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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

If you enjoyed this reading plan, you’ll love our community for women aiming to keep God FIRST in life, home and work. Watch a complimentary class here .  

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.

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The First Christmas

This is the final day of this 5 Day reading plan. Here are the verses for today. Luke 2:11-12; Micah 5:2; John 3:17; Acts 5:31; 1 John 4:14; and Isaiah 7:14. I pray blessings for all.

The focus of the first Christmas was Jesus. It was His day. There was no competition from commercialism seeking economic gain. The gifts were given to Him. God was the recipient of gratitude and generosity. He was glorified on this day of salvation for all who would come to believe in Jesus as God’s only Son. There was an appreciation for the Almighty’s descent into the decadence of humanity. There was no feuding from other faiths jockeying with each other for time in the Savior’s spotlight. On the contrary, there was a religious respect and humble worship from those who traveled great distances from their diverse origins of belief. On this day, Jesus unified sincere seekers of truth.

The first Christmas, however, was not without controversy. Politically, Jesus was a lightning rod (some things never change). Government leaders felt threatened, as if a traitor had infiltrated their influence over the masses. Involuntary spies were sent to validate His presence. Once His birth had been verified, the powers-that-be went to work. Insecurity and fear drive people to commit irrational acts, and it was no different back then.

So what started as a celestial coronation for the Prince of Peace ended with jealous leaders taking severe and deadly action. The Christ-child was driven from their pitiful, but powerful presence. They destroyed other God-fearing people in the process. The community was cast into chaos when Christ was removed from their culture.

From the first Christmas we can learn to keep Christ central in worship and society. He is the wonder of our worship. He is the reason for our giving gifts. It is because we celebrate His birthday that we pause to pray, reflect, and plan to follow His will in a more robust and intentional manner. Our Master came to earth and made Himself like man. He took on the form of a servant, though He could have crowned Himself as King. He pointed us to the love and forgiveness of His heavenly Father. The Christ-child was born of a virgin. He was God who dwelt among us, but sometimes we forget Him, even on His birthday.

One reason we have failed to keep Christ in Christmas is that we have failed to keep Him in some of our churches. Why should the culture embrace the Christ of Christmas, when some of our churches have marginalized their Master? Let’s start by inviting the Almighty back into our churches with fresh and revitalized reverence in worship, evangelism, and discipleship. Let’s prayerfully and responsibly “lay hands” on leaders who fear God, hate sin, love people, and teach the Bible. Christmas is losing its luster for the Lord because Christians have forgotten to fear God.

His birth is only significant if His death and resurrection are significant. The Christ of Christmas becomes compelling when we, as followers, flock to Him in faithfulness and obedience. Let all who name the name of Jesus revisit Him in the awe and worship of that first Christmas. Let’s exclaim with enthusiasm to a hurting world, that He has come to heal broken hearts and revive sick souls. We unapologetically celebrate His birthday with passion because God is with us.

He is transforming us into the likeness of His Son. Let’s make this Christmas like the first Christmas. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, and love while we worship our Lord together. The first Christmas fuels our faith and recalibrates us to Christ.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for sending Your perfect son into our imperfect world so we might know You and be known by You, in Jesus’ precious name I pray, amen.

Application

Read the Christmas story to your family and ask each person which character they most relate to in this season of their life. 

For more devotions from Boyd Bailey, visit https://www.wisdomhunters.com/ 

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This is Day 4 of the reading plan Seeking Daily the Heart of God. Here are the verses for today: John 3:16; Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9; Galatians 2:20; and Matthew 22:37-39. Have a very Merry Christmas, and be always in His will and protection. God bless you!

Love is a radical giver—intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.

God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us—each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.

How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.

How can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love–love generously.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.

Application

What is one way I can grow my love for others in a radical way?

