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Day 20 - Ask God to give you a Scripture or a verse for the year.  Study it.  Memorize it.  Pray it.  Live it.

When our 5 children were growing up, one of our New Year’s traditions was that every year on January 1, we would give each of them a personal Scripture verse for the year.  My husband, Craig, and I would always pray during the month of December and choose a significant Scripture that seemed to fit each child’s life and what they were currently encountering.

The year that our oldest son, Matt, was a senior in high school, he was assigned this verse, 

“But the noble man devises noble plans, and by noble plans, he stands.” - 

Isaiah 32:8.

The year that our second son, Chris, began leading worship at our church and at his high school chapels, we gave him this verse, “

This I know, that God is for me.  In God whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise; In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” - Psalm 56:9-11

When our young daughter, Joy, was enthralled with the princesses of Disney fairy tales, we gave her this important verse, “

The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold.” - 

Psalm 45: 13

Ask God to give you a significant Scripture verse for the calendar year 2013.  Ask the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, to reveal to you the personal meaning of your chosen Scripture.

When you go to bed at night, pray the verse over your life.  Memorize this verse during the month of January.  Try to find a framed version of the Scripture or a plaque that you can hang in your home.

God does, indeed, have a will for your life and it is found in His Word.  You will never be the person that God intends for you to be until you start living out His Word.

Ask God to help you live your verse every day of every month in 2013!

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Day 19 - Pray for Divine Appointments!

Have you discovered the joy and delight of praying for divine appointments?!

Every morning, after I have my morning devotional time in the Word of God, I bow my head and simply pray, “Father, Your Word says that You order our steps.  I pray that You would order my steps today and give me divine appointments.  I pray that You would bring significant people into my life today.”

Then ... I see what God will do every minute of that day!

The young mom in front of me in the grocery store line with 3 out-of-control children no longer is a frustration but a divine appointment!

“I have 5 children and remember your season in life so well!  Can I put your groceries on the check-out line for you so that you can help your little ones?”

The postal clerk who is grumpy and out of sorts no longer becomes the object of my criticism of all that is wrong with the world but becomes a divine appointment!

“I just want to tell you that I appreciate you!  I am sure that working here is not always easy but your job is so vital to so many Americans.  I just want to say, “Thank you!”

When your talkative neighbor stops you as you take out the trash cans, you no longer perceive it as an interruption but as a divine appointment.

“Hey!  Just wanted to tell you that I have been praying for you and your son!  We serve a good God and I know that He is in control!”

What divine appointments have we missed due to our busy schedules, misplaced judgement or critical spirits?  We live among people who are desperately in need of a kind word, a minute or two of our time and our intentional prayers.

Praying for divine appointments has always been one of my very favorite disciplines in life!  It never ceases to amaze me what God can do because of this simple prayer.

Now ... if you will excuse me ... I need to go and meet some of my daily divine appointments!

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Day 18 - Spend Quality Time with Older People

Are your grandparents still living?  When was the last time that you called them?  When was the last time that you wrote them a long, newsy, loving letter?

Are your parents still alive?  When was the last time you had them over for dinner?  When was the last time that you sent them an e-mail “just because”.  When was the last time you spent an afternoon just listening to them share their heart with you?

Do you have a favorite aunt or uncle who doted on you as a child?  Are you still finding time to fit that  wonderful childhood influencer into your adult life?

Life is short and the generation that is older than you will soon be gone.  Trust me ... I know.  When they are gone ... you can still visit them.  But the place that you will visit them will be at their resting place in a cemetery.

Visit them now!  Ask them questions about their childhood.

Ask them to sing the songs of their generation to you.

Ask them who they voted for in presidential elections and why.

Ask them about their first love.

Ask them about their best childhood friend and favorite toy.

Ask them what historical event happened during their lifetime that impacted their life.

Ask them what new inventions were impressive when they were young.

