What Would You Ask For This Christmas?

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”80%” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]My good friend, Kevin Senapatiratne, travels around North America encouraging Christians in prayer through his ministry Christ Connection and books like Enjoying Prayer and his revised edition of Charles Finney’s Lectures on Revival. I shared this guest post on his blog this week. [/dropshadowbox]

 

Christmas is a season filled with every kind of emotion. It contains some of the greatest highlights of the year, while there are those who find it bothersome, a lot of work, and even discouraging.

Jesus came to share God’s gifts of love, joy, hope, peace, and good news. We celebrate and have incredibly happy moments with family and friends. But there are times when all we feel are the burdens, worries, and stresses of the season.

One of the craziest elements about Christmas is presents. Gift giving can be extreme stressful, even though it is often born out of love. “What will we get them? How much should we spend? Which style should I wrap it in? Will they even like?” I wonder how much the Wise Men worried over the gifts they brought to the newborn King.

It can also be hard to receive gifts. To make things easier, we prefer to ask for certain things. It’s better to nudge towards something we’d really enjoy than be ungrateful for the gift from a friend or loved one. What if we took the time to ask God for gifts in our lives?

Continue reading at www.ChristConnection.com 

Encouragement When God Feels Far Away

Christmas is a special time of year. There are all of the “regular” things we do at Christmas. We bake cookies, decorate trees and homes, visit with family, and have huge dinners. Alongside those are the “churchy” things we use to celebrate the season. We sing Carols, light candles, put on Christmas pageants and plan Christmas Eve services. Chances are there are still more dinners to attend.

We take this season to celebrate, not all of the things, but Jesus. It’s one of two big days every year we make an extra effort to put Jesus at the forefront of everything. And we even have a measure of permission to do it.

Most of us are used to celebrating Christmas in one form or another every year. We expect it to come. Many of us are also familiar with the Scriptures detailing the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. It would be hard to forget for some. But when Christ came, God’s people were in the middle of wondering if God would ever speak to them again.

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5 Reasons Our Hearts Remain Unbroken by Suffering

When God created the Universe – the sun, moon and stars; the planets; the sky and clouds; the water and the land; all the animals, fish, birds and everything else that fills Creation – He looked upon it all and consider “very good.” Unfortunately, the world around us doesn’t feel very good.

Our world is, in fact, extremely broken. It is one of the impacts of the Fall and sin of mankind. Not only were Adam and Eve condemned because of their sin, so was Creation itself. Paul says it is “frustrated” as it waits with “hope” to be “liberated from its bondage to decay” and to be “brought into … freedom and glory” (Romans 8:20-21 NIV).

Until the day when Creation is reborn free and glorious, we all live in the midst of this horrid brokenness. We see it on the news, whether it’s far on the other side of the world, or just down the street. Yet our Christian hearts appear untouched by the turmoil and struggle around us appear.

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One Reason God Is Not Answering Your Prayers

Are you waiting for God to do something in your life? Is God providing in your time of need? Is He intervening in your relational problems? Has He brought healing to your life?

desperation

You have probably heard of various reasons why your prayers are not being answered. Some typical answers from Christians are, “It just isn’t God’s time,” or, “God is waiting to see if you continue to trust Him, praying until you receive.” Some harsher reasons might be, “You don’t have enough faith; you have to really believe,” or “There is sin in your life and you have to get rid of it first.” We also hear more biblical reasons such, “You aren’t asking for the right things.”

Jesus told His disciples about one key to answered prayer. If we are crying out to God and aren’t seeing results, we take a moment to see if this key is part of our lives.

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Friday Prayer: Preserving the Instinct of Perseverance

Jesus taught that we must come to God as little children. I’m still considered a young adult by many, but I learned long ago not to indulge some childhood urges. Now, as a father of two girls, I wonder how much my encouragement towards change in behavior will benefit or harm their future walk with God.

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