1. How it all began...
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
Thirty years ago I was given a wordless book for Christmas and I began writing a devotional journal about life's lessons and the joys of motherhood. I recorded all those "cute" little things the children did through the years and the milestones of their youth. In 2001, our oldest son got married, and his brother went away to college. To help give him guidance from God's Word, I emailed devotions to my son in college daily. In 2003 our next son also went away to college and I began this web site as a way to give them daily devotions. I made puzzles and added games that we played with the youth at church. I have always felt that God led me to start this devotional web site, but I never dreamed that God would keep leading me to write these devotions ten years later. His Word truly has been "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." It is my continual prayer that the devotions and other activities on this site will be used for God's glory. In celebration of this ten year milestone, let's look back at some of the different paths we have taken through God's Holy Word.
2. Ten Year Anniversary (The first devotional on this site from 2003.)
Be Followers Of God
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;" Ephesians 5:1
Thousands of years before Shakespeare ever asked the question, "To be or not to be?" God had already told man what to be and what not to be. God has given us His Word as guidelines and rules on how to live. You have gone away to school now and I pray that you will follow His leading in all that you do. You have reached an important step in life. Your parents are no longer with you to direct you in the right paths, but Christ will always be with you. My prayer for you is that you will be a follower of God. You will be spending time with old friends, and also making new ones. There may be times that they will try to lead you in the wrong direction. But, follow Christ, and remember His promise..."Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)
This theme included what we should be, such as be content, be holy, be fully persuaded, be thankful, and most important of all, "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) Also included were things we are not to be, such as be not deceived, be not afraid, and be not ashamed. You can find more of these devotionals at Be Followers Of God, (The opening devotion in archive was changed for Valentine's Day years later.) Be In The Word (Scripture References), and "Be" Find A Word Puzzle
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3. Be Followers Of God
Ye Must Be Born Again
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:7
Many things on earth can be relative to a certain situation. I would look big standing beside a small child. But I would look small standing beside a professional football player. Size can be relative. Time can also be relative. Four years may seem like a very long time when you first go away to college. But compared to a lifetime of 70 years, it is not long at all. Jesus told Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again." You may think your life has been too sinful to be saved. No sin is too big for Jesus to forgive. You may think you are too insignificant to matter to God. But no person is too small for Christ to love. Salvation is not relative to certain people, or a certain race, or nationality. These five simple words apply to everyone, "Ye must be born again." And there is no better time than the present to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. II Corinthians 6:2 says in part, "...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." We have no promise of tomorrow. Make sure you are born again today.
Fellowship With One Another
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42
When my husband and I started working with the youth at church I searched to find Bible based games which used the King James Version. I could not find many activities that were suitable for our great difference in age groups, so I began praying that God would give me ideas that would be fun and also teach them God's Word. My prayers were answered. God gave me the ideas, we played the games with our youth group, and the Activities page was added to this website. There are currently three activity pages for the autumn season. The Back to School Party has been greatly expanded since it was first entered and includes fun games such as In Like Manner For Students (an ice-breaker game) and Two LIttle Fishes (a favorite for even the youngest group). Autumn Harvest Time and Harvest Party (which is a combination of ideas we have used for Fall Festivals through the years), have games which could be played with different ages. Bible Jeopardy for School Days and Bible Jeopardy for October are fun games with Bible questions, and Sea Voyage Relay could be played for Columbus Day or used in a study of Paul's Missionary Journeys. The early church grew and continued steadfast in doctrine, fellowship, eating together, and prayer. Along the left hand side of the Activities page is a list of games and themed activity pages, all designed with these things in mind.
5. This Is The Day
The First Day Of School
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
"Wake up! Time to get up and go to school." How many times have you heard those words in your lifetime? The first day of school brings about many feelings and emotions. You may jump out of bed the first day, happy and excited about starting the new school year. You may be nervous or anxious about meeting new people and teachers. Maybe you are scared at the thought of facing new challenges in the classroom and wish you could hide under the covers. Many will be going away to college and moving away from home for the first time. As you wake up each morning try to think of this verse, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Write it on a sheet of paper and tape it to your mirror. Remember it throughout the day and smile as you greet old friends and meet new people. God has blessed you with a new day. Live today to the fullest! Rejoice and be glad! This month as we feast on the daily bread from God's Word I hope to give you verses that will help you spiritually, physically, and emotionally to make the best of each new day.
6. This Is The Day
All Things Work Together
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
While visiting my Father-in-Law in the hospital a conversation started about fainting. He remembered fainting while marching in boot camp in the army. He had not eaten for quite a while and the march was long. When he awoke much later he was in the road with his duffle bag and no one was in sight. He said he had to get something to eat so he made his way back to camp. The barracks he came to were empty and he laid down on the bed. When he woke up the next time he had lost two days and tried to find his company. He found his name on a bulletin board as being AWOL. He had a lot of explaining to do. His group was sent overseas without him. He now realizes that fainting and being left alone in the road may have actually saved his life. Because his group went on without him, he was sent in a different direction. Sometimes things happen in our lives that change the direction we are going. I hope that you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and that changed your eternal direction. When other things come along that turn you away from the path you planned, don't get angry at God. Things that seem like stumbling blocks in our lives may actually be stepping stones that God has placed there to lead us through troubled waters. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
After God destroyed the earth with the flood, He made this promise, “…seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Our days change into nights and our seasons change with the weather. We are going through the change of summer to autumn, the time of harvest. We change the clothes we wear, as the days get shorter and the weather becomes cooler. The trees change appearance as the leaves go through brilliant color changes then fall to the ground. The air seems crisp and we enjoy the smell of fresh pumpkin pies. We experience many changes with the change in seasons. Let’s look at some of the changes we find in the Word of God.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:3-6
As I was driving home this evening I noticed a little road on the left and the thought suddenly entered my mind, “I wonder where that little road leads to…” Then just as quickly, I saw a small sign on the right side of the road pointing in that direction… “Dead End”. If I had been going faster, or not paying attention, I would not have even noticed the “Dead End” sign. I wonder how many people are traveling through life on a dead end street and haven’t even slowed down enough to notice. I have turned down dead end roads in the past and had to turn around and change directions. Are you heading in the right direction? Do you know The Way, The Truth, and The Life? We read in Matthew 7:13 & 14 where Jesus also said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow in the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road he changed directions. His whole life changed when he got on the straight and narrow way. Where are you heading today? Are you on your way to the place Jesus has prepared?
9. Prayer Changes Lives
Teach Us To Pray
"And it came to pass, that as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1
Once again we have entered the autumn season, the season of change. The leaves change colors, the air becomes crisp and cool, and the days get shorter. Many people look forward to this "sweater weather" after the long, hot summer days. As I was thinking about all the changes of autumn, I started thinking about changes in our lives, and I immediately thought of prayer. When we face difficult situations and don't know what to do, we can pray. When our loved ones are sick and we feel helpless, we can pray. When troubles and trials knock us off our feet, we can fall on our face and pour our heart out to God in prayer. God listens to our prayers and can bring changes in our lives when no one else can. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Let's spend a few weeks looking at some of the things the Bible says about prayer. We will see how prayer changed the lives of many in the Bible and learn to put our faith and trust in God through prayer.
10. Pray Changes Lives
Pray For Direction
"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4 & 5
We need to pray daily that God will lead us in His path and help us to walk in His way. Today we celebrate Columbus Day. On October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of America. He was looking for a different route to Asia, but God lead him in new paths. We need to ask God to lead us in the right paths. We may not end up where we thought we were headed, but if we let Him lead us, we will be in the right place. Columbus probably never knew the impact his voyages would have or that we would still remember his name 500 years later. As we let God lead us, we also don't know who we might influence with our Christian example. Keep walking in the Lord's way. "Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name." (Psalm 86:11) "Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end." (Psalm 119:33)
11. Prayer Changes Lives
Pray To God Only
"Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God." Daniel 3:29
When I was young, I liked to watch the cartoon, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". Linus would go to the pumpkin patch and look for the Great Pumpkin. He was sincere and really believed the Great Pumpkin would come, but all he ever saw was Snoopy, a beagle. There are many people today who think that it doesn't matter who you believe in, as long as you are sincere. They might as well be looking for the Great Pumpkin. In the book of Daniel we read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that everyone fall down and worship his god, an image of gold, when the music played. But the three Hebrew children refused to worship any other god, even though it meant that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:16-18) We need to pray to the one and only living God and serve Him only.
You may enjoy our crossword Great Verses which tells of many "great" things in the Bible.
