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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent Day 14: Christmas Ministers

Day14: Christmas Ministers




Meditation (3-5 Minutes)
Begin by being still before God.  Read Romans 15:17 and meditate on the words.

Rom 15:17 (NIV)
Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.


1)    Be still and know he is God. 

2)    Think about God’s glory.

3)    Glory in the love of Jesus Christ.

4)    Offer a willing spirit of service to our Glorious God.

5)    Listen as he tells you where to serve this Christmas.

Prayer (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Ask God to speak to you during this devotional time.

2)    Requests of the Christ Child (Appendix 1):
a)    Think about your own personal ministry. 
b)    Ask God for the time to serve him this Christmas.
c)    Pray for the wisdom to know where you should be serving this Christmas. 
d)    Ask God how you can utilize your spiritual gifts this Christmas.
e)    You have needs this Christmas.  Write them in Appendix 1.
f)    Ask God for people to minister to your needs.
g)    Appendix 1: Pray and update.

3)    Gifts from the Christ Child (Appendix 2):
a)    Who ministers to you? 
i)    At home?
ii)    In church?
iii)    In the world?
iv)    Thank God for them.
v)    List any that are not already listed in Appendix 2.
b)    Personal ministry:
i)    Think of meaningful ways you were able to use your spiritual gifts on a previous Christmas. 
ii)    Thank God for this privilege.
iii)    List them in Appendix 2.

4)    Gifts to the Christ Child (Appendix 3):
a)    Offer yourself to God as his minister. 
b)     Ask God to show you how to better utilize your spiritual gifts as you give gifts this Christmas.
c)    Appendix 3: Pray and update.

5)    Ask God for knowledge of his will for you this Christmas and the power to carry it out. 

6)    Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Bible Study (10-15 Minutes)

We love God with our strength when we minister to others.  Our spiritual gifts enable our ministries.  One of our purposes is to serve God through these ministries.   Throughout the Bible, we see people using spiritual gifts.  Jesus demonstrates all of the spiritual gifts.  The Christmas Story is an inspiring example of people ministering to others by using their Spiritual Gifts.  Each of the ministers in our blessed story gives a different example of how we can minister to others. 

Background Scripture

Read Romans 12:6-8.  There are 7 spiritual gifts listed here: 
1.  The gift of prophesy.
2.  The gift of service.
3.  The gift of teaching.
4.  The gift of encouragement.
5.  The gift of giving to meet financial needs. 
6.  The gift of leadership.
7.  The gift of demonstrating mercy.

Zechariah

Read Luke 1:8-9.  Zechariah actually had the title “Minister.”  When the famous Angel Gabriel spoke to him, Zechariah was “serving as a priest before God.”  He was in the temple burning incense and praying for the people.  Zechariah is an example of someone called to full time Christian service.  What gift or gifts do you think Zechariah demonstrated as he ministered to others?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Elizabeth

Read Luke 1:42-45.  When Mary found out she was expecting, she headed straight to her cousin Elizabeth.  They immediately worshipped together.  Elizabeth’s words ministered to Mary’s soul.  What gift or gifts do you think Elizabeth demonstrated as she ministered to Mary?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Friends

Read Luke 1:57-57.  Elizabeth and Zachariah had good friends.  Poor Zachariah left the temple mute.  His friends could have judged him.  Instead, they shared the joy of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  A joy shared is a joy multiplied.  What gift or gifts do you think their friends demonstrated as they ministered to Elizabeth and Zechariah?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Mary

Read Luke 2:7.  Our King was born into our world as a helpless baby.  His mother had to feed him, diaper him, and sing him to sleep.  She did everything for him.  What gift or gifts do you think Mary demonstrated as she took care of Jesus?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Anna

Read Luke 2:36-38.  Praying for people is another form of ministry.  The prophetess, Anna spent her life in prayer and worship.  She heard the voice of God and recognized Christ.  What gift or gifts do you think Anna demonstrated as she told others about Christ?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Wise Men

Read Matthew 2:11.  The Wise Men opened their treasures and gave the Holy Family valuable gifts.  While we do not know for sure, it seems likely the Holy Family sold those gifts to finance the difficult days that lay ahead. 

Read Matthew 2:12.  God also used the Wise Men to protect Jesus.  He warned them in a dream.  They listened to His words.  The Wise Men ministered to this young family by avoiding Herod and thus protecting them.  They were willing to disobey Herod and risk their lives to protect Jesus.  What gift or gifts do you think the Wise Men demonstrated in their part of the Christmas Story?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Joseph

Read Matthew 2:13-15.  A confused Joseph listened to and obeyed the angel and married Mary.  We see him taking care of his family the night Jesus was born.  Joseph protected his family again when Herod was killing male children.  God calls people to protect.  Paul Revere warned us that “The British Are Coming.”  People ministered in Germany by hiding Jews.  People ministered in this country by hiding slaves.  Many risked their lives to protect Jesus’ Disciples.  What gift or gifts do you think it takes to protect others?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Application (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Making It Personal
a)    What ministries are you involved in this Christmas?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
b)    How are you exercising your spiritual gifts this Christmas?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
c)    Jesus demonstrated each of the spiritual gifts.  God calls us to be like him.  Think of one way you can demonstrate each of the spiritual gifts during the Christmas season.  (Write your answers in your journal.)
i)    Mercy: Are there people around you that need your love, understanding, and/or forgiveness.  Can you offer comfort and ease fear and doubt? 
ii)    Encouragement: Are there words of encouragement that you can offer to the world around you? 
iii)    Service: Can you take the time to help meet the personal needs of the people around you? 
iv)    Giving: Can you be generous with your money?  Can you give to help meet the material needs of those less fortunate than yourself? 
v)    Prophesy: Can you point people to God?
vi)    Leadership: Could you ease the Christmas pressure by providing leadership as people coordinate Christmas events?
vii)    Teaching: Can you tell someone the Christmas Story?

2)    Praying Continuously  (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
a)    Spiritual Gifts
i)    Ask God how you can demonstrate at least one of the spiritual gifts today.
ii)    Obediently follow his direction. 
b)    Praise God each time someone ministers to you…
i)    At work.
ii)    At home.
iii)    In the world.
iv)    At church.

3)    Ending The Day
a)    Were you a minister today?
b)    Did you utilize your spiritual gifts today? 
c)    If yes, praise God for the opportunity to be his minister.
d)    If no, confess and ask for forgiveness.
e)    Ask God to help you fully utilize your spiritual gifts. 


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