Choose to Walk with Christ – Day 14 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

Over time I’ve found that the most important thing we can do to stay close to our Savior Jesus Christ is to intentionally choose to walk with Him.

We must make an effort each day to connect with Him. We must regularly study His life and His teachings. We must use the sacred powerful gift of prayer to commune with Him. We must choose to remember and honor the covenants we have made with Him. And we have to choose to do these things again and again, day after day. If we do not, we slowly drift away from Him and become lost in the worries of the world.

But if we will choose to do these things we can collect on the promise made in Isaiah 40:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Song: Unto Us by Aaron Shust

Song: Emanuel God With Us by Point of Grace

Christmas and studying the Nativity are such a great annual reminder for me to check my bearings, assess my priorities, and to determine where adjustments need to be made. Then I take the week between Christmas and New Year’s and decide on a focus word I want to use during the upcoming year.

Challenge: What will your focus word be for 2019 to help you more steadily walk with Christ?

Worship – Day 13 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

There are so many examples of ways to worship in the Nativity Story. The thing they all had in common was their attitude of reverence and adoration.

Defining worship Dean M. Davies said:

When we worship God, we approach Him with reverent love, humility, and adoration. We acknowledge and accept Him as our sovereign King, the Creator of the universe, our beloved and infinitely loving Father.
We respect and revere Him.
We submit ourselves to Him.
We lift our hearts in mighty prayer, cherish His word, rejoice in His grace, and commit to follow Him with dedicated loyalty.
Worshipping God is such an essential element in the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Such a great talk: The Blessings of Worship

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/the-blessings-of-worship?lang=eng

Like the angels we can sing praises of Him. Like the shepherds we can act in obedience seeking Him and sharing the good news about Him. And like the wise men we can put time and effort into serving Him and those around us.

Song: Here With Us by Joy Williams

Song: Come and Worship by Bebo Norman

Challenge: How can you worship the Lord today?

(Artwork found on http://www.jedicraftgirl.com)

Grace – Day 12 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

“Grace” such a small word with such an incomprehensible impact! In this word is contained the hope of the world, the key to free each of us from the binding chains that hold us back from our Lord and God. It is by the grace of Jesus Christ that both eternal salvation and immediate peace are possible!

Luke 2:

40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

As I sit here thinking about all I have learned and felt this year through experiencing the Nativity Story on this walk, this word seems to be the glue that holds it all together. Grace is the reason He came, the vehicle He used to love us, forgive us, and serve us. It is how He showed his kindness and mercy to us, it is the very expression of His humility and patience. It is His offering of joy and peace and light to each of us individually. And yet our own agency, our individual right to choose, is so respected by Him and the Father, that we alone must make the decision to accept this gift or reject it, one by one. But there it hangs waiting and offered freely to each of us.

Song: When Love Was Born by Mark Schultz

Song: When Love Crossed Over by Paul Baloche

Challenge: What will you do to more fully accept or show more appreciation for this glorious gift of grace?

Service – Day 11 on a14 Day Walk with Christ

The wise men put great time and effort into serving the Lord. It took them years to get to where He was so that they might worship Him.

Matthew 2:

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 ¶ And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Service is something that helps us in so many ways! It gets us out of ourselves and puts our trials in perspective. It fills us with love and light as we show love to others. It draws us closer to God as we act as His hands on earth.

Sure we all have opportunities for service projects and intentionally seeking ways to serve is very important, but there is another way to serve I had never given much thought to, or maybe always thought of as acts too insignificant to count as service. As we have focused on ministering this year it finally dawned on me how Jesus served one by one as situations of need arose as He went about His daily tasks.

This realization has become so significant in my life. It has made me desire to be more aware of the needs around me, to not be so busy that I don’t notice a need or that I use my busyness as an excuse not to serve where the Lord needs me. Sometimes it is as simple as acting on a prompting to send a text to someone to let them know I’m thinking of them. Sometimes it is putting a project aside to spend an hour listening to a friend vent. Sometimes it is making a special gesture for one of my family members because they have been having a hard time. But most importantly it is about noticing the people around us, paying attention to heavenly inspirations, and being willing to invest love and time where the Lord wants us to, one by one.

