November 27, 2018
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
…behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)
It is fitting to begin “the most wonderful time of the year” by counting our blessings, for truly we all have much for which to be thankful. Thanksgiving is the perfect prelude to the Christmas season, for a grateful heart is open to the true message and miracle of Christmas.
The true message of Christmas is good news! We love to hear good news, and no doubt we could all use a little bit of it right now. One dark night long ago, the angel of the Lord declared the message of Christmas to a group of shepherds, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:9-10 KJV). You see the message of Christmas is not only good, and not only full of great joy, it is for all people. The message of Christmas is for every living soul.
The true miracle of Christmas is the “good tidings of great joy” declared by the angel “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (v. 11 KJV). Jesus’ birth was meant to bring us great joy, for we are all in need of a Savior and God loves us so much He provided one. Luke 2:6-7 is the fulfillment of God’s promised Savior in Genesis 3:15. God always keeps His promises.
So this season, instead of allowing materialism to overshadow Christmas, let us remember what makes this “the most wonderful time of the year”. Ultimately it is the true message and miracle of Christmas that brings “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Dear Lord, Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year” when I remember
the true message and miracle of the season. Thank You for keeping Your promise and providing
Your One and Only Son to be my One and Only Savior. ~ Amen
November 11, 2018
A Good Soldier
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs,
but rather tries to please his commanding officer. ~ 2 Timothy 2:3-4
A good soldier, if necessary, is willing to suffer for the cause, and lay down their life for it. A good soldier trains hard, understanding that one day their training could save their or someone else’s life. A good soldier follows orders, trusting their commanding officer’s instructions are best.
Marine Lance Cpl. Brendan Kelly is a good soldier. He credits his military training, and “God’s protective hand,” for helping him to survive two mass shootings. These shootings, both in a little over a year, were not on foreign soil or in enemy territory. No, they were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada last October, and the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California last week. Both times he not only survived, but helped others survive as well.
When shots rang out in Las Vegas, Kelly went into action getting his friend and several other people to safety. Likewise, after the first shots were fired at Borderline, he initially threw two of his friends to the floor, shielded them with his body, and then managed to get them, and a nearby woman, to safety through an emergency exit. Then he used his shirt and belt, as a make shift tourniquet, to stop the bleeding of his wounded friend.
Believers are soldiers, too. We are part of the Lord’s army and in order to be “a good soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3) we must be willing to suffer for the gospel, to train hard through Bible study and prayer, and to follow our commanding officer, Jesus, even to the cross. If we are good soldiers, like Kelly, God just might use us to “save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22) as well.
Dear Lord, These senseless acts of violence give tangible proof to the spiritual truth that we are at war
and the enemy of our souls, though already defeated, is no less real or formidable. Keep me alert and on guard.
Empower me to be a good soldier. ~ Amen
October 31, 2018
Generous with Jesus
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” ~ Acts 3:6
Day after day it was always the same. At the time of prayer he was carried to the temple. Not to go in, but rather to sit outside the gate, always outside, and beg (Acts 3:2). It was ironic that the gate he sat at was called Beautiful, for nothing about begging is beautiful. In fact, he barely looked at the people passing by as he asked for their money. They never really looked at him either, but occasionally some would drop a mite as they walked by, never missing a step.
Peter and John were about to enter the temple court, when he asked them for money. They stopped and “looked straight at him” (v. 4). He did not notice them at first, too busy looking for the next set of feet, prepared to ask again. Peter said, “Look at us!” (v. 4) no doubt startling the beggar. Peter and John had seen him, now they wanted him to see them. Expecting to get some money from them, he now gave them his attention (v. 5).
Peter had no money to offer him that day, “Silver or gold I do not have” (v. 6). What Peter had was even better! He had Jesus and he would gladly share Him with the beggar, “but what I do have I give you” (v. 6). How often do we fail to see the people around us in need? Or ignore the need because we do not believe we have anything to offer them? If we have Jesus, we have all they need. Sharing Jesus with them could change their life—just like it did this beggar’s. That very day he entered the temple courts with praise (v. 7-8)!
Dear Lord, Help me to see the need in front of me. Empower me to offer the greatest gift I have to meet that need and that is You. ~ Amen
October 15, 2018
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born… ~ Ecclesiastes 3:2
My heart jumped when Jaclyn called me early the morning of the Lord Teach Us to Pray conference at our home church. She was thirty-six weeks pregnant with her second child. Her first, Elijah, just 19 months old, had been a preemie. I answered the phone with a question, “Are you okay?” She assured me all was well. The night before I had dreamed she went into labor in the middle of the conference and I kept asking the Lord to please wait until the end of conference.
When I got to the church it was already a flutter of activity. Jaclyn and my oldest daughter, Kaitlyn were manning the book table. I only had a minute to greet them before the conference began. The music had just started when Kaitlyn touched my arm and whispered, “Mom, Jaclyn is in labor. We are going to the hospital.” Then she was gone. Shocked I barely heard my introduction. Dazed I made my way up front, announced the good news to the ladies, said a prayer, and with God’s help presented the first session.
During break I got news Jaclyn was safely at the hospital and already six centimeters dilated. Session two began with the update on Jaclyn and another prayer. In closing, I looked at the clock as I called the women into personal prayer. It was 12:50 pm. I sat on the stage and bowed my head, but the Lord quickly brought me to my knees as I prayed for my baby having a baby without me. Later I got the news that Magdalene Mikelle Disla was born at 12:51 pm--while I was on my knees. Talk about God’s perfect timing!
Dear Lord, Your ways are perfect and so is Your timing. Help me to trust Your timing even when it is not my own. ~ Amen
October 2, 2018
An Opened Mind
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. ~ Luke 24:45
You should have an opened mind! This sentiment is often attached to cultural ideologies in hopes of change. However, what about having an opened mind in regards to the Bible? Imagine if Jesus opened the minds of all believers, “so they could understand the Scriptures”, as He did His disciples in Luke 24:45. No doubt, the world would never be the same!
Hopefully, we have all had moments while reading a familiar verse or passage of Scripture when suddenly the light comes on, our minds are opened, and we understand something new and fresh that we never have before. Such moments are invigorating and testify to the fact that “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). Often when we understand something new in Scripture we feel the need to share it with others. That is because, in those moments, it is as if God Himself has opened our minds—just like He did the disciples (Luke 24:25).
It is the desire of God’s heart to reveal Himself to us. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). In fact, David declared, “The LORD confides in those who fear him” (Psalm 25:14). Furthermore, Jesus promised His disciples that the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you” (Matthew 13:11). How amazing that God longs to share His secrets with us, His creation! Yet that is exactly what He has done through His Word!
So this week, as we open our Bibles, let us pray for the Lord to open our minds to “understand the Scriptures” and then trust that He will!
Dear Lord, Please open my mind to the Scriptures so that I can understand great and unsearchable things I do not know,
the secrets of the kingdom of heaven written in Your Holy Word. ~ Amen