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1/17/19
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 96:1-3.
"Sing a new song to the LORD!
Sing to the LORD, all the world!
Sing to the LORD, and praise him!
Proclaim every day the good news that he has saved us.
Proclaim his glory to the nations,
his mighty deeds to all peoples.”
This psalm is an amazing poem of passionate praise. The writer calls on the whole world; the people of the world and the whole created universe; to praise the Lord. We don’t know what particular victory that God had won for his people inspired this song.
How much more passionate should be our singing when we celebrate God’s mightiest and most wonderful saving act, his coming into the world as a human being to rescue us from our slavery to sin and our fear of death.
We have hundreds of hymns, some movingly simple, some rich and deep with meaning. But all of them are inspired by faith’s heartfelt wish to proclaim the good news that God has saved us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, Help me to sing your praises passionately, good God, as I see the glorious salvation you have won for me through Jesus. Amen.

 
 
1/14/19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 1:1-6 where we see a listing of Jesus’ ancestors up to King David, “This is the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David; who was a descendant of Abraham. From Abraham to King David, the following ancestors are listed: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers; then Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David.”
Sometimes, in searching to find out who we are and where we’ve come from, we expend a lot of time and effort on tracing our roots through family trees. Often this culminates in a wonderful family reunion.
Jesus’ family tree shows how God’s promises were carried through with his faithful people from the time of Abraham through to King David, who was a direct descendant of Abraham. This special family tree also points to the way in which the many prophecies made in the Old Testament about Jesus coming to earth were fulfilled.
Jesus’s birth and his life on earth culminated in his death on the cross for the sins of all humankind, for his ancestors and everyone who would follow after him, including you and me.
But our family history doesn’t stop there. Jesus was raised from death, and because of this we also will rise again to eternal life with him in heaven. Praise God! It will be the biggest and most wonderful family reunion ever.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you, for my family and for the family of all believers, of which you made me a member through your Son, Jesus. I look forward to being with you and all your people m heaven. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 
 
1/11/19
Today’s devotion is based on, Romans 6:3, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
What a strange saying. How can this be, you might be asking. Paul in this statement is speaking of the implications of Christian Baptism. Paul remembered Jesus’ words that he must go through a baptism of agony and death. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan. Paul is telling us that our baptism is connected with Jesus’ baptism. What he is saying is that because of our baptism everything that happened to Jesus and through Jesus when he died was raised from the dead became ours in our Baptism. That is why it is so important for us to think of our baptism daily.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you because it was not I who chose you, but you who chose me. Help me to remember each day my Baptism into you, so that each day I am reminded of your great love for me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 
1/10/19
Today’s devotion is based on, Matthew28:19, “Then Jesus came to them (his disciples) and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
I chose this passage this morning because there can be some confusion between John’s baptism and the Baptism Jesus commanded his disciples to do. John’s baptism was an outward sign of repentance. It did not make a person holy before God. The baptism Jesus instituted, on the other hand, is God working through the water and the Word forgiving sin and making the person being baptized holy before God. I might clarify that the word holy as it is used in the Bible means that the person is set apart. That is they in the act of baptism are now God’s.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for giving me the wonderful gift of faith that is far more than I can understand. Let this blessing stay with me, follow me, and surround me until I take my last breath. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 
 
1/9/19
Today’s devotion is based on John 3, where we hear John proclaim, "A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less."
John was very popular with those who burdened by sin. He baptized for forgiveness, an outward sign of repentance. This was a blessing to all who were baptized. People began to wonder if he was the promised Messiah. John set them straight with the words recorded for us in God’s Holy Word.
Following his example, we, as Christians should always remember that as much as it goes against human reason our focus is not on self, but on Jesus, the greater one. This does not come easily, but as one’s faith increases, we will decrease as Jesus increases.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, take me from all that trusts in me if it prevents me from trusting in you alone. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen
 
1/8/19
Today’s devotion is based on John 1:43-46. “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me." Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote-- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.”
Ever since I read that passage a long time ago, it has spoken to me in a way that encourages my inviting others to “Come and See.” “Come and see” pertains to all people wherever they are in their life. It especially pertains to those who do not Jesus. We need to remember that when we are given the opportunity to invite others to worship God with us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, give me an open heart filled with your love so I can invite those lost in sin and guilt to “come and see,” your gracious love. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 
 
