The Gifts of Christmas

Luke 2:11, 21b NKJV
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Matthew 2:11 NIV
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Christmas Gifts
With the birth of most children we celebrate the arrival of the new baby with a baby shower before or after the birth. In the Christmas story we find Jesus’ baby shower as the Magi came to present Him with gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Today most of us will spend time with family and share in the opening of gifts. Before you prepare for your Christmas celebrations and before you open gifts I encourage you to pause, read Luke 2 with your family and be reminded of the Christmas story. Reflect on the greatest gift God has given us all, his son Jesus Christ. Just as you have given others gifts pause and give our Lord the gift of praise and worship. Remember all of the gifts He has given you:
– The gift of salvation.
– The gift of forgiveness from sin.
– The gift of being rescued from sin and darkness, guilt, shame.
– The gift of the Holy Spirit.
– The gift of a direct relationship with God.
– And so much more…..
You have your own personal testimony of who He is to you and all He has done for you over the past 365 days. “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” (Psalm 34:3)

Remember the real meaning of this day is the coming of our Lord and savior. It’s not about the food, the people, and the stuff, but the precious gift of our Lord!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Feevotionals will resume on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

My Prayer for You
Heavenly Father we magnify your name today. Not just today but every day we thank you for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for all that He is to us and all that He has done to us through His life here on earth and death on the cross. I lift up every reader today. I ask that you grant each person a refreshing of your love, peace, and joy that only you can give. I pray you lift up every person that is down in spirit and comfort those grieving the loss of their loved ones this year. Remind them that you are God Immanuel, the God that is with each of us and that we are never alone. Each person has a need this Christmas and I pray you meet each need a fresh and anew. I pray you will grant each person the desires of their heart. I pray you will send your hedge of protection around each person, bless them in their going and their coming. In Jesus Name. Amen
~Written by Felicia McKnight~

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O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 3

Revelation 22:16 NIV
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 3
Morning Star is the name given to the planet Venus or some say Mercury when it appears in the East just before sunrise. In Matthew 2:2 we see another morning star appear, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” This star is Jesus Christ’s star which lead those to Him at the time of his birth. A star can be defined as a point of light in the night sky. Jesus came to be the light in our darkness. This season can be a season of darkness for many people who have lost loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate, some may have lost jobs with no money to spend, some may have experienced broken families through divorce and failed relationships, some may still be single and longing for a mate, some may be dealing with caring for sick family members, some may be dealing with troubled children or family members. In all circumstances and many more there are people feeling darkness right now during this advent season. The next few lines of our Christmas carol say:

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here
And drive away the shades of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light

This advent season we are once again reminded of the hope that Jesus Christ brings. You may be feeling in a dark place but light is always present. When God created the earth He pushed out darkness. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3) God pushed darkness out of the earth and He desires to push it out of your life through Jesus Christ. As we read in Matthew 2 at Jesus birth people begin following him by way of the light, the morning star. As they followed Jesus, they worshiped him. I know some of you may not feel like it right now, but I invite you to pause and let’s take a praise and worship break….

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, my soul
(Psalm 103)

If you are in a place of darkness, then I want to encourage you today to keep your eyes focused on the morning star, the light, the hope that we have in Jesus. Whatever circumstances you are facing remember there is a promise of hope in the Bible for it. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” God Immanuel is with you and will not leave you where you are. Be blessed and be encouraged! Happy Advent!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you for this Advent season as we reflect on all that was done by you through your son Jesus Christ. We thank you for being our bright morning star, our light when life seems dark. Today I lift up every reader feeling a disconnect from you, every reader feeling like all hope is lost, and every reader going through a dark season or has gone through a dark season this year. Thank you for reminding us today that you are our light. Touch each heart and mind to place their focus on you and not their circumstances and send hope where it seems distant or lost. In Jesus name. Amen
~Written by Felicia McKnight~

O Come, O Come Emmanuel Series Previous Articles
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 1
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 2

