April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
Happy Valentine's from us :) Personally, I love Valentine's Day! And not because it's a big deal to my hubby and me. For me, Valentine's is like an extension of Christmas. (Actually, I am mailing some Valentine's cards/gifts to the people I just didn't get Christmas greeting out to... annual cards and presents are still just as fun six weeks later, right?) Valentine's is an excuse to drop some Scripture and something sweet on your coworkers desk or at the neighbor's door (especially if you got too busy and didn't do it at Christmas!). It's a socially acceptable time to talk about love - and that means talking about Jesus! It's also an easy time to recount the things you are thankful for in your loved ones. So, to share a little love with our readers, we've got something special for you:
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The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." John 2:13-18 NAS
It might seem like an odd passage to highlight during the Christmas season, but as we mine for gems from this section of Scripture, I think there is some treasure here for us.
When Jesus looked at His people and His Father’s house, He was deeply grieved because of the greed and worldliness that had come to define the way things were carried out in the temple. As Christians we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. So when God looks at us, the way we go about doing our daily chores, the way we seek holiness, the way we interact with others.... what does He see? Does He see His temple filled with the aroma of prayer and praise? Does He see the reflection of His own heart for the needy and lost? Or does He see greed and worldliness?
Christmas isn’t Jesus real birthdate, but it is the season that we stop and thank God for His incredible plan to save us and for the way He came to earth to live with us and die for us. So as the season of remembering our Savior’s birth, doesn’t it seem like we, as individuals and corporately as the church, ought to reflect His heart even more than normal?
When the world looks at the way we celebrate Jesus’ birth, do they see commercialism and money-changers? Or do they see sweet generosity and selfless giving? Do they see the humility with which Christ came to earth - wrapped in rags, born in a stable, with the first birth announcement going to low-class shepherds - in the way we reach out to people? As we prepare for the joyous celebrations of the season, may our Father in heaven and the world around us see the True Light of Christmas.
I overheard a woman in the store aisle next to mine moan to another woman, “If I live through this Christmas it is going to be a miracle!” Then she began rattling off the things on her to-do list. I almost shouted over the aisle an “Amen, sister!” to this kindred stranger. But then I felt the Lord tug at my heart and take my thoughts captive to the truth: the Christmas miracle already happened. It’s done. It’s over. It was finished - Jesus even said so!
What’s special about Christmas already happened. All of us, me very much included, holiday-weary, over-spent, over-tired women can rest in the wonder of Jesus’ finished work. It’s so upside down that the season we should be celebrating Christ’s accomplished work for us, we run ourselves ragged working at everything else.
So as you prepare your heart and home for all this Christmas season holds, remember what’s beautiful about this holiday is the presence of Christ, our Emmanuel, who came to dwell with us. What’s special about Christmas is the incredible plan of God spilled out over humanity, declaring “Peace on Earth! Goodwill toward men!” We can’t add one shiny star on top of what Jesus already accomplished. It is finished. So let your heart rest in His work and celebrate His work, instead of worrying over yours.
Looking for some Christmas encouragement? Enjoy Prepare Him Room, a Biblical word study and art devotional!