December 25, 2017 Zechariah 7-9; Luke 20

These are a few of our SOAP notes from today’s reading. We encourage you to read and journal on your own first, then join us in conversation about what God revealed to YOU today. Click HERE to go directly to the daily reading if you wish.

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Why We Didn’t Pray Before Christmas Dinner | Joni Tyner

S~ Say to all your people and your priests, ‘during these 70 years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in the early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting?’  Zechariah 7: 5 (NLT)

O~ The Israelites had lost their sincere desire to be in close fellowship with God. They were experts at “checking off the box” in the ritualistic practice of worship but lacked a personal relationship with God.

A~ Our family celebrated Christmas a couple of nights ago because it’s my turn to work  Christmas at the hospital.  Since Christmas was going to “look different” this year, my husband and I decided to really change it up.  I made a formal invitation the week before Christmas  to give to each of the kids and their significant others. The invitation included a gift card with instructions to give it away to give away to a needy person.

Before we started dinner,  I told them we weren’t having a prayer before eating this year.  I shared Deuteronomy 11:19 with them in which the Israelites were instructed to teach their children the Word of God, that we are to talk about God when we get up and when we go to bed, when we are on the road and in the house.  I said it was our prayer that each of us  would grow in our personal relationship with God so that it becomes part of our DNA,  not just a ritualistic routine.  I then told them we would skip the routine of praying before eating and instead share what God was teaching us in the last year as we ate dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the meaningful responses around the table from my kids and their significant others.  I also heard encouragement and grace as a couple of them admitted they hadn’t given away their gift cards. “You can still do it!!!”  “Christmas isn’t about the day, it’s about giving throughout the whole year.”

After dinner, we then went to the living room and dad shared with them that God has given each person a unique purpose and we all can be used by God.  His “devotional” was a short You Tube video of a autistic blind boy who sings to churches about God.  He sang “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord.” It was so touching to watch this video. My husband ended with we can ALL be used by God. (I’ve provided a clip of the video at the end)

P~ Dear Jesus, I pray You pursue me with a passionate desire to continue to seek You and worship You.   Give me energy, time and opportunity to share that passion with others.  I love You.

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