Advent Devotional: The Influence of Obedience

December 21, 2013

Scripture: Hebrews 3:7-8 NLT

That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:7-8 NLT).

To send or not to send a Christmas card?  Uncertain?  The phrase, “When you hear his voice,” from Hebrews 3, spoke to me about obedience, even in little things. While considering this question and contemplating Christmas activities, I thought of these real-life stories.1

Our favorite Christmas DVD is “The Christmas Card,” a wartime love story about two strangers brought together by words of love in a holiday Christmas greeting. The Christmas card, sent by a young lady with the promise of the church’s prayers, sustained a young officer when his close buddy was killed. This card never left his side. It gave him strength and hope, sending him on a mission to find the young lady who obeyed the Spirit’s promptings.

The second story is of a woman who was a patient in a state mental hospital. She carried the card a friend sent her in a little draw-string bag during the entire Christmas season. She would stop people and say, “Look at my Christmas card. The lady I worked for sent it to me. I’m not forgotten.” Later, it appeared that card, the only one she received, was the beginning of her recovery.

Spiritual growth doesn’t come from hearing the word alone. But practicing the promptings of the Spirit brings results that surprise!

Author: Karolyn Yvonne (Kay) Bickert says she is the “loving wife of Robert and mother of our four children.”

1 Adapted from “The Greatest Christmas Ever: A Treasury of Inspirational Ideas and Insights for an Unforgettable Christmas” (Tulsa: Honor Books, 1995), 77, 79.