Happy New Year! Well another year is coming to a close. A time to turn from bad things and start turns toward new things. New hopes, dreams, possibilities. A time to let go of hurt, pain and anger and embrace good.
I always love making a list of new years resolutions and do my best to keep them. This past year, out of ten, about five were kept. It is a good time to purpose in your heart to try something new or change something bad.
Isaiah 43:19( NIV) says 'See I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and springs in the wasteland.'
Are you ready to let the Lord have your past and do something new?
PRAYER: Today is the end of a year or successes and failures of joys and sorrows but also a chance to start new and make right the wrongs and focus on you Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
As I get closer to the New Year I reflect back on the joy of friendship. I have learned much throughout the years about what to do and not to do with some people. I have had joys and I have had sorrows. A friend can make you or break you as well. There is a Bible verse that simply says 'Bad company corrupts morals' (1 Corinthians 15:33). Another verse says 'A companion of fools suffers harm' (Proverbs 16:20).
I like the saying "If you want to be a friend you have to show yourself friendly". That is oh so true. Don't wait for someone else to make the first move. We can make friends in very unique places and ways. The good thing is to keep prayer in the center of making friends.
Jesus is of course, or should be, your very best friend. Is he? A best friend is someone you want to be with and spend time with. A friend is someone who loves you, warts and all. That is how Jesus loves us. A friend listens and does not put you down and hurt you. A friend is there when the world runs out on you. A friend understands and does not judge you. A friend hurts when you hurt. I could go on and on. This is exactly the kind of friend Jesus' is.
James 4:8 says 'Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts.' Luke 6:31 says 'And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.'
Jesus wants you to want to hang out with Him. Often as we rush through our days we barely give him a thought much less sitting down to be still and quiet and "talk" to Him.
Revelation 3:20 says 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.' Are you ready to be a real friend of Jesus today?
PRAYER: Lord God thank you for the blessings of friendships. Thanks for being my best friend. Forgive me when I have ignored you. I want to be a better friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Today in 2013, those growing up, at least in America hardly know what it is like to wait. No more waiting for film to be developed to get pictures. No more waiting to hear from a friend via snail mail as email and texts are prevalent. In an instant gratification world it can be difficult to teach children how to wait. In order to grow up healthy and whole it is very critical to teach children the value of waiting.
We can get to a point in life with lack of patience when we expect Jesus to hear us and answer us NOW! My friend it does not work that way. Patience is one of the "fruits of the spirit" mentioned in the Bible in Galatians 5:22-23. Patience is a vey good virtue to teach children. Have you ever heard the saying "Good things come to those who wait"? There is truth in that.
When a woman is pregnant she has to be patient until the baby is ready to be born. Making it come into the world too early will either result in death or other problems.
Isaiah 40:30-33 says 'Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.'
PRAYER: Help me Lord as I seek to be patient and wait for your timing in things. Guide me to do and say the right thing and keep my heart from evil. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Christmas is now officially over. All the Christmas greetings by total strangers of "Merry Christmas" has stopped. Normalcy returns, For many this fabricated happiness is anything but merry. In our little "Merry Christmas cocoons" we often are unaware of the hurt and pain of many who dread this day. Expectations to live up to. Facing huge bills in 2014. Some may have experienced the hurt of a relationship ending or a death in the family. I don't mean to be "Debbie Downer" , a Saturday Night Live character, but to let you know not everyone feels jolly.
Are there days you lack "merriment" the other 364 days? Maybe you feel God does not care or hear as a certain prayer has not been answered. You CAN be merry and you can have the joy of the Lord. Satan specializes in making some Christians mad at God. He keeps them from wanting a closer relationship with Him. You may feel this way or you may have a family member who is away from the Lord having no desire for fellowship. I referred to them in early writings as "Christians in Name Only". Understand I am not saying this to judge, as only God knows the heart of man.
Websters defines merry as "giving pleasure or full or gaiety". The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22(KJV) that "a merry heart does good like a medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones.' Don't be afraid to laugh as laughter is good. Proverbs 15:13 says 'A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache rushes the spirit.'
The way you think can make you merry or gloomy as well. "As a man thinks so he is" it says in Proverbs 23:7.
So what is it going to be? Maybe a good New Years resolution should be a cheerful heart no matter what!
