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Daily Devotion

  • Love Listens

    Posted on December 27, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Mark 9:7

     

    A heart full of love listens first to the Lord. There is a humility that remembers God created two ears and one mouth for a reason. The tongue, untempered by love, is a prime target for the tempter, Satan himself. However, love longs to listen and understand what Christ says, before making conversation. Words incubated in a heart of love have a positive affect on hearers. Love listens to Jesus before jumping to judgment. 

    We need the words of our heavenly Father to work out our wrong thinking, before we share potentially abrasive words. For example, we pause during family conflict to contemplate Christ’s teaching to be peacemakers. We become a voice of reason and patience where angry words have broken trust and erased respect. We listen to both sides and then offer solutions based on forgiveness and an ongoing process of godly counsel.

    “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27

    Furthermore, listen to others even when you don’t feel you are being heard. Your patient love does not have to make its point, because listening to and understanding the other person’s viewpoint is more important. As you lovingly listen you learn, from friends and enemies alike. Your quieted spirit becomes a student of anyone you meet. Perhaps you learn kindness from a cashier or acceptance from a greeter. Love listens and learns.

    Love is slow to speak and quick to listen. It doesn’t seek to impress people with its smart and clever speech. Instead, it carries a conversation with emotional comfort and caring words. You are most comfortable in your own skin when your goal is to first listen to the Lord and then His precious children. Lovingly listen, some will invite your influence into their life. Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak.

    “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, use me to lovingly listen to You and Your children.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 30:20; Isaiah 55:3; Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19, 2:5

    Post/Tweet today
    : Consecrate your conversations to Christ and He will speak. #listen

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Mark, Hebrews

  • The Unraveling of a Marriage

    Posted on December 27, 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)

    I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn't too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be careful.

    I was mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.

    Until one day I was in a hurry, grabbed some things I needed and rushed to my car. I tossed my stuff on the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook whose metal binding wire caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.

    I unhooked myself and assessed the damage. I should have taken the sweater off and later taken time to repair the snag the correct way.

    But in my rush, I made the decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best.

    That decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of my beautiful sweater.

    Recently, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.

    In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go. Honestly, I didn't either.

    I wanted to sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective.

    But it's at this exact moment of resistance an unraveling can begin.

    Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn't what's best for the long term.

    I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. There were tears.

    There were awkward stretches of silence. But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.

    Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.

    There is a delicate nature to marriage. It's so easy to forget that. It's so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.

    The unraveling can happen so quickly. And the unraveling doesn't just happen in marriages. It can occur with best friends, children, in-laws ... especially during the holidays.

    Yes, during what's considered the happiest season of the year, stress levels can be at an all time high. Between coordinating family get-togethers, shopping blow-out sales, and spending time with that relative you might not be friends with if you weren't related, Christmas can feel anything but merry and the New Year anything but happy. And all that's pulling at you can make tempers flare and your relationships feel like they're coming apart at the seams.

    Be intentional about catching the snags in these relationships. Today. Right now.

    For me, being intentional required an apology to my husband. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the correct way—tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.

    Dear Lord, thank You for special relationships. I let my emotional state get the best of me sometimes, but I want You to be in control of how I react. Please give me the spirit I need to build up people around me instead of tearing them down. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her New York Times best selling book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst shares how to respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff or explode. Click here to purchase your copy.

    Do you have a few friends drowning in relationship stress? The Unglued Bible study bundle makes a great gift you can all enjoy together and study in the New Year.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What's something you can do today to invest wisely in your relationships?

    Write down two people you will commit to improving your relationship with this month. Note things that are special to them such as favorite hobbies, ways they are encouraged, places to eat, etc. Use this information to bless them in the time you spend together.

    Power Verses:
    Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Romans, Marriage

  • Love Obeys

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

     

    Christ’s commands are not burdensome, but a blessing. Man’s expectations can be an unbearable weight of unattainable actions. Like a backpack of bricks, the rigid control of proud leaders enslaves hearts. But joy and peace are the fruit of following hard after what Jesus wants. The yoke of Christ brings freedom, security and rest. Thus, the ultimate expression of love for God is obedience to God. Genuine love gladly obeys the Lord. 

