Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 31

Some of the pictures we see on social media, look nothing like the person we see in the flesh. Technology has given us filters to make us look better than we do, and into something we are not. 

God does not love sin. What does that mean? Our pure and holy creator is separated from sin, cannot look at it or love it. That seems so harsh, but he will not change who he is; if he did, we wouldn’t have a perfect God, because he is unchanging. If he didn’t spare the angels who rose up against him, what makes you think he will spare you? You should have a good answer for this; if you don’t, see me after class. When they sinned, they changed from being holy, and loved by God, to evil; and God doesn’t love evil.

I know this is heavy for the end of the year, but we need to know how detestable we are in front of God, so we can understand how merciful he was when he sent Jesus to save us. God cannot look at us without the Jesus filter. Without that filter, you are hideous and disgusting. Thank God we are hidden in Jesus, otherwise we would face the same fate as the fallen angels.

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— Jude 1:5-6

Monday, December 30, 2019

December 30

At the beginning of the year, I ask God for a word that will define my year. It becomes a prophecy. I’ve already asked about mine for 2020. I usually get the answer right away, but I wait for confirmation. If you would like to hear from God, it’s time to pray about your word. Mine in 2019 was “adventure,” and then later in the year it became “sojourn.” I had an adventure standing still! Ha-ha! The way I confirm if I’m hearing him correctly, is the word will seem to appear everywhere, because he brings it to my attention; that’s how I knew it had changed part of the way through the year. Not only is this a fun thing to do, it is practice for hearing the voice of God, but what makes it even more interesting is watching it play out in your life. Don’t be shy about doing this, just ask God for a word, and then listen. God is a lot quicker than we are, with me, the word popped up before I got the question asked. 

My unconfirmed word for 2020 is “lavished.” I found the word lavished in Ephesians 1:8, and it refers to grace being lavished, “which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” I may be just hoping for this word since 2019 was such an adventurous year.

If you pray and God gives you a word, and he will because he says he will make known the mystery of his will, please share it, even if you haven’t received confirmation. By sharing it, you will be stepping out in faith. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ Ephesians 1:7-9

December 29

There is an undercurrent in society today that is so sinister, and manipulative, that even some of the most beloved evangels of the gospel have fallen for it. They are spreading the misinformation among many sects of religion. Somewhere along the way they lost sight of God, and ventured in their own direction with the guidance of the enemy. It’s important for you to stay aware, otherwise you could also be led astray. 

Did you know that just like we were predestined to follow Jesus, there are people who are predestined for evil? It doesn’t matter how hard you try to convert them to Jesus, they will not turn. They may seem loving to start, but they are nasty individuals whose only purpose is to pervert the gospel. Be mindful of who you are believing, pray for discernment, and always find biblical backup for enticing teachings that say what your itching ears want to hear. 

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December 28

I write these devotionals daily as the Spirit leads. Some may be for you, but some may not. They may lead you to believe that there is a lot for you to do, but there is not. We are to live a life worthy of our calling in Jesus, follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, turn away from evil, and give praise to God. 

I try to encourage you to tell others about Jesus, but know that the Spirit will lead you if you are to witness to someone about Jesus, he will nudge you if you are safe to share your testimony, and will give you the words that they need to hear. 

I try to encourage you to refrain from sin, but you must know, that if you consistently give into sin without a check in your spirit, you may not be saved at all. For me, if I am about to sin, for example, utter a lie, as insignificant as it may seem, the pressure of the Holy Spirit will come down on me so hard that I would rather live with the consequences of the truth than disappoint the Father. 

I encourage you to read your Bible because it’s the best way to know the truth, and get to know Jesus. 

I try to get you to leave your past behind, because dragging it around, crushes your spirit, and keeps you from living your best life here on earth. 

If anything I write doesn’t strike a cord with you, it’s probably not for you, and you can scroll on by, but if it touches you in any way, it may be a reminder from the Holy Spirit of something you need to work on.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21

Friday, December 27, 2019

December 27

At one of our family gatherings, someone gave my two year old grandson a round donut hole that was covered in chocolate. He popped the whole thing in his mouth, and began to run around the house. The chocolate began to drip from his mouth, getting it everywhere. One of his aunts cleaned him up and turn him loose with his mouth still full, so I decided that he probably needed to spit out what was left, and to my surprise, the donut was still whole, but the chocolate was gone! All he did was lick off the sweetness, and spit out the delicious cake.

