Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: If you're hungry for more of God, we invite you to join us in "Seeking Him." "Seeking Him" is a Revive Our Hearts radio series starting January 24. Plus it's a workbook you can use in your daily Bible study while following the series. And it's a DVD you can use with a small discussion group. We hope you get involved and experience the joy of personal revival.

To find out more about "Seeking Him," visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

During this Christmas season, do your days seem to be hectic or holy? Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Biblically, what is a holiday supposed to be? You know that word came from two words, "holy" and "days."

Leslie Basham: It's Friday, December 3. This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Have you ever stopped to think about what the word "holiday" really means? Now to the world it means one thing. It means traffic jams, congested stores, shopping until your credit card is maxed to its limit and beyond and a whole lot of other things that have to do with busyness, tension and lots of activity.

But biblically, what is a holiday supposed to be? You know that word came from two words -- "holy" and "day." We've been talking this week with Pam McCune and Kim Wier about how to make the Christmas season a celebration of a holy day. They've written a book called, Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas.

Pam and Kim, thank you for first practicing these ideas, then writing about them, and then coming here to share them with us on Revive Our Hearts.

Pam McCune: Thanks for having us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, as I read your book, I found myself thinking back to the Old Testament. In many of those passages we read about how the Children of Israel were supposed to celebrate certain feast days.

Three times a year there were feast days when all the men would go to Jerusalem to worship, whether it was the Passover or the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks, there are all these chapters upon chapters in the first five books of the Old Testament: Leviticus and Deuteronomy [etc]; and you can get a little lost reading them, reading about all the things you're supposed to do on these holy days.

But the thing that strikes me about those passages is that God was saying, "I want you to have annual reminders of your faith, of the important days and elements of your faith."

For the believer, celebrating Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter can be just another commercial break or it can be a real opportunity to celebrate and savor the wonderful, meaningful aspects of our faith.

It's interesting to me in the Old Testament how much those holidays, those holy days, were centered around pictures. If it was the sacrificial lamb, those children grew up seeing that lamb sacrificed. They remembered that sin requires a payment, a sacrifice, something innocent had to die.

I think it's so important and you've helped us in this book, Redeeming the Season, to think about how we can do that around Christmas for ourselves and our children. We can use the Christmas trees, ornaments, thank you cards, Nativity scenes and we can use those in a way that cause us to stop, pause and think about what it is that Christ has done us and why He came.

So Pam and Kim, help us today, talk about some other ways that we can savor the season, that we can worship Christ. I know, Pam, you talked about this whole thing of prophecy cards and prophecy envelopes, which we are going to make available to our listeners. Tell us how you came upon this idea and how you've used it in your own family.

Pam McCune: You know, God brought this to me. All through the idea of dreaming about having children. I always knew I'd grow up and have children, but as my first two pregnancies ended in miscarriage. I finally realized that God never promised me a child.

He promised He would give me good and perfect things, and I needed to trust Him for what they were. As I went through my third pregnancy, I didn't know if God would give me a baby on earth to hold or not. I just wanted to trust in His character and wait and see what the end result would be. I went through lots of different problems in that pregnancy, lots of tears, but I ended up with a daughter, Madison Shay McCune.

She was such a gift. And I was so thankful (as I still praised Him for who He was) but thankful. But after that we couldn't get pregnant again. We didn't know if God would call us to have just one child or what the future would be.

Well, one day my daughter came to me when she was three and said, "Mom, I decided I want a baby sister so I'm praying to God to give me a baby sister."

And we said, "That's great! We want a child so please pray along."

Well, lo and behold, we became pregnant. So we began praying for this baby, be it boy or a girl, that God would let us hold it on earth and love it as He loved us.

Well, in July, God brought us a precious baby, Conner Clarkson McCune. We ooed and gooed over this baby. And we thanked God for the privilege of holding this baby on earth. And we praised God for who He was, that He was the Giver of all gifts. I always ooed and gooed and told my children how precious they were and how special.

Well, three years later when I was telling the Christmas story, I'm telling about Jesus being born and how precious a baby He was and Madison said, "Oh I know, Mom. He was precious, but not as precious as Conner Clarkson McCune."

I had created a problem, and I needed to do some re-training. I needed to go back and teach them why Jesus was different -- the who, what, when, and where of who He was, that He wasn't just a baby, but that He was God.

One of the ways to look at that was through the prophecies in the Old Testament, over three hundred of them, that tell who the coming Messiah would be. Then when you look into the New Testament, it answers those prophecies, how Jesus fulfills each and every one.

No one else could fulfill what He fulfilled, that He was the standard. I love reading an Old Testament prophecy and the New Testament fulfillment each day in December. My children can learn why Jesus is special, why He is worthy of worship, not to mention I need to be reminded.

