Dec 2019

Mitch McConnell on Religious Freedom in America

“The liberty of conscience and the freedom to live out our faiths has been a foundational principle from the Republic’s earliest days. Many of the first Europeans who arrived in the New World came here fleeing religious persecution.

“James Madison wrote that religion ‘must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man, and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.’

“Samuel Adams said in the summer of 1776 that America would be ‘the last asylum’ for ‘freedom of thought and the right of private judgment.’

“Religious freedom in America has never meant, and will never mean, solely the freedom to worship privately. It has never meant, and will never mean, the ability to practice only a subset of faiths acceptable to some subset of politicians.

“It means the right to live your life according to the dictates of your faith and conscience – free from government coercion.” (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) 

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15; ESV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Intercede today for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As the leader of the Senate, he will be the one coordinating the impeachment trial in the Senate once Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sends the Articles of Impeachment over to the Senate. The Congress is back in session on January 6, 2020.
  • Thank the Lord for congressional leadership, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who believe they are there to uphold our constitutional rights. 
  • Intercede for the security of those rights, and the support of them by many Senators and Congressmen and women.
  • Declare, “Our freedom to worship the Lord, any way we desire, anywhere we desire, is a constitutional right. We will fight in prayer for it. We will write our leaders and tell them how important we feel the fullness of freedom of religion is to our culture. Inside our churches or in the public square, we have a right to worship Jesus! We will not let that change!”

A prayer you can pray:

God, thank You for giving us leaders that are not afraid to say they serve You. Thank You for those that feel protecting our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, including religious freedom, is important. Thank You that there are Senators and Congressmen and women who understand that freedom of religion is not limited to a type, a form, a place, or a time. Our freedom to worship You, Lord, any way we desire, anywhere we desire, is a constitutional right. We will fight in prayer for it. We will write our leaders and tell them how important we feel the fullness of freedom of religion is to our culture. Inside our churches or in the public square, we have a right to worship Jesus! We will not let that change! We will take full advantage of our ability to freely worship by getting out there in our communities and spreading the Gospel message without fear for as long as we can. Bless each of our congressional leaders that support our constitutional right of freedom of religion. Bless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Thank You, Jesus, that Sen. McConnell is also the one You have positioned for such a time as this. It appears that our president is being impeached, but You have placed this one  in the Senate that is able to navigate demands and pressure. He will make sure and get the process completed fairly, decently, and in order. President Trump will not be removed from office. We bless Senator McConnell today. We worship You, Jesus. Keep us free. Amen.

Today’s decree:

America is great because we have the freedom to choose. We must extend that right if we are to maintain that right.

Learn more about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell here.

Dec 2019

God in Government

“Our Lord’s gracious love for us is expressed in many ways. During the Christmas season we are reminded that the birth of our Redeemer, Jesus, offers the potential for redemption and the release of bondage for all.

“This message of hope and its supernatural effect have the potential to transform the three institutions created by God to care for us. God has created three institutions to provide for our personal needs, our need to be in community, and our need to function in society. God, in his gracious love, supernaturally created the family, the Church, and government as divine entities to meet our needs, but all must be redeemed.

“The last of the three divine institutions created by God to care for us is government. Attaching the word “divine” to government is difficult for people to accept these days. However, Romans 13:1 clearly states that there is ‘no authority except that which God established.’ And yet, most people, even Christian people, consider government only a secular institution created by power-hungry politicians. Our Founding Fathers did not believe this. They used the wisdom of God, expressed through the Scriptures, to build the foundation of our nation through the Constitution.

“Throughout 2019, I have seen the wisdom of God brought to bear in the lives of our elected officials and in the work that they are doing. I have listened to lawmakers and candidates telling me about the challenge of balancing family life with the demands of public service. I have been asked to pray in confidence about God’s call to run for office or to take action in Congress or in the highest levels of the Executive branch. I have been asked to pray about behind-the-scenes events on Capitol Hill that you will never see on the news. And every time I tell them that I am praying, and that you… are praying, every time the response has been how very much it means, personally and professionally.

