The Night Hope Broke In to our World

3330791The walk from the back of the church seemed to be in slow motion as I walked to a narrators reading of the Christmas story. As I took each step in my makeshift gunnysack shepherd costume, this nervous six-grader who was in the Christmas program was drawn into the biblical truth. Though my cane and turban might have been nothing more than homemade, the reality of the birth of our savior was becoming personal to my young heart.

Every year as I watch the young children put on their annual Christmas programs I can’t help but reminisce not only on my own experience of the birth of Christ but also the account of the shepherd’s that were tending their flocks. In Luke 2:8-10, we read their story, “there were … shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…”.

Let your minds eye wonder with imagination to that hillside outside the city in a distant field. Not only did the livestock live and settle there but the lowest of the social pyramid, the shepherds also made it their home. An occupation that was high


Hope didn’t come through a palace but through a Savior being born in a humble stable for all the earth to receive.       (tweet)


on the list many years before had now slid down to the lowest of low. Shepherds were in the same category as tax collectors and those that cleaned up dung in the streets.

It was quite different from what we had seen mentioned early in Genesis and throughout the times of the Patriarchs being a shepherd was a desired lifestyle for many sects of mankind. The sons of Isaac and Jacob tended flocks (Gen. 30:29; 30:12). Jethro, the priest of Midian, employed his daughters as shepherdesses (Ex. 2:16). Even Moses was a shepherd on the backside of the desert before he was branded by God’s glory. Yet, in the course of time things had changed and now being a shepherd was for the lowly.

Hope had also dwindled in the midst of God’s chosen people for it had been spiritually quiet for four hundred years. I am positive on a clear night many shepherds as they watched over their herds would gaze at the beautiful star-studded sky Continue reading

“Christ-Must” list or Christ Centered Communion?

christmas List  Remember the excitement when you were a child making your Christmas list. It was a time that your imagination would sky rocket and every new toy and gadget became a possibility for your list. In your mind there was never an issue about money or if it was even practical for you or not. We became consumed by the monster of greed and desire! The list could go on as long as our paper or our fingers could write. Those childhood memories will never be forgotten as they found their place snuggled in each of our hearts.

In the same manner many Christians treat their prayer life as if they are making that Christmas list once again. They come to God in prayer with a list of wants of fairytale proportions.  As a Christian it is nonproductive and spiritually unhealthy to have a “Santa Clause mentality” which degrades our walk of faith to nothing more than a lifestyle that teeters in the fairytale realm.

If we are not careful we will think and act like Ralphie, the young kid in the 1983 classic movie “Christmas Story”. He wanted a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas so desperately bad that he was consumed with making sure that Santa Claus knew what he wanted. The only thing that seemed to matter was for him to wait in line to be able to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him his Christmas list. How many Christian’s have a prayer life that resembles this same frantic feeling that they must hand Jesus their LIST? Does that sound familiar? Have you allowed your prayer time to be turned into nothing more than a Christ-must list or is it as it should be a place of Christ centered communion? Our prayer life must continue to develop from a passion to know Christ more.

I do understand that there are many facets of prayer and definitely realize that there is a time that we go to our heavenly Father with our needs and supplications. But if our prayer time is only defined by our list and what we need, then we are missing the joy and most important element of prayer.

We have been given the privilege and most awesome opportunity to minister unto Him. It’s when we come into His presence in worship and adoration that will lead us into the greatest and deepest point of our prayer life, the place of pure undefiled communion.  Transitioning from that attitude of “it’s all about us” to an eternal attitude of “living for the King” only happens when we can die to ourselves and live for His purposes in the earth.

Prayer is much greater than just a list of wants. It is a time that we respond to God’s invitation to come into His presence. He has always wanted us to abide with Him. We can see that all the way back to the Garden of Eden where God walked and talked with Adam and Eve. There was a sweet peaceful communion in the presence of the creator of the universe.

It was God’s idea and desire to walk and share His heart with His creation. From the very beginning of time, God created us to be in His presence and to know His heart. Let me ask you, “Have you ever taken the time to ask the Lord what’s on His list?  Or have you been so enthroned in our self-indulgence that we never even stop to hear or listen.

I encourage you as well as everyone to put down our “Christ-Must” list and reach higher in prayer to know His heart.