★ Thought for the Day – The Mission of Christmas ★

The other day I heard this incredible song “Noel” written by Chris Tomlin and featuring Lauren Daigle with these beautiful lyrics…

Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us

Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord 
He shall
reign forevermore

It says it all!  Jesus was “Born to suffer, born to save” and is the “Christ the everlasting Lord” who will “reign forevermore.”  I have been listening to this song over and over, just enjoying the truth behind these lyrics!  But it did get me thinking…What does Noel even mean?  Have you ever thought of that?  Each year we sing the lyric in The Christmas Song and The First Noël, but until this year I never looked what the meaning was.  It’s interesting when I did a google search; I found several different definitions and variations which surprised me.  In an article, Chris Tomlin explained it this way:

“The word ‘Noel’ is derived from the French phrase ‘Les bonnes nouvelles’ meaning ‘the good news.’”

When I looked it up in my grandfather’s 1966 Edition of Webster’s Dictionary and found this definition:


So between the two, one could say that Noel is an expression of joy as a result of the “Good News” that the savior of the world was born!  In the post, ★ Day 15 – Reason for the Season – A Shepherd’s View of Christmas ★ we discussed Luke 2:10-11 when the Angels made the proclamation to the Shepherds about the birth of Jesus:

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”

You can read the full account in Luke 2:8-15.  The birth of Jesus is “Good News” and for those who believe in God’s Son, there should be great expressions of joy on our part!    The other night the temperature dropped below freezing, which for113-daily-dependence-elf-movie-poster Texas is quote unusual. We had a beautiful fire roaring and so we cuddled 113-daily-dependence-fireplaceup on the couch to watch the modern day Christmas classic…”Elf” starring Will Ferrell.  I am not a big fan of his movies but I never get tired of this slapstick comedy!  As the 5th highest grossing Christmas movie of all-time (according to Box Office Mojo,) the 2003 blockbuster hit that follows the lovable, exuberant elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell,) who left the North Pole to meet his real father in NYC after finding out he’s really not an elf.  The movie is full of great lines but one of my favorites is the after Buddy inadvertently insults a  writer and gets beat up for his naivety.


Okay that had no relevance to my point, I just loved that scene.  But the point that I did want to make is that the joyful outlook that Buddy had towards Santa and Christmas is how I believe should be towards Jesus!  Wouldn’t have been awesome to have heard this in the movie!113-daily-dependnece-jesus-i-know-him

Could you imagine if that much joy could be channeled in service of Jesus?  How different would this world be?  Elf also inspired to share this in the Shepherd’s View of Christmas post which Buddy also said:

113-daily-dependence-bring-christmas-cheer-by-singingNow I am not saying that singing loudly will change the world’s problems, but rather when we embrace the “Good News” of Jesus will spur us on.  As we discussed in the last post, “feelings are not faith.”  If we wait to help people when we “feel” like it, it may not happen; but when we have the love of Jesus in our hearts we will be motivated to action by something far greater than feelings…MISSION!  What is the mission?  Isaiah 61:1-2 (NLT) says:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.”

This may sound familiar to you that you heard that somewhere else stated in the Bible, well that is from Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 in which he read those verse from Isaiah. In Luke 4:20-21 (NLT) it says,

“He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down.  All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.  Then he began to speak to them.  ‘The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!’”

Isaiah prophesied over 700 years before Jesus came to earth about what the mission was going to be.  To bring good news to the poor, to comfort the brokenhearted, and to bring hope!  This is the mission not just at Christmas but the other 364 days as well!  We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus building the kingdom of God here on Earth by following Jesus’ mission!  John Piper said in the ‘Good News of Great Joy’ reading plan (http://bible.com/r/C7) on day 18,

“Christmas is a model for missions.  Missions is a mirror of Christmas.  [The] mission means danger. And that the greatest danger is distrusting God’s mercy.  Succumb to this and all is lost.  Conquer here and nothing can harm you for a million ages.”  ”  

In the devotion he made the point that Jesus came into the world and faced great peril both as a child and adult (especially in the last three years of His life) until His death on the cross faced.  Regardless of the dangers He experienced, Jesus said in John 17:18 (ESV) speaking to His Father:

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

Christmas is the model for us to live on mission to reach the overwhelmed, under resourced and far away.  I pray that as you read this you are not facing true danger like Jesus did but this year you may have strife in your home, conflict at work, or suffering the loss of a love one; but regardless of how you “feel,” I want to encourage you to stay on mission.  I read this in the “The Magic Of Christmas” reading plan the other morning from Durwood Snead who said:

“I am part of a kingdom—the greatest kingdom on earth led by an all-powerful King who has very specific things for me to do…The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me.  The magic of Christmas is that my King has chosen me to be an active part of proclaiming good news to the poor by my actions.”  