1/7/19
Today’s devotion is based on John 1:29 where we hear John the Baptist call out when he saw Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Why did John call Jesus the “Lamb of God?” It could be that he was thinking of the prophecy saying that the Messiah whose life would be a sin offering as the lamb that was sacrificed was a sin offering. In Hebrews, we are told that the sacrifices of old were a “shadow of what was to come.” Jesus’ willing giving of self as a sacrifice was the final sacrifice, for his death was accepted by God the Father. His death accomplished what the thousands upon thousands of sacrificial deaths before could not accomplish; our freedom from God’s justifiable wrath.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you Jesus for being the ultimate and thus final sacrifice so that despite my sinful nature I can know that when that time comes that I stand before the Father, I will be declared innocent. Help me to believe so firmly in you that I stay close to you, as you desire. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 
 
1/3/19
Today’s devotion on this eighth day of Christmas is based on Hebrews 3:7, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
As you read the verse for today, you probably were thinking that that verse did not apply to you, for you certainly would never harden your heart toward God. I would put forth that while you would never purposely harden your heart toward God, you can still do it.
The most common way to harden one’s heart toward God is to ignore his Word. You can also harden your heart by not attending worship services or spending time in prayer. This process is slow and will end up without your even knowing what has happened. We only have to read God’s Word, particularly the Old Testament to see how happens and the results of a hardened heart. No one can enter the presence of God with a hardened heart. But even the worst of sinners when they have turned to Jesus can spend eternity with God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, help us to never harden our hearts to you. When we start putting you after earthly things, speak loudly to us, so that we will remain in the Christian faith. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 
1/2/19
Today’s devotion on this seventh day of Christmas is based Hebrews 2:14-18, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he (Jesus) too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death-- that is, the devil--and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason, he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
 
Quite often we have difficulty in calling other Christians “brothers” or “sisters.” Oh, we might say it with our lips, but our mind is hardened against them. The problem is that we feel justified in doing so, for they have so many bad habits. They are so different from us, intellectually, socially, or background. The difference between them and us is nothing compared to the difference between God and us.
Nevertheless, God’s Word tells us, “He is not ashamed to call them brothers.” We have heard that Jesus loves us so many times that we have failed to remember the implications of that statement. We need to get back to not just understanding, but believing, that we do not deserve God’s love in any shape or fashion. He loves us because he is love. It is good for us that we have Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, you became one of us so that you could be my brother. You willingly gave yourself up to death so that I could be a child of God the Father. You alone, are my salvation. For this, I give you thanks and praise. Help me to live my life in such a way that Your Light will shine through my words and deeds. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

12/31/18
Today’s devotion on this sixth day of Christmas is based on Matthew 2:13-23, particularly verse 15, “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”
As always, Satan tries to stop God’s plans. He tried to remove Jesus from this earth by using a power hungry King to murder Jesus, whom he feared would take over his throne. But God was in control. God warned them, and they became refugees, fleeing to Egypt.
 
This event set up a prophecy spoken of a long time before. God would do for Jesus and his family what he had been doing for centuries. He, just as he had for the nation of Israel, sent them to a foreign land for safety. When it was safe, he called Jesus’ family back to where he belonged, the area he was to do his ministry.
 
We can take comfort knowing this, for in the trials and tribulations of our lives God is in control. His Will will be done. When the time is right, we too will be called out of our land to live with him in eternal happiness and bliss.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, since Jesus and his family had to flee their homeland, thus becoming refugees, help me to understand better the plight of refugees today that are fleeing from war and famine. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

12/28/18
Today’s devotion on this fourth day of Christmas is based on John 1:1-14. “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. The light (Jesus) shines in the darkness, (evil and indifference) and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own,(Nation of Isreal) but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John tells of God dwelling among us, inviting us to be his children. God doesn’t instantly fix our problems, and we don’t always know why, but he takes on our sufferings as his own. He brings Light. Life. Truth. Grace. Glory. All the things we truly long for are met in Jesus Christ. This is the radical message of Christianity for an indifferent secular world.
It may seem too good to be true. But I would argue that it is too good to ignore. If the Christian message is true, if that baby in Bethlehem is the good and loving King of the universe, he holds all that we most desire. Christmas becomes much more than another belief. It is a deep truth that can and should radically reorder my life and yours. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the light shining in the darkness.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for coming to be one of us so that we can know you in all your glory and wisdom. Help me to keep my eyes on you, for in you alone am I fully human. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 
12/27/18
Today’s devotion on this Third day of Christmas is based on Luke 2:34-35. “Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
We are told that he blessed them, but what a strange blessing. There will be struggling around Mary’s Son, and a sword would even pierce her. But that is the blessing that comes through Jesus. He will be a divider. He is the truth and the truth, as much as we like to believe, cannot be changed. Simeon’s blessing so long ago is not a pleasant assurance that everything will be fine. It is a warning that God’s kingdom is near. Now is the day of Salvation that makes it possible for all to be saved from wickedness. Now is the time to accept Jesus into one’s heart and mind.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, many thoughts of the heart will be revealed through you, Lord. What is going to be revealed in my heart when that time comes to stand before you? Are my thoughts going to be on how well I did in my earthly life, or are they going to be on you? Help me to stay in you as I live my life, so that my thoughts are on you. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

