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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

As the world celebrates the end of 2017 and enters into 2018, it looks toward the conclusion of yet another year. However, God has not been working his plan according to the Gregorian calendar -- but rather according to His own calendar. For example, when Jesus was crucified, and became the Lamb of God slain for the world, it was on the Biblical feast of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew). When He rose again from the dead, His resurrection was precisely on the feast of first fruits. Fifty days later, the Holy Spirit was poured out during the Hebrew Feast of Shevuot or better known as Pentecost. This marked the beginning of the harvest season and we've been in the midst of the great harvest for the past 2000 years. The fall feasts have yet to be fulfilled prophetically, however we as believers are groaning for the world's redemption!

While the world focuses on life now -- on youth, beauty, health and ability -- these things fade away and according to the world, in the autumn of life -- life goes downhill. However, we as believers realize that it's completely the opposite in God. The best is yet to come for those of us who are believers!

In the Chronicles of Narnia, famed Christian author C.S. Lewis so poetically concluded his novel by writing these truths.

"And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

God is saving the best for last! While things of the world get worse, become old and fade away. The things of God only get better! Rejoice and look toward the day when there is no more death, no more sorrow, and no more pain because in Him all these things will pass away. Make 2018 your best year yet in the Lord! Throw away all the worldly pursuits and pursue God like you've never done before -- because the greatest celebration awaits us!

With another year under our belts as we close out 2017 -- let's go into 2018 remembering that the best is yet to come -- soon enough we'll enter a time where "every chapter is better than the one before!"

Dear Lord, we thank You for the New Year You are giving to us. We pray that as we look at the next chapter we will see that it is better than the chapter before. I the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Goals 2018

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

New Year’s Day is a perfect time for a fresh start. It’s one of the less busy times of the year as everyone recovers from Christmas. Many people are on break from school or work and have time to reflect and to think about things, and of course, to make new year’s goals.

What’s your new year’s goal going to be? Should my goal to spend more time catching up with old friends, read more books, run a marathon? I don’t think that last one is a realistic goal for this year. Maybe next year.

So what are you going to do in 2018?

Paul resolved to let nothing get in the way of telling people about Jesus. This would be a very worthy New Year’s goaln - to tell your friends, family, neighbors, anyone who will listen about Jesus. To live your life in such a way that nothing can get in the way of introducing people to the savior king.

Now’s the time to make the New Years goal. Now’s the time to make preparations. Now’s the time to be ready. Do whatever you need to do to tell people that Jesus is the promised one of God and that he died to save us from the punishment we deserve.

In 2018, make a New Year’s goal  that will make an impact for the kingdom.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would make it our goal to share Your great love with those all around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Friday, December 29, 2017

Lego and worship

Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Playing with Lego as a little kid was always one of my favorite things to do. I loved to build anything I could get my hands on. I liked building houses, towns, cars and pretty much anything else I could dream up.

I remember one year at Christmas, I got a new Lego set. It was a train station, and I just loved building it. I opened up the instruction booklet that came with the set and began following each step to construct the train station. In all the excitement to build the set, however, I began to realize that I had missed a step somewhere in the building process. Things began to look a little strange, and the train station just wasn’t looking right. Because I missed a step along the way, things began to not look right.

That reminds me of how its like for us to worship God. Much of the time we try to get the end result of worship, singing, eyes closed, hands clapping and whatever else worship looks like, but we often forget a step.

Often when we worship, we forget why it is that we worship. And sometimes, we forget why we even can worship. We’re able to worship because of our relationship with God.

You wouldn’t be able to talk about how good food is at a restaurant if you didn’t eat there. It’s after you’ve tried the food that you’re able to talk about how good it is. That’s how we are with God.  To really enjoy praising him, we’ve got to get to know Him. We’ve got to develop a relationship with Him.

God wants nothing more than a relationship with you. He loves you and wants to know you in a deeper and more real way. This relationship enables us to worship God and enjoy him in a deeper way.

There are so many things that you can thank God for. Whether it’s simply the fact that you’re breathing, or for the food you got to eat, the clothes you wear, or the friends that you have. It could be taking time to think about all that God provided for you in Christ.

