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Your Story, God's Story - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 31

Luke 1

Why is Christmas such a magical time of year? I think its because everyone is expecting a miracle at Christmas. Consider all the popular movies. Each one has a miracle as it's central plot. Whether it's a boy hoping his parents get back together, a shop-owner hoping he can keep his business running, or a town who needs a new hero to help "save Christmas."

You might be reading this and wishing for your own miracle this Christmas. It's probably much smaller than what makes a holiday movie. But it no less important to you.

Maybe you're hoping our prodigal comes home. Maybe you're wishing for a job. Some are yearning for a special someone to sit next to you by the fire.

2,000 years ago, there was a couple who hoped for their own miracle. But like many, they had long given up on this dream. Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child, but year after year, that prayer went unfulfilled. So, they gave up on the dream.

But this couple didn't give up on God. They stayed faithful. Then, one ordinary day, the extraordinary happened. Zacharias, a priest in Israel, was chosen to give the incense at the altar. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, a rare honor for such a common man. Then, as he performed this sacred duty, an angel of God appeared, breaking God's 400-year silence with Israel.

The angel told Zacharias that he and his wife, Elisabeth would have a son after all. He would have a special purpose an would prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.

This all sounded impossible to Zacharias. Not the miracle itself—that Jesus would come, that John would be the forerunner. Zacharias, as a believing Jew, knew the Scriptures and believed this.

He just had a hard time thinking God could use silly old him. After all, he and his wife were well past the child-bearing age. But, true to His word, God performed this miracle in the lives of Zacharias and Elisabeth. You know the rest of the story. John the Baptist led revival in Israel and would later baptize Jesus Christ, the very son of God.

But let's focus on Zacharias and Elisabeth. They were faithful people in a time of unfaithfulness. And yet they had given up on the dream God had planted in their hearts—the dream of having a son. What's interesting is that Zacharias had no problem with the big miracle: God sending a Son to be born of a virgin and be the Savior. It was the little miracle he had trouble with, the miracle in his own life. Even though God had done a similar thing in Sarah and Hannah and Rebekah and Rachel, Zacharias refused to believe his wife, Elisabeth could bear a child.

He did something we often do. We believe in the big things of God—sending a son to be our Savior, Creation, Heaven—but when it comes to littler miracles, we limit Him. It's as if we say, Yes, God can create the earth in six days, be born of a baby, and send us to Heaven, but He can't possibly change me, fix a relationship, get me a job.

And God's answer is Yes I can. You see, the biggest miracle has already been done—Jesus. Everything else is small to God.

So maybe today, like Zacharias, you're letting God know that there is something too big for Him. Something even He can't fix.

And the story of Zacharias tells us that there is nothing too hard and that God is still in the business of doing miracles. Even in your own life.

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Standing Strong Through the Storm - December 30

HAS GOD FORGOTTEN HIS CHILDREN?

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:1-2

If any believers can identify with this cry of David, it is those in North Korea. Today we hear from our co-worker, Jan Vermeer:

Looking at the desperate condition of the scattered North Korean church is a test of faith. Was the church meant to be underground or to be a bold witness? Should the name of Jesus Christ be proclaimed or whispered in silence? And if Jesus is King, why doesn’t He come to the rescue of his followers? Why do hundreds or even thousands perish in prisons or death camps each year?

An Open Doors contact in North Korea talks about their prayer meetings. “If you could attend one of those rare prayer meetings, your hearts would break,” he says. “We cover the portraits of the leaders on the wall and then we kneel down in a circle. We pray for strength and endurance. We pray that God will keep our country. ‘Father,’ we say, ‘The Israelites sinned and you made them wander in the wilderness for forty years. But for us, Lord, after more than fifty years we are still being punished. However, we have sinned and You are just. We bowed before the idols of Kim Il-Sung and before that to the idols of the Japanese. Forgive us. Please Father; restore the churches of past times in North Korea.’”

Feeling that sense of guilt in the North Korean believers is utterly painful. It makes you cry out with them the words of David, “How long, oh Lord? Will you forget me forever?” It’s a heartfelt cry, but is it the truth? Has God forgotten His children in North Korea? For that answer we have to investigate the spiritual life of North Korean Christians.

The Open Doors contact adds, “If you do that, you’ll find North Korean Christians are very mature. They know how to approach unbelievers and how to train new Christians, including their children once they are old enough. The Christians don’t mind to be tested. In fact, they are determined to sacrifice themselves for the Kingdom of God. They see trials as purifying.”

North Korean Christians know that when they pray earnestly, God will answer. The contact continues, “Whenever we do a project with Open Doors, first we fast for seven, sometimes ten days. Only when God tells us separately that we can continue with the project do we give the green light and carry out the project. Sometimes we have a very vivid dream in which God tells us what to do and sometimes we all just feel exactly the same about the project. Our believers are bolder and stronger than before, even though the persecution is also stronger.”

Where people love and follow Jesus, there is always hope!

RESPONSE: Today I bask in the sunshine of this hope. God does not ever forget His children!

PRAYER: Pray today for isolated believers in North Korea who do not have the warmth of Christian fellowship and group prayer.

A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks

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How Close Can You Get, and Miss it All - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 28

How Close Can You Get - And Miss it All

The saddest story of Christmas is how those closest to Christ's birth completely missed that first Christmas; and that tragedy has continued to this day. You can be so close and yet so far away!