If you accepted Jesus as your Savior, and experienced the delicious cleansing of your sins, and haven’t begun to live for him, it’s like licking the chocolate off the outside of the donut, and leaving the rest for the trash. The chocolate is not going to fill you up, and keep you satisfied, you need to eat the cake too! Dig into the Word of God, and start living for him, and get to know his character. You can’t just lick the icing off the cake! The Lord is loving, but he is also just, and fair; if you haven’t turned away from your sin, and begun to live for him, are you really saved? Persevere, and contend for your faith!

"Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 1:3

December 26

Young children are not very interested in opening presents; it’s the adults who get excited to watch them open them. I watched a few videos of the unveiling of gifts, and when one gift was opened, all they wanted to do was play with that one gift, but because there were more gifts to open, they were encouraged to put the one down to see what else they got. It was a lot of work on the part of the parent to encourage them to keep going. 

Today, I am going to play the part of the parent, and encourage you to keep opening the gifts that God has given you. When you became a Christian, you were imparted gifts as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit to use in bringing others to know Jesus, and to help you draw closer to him. Most people have more than one gift, but like children, we want to play with the one while the others are left unopened. I like to encourage believers to use the online tools that are out there to help make that determination. Once you know, you can become better at using them. Take a gifts survey, and open the presents that you may have left sitting under the tree!

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

December 25

Merry Christmas! Today we celebrate our God becoming a man, and him stepping off of his comfy, cozy throne to join us here on earth. In perfect fashion, we celebrate ourselves as we are lavished with gifts. Don’t feel bad about it, if we only knew how much God loved us, we would understand the thrill he gets seeing us enjoying these moments. What parent doesn’t want to give their children whatever they want? 

The most important gift we’ve ever been given, was the gift of his Son, our Lord, and Savior Jesus, whose birth this is all about. In Luke 2:14, we are reminded that the angels rejoiced at his birth; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 

We may not fully understand why he had to become a man, and suffer on the cross, or why there needed to be a blood sacrifice, but if there hadn’t been, would he have been remembered today? It’s not likely. God knew he needed his birth and death to be dramatic to keep our attention for thousands of years. So today, go ahead, and enjoy this celebration. Eat, drink, and be merry, because our Savior is worth celebrating!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:2-5

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

December 24

And after three days in the grave, Jesus rose from the dead! He made sure that those who loved him were not left perplexed by his disappearance from the sepulcher, and appeared to many of them as witnesses to his resurrection, before his ascension back into Heaven. Everything that was written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms were fulfilled by him. 

Christmas, the celebration of our Savior lowering himself to become a man so that there would be a pure sacrifice for our sin, was the only way for us to become righteous in the eyes of God. If not for his blood covering our sins, we would all perish into our eternal grave. Because of him, we have a way to live on, but only if we accept that he is who he says he is. We don’t have to accept him as our Savior, he allows us that choice, so in this very short time we have on earth, we must choose wisely. Is this really our choice, or did he choose us? The answer is YES! It’s both! Why do we need to choose him if he has already made the choice for us? I accept this as one of those things our finite minds can’t fully understand, but I do know that he wants us to want him, and we must repent. Don’t take a chance! Follow him today and accept his free gift of salvation!

and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-47

Monday, December 23, 2019

December 23

Pilate, and Herod, had found no guilt in Jesus, but because they desired to stay friends with the people, gave in to their shouting, and mob mentality. They were at enmity with one another before this, but after this, they became friends. We see the same thing in our government today; the crowds shout “crucify him, crucify him,” and the powers that be, set out to do just that.

Our president is far from being Jesus, but the things happening to him is a perfect example of mob behavior in this day and age. Who incited the people back then? The enemy! He is doing the same thing now; because if it worked for Jesus, surely it would work with a lesser man, and the enemy was right. After the enemy cleaned the White House of any signs of Christianity in the previous administration, the current administration is putting it back, and the devil is vehemently angry, and causing a stir in his compadre. 

