Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 30

If you’ve ever been to Florida, you know about the beaches and Disney, but have you ever noticed our grand old oaks? They are spectacular! Their limbs reach the sky and create the perfect place for squirrels to frolic and birds to congregate. They are a respite from the sun on a hot day and protection from the frost on a cold day. However, during a hurricane, they can become dangerous, as many are uprooted or their dead branches are pruned by the wind. Though the clean up is costly, new life springs up as the once shaded area is exposed to the sun. So, what’s dead in your life that needs to be pruned so the light can shine on you? Don’t wait for a hurricane to prune your branches or possibly uproot you, ask God what needs to be trimmed now so you can continue to stand strong like a grand oak. He’ll answer you. He wants you to be set free from all that hinders your growth. 

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29

Things aren’t always as they seem. Many years ago I was grocery shopping at our local store. People were getting off work and picking up their supper before heading home. I noticed one particular guy who looked like he had been working extra hard because he was filthy and his hair was greasy. It was unusual that I even notice him because many people work hard and get dirty doing their work. The truth is that I thought he was a bum. As I was leaving, I saw a sporty Cadillac parked at the curb, and guess who got into it? The greasy looking bum! Come to find out, he was a wealthy business owner that was well known by many in our town. The Bible teaches us not to judge by outward appearances, and that my friends is one of the reasons why! We are to show no partiality or make distinctions between others. This is a hard teaching to hold to, but as a believer, it’s necessary!

For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:2-4

Thursday, December 28, 2017

December 28

God has a way of making us focus on what’s most important. If you’re worried about things rather than people, it’s likely that you will be challenged by your circumstances and forced to look at your heart. If your god has become your possessions and you’re more worried about them than the one true God, you may experience trouble or even lose them. Our God is a jealous God and will take second place to no one or no thing, so make it your mission to put Him before everything in your life. He will reward your behavior and you will become closer to Him. When we align ourselves with Him, we will automatically concern ourselves with matters of the heart; the heart of God is for His people. Live the greatest command to love God and love people, and things will fall into their rightful place and He will delight in you.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:15-17

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27

If you are a parent, it is vital that you help guard the heart of your child. So many of us grow up with hurts caused by others that are carried into adulthood. It makes it important for you to have open communication with them so they are free to share their feelings with you. I was so proud of my daughter; when she found out my grandson had been called a name that hurt him, she immediately had him pray to reject that hurt and assured him of the value God had placed on him. If we handle these things early on, we will set them up for a successful, confident life. For your own sake as an adult, handle the pain someone causes you right away and don’t allow it to fester and grow. The enemy will use any means necessary to derail you and cause you to take your eyes off the Lord. Jesus took all of our pain upon Himself so you don’t have to carry it! 

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 26

Rush, rush, rush, and then nothing; it’s the after Christmas blues. I remember as a child, this day would hit me hard and make me sad because there were no more gifts to open or family to see, but as an adult, I’m glad it’s over and ready for my days to get back to normal. If we could get into the habit of celebrating Jesus every day, we might not become so deflated after a big event. There are so many things to look forward to, including a new year, new events, new souls to reach for Jesus. Now maybe I can get back to eating right again; the holiday food tends to add extra pounds! If you are experiencing mild depression from the holiday let-down, remember who your source is and plug into His power to defeat the enemies attempts to derail you. Change your focus from inward to outward and rely on Him for all of your needs. He’s ready to help you, just ask.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25

Today, I hope you are like a child opening a gift, a holy gift that could only be given by One. Have you opened your gift, or do you know what’s in the package and are leaving it under the tree for the perfect, more convenient time? Some of us take a peak and never open the package completely, we leave it in the box and never get it out to play with it. OPEN YOUR PACKAGE! It’s the best gift that you will ever receive and every time you play with it, it’s like new again. It’s not boring, it’s fun and exciting. Every day something different is revealed, but how will you know that if you don’t take it out and play with it. It’s like a real life video game, the more you play it, the better you get at it and achieve new levels. So today, be that child again; open the gift, and take it out and play with it and never put it down again. I hope you are blessed by receiving the sweetest of all presents, Jesus! Merry Christmas.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 24

Could you have ever imagined that we would be celebrating the arrival of a King thousands of years later? Here we are rejoicing! I wonder if the shepherds and the others, who came to see Him that night, were some of those who eventually became His followers. When God decides to walk with us in the flesh, you can’t keep that a secret for very long! The King, Creator, and Savior, choosing to experience what His created experiences daily, just to give us a worthy sacrifice to atone for our sin, is incredible! As we celebrate the Savior's birth, remember that He said if we don’t praise Him, the rocks will; which is what is already happening! People are denying that He is the reason we celebrate, but are still celebrating! Only our incredible God could turn what Satan had intended for evil into the good for Him! They can deny all they want, but the truth is the truth!

He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." Luke 19:40