Thursday, December 22, 2011

Over a lifetime Christmas is a series of ever-changing mysteries. In childhood the mystery is "What's inside the wrapping paper?". Later, it becomes, "Where did they hide the presents?". Later it becomes "Is this Christmas the right time to give her an engagement ring?". Later it becomes "How will we be able to afford presents for the kids?" Later it becomes "What can I buy someone who already has everything?"

Is there any Christmas mystery left for you? Is there anything about the season that makes you smile in wonder? Does anything still thrill you and a send a shiver down your spine?

There is a mystery-a mystery greater and more wonderful than all the others combined. And that mystery isn't wrapped in colorful paper; it's wrapped in swaddling clothes. It isn't laid under the tree; it's laid to sleep in a manger. It's the Baby born in Bethlehem.

What's so mysterious about that? It's the fact that this Baby is the almighty Son of God, stooping down to become one of His creatures: a mere human. Why would He want to expose Himself to all the hurt and suffering in our crazy world? Why would God be willing to become our substitute and earn our way to heaven by His perfect life, and to suffer and die in our place on the cross?

That is the greatest mystery, a mystery God has revealed to the world. It sends a shiver down your spine to ponder what kind of love moved Him to do all of this for you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where meek hearts will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.
Since childhood we have been taught that it is better to give than receive. Certainly, living out that principle can provide an antidote to selfishness and enlarge our generosity. But we also need to learn how to receive graciously and with an open heart.

Karen Mead offers a glimpse into her difficulty with receiving, a difficulty many share:
“No one ever taught me how to receive. Not a compliment; I am a master at countering any comment with insight about all my faults. Not a gift; I immediately feel the need to give something in return, preferably bigger. Not a kindness; I wave people away from helping me in a grocery line, no matter that I am dropping bread as I speak.
How could I have gone through so much life and have no experience with such a fundamental act as the ability to receive?”

That is a question to give us pause. Of course, the Western cultural value of autonomy and independence feeds our discomfort with receiving. But what else? Is it the vulnerability of receiving? The feeling of being passive? The dependence? The pricking of pride? The interior voices of unworthiness? The family messages such as “No one in OUR family has ever received “hand outs”?
In the annunciation story, Mary provides a model of receiving. She is presented with a gift of unprecedented grace and favor—told that she would bear a child, son of the Most High God. Richard Rohr notes that she does not respond by playing the “I am not worthy game”—a normative response in biblical theophanies. Rather she says, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

During this season we can adopt some practices that may help us learn to receive. We can remind ourselves how steeped our daily lives are in the gifts of others. For example, every meal we eat depends on a chain of growers, harvesters, transporters, and more. We can practice accepting compliments with simple grace—resisting the temptation to downplay accomplishments or undercut ourselves. We can acknowledge and bless one gift every day. We can enter contemplative silence and pray with “open hands, empty hands” before God (hands on our laps, palms upturned), acknowledging that, in truth, all is grace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Each year at Levy’s Christmas Communion Service, Theresa sings, “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant. Some of the words are, “I have traveled many moonless nights, cold and weary with a  baby inside, And I wonder what I’ve done..”

Think about Joseph and Mary’s journey. It was difficult, no mistaking it. Before it was over they would experience frigid weather, rugged terrain, aching bodies and bone weary exhaustion. They faced fear of the unknown—maybe even fear of being robbed by thieves-- and, upon arriving in Bethlehem, were jostled and crushed by the crowd of others registering for the census. Door after door they knocked on, but found no room, no hospitable gesture. Hearty though she was, Mary’s near- to- term pregnancy, her blessed weight, must have caused her serious discomfort. Then to take refuge in a cave used for animals, to feel the contractions start, to labor through the night until finally the child she had been carrying cried out clear and strong.

In the midst of the romanticized images of Christmas and the nativity story, we forget the difficulty on the journey to Bethlehem, the difficulty of this birth. It has been important for me to remember that again, as this Advent has been anything but holly jolly or filled with holy light for many I know. Loss, partings, work stress, conflict, fearful diagnoses, illness and imminent surgery are troublesome houseguests in many lives.
How then can this ancient pair help us to bear our own difficult journey?

