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Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

-Philippians 2:9-11

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Great Passage to Read to Begin Your Christmas Celebration

Luke 2:1-20 (New International Version)

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Dear Lord, we want to take the time to praise you for sending your son. We pray that we would always remember to true meaning of Christmas. Amen

Thanks to my guest blogger Becky Yahr for serving as my hands this morning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The journey of Joseph and Mary

For the next few days, let's journey with Joseph and Mary as they experience the incredible grace of God. These verses give us the basics: they took a trip south from their home town, they went to Bethlehem which was King David's city, they were "betrothed" or pledged in marriage but not yet fully married, Mary was pregnant, and they were going there to register with the Roman government. Intrigue and scandal ripple between the lines of this straightforward account. Promise and fulfillment are strongly suggested with the connection. Faithfulness through the midst of storm is demonstrated. A real historical context for everyday people is made with the presence of a Roman census. Scandal, promise, faithfulness, and history collide. Jesus enters our world very much in a place where we find ourselves -- a place of hope and dreams marred by scandal, disappointment, travel, and bureaucracy. He will be a people's Messiah. We know it even before the story of his birth is told. It makes us love him and appreciate him more. God has chosen to enter our world as one of us, not as some pristine and untouched alien from beyond. This is a Messiah we can reach and follow. This Jesus is one of us.

So Joseph 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.

— Luke 2:4-5

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of Jesus. Thank you that he entered our messy world with all its contradictions, ironies, and conflicts. Thank you for not being atoonto our struggles. Thank you for Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jesus came to save

Call on the name of the Lord! Proclaim him as your risen Lord! Share with him in baptism as the first Christians did. Have God add you to his holy people. Know that Jesus will save you from the corruption that plagues our world and so many of our lives. You see, God sent Jesus to save, redeem, restore, and bless. Share in the joy of that salvation. Don't wait! Today is the day of salvation! Share in it. Rejoice in it. Pass it on to others. Christ our King has come to bring his salvation to all!

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. ... With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

— Acts 2:21, 40-41

Dear Lord thank you for sending Jesus the first time to die for our sins! Thank you for sending Jesus into our heart to comfort and to strengthen us and to work on our life! Thank you most of all for our salvation. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Forgiveness and righteousness

Law couldn't do it. Animal sacrifices couldn't do it. Piety couldn't do it. Religious practices couldn't do it. Only Jesus can bring full forgiveness of sins. Only Jesus can make us fully righteous and holy. Forgiveness and righteousness come through him.

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

— Acts 13:38-39

Dear Lord, we thank you Jesus for being our Lord and paying the price for our sins. We ask, blessed Holy Spirit, that you help us fashion Jesus' character and compassion in our life. In Jesus'. Amen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

God's Redemption

In the days of Jesus' birth, there was a group of devout and lowly people who still looked for God's redemption. They knew that salvation could not, and would not, come without great cost -- not just to themselves, but also to God. Isaiah had hinted about this in his Servant Songs. They had experienced it in their own history. So with honest hearts, they confessed that they didn't have the power to bring salvation and deliverance. This power had to come from God and had to be released to people who were seeking God's transformation in their lives. They needed to ask God for it! They needed to seek his face, his presence, in their daily lives. So must we!

Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

— Psalm 80:19

Dear Lord we praise you. We praise you for your power and glory. We praise you for your wisdom and creativity. We praise you for your mercy and righteousness. We praise you because you alone are worthy of my praise. You alone can bring me full salvation. Please, shine your face upon us. Please, make your presence known in our life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

No room in the inn

"No room in the inn!" "Placed him in a manger!" So often we play favorites with the rich, beautiful, powerful, and prestigous. Isn't it interesting that God revealed himself as the defender of the widow, the orphan, and the alien and then entered the world as the child of a Jewish carpenter and a young virgin from a small town? God wants us to notice those in need around us. He wants it to be more than an annual good gesture at Christmas. He wants us to be advocates for the folks like Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. We're not just told to be fair; we're told to defend and to plead the rights of those in need. When we do, we do it for him.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

— Proverbs 31:9

Dear Lord make us more aware, of those around us who need your love and grace. Make us your instrument to defend them and to serve them. Open our eyes to see Jesus in the faces of those in need. In the Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What is unseen is eternal

Life can be very tough. Eventually, our bodies are going to die. In the process of living, we're going to face some very difficult circumstances and going to experience some awful pain. But, as bad as life's hard realities can be, we are headed for an eternal glory beyond our imagining. Life's difficulties simply can't compare to this glory that awaits us. Our pain is temporary. The things that cause our pain are temporary. The treatments, the prescriptions, the therapies, the surgeries, the setbacks are all temporary. All these things that we have seen and experienced are passing. But our eternal glory, our indescribable bliss, that wonderful future that we cannot yet see, is eternal ... forever ... incorruptible ... and reserved for us, God's precious children!