The similarities are striking, but rather than saving us from our sin, the president is trying to save our country from the hands of the depraved. I expect after this sham of an impeachment, our president will come back bigger and stronger than ever. The prayers of the true Christians are with him. Never doubt the power of praying believers!

Pilate speaking of Jesus: “and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”” Luke 23:14-16

Sunday, December 22, 2019

December 22

You can never be too sure in this day and age, who is really your friend, or who might have set out to betray you. I hate to be cynical, but if you’ve ever experienced the hurt of betrayal, it creates a stronghold causing you to examine everyone more closely. Pray for Jesus to release you and give you freedom from such as this, but give you the ability to use your experience as a tool of discernment. 

Jesus, who knew the hearts of his disciples, was able to call out the weaknesses of those who were amongst them. During the Passover meal, he warned them of what was coming next, and that he would be betrayed by one of them. Even so, they were still in shock when they witnessed what had happened. 

Be wise in your dealings, and protect yourself with prayer; because even at church, like among the disciples, there are people whose hearts have not been cleansed by Jesus.

But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” Luke 22:21-22

Saturday, December 21, 2019

December 21

You can tell by the signs of the times what season we are in. It is necessary for you to take a stand for what is right, and align yourself with what God considers good. Be careful, the enemy will lead you in a direction contrary to God’s word, and you will be pulled into his trap. Every political party has its problems, but you will know if you are aligned properly if your allegiance to a party lines up more closely with the Bible. The murder of the unborn, the deterioration of Christian values, being convinced that wrong is right, the list goes on, you get the picture. I’d rather die than align myself with a party that thinks it’s okay to kill the unborn, or the partially born! Those are sick humans, and the enemy has ravaged their minds to believe it’s right. If you consider yourself a Christian, and agree with a woman’s right to choose death for her child, you do not know Jesus and need to seek him with all your heart. Also, be careful who you believe, the enemy will disguise himself as a beacon of light, hoping to confuse weak minds. If you never open your Bible and seek the truth for yourself, you are more likely to fall into the trap of the enemy. I know that I may have touched on nerves this morning, but I’m tired of being vague. Jesus told it like it was, and didn’t hold back, and that’s what you’re getting from me today.

You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:17-19

Friday, December 20, 2019

December 20

For several years in a row, about this time of year, my daughters and I would enjoy the Victorian Christmas Stroll at the H. B. Plant museum at the old Tampa Hotel, which is now the campus of The University of Tampa. Then we would have dinner, and enjoy a performance of The Nut Cracker, at the Performing Arts Center, which is now called The Straz Center. This is a reminder that nothing stays the same. The kids grow up and have families, and start their own traditions, and what you once enjoyed, falls away. Trying to recreate it is nearly impossible, but the memories of those special times of the past will linger forever. 

One thing that will also go away is marriage, when we reach eternity. There is no need for marriage in heaven, because there is no longer death, or need for procreation. We won’t need companionship because our Savior will be all we need. However, here on earth and in this age, we still have to replenish it with people, so things are expected to change. Until we reach eternity, we must resign ourselves to the fact that the only thing sure, and unchanging is Jesus; that’s why we need him.

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Luke 20:34-36

Thursday, December 19, 2019

December 19

When I read the parable of the minas, I get a sick feeling, because I know that most people are like the servant that the noblemen called wicked, who took what was given to him, and hid it. I compare the wicked servant to those whom Jesus calls lukewarm, and spews them from his mouth. Jesus wants us, his followers, to take what he has given us, and invest it in others by bringing more to know him. We are each given a portion according to our ability, and we are to use it diligently to increase the kingdom of God. Those who use what they have and increase it, will be given more, but those who do nothing, even what they have, will be taken away. If you don’t do a lot, you must at least put what you have in an account that earns interest. Here’s how: tell at least one person about Jesus who will bring others into the kingdom, or let others know you follow Jesus, don’t hide it, by doing that, others will want the peace you have. For those who have children, this is easy, make sure they know about Jesus, and follow through on their commitment to him. For others, don’t be afraid to live your life for Jesus, it’s not an easy lifestyle, but it is very rewarding. 