12. Things To Learn And Teach
We All Teach
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
I like to have a verse to use as a theme for the daily devotions and as I was praying about which direction God would lead me, He seemed to put several verses in my head and heart about things we should learn and teach. While we may feel like we can't get up and teach a class, we are all teachers. Our peers, family, and friends learn from our words, actions, and reactions to things around us. This verse in Deuteronomy tells us to diligently teach our children when we sit in our house, as we go about our daily walk, when we go to bed and when we get up. Our children learn from God's Word in church, but it is our responsibility to teach them throughout the day, everyday, about the things of God. Let's look at some of the principles in the Bible that we should be learning and teaching.
13. Things To Learn And Teach
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
This may be the most well-known verse in the Bible. We should learn and teach this verse, but it is not enough to simply memorize the verse. We must believe this in our heart and accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Here are simple steps to salvation following the Romans Road.
A -- Admit that you are a sinner. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
B -- Believe in your heart. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)
C -- Confess with your mouth. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:10-11)
We are looking at things we should learn and teach. Salvation is the most important thing we need to know. Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and don't be ashamed to tell others about Jesus.
14. Laborers For Christ
Whatsoever Ye Do
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him… And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:17 & 23-24
Now that many of you have gone back to school, you have probably started thinking about what you want to be “when you grow up”. Some people begin at a very young age with an idea of what they would like to become. Some little boys who say they want to be firemen, actually grow up to become firemen. And some little girls who say that they want to be teachers, become wonderful teachers. But for others, it is hard to know what direction you want to take. The important thing is to let God lead you. Pray and seek God’s will for your life. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Serve God whatever you do and wherever you go.
15. Laborers For Christ
A Little Maid
“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For he would recover him of his leprosy.”
II Kings 5:1-3
I could talk about several different people in these verses, but I want us to look at the little maid. This child was carried away captive out of her homeland. She lost her home and she may have lost all her family. She was put to work as a maid for Naaman’s wife. I have often imagined her standing and brushing the hair of her mistress and listening to her talk of how bad it is for her great husband to have leprosy. She is not hesitant to speak up, “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For he would recover him of his leprosy.” The story continues as word gets to the king of Syria and he sends a letter to the king of Israel with a gift off silver and gold and clothes. “And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?… And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come not to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (II Kings 5:7 & 8) Elisha tells Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times and his flesh would be clean. The little maid had more faith in God than the king of Israel. She had heard of Elisha and believed. You may feel like you are in a bad situation. You may be away from home, or away from your family. You may feel like you are too young to make a difference in someone’s life. But if someone near you is hurting or in need of God, don’t hesitate to tell them about your God. Have faith and believe… and tell others.
16. Christmas Plays
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2:1-7
I know that we are not even in the month of November, much less the Christmas season, but for those who are planning Christmas plays the time is here. Our page, Christmas Plays, has been the most viewed page during the last few weeks. Each year we write and perform a Christmas play that focuses on the Nativity. We have several different plays which center around the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ as told in Luke 2, each with a different approach to the beloved Christmas story. For the next few days we will take a look at some of the plays we have written and performed at our church. You are welcome to follow the links and print the scripts if you are interested in performing one of these plays. There are photo pages for some of the scripts to show costumes or scenery that we used.
17. "O Come All Ye Faithful"
This play was on my heart for almost two years before I finished writing it and it became my favorite Christmas play. The play begins with the song, "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and this narrative: “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, these words have echoed through the ages, calling us to worship our God and our King. As we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus we see the “faithful” gathered around a lowly manger. We read of faithful men and women in the Holy Scriptures and know that above all, God is faithful to keep His Word. And, tonight we want to look at some of the faithful men and women who, often through adversity, wrote the Christmas carols we enjoy year after year. "
The play tells the stories of eight Christmas carols and includes the story of the Truce of World War I between the British and the German soldiers. Most of the parts can be read, making it easier for the performers. I did a lot of research for the history of the Christmas carols and some of the sources are listed at the end of the play. I used many more sources to verify the information. Everyone, including those in the play, seemed to really enjoy this play. It was very enlightening, as we don't usually think of the hard trials that the song writers endured before writing these blessed songs.
18. The Gifts Of Christmas
This play is the Christmas story, told through the scriptures (KJV). It can be performed by all ages. This play can be done with as few as 10 characters, two to open each "gift", although more angels, shepherds, and wise men can be added. The parts may be memorized by those who open the "gifts" or read by Narrators. The songs can also be sung by those on stage, or off stage. The unique feature of the play is in the presentation. Please see the photo page for details. (We kept the scenery and used it again the following year.) I was able to get five large pieces of folded cardboard which had been used to deliver floor mats. We painted each opened piece with a simple different scene. (The wet paint wrinkled the cardboard and we had to press flat with tables.) We taped on plastic plant segments to give more detail. For the town of Bethlehem we used paper mache to cover pieces of foam and glued them in the center. We hung a star light with string to each flap and it rose over Bethlehem as the flaps were opened. We taped large boxes (filled with heavy items) behind each piece of scenery to keep them from falling forward or backward. The flaps were propped open with large rocks, plants, or sheep. Bethlehem was placed on folded tables above the choir pews so that the star would be higher than the other scenery. For the manger scene we made a cardboard manger which unfolded forward when opened. This scene was lower and in front of Bethlehem, so the town and star appeared to be in the distance, above the stable. We covered cardboard sheep with fleece and glued on white cotton balls and a black button eye. They were placed behind the flaps and brought forward as the manger and shepherd "gifts" were opened. The front flaps were covered with different colors of shiny Christmas paper and tied with bright ribbons to resemble large gifts. The play opens with four large "gifts" on stage. With each part, a new "gift" is opened and after four parts, all the segments flow together to create the scenery. The gift of love, the cross, is moved to the center in the end, and all the characters move from the stable to kneel at the cross. You can follow the link to read and print the script. The Gifts Of Christmas.
19. My Christmas Essay
This play is about a young girl whose mother teaches her about the true meaning of Christmas when she has to write an essay about Christmas for school. Starting with the Old Testament, this play shows that Jesus' birth was planned from the beginning of time. It ends with the explanation that Jesus was born to die for us on the cross.
This can be performed by adults or children. There must be at least one child and one adult to play the mother and daughter. For the Nativity cast, we had children playing most of the roles, with the exception of adult men portraying the prophets, wise men, and King Herod. Our main stage was the main platform at church, and it was decorated like a living room; there were two seats for the mother and daughter (rocking chair and small bench, covered with a blanket to look like a sofa), with an end table and decorative Nativity scene in between. A sturdy, wooden platform was designed to rest on the tops of the pews in the middle of the choir, where Mary and Joseph could sit, so the Nativity area was a level behind and above the mother and daughter. Lights were hung in the baptistry behind a dark sheet. Different strands were plugged in to resemble a starry sky, one bright star, and a cross, at various times in the play. There are a few photos showing the lights and scenery on the Christmas Plays Page and the script can be read and printed from the My Christmas Essay page.
20. Go And Tell
This is a play of the Christmas Nativity, which focuses on the part of the shepherds as they spread the news that the Christ Child was born. After their visit to the manger they leave through the audience telling the great news, "The Christ Child is born!" There is a place in the play for Christians to give their testimony of who told them about the Savior and how God used it to lead them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the end there is a challenge for us to keep on telling the Christmas story. The parts of the Narrators can be read and could be combined if needed. The parts of Isaiah and Micah could be written on a scroll and their parts could also be read if needed.
21. The Christmas Gift
A Christian woman gives her husband new shoes for Christmas in hopes that he will go to church with her Christmas Day. The Preacher stops by and invites him to church. As the Preacher reads the Christmas story from the Bible, the nativity scene unfolds at the side of the stage. After the completion of the nativity story, the man accepts the Lord's gift of salvation.
22. John Finds Christmas
Sometime last year I saw some very moving videos on YouTube called Cardboard Testimonies. The one that spoke to my heart opened up with scenes of homeless or needy people holding cardboard signs, asking for help. After those first few segments the scene switched to people in a church holding their signs. Each person held a sign to tell where he or she was, and then turned the sign to the back to reveal where he or she was now with the Lord's help. I have often seen people holding signs with such messages as, "Out of work" and "Please help". I think this spoke to me in a special way because I lost my job two years ago and I realized that it could be me out on the street begging. In January, last year, I sat down and wrote this play. Our youth put together bags and gave to each person at our Heart to Heart Banquet to be given to those on the streets asking for help. We put some snacks, warm socks, New Testaments, and gospel tracts in the bags. I pray that God used the bags to bring hope to someone in need.
