“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” Revelation 20:12 NIV
Read: Revelation 20:11-15
Is your name in the Bible? I don’t mean do you share the name of a Biblical character. I am asking if you are mentioned in the Bible. Look all you want, but you will not find yourself, your deeds…good or bad…in scripture.
But, there is another book your name may be found. It is called the ‘book of life’. Is your name in the book of life? It should be.
Those who have accepted JESUS as their own personal SAVIOUR will have their names in the book of life. No one can put it there for you. You cannot purchase a spot for your name to be included.
The only way to have GOD put your name in the book of life is to pray and ask JESUS to accept you. Then all your sins, new and old are forgiven and you will spend eternity with your TRIUNE GOD.
If you have not asked JESUS to be your SAVIOUR, today is your day! You cannot afford to wait. If you have given your life to CHRIST, but have not been obedient and faithful in your walk…today is your day as well. On bended knee, ask HIM to forgive you and be refreshed in the SPIRIT.
Today’s prayer: “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for hearing my prayer. I want to be YOUR eternal servant and accept YOU as my forgiving LORD. I am turning from my sinful past and will follow YOU. Hear my prayer. Amen.”
“Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11b NIV
Read: Matthew 2:1-12
Most gathered around their Christmas tree and opened their gifts last night or this morning. There was a lot of excitement and joy as paper and ribbons were torn and thrown to the floor. Many were surprised to receive more than ever expected. Some received all they had wished. Maybe, a few were selfishly disappointed.
In all cases, there should have been one gift left unopened. Whether you had a real unopened gift or not, it is still one gift left to open. If you didn’t have an unopened gift left under the tree, let me invite you to start a new tradition.
Wrap a box in your choice of the prettiest paper. Put on a fancy bow. Make this box the most lovely.
Remember the wise men? They brought JESUS very expensive gifts in order to worship HIM. They did not bring routine gifts, but the very best as worship offerings. Are you worshiping JESUS today or are you celebrating the gifts you opened?
That unopened gift? That is your gift to JESUS. Will it be an empty gift or will you do your best to give JESUS the gift HE deserves from you? Write a check today…a generous gift to JESUS. Put it in the offering plate this morning, make your check payable to your pastor as a personal gift or you can even send it to this ministry to further GOD’S work. Don’t look on it as a tithe or part of your normal donation, but as a Christmas gift to JESUS.
I invite you to wrap that beautiful box each year and put in under your tree in expectation of your gift to your SAVIOUR.
Today’s prayer: “JESUS MY SAVIOUR, Thank YOU for coming to this earth to take on all my sins. Accept my gift for YOU today so others can hear and learn of YOUR message. Amen.”
“Thanks be to God for HIS indescribable GIFT!” 2Corinthians 9:15 NIV
Read: 2Corinthians 9: 6-15
Have you ever received a gift from an unknown giver. No matter how nice, needed or useful the gift may be, there is something missing. What is missing?
The giver is the gift. Think about it. What good is receiving a gift if you can’t appreciate and thank the giver? The giver completes the gift. Knowing who is giving you something and why they are giving it to you allows us to appreciate the gift even more.
During this celebration of our SAVIOUR’S birth, you may receive several gifts. I urge you to keep a mindful balance of all you receive. Too many times we are focused on the gift and not the giver.
There is another gift we may be taking advantage. JESUS is both the gift and the giver. GOD gave us HIS most precious gift…HIS SON…born to die for you and each of us.
Are you preparing to appreciate the most wonderful gift you can ever receive or are you too involved with the ‘holidays’? Are you taking the time to appreciate the GIVER as well as the GIFT? Stop for a moment and prepare yourself for the days to come. Remember to thank the giver and to truly appreciate them. The gift is the giver.
Today’s prayer: ‘GOD MY CREATOR, Thank YOU for sending us YOUR SON as the GIFT I am not deserving. Help me appreciate YOUR GIFT and all the gifts from others this Christmas along with a deep appreciation and thanks to all who have thought of me. Amen.”
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1John 4:7 NIV
Read: 1John 4:7-12
The patient complained to the doctor; “Doctor, I never feel good. Don’t you have a medicine that will make me feel better?” The doctor smiled and said, he had the perfect medicine. “Show someone you love them.” “Who?”, the patient asked. The doctor replied, “Everyone!”. The patient continued, “What if that doesn’t work?” As the doctor was leaving the exam room, he turned back and answered “Double the dose every day until it does!”
Do you feel lonely and tired all the time, some of the time or occasionally? It could be you are not showing enough love to others. Have you showed others the love you have for them? Family members, friends and total strangers are all in need of your love.
Are you showing love to others? Do you need to double the dose every day? Most of us do in one way or another. GOD told us to love others, yet we all too often fall short.
When questioned by the Sadducees as to the greatest commandment, JESUS responded in Mark 12:30-31:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
“…There is no commandment greater than these.” If you didn’t get it the first time, take a double dose.
Today’s prayer: “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for loving me and trusting me to love others. YOU have given me more than a double dose of love. Help me to give others a double dose in return. Amen.”
“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14 NIV
Read: Job 6:14-30
I remember a scene from an old Disney movie. A little boy was proudly describing another boy as his ‘bestus friend in the whole wide world’. As best I can determine, his choice of words came from the old south and probably were taken from the term ”the best of us”. We might say something happens to the best of us in a sad situation. This young man was saying boldly his ‘bestus’ friend was his very best friend above everyone else.
