Glory to God in the Highest…What’s that Really Mean?

Glory to God in the highest the angels said to ordinary shepherds when Jesus came. And we say those words again every year when Christmas comes. In songs. On cards. In sermons. When we read the Christmas story to our children.

But what do those words really mean?

What brings God glory in the highest?

That baby in a manger grew up and one day  someone asked him a similar question: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” {Mark 12:28}. 

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” {Mark 2:29-30}

Love is what matters most to God.

And when Jesus came to earth, He was the embodiment of love. So “Glory to God in the highest” was the perfect way to begin His birth announcement.

We tend to make “bringing glory to God” something mysterious and complicated. We think we have to move across the world and become a missionary. Or have flawless, smiling faces that never show how broken we are inside. Or perfectly meet a set of spiritual standards some spiritual authority has handed to us along with heavy guilt.

In other words, we mistakenly believe this: I have to bring God glory. 

But here’s the wonderful truth and the whole hope of Christmas: God brought His glory to us.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” {John 3:16} Love was placed inside a manger and now lives inside of us. Our part is simple sharing what we’ve received. “We love because He first loved us” {1 John 4:19}. Do you want to bring glory to God? Then simply let Jesus share His love through you. Every day, wherever you are, however you can. 

Love brings God glory. 

And when we love, we declare with our lives what the angels did with their lips: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” {Luke 2:14} 

XOXO

Holley Gerth – Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Follower of Jesus, Friend to YOU

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Books that will encourage you…
Books by Holley Gerth

12 of the Most Encouraging Books from 2014

2014 brought a lot of things–including new books from some of my favorite (in)courage authors. I’ve enjoyed their words this year and I think you and those you want to encourage will too so I’m sharing them here!

Just pretend you’re exploring my personal book shelf and picking out what you love most. The books are in no particular order and you can click on each pic to browse. Subscribers, if you can’t see the images click here. {And Christmas is coming so here’s a little gift for you…20% off any or all of these fabulous books with code HGFRIENDS.}

I’ll just let you enjoy these while I go get you a coffee or tea refill from the kitchen {and another brownie too}…

Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Chasing God by Angie Smith Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker Unwrapping the Greatest Gify by Ann VoskampThe Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

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What books have encouraged you this year?

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Books by Holley Gerth
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Help When Christmas is Stressing You Out

The wrapping paper lays scattered across the coffee table.

Cookie dough sits in the refrigerator waiting for its turn in the oven.

Text messages and voicemails beckon “answer me” from your phone.

The to-do has a few lonely items without a checkmark next to them.

Sometimes it feels this time of year that it will never be done. 

So we rush through the holy. We stress out through the sacred. We worry that we won’t get it right. We fall into bed exhausted at night. We act like Christmas coming depends on us but Christmas is a Person and He already came. 

He whispers to our weary hearts what He said on the cross: “It is finished” {John 19:30}.

In other words, all that really needs doing has already been done.

We can relax, rest, enjoy…let the house get a little messy, the wrapping paper be a bit crooked, the cookies be scandalously eaten raw with the family and friends we’ve finally gotten back to on that phone.

Christmas is meant to be a gift not a burden. Receive it. Know that you’re loved. Know that it’s enough. Know there is grace for you that came on a tree without any twinkling lights. Know that it is finished. 

Then rest. And rejoice. Because Christ still has Christmas covered.

Always has, always will.

Whew. 

XOXO

Holley Gerth

More encouragement like this: What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days
Books by Holley Gerth
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Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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Hope When Things Don’t Turn Out the Way You Plan

Wall Hanging from the Hope for Your Heart Collection

Wall Hanging from the Hope for Your Heart Collection

God speaks the world into being. Stars scatter light across the sky. Birds debut their first songs. Trees stretch their branches high in praise. Glorious.

Then one bite of forbidden fruit and everything changes.  