This Christmas play is about a family who helps a young boy with his family needs, and also with his spiritual needs. As they spend time with him they help him understand the true meaning of Christmas which leads to his own personal salvation. The play ends with the use of "cardboard testimonies" but these could be omitted. We are planning to give this play this Christmas. We have had one practice and have already talked about a few changes. You can read and print the script John Finds Christmas.
I pray that you have enjoyed reading about our Christmas plays and hope that if you use one God will be glorified.
23. Wisdom From Proverbs
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:7
Here's the thing... wisdom is the thing... get wisdom... and while you're at it, get understanding. The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom. When God asked Solomon what He could give him, Solomon asked for an understanding heart. God said, "... I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." (I Kings 3:12) Pray for wisdom as we look in God's Word at some of the Proverbs of King Solomon. And as you increase in wisdom, pray for understanding. God can give us both wisdom and understanding, and without God we have neither. "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." (Proverbs 2:6) Here's the thing... wisdom is the thing.
Wisdom From Proverbs includes some familiar verses from Proverbs such as, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5 & 6) Wisdom is also shown in verses that may not be as familiar. "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." (Proverbs 21:23) Proverbs To Ponder is a list of some Proverbs to think about. Word puzzles include The Fear Of The Lord (change one letter to make each new word), Honeycomb, and Proverbs Crossword.
24. Wisdom From Proverbs
A Wise Man Will Hear
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." Proverbs 1:5
It is interesting that this does not say, "A wise man will speak, and others will listen." That is the way the world looks at wisdom. This verse says that the wise man will hear. That is the way to increase your wisdom... listen. Listen to the older folks and learn from their experiences. Listen to the counsel of strong Christian friends who have been through trials. Listen to the advice of Christian parents who want what's best for you. Listen, and weigh all the counsel in your mind as you pray for God's guidance. Solomon's own son should have heeded this advice. I Kings chapter 12 is a great example. Verse 8 says, "But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him." Rehoboam did not listen to the wise counsel and the people rebelled. The kingdom was divided and he was king over the house of Judah and Jereboam became king over all Israel. (I Kings 12:20)
25. The Book of Psalms - Rivers Of Water
Like A Tree Planted By Rivers Of Water
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3
When I was very young I remember going to a park and playing on the swings while my Dad played softball. Years later, when my children were small it was fun to pack a picnic lunch and take a trip to the park. As they grew older, they played in the little league baseball games and we spent many Saturdays at Creekside Park. Through the years we also played tennis and walked on the nature trails. I enjoy being outdoors, surrounded by God's creation. It is good to get away from the constant noise that seems to surround us and meditate on God's Word. How long has it been since you found a quiet spot and talked with God? Do you want to be blessed, and bring forth fruit like a tree planted by rivers of water? Let's take a little while to look in the book of Psalms for verses to meditate on. Let's grow and prosper in the Lord.
On several occasions as I read through different books in the Bible I would choose verses from specific books for our daily devotions. As we looked at Wisdom from Proverbs, today we have the book of Psalms, Rivers Of Water. There is a Psalm 23 Crossword, and another Psalm 23 art project for small children. Psalm 100:4 is another puzzle which can be used for Thanksgiving.
26. The Book Of Psalms - Rivers Of Water
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." Psalm 23:2
I have never been around many sheep, but my Dad had a few cows down through the years. When they had eaten all the grass from the upper pasture they would stand at the gate and "moo". Dad would call us to come down and we would all stand in the gap while he led the cows from the upper pasture, to the lower pasture. The ones that followed his leading quickly found themselves in the thick green grass that he had sown in the bottom land. But there were occasions when one of the cows would not follow his leading. It would stand in the upper, empty field and bellow for something to eat. There were also times when one would break through the gap and take off in the wrong direction. Then Dad and the boys would chase it back in the right direction. Where are you today? Are you following the leading of your Shepherd? There are some who have decided to stay just where they are. They aren't getting fed Spiritually because they are not following the Lord. They stand around and complain just like a stubborn bull. There are others who start off following the Lord, but they get in too big of a hurry and go off in the wrong direction. Then the Lord often has to chasten them. We need to follow the Lord, our Shepherd, to the green pastures and still waters. After the cows were in the new pasture a while, they would lie down under the shade of the trees and my Dad would say, "They're full now." The Lord wants to fill us. Follow Him. He may lead you to witness to someone today. He may want you to take a part in the teaching or singing at your church. Or, He may have given you the gift of lifting up others through prayer and sending cards. Follow the Shepherd.
27. Remember Now Thy Creator
Remember His Marvelous Works
“Remember his marvelous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;” Psalms 105:5
Just as we want the Lord to remember us, we should remember Him. Several things we can do as we remember Him are mentioned in the verses prior to this one. “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” (Psalm 105:1-4) Be thankful. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to be thankful. Meditate upon and remember the marvelous things God has done for you throughout the years, and be thankful. “Call upon His name…” Talk to God just as you talk to a friend, because He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Be a witness for Christ. Remember his works for you and tell others. Rejoice and glory in His name. And finally, when you remember what He has done for you in the past, don’t forget to seek His face and His strength in the present.
28. Remember Now Thy Creator
Roosters Still Crow
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Luke 22:31-34
I was driving to work this morning and just up the road from my house I heard a rooster crow. There is nothing extraordinary about hearing a rooster, since it was morning. I grew up next door to my grandparents and they had chickens and roosters so I woke up to the crowing many mornings. My children enjoyed hatching chicks and raising their own chickens for a few years and I never really thought about the roosters crowing. But this morning, God reminded me of these verses, and those farther into the chapter. "And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:59-62) Peter denied Christ three times and the rooster crowed. Jesus looked at Peter and Peter remembered the word of the Lord and went out and wept bitterly. Somehow Peter made it through that day, and maybe he was able to sleep a little that night, and in the morning, the rooster crowed. I believe Peter wept again, and the next morning the rooster crowed. Their roosters may have been like some of ours and crowed during the day, too. I think that everytime Peter heard a rooster crow he remembered the look of the Lord and His Words. I have heard preachers criticize Peter for going fishing in John 21:3, but with the sound of the waves Peter could not hear any roosters crow while he was on the sea. All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I drove to work and then the Lord whispered in His still small voice that roosters still crow. We sometimes fall to temptation and we confess and weep bitterly to our Lord and He is faithful to forgive us of our sin. Then we hear a sound, or see something and it reminds us of our failure. The first sound Peter heard every morning was the rooster crow. Jesus could have told Peter that he would deny Him before dawn, but He said, "before the cock crow". Jesus knew Peter would be reminded of his failure over and over. Peter went on to become a great and mighty preacher for our Lord. In our lives today, roosters still crow. We need to confess our sins, and then let those painful memories stir us to become better Christians. We have been looking towards Mother's Day and I wondered why God put this on my heart today. It may have been just for you. Does that small cry you hear each morning remind you of sin in your life? Do you wake with physical or emotional pain caused by your past? Turn to the Lord. We read in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Jesus will forgive. Sometimes it's hard for us to forget.
29. What Are We Doing Here?
What Doest Thou Here, Elijah?
"And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a vioce unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" I Kings 19:9-13
Do you ever look over your life and ask yourself, "What am I doing here?" Elijah had done a great work for the Lord on Mount Carmel against the prophets of Baal, but Jezebel threatened to kill him, so he ran and hid in the wilderness. He sat under a juniper tree and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (I Kings 19:4) God sent an angel to feed him and after he rested he went on to Mount Horeb. God asked him this question not once, but twice, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" I think God was trying to tell Elijah that He had better things for him to do than to hide out in a cave. Are you in hiding? Can the world see Christ in you? We are all here for a purpose. Let's take a few days to ask ourselves, "What are we doing here?"
30. What Are We Doing Here?
A Job Fit For A King
"And Jokin, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things. These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work." I Chronicles 4:22 & 23
I was reading in I Chronicles through the genealogies, from Adam, down through each lineage of the sons of Israel. After reading name, after name, after name, I came to these verses which described the work of these men in this line of Judah. Several words in these two verses, "ancient", "potters", "plants", "hedges", and "king", reminded me of one of the Seven Ancient Wonders Of The World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I tried to find more verses about these men so that I could put them in a time-table and tell which king they worked for, but this is the only place these men are mentioned. I looked online about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and although there are differences of opinion, many of the references say they were believed to have been built during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and slaves were used to turn the wheels and chains that carried water up the vast heights to water these plants. Without any other information, I kept reading in Chronicles as the different lines of Israel were noted. I prayed that God would show me more from His Word, and I came to I Chronicles 9:1 and saw that maybe these were the potters that built the mountainous, stairstepped, gardens of Babylon. "So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression." There is no way to really know which king these men worked for, but the significance of the verses is that they did their work so well, it is commended among these lists of names. Their work was fit for a king, as "...they dwelt with the king for his work." We have been searching the scriptures to find our purpose for living. You may feel that all your work and energy is being used to promote your company or boss and that you are a slave to your job. Don't despair. Do the best job you can. Do a job fit for a king.