The real purpose of Christmas was shown by God at Christ's birth, God confronted the world with the only gift everyone really needs.

Christmas is about the gift no one seeks but everyone needs.

God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to save lost people from their sins.

God came to provide the only gift that everyone absolutely, critically needs—the substitutionary death of His Son, who came to meet our critical, eternal-life-threatening need prompted by our sins.

So the gift of Christmas is Christ's work of salvation. That gift involves meeting the critical needs each of us have in our lost, sinful and fallen condition.

Today as we continue to see those elements of salvation that Christ's birth has brought, we do so by asking the question, "How close can someone get to Christ and His gift of Christmas and not be saved?"

The answer is sadly that you can get very close. Missing Jesus and His salvation is seen most vividly in the story of Christmas. Those closest to the coming of Christ were most untouched by it! In both Luke and Matthew's record we find that you can grow up in the shadow of God's Temple, hear God's Word every day of your life, meet the Wise men themselves, explain the Old Testament to them—and still miss everything, if it is not inside your heart and mind.

ACQUAINTANCE vs. KNOWLEDGE

Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus came to save us from sin and live within us. Beware of getting so close in every way—but in your heart, to Christ. Beware of being acquainted with Christ but never knowing Him. Webster's Dictionary says that knowledge has three levels: recognition, acquaintance, and experience. Knowing Christ means a personal experience of His grace that leads us to partake of His salvation.

How close can you get to Jesus and still be too far away? That is what the religious leaders of Christ's day demonstrate to us this Christmas. So close they got, and yet so far away they remained. It is possible to be as close as them, and yet miss all that Christ and Christmas have to offer.

Matthew 2 and Luke 1 introduce us the chief priests and scribes, with daily immersion in the Scriptures, endless hours of singing and serving, and constant exposure to all that God had left to point to Him and His salvation—they only held God's Word externally—never in their wills and souls. God was only near in their mouths—and not in their hearts.

Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus came to save us from sin and live within us. Beware of getting so close in every way—but in your heart, to Christ. Beware of being acquainted with Christ but never knowing Him.


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Living for Christ the Rest of the Year - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 27

Living for Christ the Rest of the Year

And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever."

Luke 1:46-55

It's always a little sad, isn't it? Christmas is over, and soon decorations will come down and be put away in boxes for the next 11 months. It's like we experience this feel-good high that crashes to the ground.

Unfortunately, that's the way many live the spiritual life, just waiting for the next big event so they can get their feel-good fix. But Mary's first Christmas was anything but feel-good.

Mary sang and praised God for the same reasons that we ought to be singing every day of the year: She sang because of her salvation. Mary knew the challenges that were on the horizon and was getting ready to face some severe scrutiny for turning up pregnant and unwed! And never mind the anguish she was going to cause her family, who would be forced to disown her or face the same rejection.

True praise isn't grounded in your circumstances. So as you unwind from Christmas, don't just settle back into business as usual. Take something special from this Christmas like a better appreciation of who Christ is and what he did. Because while you may celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, you should experience the life of Christ every day as he lives through you.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SHOULDN'T BE BASED ON FEEL-GOOD EVENTS BUT ON YOUR DAILY RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.

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A Christmas Prayer for the Merry... and Not-So-Merry - Christmas Devotional - Dec.25

Proverbs 31 Ministries

A Christmas Prayer for the Merry ... and Not-So-Merry

"But the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!'" Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

Editor's Note: Today, and always, we pray you experience God's love through the gift of His Son, Jesus. We wish you a very Merry Christmas! From your friends at Proverbs 31 Ministries.
Father God,

We thank You and praise You today for the miracle of Your Son's birth. Thank You for bringing great JOY to the whole world!

Thank You for giving us the assurance that because You came to us in the form of a human, we who believe in Jesus can know with absolute certainty that we'll spend eternity with You.

We thank You, Lord, for the many reasons we have been given a merry Christmas. And we rejoice for each blessing. New life. New love. A home. A job. New opportunities. Second chances. And more.

We know, Lord, that You bring the sun and the moon and set the stars in motion. You tell the ocean where to stop and the snow when to start. And we thank You for the mighty gift of Your creation.

Thank You, Father, for spiritual leaders and faith-filled friends who keep encouraging us when we are close to giving up.

And although we have many reasons to rejoice today, Lord, we also know December 25th can be not-so-merry for a whole host of reasons. We pray for those who are experiencing loss this Christmas: relational, financial, spiritual and physical.

We pray for those who are coping with loving a prodigal and our friends and family members whose hearts are far from You. We pray for those dealing with unemployment and addictions and chronic sickness ... and unending pain and frustrations of all kinds. Thank You, Lord, that You are The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, even in the midst of our not-so-merry circumstances.

Finally, Lord, we ask You to grant us peace. Peace in our homes, peace in our churches, and peace in our hearts, when the world all around us spins out-of-control.

Help us to stay focused on You, this Christmastime and always. Thank You for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, so that we might truly have a very merry Christmas.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

John 3:16, "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (NLT)

Luke 2:10, "But the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.'" (NLT)

1 John 5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (NIV)

Psalm 95:1-2, "Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song." (NIV)

Job 38:8-11, "Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? For I locked it behind barred gates, limiting its shores. I said, 'This far and no farther will you come. Here your proud waves must stop!'" (NLT)

Psalm 72:12-14, "He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him." (NLT)
Isaiah 9:6, "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." (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:23, "Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again." (NLT)

Prayer by Steph Raquel.