Song
O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Whitney Houston – (click here)

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O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 2

Isaiah 11:1-3b NIV
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

As we continue our focus on the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus Christ, let’s look at the next few lines in our Christmas Carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”:

O come thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell thy people save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave

When I was growing up there was a HUGE pecan tree that sat in the front yard of my Grandmother’s house. My grandmother loved outdoors so we would often find ourselves sitting on the swing enjoying the shade of the pecan tree. As time passed on the tree grew so large and risked falling on her house that it had to be cut down. That was a sad day in history for our family tradition. A tree that was once full of life, produced fruit in that of pecans, and created family moments was now reduced to a stump in the ground. In some cases a tree stump will not grow back and in other cases you may find branches growing from the tree stump.

O Come thou rod of Jesse….
In Isaiah 11 we are first introduced to the stump of Jesse. We can’t talk about the stump without first addressing the tree that previously existed in Isaiah 10: 33-34, “See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled; the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.” The Lord chopped down the proud as if they were mighty trees and now out of this tree stump a branch will grow out of it that will bare much fruit. The stump of Jesse is the lineage that will lead to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This branch indicates life from a dead situation.

Free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny, from depths of hell thy people save….
Last week we talked about how like the Israelites we are a corrupt people. We are a people in bondage to our past, our present circumstances, and our sins. God, Immanuel, was placed on this earth to save us from our sins and from anything that we are in bondage to which prevents us from living our lives to our fullest Christian potential. Christ came to be an example for how we should live our lives and He died to save us from our sins. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Jesus saved us all at the cross from Satan’s tyranny. “The prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 11b)

Give victory over the grave…
Jesus not only came to save and redeem us, but He brought victory over the grave. During Advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus. In a few months we will enter the lent season in which we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. Through his resurrection power we have establish victory over the grave. Dead things have come alive. Jesus may have left the earth, but he didn’t leave us alone. We have the Holy Spirit with us. Isaiah 11:2-3 prophesied that a spirit would rest upon us who will possess wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel. That spirit is the Holy Spirit. The Holy spirit serves as an advocate, our guide, our teacher. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding.

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15)

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

This Advent season as you sing “O come, O come Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel”, I encourage you to remember Immanuel, the God that is with us. As you reflect on your gifts this season let me remind Christians that through salvation you also have the gift of the Holy Spirit that lives within you. “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9) Last week I asked the question “What do you want to experience this Christmas in the supernatural?” What do you want to be free from? I hope by now you have made that list and sought God in prayer.

Allow the Holy Spirit to do what He was sent to do in your life to release truth and reveal to you areas in your life that you need to allow to die so that God can accomplish His perfect will in your life. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16-17) Do not wait until the New Year to initiate new beginnings and change. The time is now and in this Advent season for a fresh new start and a new journey in life. When you die to self and sin and when you break free from bondage be prepared for a new, refreshing, rewarding, abundant life that will spring forth out of a dead situation. Be blessed and be encouraged! Happy Advent!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you for this Advent season as we reflect on all that was done by you through your son Jesus Christ. We thank you for sending him to be an example for how we should live our lives. We thank you for his sacrificial death on the cross for our redemption from sins and bondage. We thank you for his resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit that we receive through salvation. Father, I lift up every reader of this Feevotional on today that they not only are readers and hearers of the word, but I pray they are also doers of your word. I lift up every person who stands in need of a fresh new start and new beginnings. Lord, I pray the spirit of truth over their lives that you would send each person a fresh new revelation of your will for their life. Lord remove the blinders so that we can all see what you what you desire for us. Open the ears of our heart that we may hear all that you are saying to us. Give us the desire and the strength to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that we may all walk in obedience in your perfect will for our lives. This Christmas we all have tangible items we desire, however, I pray that you meet the desires of the intangible needs in our lives that only you can give. Lord, I pray you remove every dead stump and dead roots in our life, so that out of our life you can accomplish your perfect Holy Will. Guide us to bear fruit in your kingdom. Lord, we know that nothing is too hard or impossible with you. We thank you for accomplishing what only you can in our life. I pray for every reader to have a refreshing, rewarding, abundant life. In Jesus name. Amen.
~Written by Felicia McKnight~

Previous Article
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part 1

Song
O Come, O come Emmanuel by The Franz Family – (click here)

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O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Part I

Matthew 1:23
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.”