31. Go With God
Let's Just Go With God
"And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Exodus 33:12-15
God told Moses, "My presence shall go with thee..." and Moses replied, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." God spoke to Moses from a burning bush on the backside of the desert in Exodus 3. Moses had excuses. He said the people would not believe that God sent him. "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee." (Exodus 4:1) Another excuse is in verse 10, "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." Moses had been brought up in the palace of Egypt. He may have not been fluent in the Hebrew language. But God said, "Go..." and Moses went. "And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. And Moses took his wife and his sons, ... and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand." (Exodus 4:19-20) By faith, Moses chose to go with God. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:24-27) Let's put away the excuses and Go With God!
32. Go With God
Going In Circles
"And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day;..." Joshua 14:10-12
Susanna has a new hamster. It is of the dwarf variety and is not much bigger than my thumb. I enjoyed watching it get acclimated to its new cage. I watched as he ran on his wheel for a minute or two, then he jumped off and looked around to see where he was. He got back on the wheel for a minute and jumped off and sat there looking first to the right, then to the left and back to the right. He went through this ritual for a long time and after each trip on the wheel he looked at his surroundings as if he expected to be in a new place. I thought of my evening ritual of running for half an hour and ending in the same place I began. This is ok for our physical bodies, because we are pumping blood to our hearts. This should not be the case in our spiritual lives. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness and Caleb did not get to go in and possess the land when he searched it out at 40, but he had to wander with the children of Israel and he finally claimed his mountain at 85. Are you going forward in your spiritual life, or are you wandering in circles? You may be putting forth a lot of time and energy, just as Susanna's new pet, just to wake up each morning in the same condition. Let's go with God and be like Caleb and claim our spiritual mountain. Caleb was 85. I don't think it's too late for you and me.
33. Be Still And Know That I Am God
"Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
This is one of my favorite verses. Just as I often told my children to "Be still" when we were sitting in church, God is telling us to "Be still." How much do we really want to know God? Here is the secret... "Be still and know that I am God." We pray and ask God to speak to us and guide us, but do we sit still and quietly listen for His answers? We live such busy lives, it is good to take time and "Be still" from time to time and listen for God to speak to us. We can do this as we pray and read His Word. Turn off the noises of this world and quietly listen for God. When we know God, we will exalt His Holy Name.
34. Be Still And Know That I Am God
Be Filled With The Fulness of God
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:19
I walked to the front of our church, and sitting on the third row were two empty bowls. The owner had no doubt taken food to someone in them and they were being returned. There they sat. Quiet and still... waiting to be used again. Empty... waiting to be filled. Is that how we come to church? Do we empty our mind of the cares and troubles of this world? Do we pray that God will fill us with His Holy Spirit? Are we waiting on the Lord to use us? We often say we want the Lord to use us, but we don't give Him any of our time. We pray for God to fill us, but our lives are filled with the things of this world. Our verse above exhorts us to know the love of Christ and be filled with the fulness of God. When we are filled with the things of the Lord we will have a song in our heart and peace in our soul, as we read in Ephesians 5:18-20, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
35. Growing In The Lord - A Study Through I Samuel
"And The Child Samuel Grew On..."
“And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.” I Samuel 2:26
I have just finished reading through the book of I Samuel and there are many verses that I think we can find helpful in growing in the Lord. I have always liked the story of Samuel. I remember hearing the story of little boy Samuel when I was just a child. I thought he was so special to get to help Eli in the temple. When our boys were small they enjoyed acting out the story during our family devotions. One child would lay on a blanket pallet on the floor and be Samuel. Another would lay on the couch and play the part of Eli. Mike would tell the story and call out, "Samuel, Samuel" and our Samuel would run to Eli and ask, "Eli, Eli, did you call me?" I will never forget my little David on the thid call as he would say, "Here I is, Lord." Let's look back to some of the stories we find in this great book and pray that we can be like Samuel and grow in favor with the Lord, and also with those around us.
36. Growing In The Lord - A Study Through I Samuel
Is "Stuff" Keeping You From Following God?
“And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us, Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.” I Samuel 10:19-23
We are going through the book of I Samuel as we look for verses about "Growing In The Lord". We come to the place in our physical lives that we eventually stop growing. That should not be the case in our spiritual lives. We should continue to grow in the Lord and become stronger Christians. Today I want to ask you the question, "What stuff is keeping you from following God, or from growing in the Lord?" Saul already knew that God had chosen him to be king. The first 16 verses of this chapter tell how Samuel anointed him and told him the things that would happen so that he would know this was of God. He knew he was chosen to be king, but when the time came, he hid among the stuff. Maybe God told you what He wants you to be. He has clearly shown you His will for your life, but you have let "stuff" keep you from stepping forward and accepting God's leading. Saul was head and shoulders taller than all the people, so he had to find a big pile of "stuff" to hide behind. He soon discovered that no matter how much stuff he put between him and God, he could not hide from God. If you want to grow in the Lord, it's time to stop hiding from God and step out from behind the big pile of "stuff" that's keeping you from God's will. Jonah tried to hide from God when he went down into the sides of the ship and went to sleep, but he ended up in the belly of a whale. He knew what God had told him to do, but he just didn't want to do it. If we refuse to do the will of God, He may send storms in our lives to wake us up. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God because they had sin in their lives. They also found out that you can't hide from God. What has God called you to do? Maybe He wants you to teach a Sunday School class and you say, "I've never taught a class before." I'm sure Saul was scared because he had never been a king before. His people had never even had a king before. If God has called you to do something for Him, don't you think He will give you the ability to do it? The only ability God needs you to have is availability. You make yourself available for God to use, and He will give you the ability.
37. Disciples Of Jesus
The Twelve Disciples
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor." Luke 6:12-16
The twelve disciples had an in important role in the ministry of Jesus. They spent just over three years in the fellowship of Jesus listening and learning from the Master. The miracles they saw, and the teachings they heard, coupled with the gift of the Holy Spirit gave them what they needed to carry on the Christian faith for the future of the entire universe. We are believers today because someone cared enough to tell us about the Savior. Those disciples and a few more believers met in the upper room after Jesus died and the church was born. From the beginning, Jesus knew what trials these early followers would have to endure. He knew what faith it would take for them to follow Him. He also knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him for thirty pieces of silver. Notice His preparation for calling these twelve disciples to follow Him. "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Jesus knew the importance of prayer. He stayed in fellowship and communion with His heavenly Father. Let's look at the early disciples of Jesus and see their strengths. We can also remember that they were human, just like us, so we will also see some of their weaknesses. My closing thought for the day is, if Jesus knew that it was so important to pray that He "continued all night in prayer to God", shouldn't we spend more time in prayer?
38. Veteran’s Day
“And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies…Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” II Samuel 22:1-4 & 50
Today is Veteran’s Day and we need to show our thanks to all those who have fought for the freedom we enjoy. David sang praises to God in thanksgiving for deliverance over his enemies. David knew his source of strength and deliverance. “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.” (verse 18) “For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” (verses 32 & 33) We live in a great land. And we need to give thanks to God and to the men and women who fought to make our land great. And keep praying… “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
As we enter into the Thanksgiving season we have so much to be thankful for. We could spend all of our time thanking Him for His mercy and saving grace. But not only has Christ saved us, He loads His blessings on us everyday. We can say with David, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation…” (Psalm 68:19) God has blessed our homes, our churches, and God has blessed our nation. We have religious freedom and modern conveniences that make life easier. Our travel, communication, and even food preparation is faster than ever. We need to take time to thank Him and praise Him for all He has done for us, not only during this holiday season, but everyday of our lives, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:20)
40. In The Time Of Trouble
"But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble." Psalm 37:38
We are in troubled times. With the unemployment rate at peaks across our country, many are facing financial troubles. With each company that closes its doors, the rippled effect touches so many of our lives. In addition to the financial troubles, we have family and friends burdened with physical pain and suffering. Where can we find help in these times of trouble? Like David, we can turn to the Lord God of our salvation and find "strength in the time of trouble". Look at verses 3-7 of this same chapter. "Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:..." Do you see the pattern? Trust in the Lord, delight thyself in the Lord, commit your way to the Lord, and rest in the Lord. Then verse 34 tells us to "Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land:..." Follow these steps and find strength from the Lord in the time of trouble. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." (Psalm 37:24-25)
41. But God
"I Once Was Lost, But Now I'm Found"
Many of us sang Jesus Loves Me as children. "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong." (Anna B. Warner) We learn from a young age that we are weak, but He is strong. We also sing the familiar hymn, Amazing Grace, "I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see." (John Newton) Another song that comes to mind asks, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus." (Robert Lowry) In each of these three songs we see this little word, "but". I am happy to say that "I once was lost, but now I'm found." I was born into a sin cursed world, but God loved me so much that He gave His only Son to die for me. I had no hope for the future... but God gave me everlasting life. I am poor and needy... but God supplies all my needs. I am weak... but He gives me the strength I need each day. I face trials and storms... but God calms the troubled seas of life. I may have fears... but God gives me peace. For every trouble I face, God is there. Let's search the scriptures and find help in those two little words, "...but God..." I leave you with the words of another faithful old hymn by Charlotte Elliott. "Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!"