Song: Adore Him by Kari Jobe

Challenge: Will you watch for ways to serve as you go about your day today?

Humility – Day 10 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

If I had to pick one word to describe the conditions of the birth of our Savior it would be “humble.” A scenario not at all expected by the people He came to save.

Matthew 2:

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

I just finished reading a book about Mary by Francine Rivers. It is historical fiction but I love how her books have better helped me understand and apply the culture of that time to the Bible stories I thought I knew.

From that book and others I’ve read about Christ’s birth it is clear that the way Christ came and the mission He came to fulfill were quite different from what His people expected. They truly expected a literal King, a ruler, and a military leader. And yet I have thought lately that maybe the circumstances of His birth were the only way that even the most common of people could relate to Him and identify with Him enough to trust Him with their common problems.

His willingness to condescend from His heavenly throne and come to the world as a baby, walk the streets of Jerusalem as a man, grievously suffer as He atoned for my sins and yours, and give up His life on the cross is the greatest demonstration of humility and love the world could ever know. Oh what majesty was demonstrated by the deepness of His humility!

And it is only in genuine humility that we can truly come to know our Savior and draw His presence and power into our lives.

Song: How Many Kings by Downhere

Song: The New Born King by Paul Baloche

Challenge: What can you do to increase your own humility and genuinely connect with the Savior today?

Obedience – Day 9 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

When the shepherds first saw the angel they were “sore afraid.” Then with hasty obedience they hushed their fears and went to seek the Lamb of God.

Luke 2:

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

I think one of the things that holds us back from our full potential most in this life is fear. We often allow ourselves to be troubled and overcome by fear.

In John 14:27 the Savior tells us:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

In a talk called “Come Unto Me” Jeffery R. Holland talk about this specific scripture. He says, “I submit to you, that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.”

I think of all the edicts issued by Christ this may be one of the most important to Him because the results of our obedience will be immeasurable in our own lives and in our circles of influence. He wants us to choose faith over fear. He wants us to focus on the good we can do together rather than waste or time being troubled by the things that don’t seem to be working out. He wants us to follow the shepherds’ example and seek Him out. He wants us to spend time with Him and be yoked to Him that our burdens may be light. He wants us to trust Him with the bigger picture. He wants us to have peace.

Song: Do Not Be Afraid by JJ Weeks Band

Song: Oh What a Glorious Night by Sidewalk Prophets

Challenge: what can you do to obediently put your troubles aside and more earnestly rely on the peace of Christ?

(Artwork from http://www.jedicraftgirl.com)

Light – Day 8 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

The new star shone its light to announce the birth of our Savior and guide those seeking Him. Christ himself is the light that shines on us and directs our path. As we seek that light we can be filled with it and spread it on to others.

Luke 2:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

John 8:

12 ¶ Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Psalms 27:

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

I have thought a lot about how Christ is the God of the one. He reaches after us one by one. His light warms us one by one. It guides us one by one. It is up to each of us to seek His light & love one by one. As we establish our own personal relationship with Him one by one, we will be guided and directed by Him, we will become His hands to lift and bless others and lighten their load. We will be filled with His light and will naturally share that light with others. How do we do this seeking and filling? We do it one act at a time.

Just like Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

Every time you turn your hearts to God in humble prayer, you experience His light. Every time you seek His word and will in the scriptures, the light grows in brightness. Every time you notice someone in need and sacrifice your own comfort to reach out in love, the light expands and swells. Every time you reject temptation and choose purity, every time you seek or extend forgiveness, every time you courageously testify of truth, the light chases away darkness and attracts others who are also seeking light and truth.

Song: Light of the World by Lauren Daigle

Song: Come See the Light by Freddie Ashby

Challenge: What will you do today to gather a little more light? And how will you share that light once it has been gathered?

Artwork found on the blog http://www.jedicraftgirl.com

Joy – Day 7 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

The angels truly are a symbol of joy in action. Their attitude of singing and praising the Lord is one we will have if we just understand all He offers us!

