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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 is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13‭-‬14 KJV

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4 KJV

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 KJV

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:3‭-‬4 KJV

There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Proverbs 19:21 KJV

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 KJV

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25‭-‬26 KJV

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14 KJV

Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. James 5:13 KJV

Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Psalm 85:2 KJV

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:10-11

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again. Proverbs 19:17 KJV

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 3:23‭-‬24 KJV

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:3‭-‬5 KJV

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Revelation 7:9‭-‬10 KJV

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. James 1:19‭-‬20 KJV

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Ephesians 5:1 KJV

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 KJV

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11 KJV

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28‭-‬29 KJV

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:2‭-‬3 KJV

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 KJV

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:9 KJV

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12 KJV

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6 KJV

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8 KJV

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20‭-‬21 KJV

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 KJV

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 KJV

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. Mark 8:35 KJV

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Proverbs 12:25 KJV

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 KJV

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 KJV

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9‭-‬11 KJV

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 KJV

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:37‭-‬39 KJV

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13 KJV

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. Proverbs 22:4 KJV

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 2 Peter 1:3 KJV

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalm 68:19 KJV

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 KJV

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Proverbs 23:24 KJV

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:13 KJV

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8 KJV

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 KJV

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:25‭-‬26 KJV

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13 KJV

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:9‭-‬11 KJV

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4 KJV

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4‭-‬5 KJV

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. Matthew 9:37‭-‬38 KJV

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:44‭-‬45 KJV

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:32‭-‬33 KJV

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. Psalm 119:113‭-‬115 KJV

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

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 KJV

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Psalm 145:18 KJV

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Philippians 2:3 KJV

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 KJV

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 KJV

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: Isaiah 26:3‭-‬4 KJV

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 KJV

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:11‭-‬13 KJV

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 KJV

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15 KJV

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:7‭-‬8 KJV

He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:10‭-‬11 KJV

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV

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 continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; 1 Chronicles 16:10‭-‬12 KJV

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:57‭-‬58 KJV

For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37 KJV

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:3‭-‬4 KJV

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. Psalm 105:1‭-‬2 KJV

I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Psalm 77:11‭-‬12 KJV

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10 KJV

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:35 KJV

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Proverbs 11:25 KJV

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 KJV

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4 KJV

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Galatians 5:13 KJV

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35 KJV

But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Psalm 59:16 KJV

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28 KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 KJV

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!…So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:15‭, ‬17 KJV

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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12‭-‬13 KJV

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13 KJV

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. Galatians 2:20 KJV

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 KJV

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5 KJV

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:8 KJV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 KJV

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 KJV

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised. Psalm 113:3 KJV

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. Psalm 103:13 KJV

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Psalm 103:1‭-‬3 KJV

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 KJV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:22‭-‬25 KJV

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. James 3:13 KJV

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5‭-‬8 KJV

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Romans 12:10 KJV

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isaiah 43:2 KJV

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 KJV

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 KJV

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 KJV

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 KJV

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8 KJV

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Galatians 5:14 KJV

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6 KJV

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:36 KJV

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12‭-‬13 KJV

Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner. Proverbs 13:6 KJV

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 KJV

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 KJV

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 KJV

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. John 20:21 KJV

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:1 KJV

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matthew 18:2‭-‬5 KJV

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6 KJV

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:6‭-‬7 KJV

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Proverbs 18:10 KJV

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 KJV

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 KJV

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11 KJV

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8 KJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 KJV

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 KJV

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. Nahum 1:7 KJV

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Matthew 6:25 KJV

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John 15:2 KJV

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19‭-‬21 KJV

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21 KJV

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 KJV

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Cor 13:4‭-‬7 KJV

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:2‭-‬3 KJV

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5‭ KJV

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26 KJV

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4 KJV

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 KJV

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2 KJV

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1 KJV

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38 KJV

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24‭-‬25 KJV

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 1 John 5:14 KJV

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3‭-‬5 KJV

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 KJV

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17 KJV

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 KJV

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. Isaiah 53:5 KJV

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. John 13:14‭-‬15.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2‭-‬3 KJV

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13 KJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Romans 3:23‭-‬24 KJV

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 KJV

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. Isaiah 53:6 KJV

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 KJV

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:38‭-‬39 KJV

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 1 Peter 4:16 KJV

From the best person you know to the worst person you know, we all have one thing in common: we are sinners in need of our Saviour Jesus Christ. He loves so much that He gave His One and only begotten Son to die a shameful and horrible death on a wicked cross to take away the sins of the world. To us His free gift of His salvation He offers. Will you accept Jesus Christ into your heart today? Have a blessed day.

How does one respond to the resurrection? It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You can experience the power and the presence of the risen Christ, and it’s as simple as ABCAcknowledge, Believe, and Confess.

First, you must acknowledge that you have messed up and gone in the wrong direction—away from the God who loves you. The Bible calls that repentance, which means to turn. Right now, you have the opportunity to turn back to God, ask for His forgiveness, and receive the grace and mercy Christ died to give you. When you turn back to God, He will welcome you with arms open wide.

Next, you must believe. This is more than just mental assent—it is trusting your life and eternal soul to what you know is true. You cannot earn salvation, and you don’t deserve it—that’s the bad news. But the good news is that God offers it to you as a gift because of Jesus. You must fully trust in that gift! The Apostle Paul gave simple directions: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10).

After you believe, you must confess. That means to publicly attest to your faith in Christ, though you might be persecuted or rejected. Even today, many people give their lives for their witness of the risen Christ. Jesus said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32–33). Your faith in Jesus is not just a private matter. When you confess Him, you become His ambassador in the world. If you’re ready to acknowledge, believe, and confess, why don’t you pray right now in your own words —or you can use this prayer:

Dear Father God, I come to You a sinner, needing salvation. I have messed up and cannot save myself, so I cast myself upon Your mercy. Please forgive me. Take my sin, my shame, my addictions, and my darkness. Give me Your righteousness, Your freedom, Your light, and Your love. I accept You into my heart as my Lord Saviour. Please wash me white as snow, and use me to bring others into Your Kingdom in Heaven. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

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 the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9‭-‬13 KJV

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32‭-‬33 KJV

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. John 13:34 KJV

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7‭-‬8 KJV

What a blessing it is that our faith is real. There were witnesses to the resurrected Christ Jesus of glory! Have a blessed day.

The heart of the gospel, the good news, is Christ was raised from the dead. He is risen indeed! That means faith is fruitful rather than futile; preaching is powerful rather than pointless; the disciples were dependable rather than deceptive; salvation is certain rather than imaginary, and death is defeated rather than victorious. Because Christ rose from the dead, those of us who believe are of all people the most blessed and the happiest because the resurrected Christ lives inside of us. Because Jesus rose from the dead, one day we will rise too! What a glorious truth!

Remember, Paul didn’t say they were just believers in the resurrection. He said they were witnesses of the resurrection, and there’s a big difference between a believer and a witness. A witness testifies to what he has seen, heard, and personally experienced, which makes Christianity different from every other religion and every other philosophy. The resurrection is not just a historical fact. It’s not just a sign from God validating Christ. It means Jesus is alive right now, and He can be known by you, right here, right now. You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Living people can show up for themselves. That is the ultimate evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—the reality of His power and His presence. You don’t have to merely believe it; you can witness it for yourself.

When we witness Jesus alive, we become like the disciples, who, despite the forces trying to silence them, continued to share the truth of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. The resurrected Christ was at the core of the gospel the disciples preached. None of them changed their story, even while being tortured. None of them simply stopped talking about the resurrection and quietly went away. They all gave their lives, proclaiming Jesus had risen from the dead!

And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Acts 4:33 KJV

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. Luke 19:37‭-‬38 KJV

Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. Psalm 24:10 KJV

As the time draws nigh to celebrate His resurrection, an important action for our faith, we are reminded again of the truth of the hope which we share. Yes indeed. Have a blessed day.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul, himself a witness of the resurrected Christ, imagined the implications of a reality in which Jesus has not risen. It’s a chilling passage that paints a picture of a bleak and hopeless world. He said that if Jesus is still dead, preaching and faith are useless (v. 14), the disciples are false witnesses (v. 15), we are all still in our sins (v. 17), the dead are gone forever (v. 18), and those who believe are the most pitiful of all people (v. 19). But then, in Verse 20, Paul changed the tone with this amazing declaration that makes all the difference: “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (NIV). Early Christians would greet one another with Paul’s words! In place of “hello,” a believer would say, “Christ is risen,” and the other would respond, “He is risen indeed!”

Jesus Christ did rise from the grave! He is risen indeed! The resurrection was God’s supernatural vindication of what Jesus did for us. It means Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be—the Son of God, sent into the world so we could have forgiveness, full and free. The resurrection means God accepted Jesus’ death in our place on the cross. It means Jesus was ultimately victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave. Because death couldn’t hold Him, because sin has no power over Him, and because Jesus is alive, we have great hope in Him! The Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). That hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 KJV

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:19 KJV

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8 KJV

His story is incomplete without the resurrection. If Christ Jesus did not rise from and conquer the grave, He would be just another man. Our faith would be in vain. But He did rise from the dead! O glorious day! Come to the Saviour today and be saved. Have a blessed day.

The crucifixion of Jesus was a very important historical event. We usually hear more about the cross than the empty tomb in the church world, leaving the resurrection for Easter. But the resurrection is not just an Easter message; it lies at the heart of Christianity, even in one sense eclipsing the significance of the cross. For without the resurrection, the crucifixion was just an execution. Lots of people have died on lots of crosses, but there is only One who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

The Apostle Paul said, “And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Corinthians 15:17–19 NKJV). That means if Christ didn’t rise, all the things we’ve done wrong would keep us separated from God forever, and if that is the case, we are to be pitied. Paul didn’t say if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity is still a good religion that will make you a better person, instill good morals, and make your life a little better. He said if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then this whole thing is a lie, everything we are doing is for nothing, and believers are the biggest fools in the world.

Some scholars and preachers try to sound rational or intelligent and say maybe the resurrection wasn’t literal and physical. Perhaps it was a metaphor for something or just a spiritual resurrection. But if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then He was not who He claimed to be. If He didn’t rise from the dead, there’s nothing He can do for you: He can’t save you, He can’t forgive you, He can’t wash your sins away, and He can’t heal you… If He didn’t rise from the dead, then He’s just another dead guy.

The good news is Christ did rise from the dead, and that changes everything!

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
1 Corinthians 15:17‭-‬19 KJV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22‭-‬23 KJV

Having a glimpse into the character of the disciples before the resurrection (they were not too courageous), something miraculous happened to give them boldness and a purpose to live and die for the Word of God. That was resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also have an opportunity to know Him! Praise God and have a blessed day. (This is a new reading plan below.)

Did Jesus really die and rise from the dead? Some say there is no evidence for the Christian faith, but actually, from a historical perspective, the resurrection of Jesus is probably the most well-documented fact in antiquity. People have tried to dispute it numerous ways—Jesus wasn’t really dead, the disciples went to the wrong tomb, or the disciples stole His body. However, none of the theories that try to disprove the resurrection hold water. Ultimately it is indisputable that the disciples (and hundreds of others) believed they had personally seen, touched, ate with, walked with, and talked with the resurrected Jesus. They died for this testimony, and who would die for a lie?

