He is the embodiment of every nation, race, and culture that is seeking God’s salvation.  God’s salvation, as Luke loves to remind us again and again, is for all people!
MY PRAYER…
Lord God of all nations, not only do I pray for peace on earth, but I pray that the knowledge of Jesus may be spread to every nation this coming year.   Please make me sensitive to those around me who need your grace and give me courage and the right words to say.  Please stir me to be generous to those who are spreading your Gospel throughout the world.  Please bind the work of Satan that keeps nations in darkness and away from grace.   Make your Kingdom triumph through the growth of your word throughout the world.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
Thursday
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalms 103:1-3
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Praise must not come just from our lips.  Praise must emanate from deep within our soul, recognizing all the great blessings God has given us.  While God is worthy of praise because he his holy and majestic and mighty, we have even greater reasons to praise him.   He has bee so very gracious to us!
MY PRAYER…
Holy and loving Father, I praise you for your gift of creation.  I praise you for your love in granting us free will to accept or reject you.  I praise you for choosing Abraham to be the beginning of faith and a people through whom Jesus would come.  I praise you for sending Jesus.   I praise you for providing the sacrifice for my sins.  I praise you for raising him from the dead and triumphing over sin and death.  I praise you for those who shared the Gospel of your grace with me.  I praise You for what you are doing through me and for me.  I praise You for what you are about to do and yet remains enshrouded in mystery to me.  I praise because you are Almighty God who has chosen to be my Abba Father.  Through Jesus Christ my Lord, I praise you. Amen.
Friday
[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 
Matthew 11:28
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
At the end of the year, it sure is nice to be invited to rest in Jesus.   So before we begin a new year, let’s pause and place our hopes, our future, our dreams, and especially our burdens down at his feet and let him give us rest.
MY PRAYER…
Teach me, O God, to learn to rest in your grace and providence more and to worry less.  I want to surrender my burdens to Jesus and let him teach me his way and how to find his rest.  Sometimes I am so tired and weary I don’t think I can continue, so please, dear Father, let me find rest in Jesus.   Through whom I offer this prayer.  Amen.
Saturday
[Jesus said,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.   In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.   I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
He’s coming back!  As much as the world likes to remember Jesus’ first coming during the Christmas season, we need to remind people that his Second Coming will be even greater.  We want to be prepared –lives dedicated to his glory and hearts full of expectation at his coming.
MY PRAYER…
Loving God, I know Jesus will come again.  May I be found faithful and expectant when he returns.  Thank you for sending him the first time to live in my world and take away my sin. Thank you even more for his next coming to take me to live in your world and share in your victory over sin.   Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Sunday
[Jesus said,] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!   I have overcome the world.
John 16:33
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
This world is a place of struggle.  Yes, we can live above the struggle for awhile or can find a way to simply ignore or re-label the struggle for a time.  But in the end, the struggle will find us.  But in the midst of struggle, we can remind ourselves that our victory is secure.  Jesus has won!  We will share in his great triumph.  In case you didn’t know, the final outcome is already determined and Christians win big through
Jesus.
MY PRAYER…
Thank you, God, for giving me the victory through Jesus Christ my Lord.  I greet the future with anticipation because I know that each day brings me closer to you and the glorious future you have planned for all of your children.  Until then I pray that I may never lose sight of that victory and I yearn for the day of its arrival! Through Jesus, the triumphant Rider on the white horse, I pray.  Amen.
Devotional credit: Oneplace.com
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6 Ways to Prepare for the Holidays

6 Ways to Prepare for the Holidays

Preparing for the holidays can be a lot of work. In fact, during the next few weeks, your Christmas to-do list is probably about to grow into an outrageous, poster-sized banner. Am I right? And then, before you know it, your Christmas experience turns into a frenzy of challenging task after challenging task.

Why not do it differently this year? Let’s get a head start on this season to ensure that this Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Our Savior. Below you will find six ways you can prepare for Christmas while remembering the reason we celebrate the season.

1. Add an advent calendar to your nightly routine. An advent calendar is a wonderful way to prepare your family for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Not sure how an advent calendar works? Check out our article on How To Use An Advent Calendar and get a head start on the celebration this year.

2. Decorate your Christmas tree as a family.  Choose lights and ornaments that represent the true Christmas story. With the Twelve Names of Christmas Ornaments, you can start 12 days before Christmas—read one story each night with your family and have your children hang the corresponding ornament on the tree.

3. Serve others. Start a card ministry, organize a bake sale for your favorite charity, deliver pre-cooked Christmas dinners or easy-clean-up meals to your elderly friends, or volunteer your time at a local food pantry. By serving others at Christmas and year-round, you are answering God’s call in your life. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

4. Decorate gradually. Slow down the process of putting your nativity scene out. By displaying your manger scene one piece at a time, you will be able to truly focus on the involvement of each person in the miraculous first Christmas story—of course, topping it off Christmas Day with the arrival of baby Jesus.

5. Find time to sit quietly. As the busyness of the holiday season approaches, set aside a designated time each day to fully focus on listening to God’s voice. Pick up some prayer resources to help deepen your personal relationship with Jesus as we approach the celebration of His birth.

6. Study the Christmas story. Read enlightening books about the amazing birth of Jesus. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamphelps readers celebrate the lineage and the majesty of Jesus Christ; while The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgsfocuses more on the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Looking for materials to help your children or grandchildren learn more about the birth of Christ? Check out our Christmas-themed activity books such as Christmas Joysor Jesus Is Born!

We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the Christmas rush. At DaySpring, we want to come alongside you this season to bring you inspirational devotionals, helpful tips, and fun ideas to remind us all of the reason we celebrate Christmas. We hope our six ways to prepare for the holidays will help bring your focus back to the amazing Christmas story and His unfailing love for us.

Devotional credit: Dayspring.com