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Verse of the Day 12/25/2020

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. Isaiah 9:6 KJV https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/isa.9.6/

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This is Day 3 of the reading plan Seeking Daily the Heart of God. These are the verses for today: Romans 15:13; Job 11:18; Psalms 25:5; Proverbs 24:14; Isaiah 57:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:1; and Psalms 42:11. Merry Christmas! 🎄🙏✝️🙏

Trust in the God of hope fills the hearts of Jesus followers with joy and peace, overflowing with hope, all powered by the Holy Spirit. Our Christian hope is secure in Christ—the originator and giver of hope—no other foundation is as unshakable and secure as His. Like the El Capitan Mountain in Yosemite National Park, our heavenly hope is massive and unmovable. Fear is unable to scale to the top, only faith is victorious because of the well-worn path marked by God’s promises. Led by the Holy Spirit, joy and peace accompany those who persevere in their journey of hope.

Though Paul experienced much, much more than his share of suffering, he never lost hope but instead, anticipated hopeful outcomes and a hopeful destination. Painful circumstances were his opportunity to lift his eyes off his own needs to look to the needs of others while looking to the Lord who richly provides. This wise follower of Jesus knew he could not be the ultimate solution for those who found themselves in what seemed to be hopeless situations. Instead Paul wisely pointed them to a “lively hope”, a hope built on “nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.”

Is your hope vibrant and alive or struggling on the verge of extinction? Begin to process your hope in God with this acronym: H- heaven’s resources at your disposal for soul strength and anticipation of the Lord’s loving presence. O- opportunity to trust Jesus with conditions or critics out of your control, knowing He has your best interest in mind. P- persevere through trials as a testimony to a faith filled life. E- encouraged by the Spirit’s wise leadership and empowerment.  

Others look to you for encouragement, so keep Christ your solid rock of hope and stand strong as a hopeful example to the hurting and the hopeless. Meditate on the truth of Scripture to fuel your faith and hope in the Lord, and others will learn to draw their hope from God’s written word. Hope in man many times leads to disappointment, but hope in the Lord’s unfailing love gives peace, security and rest to the soul. When downcast, cast your cares on the One who cares most. Out of the praises from your lips will the God of hope fill your life with joy and trust in Him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, give me the faith to hope in You and not in hollow hopes on earth, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application

Who needs from me an encouraging word from God’s word?

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Verse of the Day 12/24/2020

Matthew 2:10‭-‬11 KJV #God #JesusChrist #HappyBirthday #manger #worship #MerryChristmasEve https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.2.10-11.KJV

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This is Day 2 of “Seeking Daily the Heart of God“, a 5 day reading plan. Below is today’s devotional. The verses for today are: Luke 2:14; Jeremiah 33:9; Zachariah 9:10; Colossians 1:10; Revelations 1:5; Romans 5:1-2; and Philippians 4:7. God bless you, and be safe and well.

Peace on earth begins with peace in the hearts of people. Outward peace is the product of inward peace. Once a soul has experienced peace with God there is a serenity that seeps into human relationships and calms the rough waters of conflict. 

It is a grace-based belief system that allows citizens and countries to get together and accept one another’s differences. Without conversations of grace, there is no context for peace. Indeed, nations that believe “might is right”, with whom forgiveness is a foreign language, will remain restless with no peace in sight. However men, women, children and governments who embrace reconciliation will experience an incomprehensible peace.

Jesus came to earth first and foremost as a peace envoy on behalf of Almighty God. Do you have peace in your heart this Christmas season? Or is there restlessness in your soul that needs the comfort of Christ’s peace? The peace of God is your best prescription for insomnia. Peace brings deep abiding sleep.

Does this mean that we can experience 100% peace on earth? No, because the truth is divisive and not everyone believes the truth. So while Jesus is the “Prince of Peace”, listen to His challenging words, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12:51-52).

So what is the role of Christians in promoting peace on earth and good will toward men? Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Followers of the Lord know grace best governs relationships, families, cities and countries. It is God’s grace that allows you to influence the process of peace.

