Click on the link below to download a PDF of the Reflection and Goals prompts.These were inspired by Woodmont Christian Church (https://woodmontchristian.org/2018/12/self-reflection-at-years-end/).
In 2 Kings 6, the prophet Elisha had been warning the King of Israel of his enemy's plans which had been revealed to him by God. The King of Syria (his enemy) was pretty upset about this and sent his soldiers to deal with Elisha. Verse 14 says he sent horses, chariots and a large army which seems overkill to capture one man. They surrounded the city where he was living. 2 Kings 6:15-17 says,
Early the next morning Elisha's servant got up, went out of the house, and saw the Syrian troops with their horses and chariots surrounding the town. He went back to Elisha and exclaimed, “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?”
“Don't be afraid,” Elisha answered. “We have more on our side than they have on theirs.” Then he prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord answered his prayer, and Elisha's servant looked up and saw the hillside covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
The short version of the rest of the story is that Elisha prayed that God would make the men blind (which he did). Then in true Star Wars fashion he told them, 'You are on the wrong road; this is not the town you are looking for' (watch Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, if you don't know what I'm talking about). He led them into the city and asked God to open their eyes. Instead of killing them, they gave them something to eat and sent them back to the King of Syria. They stopped trying to invade Israel after that.
God reminded me of this story while I was on my morning walk on Boxing Day. Life can seem overwhelming when we look at it through our human eyes. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic, people get sick, some are unkind, many struggle with mental health concerns and other bad stuff happens on a daily basis. It's easy to be overwhelmed and lose hope. But Elisha prayed that God would open his spiritual eyes then he was able to see that even though they were surrounded by a hostile army, God's army was greater. 1 John 4:4 says, God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.
Despite all the bad things that are happening in the world, God is still good. He is working, even if we can't always see it. I pray that God would open your spiritual eyes and you would see how God is working in your life and in the world.
You are an important part of the Christmas story because God sent Jesus to die for you. Christmas has become all about gifts, but the Bible talks about different kinds of gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:4-10 talks about the Spiritual gifts (I have added the emphasis).
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve, but we serve the same Lord. And there are different ways that God works in people, but it is the same God who works in all of us to do everything. Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. And the same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. The same Spirit gives faith to one person and to another he gives gifts of healing. The Spirit gives to one person the power to do miracles, to another the ability to prophesy, and to another the ability to judge what is from the Spirit and what is not. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak in different kinds of languages, and to another the ability to interpret those languages.
Gift giving at Christmas is usually reciprocal—you give someone a gift and they give you one. God gave you the gift of his Son, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The least you can do is to serve him with the gifts he has blessed you with. If you don't know what your spiritual gifts are yet, don't panic. You can start by loving and serving others. There are questionnaires that you can do to work out your spiritual gifts are. There are more spiritual gifts than those listed in 1 Corinthians. Perhaps we will look at some of them in the New Year.
Jesus is the reason for the season!
1 John 4:9
God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him.
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die in our place. He calls us to love others like Jesus loves us—that's a lot. How can you show love to your family, friends, strangers and even your enemies this Christmas? Smile at strangers, give compliments, help (before you're asked), share your money and things, be generous with your time and attention.
There was no donkey!!! Luke 2:2-4 says, Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Mary and Joseph travelled on a donkey. The two towns were about 130 kilometres apart so hopefully they didn't walk. Other popular methods of transport at the time were horses, camels or carts pulled by an animal.
This appearance of a donkey in the Christmas story hardly detracts from the message of the of the gospel. There are other additions to our Christmas celebrations that can detract from Jesus, such as Santa Claus, elves, gift-giving, reindeer, and Christmas trees. Don't get sidetracked by secular additions to Christmas—make sure your celebrations focus on Jesus.
Matthew 2:1-2 says, After Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east. We came to worship him.” According to historians, the appearance of a new star meant that a new prince had been born. The star pointed to Jesus—it showed the wise men where to find him. We should be like that star and point the way to Jesus. John 13:35 tells us how we do that. It says, Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other. Basically we point to Jesus by loving others.
Can non-Christians tell that you are a follower of Jesus by your actions? Do you love others? How can you love others this week and point to Jesus?
The angels told the shepherds that they would find Jesus in a manger—that's a food box for animals. The manger was mentioned three times in Luke 2—in verses 7, 12 and 16. The manger was a very humble place for the baby Jesus to be placed. It would have been dirty and full of hay. I'm not sure what they normally put new born babies in during New Testament times, but I'm guessing it wasn't a manger. The angels told the shepherds that the sign that they had found the Messiah is that he would be lying in a manger.
The manger was humble and dirty, yet it held Jesus. Jesus also lives in us, even though we are humble sinners. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. God lives in you! James 4:6 says, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. He doesn't choose talented, popular, perfect people who have their life together. Rather, he chooses humble, broken people who know how much they need him.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.