Looking For God in 2019

“You chart the path ahead of me and tell me
when to stop and rest.
Every moment you
know where I am.” Psalm 139:3

“The Lord says, “‘I will guide you along the
best pathway for your life. I will advise you
and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8

“Because of Christ, we have received an
inheritance from God, for He chose us from
the beginning and all things happen just as
He decided years ago.” Ephesians 1:11

“The Lord will work out His plans for my
life – for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures
forever. Don’t abandon me, for You made
me!” Psalm 138:8

“Seek His will in all you do and He will
direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

Prayer: Grant us wisdom, give us faith, increase our trust and watch over us each day, Father, as we seek Your plan for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:3: Psalm 32:8; Ephesians 1:11; Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 3:6

Looking For God in 2019

“You chart the path ahead of me and tell me
when to stop and rest.
Every moment you
know where I am.” Psalm 139:3

“The Lord says, “‘I will guide you along the
best pathway for your life. I will advise you
and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8

“Because of Christ, we have received an
inheritance from God, for He chose us from
the beginning and all things happen just as
He decided years ago.” Ephesians 1:11

“The Lord will work out His plans for my
life – for Your faithful love, O Lord, endures
forever. Don’t abandon me, for You made
me!” Psalm 138:8

“Seek His will in all you do and He will
direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

Prayer: Grant us wisdom, give us faith, increase our trust and watch over us each day, Father, as we seek Your plan for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 139:3: Psalm 32:8; Ephesians 1:11; Psalm 138:8; Proverbs 3:6

Some Final Words

Often what we find depends on what we look for. Here are a few things to look for in the days we will face together:
Look for God’s presence. When fear grips us or failure would defeat us, or if life’s challenges seem to be larger than we are or the nights are longer than usual, remember, we are never alone if Jesus rules and reigns in our lives. He promised that “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” When life turns to shambles, He will wrap His loving arms around us and protect us because He is with us.
Look for God’s power. The psalmist said that “God is our refuge and strength.” Often we look to people for insights and advice when we are faced with difficult problems. But their solutions are never as good as the solutions that come from God. God is the greatest asset any Christian has but we must go to Him and draw from His strength and power.
Look for God’s provision. “My God shall supply all your needs.” Though we may fail Him, He will not fail us. Though we may fail to claim His promises, it does not mean they are not available. If we look to and trust in Him, He will not let us down.
Prayer: Father, we look to You in faith believing that You will meet our every need if we trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Kings 8:56-58; Psalm 46:1-3; Philippians 4:19

Some Final Words

Often what we find depends on what we look for. Here are a few things to look for in the days we will face together:
Look for God’s presence. When fear grips us or failure would defeat us, or if life’s challenges seem to be larger than we are or the nights are longer than usual, remember, we are never alone if Jesus rules and reigns in our lives. He promised that “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” When life turns to shambles, He will wrap His loving arms around us and protect us because He is with us.
Look for God’s power. The psalmist said that “God is our refuge and strength.” Often we look to people for insights and advice when we are faced with difficult problems. But their solutions are never as good as the solutions that come from God. God is the greatest asset any Christian has but we must go to Him and draw from His strength and power.
Look for God’s provision. “My God shall supply all your needs.” Though we may fail Him, He will not fail us. Though we may fail to claim His promises, it does not mean they are not available. If we look to and trust in Him, He will not let us down.
Prayer: Father, we look to You in faith believing that You will meet our every need if we trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Kings 8:56-58; Psalm 46:1-3; Philippians 4:19

What To Expect In 2019

As we come to the close of this year and face the uncertainties that are before us in the year to come, it is important to pause, listen to and accept a promise from our God:
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you search for me with all your heart, you will find me, declares the Lord.”
This is one of God’s if – thens. There can be no misunderstanding of what He is talking about in this passage of Scripture. God knows our future. He very carefully designed it in our best interest to enable us to find and follow His will. Because He knows our future, He assures us that it can be one of goodness and hope – not one of disaster.
But if we want this future that contains goodness and hope we must study His Word and go to Him in earnest prayer. He assures us that He will listen to us but then we must also search for Him with all of our hearts.
Perhaps we have prayed and even searched for Him in years past, but did not do so with all our heart.