PRAYER: I know at times there are things that make me sad, but overall Lord I want to have a merry heart and not have to wait til Christmas to prove I am merry. Help this spirit of Christmas stay with me throughout the entire New Year. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, December 27, 2013
The big day has come and gone. Many are standing in line for sales today or taking back gifts they did not like or which did not fit. Relatives are packing up suitcases to head home. Many are signing up for Weight Watchers to shed those extra pounds from food they ate too much of.This time of year is not happy and joyful for many. Some have lost loved ones recently. Others have received a bad medical diagnoses. Some families have members in jail or prison. Perhaps it was a job loss. Many people are depressed this time of year as perhaps they feel they can not live up to the worlds' expectations that they have to be happy when they just do not feel up to it.
Our joy has to be beyond our situation and our "stuff". It can not be based on feelings. It has to come from the inner person. You receive this type of joy only from one thing. Jesus! Gifts, promotions, money, status and all the rest are fine but they do not bring true joy.
Nehemiah 8:10 says 'The joy of the Lord is your strength.' Is He in fact your joy? He can be. Start each day reading a Psalm and asking God to reveal Himself to you through His word. It is possible to have true joy regardless of the things around you.
PRAYER: Lord I know people are hurting more at Christmas because of let downs and missed expectations. Help me Lord to show your love and joy to those around me. Lead me to someone who needs to know you Lord and give me the words to comfort them. In Jesus' name.Amen.
Click on link below for a wonderful song of joy.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Christmas is behind us for another year. Hopefully those reading this had a joyful Christmas no matter where you were. For many it is a big letdown and they are relieved it is over.It is always nice hearing the Christmas carols such as "Oh Little Town of Betlehem". The words of one verse speak lots to what is going on today. "Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light". Think on that for a moment. Darkness represents bad and evil and light represents the Lord Jesus Christ. Our world indeed is inundated with evil. Faster and faster we are sliding down that "slippery slope" by pushing God and the Bible out of our lives. The country was founded on the Bible yet enemies of the cross of Christ more and more try to stifle those who have convictions and want to speak the name of Jesus. "Tolerance" is getting us to ignore sin and coddle sinners. Keep in mind that according to Romans 3:23 we all have sinned, so do not get "high and mighty".Isaiah 5:20(NIV) says 'Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.' We can not continue flippantly uttering "God Bless America" when we do not even obey His holy word, The Bible. Is Jesus' light shining in your life?PRAYER: I am sorry Lord if I have caved into the worlds' idea of right and wrong. My standard is and always has been the Bible. Guide my steps to stay on the right path. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Today is Christmas Day. Long awaited by anxious children. Long anticipated by those in the Christian community as the celebration of the birth of the baby Jesus. His birth would change the world. Imagine if you will a king born to a virgin in a stable. Sounds like the plot for a Hollywood movie. God's only son sent here to save the world from their sins.
As his short life went on many mocked Him, ridiculed Him, were cruel to Him yet not once did He retaliate. He performed miracles and today miracles still do exist. His life ended on a cross with him uttering "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."(Luke 23:34). As a follower of Christ, if we are truly living for Him, many will hate us too. John 15:18(NIV) reminds us '"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.'
Isaiah 53:3-5(NIV) says it all. 'He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.'
Are you excited about this day? Is it for the right reason? Truly Jesus is the reason for this season. Happy Birthday Jesus!
PRAYER: What a great day this is. The opportunity for many to be with family but for the true reason we celebrate and that is to say Happy Birthday to our Savior. Help me Lord this day to forgive those who may be too caught up in Santa and just remember that I am here to show love and mercy just like you do. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The big day is almost here. Tonight many will attend Christmas Eve Candlelight services in recognition of tomorrows big event. For others,Santa is number one and they can not wait for gift opening time.
Pause and reflect on what this very Holy day means. Our world certainly tries to turn it into a red and green fest. "Silent night, holy night" the song says. Over 2,000 years have passed since the birth of a baby in a manger. He came to earth to save us from our sins. Born of a virgin, a miraculous birth indeed, like none other.
This baby boy born to Mary and Joseph was the King of kings and Lord of lords. Is the aspect of Jesus more important in your celebration or is He a mere after thought in all the manmade busyness?
Tonight think about what it is that will occur tomorrow. Often we are so extremely stressed out by all the plans and merriment of this special holiday this little baby in a manger is shoved into background.
Luke 2:11(KJV) says 'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord.'