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How You Can Have 'A Wonderful Life' - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 23

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27

One thing I love about this time of year is the traditions we have in our family. One of them is sitting down to watch the Jimmy Stewart movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. You may have seen it, but it’s about this fellow named George Bailey who grows up in a small town and has great dreams and aspirations of seeing the world and making lots of money.

But through a series of circumstances that he couldn’t control, George never could get out of that little one-horse town. Every time he tried, something happened to keep him there. And to top it off, through a mistake one day it appeared that he would be sent to jail.

He was ready to end it all when an angel came to show him what the world would be like if he’d never been born. And George Bailey came to understand that even though he didn’t get to achieve his dreams, he did have a wonderful life that impacted many more people than he realized.

I’m convinced there is a little George Bailey in all of us. We want to achieve significance on a huge scale and often forget the small ways that our lives have deeply impacted those around us. Thank God for where He’s placed you and the people you’ve been able to impact. And one day when you meet the Lord, you’ll realize you really did have a wonderful life.

THANK GOD FOR THE LIFE YOU’RE LIVING AND IMPACT OTHERS HE’S PLACED AROUND YOU!


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The Christmas Tree - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 21

THE

CHRISTMAS TREE

I KNOW WHO I AM

I am God's child. (John 1:12)

I am Christ's friend. (John 15:15)

I am united with the Lord. (1 Cor. 6:17)

I am bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)


I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)

I am the salt & light of the earth. (Matt. 5:13-14)

I am a member of the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:27)


I am free forever from condemnation. ( Rom. 8: 1-2)

I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant. (Phil. 3:20)

I am free from any charge against me. (Rom. 8:31 -34)

I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)

I have access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 2:18)


I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 2:6)


I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Rom. 8:35-39)

I am established, anointed, sealed by God. (2 Cor. 1:21- 22)

I am assured all things work together for good. (Rom. 8: 28)


I have been chosen & appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)


I belong to God


And that is who He says I am. How about you?

“The LORD bless you and keep you;


the LORD make His face shine upon you

and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn His face toward you


and give you peace…”

Numbers 6:24-26

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM HOMEWORD!


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The Strains of Christmas - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 20

by John UpChurch

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)

Christmas at my house meant preparing for the worst. The worst didn’t always come, but you couldn’t be too careful.

You see, the thing about holidays is that people tend to be together, pushed into the same room by tradition and baked turkey. My family spent most of the year avoiding such things, as we hurried off to school or work, buried ourselves in music and books, and generally enjoyed the comfort of a closed door.

We could usually navigate the raging Scylla and Charybdis of Thanksgiving because it only meant a day together before we scattered again. But while we chewed stuffing, my father would chew on his disappointment over his life and his family. My older brothers would try not to notice. The tryptophan made us all too sleepy for much more—at least, that’s what I like to think.

But then Christmas came lumbering into the UpChurch household with all its vacation days. We had too much time off, and too many unspoken issues. We were like a pot of boiling potatoes with the water sloshing out on the stove. There’d be some sizzling over a lack of job, a splash or two over how much something cost, and then boom… the lid blew off.

An hour and two new holes in the wall later, we surveyed the wreckage of the yuletide cheer. My brothers would fume back into the basement, my father would escape to his computer, and my mom would try to figure out what to do. Usually, the anger just sunk back into the pot for another year.

When I moved out of my house, it took years for Christmas to reclaim its festive atmosphere. Even when the war ended, the shellshock didn’t. There were too many things unsaid, too many things not dealt with. The embers of home-fought battles wouldn’t die down.

Then, Christ.

Describing salvation couldn’t be better summed up than in those two words set apart in their own paragraph: then, Christ. There was no choir of angels singing (audibly to me, at least) or a special star shining light down on my apartment, but it was a moment that clearly separates time into two epochs. That separation is for both BC/AD and OJ/NJ—Old John and New John.

As this New John, though, I noticed something that might as well have been as miraculous as angels breaking out the tunes over my head. When Christmas came, the dread didn’t. I’d plucked the Christ off Christmas, and the mass didn’t seem so heavy. In fact, I even looked forward to it.

No, the tension didn’t suddenly melt away. The tempers weren’t all snuffed out. There were still moments that stretched tightly across our gatherings. But I now knew something just slightly flip-the-world-upside-down, mind-blowingly awesome: A baby, born poor and away from home, had taken the worst this world had to offer. A king wanted Him dead, and His country had no place for Him. But still He came… for me.

For you.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Christmas has no shortage of strains. It’s a holiday that seems perfectly designed for stress—at least, in the way we Westerners celebrate. Family tension has a way of bubbling up with the egg nog, and old arguments never seem to die.

But my prayer is that you aren’t afraid to face the day, and not just face it, but be filled with the mystery of it all. Here is a day to remember our God adding humanity to deity and giving up the sweet spot in heaven to plop Himself into our world. He came because He didn’t hold our sin against us; He wanted to hold it for us.

And when you keep that perspective, family arguments and stress suddenly seem trivial amid the menagerie of hams and yams and red velvet cakes.


