Christmas

How Does God Make His Plans for Your Life Known? Tips From the Christmas Story

Recently when talking with a friend who has a big decision to make regarding where her son will attend school, she asked me “How do you know what God’s plan is?  How can you hear God speak?”  

I like to use the acronym P.E.W.S. to remember the most common ways that God speaks to us.  God can speak to us in any way He chooses, He is God, but below are some of the most common ways God speaks to us as revealed in Scripture:

P - Through other PEOPLE

E - Through EVENTS

W - Through His WORD

S - Through His SPIRIT living in us

Using part of the Christmas story I would like to show examples of these methods in action:

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God first chose to speak to Mary through His angel Gabriel, and this EVENT began a new chapter in Mary’s life.  He clearly told Mary what was going to happen, answered questions she had and provided additional information regarding Elizabeth’s pregnancy as well. 

EVENT: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be borne will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:26-38 ESV

God then confirms what had been told to Mary in secret by another PERSON, her relative Elizabeth who had no knowledge of Mary’s revelation until she saw her and was given insight from the Holy Spirit.

PEOPLE: In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would beg a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45 ESV

Other people that brought confirmation that all was as the angel Gabriel proclaimed were the shepherds that came to see Jesus in the manger after they were visited by the angels. Luke 2:8-21 ESV

God’s WORD also confirmed these events.  God will never ask us to do something that goes against His written Word to us, for example God wouldn’t tell you to steal something when His Word tells us to not steal.  In Mary’s situation, God’s Word also confirmed what she was told by the angel and was happening:  These prophesies were given hundreds of years before Mary was visited by an angel.

The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2 

Born of a virgin: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

God’s SPIRIT lives in each of us that believe in His Son Jesus and can guide, direct and teach us many things.  We see God’s Spirit at work in Elizabeth when she sees Mary and proclaims truth that she would not have otherwise known.  Today in our lives, the Spirit of God can warn us, or speak to our Spirits to help us discern God’s plan for our lives of the lives of our children.  

While Mary was being prepared to bring the Savior of mankind into the world, and God made His plans for her clear.  God also has a plan for you and I.  God promises us that He does not have favorites, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever…God still speaks and makes His plan known to His children.  This Christmas it is my prayer that you would thank God for the gift of purpose in your life, and always be willing to respond to the plan God has for you by using the words Mary spoke, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”


Written by Jamie

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Adding God's Word to Every Gift This Christmas

As I prepare to celebrate Christmas with our family this year I began asking myself the question “how can I make our Christmas more about Jesus?”  Then it occurred to me…I plan to pray over each gift and find a bible verse that has something to do with the gift that is inside.  I think it’s going to be fun as my children try to guess their gift based on the corresponding Bible verse.  Here are a few examples:

My daughter’s boots: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV

My son’s Hockey Practice Set: “May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4 NIV

My oldest son’s new stereo: “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.” Judges 5:3 NIV

This is just another way to make His Word a focal point of our Christmas time together.  So that we can all celebrate when “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14 ESV

May you have a Spirit filled Christmas, full of His Love, Joy, Wisdom and Truth!  

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Christmas Prayer

Thanks to all of you who have followed us on our True View website and watched our shows, read our blogs, and supported our ministry with your finances and prayers. You are a blessing in our lives!  It is our hope that this Christmas prayer will be a blessing to you and that the Lord will fulfill this prayer in your life in the New Year. Committed to Jesus, Who is the Way, Truth and Life!

Jamie and Julie

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nativity-scene1

 Lord, as I reflect upon the nativity scene and Your birth, I pray that You will be born anew in my life today.  Please enable me by the power of the Holy Spirit to have the receptivity of Mary that says, “be it unto me as your handmaiden”. Like Mary, may I be willing to respond to the call to carry You with me wherever I go into a world sorely needing Your love, regardless of the personal cost to me.

May I be like Joseph, willing—despite criticism, mocking and humiliation, disbelief and unbelief— to go wherever you say whenever you say.  May I act immediately upon the visions You give me, regardless of my own plans and desires.  May I be like both Mary and Joseph, willing to leave the comforts of the familiar to go into the realm of the alien and defiled, trusting that You who called me will protect and guide me.

Lord, please give me the persevering faith of the kings who were willing to travel great distances and experience discomfort to seek You until arriving at your feet to worship and adore You.  Give me their heart to follow You, the Bright Morning Star who alone gives light to the darkest sky and life.  Give me their humility to bow down and worship the One who came then— and Who still comes today—without fanfare to a world desperately needing a Ruler Who is “Faithful and True”. May I be willing— as the kings were in giving their frankincense, gold, and myrrh— to sacrificially give Jesus gifts that will bless and glorify Him: my time, talents, resources, and most of all my will and life.  May I be like the Magi in that I too will be willing to disobey guidance and instruction given by mankind when it conflicts with the vision and voice of the Lord.

May I have the heart of the shepherds who with exuberant joy and without delay left their assigned “task of the urgent” to minister to the “most important”.  May I walk in the reality that the only thing that will bring joy to my life and leave a mark on this world forever is when, like the shepherds, I leave my own field behind so I can go to and enter the place where I wholeheartedly worship the Unblemished Lamb of God.  May I too be willing to leave behind the good—tending to “my sheep”—in order to do the best— tending to the Perfect Lamb and ministering to His needs and desires.

May my life never be too full— like the innkeeper’s was— that I cast you outside the primary place and do not make room for the ‘King of Kings’ and ‘Lord of Lords’ to have preeminence in my life. May I recognize that my heart—like the manger on that first Christmas— was made for the sole purpose of receiving the Messiah, the greatest One ever born of woman who also came to be born in me, and in all who are willing to receive the One and Only truly life-changing Christmas gift!

Most of all, I pray that I will be like You, Jesus, consumed with the desire to do the will of Our Father, who also has called me and sent me to minister to a lost and dying world.  May my life also be a perfect reflection of God the Father’s sacrificial, unconditional, everlasting love.  I pray this in the Name that is above all Names, the Name of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, Who alone is worthy of all glory and honor!  Amen

Prayer written by Julie Van Gorp

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