As a blood bought child of the living God, I am so thankful that “that my King has chosen me to be an active part of proclaiming good news” to anyone that He brings into my life.  One of my favorite quotes that describe me to a T is from Zig Ziglar…

"True joy comes when you inspire, encourage and guide someone else on a path that benefits him or her." 
“True joy comes when you inspire, encourage and guide someone else on a path that benefits him or her.”

This truly is my heart’s desire…to inspire, encourage and guide someone along the path to grow closer to Jesus!  And when you realize how incredible it is that God sent His Son to be the bridge so that we can have a relationship with Him, your whole perspective changes!  “Christmas is a model for missions,” this Christmas open your heart to what God’s purpose is for you.  Jesus is looking to us to be the guide or the light to bring the lost to Him.  Will you accept the mission?

113-daily-dependence-merry-christmas-scabbleIf you are interested to read more on this, check out:

★ Day 11 – Reason for the Season – Following Jesus Will Cost You ★

★ Thought for the Day – Let Your Light Shine ★


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★ Thought for the Day – The Nostalgia of Christmas ★

I shared last year in our #Reason for the Season – 25 Days of Thanksgiving series how my mom cultivated a real love for Christmas as she worked tireless to make everything so special.  I have so many wonderful memories of the traditions she carried on year after year. Well…this is my first Christmas without her. As I look at the Nativity Set that I inherited from her passing and think about Christmases of long ago, the loss is sorely felt.  I have112-daily-dependence-moms-nativity-set not been “feeling it” this year. It could also be that in the last two months It has been really crazy for me both at work and in our family schedule that I just haven’t had the time to even think about the Advent Season like I did last year. Whatever is the root cause, it has been a little bit tougher to get into the spirit.

One thing that I have been trying to do is saturate myself with music to stir up some Christmas Spirit.  What is your favorite Christmas song?  Grandma Got Run Over by a ReindeerAll I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey?  Or perhaps Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee which was one of my Mom’s favorites?  If you said yes to the last two then you’re not alone.   According to the Billboard’s Top 10 Most Popular Holiday Songs (which was posted last week on 12/7/2016), here are the #1 and #2 songs in that chart’s history:

  1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey
  2. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee

But my absolute favorite song is what the Billboard chart says is #3 – “The Christmas Song” (Also known as “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”) sung by the late great Nat King Cole.  From the 112-daily-dependence-christmas-song-recordfirst familiar sounds of the piano and the bow smoothly gliding across the strings of the violin to these openings lyrics…

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

I am instantly catapulted into a nostalgic moment that I cannot explain. For me, the song evokes a feeling of warmth and love that embodies what my Mom had created in our home growing up.  A nostalgic feeling of days gone by well up within me that pushes out all the stress and hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping from me because after all, Christmas is not about what is under the tree with our names on it.  Christmas is spending time with those we love but even more than that, it’s about the little baby lying the manger over 2,000 years ago.

24 - Daily Dependence - Luke 2-11 - It's A Boy

But things have changed dramatically in how this world celebrates or rather, doesn’t celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world!  Our culture has become so focused on how everyone “feels” that truth is watered down. It’s no longer a Christmas party, but a holiday party. Instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” we say “Seasons Greetings.”  And it’s inconceivable to see a nativity scene in the town square that shows the birth of Jesus because people who don’t believe in Him might be offended.  Just because you “feel” a certain way does not mean that should trump the truth.  The meaning and purpose of Christmas is to remember the lengths that God went to in order for you and I to have a relationship with Him.

112-daily-dependence-john-3-16-the-reason-for-the-seasonFeelings are not truth, regardless of how much society tries to normalize the removal of Jesus from Christmas. The point of Christmas is not  about Christmas parties or family traditions or opening up presents on December 25 (though all are great)…Christmas was the fulfillment of God’s rescue plan to save us from the consequences of our Sin and it pleased Him to do so. How do I know?  Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) says:

“Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

We are so valuable to God that He sent Jesus to be born in a Palestinian stable to a poor couple, and to live in humble absurdity for 30 years in a backwater town until called into ministry. For 3 years Jesus taught the world another way to live that glorifies God and to say no to our fleshly desires which ultimately led to His death on a Roman cross to be the atonement for the sins of the world.  Romans 3:21-24 (NLT) says:

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.  And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous.  He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.”

