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
I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
For Christians, God’s temple is one of two related things: either the Christian’s body (1 Cor. 6:19-20) or the group of people who make up his Church (1 Cor. 3:16). Because of the flaws of the people in our churches, many are hypercritical of them. But God’s Church is precious to him and should be to us. Anyone who destroys his church through division will be utterly destroyed. God’s faithfulness to his people is seen in his preservation of the Church through all the ravages and persecutions of history. But God is still the center of the Church and he alone is to be exalted and the Church is still to be governed by his word and not just their own will.
MY PRAYER…
Holy and matchless God, I praise you for your steadfast love and faithfulness revealed in the preseveration of your Church through all of history. I promise to cherish your Church and do all I can to help it grow and mature to be more like Jesus, but I recognize that you and you alone are to be exalted above all other things and that my church must never be more important than your will revealed in your word. Give me the courage to be true to you even if my church may not be. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Tuesday
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Of all the names for God in the Bible, this is my favorite: Him who is able to do immeasurably more. Our God is the same God who parted the Red Sea and fed 5,000 on a green hillside with only a couple of sardine sandwiches. He longs to do more than we ask and imagine, but most of us haven’t really given him much of a challenge. Dream big dreams for God. Then hang on!
MY PRAYER…
Almighty and awesome God, do in our day what you did in past days. Give us faith to believe and then amaze us at the smallness of our faith. Give us vision to see your plan and do greater things. We ask this, not for ourselves or our experience, but for your glory and the salvation of our world. In Jesus name. Amen.
Wednesday
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
God made the world in 6 days. Now he sustains it with his powerful word. But in each of us, he is still at work and will continue to work to his glory (seePhilippians 2:12-13) until Christ comes to take us home!
MY PRAYER…
Thank you Father, for being at work in my life. I confess that at times you seem distant, but looking back over the crucial moments where things were held in the balance, I can see your fingerprints and your grace leading me to where I am today. Please make your presence more powerfully known in my life as I seek your will and live to your glory. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Thursday
Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
In the immense expanse of our universe, with its billions upon billions of stars, where our own tiny blue planet is only a small speck of sand on an inestimable seashore, God knows us each personally. Such knowledge it too wonderful to be true, and yet it is. God has shown us his love in Jesus to remind us that he not only knows us, but he cares for us.
MY PRAYER…
O Great God of the heavens, thank you for caring for me even though I am such a small part of your great work in the universe. Your love is beyond my comprehension, and yet it thrills me to know that in your grace one day I will see you face-to-face. Through Jesus I praise you. Amen.
Friday
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Like Esau, we get so diverted by the mundane things of life, the growling of our bellies, we forget the longer-range view of things. God’s word, his written word the Bible, his demonstrated Word in Jesus, and his proclaimed word in the Gospel, are what can sustain us eternally.
MY PRAYER…
True and Faithful God, through your Holy Spirit create in me a hunger for your word that is much more demanding of life than my hunger for food. I confess that at times I have been distracted by the mundane things of life and have not sought your word and have not nourished my soul. Please forgive me as I pledge myself to be more attentive to your leading and your truth through your word. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Saturday
God exalted him (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
When Jesus is exalted, when his name is praised and his glory confessed, rather than being insulted or blasphemed, God is honored. Praise be the glorious name of Jesus and the grace of our God!
MY PRAYER…
Precious Savior, Jesus Christ my Lord, your name is wonderful! Your sacrifice for my sin was so loving and generous. I am so thankful that our Father raised you from the dead and that through you I will be able to be with God and worship you all of eternity! You are glorious, Jesus my Lord!
Sunday
(Jesus said) “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Love is not just a feeling, but it is action. For us as believers, the action that most shows our love for Jesus is for us to be obedient to his words and his example.
MY PRAYER…
Father, thank you for showing your love in Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for showing us how to love our Father by being obedient to his will and word. Today I pledge to conciously try to live in obedience to your will. Please receive my actions, words, and thoughts today as an offering of praise to you. In Jesus name. Amen.
Weekly Verses…

Weekly Verses…

Monday
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not  self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Love does not focus on me, but on others.  Each of these qualities of love is based upon an affectionate, compassionate, and forgiving attitude that regards others of value and not just self.  No wonder the old saying goes “The middle of sIn is a big I!”
