Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

Ephesians 5:17-19

Many people are aware that Jesus Christ came to the earth as a baby and have no problem celebrating "little baby Jesus". Not many would agree that He grew up and died on the cross for our sins and even fewer still would say He rose again on the third day.

One thing everyone seems to acknowledge during this time of year is the Christmas Spirit. As I understand it, the Christmas Spirit is a celebratory state of mind. Most people will decorate with lights, bows, and trees. Hopefully, many more will give to the homeless and the poor, either directly or through a non profit organization of their choice. Christmas is called a season of giving and thus the spirit is one of giving.

While we are in this great mindset of giving and sharing with others, we should remember the Spirit that lives in everyone who has a personal relationship with Christ.

Here in Ephesians, we are informed of God's will. His will is that we not be drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The true Spirit of Christmas is not an idea, good deed, or expression, but God the Holy Spirit who should empower us throughout the year.

Remember, while we all are in the spirit of giving, there is One who gave us the Spirit so we could in turn give to others.

Give the gift of the Holy Spirit by sharing with others why Jesus came as a baby and what He has done in your life.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spiritual Endurance

II Timothy 4:7-8

When someone mentions endurance you may think of a sport like running track; however, endurance is important in every facet of life.

Let us begin by taking a look at endurance by definition. Endurance is the ability to exert yourself through exercise for relatively long periods of time.

Just as long distance runners have to pace themselves in a race, you should pace yourself in the spiritual race of life. Be steady and consistent.

Runners must also prepare for the race by stretching, breathing properly, and practice runs. Do you prepare for life everyday in fellowship with God who stretches you like shaping clay on a wheel, breathes his Holy Spirit into your very soul, and picks you up whenever you stumble and fall?

In the text, Paul is prepared for the end of physical life on earth and satisfied with the way he has run the race of life. He also makes it clear that you will receive a crown of righteousness at the end of the race, at the end of your life.

If you are a living, breathing person, the race has already begun. Do you prepare daily for the race? Just as every race ends, one day your life will end and rewards will be given, both good and bad.

Now, is the time to determine the results of your race! Now, is the time to live for God, and the only way you can have endurance is to rely on Him because without Him, you cannot fight a good fight.

Keep your eyes set on the finish line. Keep your eyes on God, because time is short and in just a little while, we will all rejoice at His glorious appearing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Renewed Strength

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We sometimes get weighed down by the pressures of this world and fail to remember where our strength lies.

Do not take everything on yourself, let God be your strength, become refreshed and renewed in Him today by spending time in His Word and prayer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

True Peace

Philippians 4:8-9

These verses are special to me because I believe we can have peace in our lives when we focus on and serve the God of peace (vs. 9b). How often our lives are entangled in the turmoil of this world and we forget this is not our home, we really are just passing through.

Amazingly enough, we can find peace, yes even perfect peace by dwelling on what God has done for us and giving Him the praise He so rightfully deserves. Have you ever stopped for a minute to dwell on the goodness of God and thank Him for being so good? I guarantee every time you do that, you will find yourself in a time of peace.

Spend time thinking about God, thanking God, and enjoying the peace of God that truly passes all understanding.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

All Things Good

Romans 8:28

"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".

Many people like to claim this verse. It is often misquoted as "all things work together for good". By looking at the entire verse, you can see that this is a partial truth. Yes, all things do work together for good, but to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.

What group of people love God and are called by Him? Born-again, blood-bought children of God love Him and are called. This promise is specifically for Christians. It does not mean that everything in a Christian's life will be good, but that everything will work towards good or the perfecting of our spirituality.

Have you ever heard the song, "He's Still Working on Me?" Well, that's what God is doing and has been doing from the time you trusted in Him for salvation until the day He calls you home.

When circumstances become difficult and confusing, know that God is working in your life for your good and praise Him that you are not who you used to be.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Eagles Wings?

Devotional by Mary Daniel

Isaiah 40:31 - But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

I have long known that eagles are held in reverence by many who consider that it is a blessing or a sign of "good luck" if they see an eagle at important moments in their life. Indeed, a very beautiful hymn is written about God lifting us up on the wings of eagles and holding us in the palm of His hand.