If your family members are all gone, then build a relationship with someone older at your church or in your neighborhood.  Take your family to a nursing home on a monthly basis and play checkers with the residents.  It’s easy to do ... just set aside the time and then do it.  Try the third Saturday morning of every month.

Initially, you will mistakenly think that you are spending time with an older person for 

their

 benefit but it won’t take long before you realize that you are the true beneficiary of a golden friendship.

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Day 17 - Listen to the voices of children ... look into their eyes ... smile at them ... hug them!

There is nothing so miraculous as the voice and insight of a child.

There is something so magical and eternal about the sparkle in the eyes of a child.

When a child breaks into a grin ... it’s as if the entire universe is smiling!

And, to hug a child, is to mold the future.

Assertively and proactively look for children to influence and to love.  Children in the neighborhood ... children at church ... children at the grocery store ... children in a restaurant ... children in your own family ... children in your own home.

You will be richer for your investment in the life of a child.

A day is never wasted when spent in the presence of a little one.

Hold babies.  It is not a waste of time.  It is an investment in the history of tomorrow.  Babies don’t need much in terms of materialism.  All they really come into the world desiring is just for someone to love them and nurture them.

You don’t need to buy children “stuff” or “things” ... but they do ache to make a memory or two with you.

Bake cookies together.

Go for a walk and look for frogs.

Spread a blanket out on the grass at night and count the stars.

Go to the library and read 10 books out loud.

Make an ice cream sundae and share it.

Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park.

Hold the babies in your life.  Rock them.  Sing to them.  It is time that you will never, ever regret.

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Day 16 - Do One Thing To Make Your Home More Beautiful This Year.

You know all of those little things around your house that stare you in the face month after month?  Year after year?
Perhaps for you it is painting the kitchen or cleaning the bedroom carpet.
The paint around our back door needs to be scraped and then freshened up.  This little job would only take me one summer afternoon to accomplish.  Why do I keep putting it off when I see it every single day?!
I also have wanted to redo my home office for several years.  It wouldn’t take a lot.  Just stripping some wallpaper and then choosing a color of paint.
And also ... that tree in the front yard is way overgrown and we need to do something about it!  How many more years will pass before we hire some teen-age boy to come over and help Craig trim it up a bit?
This year ... just do one thing to make your home more beautiful.  It can be either one thing inside or one thing outside.
Perhaps you have long wanted to plant some tulips around your shrubbery.  Do it!
Maybe you have wanted to buy new towels for the guest bathroom.  Do it!
If you have been planning on painting your back deck for the last 3 summers ... there is no time like the present!
I have found that I am a happier version of me when I am living among little touches of beauty.  Drinking tea from one of my grandmother’s tea cups always gives my soul a sense of contentment.  Sparkling mirrors in the bathroom start my day more effectively than dirty, dingy mirrors.
Make a list of a few things that you would like to do to make your home a more beautiful place ... and then choose one of them to do this year!  Who knows?!  You may get really motivated and do more than one!
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Day 15 - Work on One Difficult Relationship This Year.

Let’s admit it.  We all have difficult relationships, don’t we?  People who are like fingernails on the chalkboard of life.  The Cruella deVille’s ... Barney Fife’s ... and Wicked Witches of the West ... in an otherwise Mary Poppins world.

Choose one of these relationships and choose to walk forward in forgiveness and hope when you are dealing with this person all year long.

Reach out to your difficult person with more kindness than they deserve.

Refuse to critique, criticize, judge or belittle this person.  Simply be kind.

Ask them to have lunch with you and listen to their hearts no matter how much self-control it takes on your part.

Ask this difficult and fractious person how you can pray for them this year.  Look for opportunities to serve this person.

Also, look for opportunities to talk in an encouraging way about this person  especially behind their backs.  Always give a good report no matter how they have talked about you.  Do not lower yourself to their standard of behavior but always choose to be the bigger person.

You might need to ask this person to forgive you for being impatient with them or unkind to them in the past.  Humble yourself in this way and expect God to do a miracle!