Perhaps you would answer that many have died throughout history for things that were not true. However, there is one very important difference between the disciples and other martyrs. The disciples did not just believe Jesus rose from the dead; they claimed to actually be eyewitnesses of His resurrection. In other words, the resurrection wasn’t just something they believed to be true; it was something they knew for a fact as true. That means if they were lying, they knew they were lying—and they all died for a lie they knew was a lie. Highly unlikely! Not one of them changed his story when faced with the gallows or the sword. They all gladly testified with their blood to the reality that Jesus had risen from the dead.

The courage the disciples displayed in the face of death was not only remarkable; it was especially unusual given everything we know about them from Scripture. They totally dropped the ball when Jesus was crucified. One betrayed Him, another denied Him, and the rest ran for their lives. They weren’t courageous and bold; they were weak-willed cowards. But then, something radically changed them. Something transformed them into bold witnesses, proclaiming the gospel everywhere. What changed them was being with the resurrected Christ—they talked with Him, walked with Him, touched Him, and even ate with Him for weeks after He rose from the dead!

The disciples lost everything because of their witness of the resurrection of Christ, and they stood to gain nothing in this world by it. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, all the disciples died terrible deaths to perpetuate a hoax. Do you really believe that happened? Not a chance.

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: Acts 1:3 KJV

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 KJV

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8 KJV

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 KJV

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10‭-‬12 KJV

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 KJV

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:11‭-‬12 KJV

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:1‭-‬2 KJV

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5 KJV

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3 KJV

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 KJV

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17‭-‬18 KJV

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 KJV

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34 KJV

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 1 Peter 3:12 KJV

And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. Zechariah 14:9 KJV

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 KJV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8‭-‬9 KJV

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 KJV

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27 KJV

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12 KJV

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 91:2 KJV

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 KJV

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:24 KJV

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 2 Samuel 7:22 KJV

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4 KJV

Philippians 4:4‭ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13 KJV

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 KJV

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20 KJV

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 KJV

Joel 2:12‭ Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13. And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. Jeremiah 31:25 KJV

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2 KJV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 KJV

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19 KJV

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:2 KJV

Isaiah 55:6‭ Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

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. Revelation 3:20 KJV

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 KJV

Isaiah 55:1‭ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. Proverbs 21:21 KJV

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10 KJV

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5 KJV

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 KJV

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Hebrews 12:14 KJV

The verse for today is Galatians 5:14. Have a blessed day.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Jesus never broke one of the laws His Father gave to Moses, but He was notorious for placing the needs of people above the man-made rules of His day. Over and over again in the Gospels, we read that Jesus had compassion on the large crowds and on the people who came to Him for healing. And we read that He healed people with all kinds of infirmities on the Sabbath, something forbidden by the traditions of the elders (but not by the Old Testament).

Jesus values people more than He values the rules of tradition. As Jesus-style leaders, we must do the same. This, of course, does not mean we can flout the rules just for the sake of rebelliousness or relevance. Traditions stand the test of time because they have proven helpful to people. But it is possible for a custom to overstay its welcome. A godly leader will choose the welfare of people over the shouts of, “But this is the way we have always done it!”every time.

The leadership style of the scribes, Pharisees, and priests was one of burdening and oppressing the people. They derived their authority from ancient writings and procedures. When speaking on a given subject, they would cite an ancient teacher: “As Rabbi Hillel taught. . . .”

Jesus came with a completely new and different leadership style. His teaching was rational and compassionate. He taught the people how to have better relationships, how to love and forgive each other, how to resolve conflicts, how to deal with worry and anxiety, and so forth. Unlike the nitpicky and irrational rule-making of the scribes and Pharisees, the teachings of Jesus made logical sense. His teachings were compassionate and liberating.

Think about the places where you have influence – your home, work, church. Are you holding to rules for the sake of tradition? Take time to evaluate your rules. Are they causing unnecessary pain or hardship for someone you know?

Prayer: Father, help me to create God-honoring expectations for those I lead. I pray the guidelines I set forth for my team would be to their benefit and not be created out of any fears or insecurities I may have. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26 KJV

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 KJV

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 KJV

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: Matthew 3:8 KJV

Lead Like a Shepherd

Shepherds were considered to be of no report, the lowest of the low. Jesus, however, chose them to set an example to us that we can never do anything that He won’t forgive if we would only repent. Amazingly He has already laid down His life for us and praise God, He has defeated death by picking it back up! Today’s verses are John 10:1‭-‬21, Zechariah 13:7, Matthew 26:31, and Philippians 2:4. Have a blessed day.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

In order to lead like Jesus, we must become shepherds. But the people of Jesus’ day did not think much of shepherds. Because of their work, shepherds were often ceremonially unclean and not permitted in the temple courts. Most self-respecting Jews considered shepherds dishonest, transient and unsavory. As a result, shepherds were often treated as outcasts. So disregarded was a shepherd, his testimony was not even admissible in a murder trial if he was the only witness.

Why then would Jesus relate his own ministry to the job of a shepherd (see John 10:1-21)? While a shepherd might not appear to be of much consequence to the world, he is the friend, protector and defender of his sheep – even to the point of death. To be more like Jesus, we must be willing to humble ourselves in order to care for those we lead.

The Good Shepherd even lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7 when He predicted His death to His disciples. He said, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'” (Matthew 26:31). When the Good Shepherd was struck down, He ensured the safety of His sheep. He willingly sacrificed His own life to save the sheep.

It’s true that leaders must lead. Leaders must cast the vision, set the direction, inspire and motivate, and give orders. However, the leadership style of Jesus shows us that a leader does much more than that. A true shepherd-leader knows, serves, and sacrifices for the sheep.

Prayer: Dear Father God, please forgive my prideful ways. I turn to You as the right example for servant leadership. Instill Your attitude within my heart, that I may lead from Your attributes. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4).

John 10:1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21. Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

Zechariah 13:7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Matthew 26:31. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Philippians 2:4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 KJV

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12 KJV

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9 KJV

No One Does It Alone

We have a humble and magnificent leader. His name is Jesus, and we can learn much from His leadership style. This is a 10 day reading plan. Today’s verses are John 8:53, 5:45-46, and 4:37. Have a blessed day.

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Everyone receives help from the people who have gone before, the people who stand alongside, and the people who follow. No one is a self-made man or woman, and good leaders know they can’t take full credit for their successes.

Jesus Himself had the right to take credit for everything from creation onward. Yet, He exemplified the humility of a servant. Jesus could have pointed out the flaws and failures of those who went before Him: You think Abraham was great? Remember, he had his share of failings. And Moses? Don’t forget all the times he got angry and disobeyed God. And don’t forget how Abraham feared Pharaoh so much that he lied and said Sarah was his sister! If you want to know what real greatness is, look at Me.

But Jesus was not driven, as so many leaders are today, by the need to receive credit, applause and attention. He was driven by love for the Father. Jesus acknowledged those who went before Him, including Abraham (see John 8:53) and Moses (see John 5:45-46). If we want to follow the leadership style of Jesus Christ, we must acknowledge others in the same Christ-like way He did.

Do you take time to acknowledge the contributions others make to your successes? If not, make a plan to personally and publicly thank God and these people.

Prayer: Dear precious Lord, I praise You for the group of people You have aligned me with who help me and support me. Without Your divine plan in bringing these people into my life, I would not be where and who I am. Thank You. I pray this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

“Thus the saying “One sows and another reaps…is true” (John 4:37).

***

Discover vital leadership principles from the greatest leader of all time: Jesus Christ. If you are a leader in any area of life, your approach to leadership will be transformed by the examples from Jesus’ life outlined in Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book, The Leadership Style of Jesus. For more teachings, books, and downloadable resources from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, visit us online at www.LTW.org.

John 8:53. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

John 5:45. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

John 4:37. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1 KJV

Hospitality 3 John

This letter is about troubles we still have in churches and what to do and not do. The video is minutes long. The verses are 3 John 1:1-14. Have a blessed day.

If you watched the video, you may scroll down to See for Yourself.

What’s Happening?

John’s third letter is directed not to a group of churches, or even one church, but to Gaius, a man John deeply loves (3 John 1). Gaius is a faithful Christian whose hospitality is well known (3 John 3-5). Traveling missionaries frequently stayed at Gaius’ house and then told their home churches about his generosity and love (3 John 6). John wants Gaius to keep doing what he’s doing. For John, hospitality towards missionaries is a litmus test of inclusion in God’s Kingdom. And people like Gaius are co-workers—valuable partners in the mission of Jesus (3 John 8).

But not everyone in Gaius’s community is as humble and hospitable as he is. Diotrephes refuses to listen to John and other apostles’ calls for hospitality (3 John 9). He resents their authority, slanders their character, and refuses to welcome their missionaries (3 John 10a). Worse still, Diotrephes has some level of authority in Gaius’s church. He both threatens and excommunicates those willing to support John’s missionaries (3 John 10b).

Knowing that Gaius would read his letter to everyone in his church, John tells them to imitate the good they see in Gaius and reject the evil of Diotrephes and men like him (3 John 11). John ends his third letter the same way he ended his last, with the hope of seeing his friends face to face soon (3 John 13-14).

Where is the Gospel?

John has talked about loving one another in every one of his letters. It’s the defining mark of those who know God (1 John 4:7). And the failure to love your brothers and sisters is the defining mark of those who don’t know God (1 John 4:8). Hospitality towards missionaries is a litmus test of inclusion in God’s Kingdom.

When Jesus first sent out his disciples, the hospitality shown by a town towards them determined whether God’s peace or God’s judgment would fall (Matthew 10:13, 15). Near the end of Jesus’ life, he said that whether or not we show hospitality to “the least of these” signals our eternal destiny (Matthew 25:45-46). That’s because hospitality isn’t just serving others—but Jesus himself (Matthew 25:40). To give or withhold hospitality (especially towards those sent to proclaim the way of Jesus) is to accept or deny that Jesus was sent by God.

Fittingly, Jesus revealed himself through his own hospitality. He gave wine to a wedding (John 2:11). He hosted feasts in the desert (Luke 9:16). He offers his body and blood as a meal to be eaten (Matthew 26:26-28). And when he finally convinced his disciples that he rose from the dead, it was over a shared meal (Luke 24:35). Jesus is generous and hospitable to his people. And when his people are hospitable in kind, God shows up. Jesus reveals himself. And we become coworkers and God’s chosen partners in the proclamation of Jesus and his Gospel.

Don’t imitate the evil of Diotrephes. Don’t invite the judgment Jesus warns against. Instead, love your brothers and be hospitable to your sisters, especially those who have been sent, like Jesus, to proclaim good news.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is generous. And may you see Jesus as our hospitable host inviting us to a feast of his generosity and love.

——-

We invite you to continue seeking Jesus in God’s Word. We have lots of other reading plans available on YouVersion. Just search for “Spoken Gospel” in the reading plans section.

We hope this has helped you see Jesus in God’s Word more. We pray this final day helps you worship Jesus even more.

3 John 1:1‭ The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; 6. Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: 7. Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. 8. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.

9. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.  He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

12. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true. 13. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: 14. But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16 KJV

Do not entertain deceitful people. It will cause you harm. John is giving a refresher letter here. Today’s verses are 2 John 1:1-13. The video is 3:41 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

If you watched the video, you can skip this until you get to Bible verses of the day.

Lies have always been the greatest threat to God’s people, and in John’s second letter he warns a church he affectionately calls his chosen lady and children about them (2 John 1). In many ways it summarizes in one chapter what he spent five chapters explaining in his previous letter. 2 John is an apostolic booster shot to a church in need of care.

