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Keeping Vigil: A Christmas Quiet Time Devotional

Keeping Vigil: A Christmas Quiet Time Devotional

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Before you get started, take a few minutes to quiet your spirit.

Close your eyes and take some slow, deep breaths. Imagine laying every burden and all of those holiday pressures at Jesus’s feet.

Be sure that you are in a comfortable position that allows your heart to be most attentive to His voice. Try to make that space as interruption-free as possible. It should be a set-apart place where you enter, as it were, the Holy of Holies to meet with your Savior.

Ask Jesus to clear away any stray thoughts that may distract you from truly meeting with Him - in order hear all of the things that He has on His heart to say to you today.

Open your journal and have your pen/pencil ready.

 

When you sense a readiness in your soul...read the passages below slowly.

 

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the one who looks for him. It is good that one should be quiet and wait patiently for the Lord’s salvation.

Lamentations 3:25-26

 

When eight days had passed, Jesus’ parents circumcised him and gave him the name Jesus. This was the name given to him by the angel before he was conceived.

When the time came for Mary and Joseph to do the things the Law of Moses taught about being pure, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a righteous man devoted to God, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. He was waiting in prayerful expectancy for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Messiah.

Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area; so, when Mary and Joseph arrived to present the baby Jesus to the Lord in obedience to the law, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, and said,

“Now, Lord, you can let me, your servant, die in peace as you promised. For I have seen with my own eyes how you will save your people. Now all people can see your plan. He is a light to show your way to the other nations and he will bring honor to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:21, 22, 25-32

Now Anna, a prophetess, was also there. She was very old, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow for 84 years. She never left the Temple, but continued to worship there night and day with times of fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:36-38

Whoever waits at my door and listens for me will be blessed.

Proverbs 8:34

  • Now, go back and read the passage again. As you do, be aware of any phrases that tug at your heart. You may want to write those phrases down.
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Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Quiet Time Devotional

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One of my favorite ways to spend time with the Savior is to sit quietly reading his love letter, the Bible, using the slow, meditative approach known as Lectio Divina. Lectio divina means divine or sacred reading in Latin. It is a quiet, prayerful practice where we invite the Holy Spirit to open the ears of our hearts in order to hear God's still small voice speaking to us through His Word. It is not a discipline meant to master the Word or to acquire new information or knowledge, it is what Henri Nouwen calls, reading the Bible on your knees...where we allow the Word to descend from our minds into our hearts and become a personal word to us

Using the lectio divina method, then, we will be reading the following Bible passage several times, each time with a different intent. 

Before you get started, however, take a few minutes to quiet your spirit.  

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Be The YOU God Made You To Be!

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I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...

Psalm 139:13 

I wish that I was quick-thinking, or had a quick wit, or was just plain quick. I’m afraid I am a bit of a plodder. More turtle than hare. Slow, but, steady. Studious. Strategic. Prefer a good book to a big crowd. Always have...and at nearly 57 years of age...probably always will. 

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Listening to the Voice of Fear

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13 2Moses sent out men to explore the land of Canaan... 25after exploring the land for forty days, the men returned. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27This was their report: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28But...the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified!

30 Caleb tried to quiet the murmur amongst the people saying, “We must go...because we are more than able to do it!" 31But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go..." 32So they began spreading this bad report: The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. 33We even saw giants there.”

14 1Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest...

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Passion

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Whatever you do, do it with all your heart for the Lord...

Colossians 3:23 

What are you really passionate about? How would you describe the feeling you have when you are living out your passion?  

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Julie Miller
Oh Laura! Isn't it amazingly wonderful how God gives us just what we need? Hugs to you!
Friday, 31 October 2014 11:48
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Muddied Waters

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In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, I will flee!’ (I’ve got places to go and people to see!)

Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love...

Blessed are all who wait for him!

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Forgetful Jones

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 My heart...is full of leaks.

My memory has no retention,

I forget so easily the lessons learned,

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Julie Miller
So good to know that I am not the only Forgetful Jones out there Sherry! ... Read More
Monday, 06 October 2014 18:16
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Hidden Potential

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For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

Cynthia Occelli 

I planted Allium bulbs this past weekend. I’m so excited! If all goes well, large purple globes and petite blue orbs will greet me next spring. 