Your acceptance of them and encouragement toward them may help you to develop a lifelong and healthy friendship!  I believe that some of the most beautiful relationships are forged in the fire!

Don’t give up on this person but keep believing that God will help you to love this difficult person as much as He does.

And never forget ... you may be the difficult person that someone else is praying for!

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Day 14 - Choose a Fruit of the Spirit that is lacking in your life.  Ask for it.  Study it.  Pray it.  Live it!

We all know what our weaknesses in life are, but when was the last time that you made a focused attempt to overcome that weakness?  I have a strategy that just may help you this year.

Read Galatians 5:22 and 23.

Make a list of the 9 Fruits of the Spirit where you can see them every day.

Ask the Lord to show you which of the Fruits of the Spirit you need to focus on in 2013.

When you realize which fruit you need to work on, ask the Lord to fertilize it in your life!  Ask Him every day, “Lord, would you please help the kindness (or patience ... or goodness ... or whatever one it is that you are lacking) grow abundantly in my life?”

Do a word study in the Bible concerning this particular fruit and look up other verses in the Word of God containing your Fruit.  

www.blueletterbible.com

 is a great study tool as you desire to become more familiar with the Bible.

Ask God to give you other particular verses with this word in it and write them down in a journal.  Pray them over your life.  You might want to choose one or two of these strategic verses to memorize.

When you are at the Christian bookstore, look for books that are focused on your particular Fruit of the Spirit.

Listen to the lyrics of songs at church and on the Christian radio station and make a mental note to sing songs that focus on your particular fruit.

You will find that by the end of the year - you will have an abundant harvest of your chosen fruit!  Don’t be surprised when your ability to show this fruit is tested!  Display it with the strength and joy of the Lord!  Let others taste and see that the Lord is good!

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Day 13 - Pray for a Miracle! Have you ever been part of a miracle?!  A bona-fide miracle?!  If not ... have you ever prayed for one?

Evaluate your life right now.  What miracle do you need?  Or, perhaps, what miracle does someone in your family need today?

Begin to pray for this particular miracle on January 1, 2013, and don’t give up praying.  Don’t ever, ever, every give up praying!

Pray for someone to be healed in Jesus’ Name.

Pray for a financial breakthrough that seems impossible.

Pray for a relationship to be healed that has been broken for years.

Pray for a life that has been in bondage to sin and addiction.

Every time that you pause to pray for anything at all, remember, also, to pray for this particular miracle!

Miracles still happen and the reason that they happen is because someone cares enough to pray.

Would the walls of Jericho have come tumbling down if Joshua and the children of Israel had not marched around it?  I don’t think so ...

Would the Red Sea have parted if Moses had not lifted up his rod?  I don’t think so ...

Would Jairus’ daughter have been raised from the dead if Jairus had not asked?  I don’t think so ...

I wonder what miracles we are not experiencing simply because we are not asking for them!

We serve a God Who specializes in the miraculous and we honor Him when we ask Him to do what He does the best.  Never underestimate His power or His desire to move on your behalf.

Pray for a Miracle!

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Day 12 - Go Somewhere that You Have Never Been!

You have never been to Niagara Falls?  Make plans to go in 2013!

Never been to the Empire State Building?  Why don’t you make plans to go this year!

The Grand Canyon?  Never seen the Mississippi River?  How about the State Fair?

I know that some places are out of our budgets and ability to visit - but there is always someplace new that you can go!  I bet that there is somewhere within a day’s drive of your home that you have never been!

The Baseball Hall of Fame!  Nashville!  Vermont!  Mount Vernon!

Vacations don’t have to be expensive or long to be refreshing.  All it takes is a little planning ahead both financially and with time.  Stay with a friend rather than stay in a motel!  Pack a cooler filled with sandwiches and a car-filled with snacks to cut down on food expenses.

Never been to a baseball game?!  GO!!

Never been to the opera?!  GO!!

Never been to the ballet?!  GO!!