Like before, John reminds the church to love one another and keep God’s commands (2 John 5-6). He warns them of deceivers who deny that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7). He also emphasizes that those who do not live the way Jesus taught them to live do not have God (2 John 9). The gift of the Father’s power and the Son’s presence is only given to those who abide in the Gospel John preached, and the commands that Jesus prescribed. John calls this the way of living the truth (2 John 1-2).

That’s why it’s imperative that this church not welcome pastors or teachers who reject the Gospel and teach a different way to live (2 John 10). People of the truth should reject lies that are dangerous. Lies have the potential to rob this specially chosen lady and her children of their full reward of God’s truth and eternal life (2 John 8). John also warns that platforming these deceivers in their churches will make them complicit in their deceit and wickedness (2 John 11).

Where is the Gospel?

John abruptly ends his letter and hopes, like a caring father, that paper and pen will soon give way to face to face conversation (2 John 12).

Lies have always been the greatest threat to God’s people. In the garden of Eden it was a lie that convinced God’s first chosen lady, Eve, to abandon fidelity to God and his commands (Genesis 3:4, 13). Like the antichrists in John’s day, the serpent robbed her of the full reward of Eden made her complicit in the Deceiver’s evil, and forfeited eternal life with God (Genesis 3:23). The temptation to platform false gospels, tolerate false narratives, and entertain deceitful teachers is one of humanity’s original failures. And no matter how far we are removed from the world of Genesis, holding onto the truth in a world of lies is a perennial problem.

But the good news is that the Truth has already and will again win. God promised Eve that the Truth would one day crush the lie of the Deceiver (Genesis 3:15). And on the cross and by his resurrection, Jesus shows that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:16). It’s no wonder that the defining teaching of these antichrists is to deny that Jesus came in the flesh (2 John 7, 1 John 2:22a). The best tactic the ancient Deceiver and his children have is to deny it ever happened (John 8:44).

It’s telling that the apostle John in the, book of Revelation, describes the entire history of God’s people as a conflict between a deceiving dragon and a chosen lady and her children (Revelation 12:1, 4b). And it’s even more telling that God’s people conquer the Deceiver by the blood of Jesus the antichrists deny, and the truthful testimony the deceivers cannot admit (Revelation 12:11).

By his coming and by his cross Jesus has spoken Truth to a world cursed under a lie. And the Truth is we will not surely die, but have eternal life in God alone through Jesus alone (John 3:16). And one day soon when Jesus returns, every lie will be silenced, all temptations will end, and Truth and Life will be all that’s left.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is Truth. And may you see Jesus as the one who defeats the lies of the Deceiver by his coming and his cross.

2 John 1:1. The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2. For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. 3. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. 13. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 KJV

There is eternal life in Jesus Christ through His blood which was shed on the cross. All we need to do is accept Him as Lord and Savior. We serve a mighty and awesome God. Today’s verses are 1 John 5:6‭-‬21. The video is minutes long. Today I’ve included the written version of the video in case you don’t have YouTube. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

If you would prefer to watch the video, it says everything below except for the Bible verses. ☺️

John wants everybody who reads his letter to know they have eternal life in Jesus—and specifically life in Jesus’ bloody death (1 John 5:13). But this is offensive to several false teachers. They claim they’re eyewitnesses to a more “spiritual gospel” that doesn’t include Jesus’ coming in the flesh or his bloody death. In denying that Jesus came in flesh and blood, the false teachers deny there is eternal life in Jesus, and they’re calling God a liar (1 John 5:10).

But John says his Gospel has more reliable eyewitnesses (1 John 5:9). John’s Gospel is attested to by the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and empty tomb. The testimony Jesus proclaims isn’t speculative or spiritual but actual life from the physically dead in him (1 John 5:11). That’s why, John says, Jesus came by both water and blood (1 John 5:6). They’re references to Jesus’ two baptisms: the baptism at the beginning of his ministry when the Holy Spirit landed on him like a dove and God testified that Jesus is his Son, and the baptism of blood Jesus went under on the cross where he killed our sin and God raised him the dead (Mark 10:38). Contrary to the testimony of the false teachers, the testimony of Jesus’ baptism, his death, and the Holy Spirit proclaim that God has come in a body, died a bloody death, and rose (1 John 5:7-8). And the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, now lives in us and secures eternal life with God forever.

Where is the Gospel?

John wants everybody who reads his letter to know they have eternal life in Jesus (1 John 5:13).

And more than knowing that our life will extend indefinitely, John wants us to know that our lives will be marked by the power of God. John says if we ask anything according to his will in prayer, God will hear and will give (1 John 5:14-15). Eternal life doesn’t just mean living a long time—eternal life starts now because God lives in us and always hears our prayers.

And John doesn’t hedge his bets when he’s talking about prayer. He doesn’t say God might give what we ask, but that he will. Even our prayers for brothers and sisters who are walking towards death will be answered with the gift of resurrection life (1 John 5:16). Contrary to the false teachers, the God who died is the God of life, and through us he even gives life to others. We pray infused with the life and power of Jesus because, like Jesus, we have been born of God (1 John 5:18).

John ends his letter of encouragement by reminding us of the Truth: Jesus is both the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20). Only in Jesus’ body is there love that covers our sin, only in Jesus’ bloody death, is there resurrection. All other gospels are inferior, they’re just man-made idols to lesser deities (1 John 5:21). There is only one place to find life and love—and that is in Jesus.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who has come by water and blood. And may you see Jesus as the one who is eternal life and love in the flesh.

1 John 5:6‭ This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. 18. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 KJV

Just to clarify: God has many characteristics, and we are studying His love for us and how we should respond rightly in this study. Today’s verses are 1 John 4:7–5:5. The video is 3:46 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

1 John 4:7‭. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19. We love him, because he first loved us.

20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 5:1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11 KJV

There are only two families on earth since the beginning. The family of God, and the family of Satan. To which family do you belong? I am a child of the living God. Would you like to be also? Believe in your heart that Christ died for our sins, repent, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and be saved. Yes, it’s that easy. Today’s verses are  1 John 2:28-29 and 3:1-24. Have a blessed day.

1 John 2:28. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
1 John 2:28‭-‬29

1 John 3:1‭. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Proverbs 11:25 KJV

In this study, the antichrist is referring to people who used to be members but no longer are. They deny Jesus’ deity, they kill others who believe in Him, and it is unfortunately a part of church life even now. “The good news is that John’s disciples have been anointed by God, and those who are against God’s anointed have no power (1 John 2:20).” The video is 3:11 minutes long, and today’s verses are 1 John 2:18‭-‬27. Have a blessed day.

1 John 2:18. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 KJV

Today’s message is one of hope to the believers and urgency for the unbelievers. They must be reached, because Christ Jesus has already paid our sin debt in full and has overcome the world. That is why and how we can focus on Jesus rather than the things of this world. We serve an amazing God! Today’s verses are 1 John 2:12‭-‬17 KJV. (You can skip reading the context if you listen to the video.) The video is 3:06 minutes long. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

Being a follower of Jesus means following him into a battle against evil. This battle isn’t a war of weapons, but of desires. Loving God means not loving the world (1 John 2:15). Not loving the world means not loving what the world loves. The world loves to invent and satisfy desires for our body, lusts for our eyes, and pride in our life (1 John 2:16). The world builds systems, economies, cultures, and religions designed to tempt and destroy us. But John says the way to overcome a world of desires is by remembering that this world and those who love it are passing away. But those who obey and love God live forever (1 John 2:17).

And to a people at war, John recites a poem. This poem shepherds and soothes a community under fire from the lies of false teachers and the condemning voice of the evil one. And John assures three different groups of people: children, fathers, and young men.

John often calls his whole community—both men and women—“children” (1 John 2:1, 18, 28). And he reminds them that their sins really are forgiven and they truly know God as Father (1 John 2:12, 13a). Despite their temptations and failures, God has already forgiven them! Then to fathers (or mature believers) he reminds them twice that their age doesn’t disqualify them, but instead brings them near the God of eternity. As they approach death in this world, they know the Eternal One has their lives in his hands (1 John 2:12-13). And finally to the young men, or those who are most active in the battle of living and working in the world, John reminds them twice that they have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13b, 14b). John’s point is simple. Yes, we are in a battle, but we’re on the winning side.

Where is the Gospel?

Jesus has defeated the powers of evil on the cross. By his Spirit we’re strengthened against every temptation. Even when we die we will continue to live with God our Father. We overcome the world, its desires, and the evil one by remembering the Gospel. Because Jesus lives forever, evil is passing away. Because God is our Father, we will live forever with him.

Our battles with the desires of our body and eyes have been dealt a death-blow in Jesus. In love, Jesus has died, covered our sins, and been resurrected. This is the spiritual weapon we need to fight the evil one (Ephesians 6:11). The devil is on his back foot, and we’re armed to the teeth. Whether we are fathers and mothers or young and strong, we are all children of a victorious Father who only sends his daughters and sons into battle once armed with resurrection life. We don’t need to be afraid of the world. We will overcome its temptation. The good news is that the One in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4).

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is light. And may you see Jesus as the One who has defeated the darkness of the world so that both He and we can live forever.

1 John 2:12‭. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. 14. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 1 Corinthians 9:25 KJV

Today’s video is 3:25 minutes. “God is light” commands us to love one another as Jesus loved us. What a privilege it is to have a relationship with God. Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

John says the Gospel of Jesus can be summed up this way: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Just as light brought life on the first day of creation and light gives life to every green plant, Jesus brings the light and life of God even from the grave (Genesis 1:3). Like the pillar of fire led Israel through dark nights in the wilderness, Jesus guides us by his Spirit (Exodus 13:21). Just as light judges and expels darkness, Jesus judges and expels the devil and his evil (1 John 3:8, Colossians 2:13). And one day, the brightness of God’s light will even swallow up the actual night (Revelation 22:5). The message “God is Light” is the eternal good news of Jesus summed up in three words.

But John also says the good news that “God is Light,” is a command to be obeyed (1 John 2:7). The command is that we should love one another as Jesus has loved us (1 John 2:10; John 13:34). Like the fire in the wilderness or the sun in the sky, this good news and good command will lead us to life (1 John 2:10).

But several in John’s community claimed to be members of the light, while hating one another (1 John 1:6). John says this is a contradiction and a self-evident lie. True members of the light, walk in the light (1 John 1:8). People transformed by the good news that “God is Light” will act like it. These liars are so darkened by their self-deception they call their hate loving (1 John 1:9, 11).

And while the liars are busy hiding their darkness under the guise of light, Christians freely confess their darkness because they know the light (1 John 1:10). They know that forgiveness has been bought by Jesus’ blood and are willing to step towards him (1 John 2:2). John says that those who walk towards the light, even if they sin, are truly God’s people and will be forgiven (1 John 2:3, 6). But those who refuse to admit their darkness and pretend to be in the light, will soon be blinded by the same light they deny (1 John 2:11).

Where is the Gospel?

The good news is that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. The light of God has come to us in Jesus. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). And like the fire that led Israel through the wilderness, Jesus’ Spirit always teaches us where to go (John 14:16). Jesus has overcome both our own and the world’s evil by his loving, sacrificial death (1 John 2:2).

But how do we know we’re in the light? How do we really know that we are in the life of God? John says that assurance comes when we love one another. Love for each other is how we know that we belong to God, and experience the fullness of God’s love and light (1 John 2:5). God’s light was most clearly seen in Jesus’ love on the cross, so it makes sense that we will most clearly experience our assurance as we live and love like Jesus.

