Happy New Year,
When the Son of God became the Son of Man and walked on this earth, He always called individuals to His side. Jesus did not come into the world to deal with statistics! He deals with individuals and that is why the Christian message is and always has been: "God loves the world! He loves the masses and throngs only because they are made up of individuals. This is a thought we must carry with us into 2011. He loves every individual person in the world!"
In the culture we live in today, the individual is no longer the concern. We are pressed to think of the human race in a lump. We are schooled to think of the human race in terms of statistics. In many nations, the state is made to be everything and the individual means nothing at all. It seems to be the way even America is going.
Into the very face and strength of this kind of humanism comes the Christian message, the good news of salvation, fresh and bright with the assurance to all who will listen: "You are an individual and you matter to God! His concern is not for genes and species but for the individuals He has created!" If you are not a Christian, know that He loves you personally and is calling you as an individual to His side. Give up your sin, and surrender to Him today. If you are a Christian, focus on the individuals in your life today, and their individual spiritual needs.
"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Romans 4:8
God bless and remember that you are loved!!!
At the end of December, and the beginning of January, we begin to think in terms of years. We look back over the past 12 months, and recall blessings, and maybe heartbreaks. We look forward to a new year filled with great expectations from a great God. But at the same time, we must realize that our life is lived out moment by moment, step by step, and day by day. A Quote from Abraham Lincoln says: "The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." As you keep this fact in mind, enjoy this little poem by Frances Ridley Havergal.
"Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.
Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest.
Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
May our Lord bless you today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Christmas Greetings 2010,
Southern Indiana is covered with a beautiful blanket of snow this morning. It started at about 6:00 PM yesterday. But what brought it, or Who brought it, at this most enjoyable time, Christmas morning. The movie, "White Christmas" has been on TV at least two dozen times, and the song, "White Christmas", has been on radio twice that many times. People have been wishing and hoping for a white Christmas, but could that bring it. Or could anyone just speak and it appear?
"For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth;..." Job 37:6a
God bless you and your family today as you celebrate the birth of the One who spoke all things into being, and still does. I'm, hoping you have the greatest Christmas you've ever had. Then never forget that you are loved!!!
Families will be coming together today and tomorrow, and there will be laughter, and stories, and catching up on current events in each others lives. But I can't help but believe there are some who receive this that will be alone. There may be others that will be with a larger gathering, but still feel alone, for different reasons. Christ came so we would not have to be alone, for He promised He would always be with us. We've been promised love, peace, joy, and contentment, by One who can't fail.
"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth" (Psalm 145:18). Isn't that a great promise? It's one you can put to work today.
God is near to those who love Him. "The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy" (v. 20). Follow the advice of James: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).
May the Lord richly bless you and yours today, and know that you are loved!!!
One of our frustrations during this time of year can be trying to buy a gift for someone who may have so much. Another can be trying to buy a gift when we have so little money.
Above all that, does your heart yearn to give Jesus something, but you feel so poor in spirit, that you don't know how to give, or what to give.
This little song by Christiana Rossetti needs no commentary:
"What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wiseman I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him?
Give Him my heart."
"...they first gave their own selves to the Lord..." 2 Corinthians 8:5b
May God bless you today, and never forget that you are loved!!!
Two taxidermists stopped before a window in which an owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted. It's eyes were not natural; it's wings were not in proportion with it's head; it's feathers were not neatly arranged; and it's feet could be improved.
When they had finished with their criticism, the old owl turned his head ... and winked at them.
There is a natural tendency on the part of all humans to find fault. We all look at one another and make a decision whether to criticize or not. Many are unable to control themselves and get carried away with finding a need to make improvements in the other person.
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better that themselves." Philippians 2:3
"Dear Lord, help me to be a fault finder no longer." God bless you and yours today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Once upon a time there was a kingdom. The person who ruled the kingdom was not the rightful ruler but a usurper. One day he learned that a baby would be born, one who would be the rightful heir to the throne. He knew that if the baby were allowed to live, it would be able to claim the throne and take it from him. So he decided to kill the baby. He tried but failed because the baby was safely taken to another kingdom.