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The Origin of Christmas - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 18

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. --Luke 2:11

When Pope Julius I declared December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today? And when Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in American in 1832, who would have ever thought that decorations would become as glamorous as they are today?

Even before these two events that shaped what Christmas means today for most, there was a bright, special star that lit the dark night thousands of years ago letting the world know that Jesus the King was born. Usually, we don't celebrate historical figures as children, but in the case of Christ, it is appropriate.

When Christ was born, shepherds came to honor Him, wise men from the East brought Him gifts, and the earth rejoiced at His birth. These people who came to worship Him had no idea what Christ would accomplish as an adult. But they were right in traveling to worship the King because His birth was the most remarkable event in human history. Wise men and women today worship not only the Child of Bethlehem, but the Christ of Calvary.

As we approach the holiday season again, we are faced with yet another opportunity to pause in the midst of all the excitement, decorations, and commercialization, to consider again the origin of Christmas--the One whose birth we celebrate. Let's not forget the true meaning of why we celebrate during this time of year. Celebrate the baby Jesus and trust Him as Savior today.

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Thank God for sending His Son that glorious night to be born of a virgin, live a perfect life, die on the cross for your sins, and rise from the dead three days later to give you eternal life through Him.


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Forgive Us Our Christmases - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 16

Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).

Friend to Friend
Once upon a time, a little girl named Mary Beth found herself caught in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity, all of which seemed to be coming to a head on Christmas Eve. Her dad was always scurrying about, loaded down with bundles and burdens. Her mom, under the pressure of getting ready for the great occasion, had succumbed to tears several times during the day. The little girl tried to help her weary parents, but always found that she was in the way.

“Not now, Mary Beth! Can’t you see I’m busy!” her parents would say.

Finally, near tears herself, she was hustled off to bed. There kneeling to pray the Lord’s Prayer, her heart and tongue became intertwined, “Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us.”

Perhaps Mary Beth’s prayer was not such a great mistake after all. Many times we leave Christ out of Christmas. Many times our Christmas spirit is not of good will but of exhaustion, causing us to trample on our loved ones’ feelings. And many times we are so busy planning the birthday celebration that we forget to invite the guest of honor.

Imagine for a moment, that you have never heard the Christmas story and you visit a shopping mall on December 22. You listen to the music being played over the intercom system and eavesdrop on a few shoppers’ conversations. Next, you stop by a greeting card shop and browse through the rows and rows of red and green envelopes with cards sporting colorful and comical messages. Window displays grab your attention, enticing you with promises of low prices for the last minute shoppers. Stress laden faces rush by carrying stacks of boxes in various shapes and sizes. What conclusions would you draw about the event that culminates on December 25?

Much has changed since the God of the universe decorated the night sky with the star of Bethlehem and directed the choir of angels in a chorus announcing the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. But the commercialism doesn’t have to rule in our hearts and homes. This year, let’s focus on the Christ Child and remember the true meaning of the holiday season. As we turn our eyes to the Babe in the manger, we will not view Christmas as a dreaded obligation or a major retail event. It will be a time of joyous celebration, honoring the One Who came to give us eternal life and worshipping our Heavenly Father.

Let’s focus on celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas!

Let’s Pray

Dear God, sometimes I get too caught in the Christmas commercialism. OK, a lot of times. Today, I’m going to refocus my heart and remember why I’m celebrating this wonderful day in the first place. I’m celebrating Jesus today…and every day!
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What stirs in your heart when you see how retailers are trying to cash in on Christmas?

What do you think Jesus would say about all that?


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I'll be Home for Christmas - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 13

by Alex Crain

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

Recently, I got my parent’s old Christmas records out of storage and began making mp3 files of them so that we could play them again around the Christmas holidays. Bing Crosby’s classic rendition of "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" came on. Its melancholy sound filled the air.

I pictured the war-weary allied troops hearing this song the year it was recorded in 1943, listening to it on their radios at night, spellbound by the sound; longing to be back at home with their loved ones.

I'll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe, and presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me, where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas… if only in my dreams.

Does any other version of the song capture the sense of sadness to the same degree that he did?

Believers in Christ are soldiers engaged in war (Ephesians 6:10). And deep within us there is a longing that nothing can suppress. We want to be home. It’s great to know that we are on the winning side, but we often get weary of the fight.

Hebrews 13:14 encourages us to remember and find strength in the fact that “we seek the city that is to come.” It’s a losing battle to pursue lasting satisfaction in this life. The words "Here we have no lasting city" drive us to only source of contentment: the promise that Christ is always with me (Matthew 28:20) and that He’s bringing me home to a place where love, joy, and satisfaction never end.

Intersecting Faith and Life: In the words of author, Randy Alcorn, "Things won't always take a better turn on an Earth that is under the curse. Sickness, loss, grief, and death will find us. Just as our reward will come in Heaven, laughter (itself one of our rewards) will come in Heaven."

Further Reading
The Christmas Bible Reading Plan
Heaven: Home of Laughter

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Christmas Lights - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 10

by Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

When I was still a child living in Illinois, my father drafted me into his yearly Christmas decorating. Every December, with the snow heavy on the ground, the two of us would bundle up and tramp outside to begin putting up the Christmas lights. I hated putting up Christmas lights. The process always took forever, robbing me of my well-deserved break from school. To make matters worse, my father had a fondness for those icicle-styled lights that were supposed to drip down from the rooftop in merry "winter-wonderland" fashion.

