Christmas Praise Cards

Christmas praise

One thing I love about Christmas is the music. We sing a lot of songs in December that we don’t hear at any other time of year. Some, like “Silent Night” and “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem” point to Jesus. But many popular ones like “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” don’t mention Jesus at all.

Those secular songs are fun, but they completely ignore the reason for the season. We celebrate Christmas because God came to earth as a man in order to provide salvation for mankind. That is definitely something not only to celebrate, but to also praise God for – in song and in word.

Praise packs the biblical Christmas story. We see it again and again in Matthew and Luke. Sometimes the praise took the form of a song and sometimes a prayer. But all these examples show us that praise is the appropriate response to the birth of our Savior.

How often during the Christmas season do we take the time to purposefully praise God?

Christmas praise Today’s printable contains four praise prompts based on the songs and prayers of praise in the biblical Christmas story. Print it out and cut into four cards. You can stick these four praise reminders in your Bible, on your fridge, or anywhere you will see them. Use these cards to prompt your own praise to God for sending our Savior.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people! Luke 1:68

 

 

He Knows Your Name

Nameless-Women-in-the-Gospel

Have you ever felt alone? Vulnerable? Just one woman lost in a crowd of faces. Unknown and nameless.

The month of October we’ve explored six women in the Gospels that the writers left unnamed. Six women in need. Seven women who encountered Jesus and would never be the same.

Their stories give us hope. We’re reminded that no matter how small we feel Jesus sees us and knows us. No matter how great – or small – our need, Jesus cares and is able and willing to provide.

Jesus showed unconditional love to all these women. He miraculously met their needs beyond their wildest expectations.

He is able to do the same in your life. Come to Him today. Reach out in faith.

He knows your name.

A Divine Appointment

Nameless-Women-in-the-Gospel

Please welcome our guest blogger Mary Boswell. Mary blogs regularly at The Calm of His Presence.  Look for Mary’s bio at the end of the post.

Slowly, with her shoulders slumped from the weight of her reputation and the words of those who shunned her – the woman walked to the well. She was lonely, an outcast with no friends. The only ones who welcomed her company were men who wanted to use her then discard her.

But that day, as she sought relief from thirst, she met a man who didn’t care what kind of reputation she had – he was a man who wanted to meet her deepest need.

As the Samaritan woman walked up to the well Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”

I wonder, does she think, “Is this man really talking to me?”

She responded, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” In those days Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans.

But Jesus persisted, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. … Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

How wonderful, she thought. “He will give me water and I won’t have to come to this well in the heat of the day trying to avoid the stares and whispers of others.”

But Jesus desired to meet her on a deeper level. He asked personal questions – letting her know that he knew of her multiple husbands and present adulterous relationship.

Squirming, she changed the subject as Jesus revealed the most painful parts of her life. Her hope was to distract him with other questions.

Through this conversation the woman revealed that she knew the Messiah was coming – not realizing that this man was Jesus. But, she soon learned that she was in a divine appointment with the Messiah.

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

Just like Jesus wanted to know and fill the deepest needs of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-26), He also wants to know and fill your deepest needs.

Are you like the Samaritan woman, lonely and an outcast? Do you struggle with feelings of insecurity and doubt? Do you seek acceptance and reassurance from the world? Have you made mistakes but have a hard time forgiving yourself?

Jesus desires to give you His source of living water. He knows your deepest needs. Through him you will never be alone. Through Him you will always be accepted. He will give you security and confidence in Him. And He will give you true forgiveness found only in the Cross.

So sweet friend will you come to the well? Your divine appointment with Jesus is waiting.

Mary Boswell Mary Boswell is a wife, mom & daughter of her Heavenly Father. As a former Critical Care Nurse & mom to 2 lively, active children she knows what its like to be in a chaotic, unpredictable environment. God has carried her through several difficult, life changing trials but through each one she as leaned on the arms of God. You can find Mary at her blog The Calm of His Presence where she seeks to live in God’s calming presence.

A Mom on a Mission

Lori Wildenberg

Lori WildenbergA great big welcome to today’s guest blogger, Lori Wildenberg, co-founder of Corinthians 13 Parenting. Look for her bio at the end of the post!

The Canaanite woman knew what she wanted. She knew only he could answer her prayer. She was determined to have her request granted. She was persistent.

She was a mom on a mission.

Her name isn’t given, but it doesn’t need to be because…she is every mother. She is you. She is me.

