They Call Themselves Christians

They Call Themselves Christians

If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

II Timothy 2:12 NKJV

Soldiers in the Roman army identified themselves with their generals by adding the suffix -ian at the end of the general’s name. Therefore, a Caesarian soldier would be a solider serving under Caesar. In Latin, the word ian means “the party of.” In the early church in Antioch, people began to call followers of Christ Christians, though the use of the name was likely said at first in the spirit of mockery. However, the name stuck and soon believers also began to call themselves Christians, happily adding the suffix to the end of Christ’s name to indicate that they were with Jesus. Early Christians joyfully sent a message to the world that they were followers of Christ, though the message cost many of them their lives. A believer’s life begins at the altar where we surrender our nothing for everything, and sometimes ends on another altar, where believers are forced to decide whether to sacrifice everything for nothing. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:15 KJV).

FAITH CHECK

If you knew that openly announcing to the world that you are a Christian would cost you your job, your standing in the community, or your very life, would you call yourself a Christian?

Article Credit: Linda Kozar by way of Dayspring.com

Hello Dear Friends,

Such great encouragement this day!!

Prayers,

k

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Weekly Verses…

Weekly Verses…

Monday
Do not be deceived:   God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Galatians 6:7-8, New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Isn’t it incredible how huge trees grow out of tiny seeds! This principle runs throughout all of life.  We can never completely get away from the seeds we sow.  So let’s not fool ourselves while we’re trying to do a “snow job” on God.  Let’s make sure the seeds we sow are the ones we want sprouting up!
MY PRAYER…
O Eternal God, who lived before time began and who will be the Great I AM when time is no more, bless the seeds my life sows so they may bear fruit and bless those I love.  Through Jesus, the grain of wheat who died and was buried so that life may flower forth.  Amen.
Tuesday
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Ask!  So often we’re afraid to ask for help because we have to admit we don’t have the answers.  Seek!  Effort and interest and perseverance are necessary and that’s sometimes hard. Knock! But God wants us to use the A.S.K. principle and bring our hearts before him. So let’s not whine, complain, desire, and want.  Let’s A.S.K. our Father and seek his glory.
MY PRAYER…
Waiting Father, I am sorry that so often you hear only my whines, complaints, and concerns.  You have been so generous with your love.  Help me to keep my heart set on you and your will today as I ask you to minister to the things on my heart. Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Wednesday
If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Wisdom is that illusive quality we respect in others and find so difficult to develop in ourselves.  Yet God promises it to those who really ask.  But remember the secret of ASKing –asking, seeking, and knocking.       Or better yet, check out Proverbs 2.  Wisdom is ours only if we seek it above all other possessions and value it above all other diversions.  God longs to impart it, but there is something about wisdom that demands we  value it before we can receive it.
MY PRAYER…
Gracious giver of all good gifts, please bless me with wisdom today.  Let me reflect your will and live for your glory in all my decisions.  Let your Kingdom guide my heart as I make my choices and have your Spirit lead me in your ways.  I confess, Father, that I cannot guide my own steps without your help.  So grant me wisdom this day.  I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Thursday
If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
In a day when intervening in someone’s life is no longer politically and socially correct, these verses ring out like a gunshot on a still night.  Sin is still real and is just as deadly as ever.  Yet because we fear being branded judgmental, we let many who are trapped by sin go to their spiritual death.  The call is for nonjudgmental intervention — we recognize the gravity of the sin and the need of the sinner, without feeling arrogant in our righteousness.       “There but for the grace of God go I.”
MY PRAYER…
Father, forgive my sins as I forgive those who have sinned against me.  But Father, also help my heart to be gripped by the gravity of sin’s effects and to be stirred into action by those whom it has trapped.  Through Jesus, who came to rescue me from my sin, I pray.  Amen
Friday
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
Philippians 4:8
Philippians 4:8New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Our actions follow our thoughts like a heat-seeking missile follows the exhaust of a jet fighter’s engine.      So in a day when so much around us trains us to find the negative in life, we must aggressively think and pursue the character, the qualities, and the things of God’s goodness.
MY PRAYER…
Holy and Magnificent God, thank you for being better than anything my world can offer me.  Thank you for calling me to a higher standard than the world accepts.  Thank you for giving me the promise of a better future than any human can imagine. Thank you for giving me a high calling. In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.
Saturday
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
-James 4:10
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Humble yourselves.  That sounds obscene.  At least to the culture of self-promotion and “get ahead at all cost” and “don’t look back, the competition is gaining on you” it sounds obscene.  Humility is a forgotten virtue.  Often confused with weakness or timidity, humility is about knowing our proper place in the world without flaunting it.  Only God can exalt in a permanent way, so the key is to know our place before him and let him put us in the place he chooses to honor him.
MY PRAYER…
Abba Father, Most Holy God, thank you for allowing me into your presence. When I think of all that you have done, the incredible universe you have made and hold together by your word, I am amazed you invite me into your presence and care about my words.  Thank you for knowing me and having a plan for my life to please you. Help me this day to glorify you in what I do.  Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Sunday
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:12-13
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE..
How often do you forget that we are in a spiritual war?  Our enemy is deceptively cunning – take away the immediacy of a threat and the danger appears gone.  But he’s there, always. But rather than try to guess his plans and counter all of his moves, Paul reminds us to simply take up the tools God has given us and stand up to the evil one.
MY PRAYER…
Lord of Hosts, my Great Deliverer, protect me from the evil one by your great power.  Give me a sense of urgency as I face Satan and his schemes on a daily basis, but also give me confidence that Jesus has already defeated my foe.  Help me to stand against this foe and show myself faithful to you. Through Jesus my Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.
Devotional credit: Oneplace.com
Weekly Verses…