So, stand for the truth in a spirit of grace and humility this Christmas season, and trust God for His peace to reign in your heart and in the hearts of those around you. Take the high road of heaven and proclaim in celebration of Christ’s birth, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” Christmas is God’s gift of peace in the person of His son Jesus.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the peace on earth You offer through Your son and our Savior Jesus Christ, in His name I pray, amen.

Application

Am I submitted to God, and am I allowing His peace to reign in my heart and mind? How can I, in humility and love, bring peace to a hard family issue this holiday season?

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Verse of the Day 12/23/2020

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/luk.2.14.KJV

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Make Room for Joy

This is Day 1 of a new reading plan I am starting. Seeking Daily the Heart of God ~ Christmas. Below is the devotional, and these are today’s verses: Luke 2:7; John 3:1-16; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:14; and Hebrews 2:2. Have a glorious day, and be blessed by the One and only True God who is Worthy to be praised!

Busyness can build walls around our hearts—where joy is uninvited into a crowded life. Before we realize what has happened, we are sucked into a crazy cycle of fatigue, frustration and faithless living. Culture can keep us on a carousel of dizzying activities, for what seems in the beginning harmless, even exhilarating—but over time becomes distracting to the Lord’s best. Unmet expectations nurture anger in ungrateful hearts, condensing room for joyful praise to Jesus.

The circumstances surrounding the first Christmas were strikingly similar to our modern day celebration of Christ’s birthday. A bustling season of census taking turned Bethlehem into temporary mayhem, like rabid fans descending into a city for a championship game. Traffic snarls, tempers flare, restaurants with two-hour waits and no vacancy lights flash orange with hopeless repetition to all looking for a place to stay the night. Experiencing real-time rejection, Joseph finds a way to care for his young wife and new baby. The room he found was not suitable for human royalty, but the humble manger became a joyful birthday party for baby King Jesus.

As faithful followers of Jesus we can expect joy filled hearts, because the heart of our Savior has radical happiness. Expectation of God’s grace excites our emotions over what we can expect in the acquisition of His good gifts. The Lord’s blessings prompt pleasurable feelings with worship and thanks, which cause us to shout out joyful praise and gratitude to our great Jehovah Jireh!  Our heavenly Father provided the birth of His Son, who with joyful obedience, gave His all for us.

You make room for the joy of Jesus when you invite Jesus into your heart for healing and peace. By faith and through God’s grace, invite Jesus Christ to come into your life so you will experience the new birth of salvation, and begin to grow into a life of joyful obedience. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what needs to change in your schedule, so you can make room for what matters most to Christ. A life with margin is able to experience life to the fullest—framed by joy.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me make room for Jesus and the joy He gives, in His name, amen.

Application

What in my schedule needs to change so I have margin to make the best decisions?

For more devotions from Boyd Bailey and Wisdom Hunters, visit: https://www.wisdomhunters.com/

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Verse of the Day 12/22/2020

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14 KJV God #Jesus #Word #BecameFlesh #Grace #Glory #OnlyBegotten https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.1.14.KJV

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This is the final day of this reading, Unto Us. http://www.Bible.com/reading-plans/. These are the verses for this day: Isaiah 9:6-7; John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; and 1 John 5:23. My prayer for everyone is to know the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Next, I pray for everyone a peaceful Merry Christmas. 🙏✝️🙏❤️🎆🎄

Peace. It doesn’t matter where we live or what we believe, we all desire peace. Because our souls long for it, we attempt to attain it in a variety of ways—people, leaders, finances, comfort, substances. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never have true and lasting peace until we meet the source of it. 

In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. The Hebrew language defines it this way:

Prince — sar
Prince, ruler, leader, official, captain

Peace — shalom
Completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safety; with God in covenant relationship

When you put these two words together in a title, you have a leader who provides complete soundness, peace, and safety. How amazing is that? With one name, He’s instantly different than any human ruler we’ve ever seen on earth. When He came, He was clothed in God’s peace. 