Life is short so add an adventure or two to your life and make firm plans to visit someplace that you have always wanted to go.  If you have never had lunch downtown in your city ... you can do that next week!  How about to the state capitol?  Or to the college campus only 2 hours away?

One of the most exciting parts of the trip just comes in planning it!  Let your imagination run wild and determine to fill your mind and your heart with a new adventure or two this year.

Me?!  Where do I want to go?

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead.

Prince Edward Island.

The Holy Land.

Hawaii.

Always the beach.  ALWAYS the beach!

Who knows?!  Maybe I will see you there in 2013!

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Day 11 - Give more than you can afford to give.

If you are judging by the health of your checkbook whether or not you can afford to give, you will never give the amount that Jesus requires.  Sincere believers never determine their ability to give by their income, their savings account, their retirement funds or by the state of the national economy.  Sincere believers determine their ability to give by the size of the God that they serve.

“And He sat down opposite the treasury and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.

A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.

Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;

For they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” -

Mark 12:41-44.

How much have you given to the Kingdom of God this year?  What you could afford to give?  Have you given merely out of your surplus?

I believe that tithing to the local church is only where it begins in our commitment to giving.  Everything that I have and own is His!  It is my delight to give my time ... my finances ... my home ... my talents and gifts ... in service to His Kingdom.

If you gave 10% last year - then in 2013 make it your goal to give 11%.  Then in 2014 - give 12%

Or perhaps take a bolder, more audacious, approach to giving:  if you gave 10% in 2012, then give 15% in 2013 and give 20% in 2014!

This is what I know ... you can never out-give the Lord!  God always takes care of givers so give away!  Be a lavish and extravagant giver to the Kingdom of God!  Sing and laugh while you give to His work at this time in history!  I don’t think that it is possible to give until it hurts ... because whenever I give to Him ... He gives more abundantly back to me!  There is nothing painful about that relationship at all!

So ... in 2013 ... resolve to give more than you can afford to give!  After all, you can’t afford not to give!

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Day 10 - Serve Someone Every Day!

In this world of “me first” ... “I know best” ... and “it’s all about me” living, servanthood is not esteemed nor embraced.  Servanthood is actually looked down upon and thought to be a weakness not a strength.

Not so in the Kingdom of God.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their great men exercise authority over them.

“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

“And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” - 

Matthew 10:25-28

The message to the disciples of Jesus in the 21st. Century remains the same.  If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, learn how to serve somebody.  Every day.

Let someone else go first in traffic.

Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-through line.

Volunteer to clean the bathrooms at church.

Do the dishes.  Wipe the counter.  Fold the laundry.  Sweep the floor.

Take a meal to a friend.

Slip a $20 bill to a young family.

Shovel your neighbor’s driveway or mow their yard.

If your heart’s desire is for 2013 to be the GREATest year of your life, you will lay down your own agenda, your opinions and your sense of entitlement and learn the nobility of serving others.  It is, after all, what Jesus would do.

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Day 9 - Invest in Something Greater Than Yourself

If we are not careful, our lives can evolve from one season to another with only the remembrance of gray mediocrity.  We can spend a lifetime doing nothing more than driving to and from work, wondering if the coffee pot is turned off and fretting about the upcoming and daunting insurance payment.

Life is meant to be so much more than all of that ... but you must be the one to make it more than all of that!  

Invest in something greater than yourself!

Discover a cause, a person or a ministry that resonates with your soul and then become involved in it.

Pray for this cause!  Add this ministry, person or cause to your daily prayer list and commit to invest yourself in longterm prayer for its longterm success.  Nothing ever happens of any eternal value without people who are committed to prayer.  Billy Graham had 3 women who prayed for him from the time he was a young evangelist.  Although we don’t know their names, how great is their reward!!

Give financially to this cause!  We can all give something, isn’t that true?  Sometimes it is not how much you give but just that you give.  Not all can give large amounts, but we can all give something.  I love writing checks to young people going on missions trips!  I feel that I am investing in their God-ordained destiny!  I almost feel that I am going with them as they go to feed their hungry, love orphans or build a new school on foreign soil.  Sometimes my checks are as little as $10 ... rarely are they written for more than $50 ... but the joy is there in the small and large gift!

