Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year, A New Beginning

A New Beginning

Read the Scripture: Job 42:16-17

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died an old man and full of years.

Today’s thoughts from the Scripture:

The book of Job ends on a note of contentment and peace. Job was probably about seventy when the book opens, so he is an old man. What a picture of peace, a contented man. God had greatly blessed him.

Before us stretches a New Year, a New Beginning. The old is past, put away forever. God invites us always to forget about all the distrust and fears, all the anxieties of the past, all the resentments we have been holding against others, all the grudges, all the criticisms--to put them away and begin again.

The question that hovers over us as we close this chapter (2010) is, on what basis am I going to live in this New Year? Will it be on the old basis of it-all-depends-on-me, do-it-yourself goodness before God, trying my best to be pleasing to God and meaning it with all my heart but never realizing the depths of evil with which I have to deal? Or will I accept the gift of God that is waiting for me every day, fresh from His hand, a gift of forgiveness, of righteousness already mine, of a relationship in which God is my Father and I am His cherished son, and in which God has provided for me all I need, all day long, so that I may say no to evil and yes to truth and right?

Will it be on that basis? If it is, this will be a year in which my life will be characterized by peace, fragrance, and beauty. And so will yours. Or, if we insist on living it on the same old basis, we will find ourselves like these friends of Job, arousing the anger and the wrath of God.

Though He is patient and merciful, our only escape will be to repent of our sin and rest upon His righteousness, forgiveness and return to God for the blessing that He is waiting to give. That is the choice before us, every one of us.

How are we going to live in this New Year?

Lord, thank You for this New Year that lies before me. I choose You. I choose to depend on You, trust You, and accept from Your hand all that You would give me.

Life Application: Before us stretches a New Year, a new beginning. The old is past, put away forever. On which one of the two bases are we going to live in this New Year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Letting Our Joy in Jesus Overflow

The Shepherds- The Joyful Response

Luke 2:16-20

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.



Imagine you’ve spent your entire life as a social outcast and a religious outsider. You’ve never accrued any significant wealth or reached a position of great influence. Now you’ve been invited by a messenger of God to the most spectacular birthday party in the history of the world—a birthday that will define and literally divide the history of the world. How would you respond?

The shepherd’s response was simple yet profound. They went with haste. They responded with a sense of urgency to God’s invitation. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus having this effect on people.

They spread the word. They could not contain the joy of the message they had heard. This is what sharing Jesus is really about, letting our joy in Jesus overflow.

They returned glorifying and praising God. God did not remove them from their life situation. They returned to their fields and sheep and that is where God placed them to worship Him.

Is there any area of your life where you are procrastinating in responding to God? How can you continue to worship God and share His joy in your life situation?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grace An Unmerited Favor

The Grace of God



Ephesians 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.



Grace an unmerited favor, an undeserved love, and an apt description of God’s interaction with mankind. This is astounding when we properly understand even a little of who is dealing graciously with us. In our day, many of us operate spiritually out of a sense of entitlement or selfishness.

We automatically see situations in light of a “what’s in it for me?” mentality. In so thinking, we presume upon God’s grace, and easily forget our true sinfulness and guilt (Romans 2:4). This presumption assumes that God in fact owes us something. We begin thinking God owes us salvation because of our excellent church attendance and giving record.

Or we believe God owes us an economically stable life because we aren’t bad like everyone else, we don’t swear, watch R-rated movies, or vote for the wrong political candidates. This is a grievously sinful mentality, and it is all too easy for us to presume upon God’s grace.

The reality of our situation is this: we, “His workmanship”, created in Christ Jesus for good works”, owe God everything, while He owes us nothing! We are saved by grace “through faith” in Jesus; don’t forget, even our confession of faith is due to the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts (1 Corinthians 12:3)! Meditate on this passage today, and pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal any pride concerning your salvation and inherent goodness that ought not to be.

Do you perceive your salvation as God’s grace and work, or yours?

Monday, December 27, 2010

We Were Created to be like God

Christmas is over… Now What?

Ephesians 4:22-24

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


Now that Christmas has come and gone, our bellies are full of Christmas

delight, cookies, pies, turkey and so forth, family members and friends are

or will be soon making their way back to their own homes and getting back to their regular lives.

As we prepare for the New Year what happens to the bonds that have

been re-kindled, made and established with new friends and old, family

members and loved ones a-like?

Do we? Will you maintain this attitude of generosity and appreciation,

charity and love, smiling, happiness and joy? Helping around the house to

clean up, being nice to the kids, being tolerant of your family. Was that

just a facade? Or will you continue to be this person that you have been

over the holiday season?

The Christmas Holiday season is especially special because so many people

become selfless and do things for others rather than themselves. And so they sort

of become another person, a better person. A person that exhibits:

patience, understanding and selflessness. Is there a reason why this has to

change, if not then why does it? Hmmmm?

