A WORD for the Week | Archives 15
351. Slow the Scroll by Christine Wentzel
We’re a little over a week into Emily’s 30-day Philippians 4:8 Social Media Challenge devotion, and it’s given me food for thought. I’m zeroing in on the two social media areas Emily points out the need of a Philippians 4:8 filter.
[Emily Krill] “I want my in-person AND virtual run-ins with people to leave us both feeling encouraged and uplifted.”
In the world of virtual reality EVERYTHING is recorded—likes, shares, and comments are all saved as well as the time you linger on content without clicking on it! For the sinner saved by grace and walking through faith in Christ Jesus this is a merciful thing. Doing a slow scroll through our personal pages and activity logs will quickly show how encouraging and uplifting is our online faith walk. It’s a sobering and vital spiritual discipline we do well to exercise on a regular basis. [Jesus says] “Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!” (Matthew 18:7 GWT)
[Emily Krill] “I don’t need any extra temptation in my life - if something is causing me to sin, God gives me permission to cut it out!”
Yep! We can control the content we don’t post but do see. I’ve had more disturbing images burned in my brain from casual scrolling than I have ever stumbled across prior to the Internet. The visuals that tempt my baser nature are only a click away from acting on the sin. I can’t undo the lasting memories, but in God’s mercy, they will fade. So let’s use the social media tools available to clean up our newsfeeds. [Jesus warns] "If your eye causes you to lose your faith, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire." (Matthew 18:9 GWT)
The reality is that wherever people are, souls need to be nourished with the living Gospel: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Please contact us if you need help learning the social media tools available to keep your virtual world in Christ-shape, or send us your tips on maintaining a God-pleasing online presence. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to bless our efforts according to his good and perfect will for our lives!
352. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by Christine Wentzel
Two weeks ago, Emily Krill made her AW4W debut with a challenge using God’s inspired word from Philippians 4:8. The 30-day challenge (found here) is to focus our social media interactions “…on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.”
So what are some ways we can improve our social media presence using a Philippians 4:8 filter?
With A WORD for Women primarily being an online women’s ministry, we pray to provide biblical content that follows in the footsteps of Christ Jesus’ style of speaking through illustrations to large crowds of people.
AW4W is abundantly blessed with over a dozen talented and diverse women writers who consistently offer situational devotions to encourage the faith walk for all their sisters-in-Christ. The second blessing comes from God laying on our heart a desire to bring His Word on a daily basis to our social media platforms
“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV)
Keeping this amazing work of the Lord our God in the forefront of our planning, we consistently ask the Holy Spirit to guide our bible-passage selection process. Those of us who belong to the same church body draw from the same worship-planning schedules they use. This ensures ALL of the Living Word is present for day to day, week to week, month to month, and year to year. The next step is to search for the “perfect” photo that visually “speaks” the corresponding text. More and more of these beautiful images are freely supplied by some of our own subscribers! Our Sovereign Lord makes sure every single picture verse will “achieve the purpose for which” He sends it. As an added bonus for those we share the same church membership, each one also serves as a preview for their upcoming worship services.
There are so many enriching and enlivening bible-based online Christian ministries and groups to help you enhance your online presence. Here are just a few of our favorites: Salty Earth Pictures, Kingdom Workers, and Time of Grace listed in our “Links” section of our website. Please use the “comments” section on our posts or contact us to share your favorites!
Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake. We are his servants because the same God who said that light should shine out of darkness has given us light. For that reason we bring to light the knowledge about God’s glory which shines from Christ’s face. (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 GWT)
353. Prayers for Pastors by Julie Luetke
[Pastor Appreciation Day is October 11, 2020. In preparation for this day of appreciation for God’s faithful shepherds, we offer this devotion of prayer and thanksgiving.]
I have asked a number of my pastor friends what they want people to pray on their behalf. The answers varied. Oft repeated were wisdom, guidance, understanding, and for church members to be patient. All of these requests circle around love. Love from the pastors to their members, love from members for the pastor and each other, and love to those who do not yet know Jesus.