MY PRAYER…
Holy God and Sacrificial Father, teach me to notice others and value them just as you do. I know you loved me when I was not lovable, and redeemed me when I was not worthy.  Help me to take my eyes off myself and see others as you see them. Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Tuesday
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Always love – pretty tall order and pretty tough stuff. Only God is “always.”  But then Christians are fueled to a
always love through the Holy Spirit!  Check out the promised source of “always” love in Romans 5:5.
MY PRAYER…
Sweet and Glorious God on High, I humble myself before you, recognizing your boundless power to love, the incredible need for love in the lives of those around me, and my limited ability to love.  Please pour your Holy Spirit into my heart and fill me with the power to love as you do, always.  In Jesus’ sweet name I pray.  Amen.
Wednesday
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Did you know the Bible doesn’t just say, “God loves you?” Now don’t let me confuse you, it does say God loves us many times, but each time it does, it shows us that love as well. God loved us so much time he didn’t just say I love you with a valentine, he showed he loved us by sending his Son!
MY PRAYER…
Loving and almighty God, thank you for loving me.  Thank you for both saying it and showing it.  Please know, dear Father, I love you, too! Accept my words and actions today as a testimony to my love.  Through Jesus I pray.  Amen.
Thursday
A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you , so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34-35
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
How do you recognize Jesus’ followers?  How do you find Christians?  Jesus said they love each other just as he loved the disciples. In the immediate context, this means he is willing to give sacrificially and extravagantly by dying for them on the cross, and he is also willing to love selflessly and practically by washing their feet. His ministry reveals he also will do almost anything in between extravagant and practical. Imagine if we all read the Gospels, and committed to love each other in the same way Jesus showed his love to his disciples!
MY PRAYER…
Father of Compassion and God of all grace, I thank you for teaching me to love through the example of Jesus.  May my words and actions reflect some resemblance of his love toward your people today.  Through Christ, my Great Example, I pray.  Amen.
Friday
This is love:  not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
He loved us first!  He offered his Son to save us regardless of our decision to believe or ignore his grace.  We are given the ability to accept or reject the death of his Son as the sacrifice for our sins.  The only condition, as 1 John 2:1-2 emphasizes, is that we realize that he died for everyone else in the world, too!
MY PRAYER…
Precious King, God Almighty, why you should love me and send Jesus to die for me I will never fully understand.  Thank you for your love. Thank you for your sacrifice for my sins. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to save me.  I pray in your name and by your intercession.  Amen.
Saturday
This is the message you heard from the beginning:  We should love one another.
1 John 3:11
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
The original message – love one another.  The enduring message – love one another.  The most convicting message – love one another.  The most difficult message – love one another. I’m reminded of the little verse:  To dwell above with saints we love, O that will be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know, now that’s another story.  But it’s the story we’re called to write!
MY PRAYER…
Loving Father, I commit to you that I will intentionally show my love for your children this week in what I do and say. I do this, trusting your grace to empower me to do more than I would do on my own.  Through Jesus my Savior I pray.  Amen.
Sunday
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Conquerors! We win!!  When you open up the final book of the Bible, Revelation, that is the message – Christians win because Jesus is the one true conqueror.  No matter how the battle is going for you right now, remember that in the end, we win!
MY PRAYER…
El Shaddai, God Almighty, thank you for securing the ultimate victory for me by raising Jesus from the dead.  I know he is coming with victory on the day you have determined, but I pray that I may live victoriously for you until that day. Through Jesus my conquering King I pray.  Amen.
Devotional Credit: Oneplace.com
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

This is what the Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
 —Isaiah 43:16 and Isaiah 43:18-19
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
The year is gone, finished, past.  We cannot reclaim it or undo it.  We cannot rest on the things it has brought us.  If tomorrow dawns, it will be another day, a new opportunity, and the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord.  Let’s journey forward, knowing that God already inhabits the future and promises to provide us refreshment.
MY PRAYER…
Lord of all eternity, please help me to learn from my mistakes but not dwell on them.  Please help me not rest on my accomplishments in this past year, but use them to further your work in me and through me.  Please help me not quarrel with those who injured me yesterday, or last month.  Instead, O Father, lead me in your paths and help me see your mighty works this next year.  In Jesus name and by his power I ask it. Amen.