And what’s beautiful is that even when we fail to love, if we confess our sin to God in whom there is no darkness, we can fully expect the light of his forgiveness. Because of Jesus we have an example to follow, but we also have an Advocate before God who has covered our sins, takes away our guilt, and shines the light of his love on all who ask.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the God who is Light. And may you see Jesus as our atoning sacrifice who covers all our sins.

1 John 1:5‭. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1‭. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4 KJV

We will now go deeper in our study of the books of 1, 2 and 3 John. Today our focus is on 1 John 1:1-4. A 2:51 minute video is provided. Jesus Christ is real, and John saw Him, talked with Him, ate with Him, heard Him, and witnessed many more miracles than were able to be put in the Bible! Have a blessed day.

What’s Happening?

John, Jesus’ disciple, writes to a community under attack from false teachers. John goes so far as to call them “antichrists” (1 John 2:22). These antichrists are pastors or church leaders who have left their churches and now claim that John and the other apostles are wrong about Jesus (1 John 2:19). They claim that Jesus did not come in the flesh (1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7). They deny that God took on a body and they deny that God—in Jesus—bled on the cross for them.

So John begins his letter by grounding his message in what he heard, saw, and touched (1 John 1:1). John is an eyewitness, alongside the other disciples and apostles. He has firsthand experience with Jesus, with God himself. The antichrists want to spiritualize the Gospel, but John says they can’t spiritualize away his testimony.

John insists that the same God who was from the beginning was born, and the Word of Life became alive and lived in front of him (1 John 1:2). John has seen God with his eyes and heard him with his ears (1 John 1:3a). The antichrists’ spiritualized message is contrary to the facts: God has been born, the apostles have seen, heard, and touched him, and so eternal life is only found in Jesus.

Where is the Gospel?

The antichrists denied the incarnation of Jesus. And as a result, those who listened became plagued by doubts. If God didn’t join himself to humanity, how do humans know they are joined to God? If the incarnation isn’t real, how can we ever know we’re saved?

John’s answer is simple. We have real fellowship with God because God has physically joined himself to humanity (1 John 1:3)! Jesus was real. Eternal life was touched. That which was from the beginning was born to Mary. No one who trusts the good news of Jesus’ incarnation needs to fear where he or she stands with God. God has saved us just as certainly as we’ve been born of our mother.

And while it’s true that we, like John’s community, haven’t seen Jesus with our own eyes, John was an eyewitness. John ate, slept, and walked with Eternal Life in the flesh. John watched Jesus die, and John looked into his empty tomb. The antichrists have no leg to stand on. God coming in the flesh is a matter of history, and all the apostles agree. God has come in the flesh; his name is Jesus. And in him you are saved.

See For Yourself

May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the Word of Life who came to earth. And may you see Jesus as God in the flesh.

1 John 1:1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 KJV

1 John 1, 2, 3

Starting a new reading plan today in the book of 1 John. It is a 10 day plan, and it does get pretty lengthy. However, there is a video starting tomorrow. Today’s verses are Psalm 119:137-160, KJV. Have a blessed day.

Welcome to Jesus in All of 1, 2, & 3 John. Our prayer is that you will encounter Jesus and his Gospel in 1, 2, & 3 John like never before.

Each day, you will have the opportunity to read a short devotional or watch a short video that will walk you through the text and show you how it is fulfilled in Jesus.

Each day you will see the same three things:

1. What’s Happening?

This section explains what is going on in the text.

2. Where is the Gospel?

This section shows how this story ultimately points to Jesus and his Gospel.

3. See For Yourself

This is a short, Trinitarian prayer meant to propel you into Scripture to see the good news of Jesus for yourself.

Before jumping in, we’d ask you to prepare your heart.

Please consider starting with the passage from Psalms assigned for today. Use it like a prayer. Put the Psalmist’s words into your own words. Ask God to send his Holy Spirit to help you understand Psalms and see Jesus throughout it. Prayer is a critical part of engaging God’s Word.

We hope this journey transforms you. May the Holy Spirit open your eyes to see the beauty of Jesus in all of Scripture.

Psalm 119:137. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. 138. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. 139. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. 140. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. 141. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. 142. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. 144.The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. 145. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. 146. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. 147. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 149. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment. 150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. 151. Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth. 152. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. 153. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law. 154. Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word. 155. Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes. 156. Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments. 157. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. 158. I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. 159. Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. 160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2 KJV

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5 KJV

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 KJV

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45 KJV

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16 KJV

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15‭-‬16 KJV

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 KJV

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 KJV

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5 KJV

Verse of the Day

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 1 Peter 3:13 KJV

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 KJV

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 KJV

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19‭-‬20 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10‭-‬11 KJV

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:13‭-‬14 KJV

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 KJV

But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:24 KJV

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11 KJV

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2‭-‬3 KJV

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. Luke 9:23‭-‬24 KJV

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 KJV

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Isaiah 60:1 KJV

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22 KJV

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6 KJV

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 KJV

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105 KJV

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19 KJV

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:26 KJV

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV

He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. Proverbs 21:21 KJV

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3 KJV

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:11 KJV

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: Matthew 6:3 KJV

Immanuel

This is the day we set apart to celebrate the birth of our dear Savior Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful miracle and gift from God above to come into the world He created to save mankind which He also created. Thank You Lord God for such a blessing as this! I love You. Happy birthday! Today’s verses are Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:30‭-‬35, John 14:16‭-‬17, and John 16:7. Have a very Merry Christmas and stay blessed.

What a miracle that the God of the universe chose to come to earth as a baby—such grandeur and humility all in one. It can be easy to question how this could be, and that’s exactly what Mary did when the angel Gabriel greeted her with the news that she would conceive the Son of God.

Gabriel responded in Luke 1:35 NIV,  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”

Over 600 years before this miraculous exchange, the prophet Isaiah spoke the same news of the virgin birth, declaring that the son would be called Immanuel, which translated means, “God with us.” With that, Isaiah told us the who and what of Jesus’ birth, but it was Gabriel who brought the news of how: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.”

As we consider the miracle that is “God with us” by the power of the Holy Spirit that came upon Mary, remember to rejoice that, through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is still available to us today. When Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure from the world, He told them that it was actually good that He would leave, that they would then receive the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. You see, on earth, Jesus was fully God and fully man—He could only be in one place at a time. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, each of us has access to Him all the time, wherever we are!

The Holy Spirit who conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb, making it possible for Him to be with us on earth, is the same Spirit that Jesus said would come in His place to be with us always. When God sent His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit, He created and confirmed a lasting presence for those who call Him Lord.

This Christmas, allow the power of the gifts God set in motion long ago to resonate in your heart. Whether you’re celebrating over gifts and dinner with loved ones or if you find yourself in a place of mourning, know that Immanuel has come for you. He didn’t just come to occupy a manger, a cross, or a tomb—He came to live in your heart through the everlasting power of His Holy Spirit. The gift of Christmas was always meant for you, and He is with you always!

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to earth and giving me such a gift to celebrate during the Christmas season. It’s humbling to know that You love me so much and that You want me to be with You always. Holy Spirit, help me to remember that no matter where I am, You are always with me. Happy birthday Lord Jesus Christ! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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

Luke 1:30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

John 14:16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 16:7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 KJV

Shepherd

Shepherds were of low esteem. It was hard & dangerous work. Sheep have a tendency to stray. Like sheep, we continue to go astray. That’s why Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He laid down His sinless life for our sinridden lives. He is now living in us through His Holy Spirit. What an awesome God we serve! Today’s verses are Matthew 2:6, Matthew 18:12‭-‬14, Philippians 4:19, John 10:11, Luke 13:34, and John 10:27‭-‬30. Have a blessed day.

While the title of shepherd carried a specific meaning to the Jewish people of the time, it can be easy for us to skim over this reference and miss the magnitude of what God is saying about the nature of Jesus.

The traditional role of a shepherd was anything but glamorous. In fact, it was difficult, requiring long, dangerous hours and a complete commitment to the well-being of his flock. He led them to food and shelter, accounted for them each night, and sought out and returned any that strayed. He even protected them from thieves and predators at the expense of his own safety.

Just as sheep have no instinct for food, are prone to stray and get lost, and have trouble finding home, we too, are aimless without our shepherd. In Jesus, we find the provision, protection, and guidance we so desperately need.

Throughout the New Testament, we are reminded of Jesus’ role as our Good

Shepherd. In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one, giving us a beautiful picture of God’s heart for the lost and His commitment to bringing us home to safety.

In Philippians, we are reminded by the Apostle Paul that God will meet all our needs through Jesus, just as a shepherd cares for every need of his flock. Again, in Luke 13, Jesus speaks of His desperate desire to protect His children, if only we are willing to follow Him.

In John 10:27-30 NIV, Jesus said:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

What a Good Shepherd, indeed!

As we approach Christmas, remember that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and in Him we find provision, eternal life, and the promise that no one can snatch us from the safety of His care. Just as a shepherd can’t care for his flock from a distance, Jesus is always by our side. Let’s listen for His voice, having full confidence that He is close, and that He leads us to good pastures.

Prayer: Father, thank You for painting such a beautiful portrait of Jesus as my Good Shepherd, and for meeting all my needs through Him. Give me ears to hear Your voice clearly and the boldness to follow wherever You call me. I trust that You only have good things in store for me, and I will never be outside of Your care. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Matthew 2:6 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 18:12‭ How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13. And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

John 10:27‭ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30. I and my Father are one.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14 KJV

Prince of Peace

We serve an amazing God. He grants us perfect peace through His Son’s death and resurrection. We should not forget that He rose again. Otherwise, He would be just another man. Thank You Lord Jesus for the Christ child,! ❤️ Today’s verses are Isaiah 9;6, John 16:33, and Philippians 4:4-8. Have a blessed day.

What a gift we have in Jesus, who set aside the glory of heaven to come to earth in order to give us light, life, and healing—He truly is a King worth glorifying!

In Isaiah 9:6, God spoke through the prophet and foretold of the coming of Jesus—that among many of His roles, He would be known as the Prince of Peace, which translates “Lord of Peace.” But how do we move from seeing and believing this truth, to truly walking in and experiencing the peace only He can provide?

In the New Testament, Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) It’s no accident that when God announced Jesus’ coming, He called Him the Prince of Peace. God knew the struggles His disciples would face after His departure, and He knows the struggles we still face today.

We so often try to control every aspect of our lives, placing the weight of every situation on our shoulders, but He never intended for us to carry it alone. When we choose to prioritize our relationship with Jesus and bring our cares to Him, we’re freed to receive the supernatural peace that flows directly from Him. Even before the birth of Jesus, God provided us with the answer to any and every worry we may have through the Lordship of His Son—how incredible!

This season, let’s remember the freedom and peace we have available in Jesus. Though we are all guaranteed to face difficult circumstances, through His Lordship, we have access to a rest and a peace that surpasses anything we could achieve for ourselves.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the peace You provide me through Jesus. Help me to remember that and to rest in Your presence. No matter what I face, You are with me and You offer a peace that surpasses all understanding—thank You! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 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.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:4‭ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:10‭-‬11 KJV

Everlasting Father

Many people have had good fathers, and many people weren’t so fortunate. Either way, no one’s father was perfect. How awesome it is to know that our Heavenly Father is perfect and willing and able to love and help us always. Thank You Lord Jesus! Today’s verses are Isaiah 9:6, Matthew 7:9‭, 11; James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8, and Luke 15:11‭-32. Have a blessed day.

While we all have different experiences with our earthly fathers, we know that no relationship is perfect. Whether the name “father” brings fond memories or weighs heavily on our hearts, what a gift we have in Jesus, our perfect, Everlasting Father.

Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are blessed with direct access to God. When we follow Jesus, we are adopted into God’s family, and, as His children, we enjoy all of the benefits of living under His care.

Jesus highlighted one of those benefits in the Parable of the Prodigal (or Lost) Son, showing the extent of God’s love for His children—how He never gives up on us, regardless of how far we wander! When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He also used the moment to remind them of how willing God is to provide abundantly for His children who are bold enough to ask:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 NIV)

What an incredible blessing that, regardless of our experiences, we are invited into a relationship with an unchanging, good Father.

This season, be encouraged by this beautiful description of our Everlasting Father found in the book of James: “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17 NIV) In Him, we have hope, healing, and the promise of His care forever!

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for Your perfect example of what a Father should be. Soften my heart to receive the truth of knowing that the heart of this season is You, and Your heart in this season is for me. You are a good Father! In Jesus’ precious name I give thanks and pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 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.

Matthew 7:9‭ Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Luke 15:11‭ And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him. 29. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31.And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

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

Mighty God

We have a sovereign God who loves us so much that He chooses to use believers and give them the power and strength to share this gospel to the ends of the world. This is indeed humbling. He can use all believers in Jesus, no matter what we’ve done in our past. Thank You Jesus! Today’s verses are Isaiah 9:6, John 14:12, Acts 2:41, Acts 20:24, and Ephesians 3:20‭-‬21. Have a blessed day.

The words of the prophet Isaiah began to take shape in the form of an infant. Jesus, foretold as Mighty God, was coming to earth, and His power would change everything.

Jesus performed countless miracles—He gave sight to the blind, calmed storms with a word, and even brought the dead to life. He possesses power, strength, and wisdom beyond what we can imagine—He truly was, and is, sovereign in every detail.

But the miracle of Jesus’ power wasn’t limited to Him alone. To His disciples, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NIV)

What greater works could He possibly think us capable of?

Peter, one of Jesus’ closest followers, denied knowing Him three times, yet God still used him to preach a revival at Pentecost where 3,000 were saved. Paul was one of the worst persecutors of Christians, yet God redeemed him and used him to spread the gospel to the rest of the world.

While physical miracles were incredible and are certainly still possible with God, how amazing that He has called us to the work of opening people’s eyes to the eternal hope and peace we have in Jesus. Jesus charged His disciples with the important work of spreading the gospel, and this still applies to us today.

This Christmas, let’s consider the power we have through Jesus—that He gave us eternal life, and the same power that raised Him from the dead is alive in us. Be encouraged that God not only wants to move powerfully in your life, but He also wants to move powerfully through you to reach others. How humbling that the God of the universe chooses to use us to expand His Kingdom!

Prayer: Thank You, Father for loving us so much and choosing us to help build Your Kingdom. Your Word says that Your mighty power is at work within me. Help me, Lord, to always accomplish more than I can imagine through Your mighty name and power. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6 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.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:20‭ 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, 21. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 KJV

Wonderful Counselor

He loves us so much that He was willing to be tempted in every way possible to empathize and show us the right way to go. O what a Friend we have in Jesus! Today’s verses are Isaiah 9:6, Hebrews 4:15‭-‬16, Psalm 139:1‭-‬3, and Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6. Have a blessed day.

In Isaiah, Jesus is referred to as our Wonderful Counselor, and throughout the New Testament we see His ministry support this. Jesus didn’t just offer hope and healing in societally-approved places, like synagogues. He took His ministry to the streets and sought out the lost, the hurting, and the broken, especially those cast aside by society. What a blessing we have in a Wonderful Counselor who meets us right where we are.

We’re also reminded that Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Knowing the pain and the scorn to come, God became human, choosing to experience every aspect of life for Himself. In Jesus, we not only have someone who can empathize with our struggles, but someone who’s always ready and willing to walk through them with us.

But just as seeking wise counsel from a mentor or friend takes a level of honesty and humility, God requires that we get honest and humble ourselves as we give our burdens to Jesus. When we do, we’ll get much more than good advice—we’ll experience growth, healing, and victory that can only be found in Him.

As we celebrate Christmas, let’s remember that we don’t have to face life alone. Spend time connecting and getting honest with Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor. Seek Him in God’s Word and rest assured that He is faithful and will draw near to you. In Him you will find wisdom, discernment, and revelation—there’s no answer that can’t be found in Jesus!

Prayer: Jesus, thank You so much for coming to earth and facing every temptation so that You can relate to what I’m facing. [And I can see it is possible to face it without sinning.] I am so grateful that I can come to You with anything. Thank You for creating and caring for my soul. Help me to lay down everything before You and to trust You as You walk with me through any situation. Thank You for being my Wonderful Counselor. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Isaiah 9:6 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.

Hebrews 4:15‭ For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 139:1‭ O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Proverbs 3:5‭ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14 KJV

Jesus, Our Savior

What a wonderful message of forgiveness today. One so powerful that we cannot keep it to ourselves, but we should share it with the world. At least our part of the world anyway. Today’s verses are Luke 2:10‭-‬11, Galatians 5:1, 1 Timothy 1:15, and Matthew 18:23‭-‬35. Have a blessed day.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jewish people anticipated a royal king to deliver them from oppression and establish an earthly kingdom. But what they received through the birth of a child was so much more than deliverance from circumstances and the success of a temporary reign.

Instead, God established His eternal kingdom, provided a path for salvation, reconciled us to right relationship with Himself, and brought hope to a broken world. Though many of the Jewish people didn’t fully understand or appreciate it at the time, it’s just like our God to go above and beyond our expectations.

Before Jesus, the world was enslaved to sin, and God’s people were required to make sacrificial offerings to Him as atonement. While it’s beautiful that God offered His people grace through the Old Testament Law, how incredible that He sent Jesus, who alone has freed us from the enslavement of sin and is our atoning sacrifice!

In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul lays out clearly just how great a gift we have in Jesus, our Savior: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Before his salvation, Paul persecuted Christians, yet God freely poured out His extravagant grace on him, working through him to write much of the New Testament and spread the gospel to the world.

Jesus, too, referenced the overflowing grace of God in His Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, saying, “The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” He also took it a step further, sharing how our salvation should influence us to live a life of forgiveness and grace for those around us. Jesus echoed this in the Great Commission, where He pointed out that salvation isn’t something to be kept secret, but to be fanned into flame and shared.

This Christmas, let’s press into the incredible truth that, through Jesus, we have received the greatest gift. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, or how we think of ourselves—we are forgiven and no longer have to carry the weight of paying for our own sin and failure. We can walk confidently in the freedom of knowing that Jesus has broken the rule of sin and death off our lives and delivered us from a debt we could never pay. In Him, we have hope and the promise of eternal life—what a reason to celebrate!

Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me so much that You sent Your Son to make a way for me to have an everlasting relationship with You. This Christmas, remind me of just how much You love me and how much I mean to You, and give me a boldness to share the good news of what You’ve done in my life with those around me. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:10‭ And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Matthew 18:23‭ Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27. Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their Lord all that was done. 32. Then his Lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33. Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34. And his Lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

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 KJV

Jesus

What a precious gift this child brings with His birth, life, death, and resurrection. A message of love and obedience to God for us to follow. Today’s verses are Philippians 2:1‭-‬11. Have a blessed day.

There’s no greater example of humility than our Savior. Let the reality of what we celebrate at Christmas really sink in:

Jesus laid down His royal position to pursue you and me.

He knew we would betray Him. He knew He would die a terrible death, and He came anyway. 

Jesus gave up all of His rights to obey God and serve us.

Truth time: It’s so easy to get caught up in our “rights.”

Rights can take many forms. We can get braggy about our good deeds, how long we’ve been a Christian, a hardship we’ve endured for the cause of Christ, the work we’ve done in His name, the sacrifices we’ve made, etc., etc., etc.

But no matter what our rights are or how impressive they may be, I can assure you:  Jesus’ rights were higher. 

Son of God. The picture of ultimate power and righteousness. Yet, He humbly set His rights aside. And not because He was seeking a promotion or some form of affirmation. 

He chose humility because He loved perfectly. Love was His motivation. 

Jesus loved God, so He obeyed Him. 

Jesus loved us, so He served us. 

So, quick question for today:

What “rights” are you clinging to?

Let them go, knowing that when you lay down your rights, you get to pick up His righteousness!

There are a few lines from “Oh Holy Night” that started really standing out to me as truth I want to understand and live out each year:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, 

‘til He appeared and the soul felt it’s

worth.

“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Our broken world is desperately seeking the hope we have in Him, for their soul to feel it’s created worth. 

Praise the Lord that Jesus’ birth means Love came down in its truest form. 

What a gift it is to follow Jesus. Merry Christmas!

Dear Father God, Your love is overwhelming. Let us never lose the wonder that You came down to save us. You could have required us to do so much more to have access to Your Kingdom, yet because of our belief in Jesus, You freely give us eternity with You since we could never earn it on our own. Oh, what a Savior! We love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

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Philippians 2:1‭ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2. Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalm 32:8 KJV

The Shepherds

When it came time to announce the birth of Jesus Christ God could have chosen the priests, a king, someone of great reputation; but He chose instead some outcasts of society. Is this you? It fits my description. When you get down on yourself, remember that God sees you and can use you for great purposes. Today’s verses are Luke 2:8‭-‬20. Have a blessed day.

Shepherds were the lowest of the low class. In fact, shepherds were deemed so untrustworthy by society, they could not even serve as a witness in court.

So if angels were going to appear to announce the birth of the Savior, why would God choose to send them to untrustworthy shepherds? Wouldn’t a group of priests seem logically like a better choice?

But purpose trumps logic. From the very beginning, Jesus came to “save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11 NASB). 

Seriously. It’s just so exciting to serve a God who is so intentional in the details.

First, the shepherds ran to Jesus. Then, they shared with others what they had experienced, and people paid attention. There must have been a drastic difference in these outcasts of society after they encountered Jesus. 

The Christian life is inconvenient, full of detours, and rarely simple. In fact, Dave Earley’s definition of ministry is my favorite. He says, “Ministry is getting dirty to make others clean.” 

In other words, genuine service is rooted in what we do for others, not what others can do for us.

So let’s ask ourselves this:

What have I done lately that serves another where I did not get anything in return? 

After all, it’s not really serving to serve only those who can serve us in return.

Just as the lives of those shepherds changed forever that night, we have the same opportunity with those whom God puts in our path to serve. 

As Christ-followers, we have the opportunity to be radically different in the work world. Let everyone else boast in their paychecks, fancy lifestyles, and crazy accomplishments. We get to show up every day and serve the one, true God. 

Let’s be more about what we give than what we get. 

Dear Father God, You came to seek and to save those who were lost, and to help us to do the same. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “business” way of life. But God, protect us from that. Give us Your eyes to see those who need You and Your heart to serve them. Use us as Your hands and feet. We love You Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:8‭ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. 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. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 KJV

Wise Men

Such a valuable lesson today of worship with the right motive, to bring glory to God and not ourselves. Today’s verses are Matthew 2:1-12. Have a blessed day.

The wise men were just as their name describes: They were the intellectuals of their land. The wise men were the ones whom people of influence sought when they needed counsel. They were respected. They were leaders. They were successful.

And as they bowed down to worship Jesus, they laid what was valuable to them at His feet.

Let’s not miss this. Talk about a powerful lesson for us!

There is only one proper place for our gifts, talents, and treasures: at the feet of Jesus.

When our abilities are laid at His feet, they’re at His disposal to use however He sees fit. A posture of worship recognizes God as the One who filled us with the ability in the first place. He receives the praise. He receives the glory.

