Jesus Calling For Christmas (book review)

I love how Sarah Young turns Scripture into Jesus addressing us in the first-Person! As we are approaching the Christmas season when we celebrate Christ’s First Advent on Earth, Sarah has used her God-given talent to tell us what Jesus Himself says about His Advent, and what the joyful implications are for us today, in her newest book Jesus Calling For Christmas. 

Most people usually think of Christmas as a time of joy, peace, and celebration. But this season should carry even greater meaning for Christians who know that we are celebrating Joy and Peace personified in Jesus Christ. So Sarah, reminding us of what Jesus would say, tells us, “In the midst of this busy Advent season, keep bringing your focus back to My holy Presence. Remember that Immanuel has come, and rejoice!” 

This book is easily readable around a family dinner table, or as a bedtime reading with children. The Christmas scenery captured in this book is beautiful, the words of Jesus are easy to understand, and the corresponding Scriptures make it easy to see how Christ’s arrival on Earth fulfilled all that was prophesied about Him. 

Children already seem to have a wide-eyed wonder about Christmas time, and adults would do well to learn from them. In fact, Sarah writes Jesus saying, “Gaze at the Glory of My birth, just as the shepherds did, and respond with childlike wonder.”

Children of all ages—even the “grownup” ones!—can experience Christ’s Advent in a whole new way by reading Jesus Calling For Christmas together this season. 

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer. 

Saturday In The Psalms—Childlike Not Childish

Lord, my heart is not haughty… (Psalm 131:1).

This psalm is only three verses long, but they are three verses of immense trust in God. Truly these verses reveal extraordinary childlike dependence on God.

My heart is not haughty—I am subduing my pride.

My eyes are not lofty—I’m not looking for great things for myself.

I do not concern myself with great matters—I stay away from burdens I don’t need to carry.

I have no interest in things too profound for me—I don’t spend time on the “what ifs,” but I quietly trust God to provide for me.

I have calmed and quieted my soul—if my emotions start running too far ahead, I remind myself that God knows best what I need.

Childlike not childish!

Childlike is lovingly dependent. Childish is selfishly independent.

Childlike is trusting someone wiser. Childish is believing I know best.

John Maxwell said, “The Christian leader is mature enough to not act childish, yet remains trusting enough to stay childlike.”

Think of it this way: a “weaned child” (v. 2) is able to eat more grown-up food than an infant, but it is still dependent on a loving parent to provide that food—food that is best. It’s not necessarily food I want, but it is food I need.

David implores us to adopt this childlike dependence on God, and give up our childish independence apart from God. This attitude, David says, starts in a humbled heart.

Holy Spirit, work in my heart today. Drive out any childish selfishness for what I want, and create in me a childlike trust in my God Who gives me all that I need. Amen.

Quotes On Prayer

C.H. Spurgeon“How does your child come to you when he wants anything? Does he open a big book, and begin reading, ‘My dear, esteemed, and venerated parent, in the effulgence of thy parental beneficence’? Nothing of the kind. He says, ‘Father, my clothes are worn out, please buy me a new coat;’ or else he says, ‘I am hungry, let me have something to eat.’ That is the way to pray, and there is no prayer which God accepts but that kind of prayer—right straight from the heart, and right straight to God’s heart.” —Charles Spurgeon

John Piper“How is God glorified by prayer? Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need.” —John Piper

“Pray; pray always; or literally, in all times and seasons; not yesterday only, but today; not in darkness only, but in the light; not in adversity only, but in prosperity; not in the day of bereavement, and terror, and weariness, but in the time of security, and comfort, and peace. Pray always. Pray without ceasing.” —Horatius Bonar

Oswald Chambers On Prayer

Oswald ChambersSome great quotes from Oswald Chambers on prayer…

“Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” —Oswald Chambers

“It is impossible to conduct your life as a disciple without definite times of secret prayer.” —Oswald Chambers

“Prayer is not simply getting things from God, that is a most initial form of prayer; prayer is getting into perfect communion with God.” —Oswald Chambers