PRAYER: I am excited to have a time of year where it seems even those who forget you the other 364 days can somehow acknowledge what is happening. I pray Lord you will let your love shine through me to others all year round. Forgive me if I have gotten too caught up in this day to know what it is all about. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Click on link for wonderful song of praise and rejoicing.
Monday, December 23, 2013
When a person gets overly committed or busy the saying is they "have too much on their plate". The question is , is God on that plate at all? If so He needs to stay on it and some other things need to perhaps come off. This is so very true at this time of year. Why oh why do we allow ourselves to ruin the birthday of the savior by over committing to parties, socials, church activities, cookie baking and then we find ourselves frazzled? Is this anyway to celebrate the birth of the King of kings and Lord of lords?
A person does what he really has a passion for. For instance, I love to exercise, hike, and write so I make time to do those things. Oh yes I love to spend time with God too. That does come first but sometimes I have forgotten. It is easy to let the urgent requests of life squeeze out the savior. Here, of all times, we are getting ready for Jesus birthday party but people seem like they are worn thin.
We should be rethinking our priorities. Many attend church once or twice a year this being Easter and Christmas. It is a holy holiday after all. But is that "babe in a manger" in your heart all the other days or is Christmas about toys, shopping, eggnog, and traffic jams? It is something only you can honestly answer. Do you need to step back and change your plan this year to fit Jesus into his own birthday?
Isaiah 9:6(NIV) says 'For unto us a child is born, a son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
PRAYER: Lord I can get caught up in all the commercial aspects of Christmas and I really do not want to. Christmas is about giving because the best gift ever was given to us. You! Forgive me Lord if I have put you in the background during your own celebration. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Many in the Christian community have not heard very many sermons in their life about Satan, the devil, the great deceiver. Because of this, many are ill equipped to defeat this enemy who scripture says in 1 Peter 5:8 is "prowling around like a roaring lion". Why is it that this enemy of our souls is hardly ever mentioned from the pulpit of many churches?
The devil is not a joking matter. He is a liar, a thief, and out to "kill, steal, and destroy" according to John 10:10. When evil happens Satan is there. Satan has got his subjects working for him and some are unaware as they have been taken captive. Their hearts are seared. All they can do is hate and destroy because the light of Jesus is not in them. This is why it is so vitally important to pray and read the word of God daily. Some have just enough "religion" they feel they do not need to battle the enemy.
In order to get rid of darkness we need to shine the light of Jesus. In this world we are in spiritual warfare. Take a moment and read Ephesians Chapter 6 found in the New testament.
Be on your knees in a constant state of prayer. Quote scripture. Revelation 12:11(NIV) says 'They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.' Romans 12:12(NIV) says 'overcome evil with good.' God is good all the time.Putting little red devil outfits on children at Halloween may seem cute but it is just what the enemy loves. Making himself into a "cartoon character" so he does not seem so sinister. Great tool in his arsenal. Today you know the truth so be on your guard against his evil schemes.PRAYER: I thank you for the Bible which lights my path to help me see the way in the dark word around me. I can defeat the strongholds that the enemy puts in my path by praying and quoting scripture. Help me to not take this lightly.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
You just never know where the opportunity to share God's love is going to occur. Recently for me it was in a coffee shop when I was asked how I liked my IPAD. This led into all sorts of conversation ending up with what I did which is of course Christian writing and what I had done in my past before this. One of the things I mentioned was pro life counseling. Well this changed the conversation just a wee bit. Never try to shove something down someone's that but never back down on your convictions either. The person held an opposing view so did not stick around long.
You never know who is watching you or who you may encounter during your day. A simple smile or act of kindness can turn an otherwise gloomy day into a good one for someone. Not everyone in life goes through it all happy and not everyone is a believer. Even some who say they believe sure need to tell their faces at times.
I have had so many of these "God encounters" it would take a couple pages to tell about them. Be on the alert though as you never know when an "inconvenient" moment on your part is an opportunity to share the love of Christ with someone.
Proverbs 3:5-6(NIV) says 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.'
PRAYER: Help me as I go about my day to look for moments to share the love of Christ with those I encounter. Even when I am not feeling 100% great help me to be kind to others and somehow that seems to make me feel good. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, December 20, 2013
At Christmas season we are told to be merry, joyful, happy, and have peace on earth and good will. What if you just went through a loss of some sort? Then it may not be easy to rejoice or celebrate. At times like these it is necessary to not rely on your feelings. Sometimes you have to make a choice to have joy whether you feel like it or not.
