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Monday, November 30, 2015

Preparing the Way


The prophet Isaiah writes: "Here is my herald whom I send and he will prepare your way." Prepare the way. Prepare your heart and mind. Let everyone stand silent. Let the stars and moon cease to move. Let the leaves of the trees and the tall browning grass cease to rustle in the wind. With expectant hush, and long awaiting yearning, we herald the coming of the long awaited Christ Child, the coming of the infant to Bethlehem

Advent is a Latin word for "Coming." Prepare the way. Prepare the heart to receive. Prepare the way. The Christ is coming. Let us prepare for the advent, the coming of the Christ Child. On this first week of Advent, let us prepare with repentance. Let us prepare with hope. Let us prepare with faith. For the light will come into this world - as God has promised. The Christ Child came in to Bethlehem's stable. He will come into the world again, into every life that waits, and into every hopeful heart. The Messiah comes to bring Christmas to every waiting believer. 

Prepare to receive Him with your heart, mind, body, and soul. Amen?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Sunday

Today is the first Sunday of Advent which means “coming or arrival”. May we seek God through Jesus Christ over the next four weeks and invite Jesus to come in to our lives in a very real way. He spoke of His arrival and mission in John 3:11-21:

11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Praise the Lord for His love and truth – found in His Son, Jesus Christ.
May we grow in our knowledge and relationship with Him during this Advent season. Amen?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Giving Thanks

I love all the posts I've seen about people giving thanks during this Thanksgiving season! I also am thankful for so many things, but the One who makes all of our "thankfulness" possible sometimes gets left out. I am reminded of a song about the subject by Don Moen. Today meditate on these words, and praise God for giving us His Son.

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us"
Give thanks

We give thanks to You oh Lord
We give thanks

Amen?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Your Life

I saw a video recently on making your life an offering. It has had a great impact on me. This concept is based off of Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Take your ordinary everyday life and place it before God as a worship offering.

Worship is saying:
I trust You - even when your eyes don’t see it
Thy will be done - even when your heart doesn’t feel like it
I’ll follow You - even when your mind doesn’t understand it

There is no greater act of worship than giving God all of you. Open your hands to praise and worship Him. Even if you have to pry them open!

Commit your ordinary everyday life to God as your offering. Amen?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Smile

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I received this in an email years ago, and it always brings a smile to my face. I pray it will to you as well.

'TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING,
BUT I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP
I TRIED COUNTING BACKWARDS,
 I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.

THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED -
THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE
BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION
WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT
TOSSING AND TURNING WITH ANTICIPATION
THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME INFATUATION.
SO, I RACED TO THE KITCHEN, FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR
AND GAZED AT THE FRIDGE, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.
GOBBLED UP TURKEY AND BUTTERED POTATOES,
PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES.

I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND SO ROUND,
TILL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.
I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY
WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A HANDFUL OF PIE.

BUT, I MANAGED TO YELL AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES....
HAPPY EATING TO ALL - PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.

MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY,
MAY YOUR TURKEY BE PLUMP.
MAY YOUR POTATOES 'N GRAVY
HAVE NARY A LUMP,

MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS
MAY YOUR PIES TAKE THE PRIZE,
MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER
STAY OFF OF YOUR THIGHS.

MAY YOUR THANKSGIVING BE BLESSED!

Have a good, Godly, and very thankful day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bible Thanks

We have a lot to be thankful to God for. Let’s continue to look at the Bible, and why we can be thankful.
WE ARE THANKFUL FOR ALL OF THE PRAYERS GOD HAS ANSWERED.
Psalm 118:21 I will give You thanks, for You answered me; You have become my salvation.

WE CAN BE THANKFUL FOR THE BIBLE.
Psalm 119:62 At midnight I rise to give You thanks for Your righteous laws.

WE CAN BE THANKFUL FOR THE ETERNAL HOME GOD HAS GIVEN US.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,

What are you most thankful for today? Thank God for it right now.
 
Always show God your thankfulness. Amen?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful Hearts

How do you show Jesus your thankfulness? Let's look at one story of thankfulness found in Luke 17:11-19  
1Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Ten Were Healed – Only One Came Back
1. Only one broke the Levitical law about quarantine.
2. Only one understood what was happening to them in a deeper sense.
3. Only one went from lamenting to thanksgiving and praise.
4. Only one who came back was a Samaritan.
It wasn’t Suzy SS or Deacon Doug who truly understood (got it). It was the Samaritan! The guy that had no business at Jesus feet, but he was the only one who did.
5. Only one saw the difference between being healed and being whole. Nine lepers were so intent on following the law, but the one, who turned around and came back, saw a significant difference in his mind and heart. and clearly in the mind of Jesus, between being healed and being made whole

Always come back to Jesus with a grateful and thankful heart. Amen?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanking Jesus

We cannot spend a week looking at Scripture for thankfulness without praising God for His Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look John 1:1-14 today.