42. But God
But God Raised Him From The Dead
"And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead:" Acts 13:29 & 28
The weather has started turning cooler and autumn is here. We will soon begin to think about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many people, even those who aren't Christians celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus. You can get your stable and miniature Mary, Joseph, and shepherds out of storage to display in your home, and still not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Some will also dress in their best and go to church on Easter Sunday. But Christianity is more than the birth of Jesus and His death on the cross. This short verse, "But God raised him from the dead" tells the greatest miracle of all time. Paul told the Romans, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9) The resurrection separates Christianity from all other religions. My God lives. It would not be enough to believe all the miracles in the Bible and not believe in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, because I believe that Christ was raised from the dead, I have no problem believing all the other miracles in the Bible.
43. But God
But God Gave The Increase
I chose these verses for our devotions and I "borrowed" this devotional from our time of youth jubilee a couple of years ago.
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” I Corinthians 3:6-8
The last plate had been served. The last cup of iced tea had been poured. Everyone was busy: washing dishes, wiping tables, stacking chairs, and bagging trash. We collected salt and peppershakers and then I started gathering the glass jars of red, white, and blue flowers to put away for another day. One little boy came up to me and said, “Those are pretty flowers. You just gotta keep watering and watering.” I carried those jars to the shelf and as I went back for more he said again, “You just gotta keep watering and watering.” He then turned and ran off to join the other kids. I had to make one more trip and when I got to the corner table, and picked up the last jar, there was about two inches of water in the blue marbles in the bottom of the jar. I laughed as I showed it to the women in the kitchen and repeated the little boy’s words, “Those are pretty flowers. You just gotta keep watering and watering.” In his way, this small child tried to help as he watered the flowers. As I thought on this I remembered these words of Paul in I Corinthians 3:6-8, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” I want to thank each of you who had a part in the Youth Jubilee. We all labored together. The Word of God, the precious seed, was planted in the hearts of these young boys and girls. Others watered, and God gave the increase. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for the unity you showed as you all worked together in “one accord” for the Lord’s work. Thank you for cooking and cleaning, and giving your time and talents for God’s glory. All through the week, as the preachers and singers planted the seed, you kept watering, and watering, the garden of pretty flowers. And you did it with smiling faces, even when I didn’t have my camera in hand. Thank you! God only knows how these lives will bloom… and you helped water.
44. But God
But God Be Thanked
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Romans 6:17&18
Cooler winds have begun to blow and a few leaves have started to let go. I get up in the dark and I pull out my sweater for the brisk days. I like the fall. I went to the store and bought all those special baking ingredients that line my cabinet shelves this time of year. Those special spices remind us that Thanksgiving is not too far off. Thanksgiving. A festive time of year for feasting with family and friends. Thanksgiving. A favorite time of year for giving thanks to God above for His many blessings on our lives. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my church and Christian family. The list could go on and on as I thank God for my home, my job, my food and clothes. But I am thankful most of all for God's gift of salvation. As the verse tells us above, we can be thankful that we are no longer servants of sin. I don't have to live a sinful life. God has put a desire deep in my heart to serve Him. He has given me a deep settled peace in trusting in His Word. He gives me joy in walking the Christian way. He gives me freedom from the sins of the past, and hope and strength for each step of today. I have the promise of a heavenly home for eternity. Yes, we have so much to be thankful for. Let's start early and keep praising Him throughout the holiday season.
45. I Know
I Know Whom I Have Believed
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." II Timothy 1:12
I saw part of a well known talk show years ago and the host was talking about religion. She is a very prominent person in our society and I wanted to hear her religious views. She was talking about faith and she said that it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you have faith. She was totally wrong then, and if she has not changed her views she is leading many poor souls in the wrong direction. It does matter who you put your faith in. Christians are accused of being intolerant of other religions, and of thinking the Christian was is the only way. I believe what Jesus said in John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." I can say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." I know the Lord. Paul even goes on to tell us how we can know Christ Jesus, "That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." The Holy Ghost lives in my heart. I serve the only true and living God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that the Lord knocked on my heart's door one day and gave me salvation. You can know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Hear the Word of God. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10, 13) You can know this one of a kind faith. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
46. I Know That All Things Work Together For Good To Them That Love God
"28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:28-32
Anyone who reads this site very often may notice that I often say, "This is one of my favorite chapters" or "These are some of my favorite verses." It seems as though the more I read and study God's Word, the more God's Word becomes a part of my thoughts and daily life and I keep finding more and more scriptures that mean a lot to me. Such are these verses from Romans 8. Several years ago when I was going through some difficult times at work God showed me these promises. I typed the verses on a card and posted them beside my computer on the wall of my cubicle. When I would have a hard day I would glance at them and read, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I found help in these words. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" One afternoon everyone in my department was called into the board room and told we were being let go. It was a total surprise to all of us. Because God had given me these precious promises in Romans 8 during my "small" problems, I was able to claim these promises that day in what everyone saw as a "big" problem. God gave me peace that He was still in control of my life. I looked for another job, but jobs are very hard to find in our area. So until God leads me to another job I will keep working around the house and enjoying the extra time I get to spend with my family.
47. There Is A Place By Me
A Place By God
"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:" Exodus 33:14-22
In Exodus 32 Moses and Joshua came down from Mount Sinai and the children of Israel were worshipping a golden calf. Moses threw down the two tables which were written by God and the commandments were broken. Moses wants assurance that God is still with them. God tells Moses, "Behold, there is a place by me..." This is encouraging to us because we often sin and break God's commands, but the Lord has promised to be with us always. (Matthew 28:20) When we seek the presence of the Lord God as Moses did, we can find a place by Him.
48. What We Have
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Matthew 19:27
A few verses earlier Jesus said, “…And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all tings are possible.” (Matthew 19:24-26) Peter was never afraid to say what he was thinking. If they were not going to gain riches by being saved, what would they gain? I want us to look into the scriptures and think about what we gain by accepting God’s salvation.
We have everlasting life…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Peter asked, “What shall we have therefore?” (Matthew 19:27) In this very familiar verse, John 3:16, we learn that we can have everlasting life. Jesus died that we might live. He paid the price for our sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) When we Acknowledge our sin, Believe that He died to save us, and Confess with our mouth, we can be saved and receive everlasting life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) Death is just a step up into heaven where we will live forever with our God and Savior.