Become personally involved with this cause, person or ministry.  Volunteer to stuff envelopes.  Go on a missions trip.  Send someone else on a missions trip with this ministry.  Tell other people about this ministry or cause.  Give of yourself, your time and your talents.  Call the office or the person in charge and ask what you can do to help promote the ministry.

When you look back at your this year, it won’t be the hours spent in front of the TV that will make it a memorable year.  It will be the time that you invested in something greater than yourself that will determine the value of how well you lived.  Trust me.  I know.

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Day 8 - Read Great Books!

One of my very favorite things to do every day of every year is to curl up with a great book.  I confess ... I am a read-aholic and every time I walk into a bookstore or library, I find myself praying the same prayer that I did in the fifth grade, “Jesus!  Let me live long enough to read all of these books!”

Let me challenge you in 2013, don’t just read the “twaddle” of the day but read books that will stick to you ... like oatmeal does!

I love the taste of Chinese food but I am always ravenously hungry about 20 minutes after I eat it!  But now ... when I eat a bowl of tasteless oatmeal, there are no hunger pangs for hours.

It is the same way with books:  if you only read “twaddle” you will never be filled up nor satisfied.  However, if you challenge yourself to read some of the greatest books ever written, there will be a satisfaction and completion about your life that will astound you!

“He who walks with wise men will himself be wise.” - 

Proverbs 13:20.

One way that we can walk with the wise men and women of the ages is to read the books that have been written by the greatest minds and hearts of every generation.

My challenge to you, as you ponder with what you will fill your mind and heart in 2013, is to read a life-changing book every month.  Not all of these suggested books are “easy reads” but I can guarantee you that they are all “worth-it” reads and that each book will add wisdom to your life. These are my suggestions for 2013:

January

: “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson

February

: “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken

March

:  “Not My Will” by Francena Arnold

April

: “The Applause of Heaven” by Max Lucado

May:

“Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss

June

:  “Ruth, A Portrait:The Story of Ruth Bell Graham” by Patricia  Cornwall

July

: “I Declare” by Joel Osteen

August

: “Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas

September

:  “The Pursuit of God” by A. W. Tozer

October

:  “When I Lay My Isaac Down” by Carol Kent

November

:  “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Rose

December

:  “Two From Galilee” by  Marjorie Holmes

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Day 7 - Develop a Lifestyle of Prayer!

“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” - Luke 18:1

Jesus wanted to teach His disciples the importance of persistent and enduring prayer and told them a story about a judge and a widow.

The judge was a Godless man who didn’t even like people.  The widow was in some type of legal battle and she repeatedly kept coming to this judge asking for legal protection from her opponent.

At first, the judge ignored her but then he said to himself, “Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.” (Luke 18:1-8)

I believe that Jesus is challenging believers of every generation to 

wear Him out in prayer!

  Is that even possible?!  To wear God out in prayer?  I don’t know ... but I can tell you this ... I am going to try!!

Why worry when you can pray?  God has given us the vehicle through which we can change not only our own circumstances but also the world.  Prayer has the power to change people, circumstances, events, times and even history!

Worry never changes one circumstance, situation or person!  Worry puts you in a tenacious stronghold and in agreement with Satan, the deceiver of believers.

You were not created for worry but you were created for sweet communion with God on your knees in the prayer closet of your heart.  One of the most marvelous aspects of prayer is that you can do it any place ... any time ... any where!

In 2013, learn this lovely secret of prayer: People can run from your words but never escape the impact of your prayers!

In 2013, buy a prayer journal and be consistent.  Write down the people, desires and events for which you are praying.  Pray every day!  Wear God out!  I dare you!

Resolve to be a prayer warrior that hell fears and that heaven applauds!

Resolve to be a prayer warrior that Satan himself runs from when he hears you coming!

