Monday, December 31, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Dearest Father in Heaven,
I'm eternally grateful that You've saved my life by deliberately removing my dysfunctional, diseased heart and intentionally replacing it with the strong, healthy heart of Your dear Son. My heart now beats in vital unison with Yours. Since You munificently recreated my miserable old life into a magnificent new one full of love and power, I resolve to live a drastically different life this year by being:

Receptive of people who are fundamentally different from me
Empathetic, polite and kind rather than rude, arrogant and obnoxious
Content with the things You've given me instead of envying what others have
Recognizant of the good in bad circumstances
Ecstatic with the truth instead of misled by deception
Accepting of people's faults as opposed to being critical and judgmental 
Tolerant of abrasive people and harsh conditions
Even-tempered and calm even when I'm angry, resentful and mistreated
Devoted, protective, persistent, hopeful and trusting to the end

Thank You, Father, for opening my heart and implanting Your Son. Radically changed, I'll graciously look beyond the diseased, dysfunctional lives of others. Generously, I'll pour out Your infinite mercy and amazing love on hurting, helpless, and hopeless people bringing glory to You through the new life You've magnanimously given me through Jesus, Your Son.  Amen.

O. Chambers writes in My Utmost For His Highest, "If you are born again, the Spirit of God makes the change very evident in your real life and thought."

What radical difference has Christ made in your life? The above resolutions are from 1 Corinthians 13. Can you boldly stand in the light of God's truths without squirming and evading them? If not, continue surrendering yourself daily to the Great Physician until His heart is fully implanted in yours. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Almighty God,
          My Beloved Father,
                   I'm unspeakably delighted with my new Christmas heart full of Your beautiful Christmas Spirit. Now, I just need extra stamina to remain connected to the power of Christ this Christmas. The immense force that raised Your Son from the dead will energize me to rise above intimidating people and uncontrollable conditions to pour out the Spirit of Christmas.

Coupled with You, I'll have enormous strength to:
Conscientiously think of others rather than myself
Happily encourage the brokenhearted
Radically love difficult people
Intrepidly risk my reputation to socialize with the undesirable
Sacrificially offer my time, talent and treasure with a grateful heart
Triumph over tragedy
Mercifully extend forgiveness
Accept challenging situations with a song of hope in my heart
Serenely walk through each day

Attached securely to You, the extraordinary power of Your Holy Spirit will flow steadily from my heart enlightening others to Christ this Christmas. In His powerful name I pray. Amen.

Are you plugged into the power of Christ? He will give you immeasurable strength to be His heart and hands this Christmas. Ask Him to show you who you can pour out the Spirit of Christmas onto this year. Then watch who He puts in your path. It will likely be a stranger. Without arguing or hesitating, obey Him by doing whatever He puts on your heart.

One Christmas the Holy Spirit nudged my heart to write an encouraging letter to a stranger whose story I read in the newspaper. I never expected my simple act of obedience to lead to the beautiful gift of sisterly love, daily encouragement, and lasting friendship. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Have a very merry Christ-centered Christmas!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ezekiel 36: 25-27
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. NLT

Heavenly Father,
You are the Maker of indescribable gifts. I hurry into Your holy presence unashamed to admit that I'm in desperate need of a new Christmas heart.

Consumed with materialism, I've become hard pressed like a cheap plastic toy that's heartless, mindless, and lifeless. Unscrupulous marketing convinces me to join the frenzy of panicked shoppers in the mad fight to buy the latest gizmos and gadgets. Glossy magazines persuade me to perfectly deck the halls of my home, and host impressive holiday parties. Santa Claus has replaced You as the father of Christmas. Caught up in commercialism, my heart has become greedy, hard, and selfish. By worshipping the false images of Christmas, I've forgotten the reason for
the season.

Please wash away the waste from Christmases past. When I'm clean, lay Your compassionate Christmas heart over mine, making a tender new heart for me. Shaped like Your Son and full of Your Spirit, my perspective will radically change. Suddenly, the joy of all the holiday fury will fade beneath the pure pleasure and divine excitement of making a permanent difference in the lives of others.

With an incorruptible new Christmas heart full of Your beautiful Christmas Spirit I will cheerfully share the heart of Christ with difficult people who cause division and discord. Thinking of You, I'll tenderly touch them with Your amazing love allowing them to feel the warmth of Your extravagant kindness and the softness of Your extravagant grace in my words and actions. Looking beyond their stony, stubborn hearts, I'll have a good-natured harmonious visit with them to glorify the Christ of Christmas. Amen.

