Devotionals

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Posted 12/21/14 at 9:26 PM | Lenita Reeves

You’ve come to the end—now push!

Push Sign
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You made it! You’ve come to the end of the year. As I am writing this post, there remain only a few days in the year 2014. Instead of giving up because the answers to some of your 2014 prayers have not yet manifested, believe God that there are still breakthroughs for you before the year comes to a close. You’ve endured this long, so why don’t you push? A woman carries a child for 37-40 weeks. She endures the changes in her body: the weight gain, cravings, swelling, internal shifting of her stomach and pressure on her bladder. Yet, even after all of that, she must still push. You’ve carried a promise all year long—you’ve made it to the end. So why don’t you push?

“Last days“ of a year or any season of time are times of transition and require that you and I be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. Jesus told His disciples that in the last days the love of many would wax cold; but, He went on to say something else that was full of prophetic insight and wisdom. In Matthew 24:13, He goes on to say, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” FULL POST

Posted 12/21/14 at 2:15 AM | Curt Klingerman

So, You're Not Perfect

Some people dwell so much on their past that they miss the present and risk missing their future. They remind themselves that they not perfect to the point of believing they are worthless and even unwanted. Fine, nobody is perfect, but God is.

Maybe you did not live a perfect life. Perhaps, you weren’t the perfect son or daughter. You were not the perfect husband or wife, dad or mom. You may have failed miserably as a friend. How big a list do you want to create and live up to? Fine, you were not perfect; but God is.

How determined are you to stay where you are at? Is your imperfection a point of pride for you? Does your past really define who you are today? More importantly, do you want it to define who you are? Fine, your thinking has not been perfect; but His thoughts are.

How perfect do you believe God is? Do you believe the Father gave the Perfect Gift when He sent Jesus to die for your sins? Do you believe Jesus gave the Perfect Sacrifice that completely washes you from sin and makes you new? Do you believe that He Who is perfect can bring you into perfection? Fine, perhaps you have not believed perfectly; but His faith is perfect.

Even though many “celebrate” Christmas, they lose sight of why Jesus came the first time. They forget He is no longer in the manger and no longer hanging on the Cross. The Father gave us the Perfect Gift, and His Gift enables us to make our life a gift unto Him. His Resurrection declared that Jesus is the Son of God and He is more than able to bring you into perfection (see Romans 1:4). Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (KJV). Fine, you cannot make yourself perfect; but He can. FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 4:22 PM | Daniella Whyte

Enjoy the Wait

"But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:4).

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that God wants to develop in each of our lives. It can be hard to develop patience especially when we live in a time where fast is the order of the day. However, if we want to honor God and enjoy life to the full, we must learn to embrace the beautiful gift of patience. FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 1:33 PM | Larry Dozier

2 Steps from Hell

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:19) (KJV)

It's very interesting that our greatest earthly enemies are three things that are in the world, and not three people (See Ephesians 6). Oh, we like to blame people for our problems, don't we?

Could God be giving us a big hint that we need to learn how to take dominion over things, not people? Keep reading and I'll share some more.

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42). FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 10:35 AM | Victoria Osteen

Choose the Winning Side

Photo: Flickr/Jackie - Creative Commons

Jesus showed mercy everywhere He went. In fact, right before He was going to be arrested and taken to the cross, He had a conversation with one of His disciples. He said, "Peter, you are going to deny me three times tonight before it's all said and done." Peter refused to believe it, "No way! I would never deny You. I'll stand by You 'til the end!" But just as Jesus said, the Bible shows us three accounts where Peter denied any association with Jesus. He was afraid and feared for his very life! You might think Jesus would be upset with him, but do you know how Jesus responded? After He died and rose again, He appeared to Mary at His tomb and said to her, "I want you to go and tell everyone that I've risen." Then He said, "And go find Peter." He singled him out. Why? Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was still loved, valued and forgiven even though he betrayed Him. Jesus didn't hold a grudge. Instead, He extended mercy and restored Peter. And, He extends that same mercy to us every single day! FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 9:43 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Don't Judge

Photo: Flickr/Leo-setä - Creative Commons

"Do you mean that new kid at school?" Juan leaned on the window sill as he talked on the phone. "No way!" Dad, who was working on the lawn just outside the window, could hear the conversation. "Yeah, but he's short. We don't want him on our team," Juan continued. "He doesn't look like a basketball player to me. He doesn't even speak good English!" He paused for a moment. "Well, I'd say to forget him." Juan hung up the phone and went to find his father, who had now started the lawn mower. "Hey, Dad! You were going to teach me to play golf," called Juan above the noisy motor.