Pastors expressed the frustration of not being able to do ministry face to face, and of gatherings postponed or cancelled entirely. Pastors are carrying heavy loads right now. People who have lost loved ones have had to grieve alone. This pulls at your pastor’s heart. Young couples who have gone through premarital counseling cannot set a wedding date. The pastor feels their disappointment. So many people sick or shut in that cannot be seen. Not everyone can use the online services or hear over the phone. More technology to learn, more to purchase, more glitches in trying to do online worship. Bible classes are less satisfying to teach online and become a lecture. Truly, ministry is much more challenging than usual this summer.
Just like the rest of us, pastors have their own personal issues with the virus…
“Could I have it and be passing it on without knowing it?”
“Am I being patient and understanding, or judgmental?”
“Are my personal actions offending someone?”
Some people feel it unwise to be in church right now. With no contact, the pastor fears for their faith not knowing if the online options are being utilized. Yes, it is possible to see how many viewed, but not possible to know if they listened or even stayed in the room.
The bottom line: Pray for pastors!
Dear Father in heaven, spread your wings over your shepherds and calm their fears. Give them the gift of wisdom as you gave generously to Solomon. Instill patience and love into the hearts of your people and so lighten the load of ministry.
Dear Savior, Jesus, thank you for taking away the sins of our pastors and teaching them to love all whom you died for. Help pastors be fishers of men and women, the young and old. Give them endless ideas and means to reach out with the Gospel.
Dear Spirit, your pastors work to build faith in the hearts of their people. We ask you to build faith in pastors’ hearts too. Move us to pray for them often, and to comfort them with cards filled with Scripture and encouraging words of thanks for the sermons and ministry given.
Lord, open my eyes to ways I can be of help to our pastors. Open my eyes to the spiritual, emotional, physical and financial needs of the pastors. Forgive me for the times I have been critical or impatient. Forgive me for not appreciating the knowledge my pastor shares from Your Word.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
354. 30-Day Philippians 4:8 Social Media Challenge—WRAPUP! By Emily Krill
On September 1st, I began a “Philippians 4:8 Social Media Challenge”. The goal of the challenge was to keep both 1) what I posted and 2) what showed up on my feeds supporting the virtues found in Philippians 4:8. So, it’s been 30 days and here’s what I learned:
The problem is not so much WHAT I see on my social media feed.
The problem is WHY I’m using my social media.
As I went through the 30 days focused on being intentional about my social media interactions, I began to notice something else. Even after I had cleaned up my news feed to only represent Philippians 4:8 values, there was still a problem. The problem was that my social media scrolling had become more of a compulsion than an intention. And a very popular compulsion at that! Whenever I had my phone in my hand, I somehow found a way to sneak in little social media scrolls here and there all day long.
I removed the supporting apps from my phone to test that theory and found myself still randomly trying to open my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram apps even when there was no app to open. It was kinda like how I open the fridge and stare into it even when I’m not hungry. (What am I looking for?!?!)
Then it occurred to me - wouldn’t it be amazing if I spent this much time in the Bible? Wouldn’t it be incredible if I mindlessly tapped open God’s word instead of social media whenever I was feeling stressed, hungry, tired, frustrated, or needing to “check out” for whatever reason? I don’t, though. If I want to make sure I get time in God’s word, I have to carve it out of my day. How backwards is that?! AGH!!!
God warns us in Proverbs 4:23: "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
I’m not guarding my heart very well when I completely bypass my brain and just let my fingers call the shots on what my eyes see. I’m also not guarding my heart very well when I’m filling it with more human thoughts than God’s thoughts. Ultimately, I realized that even if I make my social media feeds full of positive Philippians 4:8-type images and words, it still can’t even come close to spending time at Jesus’ feet.