There must have been times when they looked at the stars and held their breaths at the wonder of God’s creation. They must have talked together of their hopes for this child, this longed for one—must have shared their dreams to lift their hearts. From time to time, they likely exchanged stories with other fellow travelers, taking their minds off the rocky road which bruised their feet. Perhaps, after a long day’s walk, Joseph tenderly massaged Mary’s swollen feet and tried to make her as comfortable as possible, easing her burden. Privately, when sleep wouldn’t come, they each pondered their own encounters with the divine messengers, encounters which changed their lives forever. And in the darkness, waiting for Emmanuel to come, they prayed.

Breath of heaven, hold me together, be forever near me, Breath of Heaven. Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness, for you are holy. Breath of heaven.

Monday, December 19, 2011

CHRISTMAS DREAD?

If you can believe polls, 35 million Americans dread having to be nice during Christmas time. A Consumer Reports national survey found that there are several things people dread. 24% dread seeing relatives. 16% said they don’t like to attend holiday parties and events. But, what tops the list? Crowds and long lines. 68% said they dread that.
Todd Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports said, “For many folks, the holidays are a lot like the Super Bowl. Even if you’re not a football fan you watch the game because it’s a big event. "With the holidays, you may not like the game, but it’s part and parcel of the season. It’s just what we all do.” (The Christian Post, 11.30.11)
The materialism around Christmas has made it a rather difficult time for many people. This year, spend a little extra time reading the pertinent Bible passages, giving to someone in need and trying to lead someone to know the Christ of the cradle and the cross.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why was Jesus born at Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph? He was the only baby to choose His parents – He chose peasants from the country. He was the only baby to choose His birthplace – He chose a cave crowded with farm animals. He was the only baby to choose His first attendants – He chose grimy field hands.
If He would choose them, He would choose you. The Baby of Bethlehem was “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). He died for you – will you live for Him?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why is the Poinsettia plant part of Christmas tradition? It is named for Joel Poinsett (1779-1851), American Ambassador to Mexico. While traveling the Mexican countryside, he was struck by a beautiful plant he found growing there. He brought it with him to his South Carolina home, where its popularity spread. Its read leaves remind us of the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross for us. His atoning love now transforms all who trust Him as their Lord.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who originated the Christmas tree? Martin Luther, the great German reformer, was walking in a forest toward his home one clear evening. He was struck by the beauty of the stars shining through the trees. Determined that his family would share this experience with him, he cut down a small tree and brought it home. His fellow Germans picked up the custom, and later brought it to our country. Now more than 36 million Christmas trees are bought each year. The tree of Christmas reminds us of the tree of Calvary, where Jesus died to pay for the sins of humanity

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who originated the custom of singing carols at Christmas? None other than St. Francis of Assisi. In 1223, during a Christmas Midnight Mass in a cave in central Italy, he led the congregation in carols celebrating the birth of Jesus. Today carolers go from house to house, singing for all who will listen to their music.
God hears the prayers we offer to Him and the songs we sing to Him. Revelation 8:4 says so beautifully, “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Is God waiting to receive the incense of your intercession today?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What was the star of Christmas, that light in the sky which drew the Magi to Israel? A nova, comet, meteor, and planetary alignment have all been suggested. It seems that God created a unique astronomical phenomenon to guide the Magi to His Son. If these Persian priests could worship Jesus, all can worship Him today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What is the most popular cookie left for Santa? Oreos win, hands down. More than 9.1 million are sold each year. Back in the 1930s, children began leaving cookies for Santa Claus – “naughty” kids to bribe him, “nice” kids to thank him for his hard work on Christmas Eve.
Why must we turn from our sins to experience spiritual awakening? Is it that we earn God’s favor by our obedience? Is that we bribe Him with our service? The biblical answer is that obedience positions us to receive all that God’s grace intends to give. God can bless only those who live in ways consistent with His will. He can give only to those who will receive His grace. Can God bless you with spiritual renewal today?