“Praying for our government leaders is crucial, and letting them know they are being prayed for is almost as important. It only makes sense that a godly institution can only truly thrive with the infusion of God-fearing people, following God-outlined principles, upheld in prayer by God-directed intercessors. Since God is the author of this institution, we cannot remove Him from the institution and expect it to function well—or at all.

“We must hold on to our hope and take a ‘stand’ upon our knees as we battle for God’s best in our nation.” (Dave Kubal)

“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, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6; KJV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Thank the Lord that He established government to care for our needs as a society. Acknowledge that government cannot function properly without His guidance and intervention. Beseech His involvement.
  • Pray for your city. Ask the Lord to bless your city’s leadership and give them wisdom. Pray for decisions that will benefit the local population, versus advance a political agenda.
  • Pray for your state government, likewise.
  • Find your member of the House of Representatives here. Find your two state Senators here. Look at their congressional webpages and find out the committees they are on and what issues they support. Intercede for them with knowledge and understanding. Consider writing them through their contact pages to let them know you are praying for them.
  • Go to and look for information on what is happening in the Executive branch. There are pages for President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Cabinet members. You can also encourage them by dropping them a quick email of support and encouragement. Most of our Executive branch leadership appreciates, even covets, the prayers of the saints.
  • You can find more prayer points for government and government officials at

A prayer you can pray:

Father, we dedicate this nation to You yet again today. We acknowledge You as the One who established it. We acknowledge You as the creator of government. You are the One that led our founder to establish our nation on Your principles. We ask You to align our governing leaders with Your principles as they lead us. Let us not forget to intercede for them often, if not daily. They are more in need of prayer than they may realize. Some do know it and humbly request it. May we not hold back our intercession on their behalf, even if we fundamentally disagree with their political positions. They need our prayers. We pray for the God-fearing, that they will know that You are with them, leading and guiding and directing them, as they lean on and trust in and rely on You. We pray for those who see no need to seek You. Lord, turn their hearts to make decisions that benefit the people they serve, and not their own interests or pet projects. Don’t let them be tempted by bribes or political advancement. May they find themselves leaning toward the things that please You – righteousness, justice, and moral purity. Remove corruption from our land. [Intercede now for your specific local, state and national government representatives.]

We pray also for President Trump. Lord, may he continue to seek godly counsel from Your people that You have placed around him. Thank You for his humility. Bless him for it. Guard him in all of His ways, and may His decisions please You. Give him witty ideas and strategies to proper the nation and the people. Let Him learn to seek You directly and rely on Your guidance more and more. We pray for Vice President Pence, likewise. We know he is a Christian man. He loves You, Jesus, and it shows. He is a good leader and a faithful supporter of our President. Grant him continued grace and favor as he continues to help lead our nation. Thank You that You are preserving and protecting the United States of America! Because Your watchful eye is on us and You lead and guide us, we are a blessed nation! Amen.

Today’s decree:

God-established government, led and prayed for by God-fearing men and women, leads to a God-honoring country.

Learn more about Dave Kubal and Intercessors for America here.

Dec 2019

Christmas Day 2019

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5; NASB)

Jesus is incomprehensible Light. It was the very first thing God created. “Let there be light!” I don’t think that was a coincidence. He revealed Himself first as Creator of all things. Then, He commanded Light to shine in the darkness. Darkness has never been able to hold back the Light. Darkness cannot overcome light. It cannot defeat light. The tiniest spark of light, like a lit match, and darkness is undone. 

Consider spiritual Light and spiritual darkness. The enemy continues to try to shut Light out. It is not possible! Jesus is the source of all Light. He is the revelation of God. He is the illumination of the mysteries of His Word. He is hope to a dark and dying world. He is Light and He now dwells among us. No darkness can comprehend Him and His ways. The ways of darkness will always collide with His ways. This is recorded well in the Word. He opens blind eyes, both naturally and spiritually. And, those who choose to remain in spiritual blindness will never understand Him. We see this today throughout our culture. Light encountering darkness will always be dramatic. It can be chaotic. It is unsettling. However, Light will always overcome the darkness. 