To that end, I’m implementing these two changes to my daily routines:
1. All social media apps are now removed from my phone. If I want to become more intentional and slow my scroll, I will have to use my phone’s browser to access social media.
2. I spent some time getting to know my Bible app. It’s now my go-to for daily scrolling. (I use YouVersion - it’s SOOOO good!!! You can even make really pretty scripture images and connect with friends on what they’re studying in their Bible reading time!!!!)
355. Rejoice in Rejection by Karen Spiegelberg
When my daughters were young and growing rapidly, I took their outgrown clothing to a local consignment shop. I always made sure that everything was in very good shape. Yet, many times the store would only keep a few pieces and give me big thumbs down on the others. Then I’d have to endure the walk of shame as I took the rejected items back to my van. Anyone who does consignment selling knows the feeling! For some reason, you don’t just feel like your items have been rejected; you feel personally rejected as well.
Feeling rejected is never a good feeling. But, Jesus calls rejection a blessing in the beatitudes as he instructs the disciples in his final days. “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23)
We are blessed because our reward is not of this world! And our reward is not of this world because of the One who gave his life for all who rejected and hated him. In spite of knowing that and as a response to that, Jesus further proclaimed, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
Next time my box is rejected by the consignment store, I’ll be reminded that Jesus calls rejection in his name a blessing and an opportunity. I may even leap for joy in the parking lot!
356. Stop talking so much by Diana Kerr
The title of the book sounds iffy, but overall I love "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Basically, this book teaches you how to make people feel appreciated, liked, and understood, which in turn also makes life better for you.
One of the book’s hardest lessons is this: stop talking so much. That’s not easy! All of us have a bit of an ego, and most of us like talking about ourselves more than we like listening.
Not surprisingly, the Bible was touting this concept of listening more and talking less way before Dale Carnegie got around to writing about it. Proverbs is full of juicy, applicable advice on this topic (which, if you saw me in social situations, you would see I am not the best at following). Proverbs 12:23 hits me hard, right where it hurts the most: “The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.”
My heart’s convicted by the missed opportunities God may have placed before me to build people up or grow a relationship with them that I ruined because I couldn’t shut up, even though I thought I had interesting knowledge to share. If you’re in the same boat as me, let’s pray that before we go into each social situation God would help us focus on others and remember that the wisest person in the room is not usually the one talking the most.
Devotion used by permission of Time of Grace®. For more information visit www.timeofgrace.org
357. Hot Blood, Cold Heart by Julie Luetke
How long does it take for your blood to boil when talking politics? Shamefully, not long for me. I don’t want to hear anything that disagrees with my opinion. I cannot imagine how anyone can think any view other than mine—surely they have lost their mind to think the way they do. When my blood begins to boil, it turns my heart into ice, even with family. It ruins my entire day. In my mind, I justify my words and beliefs, and plot for just the right comeback, which thankfully God keeps me from voicing. My soul gets no satisfaction.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; (Psalm 51:4a NIV)
I am so frustrated. I don’t want to take this to the Lord in prayer, because I know Jesus will show me my faults in the conversation. He’s done it before. When I seek His wisdom, He will open my eyes to a lack of humility, an unwillingness to listen, and the consideration to end the conversation before feelings get hurt. He will patiently show my unwillingness to give the same grace He unconditionally gave to me. He shows me that when my blood is boiling, I have chosen anger and hate over love.
In Matthew 24, Jesus includes the decline in civility and faith when describing the End Times. In verses 10 and 12, He warns, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,”
Who am I fooling? I can ‘say’ that the other person, article, newscaster or politician makes my blood boil, but it is my own choice, my personal responsibility. In the face of an opposing political view, I choose to get angry. No one has the power over my feelings but me. When my blood boils it is because I choose to take off Jesus’ white robe of righteousness so it doesn’t get dirty and deliberately jump into the mud of sinful self-righteousness.