He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ Luke 19:22-24

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

December 18

Shopping is one of my least favorite things to do, but add to that a two year old, it then becomes unbearable! He was restless through the night, and was still tired. As I pushed the cart through the store, he saw things he recognized, and cried out for them. I then became “that person” who allows the child to cry, and pitch-a-fit in the store. I think I was still tired from his restlessness too, because most of the time I would just buy him what he wanted. I couldn’t get out of that store fast enough! 

Jesus tells a story of a judge that didn’t fear God or respect man. This woman kept coming to him, demanding justice. He kept refusing, but because of her persistence, and relentless behavior, he decided to give her justice so she would stop bothering him. Imagine going before our Father who loves us, and being persistent, and in prayer day and night. Jesus says that he will give justice speedily! Stay relentless in prayer, and have faith that the One who loves you will bring you to justice! Believe me, as a grandmother, if had needed to shop any longer, I would have given in to that tired little sweetheart.

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:7-8

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December 17

It is very important the we recognize when we have been favored by God. Our lives are not free from drama, and sometimes we have situations that require us to handle things that God has set before us. That means we may have to listen to the Holy Spirit, and follow his directions carefully. It’s not always pleasant, but when you don’t press, or push, and you allow God to work out the details, everything falls into place as he sees fit. God will not send you into battle without a plan, it’s not your plan, it’s his! The great part about doing things God’s way, is that he will give clues as you go, and let you know you are headed in the right direction. Make sure you take notice, and give thanks to him at each moment during the process. 

After ten lepers cried out to Jesus to heal them. As part of the process for healing, Jesus gave them instructions to go show themselves to the priest. When one of them noticed that they were healed, he ran to Jesus and worshiped him, and gave thanks. The other nine ran off. Is this not telling you to make sure you thank God in the process? Don’t wait until everything is accomplished, thank him as you go. He won’t leave you hanging, you will know that you are following his plan because he will give you clues.

When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Luke 17:14-16

Monday, December 16, 2019

December 16

My favorite thing to do when I go to the beach is to search for seashells. For some reason, it delights me to pick up the carcasses of dead sea creatures. They are like little jewels that are masterfully designed. Once in a while, I will pick up one that has a rotting corpse hidden within its swirly little shell, and I won’t know it until it sits for a couple of hours waiting in my sink for me to rinse them off. It’s not easy getting the rot out of shells, and most of the time I end up throwing the bad one away. I have so many shells, after years of collecting them, that I give most of them away, but keep the most precious for myself. You could say that these seashells are unrighteous wealth, treasures lying on the beach, which is on someone else’s property. The rotten one is the price I pay for my ill gotten gains, but giving them away makes it better. When you give to the needy, is like storing up treasures in heaven. Though our earthly wealth could be called “unrighteous wealth,” giving back, helps turn the unrighteous, to righteous. Our best bet is to collect and store our treasures in Heaven where it will not rot or rust. 

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? Luke 16:11-12

Sunday, December 15, 2019

December 15

Have you ever walked into a church feeling vulnerable, knowing you needed to be there, and noticed every person that ignores you? That’s the enemy, bringing on discouragement. Most people are just doing their own thing, because they need to be there too, but the enemy makes you aware of every “Pharisee” in the church. He wants you to go home feeling wrecked, so you don’t go back again. Jesus, on the other hand, welcomes you in, no matter how bad, or how deep you’ve fallen into sin. He is there to pick you up, dust you off, and forgive you of even your most heinous sins. When you make that commitment to him, all of Heaven rejoices! You broke through the biggest barrier by walking through the doors of the church. Never let people discourage you, if they do, they are dealing with sin more destructive than your own, have pity on them, rather than feel shame because of their behavior. Jesus made it a point to welcome the worst sinners of the day, so they would know that there was hope for them. He has great compassion for each and every sinner, and will come after you until you find your way into his arms. 

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

Saturday, December 14, 2019

December 14

We see in today’s society, a multitude of people willing to give up everything for the cause of Satan. Many celebrities, news channels, and businesses, stand-up for their cause even if they lose followers, popularity, or money. Their dedication to Satan is commendable, and they are putting us to shame. Their loyalty to their cause is more important to them than their own comfort. The funny thing is that they don’t even know they are doing his bidding!