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

— 2 Corinthians 4:17

Dear Lord, please be with us during the painful and difficult passages of my life. Help us keep our heart fixed on what is unseen. In addition, dear Lord, we want to pray that you please be present in the lives of our friends we love ... Please grant them healing. If not healing, dear Lord, please pour your love into their hearts through the Holy Spirit and give them rugged perseverance and indestructible hope. Help them see your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lets not sleepwalk through life

So many sleepwalk through life. They never are awake enough to really live. But we are not going to do that with our lives! We are alive because we know Jesus has come and not only brought us life, but he has also showed us how to live. So we are going to be alert. We are going to be self-controlled. We are going to be fully alive, because we know Jesus' return is imminent and our day of salvation and deliverance is near.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Dear Lord forgive us, for the times that we have lost our sense of urgency to live for Jesus. Use the Holy Spirit within us to waken our passions to serve him with our eyes wide open and our heart set on great and heavenly things. We know you can, and will, do more than we can ask or imagine, but please, awaken us to dream great dreams and imagine great things for your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jesus is God's message

Jesus is God's message. It wasn't a message contained in a book or given in a vision, or revealed on a mountain to only a watchful few. No, God's message was human flesh, bone, and blood. God's message came and lived among us. He faced our hardship, got our dirt between his toes, felt our disappointments, struggled with our temptations, suffered our treachery, and bled our blood. Yet living in our world, God's message brought us more than truth; he delivered us from death by God's grace.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

— John 1:14

Dear Lrod, Thank you for inspiring godly men to give us your Scripture. May we always listen for your truth in all areas of our life. Most of all, we praise you for speaking your clearest, most profound, and most accessible message in Jesus. Because of Jesus, we know you love us, we know you have cleansed us, and we know we will share heaven with you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and may our gratitude be seen in the quality and character displayed in our life. In the Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Honor God with everything we are

So often we let personal preference, peer pressure, and concerns about the celebration of certain days, especially holidays, have a divisive effect on our Christian relationships. Bottom line: we're not to try to press our opinion or position on anyone else. We're not to judge another because he doesn't celebrate a special day to the Lord and we're not to judge another because she does celebrate special days. This is a matter of personal conviction that revolves around our desire to please the Lord and to honor him in ways we feel are appropriate. Let's not be so insecure that we have to do what everyone else does or force anyone else to do as we prefer. Instead, let's remember the right angle to take with all things: honor God with everything we are and consider the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

— Romans 14:5

Dear Lord, please forgive us for judging people based on human observances and our preference about those observances. As for us, please give us courage to honor Christ according to our convictions, but also please give us the wisdom to do so in ways that bless your people and that do not cause division. We know we will never fully succeed at this goal, but we do believe that, with your help, we will find ways to bring you the glory due you and to also maintain our fellowship with your children. Purify our hearts in this matter and guide us in the way we need to go. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Keep your Fork

I read this story today and found it something I really needed. My back has been in very bad shape the last week and is getting me down. I was on my way home from church and stopped at the store. As I was walking out of the store I sneezed and the pain in my back caused me to fall. As I was trying to get up and get the things piced up that had fallen I was thinking I HAVE HAD IT. Once home I sat at my computer I decieded I wasn’t going to do my blog today, then the Lord had me open this email and it helped me put things into perpective. The Best is yet to come! God will continue to give the strength. If you find yourself struggling and ready to give up, read this story and REMEMBER “Keep your fork, Something better is yet to come”

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things 'in order,' she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

'There's one more thing,' she said excitedly.

'What's that?' came the Pastor's reply.

'This is very important,' the young woman continued. 'I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.'

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn't it?' the young woman asked.

'Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request,' said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. 'My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!'

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.'

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

.. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, 'What's with the fork?' And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.