Prayer: Lord, may we come to You this year with a sincerity and singleness of heart to find Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

What To Expect In 2019

As we come to the close of this year and face the uncertainties that are before us in the year to come, it is important to pause, listen to and accept a promise from our God:
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you search for me with all your heart, you will find me, declares the Lord.”
This is one of God’s if – thens. There can be no misunderstanding of what He is talking about in this passage of Scripture. God knows our future. He very carefully designed it in our best interest to enable us to find and follow His will. Because He knows our future, He assures us that it can be one of goodness and hope – not one of disaster.
But if we want this future that contains goodness and hope we must study His Word and go to Him in earnest prayer. He assures us that He will listen to us but then we must also search for Him with all of our hearts.
Perhaps we have prayed and even searched for Him in years past, but did not do so with all our heart.

Prayer: Lord, may we come to You this year with a sincerity and singleness of heart to find Your plans. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Why Parenting Matters

There is limited information in Scripture that describes the home life of Jesus. Every now and then we get a glimpse of something. But there can be little doubt that God and His teachings were at the center of everything.
We read that “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” No doubt His knowledge of and reverence for the Law and Prophets shaped His life and His reverence and relationship with His Heavenly Father and others.
Luke’s Gospel tells us about a family trip to the temple. On the way home, they noticed that He was not with them. When they returned to the temple they found Him listening to and answering questions of the learned teachers. At the tender age of twelve Jesus demonstrated to others the deep understanding of God’s Word that obviously came from His parents.
Mary and Joseph realized that they were obligated to God for the welfare of His only begotten Son. While He was waiting to begin His public ministry He listened to their teachings and followed their examples of Godly living.
Parents can never overlook or underestimate the influence and impact they have on their children. Parents must follow the example of Joseph and Mary in raising their children.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that parents will realize how important the gift of a child is and the trust You place in them to raise them to know, love, trust and serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Why Parenting Matters

There is limited information in Scripture that describes the home life of Jesus. Every now and then we get a glimpse of something. But there can be little doubt that God and His teachings were at the center of everything.
We read that “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” No doubt His knowledge of and reverence for the Law and Prophets shaped His life and His reverence and relationship with His Heavenly Father and others.
Luke’s Gospel tells us about a family trip to the temple. On the way home, they noticed that He was not with them. When they returned to the temple they found Him listening to and answering questions of the learned teachers. At the tender age of twelve Jesus demonstrated to others the deep understanding of God’s Word that obviously came from His parents.
Mary and Joseph realized that they were obligated to God for the welfare of His only begotten Son. While He was waiting to begin His public ministry He listened to their teachings and followed their examples of Godly living.
Parents can never overlook or underestimate the influence and impact they have on their children. Parents must follow the example of Joseph and Mary in raising their children.
Prayer: We pray, Father, that parents will realize how important the gift of a child is and the trust You place in them to raise them to know, love, trust and serve You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Why Fathers Matter

We rarely think of Joseph when we speak of Mary and her son, Jesus. But Joseph was a very special individual as well.
In describing him, Matthew says that he was a “just” or “righteous” man. And because of that, he was a “decent,” “fair” and “righteous” man. When he was faced with an incredibly difficult decision – whether or not he should abandon Mary – an angel appeared and advised him to “go ahead with your marriage to Mary.”
Initially, Scripture informs us, “that not wanting to disgrace her, he planned to send her away.” He was well aware of the fact that stoning was the legal prescription for what people would think of Mary’s being pregnant without being married. If he took Mary to be his wife he could be humiliated or ridiculed by those around him. But he chose to obey the command of the angel to marry her. As a “righteous” man he was also a “merciful” man, a man willing to listen to, hear and obey God. Joseph was a man of great character.
But there is more. Not only was he righteous, merciful and obedient to the voice of God, but he was a man who was sensitive and discrete. Joseph was open to the voice of God and responded immediately when God spoke to him and protected the reputation and honor of Mary – thereby revealing he was a man of integrity.
Prayer: Lord, we pray for fathers everywhere who will strive to be like the earthly father of Your Son. We ask that You will raise up men of integrity to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 1:18-25 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

Why Fathers Matter

We rarely think of Joseph when we speak of Mary and her son, Jesus. But Joseph was a very special individual as well.
In describing him, Matthew says that he was a “just” or “righteous” man. And because of that, he was a “decent,” “fair” and “righteous” man. When he was faced with an incredibly difficult decision – whether or not he should abandon Mary – an angel appeared and advised him to “go ahead with your marriage to Mary.”
Initially, Scripture informs us, “that not wanting to disgrace her, he planned to send her away.” He was well aware of the fact that stoning was the legal prescription for what people would think of Mary’s being pregnant without being married. If he took Mary to be his wife he could be humiliated or ridiculed by those around him. But he chose to obey the command of the angel to marry her. As a “righteous” man he was also a “merciful” man, a man willing to listen to, hear and obey God. Joseph was a man of great character.
But there is more. Not only was he righteous, merciful and obedient to the voice of God, but he was a man who was sensitive and discrete. Joseph was open to the voice of God and responded immediately when God spoke to him and protected the reputation and honor of Mary – thereby revealing he was a man of integrity.
Prayer: Lord, we pray for fathers everywhere who will strive to be like the earthly father of Your Son. We ask that You will raise up men of integrity to honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 1:18-25 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