Monday, December 12, 2011

How much will you spend on Christmas this year? According to the latest Gallup poll, the average American plans to spend $740 on gifts, down somewhat from the $801 predicted at this time a year ago.
How much would you spend to experience spiritual renewal in your life? Are you walking toward or away from God’s will today? Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any attitudes or actions which displease your Father. Write them down, specifically and honestly. Confess them to God, claiming His forgiveness and grace (I John 1:9). Throw the list away, and ask God to help you live in God’s ways.
Will you make such a spiritual inventory today? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Who tells Santa whether children have been “naughty or nice”? According to tradition, Alabaster Snowball is the elf in charge of the Christmas list. He and his fellow elves watch children all year long so they can report behavior to Santa. He then brings presents to those who have been good.
No one who loves children can reward them from wrong behavior.
Sin is when we choose our ways rather than God’s will. Our ways may not be wicked in the eyes of the world, but if they are not obedient to our Father’s will, they are not the ways of God.
Is an area of your life not where it should be today?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why are candy canes part of Christmas? Four centuries ago, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral in Germany asked confectioners to create sticks in the shape of sheperds’ crooks. He then gave them to children to keep them quiet during Nativity services. In 1847, a German immigrant used the candy cane to decorate his Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. Millions are now sold during the Christmas season, each reminding us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has come to lead His sheep to abundant life (John 10:10). But even God can only lead those who will follow.
The word “repent” means to “turn back”, to stop going the wrong direction and turn back to the way we should be traveling. God’s word cautions us, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). We must remove anything which hinders his transforming work in our lives.
Is an attitude or action in your life grieving the Spirit today?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where did Santa Claus get his jolly face? Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was one of the most famous political cartoonists of his day. In 1863, Harper’s Weekly asked him to begin a series of annual drawings depicting Clement Moore’s famous The Night Before Christmas. He based his character on “Pelznikel,” the Santa Claus of his German ancestors. Santa’s face, with his round cheeks and flowing white beard, is now beloved around the world.
God wants us to seek His face. The face is the most individual part of our bodies. We don’t really know people unless we know their face. God wants us to know Him in intimate, personal communion.
Have you spent time getting close to Jesus this morning?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Surveys indicate that more than one in three began shopping before Thanksgiving. Just under 36% began between Thanksgiving and December 15; 26% will begin between December 16 and 23. Approximately 2% don’t begin until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (yes, there are stores open on Christmas). Their holiday will be consumed with consumption.
God wants us to seek His presence with passion. He wants us to run after the Christ of Christmas harder than we run after a gift for Christmas.
Have you sought an audience with Jesus yet today?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Have you heard of the Christmas rose? It blooms during winter in the mountains of central Europe, and is tied by legend to a shepherd girl named Madelon. As she tended her sheep one wintry night, the Magi passed with their gifts for the Christ child. Grieved that she had nothing to give him, she began to weep. An angel saw her tears and brushed away the snow to reveal a beautiful white flower tipped with pink – the Christmas rose.
What can we give Jesus for His birthday? The Apostle Paul instructs us to, “pray continually.” All through the Christmas season, you and I can serve in the cause of spiritual renewal in prayer. Pray for the people you’ll see at parties. Pray before going to a family member’s home. Pray for opportunities to put others before yourself, to treat others well in stores. Pray for God’s Spirit to help you be kind in this hectic seasons, exhibiting the joy of Jesus in the season of His birth.
For whose soul have you prayed today?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who were the Wise Men? The Magi were a class of priests in Persia, modern-day Iran. They were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures and their promise of a coming Messiah. When they “saw His star in the east” (Matthew 2:2), they traveled to Israel to meet him. If Persian priests could worship Jesus 20 centuries ago, all can worship Him today.
The Wise Men confronted Herod.
We need to ask God to bring spiritual renewal to our leaders and nation. Have you prayed for your president and leaders yet today?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why do we hang wreaths at Christmas? In Greek and Roman times, a wreath signified victory in an athletic competition. Much like our Olympic gold medals, wreaths woven of leaves or made of gold were given to winners of significant races and contests. In the same way, Christians wear the wreath of eternal victory in Jesus. If you have asked Jesus to forgive your sins and give you eternal life, you have won the battle for your soul.
Many Christians have surrendered themselves to Christ as Savior but have gone no further in the spiritual life. Are you seeking to know God more intimately today than you did yesterday?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why is mistletoe a Christmas tradition? In medieval England, people believed that the plant possessed medicinal qualities and magical powers. When two enemies met under the mistletoe, a magical spell was supposed to cause them to lay down their arms and embrace. In a similar way, young men at Christmas parties have long hoped that the magic of mistletoe would help them with young ladies.
God calls us to lay down our arms and submit ourselves to Him as our King.
John the Baptist demonstrated such a spirit when he said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
How could you glorify Jesus this Christmas season?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