Well the reasoning really is not important but the change is. Joy is a

wonderful thing and you can be joyous as often as you please. It is not

limited to any season or any reason. If you had fun and smiled a lot and

enjoyed friends and family, hold on to that joy, embrace it and let it

embrace you.

Let the goodness that has come out of you this holiday season

remain with you always. There is something great about a person’s character that

 exhibits, consideration, patience and selfless, because your actions reflect that life

 is not always about you and that….is a wonderful thing.

As the New Year approaches do not lose sight of what you have become, the

season is here now and will soon pass however your graciousness,

appreciation and respect for others does not have to pass with it. Hold on

to who you have become, for all seasons. Do not let your humble spirit and

attitudes fade as the season passes.

Your attitude is your outwardly appearance to the world. Be the best you for

all seasons and you will see how your attitude affects others in a positive

light. Let your good spirit shine from you like the sun and you will see

good things grow all around you. Seeds of joy will soon grow to flowers of

happiness and smiles.

Smiling is good we should smile as often as possible as if every day was

Christmas. Don’t you think?

Saturday, December 25, 2010


May your heart be lifted in praise this Christmas

for the wonderful gift of Jesus

and the joy He brings to our lives.

Have a wonderful Christmas

and a Blessed New Year

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christ is the Personal Word of God to Us

The Word Became Flesh

"The Son is the Spoken Word, the living expression of all that God has ever sought to communicate about Himself."

-The Bible Readers Companion


John 1:1-5, 10-12,14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Tomorrow is Christmas and we will celebrate the birth of Jesus. When He came into the world as a baby, He was sent from heaven to earth to become the living expression of the Father God. This was the gift He brought. His very life would speak to us everything that God ever wanted to say to us about Himself. What an amazing gift!

As I was studying this passage in John, looking online and different web sites like, and I was struck by a phrase I read, "the living expression." ... for you see this speaks of nothing less than the living Christ encountering us in our present circumstances.

Christ is the personal Word of God to us. Through Christ, God continues to communicate Himself to us through the personal revealing of His Son. In the person of Christ, all wisdom and knowledge is to be found. Yet the Father must reveal the Son to us so that the Son will in turn reveal the Father.

Our knowledge has always been two-dimensional in nature. Yet the knowledge of God presented to us through this 'living expression' takes on a three-dimensional form, for it addresses the entire person, from head to toe. It not only informs us, it transforms us.

Have you ever stopped to consider this concept? God so intimately wanted to communicate with you, that He sent Jesus to speak forth the living demonstration of His heart.

As you dwell on Jesus Christ and His Word, realize that God is still speaking His "living expression" to transform you, not just this Christmas season, but every day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christ Means Hope

Jesus Our Hope

"We have lasting hope through the salvation we have in Christ ... Hope means that even when it looks like it's all over, it's not all over yet. That's why the Bible says we can rejoice even in our tribulations. God is working in our hard times to produce proven character and hope in us."

-Dr. Tony Evans


Psalm 33-22

"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you."

For millions of people, the Christmas season means nothing more than parties, gifts, decorations, and time off work. For Christians, however, this time of year is a happy reminder of the hope we have because of Jesus Christ.

Before Jesus came, God seemed distant, hidden in the Holy of Holies in the temple, accessible only to the high priest. Worshippers wondered whether their sacrifices were acceptable. They doubted their salvation.

Christ means hope—to the person out of work, to the struggling single mother, to the dying believer. Even if you're just slogging your way through the disappointments of life, if you have Jesus, you have hope. And He is not a false hope, a childish fairy tale that we wish will have a happy ending. When Christ rose from the dead this ended the argument. Period!! Our hope in Him is solid and it is real.

Christmas is a renewal of that hope. It reconfirms it for us if our vision has grown dim. It was settled long ago, so we don't have to doubt any more. Jesus is the fulfillment of our hope, our deepest longings come true.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas All Year 'Round

Christmas poetry often celebrates that special holiday spirit. Here's a Christmas poem about keeping the Christmas spirit year 'round. This free Christmas card verse would also be good on the gift tag that goes along with a Christmas gift.

Recipe for Christmas All Year Long

Take a heap of child-like wonder

That opens up our eyes

To the unexpected gifts in life—

Each day a sweet surprise.

Mix in fond appreciation

For the people whom we know;

Like festive Christmas candles,

Each one has a special glow.

Add some giggles and some laughter,

A dash of Christmas food,

(Amazing how a piece of pie

Improves our attitude!)

Stir it all with human kindness;

Wrap it up in love and peace,

Decorate with optimism, and

Our joy will never cease.

If we use this healthy recipe,

We know we will remember

To be in the Christmas spirit,

Even when it's not December.
By Joanna Fuchs

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christ & His friendship

Jesus Our Friend


"A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have."

