Wednesday, December 2, 2020

What's In A Name?

Initially, He was named Jesus. Now we also call Him Christ. 

Jesus was the name given to Him when He was born. It means the same as the Jewish name, Joshua, which literally means God is salvation! So, the message that God sent to Joseph through His angels was, “You shall call Him ‘God is salvation’ for He shall save His people from their sins.” That name, Jesus, tells us all that we need to know because it reveals God’s plan and purpose: God will save humanity through His only begotten Son. 

Christ is more than a name. It is a title. It comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed” or “anointed one.” Its meaning is the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. John quoted Andrew in a conversation that he had with his brother Peter. Said Andrew, “We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ).” So the terms Messiah and Christ are titles given to Jesus that assure us that He is the anointed one. Jesus is the One whom God anointed to fulfill the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament.

The name Jesus proves that He was human, lived life on our level and faced the same issues and problems that we face. But the title Christ assures us that this One, once called Jesus, can lift us up to God’s level because He is the One whom God anointed to be our Savior.

Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for what You did for us through Your Son, our Savior. We rejoice in Your love, mercy and grace that brought our salvation through Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: John 1:41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

"Are You Ready For Christmas?"

Hal and Matt, two longtime friends, accidentally met in a department store a few weeks before Christmas. They gave each other a forced smile – as if they were happy to see each other – but wished their meeting was under different circumstances.

“You know,” said Hal, “I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas has become a wrap race.” 

“I agree,” replied Matt. “And I’ll tell you something else. I've finally discovered the real meaning of the word Yule.” 

“Oh,” responded Hal. “What is it? I'd like to know myself.”

“It’s my wife saying in a very convincing voice, ‘You’ll buy me this and then you’ll buy me that!’ I feel like I have no choice but to buy her whatever she asks for,” replied Matt. “Everything seems to be about things.” 

It would be a wise investment of our time this Christmas to try to imagine what God might have seen when He looked into the manger. Certainly it was more, much more, than a Baby. Did He see the crowds ridiculing and mocking His Son? Did He turn His head when He saw the “kiss of betrayal” from Judas? Was His mind troubled by the trial that unjustly condemned His Son? Did He weep when He saw Jesus hanging from the cross? Certainly. But let’s not forget to see the smile that was on His face and the peace that flooded into His heart when He saw the empty tomb. 

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to get ready for Christmas by seeing its sights and sounds through Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

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Monday, November 30, 2020

A Reason To Be Glad

The word glad in Scripture carries with it the idea of happiness and joyfulness, pleasure and freedom. God’s Word, however, reveals the only source of gladness: the Lord. The Psalmist wrote, “For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”

This source for our gladness does not come from anything we have done or accomplished or any ladder of success that we might have climbed. It does not come from the wealth that we may have accumulated or records we have set. It does not come from any amount of power we have because of our position. The gladness that the Psalmist writes about comes from what God has done for us.

Another Psalmist wrote, “But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, ‘The Lord is great.’” And another Psalmist said, “Let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence.”

We often set “goals” for ourselves that we think will bring a sense of well-being and fulfillment to us - the “if only” statements we make: “If only I can get a promotion I will be satisfied,” or “If only we had a larger home our family would be happy,” or “If only...If only...” and the list goes on.

But the “glad” that comes from God that can fill our hearts and lives comes as a result of what He has done and will do for us: He made possible our salvation through Jesus Christ, His Son, and our Savior. Because of Him we can be glad and sing for joy, knowing that “all things are working together” for our good and His glory.

Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for filling our hearts with gladness because of Your goodness, love, and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: For You make me glad by Your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands. Psalm 92:4 

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Sunday, November 29, 2020

"Daily Planning Guide"

Nearly all of us have some method for planning our daily activities. With no plan to follow, our time will likely be wasted and our days meaningless. On the other hand, often our carefully detailed plans can be completely disrupted by an emergency or unexpected demand. In Psalm 92, however, we find a simple way to open and close each day and bring God’s presence into our lives.

The Psalmist suggests that we begin the day with a “proclamation” - we are to “proclaim the love of God.” If we begin each day by proclaiming the love that God has for us, it will remind us that we are safe and secure in His love and that nothing or no one can destroy us. Then, as the day unfolds and when the unexpected occurs, and things seem upside down, we know that He is holding us close to Himself and that He will protect us from that which might harm us. It is in His love that we are safe and secure. As Paul wrote, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is His love that keeps us close to Him, and no one or nothing can break this bond that comes from Him.

As we end each day, we are advised to praise God for His faithfulness. Indeed, by His grace, He has brought us through another day, and He has proven Himself to be trustworthy. Even when tragedy strikes or the light of His presence is dim, we have the assurance that He is with us.

If “things” look bad today, we can always look back at our “yesterdays” and see God at work in our lives and praise Him for His trustworthiness and faithfulness.

Prayer:  Thank You, Father, for Your unconditional, unfathomable love! May we always be aware of Your love and faithfulness, peace and presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today:  It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. Psalm 92:2 

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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Waiting For Wisdom

“You know,” he said stroking his beard, “I have a problem learning from my past sins.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Most people say they learn from previous experiences - including sins.”

“Well,” he said with confidence, “I can prove them all wrong.”

“How can you do that?” I asked. 

“Well,” he said, stroking his beard once again. “It’s easy. Have you ever committed the same sin twice?”

“Unfortunately, I have,” I replied. 

And before I could explain what I was talking about, he said with great confidence, “I rest my case.”

Repeating the same sin more than once is common in the lives of many Christians. Others often lose sight of what living the Christian life is all about and are not even aware of their sins. Some become careless about their responsibility to live in obedience to God’s laws and are unconcerned about their lifestyle. We forget that we are accountable to God for everything we have and do. Perhaps it would be helpful if we took some time to do an inventory of the sins we know we frequently commit. To reflect on our past and its problems may keep us close to God and avoid repeating our sins!

The children of Israel had this problem. Listen to the Psalmist: “But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.” If we focus on the great things God has done for us, and if we seek His counsel and wait for His guidance, we can avoid repeating our sins.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the great things you have done for us! We want to live a life that honors You and is free from sin. May we look to You for Your power to resist temptation and falling into sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel. Psalm 106:13  

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