12/26/18
Today’s devotion on this second day of Christmas is based on Luke 2:8:11, “There were some shepherds in that part of the country who were spending the night out in the open, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David’s town your Saviour was born – Christ the Lord!’
Today we hear some electrifying news: ‘Your Savior has come!’ For you too this news means that you are not going to live your life and then die. There is much more for you have been rescued. You are free. Jesus came as your liberator, not as a soldier but as a baby born in a stable. His only weapon is his great love for you, but with this great love, as it is shown on the cross, he defeated all your enemies. That is good news.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for taking on my flesh and blood and coming to help me. Show me how I can be of help to those who are in need. Let my words and actions blend in a song of praise to you on this second day of Christmas. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 

12/25/18

Today’s devotion is based on Luke 2:14, “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.”

I have loved this verse for a long time.  God loved his human creation so much that he became one of us so that we could be free of the condemnation of the Law and have peace with God the Father.  Think of it; God wore our flesh and blood. He came where there is disease, filth, and death. The holy God came to live among sinners.

This is God’s grace, his truth, and his glory. He comes to touch you and me, the untouchable. He comes to pick us out of the gutter of thinking that we somehow deserve God’s love and salvation.  So this morning especially remember how God became a human being for you.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for taking on my flesh and blood and coming to help me. Show me how I can be of help to those who are in need. Let my words and actions blend in a song of praise to you on this Christmas Day.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 2:1-14. “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, let my words and actions blend in a song of praise to you on this Christmas Eve. Thank you for entering our world where there is so much conflict, so that those who believe in Jesus as their Savior know that through your actions we have peace with God the Father. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
 
 
12/21/18
Today’s devotion is based on Isaiah 11:1, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”
Jesse was King David’s father. A branch from this root means a descendant of David. And the stump refers to the overthrown kingdom. Jesus, a descendant from David through Mary in a sense fulfilled that prophecy, although not completely, for that must wait until Christ comes back in his Second Coming to restore the kingdom of God to perfect state he created.
We can thus say with the prophet Habakkuk, as it is written for us in Habakkuk 2:3, “3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen thank you for sending prophets through the ages to proclaim not just your birth but also your Second Coming us. Open my eyes and mind so that I will hear your voice in the words of the Bible. Blessed are You who came in the name of the Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
12/20/18
Today’s devotion is based on 2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
This passage is from the Scriptures on which Jesus preached the only time he preached in his hometown, Nazareth. The synagogue leader gave him a scroll to read that contained the words of Isaiah that prophecied about the promised Messiah. He opened it and started reading the text. Jesus then said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus. The only way that this could have happened was that Isaiah was moved by the Holy Spirit to write those words down hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Because of that we too can trust in Jesus as our Savior.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen thank you for sending prophets through the ages to proclaim you're coming first coming to us. Open my eyes and mind so that I will your voice in the words of the Bible. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
12/19/18
Today’s devotion is based on John 1:6-10, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John (the Baptist). He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.”
How did John know that Jesus was the promised Messiah? He knew from the teachings of the prophets of old, who for centuries were predicting Jesus’ coming to earth. One prophet after another had confirmed it. They pointed to the day when God would send a prophet greater than Moses, a righteous King, a Prince of peace, a Branch from the stump of Jessie. Jesus is the man who saves us from the condemnation of our sins.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen thank you for sending prophets through the ages to proclaim you're coming first coming to us. We ask that you continue to send prophets to announce your final coming so that none would be lost to the evil one. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

12/18/18
Today’s devotion is based Isaiah 58:1. “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.”
The passage above teaches a valuable lesson. God not only rebukes those who reject him, but he also rebukes those who worship him. They have a responsibility to him as God’s people, and thus are to live their lives accordingly.
 