You can thank God that you’re not a sinner any longer, but a child of God. You can thank God for His faithfulness and goodness. There are so many things to thank God for.

Worship isn’t complicated. It’s not hard or something that you’ve got to go to Bible school to learn how to do effectively. Worship starts by simply taking time to thank God for what He’s done in your life. So don’t be like I was with my train station Lego set as a kid. Don’t forget a step when it comes to worship. Don’t forget that worship isn’t about actions only, it’s about your heart. It’s about taking time to focus on who God is and what He’s done for you. Worship starts with the heart.

Challenge yourself today to not let your worship become stale, but to refocus your attention on Jesus. Focus on who He is and what He’s done for you.

Dear Lord, help us to worship you completely and not forget a step along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

In honor of Ronald L Yahr Sr

Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Today marks the 18 anniversary of my dad entering his eternal retirement home.  In honor of my dad I wanted to share a little something I put together to honor my dad.

Dear Dad in Heaven

I sit here and I ponder how very much
I’d like to talk to you today
There are so many things
That I would like to say
I know how much you cared for me
And how much I cared for you
And each time that I think of you
I miss you so very much
It was such a sad day when the angel came and called your name
And took you by the hand and said
Your retirement was ready in Heaven, far above....
And that you dearly loved
You had so much to live for; you had so much to do
It still seemed impossible, that God was taking you
But I held on to the words you shared the night before
God’s timing is perfect, He is never early and never late
And though your life on earth is through,
in Heaven it started anew
You’ll live for eternity just as God has promised you
And though you’ve walked through Heavens gates
We are never far apart
For each time I think of you, I rejoice that I will see you again someday
I love you Dad!!!!!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the blessed hope that we have in You. Even though it’s hard to lose those we love it’s comforting to know that we will be reunited with them again someday. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jesus our Super Hero

Matthew 15:30 (ESV)
And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them.

We’ve probably all got a superhero that we totally love. Whether its Superman, Spiderman, Captain America or Wolverine there’s probably one that stands out to you more than another. Superheroes are pretty awesome with all their love for helping people and superpowers, however, there is someone who puts all other superheroes to shame. His name is Jesus. So why is Jesus way better than a superhero? There’s like ten million reasons why Jesus is better than all other superheroes out there today, but one reason that Jesus is better than a superhero is that he was able to do what no one else could do. He was able to give us back the ability to have a relationship with God.

When God created Adam originally, God was able to talk to Adam. They were able to be friends and have a true relationship. There was nothing stopping them from talking. However, when Adam ate the fruit from the tree he wasn’t supposed to, his relationship with God got messed up. Adam felt ashamed and hid from God. From that point on, man was no longer to talk to God like he once had.

The good news is that Jesus came to the rescue. He did something that no one else could do. He bridged the gap that sin had made in each of our lives. He was able to bring us back to God.

This is great news! That means that if we accept Jesus as our Savior, we can have an awesome relationship with God. We can be friends with God and talk to Him everyday like Adam did in the garden. Jesus kicks all other superhero’s tails because He paid the ultimate price to rescue us and let us have a relationship with God.

Dear Lord, we thank You for being our super hero. We thank You for all that You do for us and will do for us I few ask in Your Name. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lamp to my feet

Psalm 119:105  (ESV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path.

How many times in life do you just wish that you knew the ‘right’ thing to do? You might be faced with a decision on where to go to school, who to date, or which sport to play this year. All of these decisions have consequences and you wish that someone would just tell you what to do.

When it comes to making decisions, its often easy to ignore what this Bible verse tells us. It says the Bible is a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path. What that is telling us is this, when it isn’t obvious the ‘right’ choice to make, we can rely on God’s word for help.

If you spend time reading the Bible you find that the decision you need to make is much clearer -…

If we spend time reading the Bible and getting to know Jesus, we find that often the decision we are to make seems much clearer. So the next time you’re faced with a tough decision, do what this Bible verse says. Spend some time in God’s word and let it guide you into making good decisions.

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your word and for the way it leads us and guides us. Help us to stay in Your Word so it can lead us through life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Luke 2:4-19 (ESV)
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

It's that time of year again, Christmas Day. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of "Merry Christmas" to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?

For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don't have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.

Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.