Kim Wier: Pam is not super spiritual; she does not do all three hundred. The fun thing is what we recommend in the book is that you take twenty-five, just one for each day and you look at the Old Testament and you read, here's the scripture, here's what God says will happen and then you look at the New Testament verse that corresponds; here's what did happen.

Jesus is the One that fulfilled it. We even give you those in the book, but there's even a better way. If you're like me and know you'll never sit down and make out those cards, there's actually a product called "Prophecy Envelopes," and all the work's done for you. It's really neat!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I'm looking at one of those cards in the envelope right now. The Old Testament prophecy on one side of the card is from Micah 5 [:2], where it says "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel" [NKJV].

Then you turn over to the other side -- that's a prophecy and the Jews had come to expect that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem -- well, lo and behold, we come to Matthew chapter 2, verse 1 (This is on the other side of the card). "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judah, magi came to Jerusalem" [paraphrased].

So, you're helping your children understand that the purpose and meaning of the Old Testament was to point people to Jesus. Over three hundred times in the Old Testament there are specific references made to who Jesus would be, who the Messiah would be, where He would be born, and what He would do. All of those were fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

With these Prophecy Envelopes and the cards in them, you can help train your children to understand why Jesus is so special, what makes Him God, and why our Christian faith is not just another religion. It is the truth. Your littlest children can grow to understand, and this is one resource that can help you do that.

Pam McCune: My hope is that when my children leave my home and are confronted with, "Why do you believe?" the answer won't be, "Oh, I don't know. Let me check out everything else." It won't just be standing on my faith; they will have their own faith.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now there's another idea that you talk about in your book, Redeeming the Season, which I really like because my parents trained us to know the importance of writing thank you notes.

The thing was, "Kids, have you written your thank you notes?" I'm so glad that my parents harped on that when I was little because now I do understand the importance of writing and expressing gratitude when we receive gifts.

But you've taken this concept, Kim, writing thank you notes and helped us to see how it can be a meaningful way of worshipping Christ during the Christmas season.

Kim Wier: I remember one time there was a column by "Dear Abby" where somebody was griping because people in their family wanted them to write thank you notes. She wrote back and said, "Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but accepting a gift does create an obligation. It's the obligation to express appreciation."

You know, our life is filled with gifts from God -- things that He has given us, blessings that we do not deserve, opportunities as well as things that are tangible. And yet so often we have not taught our families, let alone practiced it ourselves, the art of being thankful.

So what we do is provide an opportunity to write thank you cards to Jesus. It can be a fun family night, or it could be something that you do on your own. Whether you're single, married, no matter what place in life you are, you have reason to be thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ. This idea is for anyone.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now, do you do this before Christmas, on Christmas, after Christmas?

Kim Wier: Actually, I think you can do it any time you want to. I think it's a great idea to do it before all the presents are open so that you are not focusing on what great gift you just unwrapped. Instead you are thinking, especially for your children, on a little bit larger scale.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And saying the first priority is to thank God for His great gift of Christ.

Kim Wier: Right. But the whole idea behind the things in the book is that every family is different. You take the ideas and make them fit your family.

Basically the concept is this: If you have a family, you may want to prepare ahead of time because kids have such a short attention span. You put out fun paper, maybe construction paper or special stationary, pens of different colors that make it fun to write, and you put on Christmas praise music. You spend maybe fifteen minutes, and everyone writes a thank you note to Jesus.

"Dear Jesus, Thank you for___" Let them write. Don't criticize because their note is too short or too long, just let them have a time of thanking Jesus. Then, if your family is willing, sit around together and read those notes out loud and end with a time of prayer, thanking Him and having a special time of focusing on the goodness of God.

It kind-of brings back the art of thankfulness. Scripture tells us [in 1 Thessalonians 5:18] that we're to be thankful in everything because this is God's will for us.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I'm thinking of that verse in 2 Corinthians chapter 9, the very last verse that says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." Of course, we know that gift is Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage you as you are launching into this Christmas season, and you'll be shopping, baking, making travel plans, and attending parties; in the midst of all that, stop, ponder, think about what Christ has done. And look for ways to say, "Thank you, Jesus. I love you. I'm so grateful for what you've done for me. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift."

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been helping us keep our focus in the right place this holiday season. She's been talking with our guests, Kim Weir and Pam McCune, about their book, Redeeming the Season. It can give you some practical ways to glorify God this Christmas season. You can order a copy by calling us at 1–800–569-5959.

We've also heard a lot this week about fun and creative ways to share biblical truths with others, like Prophecy Envelopes and Adorenaments. We have all these available, and for more information you can call us at 1–800–569-5959 or get more information on-line at ReviveOurHearts.com.

As you try some of these ideas, would you write and tell us how it goes? Would you also consider writing with a donation to Revive Our Hearts? We reach thousands of women every day because our listeners give. If you give between now and December 31, your gift can be doubled. A donor is matching every gift up to $250,000.I hope you can be back on Monday. Our guest will be author Randy Alcorn. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.