They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share ... Being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

-Philippians 4:13

Dear Lord we pray that as we face each of the challenges before us that we would cling to the promies in Philippians 4:13 and ask you to handle it for us. We thank you for the promise and for your love. In Jesus name, Amen

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We shall never thirst

Water! That precious gift for the tired and thirsty. Water! That essential refreshment we all need. Jesus, however, offers water we don't have to carry or purify. No, this is water that wells up within us. This is the water that the Holy Spirit brings us. This is the water that gives us eternal life that starts now and lasts forever!

... But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
— John 4:14

Dear Lord, we know Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us when we became a Christian. We ask that our stubborn will and that our sinful desires can be overcome with the Spirit's power, and that our life will display the joy and confidence that your refreshing presence brings. In Jesus' name. Amen

Friday, December 11, 2009

What a great truth is found in the verse following one of the most quoted verse. God is not the big Scrooge in the sky, critically looking down on his flawed children and waiting to condemn those who mess up. Instead, he saw how broken, flawed, and messed up we were and entered our world to save it ... to save us. God's purpose in sending Jesus is our life and our salvation.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

— John 3:17

Dear Lord, deliver us from the sin that entangles our actions and pollutes our hearts. Create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit in us through your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Greatest gift

What else is there to say, other than "Praise God!" and "Thank you Jesus!" For the most amazing gift ever.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

— John 3:16

Dear Lord thank you for loving us with an everlasting love. We love you, and praise youyou’re your special gift that we celebrate each Christmas. We look forward to being in your presence some day. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Deliverance comes from the Lord

Deliverance does come from the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our Father. So we ask him to bless us with his richest and greatest blessings. But, he has already given his people the very greatest blessing, the gift of his Son. Lets remember this Christmas season to acknowledge and appreciate that blessing.

From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

— Psalm 3:8

Dear Lord, thanks for the salvation you have given us in Jesus. Use us to spread this blessing to others so that the people we know and love will come to know your Son as their Savior and Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Every knee shall bow

I love the fact that I do each day what everyone will one day do: bow before the majesty and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ to honor the Father's glory. How wonderful it is to be able to make that proclamation because of grace rather than in fear at the end of a life that has been spent in what is rebellion, denial, and waste.

...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

— Philippians 2:10-11

Dear Lord, we do praise you for the truth about Jesus that will one day be realized fully by everyone who has ever lived. May our life display that truth in the way we treat people today. May our lips proclaim that truth so others can know Jesus as Lord today. In Jesus' name. Amen

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jesus is our Savior

For Jesus, Graciousness + Guts + Giving + Grit = Glory. Just one of those equations in salvation math that doesn't make much human sense, but from the perspective of faith, it is powerful wisdom. Jesus came to our world because of the graciousness of God. Jesus had the "guts" to leave behind heaven and face the hardships of humanity, and give of himself to serve others. Jesus had the grit to endure the horrors and humiliation of the cross. So God has shared with Jesus his glory and placed him above all others. The apostle Paul wants to remind us that God doesn't forget our sacrifices, our obedience, and our hardships. He does honor them with his pleasure and his glory because Jesus' sacrifice has made us holy!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…

— Philippians 2:9

Dear Lord, we believe that Jesus Christ is your Son and our Savior and Lord. We surrender our hearts to have no rival interest to the lordship of your Son. Thank you for your wonderful gift of love in him. In Jesus' name. Amen

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Being a Christian isn't for wimps

Christianity is not for wimps or the faint of heart. Our example is described by words like "made himself of no reputation" ... "servant" ... "humbled himself" ... "became obedient" ... "death on a cross!" That's tough stuff. And that is our example. The story of the Jesus may begin with a sweet child, but it also begins with him being placed where animals ate their food. It is about the price paid to redeem and the people who are different because they know their Redeemer

...but [Jesus] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

— Philippians 2:7-8

Dear Lord, thank you for placing the Gospel story in the real world where we live. Jesus, thank you for being a Savior who has come into our world and faced its toughest chalenges. Help us as we learn to be sacrificial, obedient, and humble so that we can be used to help others find your grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is your attitude that of Christ?