Sadness is a part of life. Do not allow sadness to drag you down so bad you can not enjoy life. This time of year has a high incidence of suicide. Who puts thoughts like that in our minds? It is not Jesus. Satan likes to drag us down. And get us dwelling on all the bad stuff in life. Those who have lost family members to suicide can attest to the deep sadness and a host of other emotions. Allow Jesus' to transform your pain into reaching out to others. Sometimes getting involved in another persons life can help transform your deep pain.
Try to get your focus on "above". Phillipians 4:8(NIV) says 'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.' Do not feel you have to fit into a cookie cutter mold of what this time of year is supposed to be. Trust God to carry you through.
PRAYER: Lord I need you every hour. At this time of year many are sad and many hurt. Help me recognize that not all are filled with joy. Show me how to minister to someone who may be hurting. In Jesus' name. Amen.
NOTE: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Christmas is more than gifts, although it seems many people hyper focus on that aspect of it. They feel bad if someone gives them a gift and they have nothing to give them back. The whole point is to do what is in your heart and not stress over it. If you don't feel like buying gifts then don't. But if you do give gifts, do it cheerfully and not in a mandatory frame of mind. Also when you are given a gift receive it with joy and do not feel bad.
It is sort of like offering time in church. There may be those who feel obligated to give but in their hearts do not want to. When it comes to money and offerings in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7(NIV) it says 'Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.'
Enjoy the Christmas season for what it truly is, Jesus' birthday celebration. The Life is Good company has a motto that says "Do What You Like, Like What You Do" and that sort of goes for gift giving. Do not try to live up to someone else's expectations but relax and enjoy this time of year and try to keep the peace of God in your heat. Step back and ask what is truly important.
PRAYER: Thank you for the best gift of all, Jesus Christ. At this time of year help me Lord not get so wound tight that I can not truly celebrate. Help me receive joyfully and give joyfully but best of all to not worry. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
If you live where ice gets on your car windows it is necessary to scrape them or risk an accident. Many drivers do not take the time to get the ice off and often are peering out a "peep hole" to see the road. This is extremely dangerous as you do not have good visibility and can get into an accident. These drivers obviously feel they can see what they need to.
In life we may feel we do just what is necessary to get by in our spiritual life only "peeping out a hole" at Jesus. Do what you think you need to walk with Him and get admitted to heaven, but no more. There is a mistaken idea of "entry requirements", so many use this "peep hole" to God to fulfill what their denomination said was needed to have them in heaven when they die.
There are those more endeared to a denomination than they are to Christ. When you are asked if you are a Christian do you answer giving your denomination?
Today examine your heart. Do you love Jesus, I mean really love Him? Do you enjoy being with other believers and growing in Christ by reading your Bible? "Peeping"at God is not enough. You have to look at Him and keep your eyes focused on Him.
1 Corinthians 9:24(NIV) says 'Do you not know that in a race all runner run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.' Ask Christ into your heart today.
PRAYER: I want to look at you through more than a peep hole. I want more of you in my life. I want to be able to shine for you. Wherever I am each day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Around this time of year how many of us have heard someone say to a small child "have you been good" referring to of course telling them Santa is not coming to bad boys and girls? The focus of Christmas should be on Jesus and not on Santa Claus in my humble opinion. Centering something on getting gifts from Santa takes away from the babe in a manger and the best gift of all.
Asking a child if he or she has been good sort of sends a mixed message of "I have to be good to get anywhere in life". Of course we want our children to do good and be good but people mess up sometimes. Guess what? God is not after perfect people who do not make mistakes. He will still love us and forgive us.
Micah 6:8(ESV) is a favorite verse of mine. It says 'He has told you O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.' Simply put in a nutshell. God is the only one who is truly good. We should want to follow His example and be a good citizen and share Jesus' love but not to put conditions on getting gifts. Jesus is the best gift of all.
Ephesians 2:8-9(KJV) says 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.' Have you made Jesus Lord of your life?
PRAYER: I thank you Lord for this time of year to be able to focus on giving and sharing. Help me to remember to give and share the other 11 months as well. I know you desire a pure undivided heart that loves you. Help me Lord to seek you first and not the worlds' things. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Not every personality of different people is going to get along. Recently I got an email that was pretty blunt and hurtful from someone I hardly know. It had nothing to do with my writing by the way, although I have received that type. In the writing business you have to have "thick" skin and the ability to take rejection, as that is part of the business.
