Weekly Verses…

Weekly Verses…

Monday
Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds — his name is the Lord — and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
I can’t help but think of what James, Jesus’ brothers said: “Pure religion, undefiled before God the Father is this: keep oneself undefiled and care for orphans and widows in their distress.” Jesus showed clearly this was the Father’s heart in his ministry. Now it is up to us to continue it!
MY PRAYER…
Father, may my life, my compassion, and my ministry reflect your heart for those who need care and protection and love. Give me eyes to see this need more clearly and a heart to responded more certainly so that your love may be demonstrated through me. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Tuesday
Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Mothers have such an inside road with children that it is interesting that God commands fathers to be about the work of spiritual nurture. I don’t believe he means to exclude mothers. No, I think he assumes they’ll do their part. But the father’s influence and intentional training is so essential.
MY PRAYER…
Abba Father, may my children come to find you in me. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Wednesday
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
For husbands, there is sacrificial love in our purpose and purpose in our sacrifice. We give up ourselves to love our wives. But Jesus is the example here, and he gave up everything. His purpose? Simply to make us holy. Our motives are to be equally as sacrificial and pure in surrendering our rights to bless and love our wives.
MY PRAYER…
Holy God, help our families to be full of love and may it begin with me, today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Thursday
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his very soul?
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
We chase after so many different things. Only one thing is needed. Having a fist full of dollars, a great estate, and lots of prestige doesn’t mean a whole lot if you’ve gone to your ultimate address without the Lord. Even worse, is to find that in the middle of your busy-ness, you awake to find yourself in the barren land where Christ does not dwell and life is not found.
MY PRAYER…
Father, help me to keep my priorities right and my life holy and my heart open to your will rather than being blinded with my own self-seeking. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.
Friday
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
How good it is to be as close to God as his shadow and share in the comfort of his shelter. He is not far if our hearts choose to draw near him.
MY PRAYER…
O great Almighty God, tender Shepherd and Abba Father, make known to me your nearness. I long to live in your presence and reflect your holiness and grace. By Jesus’ blood I draw near to you in full assurance of your love and grace. Amen.
Saturday
The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
Our lives are not lived alone. The Lord is with us personally. He holds each of futures and our safety in his hands. We live to serve him and go to be with him when we die. The Lord will keep us from all harm!
MY PRAYER…
Mighty Protector, Rock of my salvation. Thank you that my future is secure with you. Make this assurance the convicting power in my life to turn over my future and my life to you. Through Jesus I ask this. Amen.
Sunday
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and will not be faint.
New International Version
THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S VERSE…
It is easy for us to live victoriously for the Lord when we soar on eagles wings. It can be exciting when we run and don’t grow weary in the work of the Lord, buoyed by his power and presence. But it often takes heroes to keep walking and not faint when trying times come. Keep on walking, brother and sister. The Lord is there when you most fear he has forgotten you!
MY PRAYER…
Majestic God, whose voice holds together our universe, give those who can barely walk under the stress and assault the strength to continue. I specifically want to pray for those I know personally who are facing trying times. Please, dear LORD, give them strength and meet their most pressings needs. Through the intercession of Jesus I ask it. Amen.
Devotional credit: Oneplace.com

 

Advertisements
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
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

 

Discovering the Advent Season

Discovering the Advent Season

Every year, I plan on buying a traditional Advent calendar to help my family get ready for Christmas.  I like the idea of daily Advent readings that help build anticipation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  Unfortunately, I’m usually busy and forget to buy the calendar until after Advent has already started.  There is so much going on at Thanksgiving, and then the parties start, and before you know it, Christmas is upon us.  The calendar itself is not the most important thing; it’s about what celebrating Advent does for us during a very busy time of the year.

Advent is the season that starts four Sundays before Christmas.  For hundreds of years, Christians have used this season to remember the coming of Christ, and to prepare for Christmas.  It’s more than just a piece of history, though.  So, why do we celebrate Advent?  Celebrating the Advent season can help us today to follow Christ more faithfully in at least three ways.

Advent helps us focus on Jesus.

We’ve all heard the clichés like “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas.”  Even though they are clichés, they contain nuggets of truth.  One of the reasons that they exist is that it is just so easy to let all of the activities, and shopping, and parties overwhelm our focus on Jesus.  Celebrating Advent gives us daily and weekly reminders through Scripture about who Christ is and what He did for us when He came to earth.

Advent helps us honor Jesus.

The word “Advent” means the arrival of someone or something important.  When an important event like a graduation or wedding is coming, we work hard to make sure everything is perfect.  When an important person is coming to visit, we work hard to properly prepare for them so that they will know they are valuable to us.  We plan the menu and the decorations; we clean the house and edge the lawn.  We don’t just wait until the last minute and throw something together.  Similarly, celebrating Advent helps us give Jesus the proper attention and focus He deserves.  By focusing on Him throughout this season, and not just on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we honor Him more faithfully.

Advent helps us remember Jesus is coming again.

Advent is not only a celebration of Christ’s first coming as a baby; it is also a reminder of Jesus’ return that is yet to come.  Just as God’s people awaited the first coming of the Messiah, His people now await the return of our Savior.  The four weeks of Advent remind us of both of these comings.  In weeks one and two, the Scripture readings look forward to His second coming and remind us of the importance of being prepared for His return.  Weeks three and four look backward and help us remember the excitement and expectation that the hope of the Messiah brought to the ancient Jews.  It has always been important for God’s people to remember that God is up to something, and that we need to live in expectation of what He will do when He comes again.

In our world, there are so many things that can occupy our attention.  The Christmas season is one of the most exciting times of the year, but it is also one of the most distracting seasons of the year.  Even for those who want to keep focused on Jesus, it is difficult to do so.  By celebrating Advent, we acknowledge that celebrating Jesus is more than one evening and the following day.  The ‘how’ to celebrate Advent isn’t as important as the connection you make with Him, so create special traditions as a family and grow in Him together.  Let us be a people who acknowledge God’s great love and generosity for his people every day this Advent season.

Devotional credit: Dayspring.com