Except the high winds always blew the strands of light up into the gutters, so once again we would have to go outside and set them right. It got to the point where I would do anything to avoid putting up Christmas lights. I hid, I threw tantrums, I’d sulk, and eventually my father decided dealing with both me and lights was too much work and set me free. Looking back now, I regret how short-sighted I was. I was so upset at having to do a few hours' work that I never realized how beautiful our house looked when it was all lit up, or how fulfilling it was to know I had helped my father make it that way.

It’s funny how our Christian walk can mirror the experience of setting up holiday decorations. At times it can be difficult, and we can resent what we believe we're being denied, but take a look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Life offers us plenty of easy roads, and when it comes to living out the Christian life, these paths can be especially tempting. The world will tell us to go with the flow of the current of culture, to follow the past of least resistance, but God calls us to do differently. Christians are meant to reflect Christ’s glory on Earth, and this cannot be done without hard work, sacrifice, and grace. So whether you serve God through ministry, or simply through your everyday life, remember to live in a way deserving of the prize.

Intersecting Faith and Life: Consider whether you are running in such a way as to win the prize.

Further Reading

Matthew 6:19-21



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Keeping it Simple - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 9

Melanie Chitwood

"…his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Devotion:
My excuses for not decorating my home, not cooking a big meal on Christmas day, and not shopping till I dropped were valid ones. Our new business would be opening two weeks after Christmas, and I was working furiously to meet a book deadline. My husband and I had more to do than we had hours in the day.

When December approached, my neck stiffened and my heart skipped beats as I anticipated the stress more activities would bring to our already overstuffed lives. The thought of more clutter, even my favorite Christmas decorations, in our topsy-turvy home with all the undone laundry and crowded kitchen counters about sent me over the edge. So I began to think about how we could eliminate some stress to have a peaceful Christmas.

"Keep it simple" became my catchphrase. With my family's assurance they'd join me with the simple Christmas idea, I gave myself permission not to do it all. I wouldn't say yes to every invitation or fill the calendar every night, and I didn't even send the annual Christmas photo and newsletter. These choices brought me a large measure of peace.

Each family member named some traditions they wanted to keep. We included a live Christmas tree, a wreath on the front door, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, Christmas Eve church service, limited gifts, helping with a toy drive, favorite Christmas movies, and a few get-togethers with good friends. Being more selective about our Christmas traditions brought us less stress and more peace. In addition, because we weren't caught up in the seasonal frenzy, the activities we did include became more meaningful. We were able to focus on what really mattered: time with our family and hearts centered on the birth of Christ.

At the end of Christmas day we agreed that despite the stressors of a new business and meeting my deadline, and despite giving up some of our usual Christmas activities, we hadn't missed out on a thing. Simplicity had given us breathing room and fresh hearts to celebrate the Prince of Peace.

Dear Lord, don't let us miss You this Christmas season. Help us to simplify our activities and traditions so we can focus our celebration on Your birth. Thank You for being the Prince of Peace, and I ask You for that supernatural peace to reign in our hearts. Thank You for the simple but life-changing message of Your love for us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know the Prince of Peace?

Pair Melanie's books as a Christmas gift! What a Husband Needs from His Wife and What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

A Recipe for Christmas Joy (E-book) by Marybeth Whalen

"A Simple Christmas" - Our "free" feature article from The P31 Woman magazine (December 2010 issue)

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The Thrill of Hope - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 7

Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Managing Editor

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

"A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn." ~~ O Holy Night

Does Christmas thrill you?

Children get excited at the coming of the season, and often we might feel a bit of a charge through experiencing their amazement, but the chores we go through to provide that for them are often the very things that rob us from knowing the wonder for ourselves. Plan the party, trim the tree, max out the MasterCard, wrap, ship, take a trip. And that's assuming we aren't one of the multitudes who find themselves with a case of the Holiday Blues.

So if Christ's coming into this world offers hope, and hope, as the song says, provides a thrill, how do we locate that experience amid the distraction and disillusionment of December?

Well that's the cool thing about Hope. Just as total darkness can't hold back the light of a tiny flame, so does even the smallest increment of Hope provide joy and purpose.

Here are a few scriptures I've been mulling over on the subject:

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).


Notice the parallel between "things hoped for" and "things not seen." Talk about a paradox; try applying "assurance" to something your five senses can't detect. It's a challenge. The plus side is that hope, through Christ, is available to you no matter what you see, hear, or feel. It's above your circumstances.

"We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance [brings about]proven character; and proven character [brings about] hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:3-5).


Do you ever hear people say, "I don't want to get my hopes up" because they're afraid of being disappointed? What would you make of Paul's claim that "hope does not disappoint"? Might the disconnect have something to do with what we're hoping for or expecting? Max Lucado thinks so:

"Hope is not what you'd expect; it is what you would never dream. It is a wild, improbable tale with a pinch-me-I'm-dreaming ending… Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no, it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction."[1]

"Love… hopes all things…but now abide faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:7,13).


Ever wonder why faith, hope, and love are the greatest virtues, and apparently in that order?

Maybe hope isn't actually something we do, but something we receive, like grace. If it's true that "without faith it is impossible for us to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6), perhaps it's conversely true that without Hope it would be impossible for Him to please us. The same verse says that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Is hope that reward?

