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Archive for the ‘Devotional & Prayer’ Category

Christmas. It is one of the most joyous Christian holidays, a time to remember the birth of Christ our savior. Christmas is a time to share our blessings with one another, and to be surrounded by the people we love. It is a time for giving, and a time for forgiving. Most importantly, it is a reminder of how much God loves us.

It is also a time of declaring God’s promise of His saving grace to others:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given, by the greatest gift-giver of all, our wonderful God and Father:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

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“Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but
you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had
lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I
call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall
teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word.
Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should
be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.”

Luther’s last written words on a note: “We are beggars: this is true.”

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8 & 9

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by Billy Graham

put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24

In Texas they tell a story about a man who used to hitch his horse every morning in front of the saloon. One morning the saloonkeeper came out and found that the horse was hitched in front of the Methodist church. He saw the man walking down the street and called out, “Say, why is your horse hitched in front of the Methodist church this morning?” The man turned around and said, “Well, last night I was converted in the revival meeting, and I’ve changed hitching posts.” That’s what it means to be born again. That’s what it means to be converted. It means that you changed hitching posts.

Prayer

May I live in such a way that people will know that I am bound in the freedom of Your love.

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by Pastor Henry Kranenburg

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… Romans 1:15-16

In my experience as a pastor, I would not describe preaching as either easy or simply fun. But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners. So I can appreciate that Paul is – eager to preach the Gospel to the people he cares about in Rome.

Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he would like to headline a few performances in the empire’s capital. The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact that the Gospel is the power of God. And it is power for a specific purpose.

The Gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, or to gain the friend or spouse you desire. It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get to heaven when you die. It’s power for salvation. And salvation has to do with getting where we need to be in our relationship with God.

Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire. God wants me to belong to Him as fully as I can in the life I am now living. That’s the point of the Gospel, and that is its power. The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.

Prayer

Dear God, sometimes we see your power mostly as a means to our ends. Help us not to use it for us but to seek you, and to know your desire that we find you. In Christ, Amen.

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Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Ask God for strength to endure each day in your walk with Him, unwavering in faith, setting your hope and trust in Him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father – I thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me – for deliverance from need and death. Thank you for hearing my prayers, without wavering or weakening, for my hope is in You. Thank you that I can come to You without fear, for You have promised to never leave me , nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). In spite of my imperfections, You show me Your goodness and love again and again. May Your light in my heart never be extinguished, but be seen by all, and glorify You! May Your joy be my strength as I desire to do Your will for my life, bringing praise and honor to You. Amen.

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God knows our frailness as humans and encourages us to push on in Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The apostle Paul, perhaps better than anyone else, knew how wearying the spiritual battle can be. He ends his warnings about sin, the works of the flesh, and the deceitfulness of the world by encouraging the Galatians, and all believers, to remember the joyful harvest we will reap if we persevere in doing good. “As we have opportunity,” Paul says in the verse 10, “let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father – May You strengthen me in my walk with You, continuing to serve as You direct my life to do Your will, doing good – to Your glory and honor. Amen.

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You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 2 Corinthians 3:2

Did you know that you life speaks louder than words and that you may be the only Jesus some people may ever know. 2 Corinthians 3:2 says that you’re a walking letter “known and read by everyone.”

You see, some people may never go to church, read the Bible, or be exposed to Christianity in any way other than running into you at the office, school, mall, gas station, hospital – wherever you may go.

In Acts 1:8, as Jesus commissioned His disciple to go out into all the world, He said: “You will be My witnesses…”

So, now the question is: “What kind of a witness for Christ are you?”

May it be that your letting God’s light shine in you as Matthew 5:16 says:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father – Help me to be a witness that brings You honor and glory, not shame. Amen.

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