December 4, 2000

Devotional from Jan Ross


Today's Devotion
Monday, December 4, 2000
"Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."  (1 Peter 1:16)

Today's Thought
Holiness . . . commanded more than once in the Word of God:  Leviticus
11:44 says, "For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify
yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy".  Lev 19:2 says "Speak
unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye
shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy."  Lev 20:7 says "Sanctify
yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God."  Matt
5:48 says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
The question is, what is holiness?  It appears that holiness is not
fashioning ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance . . .
as obedient children.  (See Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 2:3.)
Holiness is the duty and should be the desire of every Christian.  We
should strive to be holy in all manner of conversation, in every area of
our lives . . . towards all people, in business affairs . . . and in all
conditions, when we're prosperous or otherwise!
We are to imitate God . . . God is holy!  He is perfectly, unchangeably,
and eternally holy; and we should desire to be like Him although we will
never be equal to Him!
The Word of God contains the rules that will guide us in our quest for
holiness.  The Word of God is alive and is able to cut away from us all
that which is unpleasing in the sight of the Lord.  Read it and accept its
convicting power; follow it and reap the benefits of living a life holy
unto the Lord!

Today's Prayer
Father, my desire to live a life holy and acceptable to You grows day by
day . . . "take my heart and form it.  Take my mind and transform it; take
my will and conform it . . . to You!  Holiness is what I long for; Holiness
is what I need!  Holiness is what You want from me."  Help me be pleasing
unto You.   Amen!

Have a blessed day!

Jan Ross

Devotional from Shenna Cherry

Have you forgotten the center of Christmas?

I turned toward the counter for just a brief moment looking at a shirt the sales clerk had
retrieved for me. As I opened it up I turned back around to check on Bradley. He was my toddler...roughly 18 months.  Brad wasn't speaking yet, or at least not clearly enough for others to understand. He did get around very well for his age.He kept me in shape :)  As I glanced behind me, I didn't see him. I put the shirt down and continued looking for him. As a matter of fact, I combed the entire store. It was a men's store at a mall. So it wasn't a large department store, but certainly was large enough to get lost in. A few minutes had passed with no Brad in site nor a peep from his littl mouth. Panic was about to set in ! I asked everyone to help look for him. I couldn't imagine where he had gone. We looked in the dressing rooms , in the clothing , under everything.....thinking he must be hiding. Brad was found. By now I really was scared. Fear now had taken over. My thoughts were running away with me. I had to control them in order to come to some rational way of locating my son.

By now I was at the front door of the store. I had to decide what to do. Do I leave here and go to another store . Perhaps he wondered out into the mall...which store , if any did he go in?  I stepped out into the path of the flow of people coming my way. There is no telling what they thought as I looked down the mall walk to see if I could see him.
I was looking for a little green jumper set and blonde hair walking down that pathway. I moved over to the other side as I continued my journey. No sign of him. Scared to move, I collected me a policeman that was patrolling the mall......told him my story.He immediately agreed to look and ask for help.

As I stood there trying to sort out in my mind; in a quick a reasonable manner, whether I should move or not, a rush to judgment just took over. I did move! I started walking down the mall just looking for that green outfit. I called his name repeatedly as I hurried on my quest. I think my eyes covered more at that time than they had seen my entire lifetime. As I looked and called out his little name, many things went through my mind.
One in particular was what if someone lured him into their possession? Another was...what if I don't find him at all. There were so many places for him to go, doors for him to venture out of, and stores for him to go into! Oh God...please help me find my son!!!!!!!Over and over again I was saying this !
I was such a protective mother, how could this have happen to me? I turned away for just a BRIEF moment!

As I looked down the mall.....a rather good distance, I spotted green. Yes, green! A little green jumper and blonde hair! I couldn't get there fast enough...and I mean I think my soul got there faster than my aging body did. I must have ran, I really don't know how I got there, I just remember moving quickly between people. Fortunately Bradley wasn't moving. He was standing at the corner of a store looking at something. When I got to him I had to recompose myself so that I wouldn't scare him. I didn't want to alarm him in anyway. See, he wasn't crying or upset because he was lost or he missed me. On the contrary..he was just fine. I was the one who was a mess. But God did deliver and I thank him for it continuously. He took over , when in fact I couldn't think.