These wise men, though they’d had great worldly success, didn’t try to keep glory for themselves. They weren’t too prideful to bow before a holy God.

Success did not change them.

But that’s often not the story. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind ride of earthly success. Before we know it, we’re patting ourselves on the back, rather than bowing at His feet.

How do we make sure our heart stays aligned with His? 

In the same way the wise men did: We prioritize living a life of worship. 

Worship is more than singing songs; it’s a way of life. 

Worship is a continuous, daily decision to live in a way that brings more glory to God than blessings for ourselves. 

Take an honest look at your life. Examine your actions, your thoughts, and your

motives. 

Are you more consumed with living for the things of this life and what’s in it for you right now, or are you focused on living for the eternal?

They were wise men, after all. Let’s make the wise choice, too.

Dear Father God, help me to live a worshipful life. No matter what success I have or not, God, don’t let anything of this world stand between You and me. And God, if anything even begins to threaten our relationship, I ask right now that You would strip it away from me. Do whatever it takes to keep my heart aligned with Yours. I love You Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6. 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. 7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:4-5 KJV

Herod

This is a deep problem and most of us can easily get caught up in it. The need for outward approval and power can make one do incredibly sinful things. Let us keep our eyes focused straight forward on Jesus Christ. Today’s verses are Matthew 2:1-12. Have a blessed day.

When we think about the particular Herod in the Christmas story (there are several Herods in the Bible!), words come to mind like: evil, deceptive, cruel and self-seeking.

Herod’s power was threatened by Jesus, and he was so consumed with his own authority, he decided to do whatever it took to eliminate the threat. Herod’s addiction to worldly power drove him to becoming a mass murderer.

Herod may be an extreme case, but the lesson for us remains: 

The desire to make a name for ourselves can lead us to sin we didn’t know we were capable of committing.

Our opportunities to bring God glory often require us to make decisions that go against the popular choice or the expected path. 

Ambition isn’t always bad, but if our ambition is for our own glory, we are likely to find ourselves entangled in a life of compromise and sin. 

Worldly power does not provide lasting peace or security. 

Herod spent his entire career in power looking over his shoulder, expecting to be overthrown, because he knew he wasn’t leading faithfully from the heart.

He couldn’t escape his own deceit or his own deception.

God is our only guarantee of lasting peace, contentment, and security. No other counterfeit solution will do.

We have to take our sin seriously.

Too often, we take our need for approval too lightly. We think because it’s a problem that a lot of people struggle with, it’s not that serious. 

But sin is sin, and sin is always serious because sin separates us from God. And when sin is left unaddressed, it can escalate quickly. 

We can’t dismiss our sin as something that is “just this once” or “not that big of a deal.” Because if we do, we’re likely to do it again… and each time, it usually progresses in the amount of damage done – to our own lives, to the lives of others, and to the cause of Christ.

Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I seek the approval of others. Every time, even if I gain the approval of others, it doesn’t satisfy me. You are the only One who can satisfy my soul. Keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Help me to take my sin seriously. Convict me and bring me back in line with You quickly. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 2:1‭ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6. 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. 7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. Hebrews 11:22‭-‬23 KJV

The Innkeeper

Do we make Jesus a priority in our lives? Sure, we take some time to pray, read the Bible, and even go to church; but what do we do with the rest of the day? Let us make Jesus the priority of our lives by including Him in every decision, thanking Him for each blessing during the day, etc. Today’s verses are Luke 2:7 and Matthew 6:33. Have a blessed day.

While he somehow has made it into many versions of the Christmas story, there’s not an actual innkeeper recorded in the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. We can only assume Joseph tried to get lodging for them and couldn’t. 

Many of us have probably heard the question, “Have you made room for Jesus?” 

Let’s go one step further today:

What place does Jesus occupy in your heart? Does He have the priority spot, or have you given Him a “manger?”

Let’s be clear. I’m sure your nativity set is beautiful, but a manger is a feeding trough. Not exactly a bed to brag about.

Jesus deserves the priority place in our lives. He deserves the best room we have available. 

But so many times, we give our best to less-deserving things. We dismiss reading our Bibles to scroll Facebook for the 15th time that day. We choose Netflix over

prayer or comfort over serving. 

Do you want your life to explode with joy and purpose? That’s what happens when we give Jesus our best rather than our leftovers.

Matthew 6:33 NIV has been my life verse for the last decade: 

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” 

This world has it backwards, friends. They try to tell us to do “all the things” and fit God in with the rest. 

If you attempt “all the things,” insert Stress. Pressure. Chaos. Failure. 

If you seek God over it all, insert Peace. Blessing. Order. Approval. 

Let’s draw some boundaries for ourselves for what we seek. If you make a commitment to live for God alone and you daily revisit and live by that decision, you will do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t.  

Let’s learn from the “innkeeper” and make sure we set ourselves up to always give Jesus the priority spot He deserves in our lives.  

Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I often get caught up with things that aren’t as important as You. But God, I don’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t want to waste my life on an inferior purpose. Speak truth in my life. Reroute me when I get caught up in the trivial. Focus me back on You. I love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:7 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.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12 KJV

Caesar Augustus

Joseph and Mary had to travel to the land where it was prophesied that Jesus would be born. Can you imagine having to walk to your place of birth today just to be taxed? I’m grateful they did. After all, through each and every circumstance, God is actually in control. Thank God! Today’s verses are Luke 2:1‭-‬3. Have a blessed day.

Imagine if this happened today. How would you feel about having to interrupt your life to make a trip back to the city where you were born so you could register to pay taxes? 

As much as it would inconvenience us, they had even more complications back then. I’m sure many of them had crops and livestock to consider. There weren’t planes or trains. Travel meant walking…or at best, riding on an animal. 

No doubt, this wasn’t a very popular decree. But God was doing something bigger. 

Prophecy in Micah 5:2 indicated the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Because Joseph was from Bethlehem, he and Mary had to travel there for the census.

See the big picture? In God’s perfect timing, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy. 

God used a decree from a secular ruler to keep His promises to His people.

This isn’t a political statement but a biblical one: No one has more control than God does. 

Despite circumstances, we can trust God. Even if we can’t see the outcome, we can always trust His ways.

But let’s go just a bit beyond merely trusting God today. Hear the testimony of a recovering control freak:

Taking control of my life creates immense pressure I was never meant to bear. Giving God control of my life creates peace I can’t fully understand.

So, I have a habit that I started a few years ago. Each morning, when I get out of bed, I simply lift my hands up. 

I know it may sound silly, but it’s a physical demonstration of how I want the posture of my heart to be – total surrender to God. 

If this is a struggle for you, I’m going to encourage you to begin your day the same way. Just lift your hands up as a silent prayer to show God you’re letting go and releasing full control to Him.

Dear Father God, help us surrender everything we are to You. Help us not to fear the small worries of the world. Help us not to get wrapped up in circumstances. And even when we can’t see Your hand, help us to trust Your heart. We know that, no matter who is giving orders on earth, You are ultimately the One in control. We love You God. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen

Luke 2:1‭. 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.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 KJV

Zechariah

Human logic, when it comes face to face with God’s plan, is no comparison. Yet we tend to forget this. Our faith is challenged. It happens to everyone. That’s why they call it faith. Today’s verses are Luke 1:8‭-‬23 and Luke 1:57‭-‬66. Have a blessed day.

Similar to what many of us will encounter at one time or another, Zechariah’s faith was challenged, and he chose to give more weight to his own reasoning than a promise from God.

We must remember:

God’s promises are always more credible than human logic.

We serve a God we can trust with the impossible. We have real limits, but He does not.

Be honest with yourself today: Are there any “facts” about your life that weigh heavier in your mind than what’s possible through God? 

Human logic is a tool, and it’s one that God gave us to use. But when human logic comes face to face with a promise from God, God’s Word must always stand superior over our own knowledge. 

God accomplishes His will however He pleases. 

The way God chooses to work often leaves us dumbfounded, because God’s ways are so much higher than ours. We can’t expect or predict how He will act.

But just because we can’t figure God out doesn’t mean we have to doubt Him. In fact, a God that we could completely figure out wouldn’t be God at all. 

Having a history of doubt doesn’t make you incapable of a faithful future.

When Zechariah doubted, the angel told him he would be unable to speak until the day John was born (Luke 1:20). When John was born, others were confused when Elizabeth said his name would be John because “they had no relatives by that name” (Luke 1:61). 

Zechariah took his chance to change his mind and act in faith. He scribbled on a tablet, “His name is John,” and he was able to speak again.

But not just any words. As soon as he was able to form words, he chose to praise God (Luke 1:63-64 NIV). 

Our God is a God of many chances. You can make the choice right now to begin taking God at His Word, praise Him, and get involved in His work in the world.

Dear Father God, stop me whenever I believe the lie that my way is better than Your way. Fill me with humility so I remember that You don’t owe me an explanation when You require my obedience. Reveal the blinders of my own pride. I know that You have no limits. Help my unbelief, Lord. Use me however You need to for Your glory. I love You. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 1:8‭ And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9. According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. 16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 18. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. 19. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. 20. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. 21. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 22. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.

Luke 1:57‭ Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. 59. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. 61. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

64. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 65. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 66. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Psalm 47:1 KJV

Elizabeth

What a blessed opportunity. Elizabeth chose the good way, she called Mary the mother of my Lord. She was not envious of Mary’s blessing. We should all try to find ways in our daily lives to find joy in others and encourage them. Don’t miss your blessing. Today’s verses are Luke 1:5‭-‬7, Luke 1:24‭-‬25, and Luke 1:39‭-‬45. Have a blessed day.

Can you imagine Elizabeth’s joy to share with her friends and family that, after all this time, she was finally going to be a mother? And how exciting that her son was the one God had chosen to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah!

But then her cousin has news that her Son will be even greater than Elizabeth’s. No doubt, the temptation for jealousy was there, and thankfully, she didn’t fall for it.

A few lessons from Elizabeth’s example:

Nothing good comes from allowing bitterness or envy to creep into our lives. 

Mary actually stayed with Elizabeth for three months of her pregnancy (Luke 1:56).

Just imagine what it would have been like to get to feel the kicks of your Savior inside Mary’s womb! Because Elizabeth chose the selfless response, she got that blessing.

Celebration is the only appropriate response to God at work. 

When we see God moving in someone else’s life, instead of wishing that for our own lives, let’s rejoice with them, as Elizabeth did with Mary. 

There is so much greater joy in choosing to praise God for what He’s doing in others instead of selfishly dwelling on what He’s not doing through you.

In the big picture, what’s important is that God’s work is being done, not who is chosen to do it. 

Our choice to celebrate others encourages those around us. 

Can you imagine what it must have done for Mary’s soul when Elizabeth greeted her as “the mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43)?

I can only imagine Mary’s inner dialogue as she traveled to her cousin, unsure of her future and doubting the events of the last few days. But when Elizabeth greeted her as “the mother of her Lord,” all of those doubts transformed into sweet confirmation from God through from her wise relative.

Encouragement is never wasted words. Let’s look for opportunities for God to use us to affirm the work He is doing in the lives of others. 

Dear Father God, I confess that comparison is all too easy. I could blame social media and technology, but God, I know that my heart is the problem. Help me find joy in every way I see You at work, whether it involves me or not. I don’t want to miss the blessing of simply seeing You at work. I love You Lord Jesus. In Your precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 1:5‭ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Luke 1:24‭ And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Luke 1:39‭ And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42. And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Luke 12:40 KJV

Joseph

Joseph chose to believe God and obey Him. Sometimes that’s very difficult. Imagine the talk around town. I’m very grateful for Joseph who stayed when it would have been easier to leave. Today’s verses are Matthew 1:18‭-‬25. Have a blessed day.

