Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Jesus…

First published December 14, 2009

Whose birthday celebration is the biggest single global event of the year? Yup! Every industrial nation is aware of, if not recognizes Jesus Christ’s birthday, Christmas. The effort and dollars spent on decorating and present exchange for this day staggers the mind. On top of that, it has been remembered for thousands of years. But, it doesn’t compare to the real action surrounding Jesus’ birth day. It was some party!

There were the announcements: “And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior; who is Christ, the Lord.’” (Luke 2 10-11)

There were decorations: “And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (Matthew 2:10) “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them…” (Luke 2:9)

There were guests: “And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the Baby as he lay in the manger.” (Luke 2:16)

There was excitement: “And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” (Luke 2:20)

There were gifts: “And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

There was singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:13-14)

This was the most special birthday celebration ever. As we are putting up decorations, receiving guests, building with excitement, exchanging presents, and singing for joy, let’s get into the proper frame of mind. This is Jesus’ birthday celebration, and let’s not forget it!

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Dear Heavenly Father, the scene you set for the arrival of your Son, Jesus, was truly wonderful. His amazing birth is evidence of your power and majesty. May this Christmas season be as special as the first celebration, bring honor and glory to you. In your Son’s name these are asked. Amen.

Copyright 2009, Karen Vaughn

Ooo! Ahhh!

First published December 14, 2009

And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)

If you have the opportunity to see the stars on a clear night, you will be awestruck at the beauty and brilliance painting the sky. Being very important, stars have significant purpose and meaning in the Bible. The Great Creator placed stars in the heavens establishing time and seasons. This literal meaning included all celestial bodies like planets. Another important star was a world-wide light bulb announcing the birth of our Savior.
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…And lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. (Matthew 2:9)

The star of Bethlehem served as a guide pointing to where the Christ child was born. There were no GPS’s (global positioning systems). There were no billboards. There were no Thomas Guide maps; not that men would actually ask for directions! The single star ushered the shepherds and wise-men to Jesus. And, the necessity of stars didn’t stop here. Jesus declared who he is in a powerful description.
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“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)

Jesus is speaking to John “The Beloved Disciple,” in a vision while John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos. The bright morning star refers to the planet Venus. It precedes the sunrise. This symbolic picture is easily understood. The bright morning star, Jesus, comes before the new day. The new day represents salvation from eternal condemnation. These words are without controversy. Jesus is the one way to new life. The apostle Peter tied together his gospel testimony of Jesus.
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And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(2 Peter 1:19)

This was one of the most complete and beautiful verses Peter wrote. His wise who-what-when-why words told of the fulfilled prophesy of the Old Testament and metaphorically, the glorious personal result of accepting Christ!
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We have had a brief look at the significance of stars in the scriptures. Today, while we await the celebration of Jesus’ birth, let us meditate on the role stars play in the total story of salvation. Very soon, take another look at the night sky and give God the glory for the stars’ role in presenting the Good News!

Copyright 2009, Karen Vaughn