When you were a child, did you write a letter to Santa? I did, mailing it to “Santa Claus, North Pole.” I was worried that he might not remember what I wanted for Christmas. The post office receives hundreds of thousands of letters like mine during the Christmas Season, all asking for toys and presents. No matter how busy you are with Christmas cards this season, Santa is busier.
God’s invitation is addressed personally to you. The only person whose relationship with God you can determine is your own.
Gypsy Smith, a great evangelist of an earlier generation, was once asked how revival begins. He suggested, “Take a piece of chalk and draw a circle around yourself. Pray until everything inside that circle is right with God, and revival will be upon us.” Would you take his advice today?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do you know why we hang Christmas stockings on fireplace mantels? The custom originates with St. Nicholas (born A.D. 280 in modern-day Turkey), the original Santa Claus. He was a wealthy Christian priest who left gifts at the homes of needy people. Tradition says that Nicholas once heard about a poor man who had no money to give his three daughters for their wedding day. To help them, he dropped bags of gold into stockings they had left to dry by the fire. Ever since, we hang stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Even for Santa to fill.
Even God cannot give us presents we are unwilling to receive. Would you receive His gift of eternal life today?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Did you know that Christmas was once illegal in England? When Puritans came to power in Great Britain in 1653, they abolished the holiday as pagan and frivolous. Their sentiments carried over to the New World as well. Statutes against Christmas were repealed decades later, but many still chose to ignore the holiday and treat December 25 like any other day of the year.
Not to decide for Jesus is to decide against Him. God’s inviting you to invite Jesus into your heart and life. What is your answer to Him?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why do people sometimes refer to Christmas as “Xmas”? The Greek word for “Christ” is “Christos”; “Ch” in Greek is the letter X (pronounced kai). “Xmas” therefore can be a short form of “Christos-mas” or “Christmas.”
In the Old Testament, the “name” of God denotes His presence and personality, His character and power. God told Moses that His name is Yahweh, which means “the One who was, is, and ever shall be.” God’s people are invited to know and trust the eternal, never-changing, omnipresent Lord of the universe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why are candles a part of our Christmas traditions? We light candles to welcome the Light of the world into our hearts.
When you light a candle this year, as a part of your Christmas celebration, remember He who has come to shine in every heart that is receptive to Him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why do Germans say froeliche weihnachten at this time of the year? In Iraq they say, idah saidan wa sanab jadidah. Koreans say sung tan chuk ha. Eskimos wish each other jutdime pifdluarit ukiortame pivdluarito. Americans say, “Merry Christmas.”
More than 2 billion people around the world will celebrate the birth of Christ again this year. We are all part of one faith family. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to that promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29).
There are more Christians in Africa than in America. Christianity is growing most quickly among people who don’t look like Anglo-Americans. More than 82,000 people come to Christ every day, but only 6,000 are in Western Europe and North America, combined. Will you share the message of Christmas with someone today?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Let us give thanks –

            For failure that compel us to discover our weaknesses.
            For enemies who give us the benefit of truthful criticism.
            For children who help us realize how much we do not know.
            For competition which forces us to strive for perfection.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

We ought to be thankful

            That the neighbors do not know all the truth
            That the Lord did not tell us what was coming
            That we have not played the fool more frequently
            That the public is so good natured with us
            That our children never saw our school report cards
            That we cannot see ourselves, sometimes, as others see us

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude shouldn’t be an occasional incident but a continuous attitude.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keep out of your life all that will keep Christ out of your mind.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

A person is known not only by the company he keeps but by the company he avoids.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Christianity is worth little if it doesn’t change your lifestyle.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You are either leaving your mark on the world or the world is leaving its mark on you

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Separate yourself from fellowship with the world, or the world will separate you from fellowship with God

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

It’s not your will that keeps you out of heaven; it’s your won’t.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christ is the only way to heaven; all other paths are detours to doom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If you’re really concerned about what you wear, remember that facial expressions are the most important.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Laugh a lot, and when you are older, all of your wrinkles will be in the right places.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

There are few dark days ahead for those who have learned to spread sunshine.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be
fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Matthew 26:56.