Do you recognize this story? It's not a fairy tale. It is the Christmas story, told without the usual emphasis on angels and shepherds and magi, or bright lights and joyful songs. It is "the dark side of Christmas." The usurper is Satan. The rightful ruler is Christ. This is the version of the Christmas story found in Revelation 12. Not only in this story, but many others, we read of Satan's attempts to destroy Jesus, and His plans for our redemption.
Rejoice in the truth that Satan is a defeated power, but don't let down your guard. He will ultimately go down, but not without a fight.
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered." Revelation 12:1-2
Be blessed, and remember that you are the reason for the season, because you are loved that much!!!
A friend of mine, a guy I went to high school with and played on the varsity basketball team with, went on to play college basketball. He followed that with a career coaching high school, and had a gymnasium named in his honor. Nothing like that has happen to me yet and probably won't. A hundred years from now, it will not matter though, what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove - but the world may be different if I were deeply involved in the lives of my children.
John Anderson, in one of his country songs, sings of being a truck driver, and asking his wife when he is gone to be good to his dogs, and teach his children to pray. That just may be the greatest challenge a parent has. But these tips may help us.
Always make them aware of answered prayer in your life, or the life of others.
Help your children to see the beauty of God's creation and thank Him for it.
Whenever you see or hear about someone in need, take time to pray about it with your children.
Wrap family traditions or events in special times of prayer.
Teach your children to prayerfully put on the armor of God at the beginning of each day.
Have family devotions and prayer time. Adopt a people group to pray for.
Go on a prayerwalk in your neighborhood. Adopt a leader to pray for.
Add to this list ideas of your own, and don't give up so easily if you feel like you are failing in this matter of teaching your children to pray. Stay with it.
"I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications., Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live." Psalm 116:1-2
May the Lord bless you today and throughout this week, and please don't ever forget that you are loved!!!
Have you ever wondered why the Christian community is so different than other groups when it comes to fighting over paintings that have been disfigured, or statues, or images of any kind, or offensive cartoons? Many groups want to arrest, stone, or kill the offender. Christianity is not a religion, in the same sense; and though it hurts to see His image defaced, I cherish this truth, Christ lives in me.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
The following is from Samuel Chadwick: "The Christian religion is not a set of doctrines about Christ, neither is it a rule of life based upon the teaching and example of Christ. It is not even a sincere and earnest endeavor to live according to the mind and spirit of Christ. It is Life, and that Life is the Life of Christ.
It is a continuation of the life of the risen Lord-in His body which is the church-and in the sanctified believer. "Christ liveth in me" is the essence of the Christian religion as set forth in the New Testament. It is not a system, but a Presence; the Spirit of Christ indwelling the spirit of man."
If not for Bethlehem, there would have been no Calvary, or empty tomb, or Pentecost. But because of Bethlehem, we can forever have the indwelling Spirit of Christ living out His life in us. God bless you and yours today and remember you are loved!!!
They tell us that the secular psychologist cannot adequately describe JOY. If one has never met Jesus as their personal savior and come into that wonderful relationship with Him, they cannot understand entirely, "gladness of the heart", JOY. When He first appeared on the earth, the angels proclaimed: "...good news of great joy..." . Multiplied millions have experience just what they declared.
" And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10
Just before the Lord left this world, He was praying to the Father in the presence of the eleven disciples. Why was He not in secret pray, which was more of His normal pattern? He gives the reason: "...so that they may have My joy made full in themselves." He loves us so much!
"But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves."
So from the beginning of His ministry until the end, He purposed to in His heart to bring joy, "gladness of the heart", to us. It is truly joy unspeakable and full of glory. God bless you and your today, as you continue to celebrate Christmas. Remember that you are the reason for the season, and you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!