I mean, if faith is what we give to God, and hope is what He gives to us, then we have the dynamic of a relationship. With that in place, we can love. So love is built on hope, which is built on faith.

For hope to exist, unfortunately it looks like there has to be hopelessness first. A perfect world wouldn't have any need of hope. Deliverance arrives undeservedly and perhaps unexpectedly, just as in the unlikely way God came to earth to provide a once-and-for-all substitute for the sins of all men on the first Christmas. That's why things can look bleak, but that's where hope lives.

The good news is: you simply can't hope big enough, which goes back to the idea of our minds and senses being inadequate to judge God's design and methods, and hope being more a function of God's involvement than our desires. I readily acknowledge I could not have conceived of the plan of salvation or the virgin birth. I couldn't have imagined the plan for the walls of Jericho to crumble, for hungry lions to turn into Daniel's pet kittens, or the Red Sea to part and offer up dry land. So neither do I know how my problems will be solved, or what miracles I'll be blessed to see this Christmas.

Isaiah 9:6-7 concerns the hope of the prophecy being fulfilled that brought us a "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace." The last sentence of verse seven says it's "the zeal of the Lord" that will accomplish this. God is excited! He's zealous (enthusiastic, passionate, obsessive even) to bring us this hope!

Romans 15:13 is my Christmas prayer: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Why is there hope? Because Jesus was born. O holy night. What a thrill. God is at work.

[1] From God Came Near, page 89

Intersecting Faith & Life: What does hope out of despair look like? There are lots of examples in any Christian's life, but in terms of contemporary cinema, I know of no better example than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Go back and watch those movies again over the holidays, keeping an eye out for allusions to hope and hopelessness.

Further Reading

Isaiah 9:6-7
The Promises of God

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A Homerun Christmas Gift - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 6

A HOMERUN CHRISTMAS GIFT

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4

The Christmas season is here! It is time to pull out the shopping list and find the perfect gifts for those special people in your life.

I remember one of the best Christmas days we ever had as a family. My wife, Debbie, loves gifts. It is one of her love languages. I don't speak that language too well, so communication on that end has not been stellar over the years. But this one Christmas several years ago, I jacked it out of the park.

When Debbie's mom died, Debbie was given all her jewelry. Debbie's mom had redone her wedding ring some years earlier, taken the diamonds out of her original set and placed in another ring. Debbie never liked the new arrangement. She had mentioned a time or two about her desire to restore the original wedding set. So, as a surprise to Debbie, I had the original wedding ring redone. It looked GORGEOUS and had so much sentimental value to her. When she opened the box and saw that ring, she began crying big tears of joy. (Then I started crying, and the girls started crying, but they were good tears.) It was the perfect gift for Debbie. I was so thrilled that I blessed her heart with something so special.

THE PERFECT GIFT FOR JESUS

Wouldn't it be awesome to give Jesus a gift this Christmas that would bring great joy to His heart? Did you know that special gift is out there? It is within reach of every single one of us.

John said, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth" (3 John 1:4). The thing that rejoices the great heart of God is not diamonds or gold (remember that He paves the streets of heaven with gold), but simple obedience to Him. Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me" (John 14:21). Walking in the truth shows God you really love Him, and that brings Him great joy!

I believe the key to walking in the truth is to walk honestly and humbly before the Lord. God is not looking for sinless perfection from you or me. That is a good thing, since you and I cannot live a life of sinless perfection. What God is looking for is openness and honesty before Him. When we mess up, He wants us to fess up. God hates it when we cover up. He cannot work in a heart that is full of cover up. Proverbs 28:13 tells us, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."

This Christmas season make it your goal to give to God what He really wants - to see you walking in the truth. Take Him at His Word and start doing what He says. It is a home run gift for God this Christmas and every day following.

Love,

Jeff Schreve
Pastor

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Celebration Time - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 4

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’”

Luke 2:9-11 KJV

EXPLORATION

“Celebration Time -- Heaven’s Glory Comes to Earth”

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
Charles Dickens

What emotions fill my heart this Christmas season?

How and where will I look for God’s glory to fill the earth?

“O the strength of infant weakness, if eternal is so young.
God all-bounteous, all creative,
Whom no ills from good dissuade,
Is incarnate and a native:
Of the very world He made.”
Christopher Smart

INSPIRATION

“Glory” – “Great honor, praise and distinction, reflecting the splendor and perfect happiness of heaven.”

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
Isaiah 6: 3
K.J.V.

Here at Transformation Garden we are studying about the lives of all the women in the Bible from beginning to end – Genesis to Revelation. Every time we come to a story about a woman, named or unnamed, we stop and study and dig into the Biblical truth about her life.

However, for the next few weeks, I want to divert from our regular studies on the lives of women instead focus instead on devotional messages which tell of heaven’s gift of Jesus to this earth.

Every year, the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on a holiday we call Christmas. Amid all the glitter and tinsel, it is easy for our vision to become distracted from the real meaning of this annual celebration.

And so I want to look at the gift of Jesus Christ which we have been given and the eternal blessings this gift has brought into your life and mine.

This has been a very tough year for all of us. The financial world has continued to implode in ways few of us could ever have imagined. For many of us, our health has continued to challenge us on a daily basis. Many individuals have suffered the loss of a job and this situation has left so many adrift. While for others, the loss of a loved one has blanketed you in inconsolable grief. Sadly, 2010 has been a harsh year, as you may well attest to.