It is necessary to learn to not to take offense. Do not allow the enemy to rob you of your joy and peace. Do not let anger fester up and kill your witness to those around you. Sometimes a person may comment without thinking. I have done that so I know. It is good to let things sort of "roll off" you and not take things so personally. Do not let a spirit of bitterness fester and grow.
Proverbs 18:18(ESV) says 'A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.' Pretty vivid word picture wouldn't you say? Offense leads to no good. Your reaction should be something like Ephesians 4:2-3(ESV) which says 'With all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'
Peace is the ultimate goal and being forgiving is essential. Being offended is not Christlike either. It is a stronghold that needs to not take root.
PRAYER: I choose this day to not let a spirit of offense take root in my life. There are many opportunities to be offended but when I am tempted help me to remember to turn to hand pray and pray for the one who has hurt me as well. In Jesus' name.Amen.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
So many fights and arguments could be alleviated in life if people would just learn to not take things so seriously, be patient, and thank God for the good things and overlook the not so good.
For instance, recently I was flying standby as a family member on the airline my son works for. This was the day of the huge ice storms that affected the cancellation of many flights into and out of Dallas. Guess where I was changing planes? You got it. Dallas! Needless to say when air travelers plans are messed up either by maintenance issues, crew issues, or weather there are some personalities who it does not sit well with. As I was writing this in Huntsville I was not seeing those frazzled nerves yet as it was still early in the course of the travel day.
Being upset about things out of our control is a waste of time. It is better to go with the flow or as my Chicago friend Diane used to say about issues that upset me, "Blow it off". Very good advice for all sorts of things. Try to display the fruits of the Spirit in all of life. Don't "blow up" but remain n control and make believe Jesus is right there with you. He is you know.
Matthew 5:9(NIV) says 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.' When the unexpected happens to you remain in control or do you stay peaceful? Start today to develop the attitude of joy and peace no matter what is going on around you. Others will wonder what's up and may even ask you.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for mobility to get around and do things. Thank you for the blessing of changed plans because sometimes those are "God moments" that we do not yet see or understand. Give me peace and joy as I learn to be flexible. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Seems today we need a password for just about everything. You can not do life as we know it without the magic word so to speak. This can be difficult when you have many to remember. How many readers have been locked out of an account because they could not remember their password?I have great news. God does not require a password to talk to Him. You will not receive an error message. He is available around the clock for you to "chat with". Isn't that terrific news. No waiting, no computer viruses, no being locked out. He is there, period!
Psalm 4:1 says 'Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: you have enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.' If you do not know how to "talk" to God perhaps just use that verse. Proverbs 15:29 says 'The LORD is far from the wicked: but he hears the prayer of the righteous.' Do you harbor sin in your heart? If so confess it today as it says in Psalm 66:18 'If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.'
Cry out to Him today. Do not be scared to carry on a conversation with God. It is as someone as talking.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that I can talk to you anytime. You are there. I do not need to be a "church member", baptized, or say a special chant for you to hear my cry. I love you Lord. Thank you for hearing my prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Today my beautiful mother turns 89 years old! Birthdays are something to celebrate no matter what your age. People often become upset getting older but it is a joy to know you are blessed to be a blessing to others and share the knowledge you have gained here on this Earth.When you are born in December the natural reaction from friends might be, "That is horrible. I bet you do not get many presents being born in the same month as Christmas." Birthdays are not just about gifts although sharing gifts is a way to show love to others.Birthdays, such as the one of the baby Jesus in a manger, are times to rejoice. Gifts are given. Parties are held. Often you go to dinner and get a cake. At least that is the custom here in the United States in our modern day.Waiting for the arrival of a newborn is special and the years that individual has are a reason to give thanks each and every year. The most special birthday ever was that of Jesus Christ. In Luke chapter 2 is recounted the birth of Jesus. Take time to sit and read it over even though you may be familiar with it. Verse 2 of this chapter says 'So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.'There was joy, the savior was born. Do you feel like rejoicing? Many may be sad this time of year and rushed and not feel the joy of it all. Today stop what you are doing to thank God above for sending his son to save us from our sins.PRAYER: This is a great month. We anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Help me Lord to remain focused on this and not get caught up in the tinsel and holly and Santa Claus. I truly want to say "joy to the world the Lord has come." In Jesus name. Amen.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Christmas time is wonderful. It is a time of memories and sometimes immense sadness when we have
recently a lost loved ones. For many it is dreaded each year due to all the hype and mandatory things
they feel they need to do.