On this wonderful Christmas day, we celebrate You, Lord Jesus, Light of the world. Shine in the darkness! Light, be!

Today’s decree:

Jesus is the Light of men! His light will penetrate the darkness and set the captives free!

Dec 2019

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer a few days before Christmas last year. Not yet 60 years old, she heard the doctor say, “You have stage 4 lung cancer.” As you can imagine, she and her husband had their world turned upside down that day. 

The thing that has been striking about their journey is the way this couple has found the true meaning of joy in their challenging, emotionally up-and-down journey this last year. She recently wrote, “Now, we are in a place where, our faith having been tested, we have a better understanding of joy. Joy, that is lasting joy, must begin with an intimate relationship with Jesus. Joy is nourished with gratitude and thankfulness. We are experiencing joy in this difficult time because we trust Jesus. We know that He is who He says He is. We are full of gratitude for His great love and thankful for His creative and limitless power.”

Ceci and I join her in her closing statement, “It is our heartfelt desire that each of you experience the great joy of Christmas!” 

Here are the words to one of our very favorite Christmas Carols. Let joy and gratitude rise in your hearts as you worship Him:

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing! And heaven and nature sing!
And heaven . . . and heaven . . . and nature sing.

“Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy! Repeat the sounding joy!
Repeat . . . repeat . . . the sounding joy!

“No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found! Far as the curse is found!
Far as . . . far as . . . the curse is found!

“He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love! And wonders of his love!
And wonders . . . wonders . . . of his love!”
(Isaac Watts, 1719)

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news od great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2: 10-11; ESV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Worship Him as you sing the Christmas carol above. 
  • Sing other favorites.
  • Thank the Lord for everything you are thankful for, even if life is challenging to you right now.
  • Thank Him for more opportunities in the new year to make His joy known to others.
  • If you are going to church services this evening, invite someone to come with you who may be having a hard time and could use the joy of this season. True joy comes from knowing Him.

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, my heart is overwhelmed with love and joy for You. You are the magnificent One. You are faithful and good and kind. You are giving and forgiving. There is nothing You won’t do for those who love You. There is nothing You would withhold from me. You want to be known by me, so I can make You known to others. Thank You for authoring joy in my life, even when the circumstances are confusing, painful, or emotionally hard. Your joy can rise above these things, because it is dependent on the intimacy of my relationship with You and not on my life’s circumstances. How thankful I am! How grateful! Where would I be without You? You are “God With Me”. You are the One of whom the angels sang that holy Christmas night. You are love and hope and joy, Jesus! I praise Your holy, incomparable Name! Amen.

Today’s decree:

Joy to the world! Jesus our Savior is come!

Dec 2019

Remembering the Widows

“Why not extend some joy into the life of a widow at Christmastime? What a great season to share Christ’s love in tangible ways. Perhaps your family would like to adopt one widow to bless. Why a widow? Because they are among the most neglected segment in the Body of Christ! Christmas can be especially sad for those who still long for the companionship of their husband.

“Many widows are plagued by loneliness, fear, financial woes, health issues, or transportation needs. Some are so emotionally drained they have lost hope. Poverty among widows is three to four times higher than among elderly married women.

“The Holy Spirit can give us creative ways to let one know she is loved and not forgotten. A trip with our family to a Christmas concert?  A ride at night to view the town’s decorations? An invitation to a home-cooked meal? A gift basket of food? A movie night, even at our home? Write her a note of appreciation? Volunteer to pray for her each week on the phone? Please don’t forget her after Christmas when she needs a ride to the doctor, her lawn mowed, or a high ceiling light changed.