Why Mothers Matter

One of the most beautiful passages in Scripture is found in Luke’s Gospel. It is called “The Magnificat.” We have Mary proclaiming, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” The word soul is a special word and in Hebrew is used to reveal or describe a person’s entire identity. It is the very essence – or being or character – of a person. In this one word, Mary reveals that all of her is committed to the Lord. The sum and substance of her life was to worship God in all of His Majesty!
If we want to study the smallest particle of God’s creation we put it under a microscope to magnify it. This enlarges, or expands, every detail of the particle so we can discover its intricacies, its subtleties and its structure. Mary was determined to put God under her “microscope” so she could understand Him personally, intimately and completely.
In her “song” she magnified her Lord – not her Son. Often we become overly concerned about the way our children look rather than what they look at. Not so Mary. She recognized her responsibility as a mother and knew that if God were first in her life, He would be first in her child’s life. She had her priorities right.
God entrusted Mary with the Messiah because He was at the center of her life and knew that her Son would be nurtured in what matters most in the life of a child: knowing, understanding and following His will.
Prayer: We ask, Lord, that all mothers everywhere will recognize the importance of being a mother and the trust You place in them to raise children to know You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 1:46-55 “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

Why Mothers Matter

One of the most beautiful passages in Scripture is found in Luke’s Gospel. It is called “The Magnificat.” We have Mary proclaiming, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” The word soul is a special word and in Hebrew is used to reveal or describe a person’s entire identity. It is the very essence – or being or character – of a person. In this one word, Mary reveals that all of her is committed to the Lord. The sum and substance of her life was to worship God in all of His Majesty!
If we want to study the smallest particle of God’s creation we put it under a microscope to magnify it. This enlarges, or expands, every detail of the particle so we can discover its intricacies, its subtleties and its structure. Mary was determined to put God under her “microscope” so she could understand Him personally, intimately and completely.
In her “song” she magnified her Lord – not her Son. Often we become overly concerned about the way our children look rather than what they look at. Not so Mary. She recognized her responsibility as a mother and knew that if God were first in her life, He would be first in her child’s life. She had her priorities right.
God entrusted Mary with the Messiah because He was at the center of her life and knew that her Son would be nurtured in what matters most in the life of a child: knowing, understanding and following His will.
Prayer: We ask, Lord, that all mothers everywhere will recognize the importance of being a mother and the trust You place in them to raise children to know You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 1:46-55 “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

The Birth Of Jesus

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.”
Luke 2:6-16
New Living Translation

The Birth Of Jesus

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.”
Luke 2:6-16
New Living Translation

Joseph's Dream

“…Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.”’
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.”
When the Lord calls us to do His work, and we are faithful and obedient to Him, great things happen!

Matthew 1:18-24 New Living Translation

Joseph's Dream

“…Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.”’
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.”
When the Lord calls us to do His work, and we are faithful and obedient to Him, great things happen!

Matthew 1:18-24 New Living Translation

The Angel's Visit To Mary

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think of what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And though the angel left her, she was not alone.
Luke 1:26-38 New Living Translation

The Angel's Visit To Mary

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think of what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And though the angel left her, she was not alone.
Luke 1:26-38 New Living Translation

Prophecies From Isaiah

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel – God with us!
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will come to them.
For a child will be born to us, a
son given to us;
And the government will rest on
His shoulders!
And His name will be called:
Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Eternal Father!
Prince of Peace!
There will be no end to the increase
of His government or of His peace.

The spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding.
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and
the fear of the Lord.
PrayerThank You God, for keeping Your word! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Isaiah 11:2-3

Prophecies From Isaiah

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel – God with us!
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will come to them.
For a child will be born to us, a
son given to us;
And the government will rest on
His shoulders!
And His name will be called:
Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Eternal Father!
Prince of Peace!
There will be no end to the increase
of His government or of His peace.

The spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding.
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and
the fear of the Lord.
PrayerThank You God, for keeping Your word! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Isaiah 11:2-3

Christ's Day

On Mother’s Day we focus all of our attention on our Mothers, recalling and remembering how much they struggled to raise us. Lovingly we shower gifts on them, purchase cards that describe her many sacrifices for us and the unending care she gave to us. She deserves all of the attention and recognition we can give her.
On Father’s Day, we turn our thoughts to him – what he has done for us and express our gratitude for the time he spent with us. We recall his efforts to teach us to throw a ball, catch a pass, cast a fishing line or attend a special event. He, too, deserves all the attention and recognition we can give him.
We also give recognition and attention to our Grandparents, to brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and friends and relatives on their special days.
But what will we do that is really special or unique to show our appreciation and gratitude for Christ on His day this year?
Will there be an envelope under the tree with a special love-offering that recognizes His importance in our lives? Will it match the amount we gave others?
Will we sacrifice some of our time to show God’s love by being with those who would otherwise be alone and lonely on His day?
Will we share a meal with someone who is hungry? Give some clothes to those who are cold and have little? Spend time reading His story to children?
“In as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me!”
Prayer: Take Your peace from us Father, until and unless we show others Your love on Your day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Christ's Day

On Mother’s Day we focus all of our attention on our Mothers, recalling and remembering how much they struggled to raise us. Lovingly we shower gifts on them, purchase cards that describe her many sacrifices for us and the unending care she gave to us. She deserves all of the attention and recognition we can give her.
On Father’s Day, we turn our thoughts to him – what he has done for us and express our gratitude for the time he spent with us. We recall his efforts to teach us to throw a ball, catch a pass, cast a fishing line or attend a special event. He, too, deserves all the attention and recognition we can give him.
We also give recognition and attention to our Grandparents, to brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and friends and relatives on their special days.
But what will we do that is really special or unique to show our appreciation and gratitude for Christ on His day this year?
Will there be an envelope under the tree with a special love-offering that recognizes His importance in our lives? Will it match the amount we gave others?
Will we sacrifice some of our time to show God’s love by being with those who would otherwise be alone and lonely on His day?
Will we share a meal with someone who is hungry? Give some clothes to those who are cold and have little? Spend time reading His story to children?
“In as much as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me!”
Prayer: Take Your peace from us Father, until and unless we show others Your love on Your day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

The Joy That Comes From Christmas

A young runaway girl collapsed on the streets of a large city at the beginning of the Christmas season. She was rushed to a hospital, placed in intensive care and finally made it to a room where she made slow progress in regaining her health.
One evening a group of carolers stopped by her room and sang the beautiful songs that describe the birth of Jesus. After they sang, a young lady approached her bed and asked if she knew the Baby that they sang about.
Quietly, barely above a whisper she said, “I heard about Him when I went to Sunday school. But don’t remember too much about Him.”
The young lady reminded her of the story and meaning of the birth of Jesus and the plan of salvation. She accepted the Lord as her Savior.
Finally, it was time for her to leave and a nurse said, “Well, now that you’re better, it’s time for you to leave.”
Happily she said, “Yes, but I’m not leaving alone. I’m taking Jesus with me. Do you know Jesus?”
“Oh, yes,” replied the nurse, in a grumpy voice.
“Well, then,” she asked, “why aren’t you filled with joy like I am? If you truly know Jesus, you’ll be happy all the time.”
David said, “Restore the joy of Your salvation!”
Prayer: Lord, sometimes we surrender our joy to the stress and strains of life. Come now and return the joy we once had when we accepted Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

The Joy That Comes From Christmas

A young runaway girl collapsed on the streets of a large city at the beginning of the Christmas season. She was rushed to a hospital, placed in intensive care and finally made it to a room where she made slow progress in regaining her health.
One evening a group of carolers stopped by her room and sang the beautiful songs that describe the birth of Jesus. After they sang, a young lady approached her bed and asked if she knew the Baby that they sang about.
Quietly, barely above a whisper she said, “I heard about Him when I went to Sunday school. But don’t remember too much about Him.”
The young lady reminded her of the story and meaning of the birth of Jesus and the plan of salvation. She accepted the Lord as her Savior.
Finally, it was time for her to leave and a nurse said, “Well, now that you’re better, it’s time for you to leave.”
Happily she said, “Yes, but I’m not leaving alone. I’m taking Jesus with me. Do you know Jesus?”
“Oh, yes,” replied the nurse, in a grumpy voice.
“Well, then,” she asked, “why aren’t you filled with joy like I am? If you truly know Jesus, you’ll be happy all the time.”
David said, “Restore the joy of Your salvation!”
Prayer: Lord, sometimes we surrender our joy to the stress and strains of life. Come now and return the joy we once had when we accepted Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

