REFLECT… What a small word with big implications.

The dictionary defines the word reflect this way: “to think, ponder, or meditate.” I have found this discipline to be foundational to my journey both spiritually and relationally as I take the time to slow down from the frantic pace of life to simply meditate on and consider God’s plans and vision for my personal life.

And what better time to REFLECT than these days immediately following Christmas and preceding the New Year? It’s natural for us to begin looking ahead to a brand new year, with a brand new slate, hopefully filled with brand new blessings! 

I would like to share three directions that we need to look to as we REFLECT on the new year.  

First of all, we should look upward.  The Psalmist put it this way, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” – Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV). 

The fact of the matter is that there are moments in our spiritual journey of following Jesus that, when things don’t quite work out the way that we had hoped, or we get discouraged with the results, we find ourselves drifting away from the Presence of God. Some tall-tale signs are when we stop going to church, when we no longer anxiously open the Scriptures to see what He has to say to us today, and we stop hanging out with other Christians.  What can we do when we catch ourselves sliding down this slippery slope?  Just like the psalmist prayed, we can lift up our eyes and look to the One from Whom our help comes from, the Maker of heaven and earth.  May I encourage you to look up and find your strength in God Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth?

Secondly, we need to look inward.  Luke 2:17-19 shares this interesting tidbit regarding Mary as everyone was celebrating the birth of her Son, Jesus: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (NIV).

To “Ponder” literally means that she was having an internal conversation with herself. She was no doubt considering the implications that the birth of the Christ-child would have on her past, present and future. May I challenge you to take a deep look inward to reflect on how Christ’s coming into your own heart and life has impacted your past; your present; and your future.

Lastly, we must look outward.  In John 4:35 Jesus commanded His followers to “wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest” (NLT).

Part of our reflection process must include looking outward at the harvest that Jesus has commissioned us to reach! God’s greatest purpose that He has called each one of His followers to is winning souls. As you reflect on God’s purpose for your life, why not make this a part of your New Year’s resolution?

My prayer is that you will live your life to the fullest in the coming year as you pursue God’s plans and vision with a renewed passion!

The Miracle of Christmas

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us]” – Isiaiah 7:14.

There’s an old saying that suggests that “Familiarity breeds contempt”, which simply means the more we get to know someone or some-thing, we tend to lose the respect and appreciation we once held for them (or it).

Is it possible that we have heard the Christmas story so many times, that without even realizing it, we have lost the deep appreciation and awestruck wonder of just how miraculous this story really is? Just think for a moment once again, “The virgin will be with child…”  “Impossible!” some would say.  With man, indeed this is impossible. But with God all things are possible! Yet, how many times have we blown right past that one little sentence, failing to take in to consideration the full magnitude and implications that it holds?  And yet, that is the Miracle of Christmas… the Incarnation; God becoming a human being! 

Obviously, there is so much more here that we could consider from this one incredible Truth, but let me challenge you with this little thought… 

If God can take a young virgin girl, who had never been intimate with a man, and conceive a child, and not just any ordinary child, but the Christ-Child… then why can’t we believe that He can do the miraculous in our lives?

Acts 10:34 tells us that God does not show favoritism, meaning if He performed miracles, signs and wonders in the lives of Mary, Joseph, and various other Old and New Testament men and women… He can perform miracles, signs, and wonders for you and I!

This Christmas season, whatever you may be facing, and regardless of the challenges and obstacles that are before you… take heart in knowing and affirming daily that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8); He has not changed. What He did 2,000 years ago He can do for you today! So, why don’t you go ahead, right now, simply believe God and receive your Christmas Miracle? After all, He specializes in the miraculous!