Why did He come? Why did God send His son to this sometimes cruel and hard world? He sent Jesus to us so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. His story (history) is one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus, we would all die in our sins.

Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.

We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.

Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a "Merry Christmas." The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

Dear Lord, we thank You for the great gift that You gave us. Help us to always remember the true meaning of Christmas. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Why did Jesus come?

2 Corinthians 5:17  (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

It’s the Christmas season, and everywhere you look, people are gearing up for Christmas. Yesterday, I walked into Walmart and saw they had a countdown of days left until Christmas. Christmas is a fun time of the year, between the gift giving, gift getting, fun lights and decorations, you’d have to be a real Scrooge to not enjoy Christmas.

You’ve probably seen all the decorations and the nativity scenes, but have you ever wondered, ‘Why Did Jesus Come?’. Why did Jesus come to earth. He had it going up in heaven, He was God’s son, and it really doesn’t get much better than that.  Did He come to earth because He wanted to practice His walking on water skills? Or was heaven getting really dull? Why was it that Jesus needed to come to earth as a baby?

Each of us had a problem. We were stuck in our sin. We were trapped and slaves to sin. There was no amount of good works that could make us right with God. Simply put, we needed a savior.

Jesus did what we were unable to do by ourselves. We couldn’t make ourselves right with God. We were trapped, slaves to sin. Jesus paid the price that our sins deserved. He was a one time sacrifice, payment in full for our sins, shortcomings, mess-ups and failures.

We used to be slaves to sin. Jesus changed that, and when He did, we were given a new identity. When we accept Jesus as our savior, we are considered right with God. We identify with Jesus now, not sin. We identify with victory, not defeat!

So now, it’s up to us to get our thinking lined up to what God’s word says about us. The Bible tells us that we’re a new creation.

We’ve been identified with Christ, but it’s up to us now to change how we see ourselves. We often look at our shortcomings and failures. We focus on those things, rather than focusing on how Jesus sees us. He sees us a new people. He doesn’t see our sins and short comings, rather He looks at us and sees a new identity. And now it’s up to us to live out that new identity.

Don’t get so used to the Christmas lights, manger scenes and Santas everywhere that you forget what it all is really about. Jesus came to earth as a baby in a manger. But He didn’t just do it for kicks or because He was bored. He had a mission. He was going to bring mankind back into relationship with His father.

That’s the good news of Christmas. That we can know God the father and we’ve been made new because of what Jesus did!

Dear Lord, thanks for the good news. Help us to share the good news with all those You bring into our life this Christmas season and throughout the year. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Not the world's best present wrapper

Luke 1:38 (ESV)
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

I am admittedly the world’s best Christmas present wrapper. I try so hard to get the right amount of wrapping paper when I wrap gifts. I usually measure the size of the box, then re-measure it just to make sure I get it right. No matter how careful I am, I almost always end up with an extreme amount of wrapping paper. I either have way more than I need, or less than what’s necessary and end up not covering the box I’m trying to wrap. Despite my best efforts, my Christmas presents always end up looking very strangely wrapped.

Wrapping Christmas presents with the wrong amount of paper gets me thinking about the word capacity. As you can tell, I don’t have the capacity to wrap Christmas presents well. But capacity is an important thing. Our view of our capacity determines how far we will go in life and in accomplishing our dreams. The importance of capacity is seen in the Christmas story. Let’s take a look at Mary and see what we can learn about capacity.

In this story Mary questioned her capacity. She wondered how this could happen because she didn’t have the capacity to have a child. She was a virgin. The amazing thing about Mary is that she didn’t let herself be limited by her capacity. If I had been Mary, I probably would have listed out a bunch of excuses as to why I couldn’t carry a child. Maybe I would have said that I wasn’t ready to raise a child. Perhaps I’d say that I wanted to go to college first, or spend more time with my friends binge watching Netflix. But Mary didn’t say any of those things. She didn’t put any limits on the capacity that God saw in her. Instead Mary chose to see capacity the way God sees it.

If we’re honest, when God tells us to do something, we usually see limitation. We see all the reasons why we can’t do the thing God told us to do. What we should be doing is seeing what God sees – our capacity in Him.