Tuesday
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
We all like “do-overs” or second chances. God does much better than that! He allows us to become new again. Being the “God of new things” he can even make us new. Beyond forgiveness, beyond cleansing, he makes us holy through Jesus. Let’s use the opportunity of a New Year as a springboard to living a life fresh and new and alive to God!
MY PRAYER…
O LORD, thank you for a New Year and a fresh start. Please give me wisdom and strength to serve you with integrity and faithfulness in this coming year. I pray that your work be done in my life as I offer myself, my plans, and my future to you. I pray this through Jesus, my intercessor and Lord. Amen.
Wednesday
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalms 90:12
New International Version\
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
So often we look up and time has passed us by. The things we promised ourselves we’d accomplish and the deeds we told others we’d do get left undone. Before we know it, days have become weeks, and weeks months, and months years. We find ourselves unable to do what we once assumed we could do any time we want. We must ask the Spirit of God to help us see and seize the opportunities the LORD places in our path.
MY PRAYER…
Father, I confess that so often I leave undone what needs to be done. Please help me see your plans in each of my days and live in a way which not only honors you, but also blesses those you want me to reach. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Thursday
While [Joseph and Mary] were [in Bethlehem], the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
I’ve always been amazed at how God chose to place his Son into our world.  He could have done it any way he wanted.  But he chose this way — to enter the world in difficult times under difficult circumstances as a helpless infant who must be cared for by parents who were vulnerable to so many frailties. Yet in spite of the challenges that lay ahead and the bewildering mystery that confronted them:  Joseph and Mary, along with everyone around them, were caught up in the great joy this new child gave.
MY PRAYER…
Give me a heart of faith, O God, so that I might always see your sovereignty and grace being poured out on me in special ways.  I am thrilled that you, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, chose to enter my world as a child.  Thank you for trusting your wonderful salvation to human flesh so we could know that you deemed us worthy of entering our world to make us right for yours.  Through Jesus.  Amen.
Friday
[God] has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
God’s desires for us are not hard to discern.  He wants to bless us with salvation. The incredible gift of his Son is powerful testimony to this truth.  But salvation from sin and death is not something he wants to happen in our lives only once.  He wants our lives to daily reflect his salvation and to share it with others.  We should act justly and pursue mercy in our relationships, and honor him with our worship from a humble heart.
MY PRAYER…
Almighty and compassionate Father, as I embrace this New Year, help my eyes see what your heart sees.  Teach me to hate sin and be merciful to the repentant.  Teach me to know truth and act fairly, while hating abuse and exploitation. Through your Spirit, stir me to reflect on the great distance between your holy majesty and my inconsistent character.  Make me more your child, I pray, in Jesus name.  Amen.
Saturday
Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless.
Isaiah 1:16-17
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Do you find it easy to replace service to those in need with religious rituals?  I know I do!  But God wants us to not get so caught up in talking about him and celebrating his deeds, that we forget we’re supposed to care for others like he does. Whether it is Jesus defining his ministry in Luke 4:18-19 or James talking about the kind of piety that pleases God (1:26-27), we must realize true faith is treating others as God would. Today’s verse defines what God does and asks us to live the same.
MY PRAYER…
O Great God of all comfort, open my eyes today to see those who need your love and give me the attentiveness, time, and compassion to serve them.  May Jesus’ work be seen in my life today.   Amen.
Sunday
Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
When Jesus came the first time, he came to reveal God (John 1:18).  As wonderful, powerful, and gracious as he was in his earthly ministry, it did not fully reveal Jesus our Lord.  Our hope is tied to his return.  When he comes this time, he won’t come to reveal God, but to reveal himself — the conquering Lord, the Rider on the white horse.  Every knee will bow.  And we will see him as he really and fully is, Immanuel in power and grace.  With this as our hope,  we can be ready for active service to our king as people who live their lives under his leadership and control.
MY PRAYER…
O Almighty God, I long for the day when I get to see Jesus face to face coming with the angels in power.  Until that time, fasten my heart in hope to the glory Jesus will share with me on that day, and please empower me to live as one who knows that victory is mine in Jesus.  Jesus, through your powerful name I pray.  Amen.
Devotional credit: Oneplace.com