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Family Christian

  • What's Mine to Do?

    Posted on December 30, 2013 by Family Christian

    Renee Stearns

    "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

    As I stood on a barren hillside in an ancient land, I felt small. My husband Rich and I were staying overnight in a small village in the West Bank – an area occupied by the Israeli government but populated by Palestinian communities. We were there to see how World Vision was helping to fight poverty and bring peace to this hurting and isolated community.

    That hillside had once been covered with olive groves, but Israeli forces replaced them with a security wall. Proponents claim the wall was necessary for protection, but it cut through the middle of communities, separating neighbors from their jobs, schools and each other. The ancient olive groves were just another casualty of generations of conflict.

    The community had purchased replacement trees, but they stood in plastic buckets rather than in the ground, presumably so they could be moved if construction vehicles came back.

    Earlier that day, I had hiked among the buckets with Rawah, a high school senior who was leaving soon to attend university. As we walked, she shared her dreams for the future, exuding the optimism every young student should have.

    Other community members were skeptical. "What's the use?" one villager asked me. "Our children have no future. They go to university and then return home prepared to do jobs that don't exist. They become tour guides instead of world leaders."

    Here, it seemed, children's futures were no safer than the olive trees.

    The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complicated. Its roots go back millennia. Since modern Israel's birth, the relationship has often been violent. Unsurprisingly, the vulnerable have suffered the most.

    And here I was, in the middle of it, meeting people whose lives were threatened by an ancient struggle that was bigger and more complicated than any of us.

    When confronted with a situation that's too big for me to handle, or when frustrated by the sheer injustice of something happening right in front of me, I used to tell myself, "This is not mine to fix."

    Sometimes that helped me remember I'm not always responsible for making everything right. However, sometimes it was an excuse to do nothing.

    Do you ever feel that way? Are the problems confronting the world, your community or even your family just too big to get your mind and arms around?

    Turn to God's Word and the reminder that Paul gives us in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (NIV) God has given us the strength we need, to do whatever He has called us to do.

    With God's wisdom and strength, I'm learning to ask: "What is mine to do?"

    For me, the answer was to help give a face to the conflict. I know I can't bring peace to the Middle East, but I can help people better understand that the lives of real men and women, boys and girls – on both sides of the conflict – are at stake. That, I can do.

    Don't give into the temptation to do nothing because you can't do everything. God doesn't call us to fix every problem, but He does call us to do something. Find out what that is and then, in His strength, do it with all your heart.

    Dear Heavenly Father, our world is so broken. But You've empowered each of us to do something to help heal it in Your Name. We can't do everything but You've entrusted us with something. Help us to identify our assignment and to seek Your strength to carry it out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some problems you believe God is calling you to do something about?

    What can you do to address these problems? What must you entrust to God or others?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 9:36-38, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (NIV)

    Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Stearns. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Be Still

    Posted on December 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

    Be still with your Savior, for it positions you to see and hear God. Stillness sets you free from busyness that can betray your trust in God. It is hard to be still in a society that values busyness and suspects stillness. We are made to feel guilty if we are not constantly on the go. Why else would we stay habitually connected to computers and caffeine? However, busyness is not a badge of honor, but a sad and seductive addiction. Overdone busyness is a lack of focus on God and His provision. However to “be still” is the standard for serious followers of Jesus.

    Be still and rest; Be still and reflect; Be still and think; Be still and pray; Be still and write; Be still and enjoy your family; Be still with no agenda; Be still and see things more clearly; Be still and know He is God. Being still is an investment that pays into eternity. Practicing stillness regularly means you trust God with the big things such as relationships, the future, finances, family, a job, and your health. Stillness also means you come to understand the small things and don’t sweat them because you know your Savior is in control. Stillness aligns our hearts with Almighty God. It is in our expressive stillness that we muse on His grace.

    Yes, there are seasons of busyness that make stillness seem foreign. An infant requires intense attention. A move to another home involves significantly increased activity. Launching a business or a ministry is an all-consuming affair. Starting something new most likely means you are extremely busy. However, do not use your busyness as an excuse to ignore God. Push back from your fatigue that comes from forgetting to be still. In your busyness, you can still carve out time with Christ to be still. Busyness is not meant to be a habit; it’s meant to be for a time. You are not designed to stay there. You move on and don't allow busyness to backlog. You pass through busyness on the way to being still.

    Lastly, fill your stillness with the significance of knowing God. This is a potent perspective that facilitates faith and trust in the Lord. It is here that you are humbled with a massive dose of dependency on divine guidance and wisdom. It is in your stillness that you see God for who He is, high and lifted up, deserving of your honor, praise, and adoration. The sovereignty of God screams in your stillness.