No Mistake

Walter came home from Sunday school with a question all over his face. “Mom,” he asked, “did the shepherds have washing machines where they kept their sheep?”
“Shepherds? Washers?” After a moment she said, “No, darling, they did not have washing machines. Why do you ask?”
“Well, Mrs. Mathis was reading the story of the birth of Jesus and she said, ‘While shepherds washed their socks that night...’ and I didn’t understand what was going on.”
While we often think of the shepherds in the field that night, the glory that appeared with the angel and the fear that gripped them, we seldom connect the shepherds in that field with the Good Shepherd.
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” twice in John’s Gospel. In those statements he summarizes all of the prophetic images of His role as prophesier in the Old Testament. This declaration is a claim to His divinity as revealed in the Old Testament and focuses on His love, protection and guidance of us – His lambs.
But there is more. Not only is He our Shepherd but He chose to identify Himself as the good shepherd – and good is a term that carries with it nobility. It stands in sharp contrast to shepherds who were hired hands who worked and cared only for their own self-interests.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for loving us, for being our Good Shepherd and for laying down Your life for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

No Mistake

Walter came home from Sunday school with a question all over his face. “Mom,” he asked, “did the shepherds have washing machines where they kept their sheep?”
“Shepherds? Washers?” After a moment she said, “No, darling, they did not have washing machines. Why do you ask?”
“Well, Mrs. Mathis was reading the story of the birth of Jesus and she said, ‘While shepherds washed their socks that night...’ and I didn’t understand what was going on.”
While we often think of the shepherds in the field that night, the glory that appeared with the angel and the fear that gripped them, we seldom connect the shepherds in that field with the Good Shepherd.
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” twice in John’s Gospel. In those statements he summarizes all of the prophetic images of His role as prophesier in the Old Testament. This declaration is a claim to His divinity as revealed in the Old Testament and focuses on His love, protection and guidance of us – His lambs.
But there is more. Not only is He our Shepherd but He chose to identify Himself as the good shepherd – and good is a term that carries with it nobility. It stands in sharp contrast to shepherds who were hired hands who worked and cared only for their own self-interests.
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for loving us, for being our Good Shepherd and for laying down Your life for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

No Room, But...

The annual church Christmas play was rapidly approaching and Mrs. Adams was assigning roles to the children in her Sunday school class. “Albert,” she said, “I’d like you to be the innkeeper this year.”
“No way, not me, absolutely not!” said Albert. “I’m not going to be the one who turned Mary and Joseph away from a good night’s rest.”
“Oh, please,” she begged. “I really need you to do this. We won’t be able to have the play without you,” she pleaded. Finally he agreed.
On the night of the performance, Joseph went to the door and knocked. “Who’s there?” he asked.
“My name’s Joseph and Mary and I need a place to sleep,” was the reply.
“I’m sorry,” he said politely. “We have no rooms available.” And then added kindly, “But if you’d like you can rest awhile and I’ll get you some cookies and milk.”
There are many, like Albert, who would gladly give our Lord some “cookies and milk” but would never allow Him to come into their hearts and change their lives. It’s enjoyable to visit the manger, sing a few carols, read the story of His birth and then exchange gifts. But to make Him a permanent resident?
See Him now: Patiently standing. Gently knocking. Carefully listening. Waiting hopefully. Wanting desperately to save us and give us eternal life.
PrayerWe thank You, Father, for wanting to be our Savior and to fellowship with us. Come, dwell within us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

No Room, But...

The annual church Christmas play was rapidly approaching and Mrs. Adams was assigning roles to the children in her Sunday school class. “Albert,” she said, “I’d like you to be the innkeeper this year.”
“No way, not me, absolutely not!” said Albert. “I’m not going to be the one who turned Mary and Joseph away from a good night’s rest.”
“Oh, please,” she begged. “I really need you to do this. We won’t be able to have the play without you,” she pleaded. Finally he agreed.
On the night of the performance, Joseph went to the door and knocked. “Who’s there?” he asked.
“My name’s Joseph and Mary and I need a place to sleep,” was the reply.
“I’m sorry,” he said politely. “We have no rooms available.” And then added kindly, “But if you’d like you can rest awhile and I’ll get you some cookies and milk.”
There are many, like Albert, who would gladly give our Lord some “cookies and milk” but would never allow Him to come into their hearts and change their lives. It’s enjoyable to visit the manger, sing a few carols, read the story of His birth and then exchange gifts. But to make Him a permanent resident?
See Him now: Patiently standing. Gently knocking. Carefully listening. Waiting hopefully. Wanting desperately to save us and give us eternal life.
PrayerWe thank You, Father, for wanting to be our Savior and to fellowship with us. Come, dwell within us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Never Quit!