Before he attacked Russia, Napoleon seemed to have the world at his
fingertips. When the Russian invasion failed, Napoleon, fearing he might be overthrown at home, left his suffering army and hurried back to France. Coming to a river, the frightened general asked the ferryman if many
deserters had asked for passage. "No," replied the Russian, "you are the first."

In making His stand for the redemption of sinful humanity, Jesus broke new ground. He did have options. He could have escaped -after all, He had walked through a hostile crowd before (His time had not yet come). But Jesus was not a deserter. His Father had entrusted Him with the job of
saving humanity and He completed it. So that others may know this
wonderful news, Christians are being called upon, in increasing numbers, to take their stand. That's what we will do, lest we become a deserter in the Lord's crusade.
REMEMBER: Stand for the One who died for you.

LIFE OF CHRISTMatthew 26:47-56

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011
When He had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. John 18:1
When Joseph and Mary had made their way to Bethlehem, it’s altogether possible that they passed through the Kidron Valley. This would have been a familiar experience for them. When Jews would come to Jerusalem, they would come singing their familiar Psalms of Ascent.
When they passed through this valley, they did so knowing they were
bearing the Savior of the world, the One promised for so long. They would sing the Psalms in a whole new way. Others were singing the songs filled with hope. Mary and Joseph were singing them as songs about to be
fulfilled! The cry of the pilgrims had been heard! The Messiah was about to be born! There must have been so much joy in Joseph and Mary’s heart as they passed through the Kidron Valley with eagerness and delight.
33 years later, however, Jesus passed through this valley on Palm Sunday. He was welcomed as the Song of David, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. He was riding a donkey. Mary, that day, no doubt remembered her ride into Jerusalem, on the way to Bethlehem so many years earlier (and probably on a donkey as well.)
But, on this night that we’ve read about in the Scriptures today Jesus passes through the valley again. This time, He does so as our Lord and Savior, to lay down His life for us, and then to take it up for us again. He came through that valley so He might assure us that He joins us in all the valleys of our lives.
REMEMBER: You are always accompanied by the King of kings and Lord of lords.

LIFE OF CHRISTJohn 18:1; Luke 22:39-46

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. Mark 14:32

Our Scriptures today take us into the Garden of Gethsemane late at night. It was not unusual for Jesus to go to the garden to seek solitude. It was there He prayed.
But the nature of the prayer was most unusual. Showing His true humanity He prays that this "cup" of suffering might be removed. Showing His true obedience to God the Father, He also prays for the Father's will to be done. He does this three times, and an angel comes to minister to Him. He pleads so intently that "being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
Jesus understands how difficult this is going to be. He also understands how important it is for Him to be faithful. The full passion of Christ is also seen in John 17 where He prays for Himself, His disciples, and all believers.
The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane also emphasizes Christ's aloneness. The disciples, despite their best intentions and desires, cannot stay awake. It shouldn't be difficult for us to identify with their behavior. Others have
observed that same behavior in us. Our Lord also forgives us of our failed best intentions.
PRAY TODAY: Bless me, Lord, so that I may watch with You. Amen.