What's your heart look like this Christmas? What are you worshipping? If you want to have an incredibly different kind of Christmas, ask God, with great expectation, to give You a heart like His this Christmas. When you are focused on the things that matter to His heart, your perspective of Christmas will be radically changed. The presents and people won't matter; His purpose will be the only thing that's important.

Will you touch prickly people for Him with your kind words and gracious actions in order to show them the heart of Christ? This is your opportunity to shine in the darkness like the radiant Christmas Star!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Matthew 2:10-11
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

Holy Child of God-
I have seen Your splendor and majesty brilliantly beaming down from heaven on high. Under the glowing streams of glory is the wonderful gift of worship. In awe of Your radiant reflection, I joyfully fall on my knees in adoration to worship You in the splendor of holiness. I praise Your great and awesome name!
Rose of Bethlehem
Son of God Most High
Light of the World
Living Word
Wonderful Counselor
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace
Lover of My Soul
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
And, my Best Friend
You are the worthy of the best I have to offer.

Generously, I give you the tarnished gold of my life. Purify me. Remove the grime, and I will glitter and glimmer becoming incredibly valuable to You. Selflessly, surrendered to You my King, I will sparkle when I sincerely worship You with a life of service.

Freely, I offer You my fragrance frankincense of faithful prayers flowing heavenward. The sweet sound of the song in my heart will be a pleasant perfume of praise to You, O Sovereign God.

Boldly, I bring to You the bitter myrrh of my brokenness. In the shining strength and splendor of Your sanctuary, You graciously accept the sacrifice of my suffering and shame, restoring my righteousness with heavenly healing.

All I really want this Christmas is to worship You with all my soul and strength like the star-guided strangers. After a long strenuous journey through darkness, I have found You in the home of my heart. Now I want to open the glowing streams of glory, take out the wonderful gift of worship, and triumphantly sing in exultation, "Glory to God, all glory in the highest." Hallelujah! Amen.

If You have found the gift of the Christ Child in your heart, will you bow down and worship him? Give Him the tarnished gold of your life. He can make it beautiful. Present him the sweet scent of your prayers and praise. Offer him the bitterness of your suffering and sorrow. Then find someone who needs the heart of Christmas and offer them the Child of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Luke 2:15-18
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

God of Glory,
May my response to the Good News that You have been born to bring peace on earth be like that of the shepherds who hastily left everything they were doing and sought the Christ child. They didn't wait for a more convenient time, until their shift was over, or a replacement arrived; instead, they made it a priority and went immediately. In the midst of shopping, decorating, and entertaining help me to seek You first because Your Word says that those who seek You find You when they seek You with all their heart. You are the everlasting Gift of Christmas. When You trim the home of my heart with the twinkling lights of Your love, those I entertain this Christmas will notice my inward peace and genuine joy.

Like the shepherds, I want to see You lying in the manger. With my mind's eye focused on You instead of the holiday hustle and bustle, I'll notice the unending length of Your amazing grace streaming down from heaven into the hollow of my dark, damp, and dirty heart. Mesmerized by Your infinite mercy, I'll bow down and adore You allowing You to light up my life so that it reflects the wonders of Your love.

After witnessing the wonderful new birth of Christ in the manger of my own heart, like the shepherds, I'll eagerly spread the Good News wherever I go this Christmas, leading prickly people to the peace, joy, and hope of Christmas - Jesus, Your own dear Son - for the glory, honor and fame of Your name. Amen.

I challenge you to take time over the next six days to STOP, DROP everything and seek the Child of Christmas. Read and re-read the Christmas Story as told in Luke 1 and 2 until the Holy Spirit shows you a fresh revelation of God's glory. Then worship and adore Him.

If you seek Him first, none of the other presents will matter. He is the only lasting Gift, and the only Gift people need this Christmas. Having spent time with Him, instead of noticing your neatly decorated home, people will notice your newly adorned heart. Then, when you entertain family and friends, and prickly people get under your skin (and someone will) you will be able to show them God's infinite grace and love - the heart of Christmas, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
John W. Work, Jr. (1872-1925)

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.


The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed the Savior's birth.


Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That bless├Ęd Christmas morn.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Isaiah 51:12, 21, 22
I, even I, am he who comforts you.    
Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,
       made drunk, but not with wine.

This is what your Sovereign LORD says,
       your God, who defends his people:
       See, I have taken out of your hand
       the cup that made you stagger;
       from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,
       you will never drink again. NIV

John 14:16
Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." KJV

Not much has changed in the past 2700 years. Just as the hopeless Israelites, held in captivity forgot who You were, we tend to do the same today.

Like the Israelites we have overdosed on the paralyzing potion of fear, scrupulously blended and served to us by that smooth-talker Satan who is bent on slaying our sweet spirits. Under his influence, we live in constant terror of losing everything we have because of chaotic world conditions. With the good life crashing down, an impending international crisis, and concern that our children are desensitized to immorality and injustice, we're in a stupor worried that no one will lead us out of the mess. Beaten down by dread and discouragement, we've willingly fainted in the streets of despair and allowed the Devil to rub our faces in the dirt and walk all over us. Forgive us, O Lord!

As You promise, look on us with compassion and awaken us from this awful nightmare! This is not the dream You had for us! By Your perfect love, take from our hand the dreadful cup of fear that's making us stagger. It's time for Your Church to get up, come clean, and wrap ourselves in the unending Comfort of the Holy Spirit. United with You in love and dressed in Your strong garments of splendor - compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience - it's time for us to stop worrying about the things we can't control and start parading through town, picking up people, and joyfully proclaiming the Good News: The Comforter has come!

Show me a hopeless believer who has fainted under the influence of fear. I will immediately stoop down, pick them up, and offer them hope this holiday season to magnify Your Almighty name. Amen.

In light of current events, You won't have to look far to see someone you can pick up! A kind word, a warm smile, and a gentle handshake or hug can easily comfort someone in captivity to fear or affliction.

One Sunday I went Christmas caroling in a retirement community. Like the rest of the world, my life is extra busy at this time of year, and I went begrudgingly. But, it didn't take long for my demeanor to change. Just singing lifted up spirits. Before long, I found myself striking up a conversation with an elderly man. He was thrilled to show and tell me about all his beautiful music boxes while the rest of my group moved on.

Catching up with them a few minutes later, I found myself in front a precious old lady who couldn't bend over. With a tear in her eye, she began mouthing the words. My eye drifted from her to the newspaper lying on the floor by her door. Walking over to her, my friend gave her a big hug while I stooped to pick up the paper. The dear lady sobbed in my friend's arms. Her 90 year old aunt had just past away and she was overwhelmed with sorrow. We prayed with her while the rest of our group moved on.

On the next floor, we encountered a joyful old woman with a great big smile. I complimented her on her pretty smile. And she said, "My husband died 36 years ago and I am so lonely. I make myself get up every day, and I paste this smile on my face no matter how I feel." Bless her heart! I stayed and chatted with her while the rest of the group moved on.

Finally, we stopped near the door of a disabled young man. In his wheelchair, he came to the door with one of the most beautiful birds I had ever seen. While the group sang, he was delighted to show the youngsters in our group the various tricks his pet parrot could perform.

It's amazing that a group of 6 adults and a bunch of rambunctious, unruly kids, could entertain so many people in one hour, and that I could personally pick up four of them by smiling, asking a simple question, and taking time to listen. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Isaiah 35:1-4
Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
      The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
      and singing and joy!
   The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
      as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
   There the Lord will display his glory,
      the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
      and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
      "Be strong, and do not fear,
   for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
      He is coming to save you." NLT

What precious hope You gave to Your captive people when they were wandering in the dead, dry desert of despair! Help was on the way! Suffering and sorrow would be swallowed up by a Savior! Joy was coming, and all of heaven and nature would sing! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
700 long years later, Jesus Christ, their Blessed Hope, was born to lead the world out of the wasteland and into the prosperity of Your everlasting presence. And, that Hope is alive for us today! Blessed assurance!

You're well aware of the barren wasteland we're living in. The global physical, mental and spiritual anguish of Your people is mind boggling to us, but it isn't to You. Many of the problems we face don't have a good prognosis. Indeed, the world is in an uproar and people are fainting from terror, apprehensive of what is coming, as You shake us with the power of heaven!