Jesus’ peace invites a calmness into our lives no matter what’s looming around us. He gives us peace during the trials of life and encourages us not to be troubled (John 14:27). He offers peace to us while we’re on our personal journey with Christ until He returns (1 Thessalonians 5:23). When fear threatens to overwhelm us, His peace calms us, guards us, and is beyond what our finite minds can fathom (Philippians 4:7).

Jesus, our Prince of Peace, is the only way we can have peace with God. When we say yes to Jesus and believe that He died and rose again, we are invited into a right relationship with Him. He longs to be a restorer of relationships, and in doing so, we learn how to be peacemakers in a world that desperately needs it.

No matter where you are on your journey with Christ, set aside some time today to ponder Jesus as your Prince of Peace.

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Everlasting Father

This is Day 4 of the 5 day plan “Unto Us.” The verses belonging to this day are: Psalms 68:5; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 40:28; and Romans 8:38-39. Be blessed.

The word father can evoke a wide range of emotions for us. Maybe we smile when we hear the word, because it brings up wonderful memories of our own father. Or perhaps our hearts feel torn, because we miss our fathers, or we’re grieving the loss of a relationship that never met our expectations. However you see your earthly father, your Heavenly Father cares deeply for you and is always near.

Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus is our Everlasting Father. The Hebrew language defines it this way:

Everlasting — ‘ad
Forever, continuing future; of continuous existence 

Father — ‘ab
Father; God as Father; ruler or chief

These two words tell us that Jesus, our Everlasting Father, is the God of continuous existence. That means He existed before time began, and He exists without the assistance of anyone. He wasn’t created, and doesn’t need the help of anyone or anything. He sufficiently sets the bar for any earthly father to strive for. And He cares for us in a tender, fatherly way. 

We may not truly understand the goodness of our Everlasting Father because of our earthly experiences. One of our greatest challenges in understanding our Everlasting Father is the baggage we carry from our own fathers. Whether we had an engaged, caring, and dependable father or a distant, neglectful, and mean one, Jesus is the kind of Father that all of us wish we’d had. The good news is that He came to earth to rob our brokenness and replace it with a hope-filled eternity. 

We don’t have to fear that we’ll be separated from Jesus. He’s everlasting and always near. There is no death, fear of the future, or anything else that exists that can separate us from our Everlasting Father. We may not know what lies ahead, but we can trust Him fully. He’s worthy of it. 

Lean back and rest in your Everlasting Father’s comfortable arms. Spend time talking to Him and listening for His guidance on the concerns and joys that are heavy on your heart.

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Verse of the Day 12/20/2020

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 https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/isa.7.14/391 #God #Jesus #Immanuel #Lord #virginbirth #Holy

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Mighty God

This is day 3 of Unto Us http://www.Bible.com/reading-plans/. These verses that go with today’s reading are: Isaiah 9:6-7; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 2:5-11; Philippians 4:13; and Colossians 1:15-20. Be blessed today with the knowledge of salvation from our loving Savior Jesus Christ!

At times, we may feel weak and unable to handle the situations in front of us. The good news is that there is One who is stronger and more powerful than anything we face.  

In Isaiah 9:6, we see that Jesus is the Mighty God. The Hebrew language defines it this way:

Mighty — gibbowr. Strong, mighty; strong man, brave man, mighty man

God — ‘el
The one true God; Jehovah

Combining these two definitions will give us exactly what the name says—Mighty God. Jesus Christ is the one true God, and He possesses all might, power, and strength. His might is unparalleled, unmatched, and unequaled. There is no one like Him, and no one as mighty as Him. Not only does Jesus have the power of God, He is the God of utmost power!

When Jesus walked the earth, His mighty power was displayed by overpowering sickness, sin, demons, and nature. But, it was when He overpowered death by coming back from the dead that we see His might advertised for all to see clearly. The essence of our Mighty God is that His power is not only displayed in our lives when we’re weak, but that He can create something from nothing. In our humanity, we make many things from different materials we possess. But it’s Jesus’ divine strength that truly creates.