Jesus “freed us from the penalty for our sins.”. Sin, yet another aspect of life that culture attempts to desensitize Itself from. Sin is a problem we all have and it must be dealt with one way or another.  Many people ignore it, medicate it or outright engage in it but that’s not why Jesus came to earth. It’s interesting that because of belief in Jesus and His teaching about what Sin is, Christians are viewed as being intolerant.  But antagonists of the Christian faith are not asking for believers in Jesus to be tolerant or to “get along” with non-believers, but to “go along” with whatever is trending on Twitter.  Because a portion of society feels a certain way, the beliefs and values that have been acknowledged for thousands of years as truth, now should be watered down!  Feelings are not truth.  Here is the truth if you want to live in Heaven, Jesus said:112-daily-dependence-romans%e2%80%ac-%e2%80%ad10-9

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 (ESV) 

Jesus left His throne in Heaven to the bridge for you and I to heaven by this simple act…

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

The greatest present you could receive this Christmas is the free gift of salvation!  All you need to do is believe!  This Christmas I want to challenge you to:

“Care less about who you might offend and more about who you might inspire.”

Don’t allow the pressure from society from you worshiping Jesus!  And as you hear Billboards #1 hit from Mariah Carey for the 1,000th time, think about this message from Jesus in Matthew 11:28 that “All He wants for Christmas is you!”



If you are interested, I posted this in memory of my Mom called:

★ Thought for the Day – Tribute to My Mom

If you missed the #Reason For The Season series you can catch up.

#Daily Dependence - Reason for the Season - 25 Days of Thankfulness 1


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★ Thought for the Day – Annihilating Anxiety ★


According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary Anxiety is the

fear or nervousness about what might happen.” 

Have you ever suffered from anxiety?  Ever wondered how you were going to handle a situation at school that might result in a fight?  Or how to handle a co-worker / client that has been causing problems that will jeopardize meeting the project deadline?  Or perhaps where the money was going to come to pay for the mortgage at the end of the month?  Well statistically if you are reading this, you have experienced anxiety in one form or another.

“Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.”  (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

I certainly can be counted within that 40 million!   Today I want to pose this idea that we don’t need to live life this way.  Based on the Word of God we can ANNIHILATE ANXIETY!

But first let’s look at the definition again.  Anxiety is the “fear or nervousness about what MIGHT happen.”  MIGHT being the key word!  Now by no means am I lessening the significance of anxiety, quite the contrary, it is a very serious issue, one which will wreak havoc if left unabated.  I know myself, I will run scenario after scenario of how something will go or what my response will be “if    (fill in the blank)   happens.”  This is not necessarily a bad thing in some cases, in fact as an Architect it’s necessary to vet out different courses of action; but when it comes down to the difficult, life altering decisions, don’t you wish that you could hear from God for the right direction to go in?  Well I would submit that you can today, though it may not be audibly like in the past.

This peaked my interest and I started to look into the first (5) books of the Bible.  God spoke to:

In Deuteronomy 34:10 (NLT) it says that:

“There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”

Oh to be Moses right?  To have face to face contact with God!  I stopped here in my list though there are many other Old Testament characters who have heard audibly from God because it is Joshua, Moses’ successor who I think can be an encouragement to us today as the issues we face seem insurmountable!  But before we unpack how Joshua can help, there’s something else I would like to talk about first.  I shared with you in our last post, ★ Thought for the Day – Turn the Other Cheek ★, that I was having some stress because of someone who lied about me and that I had to take the high road and turn the other cheek instead of demanding vindication.  Today I am going to be vulnerable to you and reveal that it is much more than “some stress,” and that there have been more incidents that have caused extreme anxiety and poison in my Spirit.  And unfortunately I have allowed the venom to spill over into other areas of my life and steal my joy when I am away from work.  In fact I just had a heart to heart with my daughter to apologize for my words that have hurt her.  It is amazing how when anxiety is unchecked how it can run your life.  I have had trouble reading the bible and my quiet time with God has been lackluster at best and it is also why there has only been 1 post in the last two months but God is so merciful!  On Thursday morning (12/1/16), God spoke so clearly to me when I saw this notification from the Verse of the Day from the YouVersion Bible App:

Talk about a wake-up call!  Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  Great questions!  It’s because I had lost my way.  I had lost hope and my focus was distracted by the cares and worries of my life!

