Month: December 2020 Page 1 of 4
The scripture for today, December 31 (12/31), is Luke 12:31 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
The kingdom is already here (Luke 9:27; Colossians 1:13), but heaven is not. That is the final destination of the kingdom. Do you actively seek God’s kingdom? Or do you drift and think God should feel obligated to take you into his heaven? Do you feel like you’re “not so bad,” so God would be bad to not take you into his heaven?
Heaven is God’s home, not yours. God has a door into his home, just like you have a door into your home. God is not required to open his door to just anyone, just like you are not required to open your door to just anyone. You cannot just show up at the door and smile and assume he will let you in, any more than people who knock on our door and smile can assume you will let them in.
You let people into your home who you have gotten to know and whose motives you trust. Have you given God a chance to get to know you and trust your motives? Are your daily motives to enter heaven, God’s home? Do you even like God?
This life you live on earth is not your permanent life or residence. This is the testing place to see how you handle problems and to see how much your spiritual muscles will grow. God has plans for Christians in heaven we do not know about. What we do know is that he is not a God of idleness. Do you live like the earth is all there is? Do you fear hell? Do you prefer heaven, where people will worship all the time? Does that sound boring to you?
You are about to enter a brand-new year. Today, decide to start over fresh and set your new goal: To step through the glimmering door, enter God’s home his way and live with him. Forever.
Ah, how can I thank you, my Lord, for making this earth, then becoming flesh and walking among us? We saw your love, we felt your love, we were saved by your love. Without you, my life would only be getting and earning, building and making ~ all the while, trying to find some meaning in life. You provide the meaning: Life with you is life to its fullest and it is eternal.
Thank you, Lord, for all those who have gone before me in the faith. People like Abraham and Joseph and Elijah who stood alone to believe in and follow you. Thank you for the apostles, their hard work, and enduring terrible pain when they were slowly killed rather than deny you. Thank you for Christians around the world who believed in you, even when the other people in their countries ~ China, India, Africa, Europe ~ did not. Thank you for those who stood up against changing your rules, even though it meant being burned at the stake. Thank you for my own ancestors, some of whom were loyal to you to the very end. May I follow their example and be a faithful Christian ancestor to my descendants.
Ah, my Lord, I grow so impatient sometimes, waiting for my time to join you ~ impatient over days and months and years. How you must laugh because you work in decades and centuries and millenniums. Thank you for time. All things change and all things will eventually pass away. With time, the consequences of my sins eventually pass away. You give me an opportunity to try again. You are the God of second chances. I will forever bend my knee to you in the shimmering gratitude that permeates my soul.
I thank you for your love that will not let me go. Though I sometimes wander from you, carelessly, letting Satan have his way, you run after me calling out, “No! Do not go with him. He is dangerous. He will hurt you. His smiles mean nothing but treachery. Let go of Satan and come back to me! Run! Run away from him! Come back!” When I am blind, you send me your light so I can find my way back to you. Thank you for loving me that much.
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
Ah, Lord Jesus. We claim we understand how humble you were, then build great cathedrals which we claim are to your glory but which are really to our glory. We organize great musical performances which we claim are to your glory, but which are really to our glory.
Just where was Jesus when he was on earth saying this? In a posh hotel in Jerusalem? Did he have great musicians performing in the background? Did he stand on a podium and declare this to multitudes? Who are you fooling when you declare you are his servant.
Who or what are you really a servant to? Power in a workplace, club, congregation, neighborhood? Prestige in a community, an occupation, an organization? Self-indulgence of money, music, entertainment?
While you are pursuing things in life, is Jesus there with you? Are you doing what he would be busy doing? Are you where he was when he said this?
Dare to be a servant to the power of Jesus’ love, prestige in the eyes of God, self-indulgence in the joy of worshiping Him. In this only is there true and enduring honor.
The scripture for today, December 25 (12/25), is Proverbs 12:25 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
Yesterday, did you see anyone sitting alone looking downcast? Go back there today. S/he may not be there, but someone else may be. It may be a gathering place for the lonely, the discouraged. Smile at them and whisper, “Jesus loves you.” Have a lengthy conversation with them and show them they are worthy of your time. Spend time with them. Listen to them. Share with them.
Do you periodically see “beggars” at a certain location? They may squander donations or use them to buy food. Either way, being a beggar isn’t people’s life’s goal. You do not know their story. Everyone has a story. Their hearts are anxious about something.
Give them a little change, maybe wrap it in a verse from the Bible. Ask them if they have family and if their family would accept them back. If so, encourage them to “go home.” Perhaps pay for a bus ticket back home. If they say they can’t go home, try anyway. Tell them you will pray for them. Smile at them, and whisper, “Jesus loves you.”
Today, do you know of a place where travelers usually stay or gather? Sometimes at truck stops there are drivers who could not get home. Go to one of these places prepared to give each of them something special, or even invite them to your home for a Christmas feast.
Jesus encouraged and helped the downhearted. Is it uncomfortable being in their world? Yes. Dare to disturb your happiness to enter their world and show Jesus to the downhearted. Dare to be a star shining on them in their darkness. Give them a few minutes of star glow.
The scripture for today, December 24 (12/24), is Luke 12:24 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:
In many nations right now, things are financially strained. Luxuries? No. To be able to live until tomorrow? Yes.
Which is more valuable? To impress men or impress God? A life dedicated to things impresses men. A life dedicated to doing good things impresses God.
I know of a group of believers in Jesus recently in an African country who had to flee soldiers who were after Christians. They had to run immediately upon sight of the soldiers. No time to pack anything. Just run. Escape. Run. Escape.
To get to true safety, they had to walk a hundred miles. What did they eat? Grass. Leaves from bushes. Tree roots. But they made it. They made it to safety and the loving, protective arms of other Christians.
Today, instead of a luxury, can you send that money to people in parts of the world who are struggling to stay alive? Struggling to stay safe because they are Christians?
Consider the ravens.
PS ~ Those of you with children, and you cannot get them much for Christmas: Write IOU’s to them and put each one in a box. Wrap each with typing paper if you don’t have Christmas paper. And with a red or green crayon, draw a ribbon on top. What’s on the IOU’s? “One hour of coloring with you.” “One hour of playing ball with you.” “Three hours of hiking with you.” “Two hours of baking cookies with you.” Give yourself for Christmas!
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