    Furthermore, our love for the Lord matures as our love for His law grows in intensity and intimacy. How can we say we love God if we remain ignorant of His Word? Our precious Bible is a manual of how to love the Lord well. He defines what makes Him feel loved: reverent worship, joyful praise, humble prayers, forgiveness, generosity to the poor, caring for widows and orphans, proclaiming the gospel and training up the faithful.

    “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165

    Is your love for God an expression of your obedience to God? Indeed, you will be tempted to try the world’s ways and wander away from the Almighty’s path of purity. Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on Satan’s slippery path of deception. Trust gives you traction to follow Jesus. Do what Christ expects and you can expect His energy to empower your actions. Obedience pays!

    What command is Christ asking you to keep? Perhaps you need to forgive another as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you. A money matter may be haunting your happiness and it is time to write off the debt without writing off the debtor. Pray without ceasing, give without regrets, believe without doubting, love without conditions and forgive without expectations. Your obedience to God is an indicator of your love for God Thus, by grace, obey well. Freedom is the fruit of following Jesus. Your obedience helps others obey!

    “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to follow the commands of Christ.

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; John 14:21-23; 1 John 2:3-5; Revelation 14:12

    Post/Tweet today: Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on  Satan’s slippery  path of deception. #grace

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, John, 1 John

  • Remembering

    Posted on December 26, 2012 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Reed

    "Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)

    I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.

    The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. Its then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.

    Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.

    When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

    When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.

    When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.

    When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.

    When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

    When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

    When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'

    When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.

    When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...

    Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.

    When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)

    Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail. Please help me remember this today and always. Thank You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

    Share God's faithfulness to those in need by supporting a child through World Vision.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember times God has been faithful to you. Recount those out loud today.

    Focus on the everyday miracles that remind us of God's faithfulness like waking up and breathing.

    Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee
    Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
    As Thou hast been, Thou for ever will be
    Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness
    Morning by morning new mercies I see
    All I have needed thy hand hath provided
    Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
    ~Thomas Chisolm

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 143:5, "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done." (NIV)

    Jeremiah 31:34b, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (ESV)

    *All verses NIV

    © 2012 by Samantha Reed. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616G MatthewsMint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Luke, Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, 1 Chronicles, Exodus

  • God With Us

    Posted on December 25, 2012 by Family Christian

    Boyd Bailey

    “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:22-23

     

    Wow! The Creator came to dwell with His creation. The all knowing One came to teach teachers and students limited by their lack of knowledge and understanding. The ever present One came to comfort hurting people stuck in their suffering. The all powerful One came to serve weak people, empowering them with His Spirit. The Almighty sent His only son Jesus into the world, fully God and fully man. Yes, the Word became flesh! 

    God is with us to face down our fears by faith. God is with us in our doubts. God is with us in our hurts, applying His healing balm of grace. God is with us in our transitions to grow our trust in Him.  God is with us at work and at home. God is with us in our uncertainty.  God is with us when we feel His presence and when we don't feel Him near. God is with us in our successes and in our failures. God is with us and for us for His glory!

    "And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NIV)

    God is with us in our modern technology and our antiquated activities. The Lord is with us in our big cities and our small towns. Jesus is with us when we feel joy, laughter and loss. Christ is with us to comfort us in our pain and encourage us to persevere for Him. He is with us in the ups and the downs. He is with us and He is in us to work through us!

    Therefore, because Christ is with you, you can be confident of His wisdom and direction. Fools flounder for lack of faith, but you have the Faithful One as the facilitator of your circumstances. Immanuel entered the earth by birth and entered your heart by new birth. Your Savior Jesus has saved you from your sins and your Lord Jesus commands you to follow His ways and experience His life. He gave His life and came to life for your life!

    “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for being with us on earth and for being my life.

    Related Readings: 1 Kings 8:57; Isaiah 8:10; Psalm 46:11; Acts 10:41; Ephesians 2:6

    Post/Tweet today: Immanuel entered the earth by birth and entered your heart by new birth. #Christmas

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew, Isaiah, Christmas

  • A Christmas Prayer

    Posted on December 25, 2012 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

    Thousands of years ago God gave us the gift of His one and only Son, born in a humble manger. Making room in our hearts for Jesus through prayer during this busy day is a gift we give to Him, and ourselves. Right now, let's quiet our racing thoughts and take a moment to enjoy the hush of Immanuel—God with us.