After seeing the Psalms I then stumbled onto this edit from Philippians 4:6-7 on twitter:

111-daily-dependence-philippians-4-6-7Then as I was driving to meet a buddy for breakfast I heard this song “Shoulders” from the band FOR KING & COUNTRY.  The lyrics are so powerful

When I’m caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I’ll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near 

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue

What a great reminder. We need to be careful as we are “in the valley” that we don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by all the worries of the world and lose sight of the truth that we are never alone!  We have a father in heaven who loves us dearly and has provided His Son to be an example of how we should live.  And when Jesus walked this earth He would get alone and pray for help from His Father, (see Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12, Luke 22:41-44.)  And so that is what we need to do too!  In addition to following His example, because I have trusted in Jesus, God has given me the Holy Spirit to live within me to be my comforter, (See John 14:16-18, 16:13).  The lyrics also brought me back to 1999 when I baptized on Easter and when I read Psalm 23 as part of my public declaration.  I wanted to share what verse 4 says:

111-daily-dependence-psalm-23-4-walk-through-valley“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

So God spoke to me through the Verse of the Day, Twitter, a song on the radio which brought up when I was baptized 17-1/2 years ago to speak into my Spirit that I am not alone and that even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I should not allow fear and anxiety to rule my life!  I told you that I was meeting a friend well he ended up oversleeping so while I waited for him, God gave me the idea to write this Thought and lead me to the final verse that He spoke to me in 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)…

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

You see that God does still speak but we need to have our hearts in tune with Him.  In Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV) it says that:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

Do you know what the antidote to anxiety and fear?  In Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) we are the answer…FAITH!

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” 

My wife who suffered terribly from anxiety as a result of contracting Lyme’s Disease said this to me this morning:

“Anxiety is a mind game that forces you to choose fear or faith!”

It took her 3 long years to battle through the effects of this silent disease that so few people know about that affects your nervous system and causing extreme anxiety and panic attacks.  Today I am so thankful that she is able to work out again and has overcome the anxiety that once plagued her mind.  I saw this edit which is so fitting since she loved to workout…111-daily-dependence-faith-shows-you-how-to-handle-life

“Faith doesn’t take the weight off your life.  It shows you how to handle it.”

We started off this post talking about the Old Testament characters that God spoke to and I left you hanging about Joshua, a man who had an extraordinary amount of faith!  Joshua lost his mentor, Moses and was given the mantle to lead an entire nation into the “Promised Land” with the understanding that he would have to go into battle against an overwhelming force with a plan that was completely dependent on God doing what He said He would.  In Joshua 6:2-5 (ESV) it says:

“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.  You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once.  Thus shall you do for six days.  Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark.  On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.  And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.’”

You can read that whole account here in Joshua 5:13-6:50.  I am reminded that I am not the only one who is facing insurmountable challenges.  Talk about some extreme faith!  Think about going to tell your army, “Okay everyone, I heard from the Lord and the plan is, we will walk around Jericho for 7 days and then at the end of the march, the priests will blow the trumpets and everyone will shout really loud and the walls will come down!”  That alone I think took a lot of faith but to actually go and do as God instructed is a completely different thing altogether!  What Joshua knew and what we need to know is that:

111-daily-dependence-all-progress-takes-place-outside-the-comfort-zoneIs there something that you feel God wants you to do?  Could it be to be a friend to that person who sits alone every day at lunch?  Or to be a friend to someone you know going through a divorce or a terminal disease?  Or perhaps to invite that person to church that God has placed on your heart who you know is far from Him right now?

As the Advent season ramps up and the list of things to do grows, pause and ask God what could you do for someone else during this Christmas season.  I will close with the same encouragement that Joshua gave to the people of Israel:


Don’t let fear and anxiety rule your life and take away the joy of this season.  Have this mindset that:


If you are interested to read more on this topic check out these posts called:

★ Thought for the Day – You Are Chosen! ★

★ Thought for the Day – Overwhelmed or Overcoming? ★

We also did a series on James MacDonald’s book called “Act Like Men” Book that is based on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 that will encourage you!



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