    God grows bigger when you slow down and rest in the shadow of His stature. It is in your stillness that you see the unseen activity of the Almighty. The Holy Spirit is melting hard hearts. He is orchestrating authorities in your life to bend them and you toward God. He is drawing men and women to Himself in the middle of Christless cultures. Stillness shows you what your Savior is up to, and gives us a lively hope that can be yours. Stillness shows you the way. Stillness is God’s way of working with you. Stillness saves time. Be still, and you will see Him exalted among the nations and in the earth. Stillness knows God.

    Post/Tweet today: Stillness sets you free from busyness that can betray your trust in God. #bestill

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Saved to Serve

    Posted on December 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9–10).

    An affluent society can easily succumb to selfish Christianity. An inward-focused behavior feels it is entitled to be served rather than to serve. It happens at home, with work, at school, with government, in local communities, and, sadly, even at church. Affluence provides the expedient option of giving money but not precious time.

    Yet the heart of Jesus Christ is selfless in service, doing good for others without expecting anything in return. So as seasoned followers of our Savior Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “Is my desire to be served or to serve?” “Am I volunteering at church to serve fellow believers?” “Do I give my time in ministry to care for those outside the faith?” The example of Jesus is to be a servant of all—even the ultimate sacrifice of death.

    “And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44–45).

    Death to our self-centered motivations makes us a candidate in the Lord’s service business. Customers of Christ constantly call in with complaints, needs, and fears. Their rent or house payment may be past due, their electricity about to be cut off, their daughter pregnant out of wedlock, or their son addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    You do not have to be an expert to listen and pray with someone who is confused and hurting. It only takes availability and the ability to care. Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. If my behavior does not back my beliefs, I really do not believe. I only say I believe. However, faith in action looks for opportunities to serve in the name of Jesus.

    What is your personal ministry? Is it a ministry of prayer? Has God called you to short-term or long-term missions? Perhaps you can volunteer one day a week at a nursing home or tutor inner-city children after school. Do for one what you would like to do for everyone. Quality service affects one person at a time for God’s glory. He gave us His matchless grace so we might magnify His glory in selfless service to the saved and the unsaved.

    “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else” (2 Corinthians 9:13).

    Prayer: What is my personal ministry to others on behalf of Jesus Christ?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:24; Psalm 116:16; Ephesians 6:6–8

    Post/Tweet today: Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. Our behavior backs up our beliefs. #savedtoserve

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Love Listens

    Posted on December 27, 2013 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

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • A Quiet Place to Rest

    Posted on December 27, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'" Mark 6:31 (NIV)

    "I want honey in my tea! And a lemon slice too! Oh, and can I use Great-Grandma's teacup, pretty please? I'll be careful," my then five-year-old daughter sweetly asked as we were enjoying our afternoon mother-daughter ritual.

    Each day while her two baby brothers napped, we pulled out china teacups and saucers from my collection and sipped herbal tea while I read a book out loud to her.

    This afternoon she was asking permission to use an heirloom piece that had been passed down through four generations in my mother's family. While I knew my little girl would be careful with the antique pink and white china cradled in her little hands, something else made me deny her request. I tried explaining it to her.

    "Sweetheart, I know you'll be careful, but we can't have hot tea in that cup. It has cracks. See?"

    I showed her a few tiny, hairline fractures on the side near the handle. It wasn't cracked all the way through and could actually still hold water without leaking. However, if hot liquid were to be poured into it, the crack would give way, causing the petite cup to shatter. (Been there. Broke that!)

    There was just no way for the fractured piece to withstand the stress of a steaming beverage.

    Our emotional lives are much the same. When we don’t allow time to rest and regroup from the stresses of life, we allow cracks in our spirit that make us emotionally and spiritually fragile. We keep going at break-neck speeds, rarely slowing down long enough to be refreshed.

    Mark 6:31 highlights the fact that even Jesus Himself found it important to get away for a while, to slow down and cease activity. The Bible records this event, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" (NIV).

    Jesus urged His disciples to get to a quiet place. In doing so they would find rest. Being alone and quiet would restore their weary spirits.

    For many of us, the stretch between Thanksgiving to New Years Day is a whirlwind of activity. In our fast-paced society, we rarely are intentional to create a quiet place and spend time resting. As a result, stress chisels away, creating tiny cracks that although barely visible, could cause us to shatter under the go-go-go pressures of everyday life, much less the holidays.

    Let's purpose to take time to slow down, get away, and rest. To find solitude in a hushed place alone with our Savior, even if only for an hour.

    If we make time to answer Jesus' call to go away with Him to a quiet place, we can crack-proof our spirits, making them strong and rendering us ready to handle life. A few quiet moments spent with Him can help make us strong enough to fulfill God’s assignments for us this season.

    Dear Lord, help me intentionally carve out time to reconnect with You in a quiet spot. I know You are waiting. I want to seek Your face and find true rest. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Remember a time when you got away for rest and quiet. What did it do for you emotionally?