Tis the season to be jolly! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!!!!! It’s officially one of my favorite times of year, Christmas time! A time for shopping, good sales, family gatherings, gift giving, good food, sweet treats, fun times, friendships, Christmas movies on the Lifetime and Hallmark channel, white elephant gift exchanges….Yep, it’s Christmas! I love this time of year because some people tend to become friendlier and more giving. It’s a time to bless others by making dreams come true and granting those young and old their heart’s desires. It’s a time to enjoy all of the Holiday music, receive annual Christmas cards, see how much children have grown since last year. It’s a time when some take lengthy time off from work, travel to see family and friends, and enjoy Christmas plays. Yep, it’s Christmas time!

My Sunday School class started a new study “Preparing My Heart for Advent” and our church is focusing on Advent for the Sunday sermons in December. As I read through the Sunday School book I was quickly reminded Jesus is really the reason for the season and all of the stuff I mentioned above really doesn’t matter. It is all great and an added bonus, but this season is also a time to pause and reflect on the best gift any of us could ever receive, Jesus Christ. Yep, it’s Christmas time! After studying and hearing a sermon on one of our most famous Christmas carols, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” I was inspired to focus the December Feevotionals on the true meaning of the season, Jesus Christ.

In the church this season is referred to as the Advent season. “The Latin word for advent means ‘the coming’. It is much more than a one-day celebration on December 25th. It’s a month to be still and remember the God of our past, present, and future. Advent is a time to celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth, His coming to reign in our hearts, and His future second coming, when we will be raised to His glorious throne to live with Him forever.” (Ann Marie Stewart)

The first portion of our Christmas carol says:

O come, O come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourn in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

CHORUS
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This portion of the song is asking for Immanuel, God with us, to come and ransom captive Israel. When we look back over a majority of the Old Testament God’s chosen nation, Israel, was constantly in conflict with serving God, serving gods, and serving their flesh and sinful ways. There are multiple stories of Israel getting so far away from God with their sinful ways that His wrath was upon them. On so many occasions in the Old Testament God wanted to completely destroy Israel and wipe them off the face of this earth. The Israelites were truly a people held in captivity. When I look at the Israelites we, Christians and non-Christians are no different from them in 2013. We tend to be held in captivity by a variety of things: our thoughts, debt, poor financial choices, unforgiveness, unfruitful relationships, holding on to people and things God does not desire for our lives, drug addictions, alcohol addictions, bad habits, sexual sins and addictions, crime, trusting man instead of God, desire to control everything, putting people and things before God and making people and things idols instead of God, abuse we’ve encountered, divorce, our parents, and the secrets we hold. These are just a few but there is so much more. We all have something we battle with. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23) We overcome one area of our life and up pops another area to work on. We will never be a perfect people. Each day we all have to renew our minds daily to develop the mind of Christ and to be conformed into His image and His likeness. It is a process we all have to go through until we leave this earth.

This is why we need Jesus! God sent His son here on this earth to be the ransom for our sins. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) What is a ransom? According to dictionary.com a ransom is the redemption of a prisoner, the sum or price paid, or a means of deliverance or rescue from punishment for sin. Whatever you have dealt with in the past or you are dealing with now Jesus came to set you free from the captivity of your sins. As long as you have Jesus you no longer have to be held in prison to those things that may have had you in bondage for so long. I love this song by Tosha Cobbs, “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain.” Jesus is the ransom for our sins. He paid the price at the cross.

There is a hymn I came across by Charles Wesley, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.

