Friday, December 23, 2011

The "Son Of God"

Reading from the Book of Luke 1:26-35
 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Has God ever asked you to do something you never expected to do? No doubt, Mary was very surprised when the angel told her she would give birth to the Son of God. Mary's trust in God, and her obedience and cooperation with God's plans and purposes, is a great example to follow.

Allow God to work in you as He wants to, and know that all His plans for you are for your good.

When unexpected things happen, keep trusting in Him, the Son of God!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Lighted Path

Reading from the Book of Psalm 119:9-11, 105
9Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Have you ever been lost? Do you remember the relief you felt when someone was able to give you good directions?

The best directions we have for living an abundant life is found in the Bible. Hide God's Word "in your heart" by studying and even memorizing scripture verses and passages, so you will not sin against Him and be able to live in His blessings.

What about wandering around in the dark? It can be scary and frustrating! Do you ever feel that you are wandering in life, not sure of which way to go?

Learn God's Word. It is a "lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Inner Mirror

Reading from the Book of II Corinthians 3:18, 4:16

II Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

We change gradually, little by little, or as II Corinthians states, "from one degree of glory to another." While these changes take place, we still make mistakes, and God's forgiveness is always available to us through Jesus Christ. Receiving this forgiveness actually strengths us and enables us to keep pressing on toward new levels of holiness and better inner beings.

II Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Mirrors don't reflect the inner part of us that lasts forever. And when trials knock on our doors, looking cool won't prepare us to victoriously meet their test. The apostle Paul describes the inner man as being renewed day by day as spiritual muscles grow stronger. He wasn't a perfect specimen of health, but Paul survived persecution and imprisonment because he lived his life from the inside out, focusing on eternity.

What's at the core of your life? Are you so focused on looking in the mirror at your outer self that you haven't spent time strengthening your inner person through studying God's Word and praying without ceasing? Try looking at the "inner mirror" of yourself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grow Up!

Reading from the Book of Hebrews 5:12-14, 6:11
Hebrews 6:11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.

It is so easy to begin something, but it takes great courage to finish! At the beginning of a new thing, we get all excited and usually have a lot of support to do it. But when our emotions wear off and all that is left is hard work and the need for extreme patience, we find out what it takes to truly succeed.

Hebrews 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Do adults drink milk from a bottle or eat only baby food? Of course not! Likewise, as a Christians, we need to be diligent in studying the Bible so we will understand it and be able to apply it to our everyday life. In this way we will grow in our faith and move from spiritual "milk" to spiritual "meat".

In essence we call this "growing up". It is time to "Grow up!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stir Up The Love

Reading from the Book of Matthew 24:6-12
6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

The twenty-forth chapter of Matthew deals with signs of the end times. Most of them we are very familiar with...wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, and widespread deception. But there is another sign of the end times. Matthew 24:12 says that "the love of the great body of people will grow cold" due to the lawlessness and wickedness in the land.

The "great body" is the church, not the world. The pressure of rampant evil, difficult circumstances, and even the stress of our modern-day lifestyle produce an atmosphere so supercharged with problems that most people totally ignore their love walk with God. Instead they concentrate on themselves, look out for themselves, and try to solve their own problems.

This is something that God never told us to do. If we tend to His business, He will tend to ours. We are to concentrate on representing Him properly, and that is impossible to do unless we are walking in love. As we do that, He gives us wisdom to deal with our problems and brings deliverance from our foes.

We need to sow seeds in other people's lives by helping them, and then God will bring a harvest in our own life. Refuse to let your love grow cold. Reach out to others who are hurting and in need. Pray for people and bless them. Stir up the love in your life!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Open Doors

Reading from the Book of Revelation 3:7
7And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

We all need to hear from God each day about many different issues, but there are critical times in our lives that we especially need to know we are hearing clearly from Him. God wants to speak to us, but we have to be careful that we do not develop a closed mindset about how He wants to speak to us.

Sometimes God speaks to us by opening or closing a door to something we want to do. God can open doors of opportunity that no one can close, and He can also close doors that we simply cannot open. I pray that God will open only the doors through which He wants me to pass. I may sincerely think that something is right to do, when it may be wrong. Therefore I depend on God to close the doors I am trying to walk through if I am in fact making a mistake.

Sometimes the only way to discover God's will is to practice "stepping out and finding out." If I pray about a situation and do not feel sure about what I should do, I take a step of faith. God has shown me that trusting Him is like standing before the automatic door to a store. We can stand and look at the door all day, but it will not open unless we take a step forward.

There are times in life when we must take a step forward in order to find out what we should do. Some doors will never open unless we take a step towards them. At other times, we may take a step and find that God will not open the door. If we trust Him for guidance, and the door opens easily, we can trust that He is leading us.