    Why don't you get alone or seek a quiet place more often? List some things, people, or activities that prevent you from doing so. Now, make plans to seek a quiet time soon. Write it on your calendar and keep your appointment with God.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 7:25, "The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Mark, Rest

  • Love Obeys

    Posted on December 26, 2013 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 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

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • Afraid to Turn the Next Corner

    Posted on December 26, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

    You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work today and be told they are being whisked from their desk for a surprise vacation in just a few hours.

    They would love to have one of those makeover shows show up at their house with a film crew and be told they're getting a whole new wardrobe.

    Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like how some people feel when a roller coaster ride they thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside-down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.

    They call that fun.

    I don't.

    This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.

    My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.

    But life is different.

    Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that's what life does. Sometimes it just catches us off guard.

    And at the end of the day, I guess that's why I don't like to be surprised. I can't stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.

    But slowly, I'm learning it's not all bad to be surprised.

    That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we can manage. Feeling a little exposed and afraid reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.

    And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can't, that's right where faith has the opportunity to grow deep roots. Roots that dig down in to the hope and joy and peace only God can offer.

    My faith doesn't just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots, like the believer in Jeremiah 17:7-8, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (ESV)

    Deep roots keep us secure in God's love when fear comes.

    Deep roots anchor us with the truth that God is in control when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.

    Deep roots hold us steady in the peace of God during the storm that didn't show up on the radar.

    Deep roots find nourishment in God's grace when the surface gets awfully dry.

    Deep roots allow for growth of faith in God not previously possible.

    I'm learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper to the Lord ... deeper still.

    Dear Lord, deep faith roots is what I desperately need. Help me to take steps each day in my journey of trusting You even if that means being in a vulnerable place sometimes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways does knowing God will sustain you in hard times comfort you?

    What step can you take today that will plant you firmly near the Lord. For example, memorizing a Bible verse, praying, etc.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • God With Us

    Posted on December 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    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 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

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • A Light in the Dark

    Posted on December 25, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!" Luke 2:30-32 (NLT)

    "Don't get out of the car by yourself. Just honk when you get here and I'll come out."

    As I drove down the darkening street I questioned the wisdom of the 13-year-old who had just given me those instructions. Maybe one of the other youth group leaders should have come with me. Wouldn't honking alert the drug dealers in the neighborhood that Jake had warned me about?

    Turns out I didn't get an answer to my question. Approaching his house, I squinted in the dim evening light. The silhouette of Jake throwing a football in the air was fading against the night sky.

    Christmas carols escaped from my rolled down car window. Songs of the Christ child's birth and God's glory in the highest. Lyrics proclaiming that salvation had come—for me, for Jake, his neighbors, the world.

    "Hey buddy. How are ya?" Such a lame question in light of all he'd seen. His father in a jail cell just a few months prior. His father overdosed in his bed last week. His father in a casket three days earlier.

    Jake helped me carry the pizzas I'd brought over for his family. Couches brimmed with aunts and uncles; chairs overflowed with young cousins vying for a spot to sit. His mom, Norma, and several friends surrounded the kitchen table. Many had come long distances, weary travellers searching for peace.

    These pizzas would ease their hunger, but not their hurt. They wouldn't be truly comforted until they found what they were looking for: a light in the darkness of their grief.

    That dismal day as the television flickered in the living room ... as Norma declared she was moving out of that memory-laden house ... as Jake talked about playing football in a different school district ... I prayed, Lord please let them see You.

    My heart understood some of their hurt. I've been the one to receive meals. I've made plans to escape the memories and grief. And I've set my sights on what I wished would rescue me from painful circumstances.

    Maybe you've longed for that kind of help too? Eagerly looked for a light in the darkness? There was a man, Simeon, in Luke chapter 2 who had the great joy of pronouncing that help had come.

    Let's look at Simeon's amazing proclamation: "At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

    'Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!'" (Luke 2:25-32 NLT)

    Simeon knew that true help, true salvation, wouldn't come through anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ.

    That day standing in Jake's living room, I knew the same thing. No matter how many meals were delivered, or whether or not they moved to a new school or neighborhood, without the hope of Christ, they'd always be looking for something else to be their hope, their light. The same is true for me, for you.

    Simeon was a man of singular passion: to see the Christ Child with his own eyes and God's glory revealed. He knew that Jesus' birth meant salvation had come for those who would trust in Him and the work He would do when He died on the cross. His whole life would illuminate God's love to a desperate world. For those who believe that He is the Son of God and our risen Savior, we have the hope of eternal life spent with God and peace and joy here on earth.

    On this day when we celebrate Jesus' coming to earth, let's really focus on Him. He is our hope in despairing situations. And a joyful light to brighten even the darkest circumstances.

    Jesus, You alone are the hope the world needs. Thank You for coming from heaven to earth, from King to servant, from God to babe. Give me a singular passion to see You. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    When your hope dips low, pray for help in re-focusing on the great gift of Jesus and who God is.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


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

  • Night Before Christmas

    Posted on December 24, 2013 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 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

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


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

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