Yet, in Christ’s willingness to lay down His life and be poured out to save us, He became nothing. He was strong enough and mighty enough to lay down His perfect, all-powerful strength for everyone. Even if people don’t recognize Him as the mighty God, they will all still bend their knee to Him and confess His lordship one day, for “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11 NASB). 

This incredible, unspeakable, incomprehensible power that Christ possesses is readily available to us. He gives us strength to endure all things (Philippians 4:13). His power is made perfect when we’re weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). He’s able to do more than we can think, ask, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Our job is simply to trust Him and lean into His power so that we can gain the strength we need. 

Our Mighty God is not only able, but He’s absolutely ready and willing to use our lives as a presentation of His all-powerful ability. There’s no one and no thing like Him. Spend some time today appreciating the greatness of our Savior and Mighty God, Jesus Christ. He’s unquestionably worthy of it. 

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Wonderful Counselor

This is day 2 of the 5 Day “Unto Us” reading plan I am doing. The verses in this day’s plan are Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:18-25; and Luke 2:46-47. Happy reading, and be blessed.

As followers of Jesus who are imperfect, we all need help to live in a way that glorifies God. All of us need wise counsel to help guide our decisions. Fortunately, Isaiah 9:6 tells us that Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor. The Hebrew language, which is the original language of the Old Testament, defines it this way:

Wonderful — pele’
To wonder or marvel at something extraordinary or hard to understand

Counselor — ya’ats
To advise, consult, give counsel, counsel, devise, plan

When we put these two definitions together, we see that Jesus was born with a supernatural capacity to offer the most marvelous counsel and advice we’ll ever know. 

While His wonderfulness may be difficult for us to grasp, there’s nothing He doesn’t understand. Even at the young age of 12, all who listened to Him preach in the synagogue were astonished at His understanding. No idea, concept, or piece of knowledge is beyond His reach or intellect. He is the perfect Messiah and Holy One who provides us the necessary counsel we need. 

But this wonder describes more than just Jesus’ miraculous activity—it’s who He is. Yes, He does wonderful, extraordinary things beyond our comprehension, but He, Himself, is the wonder! Jesus was born both God and man. It may be difficult to fathom, but His entrance from Heaven straight into the world was astoundingly miraculous.

Think about one or two areas of your life where you truly need advice or help. You never have to think, “Well, I’ll just never figure out what to do here.” The truth is that Jesus is not just the Wonderful Counselor, He is your Wonderful Counselor. Followers of Jesus have complete access to Him and His awe-inspiring abilities. We don’t have to hope we get things right—we can trust in the One whose strength is extraordinary to counsel us in our lives. 

His counsel is readily available to us through the Bible and by spending time with Him. When we learn about Him, His character, and His ways, we’ll recognize His leading and His guidance in our lives. Our Wonderful Counselor is ready and willing to guide us in every area of our lives. 

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Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Just want to take a moment to reflect on what I am thankful for this year. First and foremost, Jesus Christ. Without Him I would have no salvation, no hope, no mission, no reason to continue. He is my reason for everything I do (or at least I pray I include Him!).

Secondly, I am grateful for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me and the mercies He has shown. Three years ago I was in a line to get dinner from caring strangers. Today I made soup to add to a dinner at a very good friend’s house with other friends.

Last of all, I am grateful for the little things we often don’t think about, and the big things we do remember. I can breathe on my own without that nasty tube! I can walk again. I have a place to call home. I have a church that puts the God of the Bible first, and they love one another… including me! So much more, but I must be going.

I pray for all who happen onto this page a happy thanksgiving and a safe day. Be good to others and yourself. Most of all, remember why we give thanks. It is because He loved us first while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8) If He is willing to sacrifice His one and only Son (John 3:16) while we were dead in our sin, He will definitely hear you prayer of repentance today (Romans 10:9-10). Come. Be saved. God bless you.

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Verse of the Day 11/11/2020

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 KJV #God #Lord #promises
https://bible.com/bible/1/mat.18.20.KJV

My gratitude to all of our precious men and women this Veterans Day. Thank you.

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