The Word Became Flesh

 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome] it.
 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Praise God for sending His Son Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Have a good, thankful, and Godly day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanking God

This week we will be spending time celebrating Thanksgiving with Scripture Readings, and why we should be thankful. Let’s look at Psalm 33:1-15 today.

 1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2 Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3 Sing to him a new song;  play skillfully, and shout for joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.
 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jar; he puts the deep into storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,  the people he chose for his inheritance.
13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches  all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 

Have a thankful heart for God and His creation. He is an awesome God.

May you have a good, thankful, and Godly day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Be Jesus

In Luke 19:1-10 the people all murmured or muttered about a man named Zacchaeus. Jesus didn’t talk bad about him. Instead we get us a picture of the relationship He desires with all humanity. There are three things we can take from this passage.

1. God is a seeking God. Why do we expect people come to us? We need to be willing to go and share the Gospel.
2 God calls us by name - people want to be heard and recognized. Why do you think Walmart has greeters? Image is not everything – relationship is what people desire.
3. Jesus identifies with us. He wants to spend time with us, even though He knows all about us! 
Do you know your community, and are you glad when people come to your church?
Do you seek opportunities to engage with them?
In Jesus’ Great Commission we are told to Go! Are you ready?
Be Jesus to the world around you. Amen?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Good or God?

I've been intrigued with this question: Is it a good thing or a God thing? I know there is a book out with a similar title and I hope to read it. But it's this idea that are we doing. thinking, and praying for just "good" or become serious enough to ask if it's God's will for us. It has to start with prayer, and for God to answer prayer it has to be offered as the Bible instructs (God thing). Here are four ideas to think about:
         1. If you are harboring unconfessed sin in your life, you need to confess it so you can have that boldness to enter into God’s presence. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;– Psalm 66:18
2. You need to pray according to His will. When our desires and requests are aligned with and subjugated to the will of God, we know that He will hear and grant what we seek of Him. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.– 1 John 5:14-15
3. You need to pray in His Name. What praying in Jesus’ name really means is that we should pray as if the Lord Himself were doing the asking. When we pray with that perspective, we begin to pray for things that really matter, and we eliminate selfish requests. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.– John 14:13-14
4. You need to pray with a knowledge of Scripture. When you are controlled by His Word, you are not going to ask anything against God’s will. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. – John 15:7
Pray for more of God in your life not just good. Always make sure God hears your prayers by listening to and obeying Him. Amen?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Get Up

What if someone came in to your church and asked, May I Have Your Seat? This question is often answered in the negative in a declining church, but growing churches answer “yes”. Paul tells us in Colossians 4:5-6;  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Three things to remember:
1. The Open Chair
A reminder that new members and guests are always welcomed.
2. The Comfort Zone
When an area is 80% full growth begins to decline.
3. The Average Size
There are new standards of how many people will fit. People require more space than ever before.
How willing are you to give up your seat, get out of your comfort zone, or rethink the way we do church?
Always be willing to grow. Amen?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cry Out

When it is all said and done what will bring glory to God?

 Psalm 57:2 says, I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.

Here are five things we can do to bring glory to God:

1. Center our lives on God. Live a lifestyle of worship. We were planned for God’s pleasure, and it begins with complete surrender of our lives to Christ
2. Connect with other believers. We need to experience real fellowship that God desires us to have.  We were formed for God’s family. Identify with other believers through the church.
3. Cultivate spiritual maturity and Godly behavior. Quit trying and start training! We were created to become like Christ. Develop habits for intentional growth
4. Contribute something back. Use your talents in ministry, and find a place to serve at church.
5. Communicate God’s love for others. Develop a heart for the world. We were made for a mission - Share your faith in a mission activity.

Always be about God’s purposes. Amen?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Response



Sometimes people’s reaction to the same news that makes us so happy can be just the opposite. This happens in the case of the older brother of the prodigal son. The Father wants his youngest to be reconciled with the whole community – especially within the family. It doesn’t turn out that way.

We hear his reaction in The Parable of the Older Son in Luke 15:25-31: 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Did you notice that the father “went out and pleaded with him” to join in this happy occasion. The brother was so “Me” oriented that he could not see past his own needs and greed. Sadly this still exists today. Instead of focusing on ourselves so much – what would happen if we focused on those who are lost and need to be restored to God through Jesus? I think we’d have revival.

Today and always – be about God’s plan. He wants to "revive" us! Amen?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Restoring



This is a continuation of the third story that Jesus shares in Luke 15.
They are all connected with a central theme of finding things that are lost. We hear The Parable of the Lost Son (continued) in Luke 15:11-20b: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Do you see what the father is doing?

He’s inviting the whole village to share his joy. He doesn’t want the son only to be reconciled to him; he wants him to be reconciled to the whole village. He wants everyone to have a relationship with his son. This is a story that no one could have anticipated. When the son is found, the father throws a huge party to celebrate his return. Why? Because he is happy!

Always be happy when a sinner comes home. Amen?