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Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Friend to Friend

Every year, I make a Christmas list comprised of every person for whom I am buying a gift. Beside each name, I put a dollar amount, a limit of how much money I will spend for that gift, vowing not to spend one penny more than the set limit. (Somehow, the amount I actually spend rarely coincides with the amount I intended to spend. Can you relate?) With every purchase, I then draw a beautiful red line through that name. Done!

I carry that list everywhere I go because sometimes I find a gift during a random shopping trip but mainly because I can’t afford to let it out of my sight. There are evil people lurking in my home who will go to any lengths to find that list.

You see, I am the Queen of Surprise when it comes to Christmas, so I must guard my list with my life in order to keep my “Queen-ship” status secure. Consequently, the list is hidden in various and unusual places such as a random file on my computer, in my closet, in an old purse, in a sock drawer, in a flowerpot – you get the picture. I know where that Christmas list is at all times because it is my gift-giving plan for the holidays.

One name on that list stands out above the rest. Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But what do you give a King for Christmas?

I really believe the greatest gift we can give Jesus is an obedient heart. That’s where His list comes in. I wish I were just as concerned about “God’s list” for my life; carrying His life plan for me in my heart and mind as I live each day, constantly making choices and decisions in light of that list, guarding it like the treasure map of eternity that it truly is. God’s plan for our lives is a good plan, a plan that promises us hope and an eternal future.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

God’s list boils down to one word – obedience. Just knowing the plan God has for me does not guarantee success. I have to actually do the plan. That is where the choice to obey comes in.

I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your law is written on my heart (Psalm 40:8, NIV). O God, my heart is fixed! (Psalm 108:1, NIV).

An obedient heart is a “fixed” heart and is the gift God wants from me this holiday season. A “fixed” heart is a determined heart, a steadfast heart that is rightly focused on God and His will, His plan. When we choose to follow God’s plan, the desires of our heart will naturally line up in obedience to that plan. We will find our greatest joy in pleasing God, in doing His will because that is what we were created to do.

Maybe today is a good time to stop, go back over our God list, and review those life lessons we have learned, checking to see where we really are in our walk with God – and where we need to go from here. I want to become a woman whose gaze is on Him, and my glance is on my circumstances.

Maybe today is the perfect time to revisit the manger to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving Him the gift of obedience. 

Let’s Pray

Father, I love You. Forgive me for the times when I choose to follow my own will instead of Yours. Teach me how to fix my heart on You and give me the strength to do what You created me to do. I know Your plan is the highest and best plan for me and that I was created in response to that plan. Thank You for the purpose that doing Your will brings to my life. Today, I choose to seek You and obey Your Word.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Can you believe that 2021 is just around the corner? If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to have a daily quiet time, and you need help getting started, Mary has some great resources to help you get started. Check out these two books for practical ways to succeed at spending time with God every day. Don’t miss the special bundle price for How to Study the Bible and Chair Time.

© 2020 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to “What Do You Give a King for Christmas?”

  1. Bernadette says:

    I feel guilty for not being able to afford gifts for my children.

  2. Julie says:

    Bernadette, years ago we stopped gifting things and started gifting experiences. We wanted our children to know that our time together was more valuable than any material object. Yes, some of those experiences were/are more costly than others. Your love does not come in things but in you.

  3. Cherilynn says:

    Dear Bernadette, I am so sorry 🥺 I can imagine how hard that must be. In my area there are agencies that help supply gifts for children and families. How I wish that was the same for you. I don’t know how old your children are, but I pray that if you share your heart and reassure them of your love, they will understand. The gift of love, of a parent and of our saviour, is the best gift ever ❤️

  4. Heather says:

    Bernadette,I can only imagine how hard that is for you. Someone suggested the gifts of experience, which I think it’s so much more important. I know my daughter appreciates the time I spend with her more than any material gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and I don’t know how old your children are. But my daughter loves to cuddle with me on the couch and watch a show or read together. She likes to color, draw, bake cookies, and play board and card games. You could brainstorm things like that and apply them to your children’s ages and interests. I know Christmas is over now, but you could make coupons (even handwritten) for things they can do with you. They will still appreciate it even if it’s a little late! If you can’t think of inexpensive things to do, I use the internet and Google inexpensive or free activities to do together. I will be praying for you, Bernadette. May God bless you in this difficult season.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8