This is why I feel so impressed to bring you some good news as the year draws to a close.

While shepherds were in the field watching their sheep, nearly 2000 years ago, the Bible says the angel of the Lord appeared. This was an unexpected event, and the response of the shepherds was absolutely normal. We are told they were, “afraid.” As I read this text, I thought about how normal it is to be afraid today. I find myself afraid at times and I’m certain you do, too!

But I have to tell you, my fear completely lifted as I read the words of the prophet Isaiah which encourages us with the reminder that, “The whole earth is full of the glory of the Lord” (Isaiah 6: 3).

So often, the reason I am afraid is that I forget to recognize that Christ my Lord is filling every corner of this earth with His glory – all I need to do is look for it. And it is my prayer, that amid the continual sounds of Christmas bells and sights of holly-filled windows and jolly Santas, your eyes and mine will see clearly the glory – the splendor of heaven’s unlimited and unending gift of love to this earth, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our Affirmation today comes from the words of a very familiar Christmas carol, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear. But I hope as you sing or hum this tune, the words to this song will help you reflect on God’s gift of glory to each one of us.

AFFIRMATION

“It Came Upon The Midnight Clear”

“It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing.
And ever o’er its Babel-sounds
The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And warring humankind hears not
The tidings which they bring
O hush the noise and cease your strife
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! The days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.”

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@Transformationgarden.com


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Whose Birthday is it Anyway? - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 3

WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT, ANYWAY?

There was once a land that was backward. Everything was switched, everything seemed just a little off-kilter. In this place, the children didn't play football, they played knee-ball. Kids did not go to schools; teachers went to homes. In this unusual place, trees and flowers bloomed in the winter, and lakes froze in the summer. And in this place, a little guy named Jason had a birthday.

His grandparents came, but he never saw them. His mother baked a birthday cake, but she gave it to the mailman. All of Jason's friends gave presents to each other—not to Jason—in honor of Jason's day. Finally, he'd had all he could take. Jason got a megaphone, got on his bike, and rode through the main street of town, saying, "Whose birthday is it, anyway? Whose birthday is it, anyway?"

Some folks miss the point of Christmas. Oh, decorations are displayed. Parties are attended. Gifts are bought and exchanged. But somehow it never dawns on them that it is someone's birthday. And that someone is Jesus Christ. How about you? Have you missed Christmas because you've missed Jesus Christ? He is God's gift to you. Jesus Christ the Savior came to forgive us and cleanse us of all our sin. Have you received Him? And if you know whose birthday it is, what gift do you have for Him this Christmas? Does the One who has everything have your heart? Why not give Him that?

MEMORY VERSE

Matthew 1:21

…She shall bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.

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The Christmas Plan - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 2

Christmas was required in God’s plan because the righteous life he requires was not attained by Adam or any of his fallen descendants. God, prompted by grace, chose to fulfill the holy human standard himself. The incarnate Deity chose to live the life we should have lived – the perfect childhood, the spotless teenage years and the righteous adult life.

Had we been able to present to the Father the righteous life he requires so that we could perfectly enjoy his presence and his presents, God would not have needed to become a man and live among us. But we couldn’t, so he did. Were it only our sins that needed a payment, Christ could have arrived on the day of his crucifixion. But our deficiencies were more than our acts of transgression (doing the things we shouldn’t do), our problems included the “Romans 3:23” (failing to do the things we should do).

It is with gratitude that we celebrate his advent as an infant, because we know that as our sins were atoned for on the cross, so it was that all our human deficits began to be rectified by one perfectly-lived life starting that very night in Bethlehem.

-- Pastor Mike

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The Grinch - Christmas Devotional - Dec. 1

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, "God with us".
Matthew 1:23

Are you a Grinch around Christmastime or do you know a Grinch? Maybe these words of Dr. Seuss sound familiar:

"Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot..."

"But the Grinch,
Who lived just north of Who-ville,
Did NOT!"

"For,
Tomorrow, he knew...
...All the Who girls and boys
Would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise

That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!"

Now I'm a Who at heart—I love Christmas, but I can certainly relate to the Grinch. Sometimes there's so much noise around Christmas, you begin to think Christmas is about the noise…and friend, that will make you Grinchy every time! When that happens, remember the Grinch's wise discovery:

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."

"Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!"

What does Christmas mean to you? Can you get past all the noise and consider what it meant for Jesus to come to earth as a babe in a manger?

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/chr
istmas-devotionals/


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Under the Influence of Love - Christmas Devotional - Nov. 29

by Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Matthew 5:43-44 NIV "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Friend To Friend

Dan and I once lived in a neighborhood of predominantly retired people who became surrogate grandparents, aunts and uncles for our two children since both of our families lived several states away. The one exception was the older couple that lived behind us. They complained about almost everything we did. Our kids were too loud. Our dog barked too much. Our garbage can was six inches over their property line. It was not unusual to find cryptic notes and warnings taped to our front door or wedged under the windshield wipers of our car. I not only considered them to be sandpaper people, I thought of them as a nuisance. In dealing with these neighbors, our children taught me an important lesson about the power of identifying and meeting a need in the life of a sandpaper person.