This is exactly what Mary did. She choose to take her eyes off what was convenient, what was easy and what made sense. Instead she decided to see God’s capacity in her. Like Mary, our capacity to do more is released when we believe what God says about us.

Your challenge this Christmas is to expand your view of your capacity. What has God been speaking to your heart? Who is God telling you to reach? What have you not done because you didn’t think you had the capacity to do it?
How you view your capacity determines your success. So choose to see yourself the way God sees you. Choose to push back against limitations that have held you back in the past. Determine to step forward into the things God has been speaking to your heart. Challenge yourself to release your capacity to do more this Christmas.

Dear Lord, help us to look at our capacity and not let it rule what we do and don’t do.  Help us to look to the amazing things we can do with You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

How to have a "Wonderful Life"

Acts 17:26-27 (ESV)
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us.

One thing I love about this time of year is the great Christmas movies.  One of greatest Christmas movies is the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. You may have seen it, but it’s about this fellow named George Bailey who grows up in a small town and has great dreams and aspirations of seeing the world and making lots of money.

But through a series of circumstances that he couldn’t control, George never could get out of that little one-horse town. Every time he tried, something happened to keep him there. And to top it off, through a mistake one day it appeared that he would be sent to jail.

He was ready to end it all when an angel came to show him what the world would be like if he’d never been born. And George Bailey came to understand that even though he didn’t get to achieve his dreams, he did have a wonderful life that impacted many more people than he realized.

I’m convinced there is a little George Bailey in all of us. We want to achieve significance on a huge scale and often forget the small ways that our lives have deeply impacted those around us. Thank God for where He’s placed you and the people you’ve been able to impact. And one day when you meet the Lord, you’ll realize you really did have a wonderful life.

Dear Lord, we thank You for how You want to use each of us. Help us to remember that each thing we do will impact those around us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Who is Jesus to you?

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This Christmas season, challenge yourself to think about what Jesus is to you. He’s done many amazing things, but what is He to you? Is He your savior? Your friend? Today’s Bible verse outlines some of the great things about who Jesus is.

Don’t just glance over today’s Bible verse and not let it affect you. Jesus is so many things. He’s powerful, yet He’s a counselor when we need it. He’s everlasting, and yet He’s also the prince of peace. There’s so many things that Jesus is. So don’t just chalk Him up to a savior or friend and leave Him at that.

Ask Jesus to show you a new part of Himself this Christmas season. Ask Him to make Himself more real to you than ever before.

Dear Lord, we pray that You would show us a new part of You this Christmas season. Thank You for who You are and what You mean to each of us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lame Christmas presents

John 3:17 (ESV)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it, that moment when you’ve been given a bad Christmas gift. It could be the horrible sweater your aunt got you with the huge fuzzy cat face on it. Or perhaps it was the time your grandma gave you socks and underwear instead of the headphones you asked for.

There is always that awkward moment when you’re trying to think of something nice to say. You know you need to thank the person that gave you the gift, but how do you do it? How do you thank someone for a horrible sweater without laughing or seeming disappointed. How do you tell grandma thanks for giving you socks and underwear instead of what you really wanted?

This Christmas season, no matter how bad your aunt messes up your Christmas gift wish list, there are a few things you can be excited for. The main thing to be excited about is Jesus. See God wasn’t like Grandma who gave you what you didn’t want and didn’t need. He gave us the main thing we were lacking, salvation.
God could have judged the world. He could have been a rotten gift giver. He could have told us all the things we have done wrong. He could have reminded us of all the ways we didn’t measure up. However, He didn’t do that. Instead he decided to save us from our sins.

So this Christmas, if your aunt gives you a horrible sweater or your grandma gives you some stupid socks, remember that God gave you an awesome gift. He saved us from our sins. So, if you’ve never made the decision to accept Jesus into your heart and become a child of God you can. Ask me how and I will love to share with you how you can have the BEST Christmas gift ever. If you have accepted Jesus, then remember to share Him and His love with others this Christmas season. That way, regardless of the gifts you get, you can enjoy knowing that you’ve already received the greatest gift ever.

Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us the greatest gift ever. Help us to share that with those that You bring into our path today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Let your heart grow three sizes

Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

In Dr. Seuss's classic Christmas tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch suffers from having a small heart. The source of his heart problem is his lack of understanding the meaning of Christmas. As the story goes, the Grinch tries to put a stop to Christmas, but in the end, he comes to understand what Christmas is all about and his heart grows three sizes! This heart change makes a big difference in his life.