Did you know that this is the kind of loyalty Jesus expects from us? We must be willing to leave everything behind for him, even our own families! Sadly, we don’t; we hide in the background hoping no one will notice that we follow Jesus, because we don’t want them to hate us, or to stop doing business with us because of him. If you’re not willing to give up everything for him, you cannot be his disciple. It’s a heavy weight, but we must be willing the bear it.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

Friday, December 13, 2019

December 13

When my kids were young, we had a hot tub that had hundreds of air holes that would bubble up to make it relaxing. One day, someone got the bright idea to squeeze a little dish soap in it while it was bubbling. It seemed like and insignificant amount, but before I knew it, the hot tub was bubbling up to over six feet high! It eventually filled the pool that was connected to it. It was a beautiful sight, and the kids had a blast frolicking in the suds. 

The message of Jesus has spread, and continues to go throughout the world, growing quietly, without those who are against it being able to stop its progression, just like the drops of dish soap in the hot tub. Jesus makes a couple of comparisons in the book of Luke; one being like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a tree, and one like yeast in dough. The kingdom of God cannot be stopped, no matter how hard the enemy tries! His kingdom will not be overcome by the powers of darkness, and will live long into eternity. That is the community you are a part of!

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.” Luke 13:18-21

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December 12

Sometimes I am floored by what the Word of God says. Jesus did not come to bring peace on earth! He came to bring fire, and division! What he means by fire, is the gospel message, which brings condemnation to those who do not believe. As Americans, we think we are the center of the world, and it’s true that much revolves around our government, however, we are not the center, and we are not the only country feeling the stress of division. I have friends from all over the world who post that their country is also divided between good and evil, believers and non-believers. After it says that he came to bring fire, it says you will know by the signs of the times, like predicting the weather. The time of division is now! Are you prepared, or are you waiting until later to get right with God? If you’re not prepared, you will suffer fire and torment. I’m sorry to be so blunt this morning, but the master of the house is coming, and those who know this to be true, and continue to live a sinners life, will be beaten, and suffer. This is not an uplifting message, but the Bible is truth, and not all messages are warm and fuzzy. Read Luke 12:35-56 for context.

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. Luke 12:49-51

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

December 11

You know you’ve stepped in it when you thought you could get away with being critical of Jesus. Imagine being the Pharisee that invited him into his home. The Pharisee was astonished that he didn’t wash before the meal. It tickles me to think that he thought he could disrespect him, and not expect the witty truth as a comeback. Our brilliant Savior called them dirty dishes; clean on the outside, but full of greed and wickedness on the inside. He didn’t stop at that, he continued to point out their faults, calling them unmarked graves that people walk over without knowing. Then the lawyers also felt insulted by what he was saying; and he blasted them too! 

We all want to think of Jesus as being timid, and easy going, but that is far from the truth. He had no problem defending himself. He stood up for what was right and gave us a good example to follow. He didn’t care if it was “politically correct;” he spoke his mind and shut them down! Our King is not passive! He is a warrior, bold, and strong!

Know this, those who are coming against us, now that it’s open season on Christians, will have their day in court, standing before Jesus. I wouldn’t want to be them.

And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? Luke 11:39-40

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

December 10

One thing that I truly enjoy is the holidays! I like having guests in my home, to delight them with food, and beautiful surroundings. I’ve been a guest in homes where the host worked the whole time preparing food, rather than enjoying their guest. Upon seeing this, I said that I would always be prepared ahead of my guests scheduled visit so I could spend time socializing rather than working.

Poor Martha was working her heart out preparing to serve Jesus and his disciples, but she became overwhelmed and needed some help. Mary adored Jesus, and wanted nothing more than to sit at his feet, and hear his stories. Martha wanted Mary’s assistance, and out of frustration, asked Jesus to command her to help.