49. What We Have
We have the power of prayer…
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
When my oldest son was about three years old we had a tire that blew out on the highway. I wanted to use the situation to teach him that God answers our prayers. So we prayed out loud for God to help us. Just as we finished praying our simple prayer a man pulled up and changed my flat tire. He then asked me about my salvation. He was a Gideon, who places the Gideon Bibles in hotels and such, and gave my son a New Testament Bible. God indeed answered our prayer in such a beautiful way. My son learned at an early age that God answers prayer. I recently received a prayer journal as a gift. The upper sections of the pages are to record your prayers, and the lower portions of the pages are to record your answers. You could keep a prayer journal using a simple notebook. Jesus encourages us to pray in Matthew 7:7 & 8. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Call out to God in prayer today… and expect great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
50. What We Have
We have so much more…
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20 & 21
For the past four weeks we have looked at some of the things we have in Christ. But we have so much more… “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” I wanted to just list some of the things we may not have mentioned: advocate, an altar, anchor, assurance, benefits, blessing, charity, cheer, church, cleansing, a new city, comfort, Comforter, communion, counselor, courage, covenant, cross, daily bread, deliverance, devotions, direction, door, ears to hear, enough, ensample, everlasting life, evidence, family, faith, forgiveness, freedom, great gain, garment, gladness, Gospel, grace, guide, healing, hedge about us, heritage, hope, integrity, intercession, journey, joy, judge, justification, king, knowledge, Lamb, laughter, liberty, life, Light, Lord, love, Master, meekness, mercy, message, new name, opportunity, overcome, pardon, patience, peace, Great Physician, pleasure, portion, power, promises, protection, provision, purpose, reason, Redeemer, redemption, rejoicing, rest, revelation, reward, righteousness, robe, sacrifice, safety, salvation, Savior, Shepherd, shield, sight, sign, songs, soul, Spirit, storms, supplication, sword, Teacher, temptation, testimony, thanksgiving, tranquility, treasure, trust, Truth, victory, vision, walk, water, Way, wisdom, witness, Word, work, yoke, and zeal. We have these things and so much more. Lift up your voice in thanksgiving for all He has done for you.
51. Thanksgiving Day
“For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.” Nehemiah 12:46
When we think of the first Thanksgiving, we think of the early settlers, Pilgrims, and Indians sharing their feast in giving thanks to God for their harvest. In 1782 George Washington made Thanksgiving an official holiday with the Thanksgiving Proclamation.
"It being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His providence in their behalf. They do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for His goodness, by a cheerful obedience of His laws, and by promoting, each in His station, and by His influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness."
--George Washington, 1782
But thanksgiving goes back even farther than that. Our scripture tells us that in the days of King David there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. We can go back even farther in time, all the way back to Leviticus 7:11-13 and read of thanksgiving. “And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. Beside the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace-offerings.” We have more to be thankful for than any other people in any other time in history. Make sure you take time today to give God thanks for all He has done for you.
52. Thank God For The Resurrection
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I Corinthians 15:19-22
I read recently that many people fall into deep depression during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There were several reasons listed that can cause this depression, during a time which should bring joy and comfort. One reason that can affect all ages and people from all courses of life comes from the “family circle” being broken. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas after the death of a loved one is very painful because you remember all the seasons past that you spent together. Death is not the only reason families may be separated. We should be constantly in prayer for those who are serving in the military at this time. Not only for the men and women serving overseas, but also for their families here who miss them. Marriage and in-laws may pull families in different directions causing hard feelings, and divorce can tear families apart and have a negative effect, especially on the children involved. People who were raised in families that celebrated the holidays together may find it depressing when some grow older and move away. As Christians, we can be thankful that, thanks to Jesus and the power of the resurrection, we can have that blessed hope of being together in heaven. There is an emptiness when the family is all together and someone else is sitting in Dad’s chair, and someone else is asking the blessing in Dad’s place. But I know that one day I will see him again, and we can walk the streets of gold together.
53. Be Thankful Everyday
I am thankful for God's Love.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
If you were asked the question, "What are you most thankful for?" what would your answer be? It didn't take me long to think about my answer. I am most thankful for God's love. He loved me so much that He gave His Son to die for me. I was lost with no way to merit God's favor. I had nothing to offer God, for all things are His. I had no righteousness in myself, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6) God, in His great love, reached down to where I was and gave His Son, the precious Lamb of God, to be my sacrifice. So today, first and foremost, I am thankful for the love of God. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:4-8)
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9:15
54. Be Thankful Everyday
I am thankful for my Godly Heritage.
“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” II Timothy 1:5
Today I give thanks to God for my godly heritage. I could have been born anywhere in the world, but by His grace He let me be born in America, a nation founded on godly principles. I could have been born to any family, but through His tender care He let me be born to a Christian Mom and Dad with Christian grandparents. I am so thankful that God let me be trained up in a Christian home. My parents took me to church from the time I was born until the day I got married. They taught me to pray and read my Bible. They taught me right from wrong. They didn't just tell me what to do, but they taught me how to follow the Lord. I heard them pray, and saw their faith as they trusted God through hard times. I have heard it said that God does not have grandchildren, only children and I understand that a person doesn't go to heaven just because his parents are Christians. But I praise the Lord that my parents and grandparents were saved, and they led me down the right path. I was saved as a child when my grandfather was preaching about the rich man who died and went to hell in Luke 16. My heart was young and tender and the Holy Spirit showed me I was lost and on my way to hell. I accepted God's gift of salvation that day as I cried and prayed, believing in my heart that the Lord would forgive my sins and give me a home in heaven. I praise the Lord for my godly heritage.
55. Be Thankful Everyday
I am thankful for my Bountiful Blessings
“I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:6
I had planned to use the familiar verse, Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." for my devotions today. As I was turning on the computer, I thought about how God has given me so much more than my daily provisions. I remembered a verse I had cross-stitched 30 some years ago, “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:6) I felt God's blessings on my life way back then and I have so much more to be thankful for now. I lost my job a year and a half ago, and I don't know that I will be able to find another job in this economy, but God is still supplying our every need. He has even given me the desires of my heart as I read in Psalms 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Years ago I was reading and came to Malachi 3:10, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." At that time, with five children, we did not have a lot to give to others, but God showed me this promise and He proved it to me over and over again. Each time I would give away a box of clothes the boys had outgrown, someone would give me two boxes to replace them. The more I gave to someone in need, the more God gave back to me. I give God the glory for all that I have. He is such a wonderfully awesome God!
56. Be Thankful Everyday
I am thankful for Christmas
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12
There are so many Christmas movies of people who don't like Christmas. They get so wrapped up in the shopping and decorating and house guests that they don't enjoy Christmas. I love Christmas. I have so many Christmas memories and I tried to make memories with my children as they were growing up. When we were young, my sisters and I would dress up with towels on our heads and act out the Christmas story playing the parts of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and switching roles to be the wise men. At my grandparents on Christmas Day, my grandpa would read the Christmas story from Luke 2. In my favorite Christmas cartoon, Linus recites from Luke 2 and says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." I am so thankful for the Christ Child of Luke 2. It is amazing to think about how Jesus left His home in heaven, to be born in a stable and be laid in a manger where the animals were fed. I have several unique manger pieces on my mantle and they remind me of the Christmas story. I have a variety of musical pieces form the Charlie Brown Christmas story and hearing the music brings me joy. But most of all, I have love, joy, and peace in my heart because I know the Christ Child of the Christmas story.
57. Be Thankful Everyday
I am thankful for my Song
"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving." Psalm 69:30
I am thankful for a song in the night. "I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." (Psalm 77:6) Thanksgiving and Christmas make my heart sing. Last year our Christmas play was on the history of several Christmas carols. It was so enlightening to search the history of songs I have sung all my life. I learned about the truce between British and German soldiers during World War I when a soldier began singing "Silent Night". After reading the sad story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, my heart will always be touched when I hear, "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day". I thank God for giving us music. It is such a joy to praise the Lord in song. I don't have the musical talent I wish I had, but I hope that God will let me sing and play the piano as long as I live. (If you would like to read our play, follow the link to "O, Come All ye Faithful").
For Unto Us A Child Is Born
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
Here is another prophecy of the birth of our Lord from the book of Isaiah. When we try to describe our Lord and Savior our words are so inadequate. "His name shall be called Wonderful..." There are not enough words in our language to tell how wonderful my Savior is. He left His home in glory to come to this sinful world to die on a cruel cross so that I could be saved. He walks with me and speaks to me daily. He supplies all my needs, and even blesses me with many of my wants. He gives me protection so that I don't have to fear. He gives me peace and joy and love. He is my Counsellor that I can talk to even in times when I can't talk to anyone else. No one understands like Jesus. He is The Mighty God and The Everlasting Father. He is The Prince of Peace. We read these verses and think about these things during the month of December each year, but we don't have to wait until Christmas to praise our Lord. We can praise Him everyday of the year. We can celebrate His birth, and His death and resurrection each morning as we thank Him for each new day. We can have assurance that the Lord will fulfill all His precious promises just as He fulfilled these prophecies from the book of Isaiah. "The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this."
