TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER
Lord our God, strengthen our hearts today through your Word. You are our Father and we are your children, and we want to trust you in every aspect of our lives. Protect us on all our ways, and grant that we may always watch and wait for the coming of your kingdom, for the future of our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep us from becoming confused by present-day events. Help us to remain free, that we may serve you and not be led astray, no matter what happens in the world. Grant us your Holy Spirit in everything, for without your Spirit we can do nothing. Help us, and accept our praise for the many ways you have given us help. Amen.
Reflections for Advent and Christmas
Verse of the Day
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Are you ashamed? Culture tries to make us ashamed about our faith, portraying people of faith as stupid, insensitive, judgmental, and hypocritical. Are you ashamed? Are you willing to share your faith humbly and gently with those who do not know Jesus as their Lord? Are you ashamed? Your hero left heaven to come to earth and risk everything so that you could come home to heaven with him. This Gospel is powerful. This Gospel is transformational. This Gospel, and the salvation it brings, are for all people. So let’s not be ashamed; let’s be joyous and generous with this incredible gift that we have received.
Father in heaven, please give me wisdom, sensitivity, and courage to share your wonderful story of grace with those around me who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
BIBLE STUDY BUDDY
Read Jeremiah 17:5-11.
This is what the Lord says: ”Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. 7. ”But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” 9. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10. ”I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” 11. Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.
v5-11 He who puts confidence in man, shall be like the heath in a desert, a naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of barren ground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their own righteousness and strength, and think they can do without Christ, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper in graces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shall flourish like a tree always green, whose leaf does not wither. They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; they shall not be anxious in a year of drought. Those who make God their Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of all creature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding fruit in holiness and good works. The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the conscience, which should set right the errors of other faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own hearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation. Who can understand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts of others, or depend upon them. He that believes God’s testimony in this matter, and learns to watch his own heart, will find this is a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons to direct his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the hearts of others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there is in the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God cannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not by right, though he may make them his hope, never shall have joy of them. This shows what vexation it is to a worldly man at death, that he must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will not follow to another world, guilt will, and everlasting torment. The rich man takes pains to get an estate, and sits brooding upon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; by sinful courses it comes to nothing. Let us be wise in time; what we get, let us get it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that we may be wise for eternity.
A thief overlooked a crucial detail in his plans for a getaway. According to police, the suspect approached an occupied car, pulled open the door, and tried to rob the driver. When the driver resisted, the thief ran to the other end of the parking lot where his car was parked. When the robber got there, though, he discovered a problem: His keys were locked in the car! Within minutes he was captured.
The prophet Jeremiah said that people who try to profit by doing wrong end up being fools (17:11). Their own actions rule out the possibility of an escape. They fail to see that the trouble with doing wrong is that it never turns out right. Jeremiah put it like this: ”I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (v.10).
Why do we add foolishness to foolishness by thinking we can get away with wrongdoing? It makes so much more sense to trust in the Lord (v.7) and seek His mercy. To keep relying on ourselves only leads to the discovery of details we had overlooked in our attempt to escape undetected.
The best plan for our lives is to take God at His Word and always do what’s right. Only then will we have a life with no regrets.
A Prayer for When You’re Facing Battles
By James MacDonald
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously…” – Exodus 15:1, ESV
Long before the cross, the Israelites who escaped the bondage of slavery witnessed one such victory. Imagine their joyful shouts when they looked back and saw the miraculously-parted Red Sea close over the Egyptian army in hot pursuit. “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously . . . ” (Exodus 15:1, ESV).
Some two-thousand years later, after what looked like a devastating defeat by the enemy, came the ultimate triumph: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6). Neither death nor the grave nor Satan’s plans stood a chance against the risen Savior!
Today, Jesus lives to further His victory through the lives of His followers. In fact, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In Christ, we aren’t just conquerors, we’re super conquerors—because God doesn’t just win, He crushes the enemy (Romans 16:20). That’s why you don’t want to take on this battle yourself. It is the reason the transaction at the cross was entirely out of our hands.
Jesus took on your debt, your sin, your condition, and defeated the condemning, eternal hold those things had on you. Because of His death and resurrection, all who trust in Christ for salvation are granted a place in the conquering band that will rejoice in His victory forever!
Consider your battles in light of this truth. Express your heart to the Lord and pour out your adoration. Every day we have the ultimate reason to celebrate.
Heavenly Father, I don’t usually feel much like a “super conqueror.” But the more I focus on what You have done, rather than worrying about what I have done or need to do, the more I sense the freedom to feel victorious. Thank You for being the decisive factor in every battle. I place the battles I’m facing today in Your mighty hands. Help me to keep trusting You, my Savior and King. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
This is what I try to have….after all, this is the season of Hope and Love! Jesus came and He surely conquered!! Praise God!!!
Sorry I have to be brief right now…..I’m losing my Internet soon for awhile and I’ll try to write more later!!
God bless you all!!!