Weekly Verses…

Monday

[The shepherds] hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby [Jesus], who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed…  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 
Luke 2:16-20
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
The shepherds reaction to baby Jesus is exactly what our reaction will be when we see the returning Jesus:  we will glorify and praise God for all the things we see and hear and will find that they are just as God has promised them to us. Since God kept his word in the first coming of Jesus, we can be assured that he will do it with the Second Coming of Jesus!
MY PRAYER…
Faithful and all powerful Lord, thank you for being trustworthy and true.  Help me to be faithful to you in what I   do and say and think during this stressful yet marvelous time. May I never lose faith in the coming of Jesusand may my faith in him ever shape my life to be more pleasing to you.  Amen.
Tuesday
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
While Jesus is God’s Son and Mary’s son, he is also our Son. He is the child given to the world so you and I can become God’s child.  What greater gift can we have than Jesus, and through Jesus, God as our Father.
MY PRAYER…
On a day so glorious, when the world pauses and acknowledges your gift of Jesus, all I can think to say is simply “Thank you!”  Amen.
Wednesday
Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 2:28-32
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
God’s gift to Simeon was truly precious and touching.  He is the embodiment of every nation, race, and culture that is seeking God’s salvation.  God’s salvation, as Luke loves to remind us again and again, is for all people!
MY PRAYER…
Lord God of all nations, not only do I pray for peace on earth, but I pray that the knowledge of Jesus may be spread to every nation this coming year.   Please make me sensitive to those around me who need your grace and give me courage and the right words to say.  Please stir me to be generous to those who are spreading your Gospel throughout the world.  Please bind the work of Satan that keeps nations in darkness and away from grace.   Make your Kingdom triumph through the growth of your word throughout the world.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
Thursday
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalms 103:1-3
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Praise must not come just from our lips.  Praise must emanate from deep within our soul, recognizing all the great blessings God has given us.  While God is worthy of praise because he his holy and majestic and mighty, we have even greater reasons to praise him.   He has bee so very gracious to us!
MY PRAYER…
Holy and loving Father, I praise you for your gift of creation.  I praise you for your love in granting us free will to accept or reject you.  I praise you for choosing Abraham to be the beginning of faith and a people through whom Jesus would come.  I praise you for sending Jesus.   I praise you for providing the sacrifice for my sins.  I praise you for raising him from the dead and triumphing over sin and death.  I praise you for those who shared the Gospel of your grace with me.  I praise You for what you are doing through me and for me.  I praise You for what you are about to do and yet remains enshrouded in mystery to me.  I praise because you are Almighty God who has chosen to be my Abba Father.  Through Jesus Christ my Lord, I praise you. Amen.
Friday
[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 
Matthew 11:28
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
At the end of the year, it sure is nice to be invited to rest in Jesus.   So before we begin a new year, let’s pause and place our hopes, our future, our dreams, and especially our burdens down at his feet and let him give us rest.
MY PRAYER…
Teach me, O God, to learn to rest in your grace and providence more and to worry less.  I want to surrender my burdens to Jesus and let him teach me his way and how to find his rest.  Sometimes I am so tired and weary I don’t think I can continue, so please, dear Father, let me find rest in Jesus.   Through whom I offer this prayer.  Amen.
Saturday
[Jesus said,] “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.   In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.   I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:1-3
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
He’s coming back!  As much as the world likes to remember Jesus’ first coming during the Christmas season, we need to remind people that his Second Coming will be even greater.  We want to be prepared –lives dedicated to his glory and hearts full of expectation at his coming.
MY PRAYER…
Loving God, I know Jesus will come again.  May I be found faithful and expectant when he returns.  Thank you for sending him the first time to live in my world and take away my sin. Thank you even more for his next coming to take me to live in your world and share in your victory over sin.   Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Sunday
[Jesus said,] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!   I have overcome the world.
John 16:33
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
This world is a place of struggle.  Yes, we can live above the struggle for awhile or can find a way to simply ignore or re-label the struggle for a time.  But in the end, the struggle will find us.  But in the midst of struggle, we can remind ourselves that our victory is secure.  Jesus has won!  We will share in his great triumph.  In case you didn’t know, the final outcome is already determined and Christians win big through
Jesus.
MY PRAYER…
Thank you, God, for giving me the victory through Jesus Christ my Lord.  I greet the future with anticipation because I know that each day brings me closer to you and the glorious future you have planned for all of your children.  Until then I pray that I may never lose sight of that victory and I yearn for the day of its arrival! Through Jesus, the triumphant Rider on the white horse, I pray.  Amen.
Devotional credit: Oneplace.com
6 Ways to Prepare for the Holidays