Feeble and fainthearted, we can be encouraged! Jesus Christ, Your own dear Son, that precious babe born 2000 years ago, who suffered, died, arose, and ascended into heaven is coming back, and possibly quite soon, in glory and splendor to finish the great work He began long ago. The wilderness and wastelands are eagerly awaiting His arrival! The badlands will burst into blossom and become a colorful choir of crocuses! Even the hills and the mountains will declare His majesty!

This is the reason we rejoice! Our strength will be renewed when Christ comes to rule the world in truth and grace! Joy to the world! The Savior reigns!

Show me a hopeless believer who is paralyzed with problems or frozen in fear. I will pick them up, and remind them of the wonders of Your love and Your 
never ending grace that was, and is, and is to come because of Jesus our Savior! Amen.

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue and restore it! That Hope came with the birth of Christ, and is alive today for those who believe. And, Hope is coming when Christ returns!

If you have Hope, you are blessed beyond belief! Give someone the Hope you have this holiday season. Life is hard, and people need Hope!

Joy to the World
Words: Isaac Watts, 1719
Music: Lowell Mason, 1848

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 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 manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

God of Glory,
It is so like You to suddenly show up in the most unlikely places to the most unexpected people in a manner that is utterly unpredictable. Instead of showing up to the Pharisees or the pious, You appeared to a bunch of brawny, broad-shouldered shepherds who lived in the wild and battled the beasts. These rough and rugged men were petrified by the powerful light of Your presence. Sheer fear seized their troubled minds! But, in the light was good news! The promised, hoped-for Savior of the world, the Messiah, had arrived in the promised city. Out of the pitch black night came the paralyzing light from a choir of angels singing praises of Your promised peace on earth.

O Lord, what hope this gives me at Christmas time! You still make divine visits to the most improbable people camped out in the most unbelievable places in a manner that is totally unpredictable. When the terrifying light of Your glory surrounds our messy and mundane lives, we have no reason to be afraid because there is perfect peace in Your presence. With You, we can stand in the light and live free from shame, fear, ridicule, rejection, pain, suffering and sorrow. During the impenetrable nighttime of the soul, You leave us with the precious and priceless gift of peace - peace of heart and mind. Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

The psalmist says, "For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him." NLT Psalm 34:7
 There is an angel in God's presence telling us to not be afraid, offering us the priceless peace of God - not the peace of the world, but God's peace. What is God's peace? Jesus tells us in John 14:27 "I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." NLT
 If you are in a dark and frightening place this Christmas, be still and let the peace of God's presence surround you.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Words: Na­hum Tate, 1700 
Music: Christmas, George F. Han­del, 1728 

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

"Fear not!" said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

"To you, in David's town, this day
Is born of David's line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

"The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid."

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

"All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hosea 11:1
"When Israel was a child, I loved him,
       and out of Egypt I called my son.

Matthew 2:13-16
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

How dark the ancient of days were; yet, in the midst of the dense darkness was a bright light leading to the great escape. This gives me great hope for the future. When there seems to be no way, You will make a way.

You established the authority of Herod the Great, the hard-hearted Governor of Galilee, through a fundamentally centralized bureaucracy, a well-built citadel, and large army of conditioned soldiers who subdued opposition and enforced order. Popular, charming and successful, under his influence the region prospered economically and culturally. Yet, despite his wide-spread acceptance and significant achievements he was insecure, intimidated, and indignant. When this invidious tyrant's throne was threatened, in his fury, he intentionally eradicated all male infants who could possibly interfere with his personal plans and power.

He thought he was in control of his district and his destiny, but in reality he was nothing more than a powerless pawn in Your almighty hand. Outwitting Your rival, You strategically picked up Your Token Child and moved him to Egypt for safe keeping until the opposition was defeated and declared dead.

This gives me great hope for the future! Disheartened by the leadership of a popular, charming and successful young ruler who's promised to prosper our country with sweeping social reform and a systematic communalist agenda, I can look back and see that he is nothing more than a defenseless pawn that can only be moved and manipulated by Your master mind. I don't know the strategy You have to keep believers in this deteriorating nation safe, but with history as my guide, I will believe through the oppressive darkness, that You will make a Way to spare us from destruction for the glory of Your name. Hallelujah! Amen.

