Disappointment…

Pray8

TODAY’S DAILY PRAYER

four Christmas cookiesPraise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. Psalm 65:1–2, NIV

Lord our God, our Father, out of reverent silence comes the praise that is due to you, O God in Zion. It is right for us to praise you and to keep our promises to you. People everywhere shall come to you, for you answer prayer. Protect us your children in the task you have given us. Watch over us so that we can serve you in the right way and receive from you the gifts we need in order to go toward your kingdom and witness to your name. Help us on every step of the way. May our lives be entrusted to your hands, and may we always find our strength in you, our God and Savior. Amen.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY BUDDY

Read Psalm 73:21-26…When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, 22. I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. 23. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Grateful For Stress…

In 1812, the genteel New Englander Ann Judson embarked with her husband Adoniram on a long ministry of danger and hardship. The Judsons were sailing to far-off Burma as pioneer missionaries.

Ann recorded in her diary how they survived in next-to-intolerable conditions. ”Have been distressed for some days on account of the gloomy prospect before us,” she wrote. ”Everything respecting our little mission is involved in uncertainty. I find it hard to live by faith, and confide entirely in God when the way is dark before me.”

Yet Ann added, ”If the way were plain and easy, where would be the room for confidence in God. Instead, then, of murmuring and complaining, let me rejoice and be thankful that my heavenly Father compels me to trust in Him by removing those things on which we are naturally inclined to lean.”

Despite extreme hardship, Ann Judson would agree with the psalmist, ”God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:26).

What is our attitude when the props we have depended on are suddenly gone? Are we grateful for the trials that can strengthen our faith? For the child of God, great stress can develop great faith- and reveal God’s great grace.

 

 

December 18

We trust in the living God. –I TIM. iv. 10.

  Thy secret judgment’s depths profound
Still sings the silent night;
The day, upon his golden round,
Thy pity infinite.
I. WILLIAMS. Tr. from Latin.

Now that I have no longer any sense for the transitory and perishable, the universe appears before my eyes under a transformed aspect. The dead, heavy mass which did but stop up space has vanished, and in its place there flows onward, with the rushing music of mighty waves, an eternal stream of life, and power, and action, which issues from the original source of all life,–from Thy life, O Infinite One! for all life is Thy life, and only the religious eye penetrates to the realm of true Beauty.
J. G. FICHTE.

What is Nature? Art thou not the “Living Garment” of God? O Heavens, is it, in very deed, He then that ever speaks through thee; that lives and loves in thee, that lives and loves in me? Sweeter than dayspring to the shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah! like the mother’s voice to her little child that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown tumults; like soft streamings of celestial music to my too exasperated heart, came that Evangel. The Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a charnel-house with spectres; but godlike, and my Father’s.
T. CARLYLE.

Protecting New Believers

We have been talking about the devil’s attack on newborn babes in Christ.  This is something we can expect.  But what are the reasons for it?

Look at Isaiah 59:15-16, as it provides us with a clue,

So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.  Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

I want you to think about that.  Truth fails, and the person who departs from evil makes himself a prey, in the same way that a lion looks at a wounded gazelle as prey.

To me this is a picture of what happens to some new believers.  They depart from evil (get saved) and suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong for them.  And God is not pleased about it!

Where it says He “wondered ” literally means He was astonished that there was no intercessor.  This means that there was no one praying.  That is why they became prey!

If we do not pray for those who turn from evil, then they will become the prey of the devil.  We have a responsibility to intercede for people who come to Christ.  It puts up a barrier of protection around them.

Paul wrote to the Colossians about this when he said, Praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ.  Paul didn’t just pray for them before they were saved, he also prayed for them after they were saved.

Oh, may God not wonder in our day, “Where is the intercessor who should be praying for the new babes in Christ?”

Let’s take our responsibility seriously and pray for those who have newly come to the faith.

 

 

There are Spoils to be Taken

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! —Rom 8:37

The Gospel is so arranged and the gift of God so great that you may take the very enemies that fight you and the forces that are arrayed against you and make them steps up to the very gates of heaven and into the presence of God.

Like the eagle, who sits on a crag and watches the sky as it is filling with blackness, and the forked lightnings are playing up and down, and he is sitting perfectly still, turning one eye and then the other toward the storm. But he never moves until he begins to feel the burst of the breeze and knows that the hurricane has struck him; with a scream, he swings his breast to the storm, and uses the storm to go up to the sky; away he goes, borne upward upon it.

That is what God wants of every one of His children, to be more than conqueror, turning the storm-cloud into a chariot. You know when one army is more than conqueror it is likely to drive the other from the field, to get all the ammunition, the food and supplies, and to take possession of the whole. That is just what our text means. There are spoils to be taken!

Beloved, have you got them? When you went into that terrible valley of suffering did you come out of it with spoils? When that injury struck you and you thought everything was gone, did you so trust in God that you came out richer than you went in? To be more than conqueror is to take the spoils from the enemy and appropriate them to yourself. What he had arranged for your overthrow, take and appropriate for yourself.

When Dr. Moon, of Brighton, England, was stricken with blindness, he said “Lord, I accept this talent of blindness from Thee. Help me to use it for Thy glory that at Thy coming Thou mayest receive Thine own with usury.” Then God enabled him to invent the Moon Alphabet for the blind, by which thousands of blind people were enabled to read the Word of God, and many of them were gloriously saved.
Selected

God did not take away Paul’s thorn; He did better—He mastered that thorn, and made it Paul’s servant. The ministry of thorns has often been a greater ministry to man than the ministry of thrones.
Selected

 

 

Verse of the Day

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

“No room in the inn!” “Placed him in a manger!” So often we play favorites with the rich, beautiful, powerful, and prestigous. Isn’t it interesting that God revealed himself as the defender of the widow, the orphan, and the alien and then entered the world as the child of a Jewish carpenter and a young virgin from a small town. God wants us to notice those in need around us. He wants it to be more than an annual good gesture at Christmas. He wants us to be advocates for the folks like Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. We’re not just told to be fair; we’re told to defend and to plead the rights of those in need. When we do, we do it for him (see Matthew 23).