Picture how others must have spoken to Joseph when the news of Mary’s pregnancy began to spread:

“She’s lying to you! She slept with someone else, and you’re falling for it.”

“Leave her, and save your own reputation. You can take another wife.”

Thankfully, Joseph listened to the angel of the Lord who visited Him. His faith was strong enough to seek the approval of God alone. 

But let’s go even deeper:

Joseph signed up for a background role for the rest of his life. When we think about the parents of Jesus, most would acknowledge Mary as His mother and that He is God’s Son. Joseph lifts out of the story quickly.

But Joseph worked to provide for Jesus’ needs as a boy. We even see that when Jesus went missing when he was a child, Joseph was worried and frantic trying to find him (Luke 2:48). 

Fulfilling God’s call on our lives should never be about getting credit for what we do, but simply about being obedient to God. If the world never knows of our service, God sees it all and knows it all, and that’s enough.

Really think about this for a few moments today:

Have you ever given up on what God has called you to do because no one seems to care or notice? 

Do you long for the credit and acknowledgement of others? 

Because there is something so much better: 

“…Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:4 NIV

Let’s be honest: It’s easier to do what’s right when recognition follows. 

This time of year, there are plenty of opportunities to do “good deeds” for others. But before we pat ourselves on the back for our generosity and sacrifice, let’s make sure we go deeper and check our motivation by asking ourselves the simple question: 

Would I still do this if God were the only one who knew about it? 

God’s rewards trump human applause every single time. Stay the course. God’s reward for humble obedience is guaranteed.

Dear Father God, forgive me when I try to take the credit, or when I think I’m owed affirmation. I know the world’s applause will never satisfy, and I know Your rewards never end. Help me fight the temptation for worldly recognition, and keep my eyes on You alone as my prize. I love You Lord! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Matthew 1:18‭ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Mary

Many times in life our struggles, when we look around us, don’t seem fair. Please don’t feel this way. We do not know the struggles of others. Can you imagine for a moment the struggles Mary, mother of Jesus, must have had? Remember that Jesus is with you at all times, thanks to Mary’s obedience! This is a 10 day reading plan. The title is Ten Days of Christmas Truths to Live All Year. Today’s verses are Luke 1:26‭-‬38. Have a blessed day.

Mary:

I know when I think of Mary, my mind usually drifts to the excitement in her assignment from God. But while Mary is spoken of with great respect and admiration today, it wasn’t like that 2,000 years ago.

Most historians speculate Mary was between 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. Add in the gossip and chatter that emerged since she wasn’t married. In fact, when she told Joseph, her own fiancé didn’t believe her. Before an angel appeared to him, Joseph had decided to quietly break off the engagement (Matthew 1:19). 

Then, after getting through that initial trial, she had to travel while in labor…and give birth in a stable? Ouch.

It feels a little different than the respect and admiration we feel for her today, right?

Here are two of my favorite takeaways from Mary’s life:

1) No matter what others think about you, God does not look at your earthly resume to determine your spiritual worth. 

In that day, being young, poor, and female meant there was nothing about her life that society would deem her “usable” by God. But Mary’s faith was

stronger than doubts in her mind and whispers from the crowd. 

2) If you decide to live boldly for Jesus, it won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. 

Ministry assignments often come with more hardships than glamour. If you look at someone else’s platform and only see the perks and benefits, know that for every “spotlight” moment you see, there are countless struggles you missed.

Mary’s final words to the angel of the Lord were simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled…” (Luke 1:38 NIV). 

Mary wasn’t focused on the now. Mary was focused on what she knew the Lord would do through her obedience. She chose to praise Him before she knew the outcome. 

In fact, all Mary really understood was that God had chosen her to serve Him and she willingly obeyed. And that was enough. 

Dear Father God, please help me to keep my focus on You, not the “right now.” It’s so easy to get caught up in the approval and opinions of others, but I trust You with my life. Use me however You get the most glory. Give me the same humble submission to You that I see in Mary’s life. I love You! In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

Luke 1:26‭ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35. And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37. For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6 KJV

We don’t have to wish we could have been there, because He is here with us each and every day. Would we live differently had we had been there? If so, what is stopping us from serving Him today? Today’s verses are Luke 24:13‭-‬35. Have a blessed day.

Cleopas and his friend decided to go home to Emmaus. They had hoped Jesus would usher in the kingdom of God, but when he was crucified, their hopes died with him. What else was there to do but to go home and start over?

As they walked along the road, a stranger approached and asked what they were talking about and why they looked so sad. They stopped dead in their dusty tracks. Really? Are you the only stranger in all of Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have happened here?

The stranger asked, “What things?”

The two men answered, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth.” As they retold the story, their disappointment was evident. They were sure he was the Messiah, but then he was delivered to the Romans and they condemned and crucified him as if he were a criminal.

There was no category in their minds for a suffering and dying Savior and because of that, they had no expectation for a resurrection. They had read the Scriptures one particular way, with one particular outcome in mind their whole lives. When it didn’t work out the way they thought it would, they were devastated.

The stranger answered, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe!” Not only were the friends restrained from seeing who this stranger was, but they also couldn’t see what the law and prophets had said about him from the very beginning. It had been right in front of them all along, they just didn’t have eyes to see it…yet.

Then in what must’ve been the most amazing Bible lesson ever given, the stranger began with Moses and expounded to them all the Scriptures which spoke about the Messiah. He had to die and he had to rise again to fulfill all the law and prophets.

By now the sun was setting, and they had reached their destination in Emmaus. They begged him to stay for dinner. As they sat around the table, the stranger blessed the food, tore apart the bread, and gave them each a piece.

As they reached for the bread, they immediately recognized him. It was Jesus! Then he vanished from their sight.

When trials come and things happen that don’t align with our expectations, we can lose sight of our faith. The two foolish friends walked to Emmaus in defeat, because they interpreted what had happened through their physical eyes. But when Jesus opened their spiritual eyes, they were able to see him for who he really was.

When our hearts are broken and the road before us seems dark, we must more diligently seek to see him in his Word. It’s then that we discover that he’s been walking beside us all along, we just needed eyes to see him.

Luke 24:13‭ And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19. And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 KJV

It only took one word for Mary to understand and believe that Jesus Christ is alive and calling us to Him. That word was her name. He is now calling you. Will you answer His call? Today’s verses are Mark 16:6‭-‬7 and Luke 24:1‭-‬12. Have a blessed day.

Sometimes the economy of words the Bible uses to describe miraculous events is staggering. When volumes could be written about these events, we read short phrases that pack a powerful punch like…

“Let there be light.”

“Peace, be still.“

“Lazarus, come out!”

“Mary.”

Sometimes less is more.

On one particular Sunday, one woman heard one word and it changed her life forever.

Mary Magdalene and a few other women rose before light to anoint the body of Jesus at the tomb. They had been grieving all weekend. Friday they witnessed their beloved leader and teacher, Jesus, die on a criminal’s cross.

Now the Sabbath was over and they began to do what women always do; they showed up ready to serve. On their way, they realized they had no way of getting to Jesus because no one was able to roll away the stone. But when they got there, they found the stone had been rolled away and an angel was sitting where Jesus once laid. The angel said,

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:6-7).

Instead of rejoicing at this good news, the women couldn’t yet comprehend it. The others ran away in fear, but Mary stayed behind and sobbed from grief, exhaustion, and confusion.

Jesus appeared and stood behind her. She didn’t recognize him and thought he was the gardener.

He said to her, “Woman. Why are you weeping?”

“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus interrupted her grief, with one word.

Mary.”

That was all it took. He said her name with such a familiar intonation that she immediately knew it was him. With her face in her hands she suddenly stopped crying and stood upright, realizing instantly it was Jesus! He was alive and standing right in front of her! Her only response was to run into his arms and never let him go.

The empty tomb and the risen Christ changed absolutely everything for Mary at that moment. She heard her name, she believed, and she worshipped.

Today Jesus is saying your name, too. He invites you to also see him as the risen Savior and to respond like Mary did — in worship. Jesus is real, he’s alive, and he changes everything.

Mark 16:6‭ And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Luke 24:1‭ Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5. and as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7. saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8. And they remembered his words, 9. and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3‭-‬5 KJV

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Psalm 95:6 KJV

Is it too costly to follow Jesus Christ? Do we remain silent in the land of the free when we should have spoken up to testify about what Christ has done in our lives? Are we afraid of losing social standing when He actually gave His life to redeem us? Makes one think. Today’s verses are John 19:38, John 18:14, 1 Corinthians 15:12‭-‬19, and Luke 23:50‭-‬54. Have a blessed day.

Out of fear, Joseph had been following Jesus from a distance. His position on the Sanhedrin made it complicated for him to get too close. If his views on who Jesus was were made known, he’d be ridiculed, at best, or dismissed, at worst. Joseph was looking for the kingdom of God, and he was pretty sure he’d found it in Jesus of Nazareth.

He also knew the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin saw Jesus as a threat to their power. They watched Jesus like a hawk looking for any opportunity to catch him in his words or see him break one of their many rules. Every time they spoke of him, their agenda became more evident. Caiaphas, the high priest, admitted it would be “expedient” that Jesus should die for the people. 

Being a member of the Sanhedrin had once been Joseph’s greatest honor, but now it was his greatest horror. Fear kept him silent, but when they voted to get rid of Jesus, he alone did not consent. But his resistance was too little too late. 

The Sanhedrin, who were the Supreme Court of the land, were so desperate to get rid of Jesus they proceeded to mock the very system they had pledged their lives to defend. But in the middle of so much corruption and evil, Joseph risked his position and livelihood to give Jesus a proper burial. He took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Joseph disappeared from the biblical narrative after he rolled the stone across the entrance to his tomb sealing Jesus’ body inside. We don’t know what happened to him after his courageous stand, but that’s probably the way he would’ve wanted it. He wasn’t interested in fanfare. He just wanted to honor Jesus, even when everyone else ran away.   

If your devotion to Christ feels costly, remember Joseph of Arimathea. For whatever costs he incurred to his career, social standing, or bank account to honor Jesus, God amply repaid him. This once-distant admirer’s devotion is forever memorialized, and his donation was only temporary, which is the way God’s economy works. Whatever our faithfulness costs in this life God will repay, if not now, in the life to come. On this side of the cross, we see in full what Joseph only knew in part. Since Christ has been raised and Joseph’s tomb is empty, we too can be saved and counted among the faithful.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 18:14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

1 Corinthians 15:12‭ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Luke 23:50‭ And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51. (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5 KJV

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7 KJV

Barabbas, the Rioter

This is a hard message but true. We are all responsible for the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is vile. He has been faithful to His Father and to us by the sacrifice of His life. He didn’t have to die, because there was no sin in Him. He did it because He loves each one of us so much as to redeem us. Powerful message. Do you love Him enough to decide to follow Him? Today’s verses are 2 Corinthians 5:21, Luke 23:18-25, and Matthew 27:20‭-‬23. Have a blessed day.

The insurrectionists sat in their cells as they awaited their fate. They, who had once taken pleasure in creating chaos and fear, were now the ones who trembled for what was to come. Instinctively, they kept rubbing their hands and feet before the Roman spikes would be driven through them.

Barabbas heard the jailer unlock the cells of his two murderous friends. He heard the hardened men resist, cry, and curse as they were led out to the Praetorium for sentencing. The key turned in his lock now, and the soldiers lunged into the cell and grabbed him by his chains.