LIFE OF CHRIST
Mark 14:32-42

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto
death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and
fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this
cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Matthew 26:38-39
Dorothy Lee's husband of 40 years died while they were driving home from a Bible study. He nodded a few times and then his head fell upon his chest. Ms. Lee was able to avoid a crash, call 911, and watch as the ambulance arrived and the paramedics worked to save her husband. He was
pronounced dead at the hospital. Then, a few minutes later, Ms. Lee's heart seemed to start causing her difficulty. She complained of sharp pains in her chest; she said she felt faint and then passed out. The doctors studied her. They sent her through a battery of tests and found nothing amiss. Her
arteries were clear; there was no trace of a blood clot. She hadn't had a heart attack. So what happened? Dorothy Lee almost died of a broken heart.
Yes, really. There is such a thing. A
broken heart isn't just some poetic turn of phrase. Those who study such things know that real, sometimes fatal, changes, can happen to a heart after a traumatic breakup or after the death of a loved one. If that's the case, it would explain why ministers see
seemingly healthy spouses die soon after the passing of a loved one.

When I first read that article in the
Wall Street Journal, it got me wondering, "Did Jesus die of a broken heart?" If anyone had a right to die of sadness it was Jesus. The people He had come to save had rejected Him, renounced Him, and rebelled against His words. One of His closest friends betrayed Him; one denied Him; the others deserted Him. Did Jesus die of a broken heart? Well, His heart was broken. That’s absolutely correct. But, that’s not the whole story. You see, Scripture tells us the Savior willingly "gave up His Spirit" (John 19:30b). In John 10, Jesus said that nobody would take His life. On the contrary, He predicted that when death came calling on
Calvary's cross it would succeed because He was willingly laying down His life to save the sheep. Did Jesus die of a broken heart? His heart was broken. But He died because His heart was so full of love He gladly gave His life for ours.

 
REMEMBER: Man’s best friend, Jesus, has conquered man’s worst enemy, death.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2, 2011
(Jesus said)…”Thy Word is truth.” John 17:17b

Maybe you've heard the expression, "If it looks like a duck, and it waddles like a duck and it quacks like a duck ... it's probably a duck."
Applying that phrase to today's devotion, I'd say if it looks like the Bible, and it sounds like the Bible, and it has a name like the Bible's ... it ought to be the Bible.
But it isn't. Most definitely the book I'm talking about
isn't the Bible. And what book is this? This is a volume written by atheist-humanist Anthony C. Grayling ... a volume he has entitled: The Good Book.The Good Book has two columns like many Bibles; it uses chapters and verses like your Bible; it even tries to duplicate the beautiful and powerful rhythms of the King James Version of Scripture.
Grayling's
The Good Book looks like a Bible, but it isn't. It really isn't.
In your Bible, God is credited with the creation of heaven and earth. In Grayling's book it says, "All things take their origins from earlier kinds. Ancestors of most creatures rose from the sea, some inhabitants of the sea evolved from land-dwelling forefathers."
Your Bible tells how Adam and Eve were seduced into sinning when they ate the forbidden fruit. Grayling prefers to substitute the story of an apple falling on Isaac Newton's head.
And when your Bible talks about sin and the need for Jesus' blood-bought forgiveness, Grayling's
The Good Book says all of us are really very good and very nice.
And why does Mr. Grayling feel the need to write and market his good book?
It stems from Mr. Grayling's dislike of today's Bible verse. He doesn't
believe God's Word is truth, and he's pretty sure he can come up with a better plan for humanity than that which is contained in Scripture.
Grayling's thinking and writing is a sign of the times: a sign the Lord said was coming when He wrote, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11).
REMEMBER: “Anything short of truth and anything beyond the truth is a lie.” – Curtis Hutson

LIFE OF CHRIST
John 17:1-26

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Enter His Gates October 1, 2011

October 1, 2011For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. John 16:27
"I love you." We say those powerful words in so many different
contexts...the love between friends; the love of husbands for wives, and wives for husbands; the love we have for our children. In all of these
examples, we have experienced that kind of love being tested. Sometimes that love has been lost, and sometimes, after a passage of time, it is
regained. Yet, there is no earthly example great enough to truly show us how great the love our Heavenly Father has for you and me.
Think of it this way: God knows tomorrow as well as you know your
yesterdays. He knew every mistake you would and will make. He knows every time you have or will take His name in vain. He knows every time you will or have sinned against Him. When something bad happens to you, He knows that every time you will scream at the top of your lungs, "WHY?" Yet with all of that knowledge, God still sent His Son as a sacrifice on a cross for all you've done, or will ever do.
Imagine Christ hanging on that cross with all your baggage draped around His neck, weighing Him down further, pulling tighter at the nails driven painfully through His palms, taking the hit for you! That's love! That's
perfect love! That's how much God loves you!
The only response needed to accept God's perfect love is to love Jesus, to accept Him for who He was and who He is, the Son of the Living God. "For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved me (Jesus), and have believed that I came forth from God."
REMEMBER: Be happy. YOU ARE LOVED!
LIFE OF CHRIST
John 16:26-33