First off, it is Jesus' birthday celebration, pure, plain, and simple. No need to attend umpteenth million cantatas or plays, put up lighting displays, mail out 100 plus cards, have an open house, and bake oodles of cookies and gingerbread men if it is only going to take away the true meaning and joy of this wonderful time of year. Keep your focus on one thing and that is about the birth of a baby in a manger.
Parents of young ones could take this time to stop the gimme monster and turn the celebration into
Jesus' birthday party. Share with others instead of heaping many unwanted and unused things upon
This time of year and hearing stories of frazzled nerves reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha
in Luke 10:38-42 which says in verses 41 and 42 '"Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are
worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Martha could just not relax because of all the preparations she thought were vitally important. Jesus just wanted her company.
How about you? Do you need to just "chill" and sit in God's presence?
PRAYER: This is an exciting time of year but I can tend to focus on the wrong things. Help me Lord as I seek to stop shopping til I drop and instead to drop down at your feet and worship you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Today is the day of the Moms in Prayer group I lead. I have been a part of this wonderful international ministry since 1996 when we lived in a suburb of Phoenix. Prayer is so vital and so important. At times when our prayers go unanswered we may tend to give up. In Luke 18:1(NIV) it says 'Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.' Never means never. The great enemy of our souls, Satan, wants us to be quitters. He wants us to blame ourselves for problems. He wants us to get mad at God.
Keep hanging on to hope and the promises in God's word. Keep "walking by faith not by sight" as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:7. To stay positive and focused on the truth you need to daily read God's word. Get a daily dose of the best medicine around, scripture.Run your race to win. Hebrews 12:2(KJV) says 'Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' Don't give up.PRAYER: I need to have your faith Lord to keep believing even when I do not see evidence. I know you are working behind the scenes and know the "big picture". Help me keep believing. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
How many people hear this question every day up til this very special holiday is upon us? I just heard it a few minutes ago. We can certainly get into a frazzle over Christmas if we forget it's true meaning and that of course is the celebration of Jesus' birth. Being caught up in decorating, mandatory greeting cards, parties, shopping, and making things just so, can detract from the real purpose of this wonderful time of year.
Particularly those with infants and young children why not start teaching them from the beginning the true meaning and not over focus on Santa Claus? A babe in a manger. It is as simple as that. No frills. No blinking lights. No inflatable cartoon characters in the front yard. No Rudolph or elves. Christmas is about Jesus being born. Make it a birthday party for the savior. Focus on what you can do to share His love with others. Teach this to your children through Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child, and adopting a needy family. Don't let it turn into gimme, gimme, gimme.
Start 2013 by choosing to glorify Jesus and not shopping malls. Put Christ in the center where He belongs. Isaiah 9:6(NIV) says 'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'
PRAYER: I thank you for the miracle of Christmas. Thank you for the joy it brings. It also brings sadness when many feel sad, left out, and alone. Help me find a way to show your love to someone I come in contact with that needs it especially at Christmas. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, December 9, 2013
What in life keeps you stable or "rooted"? Is is title or position? Is it money? Is it the desire to be known? Is it compliments and praise from others? There has to be something stable and enduring to be "grounded" to. All the things I just mentioned are fleeting. The one true thing that is in fact firm, is to be "rooted and grounded" in Christ. His love never fails. He endures forever.
Ephesians 3:17-18( NIV) says 'that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height.' In Colossians 2:7-8( NLT) it says 'Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ.'
So when you are "rooted and grounded" in Christ you have firm strong spiritual "roots" that should be able to withstand the trials and storms of life that come your way. Once tho spiritual roots take hold and ground you firmly in Him you should in fact be able to withstand the attacks from the enemy.
PRAYER: I thank you Lord or helping keep me firmly planted and rooted in the word. When Satan tries to distract me with busyness especially during this Christmas season I will resist with your help and charge on keeping you first place each and every day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
I was thinking of this title as the live presentation of "The Sound of Music" is televised. It is a great
musical first done by the actress Julie Andrews and is filled with wonderful melodies to uplift your
heart. You catch yourself singing along or at least I do. Music is a way we also praise our heavenly
Father. We glorify Him in worship and praise. Praise music is written by talented artists who have often gone through some difficulty in their life to come up with the song.