Jesus, forgive me! I don’t want a cold heart, ever! Spread your love over me, melt my frozen heart, and help me be an instrument of Your peace.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18, 21 NIV)
Falling for Satan’s Lies by Janet Gehlhar
It was one of those days when everything overwhelmed and I was having a pity party. I wallowed, feeling so alone. And then I realized that I had fallen for Satan’s lie. Which lie? The lie that I am all alone and even God doesn’t care and won’t help me. Sigh. After a moment I felt a bit of rage that I have fallen for that same lie again. Which led to another lie of Satan . . . you are worthless and stupid. And now I’m in even deeper.
Then I looked up and saw the loving face of Jesus framed on my wall with the passage, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) And the decal on my wall, “Be Still and Know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) And the eagle picture with the passage . . . “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Take that, Satan!
I have found hope when I read about people in the Bible who share my same struggles. They messed up, repented, God forgave them, and God ALWAYS used their mistakes for their eternal good.
When I read about how Joseph was a bit full of himself and his angry brothers sold him into slavery, was imprisoned unjustly, was forgotten after interpreting dreams, and yet in the end God used him as a high official to save His people from famine, I marvel. (Genesis 37) Just as our loving God took care of Joseph, he’ll take care of me – especially during the times of duress when life looks bleak.
How often I allow myself to be overwhelmed when I need to simply remind myself that God is charge and He has a plan. He doesn’t reveal the whole plan to me at once, but rather unfolds each piece one at a time and on His timetable.
Today I’m focused on trusting God to lead the way – His way.
Sin is sin is sin by Diana Kerr
Let’s talk real for a minute. We are often way more concerned about certain sins than others.
I rarely see Christians worked up about the spiritual dangers of overeating, gossip, worry, or excessive spending. However, homosexual attraction? College partying? Living together before marriage? There is loads of judgment doled out in these areas. Sadly, we even get more worked up about things that aren’t sin—how to worship, vote, or raise kids—than we do about some of the “lesser” sins.
I get that it makes sense practically speaking to get more worked up about certain sin than others. But all sin is dangerous. It all separates us and distracts us from our loving, amazing God. The scary thing is that the seemingly less intense sins can cause these results just as easily as the “big” ones because they’re so sneaky. We don’t expect them to cause a rift between us and God, but they can and will.
Jesus warned his disciples, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day [Judgment Day] will close on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34).
Every time Jesus lists out a sin like worry right along with the classic big, bad sins, I feel uncomfortable. I should. I want to watch myself carefully, own up to the fact that even my “little” sins are a big deal, and then run to Jesus for forgiveness.
Devotion used by permission of Time of Grace®. For more information visit www.timeofgrace.org
“Come as you are” by Erica Koester
A couple years ago, I was sitting in church behind a man who had, just a few months’ prior, broken free from a decades-long addiction. We began to sing “Come as You Are” by Crowder and I was so filled with joy as I considered the significance of these lyrics in this man’s life:
“Oh wanderer come home, you’re not too far. Lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are.”
This man had walked out of his addiction and straight into the arms of his Savior. God had never left his side. The joy and freedom that overflowed from this man’s heart was such a testament to the redemptive work of God. It will forever be one of my favorite “church stories.
Isn’t it so beautiful that God operates in this way?
Consider the parables of the lost sheep (Luke 15: 1-7) and the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-31). God makes it abundantly clear to us that He rejoices when one of his lost children returns home. And He wants us to rejoice, too!
The man or woman recovering from an addiction is welcomed in God’s house with open arms. The man or woman still struggling with an addiction is welcomed, too. The person with a rough past is welcomed. The pastor who wrestles with a recurring sin is welcomed. The person who wrongly screamed at their spouse on the drive to church is welcomed. All of us, in our sin and brokenness, are welcomed. May we rejoice with Jesus for every single soul that walks through our church doors.