The Bible is a fabulous history book that can calm your nerves and give you hope in harrowing times. If your heart is heavy open the Bible, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how mightily God has moved in the past. He is unchanging, faithful to every promise, and will make a way out when there seems to be no way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Isaiah 9:1-2
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-

The people walking in darkness
       have seen a great light;
       on those living in the land of the shadow of death
       a light has dawned.

 Matthew 4:12-14
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali- to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah. 

Your Word is great! This Christmas as I study prophecy, I'm awestruck anew by the wondrous way You work! Your thoughts surely are higher than my thoughts, and Your ways are far too superior for my simple understanding. Your infinite timeline is immeasurable and beyond my limited intellectual capacity. 

700 years before the Word became flesh the holy prophet, Isaiah, predicted precisely where You would go and what You would do. The days were utterly dark and the nation was wasting away from wickedness when he courageously offered these unpopular words of hope that rendered him a fool by public opinion.

Who would have guessed that hundreds of years later Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, would start his ministry in this very same dark district plagued by prostitution - people looking for cheap thrills and quick fixes to life's perplexing problems? Blessed assurance, the promised Light had come to the promised land!

The radiance of Your glory makes my heart throb and swell with joy! Love's Pure Light, in You there is no darkness at all. Locked in the deep dark dungeon on death row, haunted by the demons of his past, man desperately needed his dirty deeds exposed so that he could be restored and released to live differently. And, You, my Everlasting Light, came to do just that!

Thank You for shining the Light of Your love on me. Setting aside my fears and stepping out into it, my chains fell off and I was set free forever because of Your tender mercy. Because You died, went to Hell and came back for me, I never have to walk in darkness again. Blessed assurance!

The days may be dark, but I have the Inextinguishable Light. Thank You for the blessed hope I receive and the lessons I learn when I sit down, open my Bible, and study Holy History with You. Hallelujah! Amen.

Doesn't it make your heart throb and swell with joy, when You consider how faithful God is to His promises?

My prayer is that the fulfilled prophecies that God's showing me will bless you with hope this holiday season. I pray that you will see the Light of Jesus in these dark days. I'm amazed anew, as I carefully study God's Word, that the entire Bible is essentially good vs. evil - light vs. darkness. The times we're living in really aren't that unusual.

In my little sphere of influence within one week: a friend lost her job and is wondering if she'll lose her home; a single-mom lost her benefits including health insurance, life insurance, and retirement - she's not sure what she'll do if she suddenly becomes sick or dies; a classmate of my son could no longer take the pressure to conform and committed suicide; the dreams of five students from a high school varsity basketball team were shattered when they chose to drink alcohol and got caught. The list could go on. Every day, I hear from people who are hurting, hopeless, and just want help. I bet if you'd stop to listen, you'd hear it too.
We need to be the light in the world that leads lost souls to Jesus - the keeper of the key that will set them forever free. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we will have the courage of Isaiah to stand up and speak out so that others will be enlightened and encouraged in troubling times. Where will you carry your light? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners.

Luke 4:21
Jesus said, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Thank You for the timeless truths in Your Holy Word. 700 years before You were born, in the darkest, most dismal days in Israel's history, the prophet Isaiah predicted that good news was coming for the destitute, destroyed, and detained. People could expect a whole new life. Blessed hope!

Help was on the way! But, it took a long time coming. Waiting sure does take a lot of fortitude in our frantic fast-paced, free-wheeling world ruled by instant results and immediate rewards. Blind to the fact that we're spiritually bankrupt, we don't recognize how badly we need an internal overhaul. No amount of money can bail us out of our pecuniary predicament, only the age-old blood of Jesus can. That's the good news people need to hear this Christmas.

Buried beneath the rubble of wrecked relationships, crushed hopes, and shattered dreams our badly bleeding hearts are hidden behind thick-skinned walls of pride. While smugness may conceal the gashes inflicted by Satan, it won't stop the gushing; only Your compression, compassion, and comfort will completely cover and cure the wounds. That's the healing we really need this holiday season.  

Controlled by commercialism and easy credit we are a nation held captive by covetousness which will only be compounded this Christmas as we strive to be more significant in our spheres of influence. We don't realize that facades and fears restrain us. Constrained by compulsions, we need You to come set us free with the key to contentment, Jesus.

