Friday, December 29, 2017


Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Wednesday, December 27, 2017


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1 & 14 NIV)

The Word did not become a philosophy, a theory, or a concept to be discussed, debated, or pondered. But the Word became a person to be followed, enjoyed, and loved!

-- DaySpring Cards


Tuesday, December 26, 2017


All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.  (“O Come All Ye Faithful”)

Jesus Christ -- His love we can experience; His salvation we can appropriate; His help we can claim; but their remains in Him the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which is beyond our understanding, and before which we can only worship and adore.

-- William Barclay (1907-1978) in “The Revelation of John” (Vol.II)


Friday, December 22, 2017


“Yet to all who did receive [Christ], to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  (John 1:12 NIV)

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell Him you have received His Christmas gift.

-- John R. Rice


Thursday, December 21, 2017


“Good Christian friends, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave: News, news! Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save, Christ was born to save!

Rejoice, you who feel that you are lost; your Savior comes to seek and save you. Be of good cheer, you who are in prison, for He comes to set you free. You who are famished and ready to die, rejoice that He has consecrated for you a Bethlehem, a House of Bread, and He has come to be the Bread of Life to your souls. Rejoice, O sinners everywhere, for the restorer of the castaways, the Savior of the fallen, is born.

-- C.H. Spurgeon in “Joy Born at Bethlehem”


Wednesday, December 20, 2017


“We know that the Son of God has come, and He has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and He is eternal life.”  (1 John 5:20 NLT)

“True God of True God, Light of Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb.
Son of the Father, begotten not created,
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”  (“O Come, All Ye Faithful”)

Virtual is truly the word of the day. The first synonym for virtual that comes up in my dictionary is "near."… "Virtual" is a substitute for the real thing. The antonym (opposite) that came up for "virtual" is "actual." Put these two together and you have "virtual" as something that appears close to the real thing but in actuality is so far off the mark that there couldn't be anything farther from the truth. "Virtual" is like a moon shot that misses the moon. The farther it travels in the universe, the farther away from its destination it becomes, making "virtual reality" the quintessential oxymoron…

When John the Apostle talked about Christ he found it necessary to point out that he and the other disciples had had physical contact with Jesus. "We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands." (1 John 1:1). It was important to John for us to know this. Nothing virtual here. This was the real thing. The true God.

-- adapted from John Fischer in “Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals"


Tuesday, December 19, 2017


“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD.”  (Luke 2:11 NIV)

In your searching may you find the gift of the warm embrace and acceptance of the Father. In that embrace and acceptance may you find the gift of the freedom and the path of the Son. In that freedom and path may you find the gift of the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit. In the birth of the Babe in a manger may you find the gift of the Savior of the cross.

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”  (1 John 4:14 NIV)

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Monday, December 18, 2017


“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

When I think of the various spiritual gifts that God has given believers, I can’t help but think that the church is much like a Christmas tree with all the nicely wrapped packages. There is great joy in picking out just the right gift and knowing that the person to whom it will be given will need and appreciate it. How would you feel, though, if you entered your friend's home weeks after Christmas and found the gift that you had given them still unopened? Wouldn’t it make you feel bad if you heard a friend of yours complaining about an unmet need in their life, and yet you knew that you had given them a gift to take care of that need but they had simply not yet opened it?

That must surely be how the Holy Spirit feels at times, as He overhears the people complaining about unmet needs; needs that He gifted the church to be able to meet. When it comes to spiritual gifts… unopened packages equal undiscovered gifts equal unused gifts equal unfulfilled Christians equal impoverished churches equal churchianity (the religious counterfeit of Christianity).

The gifts God has given each of us were meant to be used.

-- Author Unknown


Friday, December 15, 2017


“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.’"  (Matthew 1:18-21)

It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if Christ’s birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … For millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the Child who was born, so caught up in the message He taught and the life He lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with Him.

-- Frederick Buechner


Thursday, December 14, 2017


"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.."  (Hebrews 11:1-2 NRSV)

Hebrews 11 has been called the great faith chapter. What, exactly, is faith? If it is so important to the redemptive process, we must have a clear understanding of its nature.

The need is supplied in verses 1-2.  Faith, according to the NIV text, is always two things:  (1) a sense of assurance within us (being sure of what we hope for) and (2) a certainty that there are realities which we cannot see with our physical eyes (certain of what we do not see)…

Paul, in Colossians 1:5, sees faith and love flowing out of the hope awakened by the gospel. Hope, which “springs eternal in the human breast,” comes first. Then, faith sees freedom from sin on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, a consequent loving relationship to God, peace with one’s neighbors and joy in the midst of life (all what we hope for). These realities, though invisible, are personally appropriated; as a result, love for both God and others flows from the sense of gratitude which faith has awakened. Thus, the famous triumvirate of “faith, hope, and love” are central to all Christian living.