Best Friday Ever by Talia Steinhauer
Best Friday Ever. That is what “K’s” shirt read as she walked into the courtroom that Friday morning hand in hand with her foster mom and dad. As she hit the gavel that day wearing a pink tutu, vest, tiara, and her Best Friday Ever shirt, she made official what we had all known in our hearts for the past year and a half—the man and woman who sat on either side of her were not just her foster mom and dad, they were HER mom and dad.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
My sister mentioned after “K’s” adoption that it made her think a lot about our adoption by God. He walked hand in hand with us and declared that He wanted us to be His children. He saw all of our flaws,
but wanted us anyway because of our washing through Jesus. Foster children can come with a lot of baggage from their past life. They’ve seen more than any child should ever see, and their actions are the products of those experiences.
Are we not the exact same? We have a ton of baggage! Who in their right mind would want to call us their children and adopt us knowing all of the terrible things we have done? Our incredibly loving Savior, that’s who.
Thanks to our Savior, we now can say that every Friday is the Best Friday Ever!
2020 Advent Series: Week One, HOPE by Kathy Schreiner
The first candle is called the Prophet's candle. It symbolizes HOPE.
Its color usually matches the liturgical color for Advent, the Old Testament prophets--especially Isaiah who waited in hope for the Messiah to come to redeem the people. These prophets had the job of foretelling and pointing to the coming Messiah. The Messiah would be the fulfillment of God's covenant promise to save us from our sins.
The Messiah is Jesus, the Christ.
Isaiah says in chapter 7, verse 14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
This Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled in Luke 1:31 when the angel Gabriel tells Mary, a virgin, she will give birth to a son. "You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus."
Dear Father in heaven, just as the Old Testament prophets waited in Hope for the coming of your Son, Jesus, we too Hope for Him to come into our hearts this Christmas. We pray you open the hearts of many to receive Him as their only Savior from sin and death. We wait for His return to take us to be with Him in heaven. Amen.
2020 Advent Series: Week Two, FAITH by Kathy Schreiner
It’s time to light the second candle on the Advent wreath. This candle is called the Bethlehem candle. It symbolizes FAITH.
In faith, the Old Testament believers looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. There are many references to Jesus as the Messiah in the Old Testament; however the prophet Micah actually foretells that the Messiah, Jesus, would be born in Bethlehem.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Micah 5:2 (NIV)
By associating the Messiah's birthplace being in Bethlehem, the birth place of King David, Micah recalls and confirms prophecies made even before his own; of the Messiah descending from the line of David. The fulfillment of this in the New Testament is found in two places.
In Matthew 2:1-2 we are told: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Luke goes on to tell us of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem thus fulfilling the prophecy of Micah made 700 years before Jesus was born on earth. Luke 2:4, “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.”
Dear God, with you a “day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”. Only you could devise such a plan for our salvation that foretells the miracle of Your Holy Son's birth on earth, and then bring it to fruition with exacting precision. We thank you for making it so clear as to leave no doubt. We ask that the Holy Spirit work the miracle of faith in our hearts as he did with the Old Testament believers. Amen.
2020 Advent Series: Week Three, JOY by Kathy Schreiner
It’s time to light the third candle in the wreath. It is called the Shepherd's candle. It symbolizes JOY. It is often pink; in the liturgical colors for the alter dressings.
The circumstances of Jesus' birth are humble, to say the least, being born in a stable with animals all around. It is not the antiseptic births we are accustomed to now. Yet there He lay, the King of Kings, Ruler of heaven and earth, creator of the universe.
The shepherds were the first to receive the announcement of Jesus' birth. Not the king or the Pharisees or the High Priest but lowly shepherds—humble, dirty, smelly, poor, shepherds.
Jesus' humility is foretold by the Prophet Zechariah in 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Here Zechariah tells of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as the King of Zion; humble Jesus, riding on a donkey's colt. Not arriving in a gilded chariot or on a noble stallion.
In Luke 2:10 and 11 we can almost feel the joy of the shepherds as the angel tells them: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."
Jesus came for one and all, no matter their status in life. From the greatest to the least, Jesus is their Savior.