Friday, September 30, 2011

Never make the mistake of thinking people will not act like people

Thursday, September 29, 2011

OFFENSIVE BIBLE WORDS

An Indiana mega church pastor is annoyed by the word “saved.”
In a recent blog post he asked, “Does the Word ‘Saved’ Bother Anyone Else?” He also has a problem with the phrase “born again.” He refers to such terms as “insider terms.” (Christian Post, 9.01)
Friend, this is nonsense.
After all, “saved” and “born again” are terms used in the Bible. Jesus Himself said, “Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7). And Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Saved is a very common word to describe what happens when a person is rescued from sin by the Lord Jesus Christ. Where will all this nonsense end? In the great apostasy?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One test of good manners is to be able to put up pleasantly with bad ones.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want – be thankful you don’t get what you deserve.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Doing the will of God will leave you no time for disputing about His plans.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Abraham did not know for sure where he was going, but he knew for sure with Whom he was going.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

God sometimes conceals His purposes so that we will live on His promises.

Monday, September 19, 2011

All who are born of God should develop a likeness to their Father.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, and acts with a hand that never fails.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

God isn’t dead; I belong to His family; I talked to Him this morning.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Loneliness is being unaware of the One who is with us everywhere.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This year at Levy Baptist we have been studying the Life of Christ. We began in January with his pre-existence and have moved through his life, a Harmony of the Gospels study. One of the advantages of studying Jesus’ life this way, is that you get all of Him in the Scriptures. You don’t allow yourself to only focus on one aspect of his life. You discover the passages where Jesus was offensive. He was straight forward. Jesus calls us to holiness and He does so in no uncertain terms! Christ calls us to follow Him even when we don’t understand.
This article, by Mike Goeke, I believe you’ll find interesting. I wanted to share it with you today because it is a testimony to the offensiveness of Christ’s call to holiness.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Man shows he is more than an animal when he longs to be with God.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little things become great things when they are done to please God.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Talk it over with the Great Physician – no appointment necessary.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don’t say Our Father on Sunday and spend the rest of the week like an orphan.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You can’t claim God as your Father until you claim Christ as your Savior.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Christians show what they are by what they do with what they have.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

You can’t change the past so don’t ruin the present by worrying about the future.

Friday, August 12, 2011

There is much I do not know about God, but what I do know has changed my life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If every Christian were as friendly as you are, would any visitor come back to your church?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our eyes are in front of our head because it is more important to look ahead than to look back

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

God can take the place of anything, but nothing can take the place of God.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The future is the time you’ll wish that you would have done all the things that you aren’t doing now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A race track is the only place to find windows that clean people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If you were another person, would you like to be a friend of yours?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don’t get so busy preparing for a rainy day that you miss today’s sunshine.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Teach me your way, O God, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I give thanks to you, O God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.  Psalms 86:11-12

The entire country is awash in Harry Potter fever right now. The final film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two,” opened in theaters on July 15th. I have to admit that I am one of the people caught up in the fever. During this grand saga Harry comes to learn that he has traits or abilities in common with his arch nemeses Voldemort. As a result of learning this Harry talks with Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You see, Harry questions whether the ‘sorting hat’ should have really placed him in the House of Slytherin, which was Voldemort’s house, rather than the House of Gryffindor. Dumbledore asks Harry what he did when it seemed as if he was going to be placed in the House of Slytherin. He tells Dumbledore that he asked not to be placed there. Dumbledore replies, “Exactly! It is not our abilities that show what we truly are – it is our choices.” What a wonderful message to all the young people (and not so young) who love Harry Potter. What a centuries old message it is as well.