“That widow could be your mother or aunt or sister. Men, someday she could be your wife.  (Let’s don’t forget the widowers either, for they need a touch of Christian love and kindness too).” (Quin Sherrer)  

“ …Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17b; NASB)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Intercede for the widows you know. 
  • Do you know what their needs are?
  • Do you know who their family members are or how often they receive visitors? This could be important, if there is ever a medical emergency.
  • Pray, but also plan some practical activities to let at least one widow know she is loved and cared about, and not forgotten this Christmas.

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, help me be Your hands extended to one or more widows. Some have given me great footprints of faith to follow and I desire to bless them. Your Word tells us to watch over the widows and I want to do my part, especially this season. Give me and my family creative and practical ways to show them how much I care. Things that I think are simple to do, may be very challenging for an older woman. She shouldn’t risk falling off a high ladder while trying to change light bulbs or the batteries in her smoke detectors. I can help with those things. Help me to make my church aware of the needs of those who are widowed in our congregation. Help us to do a good job caring for them, Lord. Someday the one in need may be me. Thank you for the reminder in Your Word to care for the widows, Jesus. Amen.

Today’s decree:

I will be an encourager in practical ways for a widow or widower.

Quin Sherrer,  a widow, is the author of Hope For A Widow’s Heart: Encouraging Reflection For Your Journey, and 30 other books she has written or co-authored. All available on Amazon.

Dec 2019

Remembering Our Military

Those who serve our nation in the armed services should be among those we keep consistently in our prayers. Most of us who have never served in the military, have never been deployed to battle, and have no idea the stress and cost to these men and women and their families. You may have grown up in one place. You may have moved often, but were still close to other family. Likely, you chose where you moved to and why. None of that is the case for our service men and women.

Christmas can be a hard time of year emotionally for these families. Mom or dad may be far away. They may be in a dangerous situation, helping secure freedom for us or a nation we are in relationship with. The family may be together, but too far from extended family to go home for the holidays. Often, military families’ finances are snug. A single service member can be very lonely; far from home and all alone.

Let’s make a special effort to watch out for those in our churches and neighborhoods who might be associated with the military. Think of ways to help them or include them in addition to praying for them. If your community does not have this circumstance, at a minimum, pray for soldiers who are deployed. Pray for their families, as well as spouses, children, parents, siblings, and others they care deeply about.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:2; NIV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Pray for every member of the military you know that is currently actively deployed overseas, especially to a battle zone. Pray for their safety and security. Pray that they are able to accomplish the task they were sent to perform. Pray they will not feel abandoned or alone. Ask the Lord to help the Christians to gather together for prayer and Bible study.
  • Ask the Lord to make His Presence obvious to the deployed. Let them feel Him surrounding them. Let them see miracles.
  • Pray for their families at home, their parents, spouses and children, who are missing them at Christmas time. Ask the Lord to comfort them and help them connect with their deployed loved one in some way over Christmas. 
  • Can you help in practical ways? Maybe you can help decorate their home, put up lights, or invite them to Christmas dinner. 
  • Intercede for those you know who otherwise serve in the armed forces. Thank the Lord for the service they provide so that you and your family remain safe and free. 
  • Many are far from home, even if their spouse and children are accompanying them on their current assignment. An “adopted family” right in their neighborhood might be very welcome through the holidays. 

A prayer you can pray:

“Almighty God, Lord of Hosts, we call out to you as the One who is sovereign over all. Watch over and protect our nation’s military members and their families. Sustain them with your everlasting arms.

“Take into your most gracious protection our service members currently deployed. May you be their comfort and their guide as they live and walk in a foreign land. Give them reassurance that you are a shield around them, an ever-present help in time of need. Grant our service members courage so that in all things they may serve without reproach. Encourage them while they also encourage one another.

“As they serve around the world, we ask that you guard their families and loved ones back home. Provide them with peace and surround them with love as they mourn the absence of their loved one and long for their return. May they find hope and strength in you for the trials of each new day. Be with military children who endure the difficult burden of knowing their father or mother is in harm’s way for months on end. Guard these children’s hearts and minds despite the loneliness and uncertainty of having a parent deployed.

“Lord God, be with marriages in the military. Preserve the bonds of husband and wife despite the stress that military life brings, stress only compounded by the decade of war our nation is in. Help military chaplains in their efforts to equip military marriages with ways to stay connected and communicate effectively despite the challenge of frequent deployments. Give husbands and wives strength and resilience to endure separations, frequent moves, and all the uncertainty military life brings.

“Father God, we long for the day when swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. We long for your peace, for your shalom. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.” (Prayer by Kristi Hofman, Operation We Are Here)

Today’s decree:

We bless those in the military, who serve to protect our freedom!

Prayer used with permission. Click here to learn more about Operation We Are Here.

Dec 2019

Remembering the Poor

Christmas is a time where money flows like water through the economy of America. Beginning in early November, every merchant out there is trying to get you to buy things to give as gifts for Christmas. I’m not here to judge anyone on that. Ceci and I do our part every year to keep America’s retailers in the black. We love to give gifts to our family, our friends, our staff, and ministry partners. Besides, the Bible does talk about gifts being given by the Magi to the Christ child. That set the precedent. 

Well, maybe our culture does go a little overboard with this, but it has become traditionally a time to give gifts of some kind to those we love, and to those we appreciate. It is also a time many think to give to those who are struggling. Let’s talk about that for a minute. We often set aside funds throughout the year to give gifts to our family and friends. What would happen if we planned set aside something to give to the poor? What if we set aside a portion throughout the year to give more significantly to those that have a need in some area? Many like to give toys to children, or items to make holiday meals. Maybe we could give new coats to a family. Maybe we could set aside money to give as a scholarship to a good student who can’t afford college. How about sending a youth to a sports camp next summer? Someone may feel led to help raise funds to help an elderly person on a fixed income with utility or medical bills. There are lots of ideas and these are just a few of them. If we are blessed by God, let us consider giving in a meaningful way to the poor among us this Christmas and every Christmas from here on out. I can feel the Lord smile on that.

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18; ESV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Are you aware of those who are struggling with poverty in your community? Intercede for them.
  • Do you know of any services that reach out to meet the needs of the impoverished or financially struggling in your city or area? They may include food banks, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. Look and see if there are job training and/or placement services, school meal supplement programs, such as Kids Eat Free, among others. Intercede for those groups. 
  • Pray for your local utility companies’ supplemental programs that help low-income and fixed-income customers keep their heat and lights on.
  • Does your church have a good benevolence program. If not, consider asking your pastor if you can start one. (Our church once had a $1 fund. Everyone planned to bring $1 a week for the poor. We had a separate offering box for it. It can add up to quite a good sum of money, if all of your regular congregants are participating.)
  • Consider making a donation to one of the organizations you just prayed for.
  • Begin now to make your plan to be ready to do more next year to touch those in need.

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, You are a loving God and You truly care about those who are poor. Many times, just because life is hard, people find themselves temporarily or permanently impoverished. I know of the struggles of life and I don’t ever want to get to a place where my heart is hardened against the needs of others. Keep my heart as soft as Yours, Jesus. Help me see as You see the needs. I want to be wise, but generous, and without judgement. Open my eyes to see the need nearby me. Help me know what organizations and programs exist to meet the needs in my community. Hear my prayers and intercession to bring them together. Give me favor with my church leadership or congregants to form programs to help our church better reach the poor in our vicinity. Jesus, You are the Provider. You are the Giver. You grant Life and that abundantly, and I want to be Your hands extended wherever possible. Amen.

Today’s decree:

We will be those who purposefully plan to care for the poor among us. 

Dec 2019

Emmanuel—God With Us

In that wonderful worship service, God is with us. In that Christmas children’s play at your local church, God is with us. In that powerful Tuesday morning men’s prayer meeting, God is with us.

To the couple discovering they will soon be parents, God is with us. To the newly engaged to be married, God is with us. To the one receiving long-awaited breakthroughs, God is with us.