-- Ray C. Stedman in “Hebrews: The IVP New Testament Commentary Series”


Wednesday, December 13, 2017


"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."  (Hebrews 10:36)

God's promised blessings can be nipped in the bud. For their fulfillment resembles the blooming of a rose. The bud forms, hard and small and green, nothing particularly attractive. Yet, bound tightly inside are the forming petals, soft and red and delicate. The petals grow unseen. Only later as the rose blooms do we see their beauty. So it is with God's work. His perfect plans for us are forming in the bud -- [hidden] -- and as we persevere, we will, in God's perfect time, see them blossom.

-- Craig Brian Larson


Tuesday, December 12, 2017


“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:11 NIV)

So God throws open the door of this world -- and enters as a baby. As the most vulnerable imaginable. Because He wants unimaginable intimacy with you. What religion ever had a God that wanted such intimacy with us that He came with such vulnerability to us? What God ever came so tender we could touch Him? So fragile that we could break Him? So vulnerable that His bare, beating heart could be hurt? Only the One who loves you to death.

-- Ann Voskamp


Monday, December 11, 2017


“The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world -- just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.”  (Colossians 1:6b-8 NIV)

One of the prerequisites for being a servant of God is to think like a servant.  This would be fine if it wasn't so hard.  We are all naturally wired to think only of ourselves.

Learning to give preference to others is one of the true marks of a Christian because it is so contrary to human nature.  That's why desiring it comes from God, and doing it comes through the Holy Spirit…

Thinking like a servant doesn't automatically make you one, but it goes a long way toward getting you there.  If you are thinking like a servant, you are noticing others; and the more you are aware of others, the more the Holy Spirit can use you in reaching out to them.  All this increases the opportunity for the gospel; people are simply not used to being served...

Ask God to help you think like a servant today, and who knows?  Maybe you'll get a chance to be one.

-- John Fischer in THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN® LIFE Daily Devotional, September 2, 2004


Friday, December 8, 2017


"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.  It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do."  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

God's Word does not always fall in line with our own desires. Paul speaks of people who go astray "to suit their own desires" (2 Timothy 4:3). We are immature if we think we, as Christians, will always be happy and joyous with every message from God. Rather, we must admit that sometimes our ego and feelings get hurt. We must acknowledge that we too need correction from God and that as we study His Word our desires may have to change.

-- Pastor Gary Stone


Thursday, December 7, 2017


"The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…" (1 Timothy 1:15 NRSV)

People do not talk much about sin these days. The psychiatrist's couch has replaced the mourners' bench for many people, and obedience to a higher moral authority has given way to doing your own thing. Yet we are not at peace. We suffer from a feeling of alienation -- spiritual disease -- from which we yearn for deliverance. We may call it many things; the Bible calls it sin.

If there is no higher authority to whom we might be disobedient, then, of course the idea of sin becomes nonsense. But if there is a Creator who so wants our love to the extent that God demonstrates in Jesus Christ, then sin cannot be brushed away by calling it something else…

The One born in Bethlehem's manger comes to show us what and who we ought to be and to take from us the burdens of unbelief and hardheartedness from which we cannot unburden ourselves. Jesus sets us free from sin.

-- Robert Luccock in “Come to the Cradle”


Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the LORD and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 NIV)

You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who could really use it. It may be someone who is lonely or discouraged. It may be your spouse, your pastor, the nurse who cared for you, the clerk at the store, your Bible study leader, the waitstaff at the restaurant, or your child’s teacher. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.

-- Adapted from Dale Carnegie


Tuesday, December 5, 2017


For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20 NLT)

The Christmas story once again reminds us that peace has already come to this earth. "For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6  NLT).

Our Prince of Peace arrived more than 2000 years ago, not with chariots and weapons blazing, but humbly as a baby in a manger. Throughout Jesus' life on earth, He demonstrated to us a love so strong that it culminated in His sacrifice on a bloodstained cross.

-- John LaRue,


Monday, December 4, 2017


“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  (Philippians 4:8-10 NIV)

You are the books you read, the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the people you spend time with, the conversations you engage in. Choose wisely what you feed your mind.

-- Author Unknown


Friday, December 1, 2017


Strange as it might seem, one of the greatest gifts that we can give to each other in a family is high expectations.  Parents ought to have high expectations of their children, and children ought to have high expectations of their parents.  Husbands and wives ought to have high expectations of each other, even as God has high expectations for all of His children.  "Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling." (Ephesians 4:1 NLT).  The high expectations that we have of each other call out of us the best that we have.  We become good people and faithful family members, in part, because we are expected to be so.  All of us tend to try to measure up to what the significant others in our lives expect us to be.  The high expectations of those we love are responsible for much of the good that we find in ourselves.

-- Tony Campolo in “Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God”