I’ve prayed that prayer, “Jesus, I need help!” His answer is always, ‘don’t be overwhelmed with this task, it’s not that important. I am what’s important!’ Don’t waste your holiday by fretting the small things, it’s not about what we can do, it’s about Jesus, and who he is. Make sure you put the emphasis on Jesus, and glorify him by keeping this season about him. It’s okay if you are a Martha, but plan your time wisely so you can do as Mary does and sit at Jesus’s feet.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Monday, December 9, 2019

December 9

Many years ago, I was warned in a dream about a demonic presence. In the dream, I saw a huge black bird, large enough to cover me, hovering over me. I wrote it down, but wondered what it meant. A day or so later, I had a disgruntled woman come into my home, who was very tall, wearing black clothing, and had dark black hair, hover over me, yelling. It’s amazing to me that people get mad at you, when they are the ones in the wrong. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I had no fear of her, even though she could have harmed me. I bring this up, because in my earlier years, I never realized that demons existed, it wasn’t brought up in church. I feel like it’s a disservice to Christ followers, to leave those portions of scripture out of your preaching. No one likes to think about it, but people need to know this stuff, and that there is a very real enemy out there that we need to protect ourselves from. The lesson in this: sometimes dreams come true, and are given to you as a warning so you can pray; and demons are real, but you shouldn’t fear them, only that their actions can be destructive.

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, Luke 9:1

Sunday, December 8, 2019

December 8

You’ve heard the verse, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Many of us go after the treasures of this world; which we need, in order to live here, but there is much greater value in the things of the kingdom. As I was reading the next chapter in Luke, the verse that caught my attention was where Jesus explained who is able to understand the parables. Not everyone who reads the Bible, or the parables have understanding. This is why people who read it for literature, are confounded and confused; they do not have the Holy Spirit to give them guidance. Even with the Holy Spirit, some things are not open to you, but in time you will understand. This is why you must place importance on seeking the things of the kingdom; the more time you spend, the more understanding he will give you. 

I wish everyone could see the world the way I see it; it all points to God, our Master and creator of the universe. It tells the story of who he is; living parables visible for all to see, but few see it. I want you to see it! 

Here are the steps to take:
1. Take a day to fast, and feast only on God’s word. When you choose him over food, he will begin to open your eyes.
2. Spend some time in nature, and ask him to show you something meaningful. Take a chair and sit in the woods, or ask him to tell you where to go. 
3. Don’t talk, listen. 
The more you do this, the more you will receive insight into the things of God.

"he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’"  Luke 8:10

Saturday, December 7, 2019

December 7

For the past several days, I have been preparing for a neighborhood party, decorating, looking through recipes, moving furniture, shopping, cleaning, and so on. I was in my downstairs bathroom this morning, and for some reason I notice my shower curtain, which has been hanging there for more than two years, still has creases, and looks like I just took it out of its packaging!  Why haven’t I noticed this before? I think my senses are on high alert. The party is today, and I’m not taking it down to iron! Hopefully the wrinkle release spray will work. Most people will not even notice the details that I have missed, however, if you invite Jesus into your life, he notices everything! The things you think are minor instances, matter to him. 

The Pharisee that invited Jesus into his home, missed out on properly welcoming him. When Jesus allowed a sinful woman to kiss his feet, and anoint them with oil, the man thought to himself that if this man was a prophet, he should have known who this woman was. Jesus was quick to read his thoughts, and blasted him for not welcoming him as this woman had. She had much to be forgiven of, and was overwhelmed with love for him. Jesus’s lesson in this is that one who is forgiven much, loves much. Pay attention to the importance you place on Jesus in your life. Do you love him enough? We have all been forgiven much, just like this woman.

Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Luke 7:47

Friday, December 6, 2019

December 6

From a small child, I can remember always loving art. One time when I was in the first or second grade, I made a cat from clay. My teacher was so impressed that she decided to display it in the office where everyone could see it.

Last night, I went with some of my neighbors to a place where you spend a couple of hours painting. They give you step by step instructions, so by the end of the night, you leave with a painting similar to the instructor’s painting. That’s when you realize that not everyone has the ability to take what they see, and use their hand to re-create it. There is a miscommunication between what the eyes see, and the function of the hand. Minor mistakes made part of the way through, caused some to give up, and their painting looked as though a child had painted it. Others were right on point, and gave their painting a personal touch. 