My Prayer…

Make me more aware, Holy Father, of those around me who need your love and grace. Make me your instrument to defend them and to serve them. Open my eyes to see Jesus in the faces of those in need. In the name of my Savior, Jesus, Savior of all peoples, I pray. Amen.

 

 

Your Daily Prayer Devotional Banner

Prayer to Stop the Rush and Let Go of the Stress this Christmas
By Debbie McDaniel

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

It’s just days before Christmas.

And if you’ve found yourself struggling with the stress of making it all happen, of making Christmas ultra- special, magical, or perfect in every way – deep breath. It’s OK, it’s not all up to us.

We may start to carry that pressure, especially during these holiday weeks, though often unintentionally. We long to make wonderful, lasting memories for our kids, we want to have the best Christmas ever, we want everyone to be happy and just get along. There’s this pressure all around to see what others are doing, or to buy more, or to busy ourselves more, and we somehow step right into that crazy cycle of spinning…

The most wonderful time of the year can leave many feeling defeated, depleted, and completely overwhelmed by about this time.

But we don’t have to stay stuck there. We can move forward out of that trap. And let go of the striving in it all.

So, whether or not the shopping got finished yet, or the Christmas cards were sent out in a timely manner, or the lights were ever hung this year, it doesn’t really matter.

Because real life doesn’t usually look like a Norman Rockwell painting. It just looks like “us.” Ordinary. Kind of messy. Not quite polished and maybe a few steps behind.

And Jesus came. For us. Just common, real, ordinary people.

He chose to enter the world through young Mary, simple, ordinary, unknown to others. His earthly father was Joseph, a quiet, honest, hard-working man who didn’t have a lot of money. The first announcement of His birth came to shepherds in the fields. Real, simple, ordinary, maybe kind of smelly, night shift workers.

He’s the One who brought the “special moment” to Christmas, that one night years ago.

Miracle wrapped up in a tiny baby.

It’s all about Him.

And still today, that truth remains the same. In whatever we get done, and whatever we don’t, through the holiday madness or the simple moments that often mean the most, Jesus came, offering peace. Giving grace. Bringing hope. It’s what matters most, at Christmas, and all year through. He’s the Only One who makes it all amazing and special.

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of Jesus, the One who alone can save us and give us lasting joy. Thank you that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Thank you that you promise to give the worried, the hurried, the pressured, and stressed out – rest and peace for our souls – if we’ll just come before you. Thank you for your reminder that we don’t have to carry it all. Forgive us for the times we try to, for not taking time to rest. Thank you for the refreshing that comes from your Spirit, filling us again with joy, covering us with a shield of favor and blessing, leading us forward with hope.  Equip us to be those who notice the lonely, the hurting. Help us to slow down, to take time, to point others to you, and to remember most of all, what this season is all about.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

 

A Christmas Prayer for the Merry… and Not so Merry

“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'” Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

Father God,

We thank You and praise You today for the miracle of Your Son’s birth. Thank You for bringing great JOY to the whole world!

Thank You for giving us the assurance that because You came to us in the form of a human, we who believe in Jesus can know with absolute certainty that we’ll spend eternity with You.

We thank You, Lord, for the many reasons we have been given a merry Christmas. And we rejoice for each blessing. New life. New love. A home. A job. New opportunities. Second chances. And more.

We know, Lord, that You bring the sun and the moon and set the stars in motion. You tell the ocean where to stop and the snow when to start. And we thank You for the mighty gift of Your creation.

Thank You, Father, for spiritual leaders and faith-filled friends who keep encouraging us when we are close to giving up.

And although we have many reasons to rejoice today, Lord, we also know December 25th can be not-so-merry for a whole host of reasons. We pray for those who are experiencing loss this Christmas: relational, financial, spiritual and physical.

We pray for those who are coping with loving a prodigal and our friends and family members whose hearts are far from You. We pray for those dealing with unemployment and addictions and chronic sickness … and unending pain and frustrations of all kinds. Thank You, Lord, that You are The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, even in the midst of our not-so-merry circumstances.

Finally, Lord, we ask You to grant us peace. Peace in our homes, peace in our churches, and peace in our hearts, when the world all around us spins out-of-control.

Help us to stay focused on You, this Christmastime and always. Thank You for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, so that we might truly have a very merry Christmas.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

Luke 2:10, “But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.'” (NLT)

1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (NIV)

Psalm 95:1-2, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” (NIV)

Job 38:8-11, “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!'” (NLT)

Psalms 72:12-14, “He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.” (NLT)

Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” (NLT)

Prayer © 2014 by Steph Raquel. All rights reserved.

 

 

December 18

Heart-rending

Rend your hearts and not your garments. – Joel 2:13

The tearing of garments and other outward signs of religious emotion are easily displayed and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will pay attention to the most minute ceremonial regulations-for those things are pleasing to the flesh. But true faith is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of people of the flesh; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly.

Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: But they are ultimately delusive, for in the face of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.

Heart-rending is divinely worked and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief that is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked about and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating and completely sin-purging, but it is also sweet preparation for the gracious consolations that proud, unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally as hard as marble: How, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: A dying Savior’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men tear their garments in the day of lamentation.

 

 

 

 

 

God bless everyone!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: