December 15, 2006
Encouragement for Today
“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”
Bonita Lillie, P31 She Speaks Conference Graduate
Luke 2:6-7, “While she was there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)
No room in the inn? As a former maternity nurse, I can’t imagine such a thing. No matter how full the hospital might be, we could always find one more bed for a woman giving birth. Yet, when our Savior was about to appear the world hung out a “no vacancy” sign, refusing to welcome Him. I could easily condemn those folks, except for the fact that I did the exact same thing one year.
It was one of those years, the kind loaded with heartache and trials, the kind we would rather forget. After a long arduous year, I found myself completely lacking in Christmas spirit. I didn’t want to decorate or get a tree; my daughter did those things. I wouldn’t bake cookies or sing carols. Even buying gifts didn’t arouse the usual thrill. I was numb. I really just wanted Christmas to come and go and be done with it.
One morning as I sat gazing at the Christmas tree I wondered why I felt this way. Gently, the Lord spoke to my heart, “You have no room in your heart for me.” I softly cried as one by one, the Lord revealed the ugly things filling up the chambers of my heart, keeping Christ at bay:
Busyness - Can’t we all relate to this one? Life can become so busy and crowded. That year I was a full time wife, full time mom, full time homemaker, full time homeschool teacher, part time nurse, part time writing instructor, and so much more. All of these things crowded in, crowding Jesus out. My life became one big “to do” list and I lived my list, by not my life.
Anger, bitterness, and disappointment - We experienced the kiss of Judas that year, as a dear friend betrayed us, resulting in a major financial setback. My trust in fellow Christians was shattered. Unfortunately, I closed the door to the trusting part of my heart, padlocked it, and refused to let anyone in, not even Jesus.
Pain and sorrow - Matthew 16:24 says: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I learned what that meant that year as one by one I nailed my dreams to a cross and watched them die. Then I shut the door to the morgue and said, “No new dreams, Jesus.”
Doubt and unbelief - At some point, faith and hope packed up and left, leaving behind two unwelcome twins, doubt and unbelief. They are unpleasant guests as they constantly scream, “Will things ever get better?”
Selfishness and self-pity - I didn’t realize how much room I occupied in my heart until I had to exchange my will for they will. Ouch! Suddenly, life became all about preserving me, forget opening my heart to others.
That Christmas I served some eviction notices to those things in my heart that kept me from God. Now I want the Lord to fill not only a room of my heart, but the whole thing, every nook, cranny, and crevice.
How about you? Is there room in your inn for Jesus? He doesn’t require fancy accommodations. He’s just looking for the welcome mat. Let every heart prepare Him room!
Prayer for Today:
Father, forgive me for becoming so entangled with the world that I miss out on You. Help me, Lord, to squarely face and submit to You the problems that keep me from enjoying Your wonderful presence. Fill my heart with Your life giving spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The P31 Woman Magazine
The Tale of Three Trees by Hunt/Joake
It’s time for some housekeeping! Ask the Lord to reveal those things that clutter your heart and mind. Make a list of everything He reveals to you then pray about each thing on the list releasing it to God and letting it go. Give Jesus your whole heart this Christmas. You’ll be glad you did!
Is there anyone you need to forgive? Unforgiveness is a deadly poison that corrupts both heart and mind. Write down the names of anyone that has hurt or offended you and one by one give each person the gift of forgiveness this Christmas.
Matthew 22:36-38, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. ‘” (NIV)
Proverbs 28:14, “Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. (NIV)
Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Originally published Friday, 15 December 2006.