During Advent, we pay attention to John the Baptist’s message, the same message Isaiah told the people of Isreal, for it is God’s rebuke and call for us to come back to him. We are to cast off the old and live in the new life given to us in Christ.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for calling us back to you when we start to wander away. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

 
12/17/18
Today’s devotion is based Luke 7:19-23, “He (John the Baptist) sent them (John’s disciples) to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'" At that very time, Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."
It seems strange that John, the one who proclaimed Jesus was the promised Messiah, would now doubt that he was. These verses, like others in the Bible, give us an example of what it is to question and doubt Jesus’ work on this earth. If you sometimes question then, you should like John did, go directly to Jesus with your question.
We like John who relied upon the truth that Jesus was from God, should also believe that truth. We should never fear to ask him those hard questions of faith, For Jesus answered John’s question and he will answer yours. John’s doubt is for us a comfort, for we know that even in his doubt he was loved by God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for making me acceptable before God. Grant me and all believers a year of joy that comes from the joy of serving you by serving others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
12/14/18
Today’s devotion is based on Ephesians 1:3,4. “Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.”
One of the things that most people value in our society is the freedom of choice that we enjoy. To a large extent, we can choose what we want to eat, what clothes we want to wear, where we want to go, and what we want to say or do. We spend much of our time just thinking about what choices we are going to make; about how we are going to spend our money and our time.
Sometimes we can become so preoccupied with the choices that we make that we can forget what matters. We can forget that in the end, it is God’s choice of us to be his people that determines our destiny. God didn’t choose you on a whim. Even before the world was made, even before you could do anything to earn his love God chose you to be his child and set aside a place for you in his kingdom. Think about this truth, and be truly free!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, give me the freedom to be as merciful and generous with others as you have been with me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
12/12/18
Today’s devotion is based on James 1:26,27. “Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless, and you deceive yourself. What God the Father considers to be pure religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.”
Wouldn’t it be good if you got the chance to do ‘second takes on conversat10ns in your life? Wouldn’t it be good if you could pause a conversation, go back to some silly or hurtful or false remark that you made, and go through it a second time so that you could ‘get it right’?
Unfortunately, we often say things that we later regret and sometimes there’s little that we can do to put things right.’ Our tongue gets the better of us, and before we know it we’ve said something that we can’t take back without making things even worse.
It is good to remember that no matter how you may sometimes fail, God always speaks well of you. He does this not because of your goodness, but because of Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Help me to remember that message so that all I do and say is done to praise God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, let my words and actions blend in a song of praise to you. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
12/11/18
Today’s devotion is based on James 3:7-10, “So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Sometimes we can act as if we have to make ourselves special – as if we have to prove our worth to those around us. This can lead us into some of the most foolish quarreling and arguments and hypocrisy. But God is delighted when we give up trying to prove how important we are and instead remember how eternally important we are to God. God gave you the gift of Jesus so that you can share the gift of life and peace from God. Listen to God, and he will lift you up today.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do for me until my time on this earth is done. Welcome me into my eternal home, not for my sake, but for the sake of Jesus who willingly and freely gave his life for me. In his holy name, I pray. Amen
12/7/18
This morning, as I was praying for the people in California that went through the fires and now floods and landslides I was reminded of the words of God in James 3:5,6. “So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things. Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself.”
St James likens our tongue to a flame. Just as we must be careful with fire, so in our dealings with people we must be careful with what we say. It may take only one cruel or thoughtless word to destroy a friendship, weaken faith or cause someone to stumble in sin. If you are like me, you probably have said something that you regretted saying. The damage was done, and the words could not be taken back no matter how much you apologized or tried to explain. The sin weighs heavy, yet we know of God’s love for he speaks to us of his forgiveness and peace in Christ. Listen to him speaking to you, and he will teach you his language of love so that you will speak in a better way, God’s way.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, open my heart and ears to listen to you speak to me so that I can speak to others with your love. Amen.
 