He Was Wounded For Our Transgressions
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppresed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth:..." Isaiah 53:3-7
We have talked about the wonderful prophecies of the birth of our Lord. Here we also see the prophecies of His cruel death. When Jesus came to earth, He knew why He came. He knew that Judas, one of His followers, would betray Him. He knew that Peter, a close friend, would deny Him. He knew that He would die the cruel death on the cross. Yet, He came. He gave His life willingly so that we might have life. "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." (John 13:1) Jesus knew, but He loved us so much, He still came. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
A Word In Season To Him That Is Weary
"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned." Isaiah 50:4
Every morning on my way to work I pass a large bus manufacturing plant. A short way past the plant I often pass a man on a bicycle. He always looks sad and weary. I think about how tired he must be by the time he gets to work and wonder if he has a long hard day at the bus plant ahead of him. This morning I passed the bicycle man a couple of miles up the road and he was smiling. That was the first time I had ever seen him smile. I immediately wondered what made the difference. And just as quickly as the question entered my mind, I saw that he was going down hill. It is much easier to smile when you are riding a bike down hill. You can almost coast along when the weather is clear and there are no obstacles in your way. It is easy to smile then. But after you have traveled a while, and you have to start peddling up hill you get tired. When the storms roll in or the road gets rocky you get weary. Then it's hard to smile. As you go along in life, don't judge those who look weary and tired. You don't know what rough road they may be travelling. All the mornings I passed the bicycle man I thought he looked weary and worn, but now I realize he was riding up hard ground. He looked like a different person as he rode down hill this morning. Our verse above encourages us "to speak a word in season to him that is weary..." Be kind to those you meet, especially those who seem to be having a hard time. Lift them up with words of encouragement. You may need a little help up your next hill.
61. Bible Text Messages
"What Hath God Wrought!"
"Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!" Numbers 23:23
Some of you trivia buffs may know that the last four words of this verse, "What hath God wrought" was the first message sent by Morse code. Wikipedia tells us that Samuel F. B. Morse sent the message from Washington to Baltimore in 1844. In March of 1876, Alexander Graham Bell spoke the first audible words over the telephone, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you." Man had succeeded in not only sending coded messages over the telegraphs, but now could send their own voices over the telephone. This century has brought greater inventions with computers, email, and instant messaging. Now, many find it amazing that they can send text messages through their cell phones with a series of codes and shortened words. Look again at this verse in Numbers 23:23. "What hath God wrought!" This Bible text was spoken by Balaam when he was hired by Balak to curse Israel. "And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?" (Numbers 23:25-26) Balaam delivered the Lord's message to Balak in blessing Israel, instead of cursing them. Our Bible is filled with messages from the Lord. Let's look at some of these Bible Text Messages and see how they relate to our lives.
62. Bible Text Messages
This Shall Be A Sign Unto You
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12
As we continue with our thoughts about messages from God in signs, we turn to this very familiar story. The angels appeared to the shepherds with the greatest message ever told. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." What did the shepherds do? They said, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger." (Luke 2:15-16) God has given us the message of the Christ Child in His Holy Word. We should also come with haste to bow to the Lord. They didn't end at the manger. Look at verse 17. "And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child." They went on their way telling others the glorious good news. We are in the midst of summer, and many of our manger scenes are stored in boxes in closets. Don't keep the good news boxed up in your heart. Follow the example of the shepherds, and go and tell the good news.
63. Bible Text Messages
The Lord Gave The Word
"The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." Psalm 68:11
The Bible is an amazing book. "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." God used men and women of all ages, through thousands of years, and preserved His Word for us. God spoke to Samuel when he was just a young child. (I Samuel 3) God spoke to Moses out of the midst of a burning bush. (Exodus 3:4) God's voice thundered from Mount Sinai (Exodus 19 & 20) and yet He spoke to Elijah in a still small voice (I Kings 19:12-13). We have books of women, Ruth and Esther, and the wonderful letters of Paul. We can read of the wisdom of Solomon, and the weeping of Jeremiah. God gave us the story of the beginning in Genesis, all the way to the end of time in Revelation. He spoke and they listened, faithfully recording His Words. Many have tried to destroy the Word. King Jehoiakim cut the scroll with a penknife and cast it into the fire, but the Lord gave the words to Jeremiah a second time. (Jeremiah 36) When the maniac of Gadara was saved we read, "And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel." (Mark 5:20) We too, should publish all great things God has done for us.
64. Looking For Christmas
Looking Unto Jesus
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
What are you looking for this Christmas? Are you looking for a special present under the tree? Are you looking forward to spending time with your family and friends? Are you looking for those perfect gifts for your loved ones? What are you looking for this Christmas? The writer of Hebrews reminds us to look unto Jesus. Christ truly was the author of Christmas and also the "finisher of our faith" as our verse tells us. It's good to look forward to this special time of the year. But don't get so wrapped up in wrapping presents that you forget the greatest gift of all. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Let's look at some of the greatest treasures and pleasures that God gives us, that we won't find under a Christmas tree. Let's find those golden nuggets of our faith that God gives to His children and have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
65. Looking For Christmas
Looking For The Perfect Gift
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I like Christmas shopping. I like to look for that special gift for each person on my list. I really enjoy giving things to people that bring them joy. On the very first Christmas, God gave the perfect gift. He gave His Son to pay for my sins. I was lost in sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) God gave me the gift of salvation and I accepted it. You may search high and low to find the right gift for that special person in your life, but that person must accept the gift. Have you received the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord? That is the perfect Christmas gift!
66. Looking For Christmas
Isaiah Looked For The Prince of Peace
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
What are you looking for in the Christ Child? Isaiah said, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...upon the throne of David..." and the angel proclaimed in Luke 2:11, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." The angels sang their praises to The Prince of Peace, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14) As you look at the babe in a manger this Christmas, look at the true identity of this small child. He is "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace". He can fill all these needs in your life if you will accept Him as your Lord and Savior. He has given the gift of eternal life for all who believe. Won't you accept it today?
67. Looking For Christmas
Looking For A Place To Lodge
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7
What a sad state for mankind. Mary and Joseph had traveled long and hard and she was ready to give birth, but no one would give them a room. She had to lay her new born Baby in a manger, a feeding trough, in a stable. No one had room for Jesus. Would things be different today? Have you made room in your heart for Jesus? John 1:11-12 tells us, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" In Revelation 3:20 we read the words of our Lord, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Don't turn Him away. Make room in your heart for the Lord.
68. Looking For Christmas
Looking After The Sheep
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8
In the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon Linus says, "Why do I always have to be a shepherd?" In just a few short minutes he is reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. When my daughter began handing out parts for our Christmas play at church she got the same reaction. Some of the children did not want to be shepherds. As I thought on this God reminded me of our Lord's Words to Peter after His resurrection. "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17) The 23rd Psalm and John 10 give us beautiful pictures of our Lord as The Good Shepherd. We see clearly that those who are saved are His sheep. We have only a few written Words of Jesus after His resurrection, but these instructions were given to Peter three times, "Feed my lambs" and "Feed my sheep." I think that God wants us to do our part to help feed and tend to the lambs and sheep. The angels appeared to these lowly shepherds to tell them the Savior had been born. Many years ago when I was lost in sin the Holy Spirit came to me and showed me I was a lost sinner and on my way to hell. I praise the Lord that He came to the lowly those many years ago, and still comes to the meek and lowly today. We need to do our part to feed the lambs and tend the sheep. Don't feel too proud to be a shepherd, like some of the children in our Christmas play. Do all you can to help your Christian brother and sister sheep.
69. Looking For Christmas
Looking For Joy
“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:9-11
"Joy" is a word we see and hear a lot at Christmas. People are looking for joy. The angels proclaimed, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." So why do so many people walk around looking so sad. The secret to inner joy is found in the next verse. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Only Jesus can give you real joy. Jesus told the disciples, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." (John 15:10-11) I like the acrostic for JOY: Jesus, Others, You. Keep your priorities in that order and you will have the "joy unspeakable and full of glory" that Peter describes in I Peter 1:8.
70. Christmas Devotions
The Questions Of Christmas
It is really hard to choose just one verse for a Christmas theme. I searched through the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke and found many wonderful verses. But when you really think about it, isn’t the whole Bible about the story of Christ? From the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, through God’s covenant with Abraham and David, and prophets of the ages like Isaiah, we read of the promise of “The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah 9:6) So I began looking at the questions of a good story. “Who?” – “…thou shalt call his name JESUS” (Matthew 1:21) “What?” – “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7) “When?” – “…when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4) “Where?” – “…the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…” (Luke 2:4) But the one that has me stumped is the “Why?”. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou are mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” I believe the Christmas story because I believe the Bible, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) But I cannot understand why God loved me so much He would send His Son to be born in a stable, to suffer and die for me. Enjoy your Christmas season. Remember “Who? What? When? and Where?” and be ever so thankful for the “Why?”.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.” Luke 1:30
Today I want to look at Mary… Mary who was “highly favoured”… Mary who was chosen to be the mother of our Savior. She listened to all that Gabriel had to say. “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38) She believed, and she was willing to do God’s will. She rejoiced and said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” When God shows you His will, how do you react? When God tells me what He wants me to do, do I believe Him? Am I willing to let God use me? Do we rejoice when God wants to use our lives? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the angel could say to us as he said to Mary, “thou hast found favour with God”? Seek God’s will this Christmas. Let God make you a blessing to someone.
