Christmas in July

I attended a prayer group the other day. As our time of prayer was drawing to an end, I heard the Lord say something unexpected. He said, “Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear?”

It caught me by surprise as I was thinking, “Isn’t that a Christmas song? God, it’s July.”

Then I heard a scripture from Song of Solomon.

…[while you are here] …in the sheltered and secret place, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14, Amplified)

Seeing His children gathered together, with their faces lifted to heaven in prayer, was both lovely and sweet to Him.

Those words, “Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear?” stuck with me the rest of the day. And I found that anytime I was tempted to see myself in an unlovely light I would think “Do you see what I see?” I am lovely in His sight.

I’ve been taking voice lessons recently. My voice teacher is challenging me to sing in ranges I am not very comfortable with yet. I don’t like what I hear. But what does He hear? “Do you hear what I hear? To Me your voice is sweet.”

What do you see and hear when you look at your children? Parents always seem to think their child is the handsomest or prettiest they’ve ever seen and their child’s voice, no matter what it sounds like, is the sweetest sound on earth.

When God sees and hears us, He hears His child singing, praying, speaking to Him. He sees His child, created in His image, learning to walk in His ways. We may see shortcomings. We may see failures. He sees and hears His child and to Him you are lovely and and to Him, no matter what you sound like compared to others, the sound of your voice is sweet.

…let me see your face, let me hear your voice… (Song of Solomon 2:14, Amplified)

I Never Knew Love Like This Before

Today is Christmas Eve. I was thinking about this holiday. The love of a Creator for His fallen creation. The birth of His Son sent to save our souls. Emmanuel, God with us.

As I was thinking about these things, I heard a song rise up in my heart. “I never knew love like this before.” I don’t think I’ve heard that song in years. I didn’t even remember who sang it. But it seemed very appropriate.

I recall a day I was waiting for a friend at MD Anderson. A man struck up a conversation with me. He was reading a book about aliens.

We started chatting and then he made a comment about those stupid people who believe in God. I let him know I was one of those people. The conversation kind of went downhill from there.

He absolutely could not comprehend a God Who would send His Son to die in our place. He refused to believe that there was a Being in this universe Who would sacrifice His Own Son. He believed in aliens, but He didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe anyone could love like that.

But God did. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. Until I heard that message, I had never known love like this before. But once I heard that message, received that message, and received His Son into my heart, I have never spent another day without the most amazing love in the universe abiding in my heart; and being daily aware of that amazing love being lavished on me by my heavenly Father.

“I Never Knew Love Like This Before”
Artist: Stephanie Mills

I never knew love like this before
Now I’m lonely never more
Since you came into my life

You are my lovelight, this I know
And I’ll never let you go
You’re my all, you’re part of me

Once I was lost and now I’m found
Then you turned my world around
When I need you, I call your name

‘Cause I never
Knew love like this before

This Christmas let your thoughts, let your heart, let your life be consumed with His awesome love for you.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us, God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16, KJV)

A Father’s Dreams

As I sat in my prayer chair this morning I looked over at one of my Christmas decorations. It is a velvet Christmas stocking with a large cross stitched on it. The stark contrast suddenly struck me. As we celebrate His birth, there before me was a reminder of His death.

I think of new parents as they look upon their newborn child, the hopes, the dreams, the plans they have for their child. God looked upon His newborn Son and knew the plan for His life included His death on a cross.

Jesus, God’s Son, would die for our sins by being tortured, abused, and finally nailed to a cross. And God knew this as He looked upon a baby in a manger… His Son, Jesus.

And the angel answered and said unto her , The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35, KJV)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7, KJV)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5, KJV)

“…it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11:50, NIV)

…after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:26, NASB)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son… (John 3:16, KJV)


In the past few years there has been much talk and many grassroots campaigns to “keep ‘Christ’ in Christmas”. I say amen to that as I am sure many others do as well. But I wonder if people really know the true weight of that word “Christ”. For many it may simply be a part of Jesus’ Name. But what does this word Christ truly mean?

Christ is a Greek word that means ‘anointed’. Jesus was the Anointed One. And what was He anointed with?

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound… (Isaiah 61:1, KJV)

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38, KJV)

Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (Matthew 11:2-5, KJV)

It wasn’t His last name. It was Who He was and What He carried… the Anointed One and His anointing.

So what does this mean in our lives? Well, with the knowledge of the true meaning of the word ‘Christ’, how much more truth and power is revealed to us in Philippians 4:13?

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV)

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me… (Amplified)

This Anointing, this strength in Jesus healed the sick, fed the multitudes and raised the dead.

Yes, let’s keep ‘Christ’ in Christmas, but let’s also see to it that we keep Christ in every day of our lives and change this world to the Glory of God!

God With Us

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].(Isaiah 7:14, Amplified)

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23, KJV)

God with us. I’ve been thinking about that this morning. It was His idea. He was the One that wanted to be with us. There is so much I can say about that, but right now we need to take time to just think on ‘God with us’. It was His desire and He sent His Son to this earth, knowing He would suffer and die on a cross, so that He, God could be with us.

What amazing love.

For with God, nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37, KJV)

Through Jesus we are with Him and He is with us.

And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages: They will pick up serpents; and [even] if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will get well… And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the attesting signs and miracles that closely accompanied [it]. (Mark 16:17-18, 20; Amplified)

While the Lord kept working with them.

A Yielded Vessel

This morning I’ve been thinking about Christmas. I love this time of year with all the decorations, the gifts, and the gatherings. I love wrapping gifts, putting up the tree, and playing Christmas music. But this morning, that’s not what I was thinking about. I was thinking about a young girl at the center of the story of Christ’s birth. I was thinking about His mother, Mary.

Lets take a look at some scriptures that mention this mighty woman of God, who started out as a yielded young girl.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:22-23, KJV)

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:30-33, KJV)

She was a young virgin, engaged to be married and God was asking her to carry His Son. It was going to cost her. It used to be quite a stigma in our society for a young, unmarried girl to become pregnant. But in Mary’s day, it was much more than a stigma, she could be stoned to death for such a thing.

But in the questions she asked and the things she said, I don’t see her thinking about what this might cost her, but just curious about how this could be.

Then said, Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:34-35, KJV)

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. (Luke 1:38, KJV)

Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. (Luke 1:38, Amplified)

No questions of “What about me?” or “What about my reputation?” “What about my life.” Her response was “I am His. And my life is His to do with as He wills.”

While this was so strange, so new, so impossible she never doubted Him. She believed Him and trusted Him with her life.

And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:45, KJV)

She yielded spirit, soul and body and brought forth the Son of God.

God has plans for each of us. They may seem strange and impossible. But if He’s asking I guarantee you it will be marvelous and wonderful. Yield today in all that He asks. Love the unlovely. Forgive the unforgivable. Step out on His word and do the works. Yield yourself to Him and to His plans and let His power work in you and through you to change this world forever. All to the glory of God.