Have you ever had this experience? If you have, then you know the feeling. It will never leave me as long as I have an active mind, nor will the feeling of complete helplessness.

Bradley is almost 20 years old. He is the youngest of my four children.He was the only one with me that day... which was unusual. He is my quiet child...which perhaps is the reason I was so terrified that day in the mall. Not a sound did he make...not even when I found him. He was pacified with the surroundings and wasn't scared at all. God has a way of handling things for all of us.

What was my lesson from this? Everything is for the moment. Live in the moment of time. It is fleeting and will be gone in an instant. Life is fragile...treat it with care...never take anything for granted ! Life is a can be taken away in a breath!

I have no idea what God was really trying to tell me specifically.....but the fear of the Lord and all of His greatness , power and
reverence has my attention! ( It did before this happened to )

Psalm 18:6
In my distress I called upon the Lord, to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

I tell you these things for several reasons....
Let me begin with this first one....and it is the story of Jesus in the temple.... Please read below this story.

Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)

 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the
 Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the
 festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy
 Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then
they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did
 not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three
 days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to
 them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his
 understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were
 astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us
 like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great
 anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not
know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he
 said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was
 obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And
 Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.  _________________________
My comments....
This is so confusing to me. I have a hard time understanding that they didn't talk to their son ( Jesus) for a whole day. I do know that their customs were different back in that day and time, although I have not studied enough to know what they were.
I am assured that Mary was the perfect mother, so I know this was just a normal way of doing for them at this time in history. However, when Jesus was missed they immediately went to find Him. For three days they looked for Him. Three days! Jesus was not concerned either about his stay. He didn't acknowledge that it would have worried them. He was only about His Father's work. Of course, Mary and Joseph didn't understand this...and I am not sure that Jesus really did either at that point in time, but was rather guided by the Holy Spirit to do as God would have him to. Jesus was content not to be concerned. He just followed his heart and guided direction.

Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph felt when they couldn't find Jesus..... and then when they found his lack of concern? Not to be mistaken with his love and respect.  As you note...Jesus went with his mother and father and this did not happen again.  There was a reason for this at this time.

If the Father would allow this frustration to happen to Mary and Joseph , his beloved perfect couple....then we are no different. In fact ,we were not near perfect. Nor were they, but closer to perfect than we! So we can expect the unexpected and then to call upon God as our helpmeet.

As we travel through time, and most specifically the Holiday Season, we are so busy that we loose site of the meaning of the season. Our presents are bought, trees and houses are trimmed, and food is bought. Is there a spiritual side to your season?
You say yes... of course! We have our church festivities! Well... that is wonderful, but have you forgotten to make Christ the center of your Holiday? See...the Christmas season is about the birth of Christ... but the real meaning of the Holiday is about what Christ stands for.....and what He came for.
John 3:16 says it for us.....
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He also says... in John 10:10
...... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

So rejoice this Christmas Season...Let it be a reminder of his birth and his mission.God himself is with you and wants the best for you and yours. Just don't leave him out.....he wants to be visible ! :)
As you entertain each other this Christmas will be making Jesus visible to all!

My other reasons for sharing these stories with you are:
This is the Holiday Season and we get so caught up in what is pressing at the moment.
We loose track of virtually everything...
1. Be sure to always keep one hand on the kids and never turn away from them unprotected...or leave them at home in all cases....... and don't feel guilty ! It is for their protection!
2. Don't ever hesitate to pray....God hears all prayers and petitions...and at any and all times! Not just in the morning or at night :)
3. Always listen to your still small voice... God is speaking to YOU specifically !
4. Act when he instructs you to...time is important. ( Be sure it is God speaking to you first :)  ) ( His voice usually comes in reference to something you have talked to him about at some point in time )
5.  Never question why when God has spoken. Trust me...there is a reason...and it will be revealed to you when he thinks it is time.
6.  Be patient with God......He knows all things and when the time is right. If the answer never comes...then there was a reason.
7.  Remember to praise and thank God at all times. Especially for answered prayer.

Psalm 139:7-10
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
(Re: Inspirations For Daily Living )


**!~^--Morning Alert--^~!**
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