Today's devotionals

Short Devotional for Women:


Day Twelve

December 14

So, we haven’t gotten Mary and Elizabeth any farther than the door. Sorry, about that y’all. There’s just so much to consider, and I’m trying to keep our daily readings brief. We’ve been talking about the women’s mutual faith. Today, we’ll focus on Elizabeth, the older of the two.  First, a reminder: Elizabeth wasn’t a spring chicken when she conceived. And, as the saying going, she isn’t getting any younger—and she is now in her sixth month. Other than the initial prophecy, there’s no biblical record of additional angelic visits to either Elizabeth or her husband. Elizabeth has swollen feet, food cravings, and a memory. . .oh, but it’s a good one.  

God had promised Elizabeth’s husband that their child would be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in her womb, and that he would herald the Messiah. The moment has arrived, and the matron testifies that this is precisely what’s happening when she says to Mary, “And how has it happened that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!”

12) Age can complicate our relationships. Older women sometimes feel like younger women look right through them; and younger women often feel like older women don’t take them seriously. Am I right? But here is Elizabeth, by far Mary’s senior, humbling herself and joyfully acknowledging her younger relative as the mother of her Lord.  Following Mary’s humble lead, let’s journal ways we could embody the love of Immanuel, God with Us, to someone outside our age bracket today.   


Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a Jesus loving, humor-gathering author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie believes "The whole world stops for a story." She lives in Louisiana and stacks her stories up at All Things Southern.com

More of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson: http://www.allthingssouthern.com/

Long Devotional for Women:


Catching a Case of Happy -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

For the despondent, every day brings trouble; But for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.—Proverbs 15:15 (NLT)

 

Recently a 20-year study* was published reporting that emotions can be passed along much like a case of the flu. Meaning: If you know someone who is happy—especially if it is a mutual friendship—you are more likely to be a happy person. In fact, not only you, but others you know will benefit because of this happy person in your life. A part of the study’s conclusion was simply that a person’s well-being is not only dependent on his or her own behaviors and emotions, but also as a direct result of one’s social network.

 

We often do not have control of what happens to us, but we do have control of our attitude and how we respond. As the proverb says, for those who approach everyday hopeless, they will surely find a day of trouble. The opposite holds true as well. For those who go about their day focused on the good with a heart of gratitude, they will surely find happiness in each day.

 

So how do you get a happy heart? First, it matters with whom you surround yourself. Are you in relationship with joyful followers of Christ? Or do you constantly surround yourself with naysayers? Make sure you have people in your life who have happy hearts and encourage the same in you.

 

However, if you really want some guidance in having a happy heart in the midst of adversity, follow Paul’s example when he was in prison. He left a formula for the way to a happy heart in Philippians 4:8. He encouraged the people of Philippi to fill their minds and hearts with what is true, right and noble and think on godly and good things. It does not matter what we are faced with, joy will find its way into your soul when you focus on godly things.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Think about your overall attitude in life. In what ways have you helped yourself towards a happy heart and in what ways have you kept yourself from experiencing a happy heart?

 

2. Perhaps you are involved in unhealthy relationships or unhealthy thoughts. What areas in your life might need to have some changes made?

 

FURTHER READING:

Proverbs 14:30; Philippians 4:8

 

*Time Magazine, December 22, 2008.


This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Long Devotional for Men:


Christmas: When Your Heart Grows Three Sizes -   

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. —Ezekiel 36:26

 

In Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch suffers from having a small heart. The source of his heart problem is his lack of understanding the meaning of Christmas. As the story goes, the Grinch tries to put a stop to Christmas, but in the end, he comes to understand what Christmas is all about and his heart grows three sizes! This heart change makes a big difference in his life.

 

I’m not sure what Dr. Seuss’ intentions were when he wrote the story back in 1957, but it certainly comes across as a Christian parable to me that parallels the change that takes place in a person’s life when he or she comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, who was born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When the light of the Good News of Jesus dawns upon the heart of a person, God replaces the old heart of stone, with a new, fleshy heart – and a new person emerges. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

“Welcome Christmas – While we stand – Heart to heart – And hand in hand.”* It might just make all the difference in the world.

 

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,

Descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in;

Be born in us today!

We hear the Christmas angels

The great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us,

Our Lord Emmanuel!

              (from O Little Town of Bethlehem)

 

We celebrate Christmas because of the power Jesus brought to change our hearts.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Give an example of a time when you changed your mind about something.

 

2. How did the words or action of others influence your change of heart?

 

3. Towards the end of the story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what happened that caused the Grinch to change his mind about Christmas?

 

4. How has understanding the true meaning of Christmas made a difference in your life?

 

FAMILY TIME:

Gather your family together and watch the classic half-hour Christmas cartoon, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Then, using the content above, lead your family in a discussion about how Jesus has the power to change our hearts.

 

*How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Copyright © 1957, Dr. Seuss.


This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/


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