Monday, December 22, 2008

Dec. 23, 2008

The Love of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Zephaniah 1-3 : PM – Revelation 14

Christians’ Love
1 John 3:16-20

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth."

Ken went to Kosova first. With a few other men from his church in which he ministered, Ken spent eight days helping desperate families get enough shelter to survive the fast-approaching winter. Looking back at the badly damaged city as the van took them toward Macedonia and home, Ken wept over the plight of the people and knew he must return to live among them, share their struggles and the truth about God’s love for them.

Ken’s wife, Melody, made the same journey a few weeks later with another group. They delivered necessities and listened with love and compassion to stories of atrocity and despair. God touched Melody’s heart as He had Ken’s. They began the process of seeking missionary appointment, preparing their five children for life in a strange land, and selling their possessions in order to love the people of Kosova. They could not love the Kosovars in words only. Love requires deeds.

Father, during this Christmas season, bless missionaries who minister lovingly to people around the world.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dec. 22, 2008

The Love of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Habakkuk 1-3 : PM – Revelation 13

Christians’ Love
1 John 3:11-15

14 “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death."

Flora Bettis could not believe she had been named Senior Volunteer of the Year by the Oahu chapter of the American Red Cross. “Why would they choose me? This must be some mistake.” There was no mistake. Later she was honored for her volunteerism.

For years, 86 –year-old Flora walked weekly to the hospital to run errands and move patients in wheelchairs. When asked why, she replied, “I love those people; they need help.” When asked why she walked to church several times a week for volunteer work, she said: “I love Jesus and our church. People shouldn’t make a fuss over that.” Ask her about why she collects aluminum cans for mission offerings and she will tell you: “I love all people. This is how I can help them, and helping them keeps me alive and happy.

To everyone who knows Flora, she is one of the most alive and happy persons they know. Love in action is the evidence.

Thank You, Lord, for those who show the love of Jesus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dec. 21, 2008

The Love of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Nahum 1-3 : PM – Revelation 12

God’s Gift
1 John 3:1-3

1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."

Ernest Mosley says, “One of the nicest compliments I received as a child and teenager was ‘You must be Arthur Mosley’s son. Even then my physical characteristics resembled those of my father. But I always hoped the compliments were more about Dad’s character than his physical appearance. Dad, who completed five years of formal education, was respected in the community for his wisdom, genuine, spirituality, integrity, hard work, and love for his family. I wanted to be respected like my dad. Being called Arthur’s son was an honor.”

But even that honor cannot compare with being called “sons of God.” What a gift of love that God should send His Son to pay the price for our sins and receive us as His children. That is why John exclaimed, “What manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us.” What a gift! Rejoice, children of God, for one day we will be like Him.

Lord, help me live so people will recognize me as Your child.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dec. 20, 2008

The Love of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Micah 5-7 : PM – Revelation 11

God’s Motivation
John 3:16-17

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Several years ago I served as interim pastor of a church located about 45 miles from my home. Driving home one Sunday night, my heart filled with joy. God had revealed His love to the church and three young men had responded with saving faith. What did we do to cause God to give us such a gift, such and outpouring of His love? I wondered.

The familiar words of John 3:16 became alive in my mind. God blessed us not because we deserved it, but because He “so loved the world.” He sent “his only begotten Son” to die for us so we can have everlasting life with Him.

Through tears of joy I thought God loved Johnny Nantz so much that He sent the only Son of His perfect nature to the world so that Johnny Nantz could believe in Him and never, ever self-destruct but fully live forever. Perhaps you would like to insert you name in this paraphrased verse.

Thank You, Lord, for Your eternal love.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dec. 19, 2008

The Person of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Micah 3-4 : PM – Revelation 10

The Revealer of Thoughts
Luke 2:34-35

35 “(Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

When our youngest daughter was in college in another state, she plaintively asked, “Do you and Mom know someone everywhere?”

“Yes,” I replied, “and don’t you forget it. I know what you’re up to at all times.” Yeah, right.

Some couples who have been married for a long time seem to know in advance what is in each other’s minds. Spouses complete sentences for each other, fetch an item without being asked, and accept invitations they know the other would enjoy.

Those examples do not match the ability God has to see into our hearts and minds and discern what’s really there. Whether or not a person really loves God will become a revelation for all to see. The coming of Christ will reveal “the thought of many hearts.” And makes obvious who follows Him and who opposes him.

Lord, when my heart is revealed, may I be found to be Your faithful servant.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dec. 18, 2008

The Person of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Micah 1-2 : PM – Revelation 9

Whose Name is Jesus
Luke 2:21

“And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb."

Intellectually, I know that Jesus is a name. Many Spanish-speaking people choose that name for a favorite son (pronounced Hay-soos). A very good baseball player was Jesus Alou. However, the name means something more.

The pastor of a small church conducted an interesting part of the morning service one Sunday. He asked us to recall all the names we knew for the Savior: Counselor, Shepherd, Messiah, Emmanuel, King of kings, Lord, and so on. But one of the first songs many children learn is “Jesus Loves Me.” Recalling names and singing about Jesus stands out as one of my better worship experiences.

Jesus was just another name for a boy in the first century, but God had His reasons for choosing it for His Son. It’s the sweetest name I know!

Lord, just to speak Your name brings blessing and joy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dec. 17, 2008

The Person of Christmas

Read the Bible through:
AM –
Jonah 1-4 : PM – Revelation 8

The Subjection of Good News
Luke 2:13-20

17 “Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child"

A favorite source of conversation is “Where were you when...” Some events are so indelible in our memories they evoke sounds, smells, emotions at their mention. Where were you when Pearl Harbor was bonded?

My guess is that the shepherds talked about the events surrounding Jesus’ birth the rest of their lives. Perhaps they described the scent of grass, sheep, the degree of darkness, and the warmth of their little watch fire. Surely they didn’t leave out their momentary fear when the angel came. This was worth remembering and talking about again and again.

Where were you when you first heard about the Savior? My guess is that you can tell all about it. It’s been worth remembering all the days since.

Lord, help me be a bearer of Your good news.