I'm not sure what Dr. Seuss' intentions were when he wrote the story back in 1957, but I think it comes across as a Christian parable that shows the change that takes place in a person's life when he or she comes to understand the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus, God's Son, who was born to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). When the light of the Good News of Jesus dawns upon the heart of a person, God replaces the old heart of stone, with a new, fleshy heart - and a new person emerges. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We celebrate Christmas because of the power Jesus brought to change our hearts.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You can change our hearts. Help us this Christmas season to let Your love flow through our heart so those around us can see You in us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Never alone

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Have there ever been times in your life when you have felt alone? Maybe you feel like nobody understands you, or you’re going through a hard time and everyone around you is just too busy to care. Feeling alone is something that everyone faces at some point in their lives. However, the good news is, you’re never really alone.

You might feel like every person around you has left you, or doesn’t care, but the good news is Jesus will never leave you. In this verse it tells us that His name is Immanuel, which means God is with us. God is with you. That’s good news.

If you’re going through a tough or lonely time, take comfort this Christmas Season. You can know that you’re never really alone. You’ve got Jesus with you. He’s there to walk with you through every trial and situation that you face.

Dear Lord, thank You that we are never alone. Thank You for always being there even at the low times to walk with us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Jesus is better than Santa take two

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

1.  Getting on Jesus’s nice list is easier than getting on Santa’s. Santa’s nice list is all about the things you do. It’s about being a nice person and doing good things. If you do enough good things, then you’ll be placed on Santa’s nice list and get presents. Jesus does things differently. To get on Jesus’s nice list, you don’t have to work hard and do good things, you simply have to believe in Jesus and confess him as your Lord.

2.  Jesus is what Christmas is all about. Sorry Santa, you are cool and your red suit is awesome, but Christmas is all about Jesus. This holiday is all about celebrating our Savior, who came to the earth as a baby. His teachings, His life, and His sacrifice on the cross brought us salvation. Santa is a great guy, but he’s not the reason we celebrate. Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas!
This Christmas season, don’t forget to give thanks for what Christmas is really about, Jesus. Jesus is why we celebrate. He’s the reason we give gifts, sing songs, and eat way too much! Jesus is the best gift you can give this Christmas season. So as you’re getting together with friends and family, take time to find out if the people you love and care about have accepted Jesus as their Savior. If they haven’t, this is a great time for you to give them the opportunity. Don’t be afraid this Christmas season to share what Christmas is really about, Jesus.

Dear Lord, we thank You for all that You have done for us and continue to do so. Help us to share Your love with all those around us today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Jesus is better than Santa

James 1:17  (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1.  Santa is a pretty cool guy! I have nothing against the guy in the red suit, but I thought this morning I would share a few reasons why I think Jesus is way better than Santa. Jesus doesn’t give out coal. The great thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t give bad gifts, like coal. He only gives the best gifts; you know the ones the non-coal type. Jesus has your best interests at heart and is all about giving you awesome gifts. So no matter what you are in need of this Christmas season, Jesus has your answer!

2.  Santa gifts last a year or two but Jesus’ gifts last forever. There’s lots of awesome gifts that you can get from Santa. Many times, those toys might be really great when you first get them, but after a while, you usually outgrow them or they go out of style. Jesus, on the other hand gives gifts that never wear out or get outdated. The gifts Jesus gives are ones that you can enjoy for the rest of your life!

3.  Talking to Santa lasts a few months, but talking to Jesus lasts a lifetime. The great thing about Jesus is that you are able to talk to Him at any time. He’s there and ready to listen. You don’t have to wait until the Christmas season and find him at a department store to talk to Him. You can talk to Jesus at any time and in any place, and He’s ready to listen.

Jesus has got Santa beat when it comes to Christmas awesomeness. Where Santa is lacking, Jesus has got him covered. Jesus desires nothing more than getting to know you better this Christmas season. So in the middle of your time off from school and eating your weight in candy canes, take some time to think about all the good things that Jesus has done for you, and be sure to thank Him for being way better than Santa!