Jesus did not hang on to his heavenly glory, but surrendered it to save us. Now he asks us to follow his example and share his heart. He wants us to treat each other as he has treated us, thinking of others' needs and God's will before our own.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…

— Philippians 2:5-6

Dear Lord, please transform our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit. We want our thoughts to be your thoughts. We want our heart's desire to reflect the passions of your Son. We want our will to be guided by your Spirit. Please forgive our tendencess to ruthlessly hang on to our own importance, our own will, and our own self-justification, even when we know it is not right or best. Make our mind more like the mind of your Son. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are you Ashamed?

Are you ashamed? Culture tries to make us ashamed about our faith, portraying people of faith as stupid, insensitive, judgmental, and hypocritical. Are you ashamed? Are you willing to share your faith humbly and gently with those who do not know Jesus as their Lord? Are you ashamed? Your hero left heaven to come to earth and risk everything so that you could come home to heaven with him. This Gospel is powerful. This Gospel is transformational. This Gospel, and the salvation it brings, is for all people. So let's not be ashamed; let's be joyous and generous with this incredible gift that we have received. It was really exciting tonight to watch 8 young people minister for the Lord at the world’s largest McDonalds. What a joy it was to watch as they did puppets and painted faces and shared about God’s love with the boys and girls. It is great to see that they aren’t ashamed to share God’s love.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

— Romans 1:16

Dear Lord , please give us wisdom, sensitivity, and courage to share your wonderful story of grace with those around us who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

God's promise

God had repeatedly promised it. Men, women, and angels had long anticipated it. Now, in Jesus, it happens. God is with us. Jesus is Immanuel. We live on a visited planet, touched by the very presence of God among us. And it was just as the prophets of old had said.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."

— Matthew 1:22-23

Dear LORD, thank you for keeping your promises, especially when it was so incredibly costly for you to do so. We want to know you better, O God, not just as someone we study, but as someone we encounter in our daily life. Please make your presence known as we seek you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jesus our deliverer

Jesus. Yeshua. Mary's boy, God's Son, comes to help us tear down the strongholds Satan has built in our lives. He comes to bring peace to our troubled spirits and joy to our nights of despair. He comes to not only minister to us and bless us; He comes to do what no one else could do: He comes to deliver us from our sins, those spiritual blemishes, rebellions, mistakes, and transgressions. Praise God! A deliverer who actually conquered what we could not to make us what we could not otherwise be -- pure, perfect, and holy children of God, like him

"She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

— Matthew 1:21

Dear Lord, thank you, for your forgiveness, cleansing, and transformation given to us by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The faith of Joseph

Reassurance beyond understanding! That's the beginning of the Christ story for Joseph. What he cannot understand and what he had no part in creating will now be the groundbreaking journey of his own faithful and generous heart. He will be the human daddy to the Savior of the world. He will live the rest of his life knowing that a miracle happened with Mary without his input or involvement. His faith, and God's use of him in this story, should awaken each of us to the incredible possibilities that God may have in store for us. Why not use this December to re-awaken your heart to the Holy One, born Jesus of Nazareth.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

— Matthew 1:20

Dear Lord, we are im awe of the trust Joseph had in you -- a trust that helped him deal with what he could not understand. Now we come, with that same excitement and bewilderment to be reminded again of the miracle of your Son and our Savior. Please make him real to us as we seek to know him better. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Godly Woman

Want to find a really good woman or be that really good women? Look for one who honors and reveres the LORD with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength. As a woman chose to honor the Lord with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength. Appearance, physical strength, and even personality can change and degrade. A woman whose heart is anchored and enlivened by the presence of God in her life will be a life-long blessing and a woman worthy of our praise, and the praise of her God.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

— Proverbs 31:30

Dear Lord once again, we want to thank you for the important women in our life who helped shape our faith and who helped us find our way to you. Please help us to value godly women in ways that bless them, honor you, and build up your Church. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Suffering for Christ

Suffer! How is suffering a privilege? It's not unless it is for Jesus. Remember how the early apostles were joyful because they were counted worthy to suffer for the name? You see, he suffered for us so we could be saved. When we face suffering for the cause of Christ and his Kingdom, we help inspire others to live faithfully in adversity and show to all the genuineness of our faith. So few have anything worthy of their living, dying, or suffering. We have reason for all three: our lives will be caught up in Jesus' victory!