If you’ve followed Jesus for a long time, your ability to understand his instructions, may be more clear. However, if you are new in your faith, or aren’t cultivating your relationship, you will make mistakes, but rather than give up, ask forgiveness and keep going. Like painting, if you don’t like what you see, grab some white paint, cover it up, and start again. Eventually you will become more proficient, and your hand and eye will begin to coordinate.

But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:49

Thursday, December 5, 2019

December 5

My son was two when we found out that his dad had AIDS. We were devastated at the news. We had suspected a problem when he couldn’t get rid of an infection, so we went together, to another town, and we both had the test. It was anguishing waiting, but the news was worse. It was a torturous disease, and he passed away three years later. There was good news in this, because he turned his life over to Jesus, he now resides with him in heaven. There was also a miracle involved; my son and I were spared. There was no caution taken before we found out; we lived a normal life. There was one point where we were in the car together when he was very sick, and he began to have a seizure, and blood was spewing from his mouth! Needless to say, I am overwhelmingly grateful to God for sparing me and my son, and I have never forgotten, and have praised him for this miracle for more than twenty five years!

If God finds it in his heart to spare your life or heal you of an infirmity, it is your duty to make an offering. Jesus healed a leper, and required that he go and make an offering for his cleansing as required by the law of Moses. You, however, must offer God praise and gratitude as payment. Hasn’t he done a miracle in you by cleansing you of all unrighteousness? Go, and pay tribute to God for his mercy by making him an offering of praise, and never let your lips stop glorifying him.

And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”  Luke 5:14

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December 4

One of my favorite portions of scripture is when Jesus stands up in the synagogue and reads from the book of Isaiah.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” Luke 4:18-19

It was a “mic-drop” moment! He rolled up the scroll and sat down! Then he tells them that scripture has been fulfilled within their hearing. He told them who he was, but all they could say was, “Is not this Joseph's son?” Then, because he chose not to do miracles because of their unbelief, they ran him out of town, and tried to kill him! These were the people in the church! Do we not do this same thing today? As Christians, we must find kindness in our hearts so we avoid treating other believers like this. 

The reason I love this scripture so much is because Jesus isn’t talking about physically setting captives free, or opening the eyes of the blind, though he did; his mission was not about the physical, but the mental, because that’s all you can take with you upon leaving this earth. He wants to set us free from what sin has done to our minds, and see things the way he sees them.

Today, ask Jesus to show you where you are still captive, and to open your eyes where you have been blinded.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

December 3

“Shhhh... Have you heard what they are saying about Jesus and his lineage? I heard that he has a grandmother named Tamar, who disguised herself as a prostitute, and slept with Judah! Then he has a grandmother named Ruth who went onto the threshing floor, where no woman was allowed, to try and seduce Boaz; and his mother was the prostitution Rahab! Not only that, but his grandfather, King David, slept with a married woman, Bathsheba, and killed her husband to cover his mistake; and their son was King Solomon. I don’t know about this Jesus fellow.” 

This is a lesson on gossip. Our King and Savior’s earthly reputation is depicted as a product of both Jew and Greek, and of a family whose character is less than ideal for our sinless sacrifice. When you gossip, you don’t know the plan God has for the person you are speaking of, and whether they will bring about another human who will be a carrier of the message of God. Be careful what you say about one of God’s children, and never let your words trash another human.

This lineage is also found in Luke 3.

and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, Matthew 1:3-6

December 2

Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus when he has always existed? John 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” There is something special about our eternal God, walking the earth in the flesh, living among us as a human, and experiencing life as we do. Him living and being, showing us that he understands our emotions of joy and pain, and also experiencing physical pain, which gives him credibility, especially when he laid down his life for us. And then, topping that off by lifting himself up out of the grave! In doing all of this, he never sinned. As humans, we know how hard it is not to sin, but, to have Jesus show us how sinful we are and how separated we are from our Holy God, and to offer to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, is beyond incredible. If you don’t know Jesus, now is the time. You do not want to be found outside of God’s will when he calls his followers to be with him. Imagine not having the Christians around as a moral compass by sharing the truth; chaos would ensue, and you would be in the midst of it. Turn your life over to Jesus today, and let him show you the way; you cannot get into heaven without him!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6