Dear Lord, we thank You for being way better than Santa. Help us remember this Christmas season the many things You do for us and share that with others. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas treasure

Matthew 6:2 (ESV)  
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Today’s Bible verse got me thinking about Christmas time. How much of our energy is spent this season buying or getting the “right” gift? Why do we try so hard to get something that will be outdated or that you’ll get bored of before too long? So much of our energy at Christmas time is spent in the pursuit of things that don’t last.

This verse tells us to not store up treasures on earth, but to rather store up treasures in heaven. So instead of just living for yourself and what you can get, choose to do something different this Christmas.

If you have a friend who needs help offer it. If you see a need, meet it. If you have extra money, give it to your church to help them reach out to someone else in need. Mostly, just be open to let the light of Jesus shine through open doors all around you.

Dear Lord, we pray today that our hearts and eyes would be open to those around us. Help us spread Your love through our actions. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rockin' around the Christmas Tree

John 1:14 (ESV)
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.

Christmas season is in full swing! Stores are crammed full of people doing their last minute shopping and you’re probably gearing up for all the good food that you’re going to eat in the next few days. Because Christmas is such a busy time, it’s easy to forget some stuff, so we’ve got a checklist guaranteed to help you get rocking around that Christmas tree!

Decide to be happy – It’s easy to fall into the habit of unhappiness at Christmas time, and its usually the small things that steal the fun right out of Christmas. It usually starts with simple things, like being jealous about the presents a friend got, or feeling upset because you were forced to go to Aunt Lucy’s house instead of hanging out with your friends. Choose to not let the simple things make you unhappy this Christmas. Decide no matter what to be happy and you’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree in no time!

Be thankful – No matter how stinky your Christmas seems, you can always find things to be thankful for. One thing to be thankful for at Christmas is the fact that Jesus came into the world to pay the price for your sins. You’re not getting what you deserve, which was hell. Instead Jesus paid the price for your sins so you can party it up this Christmas season!

Remember what Christmas is Really About – There’s usually so much going on at Christmas that sometimes it’s easy to forget what Christmas is really about…JESUS! Spend some time thinking about what Jesus means to you, and be sure to thank Him for what He’s done in your life.

Keep in mind this Christmas season how awesome Jesus is. Think about all He’s done in your life, and take time to be thankful. If you do, you’ll find that you’ll be rocking around that Christmas tree in no time!

Dear Lord, we thank You for coming to Earth as a baby and growing up among us. But most of all we thank You for dying on the cross for our sins so that we may live with you forever. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Faithful in the small things

Luke 16:12 (ESV)
And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?

You might want to do something awesome for God but you’re waiting on Him to put it together for you. And while, it’s always good to get God’s timing on things, today’s Bible verse challenges us to do something else while we’re waiting.

This verse is saying that a first step is to serve another person’s dream. Get involved in helping someone else reach their potential. As you are faithful in the small things, you’ll see that God will advance your steps little by little.

As you learn to give and be a blessing with the money you have you’ll see that God trusts you with more. So choose today to live your life differently. Determine to start being faithful today with the small things and realize that God will take care of your future.

Dear Lord, we pray that our eyes and hearts would be open to be a blessing to those around us.  Help us be faithful in the small things. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stinky shoes

1 Corinthians 9:25 (ESV)
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

There’s not many things that smell worse than stinky shoes. I’m sure you’ve come across a pair that has that odor with the extra kick. It may even be a family member. You know the ones that make you gag a little when you pick them up?

It seems like shoes can get stinky pretty easily. It’s just the nature of them. You put them on, run around in them for a few days, and they start to accumulate that funky stinky feet odor. But many times, because you wear the shoes all the time, you don’t notice the odor. It’s easy to become accustomed to the foot odor and not realize…your feet stink.

You know that’s a lot like personal growth. It’s easy to become so accustomed to your daily activities, routines and things that we can forget to grow personally. Unless we try to do something beyond what we’ve already mastered, we won’t grow.

That principle can apply to lots of areas in our lives. If we don’t push ourselves to grow, we can easily become stinky and not realize it.