    The Manger of My Heart
    This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
    Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
    As I prepare for this Holy day and gifts to be given,
    Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.

    The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
    You came as a baby born in a manger.
    Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
    Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.

    Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth,
    when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
    Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
    And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light."

    "Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field.
    Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
    Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
    Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.

    Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
    Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
    Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
    In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.

    This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
    Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
    Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
    Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.

    God's presence in our lives is a gift we can open not only today but every day of the year.

    Dear Lord, I'm so thankful for the gift of Jesus, Immanuel, my God with me. Help me be still when I feel frazzled and remember You are God. I want to make room for You in the manger of my heart this Christmas and unwrap Your presence each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When you feel anxious, empty or stressed, pause and pray each word of today's Christmas prayer. Why not print it and share it with family today?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 91:1-2, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (NIV)

    © 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Isaiah, Christmas, Prayer

  • Night Before Christmas

    Posted on December 24, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” Luke 2:4-5

     

    It was the night before Christmas and Jesus, who was from the line of David, was to be born in the city of David. He was coming, not as a King, but as a Savior to shepherd the souls of hurting humanity In God’s eyes His Son had always been and always would be. But to mankind the birth of Jesus was the defining moment in history (His story!). Calendars began to divide time: BC (before Christ) to AD (Anno Domini: in the year of our Lord). 

    In a similar way we define our conversion to Jesus as a new birth into His kingdom. The calendar of our soul is clearly categorized as before Christ and after Christ. The night before our new birth we were lost in our sins. But at the daybreak of our faith, we stepped into the light of forgiveness and  were saved from our sins. Indeed, Jesus was born into the world to seek and to save the lost. He was born, so that we could be born again!

    “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

    Have you made room for your Lord Jesus at the inn of your soul or is He in the hay barn of your heart? The world’s activities are loud, busy and demanding. It’s easy to drift under their demands and forget the words of our Lord, “Follow Me.” Yes, once the excitement of your new found faith wears off the world can wear you down. So, be intentional as humble shepherds and wise men to search out your Savior. Give Him gifts of gratitude.

    Like Joseph, be responsible in care of the mundane: be compliant to the government, know the condition of your family, identify their needs and give them security. Indeed, it’s out of your every day obedience to Christ’s commands that He births faith, hope and love. Your heavenly Father takes care of you, as you take care of His business. Christmas Eve is a celebration of Christ’s entrance on  earth and  the joy He brings to all who believe!

    “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Christ’s birth and for my new birth of faith.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 20:7; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 6:4;  John 4:14, 7:42

    Post/Tweet today: Jesus was born so we could be born again. #Christmas

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Isaiah, Christmas

  • Giving, Not Getting

    Posted on December 24, 2012 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families ..." Psalm 68:5-6a (NIV 1984)

    "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" The loudspeaker blared out the joyful lyrics of the familiar holiday song that snowy Christmas Eve afternoon.

    Everywhere I glanced, people were searching for last-minute gift purchases, holiday baking ingredients or that one final string of twinkle lights that would make their Christmas downright Norman Rockwell perfect.

    However, as I stood in line paying for the ingredients for my assigned Cheesy Potato casserole for our family gathering, a lump formed in my throat. Soon my lips quivered and hot tears fell onto my wind-chapped cheeks.

    How can everyone be so happy? Why is the world going on as if nothing happened? My friend Julie died last night leaving behind a husband and eight children who need her. Doesn't anyone care?

    I wanted to scream. And I wanted Christmas to be cancelled that year. There was no holiday cheer in me and I thought the rest of the world should follow suit and just 'humbug' the whole celebration.

    Our family made it through that holiday. My young children, although sad about their friends' mother's death, perked up Christmas morning, eager to open their gifts. My husband and I carried on with our normal life and, over the next few months, tried to help lighten the load of our now widower friend.

    Several in our circle of friends made meals on a weekly basis. A college girl offered to clean their home. One of Julie's sons joined our home school for kindergarten a few days each week. Although we still experienced great heartache knowing our friend wasn't coming back, lightening her husband's load and cheering the children made us feel as if we were fulfilling the mission God had for us.