12/6/18
Today’s devotion is based on James 2:17, “So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead. But someone will say, ‘One person has faith, another has actions’. My answer is, ‘Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.’”
The point St James is making in the reading is this: none of us choose to have spiritual life from God – God gives us the gift of faith. But just as it’s difficult to imagine being physically alive without eating and laughing and talking and thinking, so it’s difficult to imagine being spiritually alive without praying and loving and serving and hoping. God has given you faith in the Lord Jesus. You are now free to celebrate this faith with good deeds.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for giving me the gift of faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Ecclesiastes 11:10-14. “The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all humanity. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
When all has been said and done there is only one conclusion to be made we are to ‘fear God and keep His commands.’ This is what our hearts and lives are to be like, but I, like so many other human beings, fail so many times. That’s why God came to us in human form. When we repent and ask for forgiveness, he is faithful and just to forgive us. That is a promise he cannot break.
Be encouraged today, Love God and love others because he loves you, no matter what! ‘Lord, your mercy is so great, that you look beyond our weakness.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, I come to you today in my weakness. Help me to love you and love others all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
11/30/18
Today’s devotion is based on Ecclesiastes 3:1,2. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
As children, we used to play a game called ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf.’ Maybe you played it as well. Mr Wolf would respond with 3 o’clock or whatever time he/she chose. But when they called out ‘Dinner Time’ everyone would shriek and run in all directions. It was quite fun and terrifying because you never knew what Mr Wolf was going to call out!
Our reading is a familiar one, ‘a time to live, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to uproot, a time to kill, a time to heal; and so on. As the world gets darker by the week, many are asking ‘what time is it?’ Is this the end of the world? But regardless of what is happening in our world, we need not be afraid! Because if we are in Christ, then we know that regardless of what times we live in, we have the very hope of salvation. Be encouraged; you do not need to be fearful or know the time in which you live. Just hold onto the one who is eternal, as he holds onto you!
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for holding me and giving me hope in uncertain times. I do not need to fear the things of life or even my death, because you always speak the truth. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
11/29/18
Today’s devotion is based on King Solomon's words of wisdom as they were written down for us in Ecclesiastes 8:10, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes speaks harsh words for we don’t want to think about our death. But that is exactly why we need to make the most of our life here on this earth. God has made us to serve others, so we need to do it well. The good news is that even this life will end someday, life with Christ will be glorious and be forever and ever and ever!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator, and sustainer, of all things, seen, and unseen, help me to honor you by living my in the light of your wisdom, for then I am truly what you have created me to me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

11/27/18

Today’s devotion is based on Revelation 1:1,2, “This book is the record of the events that Jesus Christ revealed. God gave him this revelation in order to show to his servants what must happen very soon. Christ made these things known to his servant John by sending his angel to him, and John has told all that he has seen. This is his report concerning the message from God and the truth revealed by Jesus Christ.”

The book of Revelation is a steadfast reminder that God cannot be explained in twenty-five words or less. He is bigger, infinitely bigger, than your imagination. He lives in the realm of spirits and angels in a world beyond your senses. He is a fiery and terrifying God. Revelation is the only book of the New Testament that shows you a face of God you don’t want to see. But that is only part of the story. Revelation is ultimately a book of triumph – the triumph of God over Satan. His triumph over death and the demons. And it is the story of the glorious victory of those that believe in Jesus as their Savior. And that’s what makes Revelation a story you cannot afford to miss.

Please pray with me the prayer for today:  Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer, of all things, seen, and unseen, help me through the work of the Holy Spirit to better understand Revelation so that I can live my life in confidence knowing that in the end, you win.  In and through Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

11/26/18
Today’s devotion is based on the words of King Solomon, as they are written down for us in Ecclesiastes1:2,3, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless:’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”
King Solomon, was pointing out the hollow and temporary gains from working for ‘stuff’ all our lives. It’s true when you think about it! We strive all our lives to pay off a house, maybe an investment property, build a decent retirement fund and then retire and eventually end up in a nursing home waiting for the end of life to come. And that is if you are truly blessed with good health and a stable income to get that far. We truly are vain if our value is based on what we own, our ‘gains.’ But you are rich indeed if your treasure is eternal life through Christ. For that treasure won’t rust nor can it be taken from you! Put your mind on things eternal today, for the eternal one God has you on his mind always! And that is utterly meaningful!
Please, pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, eternal God, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for letting me know in your Holy Word what is really important in life; eternal life through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

11/22/18

Today’s devotion is based on Luke 17:15-16.  “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

The Bible tells the story of ten men who had a lot to give thanks for. They were miraculously touched by Jesus. Before this touch, they were complete outcasts, the very scourge of society. These men had leprosy, and you couldn’t get any lower in that particular time in history with this incurable disease.

Only one decided to go back and give thanks. The Bible tells us he was a Samaritan, which may not mean a lot to us. But normally, Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other. The Jews looked down on the Samaritans. It wasn’t one of the sons of Abraham that came to give thanks; it was a Samaritan. And he was commended for this.

I wonder if any of us would be guilty of forgetting to thank God if we were one of those with leprosy.  I don’t think so, because it was a complete healing and restoration back into the community.  The problem we have today is thanking God for all the things in life that we take for granted.  We are quick to ask for God’s help, but let’s remember to be just as quick in thanking him.

Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen, and unseen, thank you for all the blessings you daily pour out on me.  Without you and your love toward me, this life would be lacking, even though I have many earthly treasures.  Thank you for all you do, for your mercies, as you have promised, are new every morning.  Amen. 

 

 
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