This Advent season as you sing “O come, O come Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel”, I encourage you to remember Immanuel, the God that is with us. As you write out your Christmas list of names and what gift you will give to each person make a Christmas list for yourself. What do you really want for Christmas this year? I’m not talking about tangible items. Examine your spiritual house. What is holding you captive? What sins and bondage do you need God to free you from this Advent/Christmas season? After you make your list I encourage you to go into prayer and tell God what you need to be set free from. Repent for your sins and ask Him to forgive you. This is why God sent His son in the flesh so that you could freely ask him for the forgiveness of sins. God will forgive you and deliver you. You be the Christmas miracle by allowing God to do a work in you this season. Don’t look to the material things to heal your soul, but look to the healer. Jesus was placed on this earth to set you free and “who the son sets free is truly free in deed.” (John 8:36) Remember there is POWER in the name of Jesus to break every chain! Be blessed and be encouraged! Happy Advent!

Songs:
O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Kelly Clarkson (Click here)
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Click here)
Break Every Chain by Tosha Cobbs (Click here)

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for this advent season. We thank you for this time to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. We thank you for sending your son Jesus to set us free from captivity. Help us to examine our hearts today. Reveal to us those things that we are in bondage to. Show us every stronghold, every action, and everything in our lives that is not pleasing to you. Give us the strength to accept your revelation and the courage to pursue you to break free everything that has us bound. Father, we call on Jesus to break every chain. We ask for your forgiveness of these sins and our desire is to repent and to turn from every way that is not pleasing to you. Show us what we need to do to renew our minds daily so that we can be more like you each day. This Advent season we want to be the Christmas miracle as you renew a right spirit in us. Lord, we thank you for making us whole, we thank you for second chances and we thank you for new beginnings. We ask all of these things in your precious son Jesus name. Amen

~Written by Felicia McKnight~

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True Worship by Clay in God’s Hands

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Cyber Monday Prayer for You!

Isaiah 22:22 NIV
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Revelation 3:7 NIV
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Affirmation:
Through my salvation and the blood that was shed on the cross I hold the key of David. What God opens in my life no one can shut and what God shuts in my life no one can open.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father we praise you for a new day. Lord we thank you for this Marvelous Cyber Monday. While others are tapping into the internet to see what deals they can find on tangible items we come tapping into the spiritual realm for every open door you have with our name on it. Lord you have heard every prayer request we have submitted to you in the year 2013. As we walk out the next 30 days of 2013 we stand believing in you for answered prayers and open doors. Father there are some things in our life that we are holding on to that you do not desire for us and we pray that you will close those doors. Close the door to our wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, wrong decisions, wrong people, wrong habits, and wrong paths. We pray that today you will guide us on the righteous path for our life. You said in Jeremiah 29:11 that you know the plans you have for us, plans to prosper and not to harm us. Touch our heart and minds today that we may have the mind of Christ. Remove the scales off of our eyes that we may see all that you are doing in our life. Open our ears that we may hear the gentle sound of your voice. Lead us into the open doors that you desire for us to have. Give us the spirit of discernment to know the doors you are opening for us and the discernment to know what doors not to walk into. Before we walk into new doors we know you have to close some doors. Prepare our hearts for every door being shut right now and give us the wisdom to trust the work that you are doing in our life. For every person reading this today I pray for open doors in careers, open door in finances, open doors in ministry, open doors in marriages, open doors for singles, and open doors for spiritual growth. Father I pray for a release of open doors into the life of every person reading this today. You know what every reader stands in need of today. Father you said in Mark 11:24 “whatever I, [Insert your name here], ask for in prayer, believe that I have received it, and it will be mine.” Father we stand believing today that as we submit and surrender to your will that every open door you predestined for us shall be ours. We declare it is already done. We ask these things believing that we have received and we seal them with the blood of Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.

Be blessed and encouraged on today. Happy Cyber Monday!

~Written by Felicia McKnight~