We often talk of all we lost as humanity that day in the Garden of Eden. But God lost something too–His dream of what this world would be. Uncomfortable truth: Even if you’re perfect, even if you’re all-powerful, even if you think of every detail…there is no guarantee that things will happen just as you’d like.

We ask, “Why wouldn’t God just make sure things turned out differently?” Because He is more committed to love than getting what he wants immediately. The only way the fall would have been impossible would be to take away free will. And without free will there cannot be love–because love is always about choice.

Thankfully, God doesn’t give up when things don’t turn out the way He plans. That’s the reason why we have Christmas. Instead of wadding up the world and throwing it in a trash can, he sent a Savior. He kept dreaming of what could be. 

We can too and God shows us how…

First, God doesn’t waste time blaming Himself when things go wrong or people make poor choices. He didn’t say, “If only I hadn’t created that tree with the forbidden fruit…” He accepted the reality of the situation and moved forward. Things happen. Mistakes are made. Plans get messy. As long as this world keeps spinning, that will continue to be true.

Next, instead of giving up God adapts and comes up with a loving solution. All through Scripture this pattern repeats. Adam and Eve sin. God makes a plan to send a Savior. The people end up enslaved in Egypt. God delivers them and gets them to the Promised Land. Then they rebel in the Promised Land. God exiles them and brings them back. On and on it goes. As many times as it takes. 

God also doesn’t let the plans of others stop him. There will always be someone who is trying to distract, derail, defeat or even destroy you. The enemy thought his plan had prevailed when Jesus died on the cross. But three days later…surprise! God always has his own agenda and He doesn’t become discouraged when others try to stop it.

Most of all, God doesn’t close His heart so He can feel safer. He doesn’t become hard or bitter over life’s disappointments. He doesn’t resort to whining or pity parties. He doesn’t decide that we’re not worth the effort. He just never, ever quits. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” {1 Cor. 13:7}.

Perhaps this year has held a dream, goal or plan that didn’t unfold the way you hoped. If so, you can know God understands. He’s been there too. And He will help you persevere. He will make sure all that truly matters will happen–perhaps not in the way or time we want but eventually and eternally.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21

Those words are even more than a proverb…they’re a promise. And Christmas is proof that’s true.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

More encouragement like this: You’re Made for a God-sized Dream 
Books by Holley Gerth
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8 Fab Black Friday {& Beyond} Finds for Encouragers & Word Lovers…

My favorite gifts this time of year have three things in common: meaning, encouragement and words. {You too? Yep, I thought we were a lot alike!} In the middle of all the Christmas shopping craziness those things can be surprisingly hard to find. So here’s a list of some my favorites…

Grateful Heart Memo Chalkboard

Grateful Heart Chalkboard {60% off}

Jeremiah 29:11 Silver Bracelet {over 50% off}

Jeremiah 29:11 Silver Bracelet {over 50% off}

My favorite tank top ever. Designed by Aliza Latta. All proceeds go to charity.

My favorite tank top ever. Designed by Aliza Latta. All proceeds go to help Hashtag Hope.

Personalized Family Tree Ornament by Lisa Leonard. Ours says "2014: First Family Christmas...Mark, Holley, Lovelle, David"

Personalized Family Tree Ornament by Lisa Leonard. Ours says “First Family Christmas: Mark, Holley, Lovelle, David.” Free So Loved necklace with any purchase while supplies last {coupon code: soloved}

20% off any Print of the Month from Red Letter Words with coupon code Love20

20% off any print of the month from Red Letter Words {coupon code Love20}

30% off the entire Heart-to-Heart with Holley Card Collection {code 30FRIDAY14}

10% off all my books, including Wall Street Journal bestseller You're Already Amazing {coupon code: CoffeeForYourHeart}

10% off Holley Gerth books, including Wall Street Journal bestseller You’re Already Amazing {coupon code: CoffeeForYourHeart}

30% off Everything on DaySpring.com until December 1 {coupon code 30FRIDAY14}