In that college student’s long trip home for the holidays, God is with us. In that soldier’s deployment far from home, God is with us. In that single person’s lonely evening, God is with us. 

In that hospital room where a child is ill, God is with us. In that hospice situation where a loved one lays dying, God is with us. In that surprise job layoff, God is with us. 

To the addicted, God is with us. To the depressed, God is with us. To the most hardened hearted, God is with us.

To the mother on her knees praying for her prodigal, God is with us. To the father trying to figure out how to meet his family’s needs, God is with us. To the pastor feeling like he doesn’t have enough to give, God is with us. 

Whatever your circumstances are this Christmas season, know this: Jesus is God with us. He is our hope of Glory. He is our Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, and Friend. He cares about You. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, He is with you and will not ever leave you or abandon you. You can call on Him. You can cry out to Him. You can rest in Him. He has answers, when you have none. He is a friend to the lonely and a comfort to the one far from home. He is God and He is with you! If you do not know Him as your Savior yet, then this is your perfect opportunity. Just acknowledge Jesus as God, accept Him as your Savior, and make Him the Lord of your life today. He is right there. Waiting. You just haven’t known it, yet.

“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; WBT)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Can you see Jesus with you in your circumstances? Thank Him for being with you through the good times and the challenging times. Know He is close to you today.
  • Intercede for as many people as you can think of today. Consider their unique situation and pray that they will know Jesus is right there with them. 
  • Send someone you have prayed for a text or give them a quick call. Go and visit them, if you have the time. Let them see Jesus through you.

A prayer you can pray:

NOTE: It is rare for me to do this, but I do choose to on occasion, and this is one of those times. In order to really get the most out of the prayer time today, you really need to go through the prayer points above. They are very personal to you and those you are familiar with. There is no way I can word what you will want to say to the Lord about your own life or about those He lays on your heart. I can’t write a prayer that tells you what to say in a text or a phone call. So today, I am asking you to go hang out with Jesus. Then, the two of you talk together about those who need to know He is with them. Go be Jesus with skin on to someone else today. Make their Christmas a little brighter. Help them to see the One the season is about. God bless you.

Today’s decree:

Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. May the world recognize Jesus this Christmas.

Dec 2019

Receiving or Rejecting Him

It has always been interesting to me that John, who would be known as John the Baptist, leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary, carrying Jesus, came near. We are all familiar with spiritual sensitivity, where some individuals seem to have a much higher ability to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in the area. This, however, is to a much higher level where a 6-month old fetus is responding to His presence. God’s favor was resting on Mary and He was filling her womb. God Himself. 

Elizabeth, herself, was recorded to be filled with the Holy Spirit in that same moment. Surely, everyone who got near to Mary and her child should have responded in kind. God was among them, even then. Some encountered Him, as they were rewarded for watching for Him or looking for Him. This included the secular wise men or magi, and Anna and Simeon, later. The shepherds got to watch the magnificent display as the angels lit up the night sky with His holy introduction. They got to meet Him early on, as well. 

You know who didn’t? The religious. Those who thought they already knew exactly what God was going to do. They thought they had figured out how the Messiah would show up. They couldn’t comprehend or accept anything other than what they had decided it looked like. The others who had a hard time with Jesus coming like He did were the governing leaders. Herod felt threatened by this infant. He felt the entirety of his kingdom being lost to the One whose Kingdom had just come to earth. This would be a pattern for future government leaders.

Think about that for a minute. The ordinary, humble, seeking people recognized Jesus and responded to the Holy Spirit with Him. The religious and government leaders rejected Him and persecuted Him throughout His life. They persecuted His followers, as well. Ask yourself, “Has anything changed?”

Mary prophesied it all in the magnificat:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant.

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name.

And His mercy is on those who fear Him

From generation to generation.

He has shown strength with His arm;

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones,

And exalted the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich He has sent away empty.