What could be a better visual than raindrops on roses? Picture a rose bush right after a rain and the
raindrops resting on the petals before the sun dries them. To see this brings delight to the soul. No
matter what you are going through in life, music has a way of lifting you up. That is why I have often
included a song at the end of many of my devotions. When you lift up your eyes to Jesus and praise Him in song somehow your troubles seem to pale in light of the majesty of God almighty.
Revelation 11:17(NIV) says 'saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.' Think about what it will be like one day when you take your last breath on this earth. We are only temporary residents of this earth. We are to be doing the work of the Lord and serving Him where He has placed us. When you meet Jesus face to face I doubt you just say " Hey there Jesus!" No you will not be able to contain your excitement.That is what praise music in worship is all about. Forgetting yourself and lifting up holy hands to God almighty in song.
PRAYER: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are filled with your glory Lord. Hallelujah. I praise your name Lord. I lift up my hands in praise to you. Forgive me when I act ashamed and think more of myself than singing your praises. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Younger people in these United States may not quite grasp the meaning of this day, Pearl Harbor Day! The "greatest generation" as author Tom Brokaw referred to them in his book by same title. In this country we enjoy a unique freedom and prosperity like no other nation. There have always been enemies even within our own country trying to threaten to take this freedom away. This is occurring even now as that is what the creation of the grassroots Tea Party was all about.
The men and some women who gave their lives in not only World War II but in every major battle through the years did not give die so citizens could be controlled and dominated by a dictator. Our country is run "by the people" or so it is supposed to be. Even citizens have the right to speak up and to petition Congress. We are indeed blessed. Do not take this right for granted or the right to worship and read your Bible openly. If evil starts to take over and no one speaks out then we are in huge trouble. Our God does indeed reign and rule on high but we still need to do our duty to save this great nation.
Freedom is lost if citizens do not get on their knees and pray and also do their part to participate in their government while they still can. Galatians 5:1(NIV) says 'For freedom Christ has set us free;stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.' Slavery happens when the people do not stand up for the God given freedom we have in Christ. God is the one who allows certain people to be in power. We do not know why especially when it comes to those such as Hitler. Ultimately Jesus is Lord over all and He has a plan.
2 Chronicles 7:14(NIV) says 'if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' You may not be a soldier but you are a soldier for Christ so do your part for freedom.
PRAYER: Thanks Lord for the gift of freedom. Many countries are under domination by tyrants and dictators who try to control the people. We have let that seep in here somewhat so Lord lift us up and help your purposes occur. Help us to speak up against evil. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Do you often worry? Are you jealous? Do you feel anger or resentment? How about bitterness? Do you judge others? Do you often get your feelings hurt? Maybe it is time to "put to death" the bad junk in your life and embrace the good side of life. The enemy, Satan, wants us to be all caught up with negative thinking and negative emotions. How can we possibly praise and glorfiy God when our hearts and minds are focused on bad junk?Put off and put on is what you have to do. Similar to dressing each day and undressing at end of day you put on and take off. As comedian Kevin Nealon so aptly put it in a comedy sketch "Harness the good, release the bad." Not bad advice from a secular comic.Colossians 3:8-10(NIV) says 'But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.' Take off all that "bad junk" and replace it with godly things.PRAYER: Today I choose to put on good things in my life and get rid and take off those things that keep me apart from you. Things like talking hateful, judging, condemnation and rudeness or gossip. Help me Lord as I seek to "dress" daily for you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
God's love, not the 1970's era singers "Captain and Tennille's" love is what keeps us together. They sang a catchy song "Love Will Keep Us Together". The true meaning of love, is not something conjured up by Hollywood or the music industry. Love is more than romance, although in a marriage that is extremely important to keep the marriage strong.
Love is selfless. Love is kind. Love thinks of others first. Love is giving. Love is sharing. Love is sacrifice. We can have love for a husband or wife or love for a friend or family member. Love forgives and forgets.
God's love for us is unconditional. In others words, no matter what you do or how you act He is there. As humans we too are to emulate this but sadly many marriages end up in a "rock pile" because God's love by both partners was not followed. Even many friendships falter when one friend is not willing to forgive and forget. Family relationships are fractured or the same reason.
Romans 5:8(NIV) says 'But God demonstrates His own love of us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.'
Imagine that! Dying for others. That indeed is true love demonstrated to the utmost. Now go and make a point to show His love today.