6 Ways to Prepare for the Holidays

Preparing for the holidays can be a lot of work. In fact, during the next few weeks, your Christmas to-do list is probably about to grow into an outrageous, poster-sized banner. Am I right? And then, before you know it, your Christmas experience turns into a frenzy of challenging task after challenging task.

Why not do it differently this year? Let’s get a head start on this season to ensure that this Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Our Savior. Below you will find six ways you can prepare for Christmas while remembering the reason we celebrate the season.

1. Add an advent calendar to your nightly routine. An advent calendar is a wonderful way to prepare your family for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Not sure how an advent calendar works? Check out our article on How To Use An Advent Calendar and get a head start on the celebration this year.

2. Decorate your Christmas tree as a family.  Choose lights and ornaments that represent the true Christmas story. With the Twelve Names of Christmas Ornaments, you can start 12 days before Christmas—read one story each night with your family and have your children hang the corresponding ornament on the tree.

3. Serve others. Start a card ministry, organize a bake sale for your favorite charity, deliver pre-cooked Christmas dinners or easy-clean-up meals to your elderly friends, or volunteer your time at a local food pantry. By serving others at Christmas and year-round, you are answering God’s call in your life. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

4. Decorate gradually. Slow down the process of putting your nativity scene out. By displaying your manger scene one piece at a time, you will be able to truly focus on the involvement of each person in the miraculous first Christmas story—of course, topping it off Christmas Day with the arrival of baby Jesus.

5. Find time to sit quietly. As the busyness of the holiday season approaches, set aside a designated time each day to fully focus on listening to God’s voice. Pick up some prayer resources to help deepen your personal relationship with Jesus as we approach the celebration of His birth.

6. Study the Christmas story. Read enlightening books about the amazing birth of Jesus. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamphelps readers celebrate the lineage and the majesty of Jesus Christ; while The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgsfocuses more on the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Looking for materials to help your children or grandchildren learn more about the birth of Christ? Check out our Christmas-themed activity books such as Christmas Joysor Jesus Is Born!

We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the Christmas rush. At DaySpring, we want to come alongside you this season to bring you inspirational devotionals, helpful tips, and fun ideas to remind us all of the reason we celebrate Christmas. We hope our six ways to prepare for the holidays will help bring your focus back to the amazing Christmas story and His unfailing love for us.

Devotional credit: Dayspring.com