To win, you’ve got to be disciplined in training. You’ve got to push yourself beyond where you’re comfortable in natural things and in spiritual things. So decide today that you’re not going to become stinky like your shoes sometimes get. Decide to keep pushing yourself forward in your relationship with God and in your habits and routines. The secret to your failure or your success is found in your daily routines.

Dear Lord, help us to push our self beyond what is normal.  Help us to grow spiritually so that we may bring honor to You and not be stinky. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pinball and thoughts

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I have always enjoyed the game of pinball. There’s something exciting about the flashing lights, the music, and most of all, trying to keep that ball in play by hitting it with the flippers.

Pinball is a little difficult in the sense that the crazy little ball never wants to stay in play. It always is trying to get to the bottom. Each time it nears the drain at the bottom, you have to try with all your might to hit those flippers hard enough to keep that ball in play.

Pinball reminds me a lot of what the Bible says about our thoughts. The Bible encourages us to get rid of thoughts that aren’t good and fill our mind with those that are good.

To me, this verse is telling us that when a thought comes that isn’t of God, we are to flip it away from our thinking. Just like in Pinball, when the ball comes near the drain at the bottom, we are to flip it away from us, when thoughts come to us that aren’t of God we are to flip those out of our thinking.

So when thoughts come to you and you begin to think that no one understands or cares about you, choose to flip those thoughts from your thinking. Don’t grab a hold of that thought or even entertain it. Kick it out of your thinking and you’ll see that you’ll quickly begin seeing results in the way you think.

Dear Lord, we pray that when the things of life that come our way that are bad for us we would choose to flip those thoughts out of our mind. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pictures and thoughts can be deleted

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If you are like most people, you love taking pictures with your iPod, camera, or phone. Each picture you take shows a piece of your life. And some of these are so great, you have to share them on social media so all your friends can see.

Imagine if you will that every thought you have in a day is like a picture stored on your phone. Some you look at and decide “that wasn’t too great- I look stupid” and hit delete.

Did you know that your thoughts are similar to photos? They contain an image. Some thoughts you should choose to keep and others you choose delete. Every day you can scroll through your thoughts and ask yourself “is this thought worth keeping?” So with that in mind, here’s some tips to help you develop good mental pictures:

1 – Bad Thoughts Can Be Deleted
If you have a thought that is a negative image, one that doesn’t make you smile, then delete it from your thinking.
Many times, we don’t take any time to think about what we think about. Getting into the habit of deleting bad thoughts is important because our self-image is based upon how we think about ourselves. Don’t spend tons of time thinking about things that aren’t good. Instead delete those thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.

2 – Thoughts Can Be Shared.
Each time you take a picture on your phone you have the choice to share it or not. If you really like how you look, most likely, you’ll choose to share it on some social media platform. You want others to see what you’re up to and interact with what you shared.

As you know, everything you post on social media sites reflects you. It’s like a billboard that tells everybody what you are thinking and doing. So ask yourself, what image are you portraying? Are you posting your fears, your emotions, your hang-ups?

The things you post and speak reflect your thoughts. If you’re constantly speaking negative things and posting negative things, it’s a reflection what you’re thinking about. If you wonder how people see you, just check out what you’re sharing with others.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts, but what you say and share often affects your attitude. If you’re always speaking and sharing negative things, often your attitude and outlook will follow. Your attitude is determined by what you think about. Spend time thinking good things and your outlook and attitude will follow.

There’s power in sharing positive things and avoiding spending too much time talking and sharing things that are negative.

Tip #3 – Thoughts = Success
The images you look at daily determine your success online and in life. If you always look at the images where you don’t look good, you’ll begin to believe that you’re ugly or don’t measure up. What you look at on your phone matters.

In the same way, your thoughts are linked to what you look at and listen to. Take some time to examine what you’re letting your eyes and ears feast on. If you’re having a hard time keeping your thoughts positive, pay attention to what you’re looking at and listening to.

If you want to propel your life forward, begin to examine what you’re thinking about. If you have a thought isn’t a good one don’t hesitate…delete it from your thinking. Thinking good thoughts will help you achieve success.

Dear Lord, help us listen to our thoughts more and delete those that we don’t want developed in us. Help us not always say what we feel, but instead say what we want in our life and what will help other people. Help us to come to You with our hurts and feelings in prayer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.