Dad stopped the mower. "I changed my mind, Juan," he said.

Juan looked puzzled. "Why?" he asked. "Can't we mow the lawn later?"

Dad nodded. "Yes, we could--but you don't look like a very good golfing prospect. You're not dressed like a golfer, and you don't talk like one, either. You don't look like a golfer to me." FULL POST

Posted 12/19/14 at 12:09 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

The Real Story of Christmas

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a young lady named Mary. Mary was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. Before they were married, and while she was still a virgin, Mary was found to be with child. God sent an angel named Gabriel to explain to Mary what was happening. Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” Mary asked, “How can this be since I have not known a man?” And the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Joseph, being a just man, and not wanting to make Mary a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” FULL POST

Posted 12/18/14 at 10:07 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

“O My Soul”: Engaging in Biblical Self-Talk

Psychologists speak of self-talk, the art of telling yourself certain things that influence your attitude, actions and speech. For instance, Deborah said to herself, “O my soul, march on in strength!” (Judges 5:21).

Every time the psalmists used the phrase, “O my soul,” they were engaging in self-talk. We all talk to ourselves. Whether or not this is a good practice depends largely on what we are saying, and whether it is true and helpful.

I love these thoughts from our dear friend Joni Eareckson Tada:

There are very few days when my soul does not require a good 'talking to.' On most mornings when pain encroaches, I demand my soul to come into alignment with the Holy Spirit; I order it to stand at attention and take orders from God for the day; that it rejoice in the day that's been made by its Creator; that it ascribe to a holy purpose for living; that it quit being sullen, and be hopeful in Jesus; and that it rejoice in the Lord, for therein lies its strength! Sometimes quadriplegia is just plain tiring—add to it chronic pain, and it can wear on the soul. It's why (when I deal with pain) I often pray, "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). …join me in urging your soul to find its solace, comfort, and encouragement in Jesus Christ! FULL POST

Posted 12/17/14 at 10:01 AM | Karen Woodall

Sweetly Singing Angels??

Recent years have bought us many new and wonderful Christmas songs, but one of my most favorite carols has always been the old standard “Angels We Have Heard on High.” I can clearly remember standing in the church congregation when I was young, belting out the chorus as the pipe organ shook the walls with the familiar chorus…..

♪ ♫ ♪ Glor-or-or-or-or-ia, In Excelsis Deo! ♫ ♪ ♫

I don’t know if it was because part of the refrain is in Latin that made me feel more holy or something, but I used to try to imagine what it would have been like to fly over the peaceful hills of Judea and join in with that first angel choir singing the praises of the new born King.

That is until recently…

Don’t get me wrong, I still have warm feelings about the song, but I wonder if maybe some of those Christmas favorites have left us with an inaccurate picture of what the angelic announcement to those Bethlehem shepherds actually looked like.

In scripture, the angels primary assignment is to compose the body of the vast army of God described as the “host of heaven.” But because of changes in our language, the word “host” can be misunderstood and maybe bring to mind images of Martha Stewart rather than what the original text means. The definition for this word in the Greek refers to an army, band of soldiers, or military unit. In that light, the ‘heavenly host’ in Luke 2:13 takes on a completely different feel than we get from the average Christmas carol or holiday illustration. FULL POST

Posted 12/17/14 at 9:59 AM | Children's Bible Hour

Song of the Wild

early bird
Photo: Flickr/John Haslam - Creative Commons

"Look!" exclaimed Tyson as he ran into the house. "I found a bird that can't fly. Can I keep it, Mom? I found this old cage in the garage."

Tyson's mother looked closely at the bird. "It's a sparrow, Tyson," she said.

"I suppose you can keep it a few days to see if its wing will heal."

"Okay." Tyson nodded. "I'll let it go soon. Do sparrows sing?"

Mom smiled. "Oh, they cheep and twitter," she replied.

"Well, I'll put it right next to Biddy's cage," Tyson decided. "Biddy has a beautiful song. She can teach the sparrow to sing."

A few days later, the sparrow's wing seemed fine. "Good thing," Tyson told his mother as he took it out to release it. "Instead of this bird learning to sing like a canary, Biddy's been starting to sound like the sparrow!"

That afternoon, Tyson's friend Landon called. After hanging up, Tyson went to find his mother. "Can I go to the mall with Landon?" asked Tyson. FULL POST

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