72. Christmas Devotions
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Luke 2:8
The shepherds watched…Christ told us to “…watch and pray…” (Mark 13:33) Then they went, Luke 2:16, “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The shepherds witnessed, Luke 2:17, “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.” Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And last of all, the shepherds worshipped, “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God…” (Luke 2:20) The result, “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” (Luke 2:18) Take a lesson from the shepherds, they watched, they went, they witnessed, and they worshipped. And all those around them wondered.
73. Christmas Devotions
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
We have looked at all the “who’s” in the Christmas story. Today we are looking at “whosoever”. God loved us so much that He gave His Son that whosoever believes can be saved. Are you like the innkeeper who had no room for the coming Savior? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Put him first in your life and don’t let people or things crowd Him out. If you have been praying for something for a long time like Zacharias and Elisabeth, don’t quit praying and keep on believing that God can answer your prayers. Say with Mary, “For with God nothing shall be impossible”, and be willing to let God use you for His purpose and do the impossible in your life. Look for His coming like Simeon. Sing His praises like the angels. Tell others about Him like the shepherds. Give Him your best like the wise men. Prepare others to meet Him like John the Baptist. Believe what the Lord says like Joseph. We read in Acts 16:30 & 31, “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
74. Christmas Devotions
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10
Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown at Christmas? You like getting presents and all that, but you just don’t feel happy. In Christ we can have “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. (I Peter 1:8) Someone once told me that happiness comes from happenings. Joy comes from Jesus. We can have joy in the midst of troubles. Hebrews 12:2 says “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Look unto Jesus… let Christ give you joy. You may not get all you want this Christmas, but be thankful for what you receive. You may not be able to give to others as you would like, but lift up their names in prayer. Don’t let all the commercialism ruin your Christmas. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” (Psalm 100:1) Spread the joy.
75. Christmas Devotions
For Unto You Is Born This Day
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
What wonderful tidings told by the angel of the Lord. “For unto you”, spoken to the shepherds, but praise the Lord, He came to me. I could not go to Him, but He came to me. “Is born this day”, Christmas day, celebrated down through the ages, year after year, by rich and poor, young and old. “In the city of David”, Christ came, like David a shepherd, He is the Good Shepherd, and like David a king, He is the King of Kings. “A Savior”, to lift us up out of sin, and give us access to the Father. He came and suffered and paid our debt so that we can go free. He came, the Son of God, born in a lowly manger, to give us a Spiritual birth so we could become children of God. “Which is Christ the Lord”, Lord of all, ruler of all creation. As you worship this baby in the manger, let Him be Lord of your life. Worship Him every day, invite Him to go with you everywhere you go, live for Him always and keep the Christmas spirit all year long.
76. The Name Of Jesus
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things 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
Last year, for our Christmas Devotions we saw all the many characters in the Christmas story. This year, as we look forward to the Christmas season, I want us to look at the main character of Christmas, the Babe in the manger. Let's look at the characteristics we see in the many names of Jesus. In the scripture reference above we read that God has given Jesus "a name which is above every name." There have been many famous people throughout the world, from the beginning of time until now, but no other name has become so great as the name of Jesus. No ruler is as great as the King of Kings. No shepherd as gentle as the Good Shepherd. No one can calm the storms like the Master of the sea, or bring peace like the Prince of Peace. As you celebrate Christmas this year, concentrate on the reason for the season and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
77. Names Of Jesus
Alpha And Omega
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8
Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. We can't fully comprehend that God always was, and always is, and always will be. Our life on earth is short compared to eternity. King David said, "...our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." (I Chronicles 29:15) We are born through a physical birth and live on this earth for a few years. But it is important that we be born again through a spiritual birth so that we can live eternally with Christ. Let's see what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit if spirit... For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:3-6, & 16) Jesus has provided the way for us to have an everlasting life with Him in glory. Trust in Him and spend your eternity in heaven with Him.
78. Names Of Jesus
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful..." Isaiah 9:6
I was listening to Christmas songs on the radio as I drove home from work and I heard one that ended, "...it's the most wonderful time of the year." There are so many wonderful things about Christmas. Many enjoy looking for that special gift, wrapping presents, baking Christmas cookies, decorating, giving Christmas plays at church..., and the list could go on and on. But some people who looked forward to these things as children, want to say, "Bah, humbug" now that they are older. If the pressures of life, time, and money, cause you to dread the Christmas season, maybe you need to stop and think of the reason we celebrate. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." God gave the greatest gift ever given. He sent His Son to become our sacrifice, so that we might have eternal life. Nothing could be more wonderful than that. Don't let yourself get stressed out this Christmas. Look to the Lord, our Wonderful Lord, and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
79. Miracles Of Jesus
"When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." Matthew 2:3-6
King Herod went to the scribes and priests to find out where Christ was to be born. They knew from the Holy Scriptures that He would be born in Bethlehem. In this chapter of Matthew we see many of the prophecies fulfilled by the coming of our Lord. "When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." (vs. 14 & 15) "Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." (vs. 16-18) Again in verse 23, "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." Down through the ages God spoke by His prophets of the coming Messiah. Only by the providence of God could all these things be told centuries before they were to come to pass. And just as the prophecies of His first coming were fulfilled, you can be sure that all the prophecies of His second coming will most definitely also come to pass.
The Unspeakable Gift
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." II Corinthians 9:15
We have come through another Christmas season, sharing gifts with family and friends. Giving and receiving gifts is one of the ways we show people our love. Christmas reminds us of the unspeakable gift of our God. Long ago, on that first Christmas Day, God sent His Son to be born of a virgin. The King of kings was not born in a palace, but He was the precious Lamb born in a stable. This Lamb, came to become our sacrifice. This is part of our Christmas story... "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) This is the greatest gift of all time. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) God gave His Son to die for you. Have you received this wonderful gift? Salvation is as easy as A, B, C. Admit that you are a sinner. Believe that the Lord died to pay for your sins. Confess your sins to God and bow your heart to make Him Lord of your life. That's the greatest gift you will ever receive.
81. She Hath Done What She Could
“She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” Mark 14:8 & 9
Two years ago just before Christmas I kept hearing a song play over and over on the radio. It begins with these words, “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun…” Every time I heard the song the question pierced deeper into my thoughts and I found myself singing the song many times over throughout the day. “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over, a new one just begun…” I started asking myself what I had done the previous year to make a difference in the lives of those around me, and I could find no answers. Sure, I had cooked to feed my family, and washed clothes to keep them clean, but what had I done to really make a difference? Jesus went to the house of Simon, and Mary took an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on his head. The gospel of John also tells us that she anointed his feet and wiped them with her hair. (John 12:3) “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me.” (Mark 14:4-6) Have you done a good work for Jesus? Jesus said that Mary would be remembered for this work she did. When you think back through the year, can you remember what works you did for the Lord? Before the year was over I decided that I would try to make a difference in the lives of those around me. Everyday after that, I tried to do something special for at least one person that day. I didn’t tell anyone my plans, and the things I did were not great things that were noticed by others, but at the next year’s end when I heard the song again, I knew in my heart that I had made a difference in the lives of those around me.
82. She Hath Done What She Could
Make A Difference In The Lives Of Others
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…” Titus 2:1-7
You can make a difference in the lives of younger people by taking time to teach them things to help them in daily living and also teach them the things of God. I was raised in a good Christian home, with Christian parents who taught me valuable life lessons and also taught me to trust God’s Word for guidance. But many do not have that opportunity. If there are young converts in your church encourage them and show them true Christian love. Make sure you don’t criticize others or be hypocritical and discourage them. There may also be young couples in your church that are struggling, either financially or in other areas, as they start their families. It would mean a lot to them for you to invite them over for a meal and fellowship. Or maybe even more for you to offer to keep their children so they can have a relaxing meal together. Our kindness should not only be shown to those who are younger, but we can also help those who are older. There are many elderly people who can’t get out much in the cold winter air and a short visit would mean a lot to them. Do what you can this coming year to brighten the lives of those around you.