-Dwight L. Moody



John 15:15

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."



When Jesus came into the world in human form, He changed our relationship with God forever. He made it possible for us to become adopted sons and daughters in God's family, co-heirs with Him to the gift of eternal life with the Father.

 He gave us another Christmas gift few of us ever open: His friendship. He experienced firsthand the loneliness of being human, and He saw that as much as we need a savior, we also need a friend.

What better friend could you have? Jesus is steadfastly loyal. He forgives your every fault. He supports and encourages you when you need it most, and He listens whenever you want to talk. He is a tireless listener.

Jesus loves you as a friend who wants to see you grow to your full potential. There is no jealousy in Him. He wants only the best for you.

Enter more deeply into friendship with Jesus this Christmas season. You can trust Him. If you reach out and accept the friendship He offers, your life will never be the same.

Monday, December 20, 2010





While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son (Jesus). There was not enough room for them in the house. So Mary wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid the baby in a box where cattle are fed.


We all wait on tiptoe for the birth of a child in our families. We are waiting for the time to come. No one can be sure when that is. Some women may debate about how the baby is being carried and speculate on the arrival date.

Doctors and nurses will talk about subtle body signals, dilation, and effacement, but they can't be sure either. Young children awaiting a new sibling will drive everyone crazy by asking every day for months if this is the day. Imagine the excitement among the angels of heaven at this birth!

It wasn't just Joseph and Mary, but the hosts of heaven that awaited Jesus' birth. So at "just the right time" the "time came for her baby to be born." Like any good mother, Mary welcomed her child and God began His gracious and sacrificial journey through humanity, swaddled at His birth like every other baby born, but with His bed made His bed in a manger like no other.

The question you and I face is whether or not we will give God a room in the most important place of our hearts.


How do I comprehend your gracious and sacrificial love, dear Father? Coming in human flesh as a baby! Swaddled in strips of cloth like the babies of that day!

Making your bed in a manger! Holy God, my Abba Father, please know that I want you to make your place in my heart. You are welcome here. Your presence is desired.

Thank you for the grace of coming in Jesus. Thank you for your grace of also coming to live in me through your Spirit.

 In Jesus' name Amen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Do You Spell Christmas

Hello friends!! Yesterday as I was listening to Christmas carols, I heard a carol that I have never heard before. So I thought for today I would share the lyrics with you. If you would like to hear the song you will need to down load it for free. I will attach a link to the site in which I got mine. May you be blessed this day and may you enjoy this song.


An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:20-21
When I was but a youngster,

Christmas meant one thing,

That I’d be getting lots of toys that day.

I learned a whole lot different,

When my Mother sat me down,

And taught me to spell Christmas this way:

“C” is for the Christ child, born upon this day,

“H” for herald angels in the night,

“R” means our Redeemer,

“I” means Israel,

“S” is for the star that shone so bright,

“T” is for three wise men, they who traveled far,

“M” is for the manger where he lay,

“A”’ s for all He stands for,

“S” means shepherds came,

And that’s why there’s a Christmas day,

And that’s why there’s a Christmas day

Thursday, December 16, 2010


The Fright of Christmas!?!


1 John 1:5, John 8:12

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”


Maybe you better clean your computer screen and try again--certainly there's a typo there...Christmas is not a fright--never! Unless you're talking about the little kids afraid to sit on Santa's lap, or the shy guys afraid they'll get caught under the mistletoe...certainly there's no FRIGHT in Christmas!?!

Better look again! Let's take a time machine trip back to the First Christmas...

Watch Mary tremble in fear as the angel Gabriel appears to her with his message from the throne. First of all, just to have an angel, a REAL angel, visit you, would be frightening enough. But when it's Gabriel, and he announces you are to be the mother of the Savior...that's almost too scary to be true. And yet it was...and the message to Mary? "FEAR NOT!"

Watch the shepherds tending their flocks in the fields. A whole HOST of angels show up in the sky and scare the living daylights out of the poor shepherds! Just imagine--nothing special ever happened on those cold sleepy hills where the shepherds worked...until that night--it was almost too scary to be true. And yet it was...and the message to the shepherds? "FEAR NOT!"

Watch the world around you--the terror, the turmoil, the hurt of spirit, body, mind, soul and spirit. It's a FRIGHTFUL world NOW too--whether it's all around you or deep within you. FEAR just happens to be the human began in the Garden of Eden; it happened in the Holy Land; it's with us today. BUT, take heart--for in the middle of the fright shines a Light...the glorious Light of the World come to give us that same message the angels gave Mary and the Shepherd's... "FEAR NOT!"

Welcome the LIGHT of Christmas into the dark night of YOUR fear, and watch it dispel under the glow and glory of His love. "Perfect love cast out fear"--believe it and have a faith-filled day!


