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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

-Isaiah 9:6-7

Day Nine

December 11

Yesterday I left you to consider how you could invite God into your conversations with others. Again, I’d love to read your responses—but only to learn from you, not to grade your answers! Scrutinizing each other’s lives to determine who is more mature in the faith will always be a spirit draining exercise. The Apostle Paul, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, warned us about such behavior in 2 Corinthians 10:12: “But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

I would suggest to you that we women are more prone to comparing ourselves with one another than our men are. Am I right? It’s one reason why I love Elizabeth’s first words. We could hardly blame her if she had started with her own pregnancy story. I mean, it’s pretty incredible! But instead, Elizabeth acknowledges God’s work in Mary’s life. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.”

9) I want to follow Elizabeth’s lead and look beyond my own experience for evidence of God in someone else’s life, don’t you? We could dot Christmas Crazy’s eye by asking the Holy Spirit to help us see the fingerprints of God in the lives of those around us. For instance, a person allowing a weary young mother with a crying baby to move ahead of them in a Christmas Crazy checkout line is witnessing the Word in action: we should “prefer another over ourselves.” Can you think of another example to journal? 

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a Jesus loving, humor-gathering author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie believes "The whole world stops for a story." She lives in Louisiana and stacks her stories up at All Things Southern.com

More of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson: http://www.allthingssouthern.com/


And the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one'; and the other says, 'No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'" Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other." - 1 Kings 3:23-25 

How many times have you come across a new invention and thought, I could have invented that! Recently I walked though an area at work where employees at Back to the Bible are allowed to display items for sale. Someone had come up with a nifty wooden rack for displaying Beanie Babies. Anyone could have invented it, yet it took someone who not only thought of the idea but actually made the product to reap the benefits. Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do and then doing it at the right time.

Solomon demonstrated that kind of practical wisdom. Faced with the need to determine the true mother of a newborn, he resorted to what he knew about motherhood. He applied that knowledge by suggesting the child be cut in two, with half given to each woman who claimed to be the child's mother. As expected, the real mother refused while the false claimant was willing to go along with the suggestion. The writer of 1 Kings says the people heard of this judgment and "feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice" (3:28).

Knowledge is important in a Christian's life (2 Pet. 1:5), but we also need the wisdom to apply it. It's not sufficient to have the know-how--we have to do something with that know-how. Only as God shows us how to apply what we know can we lay claim to the gift of wisdom.

Are you lacking in wisdom? James says, "Ask of God" (James 1:5). Ask God to give you not only knowledge but also the practical wisdom of knowing how to apply it.

Wisdom puts feet to your knowledge.

Dr. Woodrow Kroll served as President and Senior Bible Teacher at Back to the Bible from 1990-2013. Author of more than 50 books, Dr. Kroll's passion is to increase Bible literacy in America by engaging people in the Bible and connecting them with the Author. His clear, incisive teaching of the Word keeps him in demand as a speaker all over the world. - See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/woodrow-kroll#sthash.7Yrcap6W.dpuf

More of Dr. Woodrow Kroll: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

Jesus declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Clearly, Jesus is extending his blessing on all who would take on the hard work of peacemaking.

But what does making peace look like in our world today? Maybe the following story involving our 5-year-old granddaughter Reese will serve as a starting point. 

I ask you—what is not to love about this adorable, witty, engaging, free-spirited little girl who loves animals and critters of all shapes and sizes, including worms, toads, butterflies, and grasshoppers which she loves to catch and torment unintentionally!

Well, one day last summer she was outside playing with her best friend Alana in the backyard. And toward the back of the backyard is a small woods that the kids often play in.

When Reese’s mom, Gretchen, looked out the back window and didn’t see them, she went out and began calling for them. No one answered, so she went back to the woods to do some searching and was horrified by what she saw.

She saw her sweet little daughter with the help of her friend, with a pair of scissors, cutting her own hair. I mean big globs of hair being butchered off of her head.

You can see in the photo a side shot with her hair hacked off above the ear. Just lovely work there isn’t it? I think she has a future as a beautician, don’t you? 

And then there is the shot of the back of her head, where her golden locks are no longer flowing gracefully down her neck.

Needless to say, her mom was not happy, and Reese had a longer than normal time-out, and some privileges taken away for a while. And the rest of the day was a rather somber one as Reese knew she had crossed a line that she was now regretting.

But that night, as Gretchen was tucking her in bed, Reese said something that will go down in the annals of family lore.

She said this: “Mom, I know that you are not happy with me cutting my hair. But I know you still love me…And I know God still loves me.”

Wow. What was going on there? Wonderful, deep theological truth! Yes, mom was unhappy—very upset actually. And there was not a lot of peace inside of either mom or daughter that day.

But at the same time, Reese had done her soul work—and found peace for two reasons: First, because she knew that even though she had transgressed royally, her mom still loved her. And second, because moms are human—and may momentarily forget that they love their children—God never does. And so she found peace in that also, as did her mom, which translated into big hugs and kisses at the end of that day.

It was a 5-year-old’s lesson in peacemaking—and there was blessing for both mom and child that night. In the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

This originally appeared here and is shared with the author's permission.

John Merritt is a modern-day adventurer trapped in a pastor’s body. When not behind a pulpit you will find John lobster diving, heli-skiing, hauling in yellow fin tuna, calling mallards from a duck blind, or running Grand Canyon whitewater. John is married to Debbie for 40 years and has three children and five grandchildren. 

More of John Merritt: www.pastorjohnmerritt.com

Our regularly scheduled "Long Devotions for Women" will continue next week, but we want to invite you to join us for this month's special "Choosing Christmas" series with Shellie Tomlinson in our Short Devotions for Women in Soul Care. 

Merry Christmas!

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is a Jesus loving, humor-gathering author, speaker, and radio host known as The Belle of All Things Southern. Shellie believes "The whole world stops for a story." She lives in Louisiana and stacks her stories up at All Things Southern.com

More of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson: http://www.allthingssouthern.com/

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