Resolve to have such a commitment to prayer that heaven taps you on the shoulder at all times of the day and night and places a prayer request in your heart and mind.

Prayer should never be your last response ... it should always be your first response!  We are the first responders!  We are the people of God who believe in the power of prayer!

I resolve to pray in 2013!  Every day!  Every where!  At all times!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” - Philippians 4:6

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Day 6 - Celebrate Life in Your Corner of the World!

Let me challenge you to live well every single day of 2013.  Live wholeheartedly on ordinary days.  Live passionately on mediocre days.

Don’t be filled with worry and fear.  Reject worry and fear!  Ignore worry and fear!  Ban worry and fear!  Be filled with joy and grand expectation of all that God has for you this year.  Live in constant and breathless anticipation that the God of all hope has something good up His miraculous sleeve with your name on it.

You choose your heart attitudes although you don’t always get to choose your circumstances.  What you do choose are your responses to your circumstances and don’t waste one day of 2013 with a critical spirit, regret or blame.

Don’t waste one minute of 2013 in boredom or shame.  One of the greatest miracles of a life well-lived is that you can make a conscious effort to celebrate every day of your life as a rare and priceless gift.

Declare with me today, “I will not waste one day of 2013!  Not one hour!  Not one minute!”

I will not take for granted the miracle of an ordinary day.

I will use my fine china and buy flowers for no reason at all.

I will smile at strangers and hug children.

I will not correct, critique or criticize my friends and family but will look for opportunities to encourage them daily.

I will listen to Christmas music on October 1 ... or whenever else I feel like it!

I will go for walks while there are still dishes in my sink.

I will tell my husband ... or wife ... “I love you dearly” every day!

If I don’t have a husband or a wife ... I will tell SOMEONE that I love them every day.

I will cheer for my favorite teams whether they win or lose.

I will celebrate life!

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The Miracle of The Season

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” 

Now ... if that ain’t the truth, I don’t know what is!!

What?!!(She said incredulously and with disbelief in her voice!) You don’t agree?!!  You don’t think that it’s the most wonderful time of the year?!!

If you find yourself raging in religious disagreement with my heartfelt love of and for all things Christmas, then this blog is for you today.  I want to help you with your aversion to mistletoe, holiday cheer and with the decking of the holiday halls before you deck somebody!

It’s true ... I am a Christmas-aholic.  The resounding reason that I love Christmas so utterly and completely has nothing to do with overfed octogenarians in red suits trimmed with white fur, snowmen that dance at street corners or cups of holiday cheer.

The reason that my heart stops at the thought of Christmas is because I am in love with the Savior of the world.

The reason that my eyes fill with tears every year the day after Thanksgiving is because I love babies.  Especially a certain baby Boy born in a manger.

The reason that my heart sings with heaven and nature is because my world was dark and hopeless and it has now been filled to overflowing with the Light of the world and the God of all hope.

The reason that I believe this season to be so earth-stoppingly spectacular is because I really do hear the song of the angels in my Christmas-infested heart.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.” - Luke 2:10 & 11.

The mistake that many Christian Scrooges make is that they confuse the magic of the season with the miracle of the season.  The magic of Christmas holds no eternal beauty or significance for me, either.  It is the miracle of the season that causes my flesh to stand in amazement at the Gift that I have been given.

The magic of the season centers upon toy-making elves, flying reindeer with red noses and presents wrapped in silver and gold. 

This is what I believe ... either the manger should be placed in the same category as elves, jolly old Saint Nicholas and flying reindeer ... or it is absolute, divine and eternal Truth.

Christmas is not about the holiday spirit that rushes toward us the day after Thanksgiving and compels us to shop, spend, and eat. 

Christmas is about the Holy Spirit bringing peace and joy through a Baby Boy to the mess that we have made of planet earth. 

It is about the power of heaven’s reality invading one life. 