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the gift of Your Son for all—none of us is worthy. We thank you, Jesus, that You were willing to humble yourself to be born of a virgin on earth. You gave up Your heavenly throne to become, Immanuel, God is with us in order to save us from our sins. Oh what JOY this bring us! It’s beyond our comprehension. To You be the glory! Amen.
2020 Advent Series: Week Four, PEACE by Kathy Schreiner
It’s time to light the fourth candle in the wreath. It is called the Angel’s candle. It symbolizes PEACE.
In the Old Testament Book of Numbers, chapter 6:24-26 is a familiar reference to the kind of PEACE Jesus would bring. It says: "The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." This is known as the Aaronic Blessing. God told Moses this was how Aaron and his descendants were to bless the people. It shows that the only way to find true PEACE is through God.
Peace between God and man comes when we are made right with God by Jesus' death on the cross for our sins. We could never hope to have this peace of ourselves. God demands perfection and we can never achieve perfection. But when God looks at a believer, He sees his son,Jesus, who paid the price God demanded for sin. This is the PEACE we have, knowing we are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.
When Jesus was born, the angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." Luke 2:14
This peace is not peace on earth but peace between earth and heaven in Jesus. Peace between us and God through Jesus' death and resurrection. It is the only PEACE that really matters. The true PEACE of Christmas.
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the peace you give us through Jesus. When our sins trouble us we have only to look to Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of faith”. We ask that you use us to help others learn of this peace that transcends all understanding. Amen.
2020 Advent Series: Christmas Eve, CHRIST by Kathy Schreiner
It's time to light the final Advent candle. The fifth candle on the wreath is called the CHRIST candle. It symbolizes Light and Purity, and is usually white.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah refers to Jesus as "light",
"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2)
In the New Testament, John 8:12 says, 'When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Jesus Himself tells us He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD! Jesus is the light that banishes the darkness of sin. Reflect on this thought when you see all the lights during Christmas.
Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for sending Jesus into our world to be the light we need to vanquish sin. Let the light of Jesus so shine in our hearts that we realize our need for Him. Let the light of Jesus shine through us to show others the way. Amen.
The Awe Factor by Julie Luetke
A few days ago I saw a newborn snuggled by his mother in a Walmart store.
I not only thought, “Awe,” but I felt it.
I had to look and pause.
I stared and took a step closer.
I wanted so much to touch his perfect little head and feel the soft curls.
I felt my shoulders lean forward and I dropped all my defenses.
The commotion of the people around me disappeared.
My focus was totally on that baby.
That child is not related to me and I don’t know the family.
Chances are we will never see each other again
nor impact each others’ lives in any way.
my heart skipped a beat and did a momentary melt.
God gave babies an exceptionally high "awe" factor.
We will soon be celebrating the birth of Jesus.
When I think of my reaction to the baby in the store,
I can’t help but think of the way we see the baby in the manger.
Standing at the manger we are drawn in.
We lean in, we want a closer look.
We drop our defenses.
We stand in silence so we can hear him breathe.
Our attention is on high alert for any movement or the tiniest squeak.
The awe is palpable.
Just when you begin to come back to the world around you,
He opens His eyes and looks straight at you
his sparkling eyes blink.
The AWE factor is off the charts!
As He stares at you,
He leans toward you wanting to be held in your heart.
His defenses dropped to become a baby to save you.
His defenses were dropped out of love for all of us when
He let the soldiers nail His hands and feet to the cross.
We never asked Him to do this.
We don’t even want it.
Our nature makes us want instant gratification and power over our own desires.
We stand at the manger filthy from our lives of selfishness and guilt.
Jesus has only love for you.
His love is so perfect,
the details of your sin disappear.
you are the subject of His "awe".
His love for you takes His breath away.
His heart skips a beat for you.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [to spend all eternity with you, the object of His affection] (Hebrews 12:2)
O come, let us adore Him!