On the balcony, Barabbas saw Pilate and another prisoner they called Jesus, beaten and bloodied, standing across from him.

Barabbas wasn’t a smart man, but he could read people. There was something unnerving about that guy, Jesus. The way he stood, the way he looked at Pilate and the crowd through his nearly swollen-shut eye. Something about it all was very off.

Normally the prisoners pleaded for their lives, but Jesus just stood there seemingly resolved to his death sentence.

Pilate, however, was agitated and nervous. He called out to the crowd, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews” (John 18:38b-39)?

But to Barabbas’ surprise, even those religious guys with the long robes started yelling for Pilate to release him. “Give us Barabbas!” they shouted. Then their chanting became even louder and more frantic, “Crucify Jesus! Crucify him!”

Pilate knew Jesus had done nothing Pilate knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, and six times he declared there was no fault in him. In his effort to wash his hands of Jesus, he asked the most eternally significant question of all time:

“Then what shall I do with Jesus?”

The world chose to set a murdering rebel named Barabbas free and crucify the King of glory.

Three crosses stood on that lonely hill called Calvary. The center spot belonged to Barabbas where he should’ve hung between his two criminal friends. But Jesus willingly took his place and bore the wrath he deserved. He did that for Barabbas, and he did that for you and me.

So Pilate’s question still remains. What are you going to do with Jesus?

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Luke 23:18. And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: 19. (who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20. Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. 22. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 23. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. 24. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Matthew 27:20‭ But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 KJV

Peter, the Denier

Can you imagine being Peter when the cock crowed three times and Jesus’ eyes met his? Thank God Jesus had told him He would be praying for him. Do you remember the lowest point in your life? Be reassured in the knowledge that Jesus is praying for you too. Today’s verses are Luke 22:31‭-‬33, Luke 22:60‭-‬61, and 1 Peter 5:8. Have a blessed day.

The fact that God used an imperfect screw-up like Simon Peter should give us all hope. He’s a study of mountain top successes and lowest of low failures.

Jesus was with his disciples in the upper room sharing the Passover meal, and his heart was heavy. He knew Judas was about to betray him, and his arrest and crucifixion were imminent. The weight of the world was quite literally on his shoulders. It was then the disciples started to argue.

It wasn’t an argument about theology or who got to sit next to Jesus. Instead, the men who had the greatest privilege of walking with the greatest person were arguing about who among them was the greatest.

Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon…Satan’s been demanding to have you. He wants to crush you and your faith. But don’t worry, I’ve prayed for you, that your faith will not fail, and when you return to me, I want you to strengthen your brothers.”

Return to me? Peter’s face must’ve fallen. How could Jesus say such a thing? Hadn’t he proved his love and devotion? He had left everything to follow Jesus. He adamantly responded, “I’ll never leave you, Lord! I’ll even go to prison and die for you.”

But sadly, after he made these claims, three times Peter denied he knew Jesus. Then as he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the signal. Peter turned and made eye contact with Jesus. Can you imagine the look he saw on Jesus’ face? What sorrow! Peter was undone and he went out and wept bitterly.

This was the lowest point in Peter’s whole life. He was so heartbroken over what he had done that if Jesus had not prayed for his faith to endure and for his future usefulness for the kingdom, it might’ve crushed his faith entirely. But did you notice that Satan had to ask permission to afflict Peter? He may be a lion prowling about to see who he may devour, but he’s a lion on a leash.

This should be a great comfort for believers. If you belong to Jesus, you’ll undoubtedly get tossed and scuffed up in the jagged holes of Satan’s sieve, but you won’t fall through. When everything else falls away, you’ll find a Savior who prays for you and holds you fast. That brings us unshakeable faith and unshiftable hope.

Luke 22:31‭ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

Luke 22:60‭ And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61. 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.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38 KJV

Judas, the Betrayer

The new reading plan is titled “Faithful and Vile”, and it is for 6 days. In today’s familiar verses, have you ever considered the times we ourselves gave cause for Jesus to remain on that cross? Each time we knowingly commit a sin, is this not vile? Thank You Jesus for Your great sacrifice and love towards me. I’m so sorry for all the sins I’ve committed. Thank You for Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen. Today’s verses are Romans 5:10, Hebrews 4:15, Luke 22:48, and Psalm 55:12‭-‬14. Have a blessed day.

The glow from the torches and lanterns snaked along the road from Antonia’s Fortress toward the Garden of Gethsemane. The speckled line of light grew brighter and the marching footsteps grew louder as they drew closer to Jesus and his disciples.

Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, knew the place Jesus liked to go to pray. Under the cover of darkness, he led a small army into the grove of olive trees to arrest Jesus.

They came with torches to apprehend the Light of the World with clubs and swords to carry away the Prince of Peace. Judas’ betrayal was thick with irony and revealed how little he understood who Jesus was. He had been looking for the right moment to hand Jesus over to the Sanhedrin, and now, being possessed by Satan, his time had come.

Judas was only following Jesus for what was in it for him. He wanted money, fame, and power. When Judas realized Jesus’ way of ushering in the kingdom was going to be through men’s hearts and not a government overthrow, he was furious. Since he had wasted three years of his life with Jesus, he might as well get something out of it, even if it was only a few bucks.

Judas’ betrayal reminds us that we can be in close proximity to Jesus and miss him altogether. We can even act as one of his disciples and fool other people, but we can never fool God. Jesus knew Judas would betray him and told him to do it quickly (John 13:27). Yet, even under the gloom of betrayal of the perfect Son of God, there is a beam of light and hope for you and me.

Greg Morse said, “Jesus absorbed the traitor’s heel so that he could heal traitors.” By his grace, he heals all traitors who come to him in repentance at the foot of the cross. It’s there that the wretched and vile place their trust in Jesus, and by his grace, become transformed into the faithful.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Psalm 55:12‭ For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13. But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6 KJV

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Colossians 1:13‭-‬14 KJV

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2 KJV

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Numbers 6:24‭-‬26 KJV

Finances

God knows us. That is why over 2000 verses in the Bible discuss this very topic! In America, we are very blessed. With blessings sometimes however, comes stumbling blocks. To have a proper attitude towards money, just remember that every good gift comes from God! Today’s verses are Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5, and James 1:17. Have a blessed day.

Did you know that the Bible talks about money, possessions, and accumulating wealth in over 2,000 verses? In fact, 11 of the 39 parables Jesus taught are about that very subject. It’s probably safe to say that God knew that there would be a temptation and tendency to handle money poorly. 

Sadly, we do love and adore money more than we should. We often wish we had more. And we think that a possession or amount of money will bring lasting gratitude, when in reality, it’s just a temporary fix that will soon need to be satisfied once again.

James 1:17 (NIV) tells us that our God is the giver of “every good and perfect gift,” and if we’ll apply this, our mindset will change when it comes to our finances. Let’s consider these tips when it comes to growing our gratitude in this area:

  • Where you live. Whether our home is big or small, most of us have a place to live. Thank God for the gift of a place to live regardless of size or style.
  • What you possess. Many of us have clothes that we don’t wear, and have the ability to stream music or read books on a device that allows us to get any information we can find. But we still want what we don’t have. Take some time to reset your mind and thank God for the provision to have what you own.
  • At your fingertips. If you have the ability to get clean water at the turn of a faucet or buy food from a grocery store, then you are more blessed than most in the world. Thank God for the gift of these conveniences. 

No matter how much money we make, it’s wise to see our income as a gift. Chances are, there are more people in the world who might think the lives we live are amazing. Keeping our lives free from the love of money will help us be more satisfied. We do this by using money, not loving it. 

At the root of our desire to gain more money or possessions is a misunderstanding of what we truly need. Philippians 4:19 NIV says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” God cares too much about us to give us everything we want, but loves us immensely and will meet our needs.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 KJV

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 KJV

Career

Whatever you prayerfully decide to do in life, thank God for the ability to do it. Even if it’s not what you’ve planned, be grateful to have have a job. Some people don’t have one. Try a different attitude if you really don’t like your job. Do all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today’s verses are Genesis 2:15 and Colossians 3:17. Have a blessed day.

When God created Adam, He gave him a job. Genesis 2:15 (NIV) tells us that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to “work it and take care of it.” So, work has been around since the beginning of time! 

All of us work at something. Before we can earn a monetary wage, we may work at school or do chores at our house. As we age, we land that first job and find a newfound self-respect as we earn our first paycheck. Into adulthood, we find a role or career that suits us, even if it’s providing full-time care for our families at home. 

No matter what each of our “careers” look like, we have the opportunity to live a life of gratitude for how God has brought us to where we are. Here are some ways to be grateful for the work God has given us to do:

  • Change your lens. Even if you’re unhappy in your current job, be thankful for the ability to be employed (or stay at home with your family), and take time to pray for those who are struggling with unemployment.. 
  • You earn something.  Regardless of your income level, you can thank God for His provision in your life. You can be grateful for what you have, instead of focusing on what you don’t.  
  • List what you love. Every job comes with things you love. It could be actual health or retirement benefits, or it could be a close friend you’ve made while working there. Focusing on the good will strengthen your heart toward gratefulness.

As we think about our work, we may have jobs that can bring more stress than we’d like. It’s also true that some of us may be without work at this time. Regardless, we can implement Colossians 3:17 NIV as a guide in our work life, which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When we adjust our outlook and see the blessing in having a job or a role as a full-time caregiver, our enjoyment of our work life will increase drastically.  

Whether you’re struggling to locate work or content where you are, always keep in mind that you’re working for God first. Do every task, assignment, and duty in His name, and thank Him regularly for the ability to do so.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Colossians 3:17 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.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7 KJV

P. S. My Bible verse app isn’t working today. So I took a picture of it. 😊

Health

In the four phases of health (physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental), God is in control. Thank You Jesus! While some times are harder than others, we can do our part to eat healthier, stay away from harmful habits, etc. Today’s verses are Psalm 118:24, 139:1-16, and 1 Corinthians 6:19‭-‬20. Have a blessed day.

In Psalm 139, we see a beautiful blueprint of how intimately God knows each of us. He “created our inmost beings,” “knit us together in our mother’s womb,” and “saw our unformed body.” He calls us “fearfully and wonderfully made.” How amazing is our God! 

In this fallen world in which we live, there will be struggles each of us face. Sometimes a health challenge is thrust upon us, while other times, we bring things upon ourselves.  

Regardless of where we are in these areas of our health, when we wake up each day, we have reason to thank God for our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. Let’s consider these habits as we walk in gratitude for our health:

  • Honor your body. Our bodies are God’s temple; meaning, His Spirit dwells inside of us. If we’re able to exercise and eat healthy food, let’s show our gratitude to God for having the ability to be active and choose the right foods for our bodies. 
  • Strengthen your mind. Sadly, mental illness is a real threat and often keeps people imprisoned. Most of us know someone struggling with some version of it and that can be hard to navigate. If we don’t struggle with this, let’s be grateful to God for the ability to help others through their difficult season.
  • Grow spiritually. Reading the Bible, attending church, and gathering with fellow followers of Jesus is forbidden in certain parts of the world, yet many people risk their lives to do it anyway. If you have the freedom to pursue Jesus and share Him with those around you, be thankful for this amazing gift!

In this life, we’ll experience many health issues. Some seasons will be harder than others. No matter what you’re facing in the spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical health realm, start each day with Psalm 118:24 ESV, which says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” 

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 139:1‭ O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

1 Corinthians 6:19‭ What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.