Imprisoned in the dark dungeons of our past, Satan has locked many of us up and thrown away the key! Good for nothing, we're hopelessly terrified and urgently need You to show up with the key that unlocks the door to everlasting love, life and light. Confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believing in our heart that You raised Him from the dead, our past will be immediately forgiven and forgotten and we will be forever free!

Lord, thank You for the hope You've given me because of Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, who came to teach me, heal me and set me free forever. Hallelujah! Amen.

Hang on to the hope of heaven in these dark and dangerous days. God is true to His Word. We may have to wait a long time, but God will do what He says He will do. We must believe! He is coming again, possibly quite soon, to rule the earth forever.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Numbers 24:17     
Balaam, the sorcerer said, "I see him, but not in the present time. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel." NLT

Matthew 2:1-2
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Your Word is my hope and my light in these dark and dreary days. 1400 years before You gloriously broke through the night sky, Balaam, a stingy sorcerer and soothsayer was well paid to convince Your people to compromise their moral standards. Despite the fact that he was a tool in Satan's hand, You used him to mysteriously point the way to Bethlehem.

Today, the very large and rapidly growing emerging church is blindly leading multitudes of biblically illiterate people who claim to be Christians to Hell by the satanically inspired teachings of modern-day Balaams. Their watered-down, seeker-friendly, purpose-driven messages are designed to bring in warm bodies and cold cash. In this New Age era, truth is not only unclear and uncertain, but also is bad for business.  No wonder the days are so hopeless and dark! The only true light has been all but extinguished.

Lord, protect me from the secretly destructive heresies and cleverly invented stories that are running rampant through the nation and Church today. At the Living Word Academy, held in the classroom of my heart, teach me by Your Spirit to diligently seek, genuinely love, and absolutely believe the Truth of Your Word. Full of knowledge, I will be like the Magi who recognized a nugget of truth in the middle of a whole lot of fiction, and willingly left their familiar surroundings to follow the Wondrous Star of Heaven.

O Star of Wonder, Star of Light, Star with royal beauty bright, westward leading still proceeding, guide me to Your Perfect Light. Amen. 

God's Word is absolute Truth. Abundantly clear, it will be your only hope and light in the blackest night. How well do you know it? Do you love it? Do you believe it?

It's not too late to attend the Living Word Academy. The only textbook required is Your Bible, the Living Word of God. The only Teacher required is the Holy Spirit. Open The Book and start seeking Truth before it's too late.

Peter says, "They (false teachers) have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam who loved the wages of wickedness." 2 Peter 2:15
John MacArthur writes in The Truth War:
Genuine love for truth is built into saving faith. It is therefore, one of the distinguishing qualities of every true believer. In Jesus' words, they have known the truth and the truth has set them free (John 8:32). Nothing in all the world is more important or more valuable than truth.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Micah 5:2
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
      are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
   Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you,
      one whose origins are from the distant past. NLT

Luke 2:11
The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! NLT

Thank You for publishing and preserving Your ancient Words. They give me hope and joy in these troubling times. During Israel's darkest days, You announced something major through a minor prophet. Hidden within this tiny little book in the Bible, written by the humble hand of a holy man is a great BIG treasure. The long awaited King would be born in the tiny little town of Bethlehem. The "house of bread" would cradle the "Bread of Life." How amazing is that!? And, after 700 long years of waiting this prophecy was finally fulfilled.

Because of that experience please give me greater confidence in the divinely inspired messages penned by Your spirit-filled scribes. In this age of uncertainty and lawlessness, help me to pay close attention to what they've written. Similarly, more than 2000 years ago, these influential saints clearly expressed the reality of Your imminent return to rule and reign over the entire earth. Under Your godly guidance, they unmistakably proclaimed that one day death would lose its sting and darkness would lose its power.

Admittedly, I am worn out waiting! Through tear-stained eyes, I strain to see Your promises. Yet, Your Word is the only flickering light I have in this place. Help me to hold it up and put my hope in it until it diffuses itself in my mind like the dawning of a new day and shines like a bright morning star in the hollow of my heart. Then, I will carry it like a prophet into my own small town to give others the hope of heaven this holiday season for the glory of Your faithful name. Hallelujah. Amen. 

God has given us a great book full of fulfilled prophecy, the Holy Bible, proving that He is faithful. We would be wise to pay attention to it. It may be the only light we have in the coming days, and a candle we can carry into our own crazy communities while we wait for the Lord's impending return.

2 Peter 1:19-21
We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.