Do you have a ‘bestus’ friend in the whole wide world? I would describe a ‘bestus’ friend as one you could call at 2 a.m. waking them from a deep sleep and they would get dressed and come immediately to your aid.
Of course to have a ‘bestus’ friend, you need to be a ‘bestus’ friend as well. Are you prepared to be a ‘bestus’ friend when called upon? How about being a ‘bestus’ friend even when you are not asked? Being a ‘bestus’ friend without ever being asked describes a person of great integrity.
Shouldn’t we treat everyone with such integrity? Even a total stranger needs a ‘bestus’ friend at one time or another. Being a ‘bestus’ friend should be the right thing to do without ever being asked.
JESUS is your ‘bestus’ friend. Are you HIS? Who do you know who would lay down their life for you, take on all your sins and guarantee you a place for all eternity in Heaven?
Today’s prayer: “HOLY SPIRIT in me, Thank YOU for opening my eyes so I might see and understand YOU are indeed my ‘bestus’ friend. Help me to live as a ‘bestus’ friend while reaching out to others. Amen.”
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”
Proverbs 12:16 NIV
Read: Proverbs 12
Recently, I had a small wire, less than an eighth of an inch long and as thin as a hair, embedded in my fingertip. Overnight, it became swollen and infected…and very painful. How could something so small cause so much pain? After all, it was just under the skin.
Often, we allow things other than physical splinters get under our skin. Notice, I said ‘we allow’ other things to get under our skin. What things do you allow to get under your skin?
Besides these annoying physical injuries, we allow a lot of emotional things to get under our skin. Do you allow people and situations to get under your skin? How about
bad drivers, loud speakers, cell phone conversations in restaurants, inappropriate language or undisciplined children? And the list goes on!
Will any of these things have a major impact upon your life? Probably not. If they don’t or won’t make a difference for the long term, why allow them to make a difference at the moment?
Easier said than done! At times, these or other things probably get under your skin. Ask yourself if these things get under GOD’S skin. If they are not a concern of GOD, should they be a concern for us?
We have a few old expressions we can bring to mind. Let them roll off ‘like water off a duck’s back’ or ‘don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff’. GOD has given you plenty to care for in this life. There in no need to take on our own list of things that will only get under our skin.
Today’s prayer: “HOLY SPIRIT, within me, hear my prayer. Thank YOU for taking on all my problems. Help me today to choose only those problems worth taking to YOU. Amen.”
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12 NIV
Read: John 8:12-20
Christmas memories are sometimes mixed. With the joy of celebrating the birth of our SAVIOUR, we sometimes fall victim to those distractions and aggravations of life. One of the things I remember is decorating with lights. Even though the package advertised ‘if one goes out, the others remain lit’, I wondered why I would spend hours stringing out the stands of light and one by one trying to find the one bulb that was the culprit.
Now we have festivals of lights throughout entire neighborhoods that have taken on a professional look. People plan all year, detailing and building a show. One house in
town is claiming to have over a half million light bulbs all illuminated at one time. There are a few ranches that have ‘drive thru’ Christmas light displays. Hmm…and I was frustrated with one bulb that kept the whole strand from burning!
Do you have a frustration this Christmas? Don’t let it be your downfall. Look around you. Look at all GOD has done and is doing for you. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ is something we have all heard. Concentrate on the ‘big stuff’…Christmas is the celebration of our RISEN SAVIOUR.
Just over 2,000 years ago a bright star appeared in the east announcing the birth of JESUS. Today we don’t have that star. We have the light of the world. JESUS is the light that will never burn out. Every believer is now a light on the strands that decorate HIS Christmas display.
Be JESUS’ light this Christmas. Be the light that lights up someone’s life.
Today’s prayer: “Thank YOU, JESUS, for being not only the LIGHT OF THE WORLD but for being my personal LIGHT as well. Help me to be one of YOUR faithful to shine the light of Christianity to all I meet. Amen.”
“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Psalm 53:2 NIV
Read: Psalm 53
Over the years, you have probably seen the television commercials of the lonely Maytag repairman. Supposedly, he is all alone by his phone waiting for someone to call…but no one does. Maytag’s message was their equipment was so good it did not need repair.
We are not like that. We are in constant need of repair…sometimes physically and emotionally, but always in need of spiritual repair. All we have to do is call upon GOD and HE is always there. The truth is we don’t call upon GOD ever often enough.
GOD is not just a repairman waiting for us to call. GOD knows what is best for us at all times. The best time to call upon GOD for help is before you ever realize you need HIS help.
We can all be reminded of the faithful men and women in scripture who called upon GOD not just for help when they were hurting or anguished. They went to GOD in an open counsel of communication.
Do you go to GOD only when you need something? Sure, HE is there and always available to you day or night. But, we know GOD is also there to hear you tell HIM “Thank YOU!” or “LORD, I have a decision to make and I need YOUR help.” or “Talk to me, JESUS, I need to hear YOUR whispering voice.”
No matter what you say or how you say it, GOD is there for you. Are you talking to GOD enough? No matter how much we talk with GOD, it is never enough. Given eternity we can never tell HIM “Thank YOU!” enough.
Today’s prayer: “LORD, Thank YOU for always being available when I call YOUR name. Forgive me for not calling upon YOU often enough. Please be with me this day as I need you more than ever. Amen.”