“Don’t let this be you!” said a coach to his football team after a difficult loss. He was pointing to a picture of a player sitting in front of his locker. His helmet was between his feet. His elbows were on his knees and his head was between his hands with a look of sadness in his eyes. Under his helmet were the words, “I quit!”
As we look into the manger this Christmas we can rejoice together and say, “Thank You, God, that You never quit!”
Whenever we think of the eternal love that God has for us we often forget about the disappointments He must have endured. Imagine, if you can, what must have entered into His mind and heart when Adam and Eve rejected His path. Consider, if you will, the many agreements He made with people who promised to obey Him and then abandoned their word when they thought He was out of sight. We will never know the grief He suffered because of the hope He had that people would love Him and be obedient to Him.
But, He never gave up. He never quit. Finally, John wrote, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world!”
All of us have suffered many losses in life. None, however, can ever be compared to God’s losses. But He refused to give up even though it cost the life of His Son.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love and determination to rescue us. We are overwhelmed when we think that You would sacrifice Your Son for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Never Quit!

“Don’t let this be you!” said a coach to his football team after a difficult loss. He was pointing to a picture of a player sitting in front of his locker. His helmet was between his feet. His elbows were on his knees and his head was between his hands with a look of sadness in his eyes. Under his helmet were the words, “I quit!”
As we look into the manger this Christmas we can rejoice together and say, “Thank You, God, that You never quit!”
Whenever we think of the eternal love that God has for us we often forget about the disappointments He must have endured. Imagine, if you can, what must have entered into His mind and heart when Adam and Eve rejected His path. Consider, if you will, the many agreements He made with people who promised to obey Him and then abandoned their word when they thought He was out of sight. We will never know the grief He suffered because of the hope He had that people would love Him and be obedient to Him.
But, He never gave up. He never quit. Finally, John wrote, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world!”
All of us have suffered many losses in life. None, however, can ever be compared to God’s losses. But He refused to give up even though it cost the life of His Son.
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love and determination to rescue us. We are overwhelmed when we think that You would sacrifice Your Son for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Gifts

Christmas gifts generate great excitement and interest. After the presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, many people spend countless hours trying to figure out what might be on the inside. Sometimes the gifts are carefully shaken or lifted to see if the weight or size might give an indication about what could be inside.
But when God gave us the first Christmas gift its value was obvious. It was a gift of love that could not be measured or found outside of Him. It was a gift of mercy that only He could provide. And it was a gift of grace that only He could provide through His Son.
God’s love is ultimately expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. His love is the source of His mercy and grace and it is because of His love that we have mercy and grace. It was because of His love that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will find His mercy and enjoy His grace and be with Him forever in eternity.
John says something very significant about this love. “If God loved us,” he says, “we ought to love one another.” His love does not end with our salvation, but with our obligation to share His love with others. It begins a pattern of self-sacrificing love that Christians must live by sharing His mercy and grace with others.
Prayer: Lord, we often forget how responsible we are to share Your gifts of love, mercy and salvation with others. Give us no peace until we share Your gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Gifts

Christmas gifts generate great excitement and interest. After the presents are wrapped and placed under the tree, many people spend countless hours trying to figure out what might be on the inside. Sometimes the gifts are carefully shaken or lifted to see if the weight or size might give an indication about what could be inside.
But when God gave us the first Christmas gift its value was obvious. It was a gift of love that could not be measured or found outside of Him. It was a gift of mercy that only He could provide. And it was a gift of grace that only He could provide through His Son.
God’s love is ultimately expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. His love is the source of His mercy and grace and it is because of His love that we have mercy and grace. It was because of His love that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him will find His mercy and enjoy His grace and be with Him forever in eternity.
John says something very significant about this love. “If God loved us,” he says, “we ought to love one another.” His love does not end with our salvation, but with our obligation to share His love with others. It begins a pattern of self-sacrificing love that Christians must live by sharing His mercy and grace with others.
Prayer: Lord, we often forget how responsible we are to share Your gifts of love, mercy and salvation with others. Give us no peace until we share Your gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.