PRAYER: It is my desire to love unconditionally and with a pure heart. The hardest time to love is when someone does not love back. Help me Lord to keep on showing love regardless. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Life requires maintenance. Our cars need regular care to run properly.Our bodies need proper food, rest, and exercise to stay healthy. Our spiritual life needs daily work to stay strong in The Lord. Marriages need to maintain that "in love" feeling by remembering what made you fall in love. It may be necessary to mend a garment of clothing before it falls apart. You get the idea.
In relationships time together is critical. Value each other, respect each other, forgive if necessary, put the other truly first, show honor, display kindness, and leave God in the equation. If you do these things your relationship should grow and you should become closer not further apart.
Colossians 3:14(ESV) says 'And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.' Love, selfless love, truly does want the best for the one they love. Being this kind of person will surely make for a relationship that is maintained by God above.
PRAYER: It is my desire to show your love to friends, family, the one I love and to those I daily make contact with. I choose to maintain myself by keeping you in the center. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Note: Finish reading all of Colossians chapter 3.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Ah ha moments, we probably have all had them. The time something finally "clicks" and you are able to grasp something or see its' purpose.
There may be many sitting in churches and synagogues week after week who do it simply out of duty or because that is what their families taught then was the "right" thing to do. Maybe they assume by doing their "church" duty weekly that when they die, off they will go to heaven. There really not been an "ah ha" spiritual moment in their lives. They are not really excited about Jesus or desire to get to know Him more by reading His word,The Bible. This person is content just going through the motions each Sunday then the other 6 days are normal. They may feel those who "do church" on other days are a little over the top.
My "ah ha" moment came on 19 March 1975 when I became "born again" and re dedicated my life to the Lord. It did not mean I would never have problems or sin but I asked Jesus to truly be Lord of my life and for once got excited about reading my Bible. If you have not had that "ah ha" moment I pray it comes for you.
Matthew 7:21( NIV) says 'Not everyone who says to me "Lord Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father which is in heaven.'
Where is your heart today? Church is not the gateway to heaven but knowing Jesus is. My prayer is all reading this make Jesus Lord of their lives. This may even mean changing churches to do so. Why not ask Him to be Lord of your life today?
PRAYER: Lord I need you every hour not just one hour on Sunday. Forgive me for not giving you first place in my heart and life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Misunderstandings often occur in life as a result of words spoken at the wrong time or misunderstood. Perhaps words are said that would have been left best unspoken. Indeed the tongue is "full of poison" like it says in James Chapter 3. Maybe you do not have a problem in this area but take a moment and read it anyway.
Words can make us or break us. All of life basically proceeds out of the mouth. The tongue can cause problems if it lies, talks back, meddles, gossips, betrays, hurts, or speaks out in anger. The mouth we have should be used to bless, not curse. It should praise, not condemn. It should speak truth, not lies.
A couple of the fruits of the spirit(Galatians 5:22-23) come into play in controlling the tongue and they are patience and self control. Patience, to think and wait before you speak and self control, in discipline of your thoughts and mouth.
Psalm 19:14(KJV) is a good verse to end with. It simply says "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight oh Lord my strength and my redeemer.'
PRAYER: Father God it is my desire to please you in all areas of life. The tongue is one of the hardest things to tame. It is so easy to speak without thinking of how it will affect people. Forgive me when I have hurt someone and help me forgive others who have hurt me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The other day I was testing my knowledge and skills on an new ap on my IPAD. Typically when people start to get older they often do not want to embrace technology and stay stuck in a rut of sorts. In the ever changing world it is good to keep up with things so you can relate to the world and to the younger generation.
It is God who gifts us with the capacity to learn and think. He has given us a wonderful gift. That is our brain. Each person is gifted in different ways. Even those who some feel the world "short changed" due to mental deficiencies have a plan and purpose in God's kingdom.
God does not want us to fear things and that includes learning new things. Often in life those over 60 may feel their days of learning are over. To stay young keep reaching ahead and keep trying new things. Make positive thoughts a part of each day. Count your blessings not your kidney stones. Do not awaken and start "confessing" how sick you are or how old you are but instead get up and start the day by saying Phillipians 4:13(NIV) which says 'I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." That skydiving trip still is on my bucket list. What is on yours?
PRAYER: The opportunity to learn and achieve and grow is never ending. I thank you that at any age there are many things to enjoy and try. I thank you Lord for those people you place in my path, both young and older, to teach me new things. I choose to be positive and seek to look to you for help in moving up and moving on. In Jesus' name.Amen.