He has helped His servant Israel,

In remembrance of His mercy,

As He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-55; NKJV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Worship the Lord.
  • Ask yourself, who are you? Are you one who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit when the Lord shows up unexpectedly? Or, are you one that is judgmental and suspicious? Correct your heart’s alignment, if need be.
  • Read the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, in your favorite version. 
  • Did you remember that Mary prophesied the hardness of heart of the religious, the rich, and the powerful?
  • Intercede with all your heart for the groups that commonly resist the movement of the Holy Spirit—the religious leaders and the governing leaders; the rich and the powerful. 

A prayer you can pray:

God. Magnificent One. Holy One. Glorious Father. Precious Savior, Holy Spirit. We worship You. We magnify Your holy name. We exalt You above everything else in all this world. You are worthy of all of our worship. Make us even more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Stop us right in our tracks the moment we sense You with us. Like John the Baptist in his mother’s womb, make our hearts leap within us when we encounter You. We want You. We long for You. Let us never become complacent toward You. May we be surprised by the way You show up or who You present Yourself to. Never let us think we have You all figured out. We see that is a dangerous position to take. Let us never judge who You decide to use or how You decide to use them. You can anoint anyone You want. 

Help us to recognize the work of Your Holy Spirit in even the most unlikely of vessels. Don’t let us harden our hearts as the Pharisees did, or as Herod did. We don’t want to find ourselves persecuting Jesus in our day and age! We pray for religious leaders who are so sure they are interpreting the scriptures right, that they could actually miss You today. Open their eyes, Jesus. Let them see You and become very sensitive to Your Holy Spirit. Save those governmental leaders who know You are going to rattle the earthly kingdoms they have been building. The Church is a constant threat to those kingdoms. Let Your Kingdom come and Your will on earth be done! Let them see that Your Kingdom is the only one that matters. All praises to You, precious lamb of God. Amen.

Today’s decree:

My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Let me make Him known in my generation. Let the humble hear and be glad!

Dec 2019

How Shall We Respond?

Mary was chosen by God to carry His Son, Jesus. None of us, I am sure, can imagine what that would have been like. From the time the angel came to tell her until the birth of that most precious of all children in the most humble of circumstances. Unbelievable. Mary’s “yes” to God was not one of flippancy, as in, “Okay. Sure. Why not.” It was not one of false humility, “Who, me? Really, Father? You are choosing me?” And it wasn’t one of doubt and unbelief, “Riiiight. You want me to carry the Son of God, the Savior of the whole world?” Mary’s response is impactful. 

She was a teenager. She was not yet married. She was a virgin. She was holy, because God said so. He had set her apart for the most important Divine assignment ever given to 100% humankind.  We know little about this sweet girl, but her response to God, as recorded in Luke 1, tells us so very much:

“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’”

Here is the entire encounter:

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’

“But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then 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 bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.’

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’

And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’

Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1: 26-38; NKJV)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Read the passage from Luke 1 and ponder it. Think through it with your emotions intact. 
  • Imagine you were Mary. How might you have responded to an encounter like this one?
  • Maybe the Lord has come to you with a very particular assignment at some point in your life. Remember that moment and be encouraged in it.
  • Talk to Him about any special assignment you feel He is giving you. He still needs “Marys” today who will carry Jesus to the world. Will you be one?

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, Your Word brings me great hope. It is something the whole world needs to hear. This story about the angel coming to Mary to announce her God-chosen assignment is heard as an annual ritual. Therefore, we do not always take the time to really consider what was going on. Help me to make it personal today. Help me see what Mary was experiencing, thinking, and feeling. Show me how she could respond like she did. It certainly wasn’t a “normal” modern-day teenager’s response. If there is something unique that You have planned for me to accomplish in my generation, then, Lord, I want to do it. I want to be able to hear You clearly, and say “yes” to You. May my ways be Yours and Your words be mine. Send me to fulfill Your calling for me in my generation in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s decree:

As Mary did, let us say “yes” to God and fulfill His plan for us in our generation.

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