“The men with God’s ‘go’ in them have these three characteristics—a saving experience, the evidence of supernatural power at work, and the spiritual efficacy of success in prayer.” —Oswald Chambers

“God never hears prayer because a man is in earnest; He hears and answers prayer that is on the right platform—we have ‘boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus,’ and by no other way. It is not our agony and our distress, but our childlike confidence in God.” —Oswald Chambers

Links & Quotes

link quote

“While it’s true we need to shape up our practice of the faith, now is no time for shying away from engagement for the Gospel. Now is the favorable time for Christians to declare and defend the Christian worldview. Now is the day of salvation, and all believers must be diligent in proclaiming the Good News at every opportunity and by every means.” —T.M. Moore

“If you tell the world that Jesus is your Lord, your Savior and your Healer, a God Who can perform the impossible, they will watch to see how you react in impossible situations. Their eyes are glued to everyone who boasts of God’s goodness, power and glory. And the devil looks on, too, hoping our faith will fail.” —David Wilkerson

“There is a great God of grace Who magnifies His own infinite self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust Him. And there is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook and cranny of life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.” —John Piper

“When your ethnicity is heaven, then all adversity offers the gift of intimacy, driving you into the home of His heart.” ―Ann Voskamp

Spiritual leaders need to be emotionally healthy. Peter Scazzero has written a couple of books on this topic, and I believe this interview will entice you to check out his books.

Ty Cobb is hands-down my favorite Detroit Tiger (maybe even my all-time favorite baseball player). He has gotten a bad rap from shoddy reporting. A Terrible Beauty is on my Amazon wish list (hint, hint!), and here is a cool interview with the book’s author Charles Leerhsen.

Jesus encouraged His followers to be childlike in their innocence and wonder. Here’s a great post to help us do that: How Not To Be A Boring Adult.

[VIDEO] Bobby Conway gives a good explanation of an important piece of church history: The Apostles Creed—

The Counselor Makes Us Childlike

ChildlikeJesus loved being around kids! In fact, it still is the childlike nature that Jesus wants to see in all of us, and that’s one of the roles of the Holy Spirit as our Counselor.

There is a huge difference between being childish and childlike. Childish is being aware that what you’re doing is foolish; childlike is being innocently unaware.

Jesus was childlike.

  • He knew the kid’s songs in the street—Luke 7:32.
  • He wanted to have lot of kids around Him—Mark 10:14.
  • Most of His teaching examples were basic—farmers, birds, flowers, wedding parties.
  • Some were downright obvious—Matthew 15:16-17.
  • Some of His interactions with His adversaries were playful—Mark 11:27-33.

And when He described the way to Heaven—

He called a little child to Him, and placed the child among them. And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4)

Humbly loving God and innocently serving others. Isn’t that the essence of what Jesus taught us the Kingdom of Heaven was? Loving God and loving others in a childlike way.

Here’s how The Counselor trains us to be childlike:

  • Think of everyone as your friendMatthew 5:9, 44.
  • Laugh more often because you have no burdens weighing you downMatthew 11:28-30.
  • Don’t use double entendrés—…be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity)… (Matthew 10:16, AMP).
  • Be fascinated by natureLuke 12:27.
  • Exercise your imaginationMatthew 18:10; Acts 6:15; 7:55-60.

The Counselor will teach us Christ-like childlikeness; He will reprove us when we are too “adult” in our thinking; He will continually correct us when we cross the line into childishness; and He will train us to love God and love others in a childlike way.

Like A Child

“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” — Jesus (Mark 10:15).

“Like a child” doesn’t mean childish but childlike. There’s a huge difference. Childish is petty and selfish and self-absorbed. Childlike is full of wonder and awe, ready to dive in, living with such innocent acceptance.

Yesterday morning our worship time was taken to a new level of childlike faith when The Rock worship team helped lead worship. The simple childlike faith… the unquestioning love for Jesus… the passion to press in… the sensitivity to His Spirit! It was so sweet to be a part of, and so wonderful to see how our adults responded.

There was a powerful move of God at Bethel A/G because of the childlike way these young worshippers helped all of us receive the Kingdom of God… like a child. I can’t wait to do that again!

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