King David of Israel knew, as well or better than any person in the Bible, about the consequences of choices. He was the beloved of God, a poet, musician, and a great leader. David though, as a result of a disastrous series of choices, commits adultery with Bathsheba and then gives an order which results in the death of Bathsheba’s husband. Many of the Psalms, like the one quoted here, are credited to have been written by David, and reflect not only his abject repentance, but his unceasing plea to have God change and cleanse his heart – to give him an undivided heart.

Just as important though as knowing that our actions have consequences is to know that God loves us with a steadfast love. The words ‘steadfast love’ appear over 100 times in the Book of Psalms alone. Steadfast love is unfaltering, unswerving, unwavering love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The bigness of any man is manifest in the number of little things he is able to overlook in others.

Monday, July 18, 2011

You will never get ahead of anyone as long as you are trying to get even with them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting revenge makes you even with your enemy, but forgiving him puts you above him.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It is far better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Education can polish men, but only the blood of Christ can cleanse them.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Everyone should have a large cemetery in which to bury the faults of their friends.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The first step to receiving eternal life is to admit that we don’t deserve it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A person is merely inviting future injuries if he tries to avenge past ones.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The best place for your trouble is in your pocket – the one with a hole.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

There are so many good people that we should forget all the evil ones.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It makes sense to know where a road is leading before traveling on it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life so when death comes the mourners outnumber the cheering section.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The proper time to do the proper thing is before you have to do it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If one expects to answer “when the roll is called up yonder,” he had better be present when the roll is called down here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We rate ability in men by what they finish, not by what they begin.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On thing that is worse than a quitter is the man who is afraid to begin.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Church attendance is not for the building of records but for the building of Christians.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except the nightingales.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your outcome in life doesn’t depend on your income but on how you overcome.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kindness is difficult to give away, because it keeps coming back.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some people feel they need faith the size of a mountain to move a mustard seed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yesterday is past; tomorrow may never come; we have only today – but we have God with us today.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The world will be more impressed by a demonstration of our faith than by a description.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Even the turtle would get nowhere if he didn’t stick out his neck.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some people feel their faith is strong enough to take them to heaven, but it does not take them to church.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The business of faith is to believe things that are out of sight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

If God sees the sparrow fall, paints the lily short and tall, gives the sky its azure hue, surely then He cares for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Christian who claims the promises of God should obey the commands of God.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Faith is like a muscle and prayer is the exercise that helps it grow.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Man says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.”

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

If you blame others for your failures, do you credit others for your successes?

Thursday, April 14, 2011



“For the person who sows to the flesh will from the flesh reap corruption...but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life!” Galatians 6:8

Near midnight 99 years ago today, on the night of April 14, 1912, the Passenger Liner R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Within minutes water began pouring into her lower decks. Less than 3 hours later her propellers started to rise out of the water. For the more than 1,200 people left on board there was little hope of escape. By sunrise, the biggest ship the world had ever seen had plunged more than two miles to the bottom of the ocean without a trace but for a small fleet of timber lifeboats drifting in the frigid North Atlantic. While around 800 passengers were rescued on April 15 by Titanic’s sister ship Carpathia, those left on board Titanic perished primarily for an insufficient number of lifeboats. Among those rescued were mostly first and second-class passengers. They were mostly women and children.
More than one movie has been produced about the experience of Titanic. Countless books have been written. And we’re still fascinated with this larger-than-life unsinkable ship that sank on its maiden voyage.
What is it about Titanic that captures our imagination so? Surely the circumstance of her sinking on her maiden voyage, the so-called “unsinkable” ship, contributes to her infamy. The fact that she was bigger than any ship the world had ever seen up to that point in history (as far as we know) contributes still. But moreover I believe it is because Titanic represents the human spirit itself The human spirit endeavors always and everywhere to surpass itself, to do better, build bigger, go farther, faster…
There’s an important lesson in the tale of Titanic. It reminds us that although we rightly reach for the stars, although we may endeavor always to transcend ourselves and our own achievements and technology, we are forever bound to remember that nothing but the Spirit lasts eternal. The things of earth will perish. Jesus said it this way, “What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and ‘lost’ his own soul…?”