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Julie Miller
Thank you Debbie! So glad you could spend a few minutes with me today!... Read More
Monday, 13 October 2014 16:42
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Drowning

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I have come into the deep waters–the floods engulf me. I am worn out from calling for help! Do not let the flood waters engulf me or the depths swallow me up.

Psalm 69:1-2, 5

I woke up with a start. Sweat beaded my brow. My heart was racing. My arms aimlessly beat the air. The nightmare seemed so real that my bed and surroundings did not. I blinked in the darkness trying to get my bearings.

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An Ode to September

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Be joyful in the Lord your God. For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains come. The threshing floors will be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.

Joel 2:23-24

The Gifts of Autumn 

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Wendy Macdonald
Julie, you've chosen such beautiful pictures and quotes to usher in autumn. I love the gentleness of this season. Blessings ~ Wen... Read More
Thursday, 04 September 2014 22:45
Julie Miller
Me, too, Wendy!
Monday, 08 September 2014 14:02
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Dream a Little Dream

In the last days I will send My Spirit on all people. Then your sons and daughters will speak God’s Word. Your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. Yes, on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Joel 2:28-29

 

The Christian church has tended to forget the religious value of dreams.

Morton Kelsey: Dreams: A Way to Listen to God

 

I’ve been slowly making my way through the book of Ezekiel this summer. It’s not a book of the Bible most folks spend a lot of time in. One reason for this is all of the supernatural visions and dreams that Ezekiel has. They can be very confusing to understand.

 

Stuart Briscoe wrote a book years back based on Ezekiel, titled “All Things Weird and Wonderful.” I like that title! It is precisely because it is weird and wonderful that I was drawn to sit down with it for a spell.

 

I determined from the get-go, however, not to read it analytically, like we Americans tend to do with almost everything. Instead, I took my reading cue from Jesus, who said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like a little child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

Children accept things at face value. They are neither put off by fairy tale images nor do they try to relegate those images to hard, discernable facts. They get swept away in the imagery, as if they were there in the story experiencing it for themselves. That’s what I wanted to do.

 

So, with a child-heart I began my adventure.

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Barbara
Your experience with this book demonstrates that "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for c... Read More
Monday, 01 September 2014 07:56
Julie Miller
It sure does, Bruce!!
Monday, 08 September 2014 14:03
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Discovering Beauty

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Never lose an opportunity for seeing anything that is beautiful;

For beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.

Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower,

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A Matter of Perspective

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I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

Charles Swindoll

 

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Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild
If at the very beginning of it all, you had a choice: Easy breezy Parcheesi or the excitement of change and chance. Storms and s... Read More
Saturday, 09 August 2014 14:10
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This Old House

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O Lord, the house of my soul is narrow; enlarge it, that Thou may enter.

Augustine of Hippo

Let me know the need of renovations in order to serve and enjoy Thee forever.

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Sluggishness

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Has this ever happened to you? You’re dreaming, and in your dream someone starts to chase you. So you set off running. Only, to your horror, you discover your legs are sluggish. Try as you might to pick up the pace, you find yourself running in slow motion.  

Professionals who study our dreams say that this occurs because our mind, though sleeping, functions as though it is wide awake, whereas our bodies go out cold; they are limp and unresponsive. 

That’s sort of what sin does in our lives. It makes us sluggish, slow to respond. Like a ball and chain around our ankle, it hinders us from running as fast as we can away from it.

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Barbara
What wonderful truth, Julie. Thank you!
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 11:19
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Runaway Bride

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments

Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh no, it is an ever fixed mark, that looks on tempest and is never shaken.

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Inclement Weather

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The clouds poured down rain; the skies thundered.

 Psalm 77:17 

We’re in a wet weather pattern in my little corner of the country. Day and night storms redevelop over the same oversaturated areas, flooding farm fields and basements. Streams and rivers spill out far beyond their banks...mudslides wreak havoc. 

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Laughter: Good Medicine for the Soul

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Sometimes the weight of the world feels as if it rests directly on my shoulders. I'm a burden-bearer by nature, so it only stands to reason that whatever happens to ail this poor, old world of ours, ails me, too.