“Lord, son of David, have mercy on me!” She cried out.

She was in agony. Like any mama, she was physically experiencing her child’s misery. “My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Or… “My child is suffering terribly from a broken relationship, an illness, an injury….”

She would not be discouraged or dissuaded, even though the disciples urged The Lord to send her away. At the very least, this Gentile woman was distracting, annoying. The men whined, “She keeps crying after us.” (That motley crew of twelve was not going to get in her way. Never mess with a determined mother.) She knew who and what she needed. This mom persisted in her humble and honest cries that come from a broken heart.

But Jesus…he was quiet.

Isn’t that the hardest part? We cry out, beg, chase after him on behalf of our children…and he is quiet.

But…Jesus was also near.

The woman knew she needed what only Jesus could provide. She was not about to leave his presence empty-handed.

Even when Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” she didn’t give up. Instead of tossing her arms in the air and stomping off, she came closer and knelt before him.

“Lord, help me!”  She knew with him, nothing was impossible.

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” He continued to test her faith.

“Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” She responded with tenacity and in spite of the circumstances…even a little spunk!

“Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” The Lord healed her daughter that very hour.

Having faith when things are difficult is …well…difficult.

I’ve been there. I suspect I’ll be there again. When my children hurt, I hurt.  Like the Canaanite mother, I pursue Jesus. I want to be near him when I petition on my kids’ behalf. And… like the Canaanite mom, I know he will hear me.

He works all things to the good for those who love him.

Like her, I will persistently seek Jesus for the sake of my kids. I may need to wait and trust his perfect timing. (I must say I do like the phrase, “That very hour.”) And when I do, I know my faith will deepen in the waiting and persevering space.

He will answer.

I am the Canaanite woman… a mom on a mission.  (Matthew 15:21-29, Mark 7:24-30)

Have you ever been a “mom on a mission,” asking God to meet the needs of your child?

 

Lori Wildenberg, co-founder of Corinthians 13 Parenting, has more than twenty-five years’ experience working with children and parents. She’s an author, national speaker, a licensed Parent and Family Educator, and co-columnist for  Parenting Prose found in MARRIAGE Magazine. Lori weaves warmth, transparency, and gentle humor into her realistic approach to raising kids today. Mostly, Lori is a mom of four and has been married to Tom for thirty-one years. The Wildenbergs (and their labradoodle) live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

For more information go to www.loriwildenberg.com or www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com

 

 

Do You Ever Feel Like a Nameless Face in a Crowd?

The Widow's Offering

Do you ever feel insignificant? I imagine this woman did. She was just one poor, lonely widow in the crowd that day. She probably felt invisible among the happy families and important religious leaders and rich people in their fancy clothes.

The Bible doesn’t even tell us her name. The Gospel of Mark only takes five verses to tell us her story:

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44, NIV

Jesus didn’t take note of the many rich or powerful or well-dressed or important people who gave an offering that day. It wasn’t even a man He called to the attention of His disciples. Instead, He noticed the poor widow.

How many others do you think noticed her that day in the Temple court? Probably not very many. Instead, the crowds noticed the rich people who threw large amounts into the offering boxes. Their silver coins would have made a loud clanking noise as they hit the other coins in the box. Can you hear it?

The Widow's Offering The widow lovingly tossed two small copper coins into the box. It was nothing by the world’s standards, but it was everything she had. No one else heard the sound they made. No one else, but Jesus. To Jesus, it was the sound of faith. Out of all the worshipers that day in the temple, Jesus noticed her. He even called His disciples over so He could point her out to them. And He praised her for giving all she had.

Those two copper coins was everything the widow had to her name. This one act tells us so much about her. She treasured God more than she treasured her next meal. She had complete trust in God’s faithfulness to provide. And she was willing to place her very life in God’s hands.

Tiny by the world’s standards, her offering was huge to God. Her demonstration of faith was what mattered. Jesus saw her faith. Jesus felt her heart. And Jesus knew her name.

Do you sometimes feel insignificant? Do you ever wonder what you have to offer Jesus? Do you feel like your efforts for the Kingdom are meager?

Sister, be encouraged! You are significant to Jesus. He sees your heart. He knows your name. Whatever you have to give impacts His Kingdom. And all He wants from you is you!

On what occasions do you feel insignificant, lost in the crowd? How does this story remind you of God’s truth?