The Southerlands have many family Christmas traditions. When our two children, Jered and Danna, were young, we made Christmas cards for special friends and family members. Since we lived in South Florida, cold weather rarely ushered in the holiday season and I could not get past the idea that when Christmas rolled around, the grass was supposed to be brown - not bright green, and the climate was supposed to be cold - not hot and humid. Our solution was to turn the air conditioner on and lower the temperature until the house was cold enough to turn on the gas fireplace. We listened to Christmas music while baking sugar cookies and making our special Christmas cards. In the midst of one of those Hallmark moments, Jered, looked up at me and said, "Mom, are we going to make them a Christmas card?" I had an idea who them was but desperately hoped I was wrong. I wasn't. "You know, Mom, the Smiths," Jered explained.

Being the spiritual giant that I am, I responded, "Son, why would you want to make them a Christmas card? They are mean!" How is that for loving your neighbor? But the Smiths had complained about something we were doing wrong almost every day that week, and I had just about reached the end of any patience I had ever had with them. "But Mom, I never see any kids at their house. Nobody ever comes to visit them and they don't even have a dog," Jered insisted. We made Christmas cards for the Smiths.

When the kids wanted to deliver those cards, I suggested that they wait until their dad came home so he could get in on the fun. I know. I am evil. Nope! Those cards had to be delivered immediately. I was clearly outnumbered. As we headed out the door, Danna yelled, "Wait! I forgot the books!" Okay. I was clueless. Why in the world would we need books? With a sigh of exasperation, Danna said, "Because they might want to read to us, Mom!" She didn't say it, but I could hear the silent "duh."

Books and cards in hand, we once again headed out the door when Jered suggested, "Mom, we should take them some of the cookies we made." Now that was asking too much! My sugar cookies are a "must" for every special holiday and considered by many to be "scrumptious." And now my children wanted to waste some of those precious cookies on people who would probably toss them in the garbage.

However, the silent plea of our son's blue eyes persuaded me to add a Christmas tin of my delicious sugar cookies to our quickly growing stack of nice things to take to people who were definitely not nice. With every step, I prayed that the Smiths would not be home. I rang the doorbell and after a whole thirty seconds, turned to Jered and Danna and said, "Too bad! They are not home. We can come back later." At that precise moment, Mr. Smith opened the door and barked, "What do you people want?" I could see the headline, "Pastor's Wife Arrested in Neighborhood Disturbance." It was one thing to be mean to me, but when someone is mean to my kids - well, let's just say it isn't pretty.

As I counted to ten for the second time, Jered thrust the Christmas cards into the man's hands and said, "We made you something and it's free!" No way! It was not possible! I thought I saw the beginning of a smile on Mr. Smith's face. Danna chose that particular moment to hand Mr. Smith the cookies. "And these are for your mother," she said, her big, brown eyes sparkling with excitement. Great! With six words, my daughter had just aged Mrs. Smith by twenty years.

And then it happened. Mr. Smith smiled, stepped back into the house and called, "Mother, we have company." For two hours, the Smiths read books, ate sugar cookies and raved about the beautiful cards the kids had made. When we finally left, Mr. Smith said, "Such lovely children. You should have more!" Mrs. Smith hugged the kids and asked, "Why didn't you bring the dog?" I was speechless. And I was ashamed. My heart cried out to God, "Lord, I am so sorry for being so blind to the needs of these people. Please forgive me." But that is not the end of the story.

The Smiths became friends and great neighbors. Weeks later, Mr. Smith had a heart attack and was hospitalized for several days. Dan was able to visit him and share Christ with a man who simply needed someone to recognize the deepest need of his life - and do something about it. Our children led the way and taught me a powerful lesson about the depth and height of God's stubborn love and what can happen when we are under the influence of that love.

Let's Pray

Father, please forgive me for refusing to love the sandpaper people in my life. Right now, I choose to let Your love flow through me as I deal with difficult people. Let me see them through Your eyes. Show me how I can meet a need in their lives and then give me the wisdom and strength to meet that need.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Ask God to let you see one need in the life of your sandpaper person that you can meet.

Pray for that person and then make a specific plan for meeting that need.

Read and memorize Matthew 5:22-24.

How does this passage of Scripture apply to your difficult relationships?

http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/chr
istmas-devotionals/

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Star - Christmas Devotional - Nov. 28

STAR

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
Matthew 2:10

FROM THE FATHER'S HEART
My child, search for Me daily with as much diligence as the wise men on the night of My birth. My "star" still shines. I still bring hope. I continue to light the way for anyone who seeks to worship Me. And as long as you keep Me on the throne of your life, you won't have to look far to find Me.

A GRATEFUL RESPONSE
In search of the star, I journey far to see my heart's delight. There, all along, in the day or the night, You wait to receive my gifts of praise and adoration. I have seen the light; I have found love wrapped in a manger. You, Lord, will always be the star of my life.

SIMPLE TRUTH

At the center of Christmas is the heart of God.

www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/christ
ma
s-devotionals/



judithscott.wordpress.com/
Team Leader Shining for Jesus
Team Leader God's Amazing Grace
Team Leader God Answers Prayer
Team Leader Partnership Accountability to the Finish Line
Co-Team Leader for I Can Do All Things Through Christ
Team Leader Christians Walking in Faith
Co-Team Leader for Spin Me A Yarn


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