Luke 2:

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Understanding who our Savior is and what He offers us should make us a joyful people ALWAYS! But life is hard and sometimes our focus shifts and we struggle to feel this way.

There are so many legitimate concerns in our day that we could get totally caught up in and cause us to become almost incapacitated by worry, doubt, and self-pity. I have seen people who allow this to happen. But we can choose to focus on joy instead of these things. At first it may be hard to train ourselves to do this, to turn to God and seek joy rather than wallow in our perception of the unfairness of life, but the joy is worth it and it does get easier over time.

I was given an analogy once that I call the parable of the coin. When you are handed a coin you cannot look at both sides simultaneously. You must pick a side to focus on. However, focusing on tails does not mean heads is not there, it just means you are choosing to dismiss it. The same goes in life, when we choose to focus on the good things, especially our redemption through Christ. It doesn’t mean the bad things are not there, just that we are choosing not to let them have power over us. It is a choice we have to make, over and over again.

Song: His Name Shall be Called by Matt Redman

Song: When Hope Came Down by Kari Jobe

Challenge: How will you choose joy over worry today? How can you be more consistent in this effort daily?

(Artwork found on the blog http://www.jedocraftgirl.com)

Peace – Day 6 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

The life of Christ is the ultimate gift of peace. His birth being the dawn of that offering.

Luke 2:

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Silent night has always been one of my favorite songs because of the peaceful feeling that always accompanied it for me. A few years ago I had an experience that gave it even greater meaning:

It was a particularly overwhelming Christmas for me and it seemed that everyone I talked to was running behind that year too and feeling frustrated about it, just like me. Even though I know it isn’t about the list of tasks we assign ourselves, it seems that each year I allow that part of this season to overwhelm me…

That year as I sat in a particularly uplifting session of church I was overcome by one line from of the song Silent Night, “THE DAWN OF REDEEMING GRACE”. As I sat there with tears streaming down my face the significance of those words sinking deep into my heart I sincerely understood, perhaps for the first time, what Christmas is really and truly about. Yes it’s about the birth of Christ, but even more than that it’s about that night being the dawn, the beginning, of our salvation because finally the only being who had the grace, the power, to save us had arrived! How grateful I am for that grace and that redemption, for my Savior and redeemer, for His infinite love and His patience with me and my weaknesses! How grateful I am for a time each year to reflect on what that DAWN OF REDEEMING GRACE means to me personally and how I will allow it to permeate my upcoming year.

Song: Silent Night by Taylor Swift

Song: A Baby Changes Everything by Faith Hill

Challenge: Ponder on a time when you felt the potency of the peace of Christ in your life and express gratitude for that time and those feelings.

Gratitude – Day 5 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

I know it was part of the plan, but I still can’t help but feel a little sad when I read the last line of this verse…

Luke 2:

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

One of the phrases my husband uses most with our kids is, “Actions speak louder than words.” I believe that in nothing do we show a more ingrateful heart than by not making room for the Savior in our lives. And it isn’t just saying we believe in Him or going to church on Sundays, but it is the daily things we do to include Him in our lives. It’s daily prayers and daily studying of His words. It’s listening to music that draws us closer to Him and pondering on specific ways we can do better to be more like Him and regular repenting when we do things to show the ways we are not like Him at all. When we make room for Him we cannot help but be drawn in closer to Him. We cannot help but feel more gratitude, peace, and joy in our lives, but it really does take a daily effort on our part.

Song: Do You Have Room? By Shauna Belt Edwards

Song: Make Room by Casting Crowns

Challenge: What will you do today to show gratitude by making room in your heart for the Savior of the world?

On a side note – as I was watching music videos to gather songs for this walk the thought came to me that though a stable is not the ideal place for a baby to be born, let alone our King, Bethlehem was probably very chaotic at the time because of the census. Perhaps the stable was a much more peaceful setting for this sacred scene to play out. Maybe this also has a lesson for us. What quiet sacred setting have you established for spending time with the Lord, even if it wouldn’t seem ideal to others?

(Artwork from blog http://www.jedicraftgirl.com)