“Let every heart prepare Him room…”
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! the Lord is with you.'”
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. you will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?'”
“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.'”
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.'” Then the angel left her.
“In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. [This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.] And everyone went to his own town to register.”
“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Jesus, Simply Jesus
A few weeks ago, I shared importance of leaders staying connected to the Vine (you can read that post here). In that post, I shared why it’s important – and necessary – to stay connected to the Vine, Jesus.
If you’re like me, you lead a busy life. Sometimes that busy life can get exhausting and overwhelming. Sometimes we are asking God for clarity, wisdom or direction. Sometimes we just need to sit quietly in His presence. Sometimes all we have to cling to are the promises of scripture. According to bibleinfo.com, there are over 3,500 promises in the Bible. I know when things get particularly difficult for me, I go back to those scripture verses that I’ve memorized and/or verses that I’ve highlighted in my Bible.
I thought I’d share just a few of my ‘go-to’ verses when my soul needs to be encouraged. You can download a copy of those verses here. Feel free to print it off, hang it up or tuck it in your Bible or journal. Stay connected to the Vine!
What are your ‘go-to’ verses when your heart needs encouraging? Share them below and I’ll add them to our list!
A month ago, my daughter and I began a weekly one-on-one Bible study. We are working our way through Elizabeth George’s book A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart. The conversations that have come out during our time together has far exceeded my expectations. I get to hear her share more of her tender heart, her struggles, what matters to her more than I have by just asking her to tell me about her day. Our time together gives me the opportunity to speak life into her, to encourage her, to pray over her and with her. My time with her account for some of the most precious minutes of my entire week.
Yesterday I was reminded that some girls don’t have a female at home who cares for them and invests time speaking life into them. One of my leaders came into my office, deeply burdened by something that a little girl in her small group asked this past Sunday. Her question: “What if your Mom says you’re worthless?”
The girl’s leader expressed to me how speechless she was. She (the leader) found it hard to believe that a child so young had ‘worthless’ as a part of her vocabulary. As only God could orchestrate, I was able to look my heartbroken leader in the face and remind her that this is why we minister each and every week. It’s more than just preparing and teaching a lesson. We are building relationships with children from broken homes; children who are struggling to know that they matter and have worth because God created them for a purpose.
We have the opportunity to speak life into people in our circle of influence. Whether we lead a staff, teams of volunteers, a small group of children at church or are parenting our own children, we have an opportunity to speak life.
What might that look like?
**Take time to listen – really listen. Listen with your ears and your heart.
**Remind them of their worth in Christ.
- He created them in a special way (Psalm 139:13-18).
- He delights in them (Zephaniah 3:7).
- He has a purpose for them (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10).
**Tell them how important they are to you – and do this regularly.
- What special traits/gifts/talents do they possess?
- What do they do well?
- How are you seeing God work in their life?
- What do they bring to the group? How would the group be different if they were not a part of it?
I am so thankful to serve in a church that places a high value on Children’s Ministry. I am thankful to serve alongside volunteers whose hearts break for hurting children. Children today need to hear positive messages from the adults in their lives. Our words have power. They need us to pray regularly for them and with them. They need us to speak life into them.
What child needs an encouraging word from you today? Ask God to reveal that to you and then act. Speak life!