I anguish in prayer over Ukraine, I pray for a change of heart for Putin, I grieve deeply over the young girls stolen from their family's and forced to relinquish their faith in Nigeria. My heart breaks for the tens of thousands of folks flooded out of their homes in Serbia.

I am awakened at night over the state of affairs in our country. All the violence. The perversion. And the impact our adult decisions are having on our children.

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Barbara
This is a good word, Julie. You linked up ahead of me at A Holy Experience, I think, this week. (I closed the linky lists yesterda... Read More
Friday, 23 May 2014 17:08
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A Journey Through Grief

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My guest writer is Christine Shipman, my cousin's daughter...five months after the loss of her beloved Julia 

 Mother's Day 

The love left behind is worth all else. What a gift to love and not be afraid of the consequences.

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Instant Results

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Instant breakfast. Instant life.

Anything easy cuz that's what we like.

Fast food places and banks with no lines.

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Barbara
Your Forsythia is a perfect "object lesson" for patience. Thanks for this sweet post!
Monday, 12 May 2014 22:44
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Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

Experiences in life...may turn out to be a great disappointment or perhaps they may be full of enchanting surprises.

Mary Wesley 

As my hubby sat making hotel reservations one evening for an upcoming conference in Milwaukee, he asked if I wanted to tag along. Pictures of quiet strolls on the River-walk and a little shopping trip in the up-and-coming Historic Third Ward soon filled my head. So, of course I said, “Yes!”

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Barbara
As Ann said we sometimes have to be a pessimist before we can see the positive. Thanks for your perspective and I'm glad you went... Read More
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 12:41
Julie Miller
Life throws us curveballs now again, both large and seemingly insignificant...like my room with no view. Thankfully, our precious ... Read More
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 16:17
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Hints of Heaven

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Today you will be with me in paradise.

Luke 23:42

Paradise: A place of extreme beauty, supreme felicity and delight / a country or region of wonders and marvels / a place where one experiences perfect happiness, joy and bliss...heaven

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Barbara
That was beautiful Julie. Thanks for sharing.
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:32
Julie Miller
Jeannie, It's the hope we hang on to this side of heaven! Love you friend!
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:04
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Leadership Lessons

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Follow my example, just as I follow Christ’s.

1st Corinthians 11:1 

My Grandpa Simey was a gentle man of few words. In today's dog-eat-dog world his quiet leadership would probably be overlooked. But, a child's heart is drawn to quiet leadership like a moth to flame. At least that was the case for me. And judging by all of our old black and white photos - it was the case for my unc' as well. It didn't matter where Gramps was or what he was doing, we wanted to be there in his shadow.

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Judith C Evans
What a sweet story and beautiful tribute to your Grandpa. Have a blessed week!
Monday, 07 April 2014 21:06
Barbara
Thank you Julie...
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 19:44
Barbara
Julie, I'm, hopping belatedly over from Ann's link up, and was instantly caught up in your story, since I was close to my grandp... Read More
Friday, 11 April 2014 21:15
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The Gift of Friendship

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A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. 

Walter Winchell

I can’t imagine what life would be like without friends. My life has been so incredibly enriched by the vast variety of friends God has blessed my life with over the years. And it’s precisely that variety that I love most about friendship. Each one is a marvel and a gift...uniquely and divinely God-designed. Just like snowflakes, no two friends or friendships are the same.

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Barbara
Julie, Nice to meet you. I'm hopping over from Ann's link up to count gifts with you, but was amazed to see that we share MN and... Read More
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 15:08
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A Trudge through the Snow

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Winter is on my head...and down my boots...but eternal spring is in my heart. (my paraphrase)

Victor Hugo 

Winter blew in another foot of snow onto our already knee-deep supply. I'm beginning to think spring will never come. In fact, I can't help but wonder, after two miserable winters in a row, if we might not be entering a new Ice Age!!

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  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently a full-time nanny and will be returning to school in the fall of 2019 to finish mydegree in relational communications and graduate in the spring of 2020. I am using this break from school to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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