For me to see an eagle usually requires a drive up-island or out into the country. To see one within city limits is a very rare and special occasion. So it was, the other day. In the car, between visiting the chiropractor and keeping another appointment, I was experiencing the stress signals of tense muscles. Deciding not to let stress take over, I pushed one of my favorite music tapes into the player. As I approached the stoplight at a busy intersection, I noticed an eagle ahead, and was soothed by watching it soaring, seemingly in synchrony with my songs. To the right, two more eagles followed the pattern, soaring, dipping, and soaring. I moved ahead, marveling at the beauty that had been given to me, and my tension was gently eased. As if to reinforce the message, one more eagle softly and majestically soared in the distance.

This reinforces the fact that God is ever-present in our lives, if only we open our ears, our hearts, and our eyes. He sends that message over and over, in so many ways and forms, in whatever way He perceives we will best receive it.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, help us to appreciate and give thanks for all that we are so freely given. Enable us to see the magnitude of Your presence in the seemingly simple soaring of an eagle, and in so seeing, may we allow You to hold us in the palm of Your hand. In Your name we pray. Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23

The 23rd Psalm is a well-known passage. The Lord is my Shepherd. Jesus Christ takes care of us no matter what trials and tribulations may come. He protects us from our enemies, i.e. Satan and his demonic forces. He also directs our path through life and provides not only physical but spiritual nourishment in our times of need.

God has does so much for us. Take time to thank Him.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Provider

Genesis 22:1-18

In these verses, God tested Abraham's faith by telling him to go and sacrifice his only son. Abraham trusted that God would provide a sacrifice in place of his son.

Just as God provided a replacement for Abraham's son Isaac, he made provision for us through His only Son. Because of this, God is the Great Provider!

You can trust God not only for the provision of His Son, but for your every need.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

He is Our Strength

Psalm 27:1-3

1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

This passage is a definite reminder that you do not have to fear the things that come against you. Whether bad health, mental or emotional fatigue, family issues....anything.

God's Word tells us that He is Our Strength and you absolutely do not have to be afraid!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Time to Pray

In I Timothy 2:1-8, the Apostle Paul gives us instructions for prayer. In verses 1-2a, he tells us who to pray for. We are to pray for all people, especially those in authority. Paul then shows us in verses 2b-3 why we should pray for all people. We should pray for everyone, so we may have quiet, peaceable lives and this is what God would have us do.

Now, in verses 4-6, he points out some important attributes of God. Look at verse 4. He wants everyone to be saved! Then, verse 5 tells us there is one God, not many, and one mediator between God and mankind. Jesus Christ is our mediator. He is our only channel of prayer to God the Father and it is for this reason we pray in Christ's name. Verse 6 reminds us that Jesus gave His life for us. He made Himself a ransom. He took our place on the cross at Calvary so we could be reconnected with God the Father.

Paul, in verse 7, shows us why we should listen to him, his authority through Jesus Christ as an Apostle. Remember, the Apostles were men who had seen the resurrected Christ and we today are disciples or followers of Christ, not apostles.

To bring this all together, we are to: pray for everyone because God wants us to and it brings peace to our lives, pray in Jesus' name because he is our only mediator to the one and only true God, and verse 8 tells us to pray everywhere with faith that God will answer us.

Remember as you go through the week to pray for others and watch God work in not only others' lives, but your own as well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eternally Secure

In this devotional, we will look at the question of eternal security of believers in Christ. Our passage is Romans 8:35-39. Verse 35 poses the question, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" and gives a list of things we may think will separate us from His love. What do you think could separate us from the love of Christ? Could it be troubles, persecution, dangers, poverty, or war?

Verse 36 makes a reference to Psalm 44:22, we are killed all day for His sake and are as sheep ready for the slaughter. I know this seems like a terrible thing; however, I would like to point out the slaughtered Lamb in Revelation 5:6, Jesus Christ. We should be honored to be like Him.

Verse 37 reminds us that through Him, we are more than conquerors and are victorious over death, I Corinthians 15:57. The last verses, verses 38-39 answers our question of eternal security. Nothing and no one can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the final authority and our salvation is in Him by Him and through Him and Him alone.

Take time this week to praise God for not only saving you, but for His eternal security.