"Father, my heart--just like Mary and the Shepherd's--is full of fear. Cast it out with the Light of Your Son; may His Light flood the darkness of my soul, casting out all fear, filling my heart with Your love and peace this day--and then help me take that Light into my darkened world that those around me may also believe--and live, In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God Draw Us Close

Historical Reality!

TEXT: Luke 2:1-7



Luke 2:1-3

At that time, Augustus Caesar sent out an order to all people in the countries that were under Roman rule. The order said that all people must write their name in a book (register). This was the first registration. It happened while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All people traveled to their own towns to be registered.


The Good News of God does not occur in a vacuum. Luke wants us to know that Jesus' life was lived out in the real world, at a real time, with real people, who dealt with real problems.

God does not want us to live our lives isolated and separated from His presence. He does not want us to have to reach beyond our grasp to find him.

He wants us to know that he understands the limits of our mortal world. In Jesus, God has entered our real world to draw us near! The real question is whether we will let Him into our lives.


Father, our Almighty God, I open my life to you. You are welcome here. Come and draw near. Change me at your will. I long to be your child; not just in name but also in closeness and in character. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

God's Great Promises

Nothing is Impossible




What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”



It's almost as if the angel is saying, "How about a little help with that impossible faith, Mary? Go check with your old cousin Elizabeth. The impossible has really happened to her! She's pregnant!"

God's great promises to His people often happened with miraculous conceptions that were beyond experience and that stretched their faith. Mary is given assurance that God not only can, but He actually does do the impossible in the lives of everyday folks.

What does God want to do in you? How does He want to use you for His glory? Do you think it is possible? Just go ask Mary who first asked Elizabeth! NOTHING is impossible for God!



Father, give me a heart of faith to believe in your ability to do great things through everyday folks like me. Give me the gift of faith to believe that you are doing great things through your people. Take me, mold me, and use me to your glory. In Jesus' name.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Do you believe?

No Ordinary Baby!


READ FULL TEXT: Luke 1:26-38


Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen? I am still a virgin!" The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come to you and the power of the Most High (God) will cover you. The baby will be holy. He will be called the Son of God.


Key Thought

Every baby is precious. It was made by God in its mother's womb. This baby, however, is even more precious. This child is conceived by the Holy Spirit of God. He is holy, the very Son of God, with no human father. This doesn't make sense to our world and our experience any more than a person being raised from the dead makes sense.

That's the miracle of this baby and the grace of God's plan. God comes to earth to walk among us and show us his love personally. If we will make room for Him, this baby can bring us life and immortality. Do you believe? Maybe you are asking the same question that Mary did, "How can I?" But she did believe, and the world was forever changed. As we believe, our world is changed, too!


Today's Prayer:

Lord, my Father, help my faith in Jesus be more real and vibrant. Make my relationship with Him more real as I read His story and seek to follow His lead in my life. Change my world because of my faith in your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

God's promised Savior

Let's Go See!



Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying: "Praise God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people that please God." The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, "We will go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. We will see this thing the Lord (God) told us about."




Here's your invitation. We're invited to join the shepherds to go see the wonderful thing that God has done by sending Jesus. Yes, God has told us about this great event -- through his Old Testament prophets, through the yearning of our hearts for a Savior, and through our need for answers to life's greatest dilemmas.

So let's join the shepherds at the manger. But, let's not just stop at the manger; God invites us to journey all the way through the story. After all, Luke isn't writing a biography about Jesus, but is instead telling the story of our salvation through God's promised Savior.

So let's strengthen our resolve to pursue Jesus all this year through Luke's story of God's saving love. Let's go "see this wonderful thing that has happened" and find God's grace, love, and salvation in Jesus.



Father, make my heart yearn to know you, your love, and your story of grace more. Teach me as I seek you in Luke's story of Jesus. I pray this in his name. Amen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Praising God & Thanking Him for Everything

Astonishment, Treasure, and Praise



Luke 2:8-20

KEY Verses 16-20…

So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph. The baby was lying in the feeding box. The shepherds saw the baby. Then they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things. She was trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.



If we will allow it to touch us, the birth of Jesus can produce the same reactions in us as it did in those three groups touched by it. The villagers were astonished at the story -- and so are we, because God would love us this much.

Mary stored up the words and events in her heart like treasure -- and so do we, when we read the story of Jesus with love, joy, and anticipation. The shepherds returned to their work, but they do so with joy and praise knowing that their world would never be the same.

God has come and visited us. He has shown us his love. He has ensured us that life doesn't have to have its normal boundaries. So we greet this story and this Child with astonishment, taking in each story and every word as a treasure, while offering our heartfelt praise to God for his gracious love.



O Almighty God, so majestic and yet so accessible, thank you for drawing near us when we could not draw near you. In Jesus' name. Amen.