Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrate the Day!

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" - Philippians 4:4 NIV

This is the season of celebration and joy! We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Son of God!! But I'm not talking about celebrating that day; I'm talking about celebrating TODAY!!

What? Why? It's not Christmas yet!! Who says it has to be Christmas, or even a birthday or anniversary to celebrate today?! Are you alive and breathing? If you're reading this, then obviously the answer to that question is "yes". That's reason enough to celebrate! My God is an awesome God and He gave me this day. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24 NIV) If God gave me this day, He must have something wonderful in store for me!

What are my expectations for today? Did I wake up expecting wonderful things from God or did I wake up in gloom and doom? As a Christian, a believer, I have every reason to wake up each morning with expectations of a great day - Jesus is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of God. I am saved and will one day join Him in Heaven. No more tears or sorrow. No more worry or pain. Hallelujah!!

Some of you may think I'm not living in the real world. There are people dying, grieving, going hungry, living on the streets, estranged from family, hurting. So much pain. I know that. But God still has a purpose for each and every person on this earth. If we're alive, then there's a reason for it. We have a choice to make each morning and I'm just saying that the Bible says that we are to celebrate each matter what. Easier said than done? Yes! Impossible? NO!! "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) Lean on Him and He will see you through. Today can be wonderful if you rejoice in the Lord, no matter your circumstances. Let's choose to celebrate today!!

"When you cannot rejoice in feelings, circumstances or conditions, rejoice in the Lord." - A. B. Simpson

Awesome God, let me rejoice in You today. No matter what this day may bring, may I celebrate it. Jesus is alive and reason alone to celebrate each day. Thank You for the wonderful gift of life, both here on earth and eternally. Let me use today for Your honor and glory, as Your humble servant. All praise belongs to You, Lord! In Jesus name, Amen. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God's Instruction Book

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." - Psalm 119:105 NIV

"The Bible is like no other book. Treat it that way!" - Marie T. Freeman. These words are so true. The Bible is God's instructions for our lives. It's a living thing. As my devotional says, it's "a transforming, life-changing, one-of-a-kind treasure." 

In Matthew 4:4 NIV, Jesus reminds me that, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." The Bible comes from the mouth of God. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16 NIV that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." I've been asked if I believe every word the Bible says. My answer: YES I DO!! There may be some things in there that are hard to believe as a human being, but I take it on faith that it's true. The fish swallowing Jonah then spitting him out, Sarah & Elizabeth getting pregnant in their old age, the walls of Jericho falling down just by trumpets blowing....all beyond human comprehension. They are supernatural things to me, but, as my pastor keeps pointing out - they're all natural for God.

So, how do I know what God's instructions are for me? By studying my Bible and meditating on what it's meaning is for my life. I said earlier that the Bible is a living do I know that? Because I may study a verse or passage in the Bible more than once and each time it means something different to me. I may use it as instruction the first time I read it, then it may be more of a comfort to me the next time. God may lead me to that same passage to help me through a difficult time or to correct me when I've strayed. It's an amazing book that I'll never get tired of.

I'm learning so much from my Bible study each much He loves me, what His will is for my life, how I'm expected to act, think and speak. This verse in Psalms is so, so true - God's Word does show me the path I'm to walk as I live as a child of His. My desire to study the Bible increases every time I open it's covers and read through it's pages. It does teach me, it does rebuke me, it does correct me and it is training me in righteousness. Thank You God for Your instruction book!!

"When the child of God looks into the Word of God, he sees the Son of God. And, he is transformed by the Spirit of God to share in the glory of God." - Warren Wiersbe

Dear Heavenly Father, I will use Your Word as my guide. I will study it, meditate on it's meaning for me, treasure it. I will take the time each day to trust You to speak to me through it. Let me turn to Your Word for comfort, for answers, for teaching, for correction...for Your guidance, dear Lord. Thank You for Your Holy Word. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hope in God

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." - Psalm 42:11 NIV

This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, yet this is the time of year that depresses a lot of people. Too many presents to buy, too little money. Too many parties to go to, too little time. Too many demands, too little of us to go around. Too many....too little.

This verse asks two very good questions. Why are we downcast? Why are we upset? The focus of this time of year should not be on the presents, the parties, the cooking, the cleaning or the myriad other things we tend to concentrate on as Christmas approaches. As the psalmist says, we should be putting our "hope in God". Jesus is why we're celebrating! Not so the retailers can get in the "black". Not so we can have a tree with presents piled around it. Not so we can party hearty. The only way to have peace and joy during the holidays is to focus on Jesus and allow our Heavenly Father to fill us with His presence. Once we do that, it no longer matters if there are only a few presents under the tree. It no longer matters if we have to turn down a few parties. It no longer matters if all the cooking and cleaning gets done. Depression be gone!! Joy, unspeakable joy, fills our hearts. We know the true meaning of this holiday. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!

I'm putting my hope in God this season. I'm praising and thanking Him for His goodness and mercy. I'm trusting Him to provide. There's no room in my heart for depression or turmoil. May you find the hope of this season in God and in His greatest gift...Jesus Christ!!

"If you hope for happiness in the world, hope for it from God, and not from the world." - David Brainerd

Dear God, I put my hope in You. I bring you my fears, my worries and my anxieties and leave them in Your hands. Fill me, instead, with Your peace and joy. May I be reminded of the reason I am celebrating during this season....Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing that He willingly came to earth to take on my sin and die for me so that I can have eternal life is the greatest gift I could ever receive. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me. In His precious name, Amen.