It never ceases to amaze me that most of humanity pauses to celebrate the month of December.  That’s nothing short of miraculous!  School children have concerts ... offices close their doors ... neighbors decorate with lights ... high school friends put long newsy letters in the mail ... and grocery stores offer treats offered at no other time of the year.

Why?  It’s because built into each one of us is the desire to celebrate!  God made us to celebrate the miracle of Christmas!  And, as believers, it is up to us to demonstrate to this lost, dark world exactly what they are celebrating!  It is up to me and to you to reveal the joy of this season in extraordinary and miraculous ways!

It is up to you and I not to BECOME Scrooge but to OVERCOME Scrooge with the peace that was announced that night that stars exploded over the shepherds and their flocks.

It is up to us, with a smile on our faces, to shake our heads in agreement with the perky lyrics to songs that are sung only once a year, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

And then ... it is up to you and I to live out the truth of this divine season ... He came so that my life could be wonderful.

God sent His Son so that I would have something to celebrate.

My entire life has been changed because of the most miraculous event in all of recorded history.  God became man so that I could sing with the angels a song so victorious and hopeful that the world must listen.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it?

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Day 5 - Worship in spite of! Now ... this is where that stinkin’ rubber meets the infamous road of life.  This challenge to “worship in spite of” determines exactly of what stuff you are made!  This “very favorite thing” demonstrates the difference between a common man or woman and an uncommon Christian.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” - Psalm 42:11

When life doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to ... will you worship still?

When you are waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ... for God to answer a prayer ... will you worship still?

When your circumstances are rotten and people are cantankerous ... will you worship still?

When you are in pain and your heart is broken in a million little pieces ... will you worship still?

When you are all alone and no one seems to care ... will you worship still?

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love HIm and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” - I Peter 1:6-8

If you long to guarantee the hope that 2013 will be a year like no other then you will resolve in your heart not only to “worship because of” but also “in spite of”!

Worship in spite of!

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MY FAVORITE THINGS

Day 4 - Worship because of! Worship because Jesus is Lord!

Worship because you are loved with an everlasting love!

Worship because you have been forgiven!

Worship because He is worthy!!

“I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” - Psalm 7:17

Worship, like forgiveness, has the power to change your life dramatically!  Worship is what will take your focus of you and place it on the God of eternity and creation.

“I will be glad and exult in You;  I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.” - Psalm 9:2

Worship because He is the God of miracles!

Worship because He hears us when we pray!

Worship because His mercies are new every morning!

Worship because He gives strength to weary pilgrims!

“And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long.” - Psalm 35:28

Awake every morning of 2013 with a song in your heart and then let it come out of your mouth!  Sing out loud!  Sing in the shower and while the coffee is brewing!  Worship in the car and while you are putting your make-up on!  Praise the Lord while you are wiping the kitchen counter and folding laundry!

If you want to ensure that every day of 2013 will be a glorious and great day ... you will open your mouth in worship!

“My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long.” - Psalm 71:8

Worship because of!

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MY FAVORITE THINGS

Day 3 - Forgive Daily!

This is a different “favorite thing” than yesterday’s call to forgive someone from your past who has dreadfully wronged you.

This, my friends, is a daily choice of power and purpose!  Forgive daily!!

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” - Matthew 6: 14 & 15.

Never allow an offense to grow, then to fester and finally to become infected.

When someone pulls in front of you in traffic ... bless them in Jesus’ Name!

When your husband forgets your birthday ... or to take out the trash ...forgive him and fix his favorite meal!

When your mother-in-law steps on your feelings ... forgive her and be sweet!

When your best friend talks too much the very day that you are in pain and need her listening ear ... forgive her and listen with interest while she jabbers away!

When your pastor’s wife walks by you in church without smiling ... forgive her and take her a meal this week!

When your boss overlooks you for the raise or for the bonus ... forgive him and work even harder!

Make it one of your most important and significant New Year’s resolutions to forgive daily and forgive quickly.  You will feel lighter and healthier than if you had lost 50 pounds!

Forgive daily!

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