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him .…

— Philippians 1:29

Dear Lord make us courageous, O God! Help us to be faithful in times of trouble and strong in times of persecution, hardship, and suffering. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remembering the godly women in our life

When's the last time you praised a godly woman for her life of faith and grace? Why not take time to write a note or two of appreciation and thanks to several of these women today. Where would we be today without the faithfulness of godly women? I can't imagine, and don't want to! Let's tell them today how precious they are to us and our faith. I want to take a minute and say how precious and loving my wife is. If it wasn’t for my wife Becky I wouldn’t be the man I am today. Thank you Becky for encouragement and support you are to me.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

— Proverbs 31:28-29

Dear Lord, we thank you for the godly women who have shaped our life’s and helped us have faith ... God, we thank you for the great women of faith in Scripture who did so much for your people. Help us, your Church, your children of faith, to find every way possible to show these great ladies how much they mean to us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

No greater love

Let's live as if we've been redeemed! Let's show our love and character in our daily lives. Let's especially work together, with one voice and spirit, making a vigorous effort to share the Gospel with those who have never heard of the grace of God in the ministry of Jesus. In the face of opposition, let's not be deterred or divided. Instead, let's work hand-in-hand for the cause of the Gospel.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved--and that by God.

— Philippians 1:27-28

Dear LORD, give us greater unity of purpose, greater love for each other, and greater courage in the face of opposition so that we can show the world that we are your children and Jesus' disciples. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We can be Victors

Because of the LORD God's grace and power, we will be victors. This is the final message of Revelation. It is the song that is sung throughout the Scriptures. This is the assurance that we have from God himself. Our lives will not be lived in vain. Those who berate, belittle, and batter God's people will be exposed and his beloved children, his saints of light, will receive vindication and salvation from the Father they love.

"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.

— Isaiah 54:17

Dear Lord we pray especially today for your servants who are sharing the Gospel in difficult places. Some of these precious ones are imprisoned. Some are facing torture. Some face firing in their workplaces. Please give them strength today. Please deliver them from the evil one's vile intent. Protect them by your mighty hand and deliver them, like Daniel, from the lion's mouth to your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

What's In your Sponge?

There are 5 sponges laying on your kitchen counter top. Each member of your family has been cleaning up different areas of your home, but all the sponges look the same. You are curious as to what was cleaned in your home, but you can't tell by looking...they all look the same....so what do you do?

You squeeze each sponge to see what comes out. As you squeeze the first sponge, you see that cola comes out, and so you decide that someone cleaned the kitchen with that one. Upon squeezing the second sponge, you find tub and tile cleaner - that one was used to clean the bathroom.

Next, in the third sponge, you find motor oil -- hubby was cleaning the garage!

In the fourth sponge, baby powder puffs out when it is squeezed -- yep, the baby's nursery was done with that one!

And finally, in the last one, is floor wax -- that was the one you used on the hall floor!

As you lay the last one down, you look again at their similarity - and they all look the same until they're squeezed.

Christians are the same way. As life squeezes us, different things come out - anger from one, a need for revenge from another, tears from one, remorse from yet another - also greed, untruth, lust - and finally, from one saint, pours forth the love of Christ.

Just like the sponge, we can only squeeze out what is put in - stay in the Word daily, and be in continuous prayer, so that when life puts the squeeze on you (and it WILL), Jesus, and Jesus ALONE will shine forth from you!

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:9-11

Dear Lord we pray that we would always remember to take the time to read your word and apply its lessons to our life. We thank you for the words you have given to us that lead and guide us to be the people you would have us to be. In Jesus name, Amen

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When we stumble God is there

Who has stumbled sometime during your life? I know I have tripped at some of the most embarrassing moments. I've stumbled over my own feet, shoelaces, curbs, and just pure air -- both spiritually and physically. However, I am confident that in my spiritual life, even though I have stumbled from time to time, God has not let me completely fall. When I think I'm going to plunge into the depths of the abyss, the Father's love, care, concern, Scriptures, Holy Spirit, servants, and helpers have kept me from destruction. God's hand does uphold me. He is there in times of trial. He has been mighty to save. I do believe that he delights in my journey. How about you?

If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
— Psalm 37:23-24

O Father, thank you for your steadying influence in our life. Thank you for lifting us when we have been down, protecting us when we have been vulnerable, and comforting us when we have been broken. We praise you for your grace, your glory, and your nearness. In Jesus name, Amen.