    Ever since that year, our family has become even more aware of the fact that for many, Christmas isn't the most wonderful time of the year. It is downright painful.

    Loneliness looms. Depressions darken. Even suicides soar. While scores of us delight in the season, drinking the sights, sounds and smells, others are numb from pain and despise the season.

    And so I'm reminded of what a sweet neighbor of mine once told me, "Christmas is an excuse for making someone's life better." She was so right! There are souls waiting to be encouraged and included at the holidays. If only we would cease our own sometimes self-focused hustle and bustle long enough to see!

    After that sad season, we've made it our mission to reach out at the holidays more than we play the commercialized "gimmee game."

    Christmas is not about getting. Its very essence is giving.

    When our family has been intentional about being Jesus' hands and feet at the holidays, He has allowed us to brighten the lives of many. We sing Christmas carols to shut-ins, decorate homes and address Christmas cards for widows, shop for the needy, bake for the brokenhearted, and often include the lonely in our normal Christmas activities as if they were part of our family.

    Because really, they are. Maybe it is your family God wants to set a lonely soul in this year.

    Let's vow this Christmas to make someone's life better, richer in love, and fuller in the comforts of knowing they are noticed and cared for.

    Dear Lord, at this time when You sent Christ to earth, may I too reach out to make someone's life richer, fuller and far less lonely. I want to be Your hands and feet. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    LET. IT. GO.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    Gather the family. Solicit responses to the following questions, "Who do you know that might be lonely at Christmas this year? Now, what creative way could we help to combat their loneliness and make them feel loved?"

    List the action steps you will take to make these ideas a reality. Mark the calendar to ensure it happens.

    Has there ever been a holiday season where you felt gloomy or alone? Did anyone do something to make you feel loved and included?

    How can reaching out to the lonely be a reflection of God reaching down from heaven to us on that very first Christmas?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" (NIV)

    © 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Christmas, Giving

  • First Christmas

    Posted on December 23, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.” Luke 2:11-12

     

    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, He 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.

    We can learn from the first Christmas, 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.


    Post/Tweet: Christmas celebrates Almighty God’s descent into the decadence of humanity. #Christmas

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Christmas

  • Christ in Christmas

    Posted on December 22, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

     

    Christ in Christmas is like memorial in Memorial Day, mother in Mother’s Day, father in Father’s Day, labor in Labor Day, independence in Independence Day, and thanksgiving in Thanksgiving Day. However, in our attempt to not offend other religions and to become politically correct, we have diluted and desecrated the true meaning of Christmas.

    Indeed, Jesus is the reason for the season. He is the explanation for eternal life. He is the answer from almighty God for grace and truth incarnate. He is the beginning and the end, a bright light in the darkest darkness. He is our hope on earth as we prepare for our home in heaven.

    If Christ is not in Christmas, then churches can convert to corporate offices and missions can morph into humanitarian agencies. Christ in Christmas creates a tension for those who have yet to trust, but to us who have been saved, it is the most significant celebration.

    “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:4–5).

    Christ in Christmas means you live for a purpose much grander than merchandise and commerce. Your children have a legacy of love for God and country, and service to others. You work as unto the Lord and give generously out of gratitude for God’s bountiful blessings.

    Christ in Christmas motivates you to live like you were dying and to die like you were living, all in a spirit of faith, hope, and love. By God’s grace you promote a Christian worldview populated by praying people and full of eternal opportunities, while on guard in Spirit-led discernment to Satan’s schemes and evil’s deceptive intentions.

    Christ in Christmas compels you to exclaim, “He was born so we would believe, He died so we would live, and He rose so we would rise!” Therefore, in humility and with pride, boldly keep Christ in Christmas. His birth is your excuse to brag about Jesus.

    The Bible says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

    Prayer: How can I keep Christ in Christmas with my church and family traditions and my everyday life and conversations?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 19:20; Malachi 3:1; Acts 2:36

    Post/Tweet: Christ in Christmas means we live for a purpose much more compelling than commerce. #Christmas

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mailwisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Galatians, Christmas

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