Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Today is the Day


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
 
A popular praise song by Lincoln Brewster is called "Today Is the Day."   Here are some of the lyrics:  "I’m casting my cares aside, I’m leaving my past behind, I’m setting my heart and mind on You Jesus.  I’m reaching my hand to Yours, Believing there’s so much more, Knowing that all You have in store for me is good.  Today is the day You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it; And I won’t worry about tomorrow, I’m trusting in what You say. Today is the day."

The song particularly struck home with me this time.  Especially the phrase, "I won't worry about tomorrow."  I have to admit that I worry a lot.  And usually it's about things that I have no control over anyway, so the worrying is a waste of time.  Like the weather.  Or it may be something I have at least some control over; like whether I have enough money to retire.  And sometimes it's something that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things; like what to wear to a special event.

I need to work on trusting in what God has to say and in setting my mind and heart on Jesus.  God has made the day and everything in it, and He watches over me at all times.  I struggle with wanting control over everything, when it would be better to remember that God is in control.  All he has in store for me is good.  As the scripture states, tomorrow will worry about itself. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, As we approach a new year, we realize every day could present problems, but it doesn't help to worry.  The Lord has made each day, and we need to rejoice and be glad in it.  God is in control and will handle our worries if we simply turn them over to him.  Please forgive us for thinking we can handle everything ourselves and for wasting time worrying about the future. Help us to cast our cares aside and reach our hand to yours.  Amen.

Robin Hadfield
robinhad@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Greatest Gift

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:8-15

 
Just think, way back in the Old Testament, we are told in Isaiah that God was going to send his son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through him the world might be saved.  What a wonderful gift God has sent us.  How can anyone doubt that God loves and cares for us.  We are his children, and he knows our thoughts and our fears. 


The shepherds were astounded and fearful.  But they immediately decided to go and see this thing which had come to pass.  And, the Bible tells us the shepherds returned and told everyone they met about the wondrous thing they had seen.
                                              

Prayer: Dear God, thank you so much for the wonderful gift of your son, Jesus Christ, who was born in the humblest of places, grew up to be crowned the King of the Jews, was crucified, but rose again.  Help us to re-dedicate ourselves this Christmas to do your will and show our dedication to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.  

 
Gerry Draney
Reprinted from December 24, 2012

Monday, December 11, 2017

Brother


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27

After attending church with my grand niece and nephew, we were to join a few other friends to head to a Christmas Boutique to do a little shopping.  My grandnephew was to go to Sunday school and his Daddy would pick him up after Sunday school.  My grandniece who is to be 3 this December was going with us. As soon as we got in the car, she said what about brother?  We explained that he was attending Sunday school and as soon as it was done, Daddy would pick him up. She again asked what about brother?  We told her we would call and check with Daddy to make sure he got brother. We traveled a little farther; when the time came we called Daddy and made sure brother was picked up.   Giving her the update you could see the relief in her face, but the final relief and comfort came when we got her home and she could visually see brother was home already playing building a tent in the living room. 

What if we could have that same care of others? And pray that they too will be there at home with Jesus when we get there. The concern of watching over, guiding, checking to make sure that they too get home safely. The season of giving is an important time to give the best gift of all –love. We need to lend a hand to those who need someone to help hang a picture, address their Christmas cards, clean up leaves in their yard, go shopping for them, or simply spending time with them. The best lessons are taught by example. 

Prayer: Dear God, Please let us be the best examples of your love.  Help us to reach out to others not just during this time of year but throughout the year.  Help us to remember to look out and help our fellowman.  Guide us to find the true meaning of Christmas and to share the wonderful story with others; those far and near to us.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Lori Hood

Friday, December 8, 2017

For Unto Us a Child is Born


For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 

 
On November 19 Voices of Omaha performed Handel’s Messiah at the Holland Center.  This was the 49th annual performance on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Six of us high school classmates traveled to Omaha to watch another classmate and his daughter sing in the choir.  The Halleluiah chorus was magnificent but so were the other songs as well.  My favorite thing to do at musical performances is to close my eyes so I can really listen to the words and sounds. You can just feel the music.  It is such a joy and moves me so that I take a sharp breath in! 

 
I particularly liked the song “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and its descriptions of Jesus from Isaiah.  Those descriptions of Jesus reminded me of the memorable and uplifting video during an Eastridge sermon many years ago where we watched the video of Dr. S. M. Lockridge “That’s My King”.  Dr. Lockridge was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego.  This portion is the last six minutes of a sermon in 1976.  It is well worth the six minutes to watch it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqTFNfeDnE

 
During this Advent season may the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace be known to you in a personal way.
 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, come now and reign in me, Be Lord of my life this hour.
Come be my Counselor and my God, My source of wisdom and power.
Watch o'er me with your Father care, My heart and my mind, fill with peace.
I worship you, my Lord and King, My praise will never cease.  

AMEN.  (Lyrics from Handel’s Messiah “For Unto Us A Child is Born”)

 
Cathy Schapmann

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Joy

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.  Matthew 2:10
                                  

When Advent- the waiting days before Christmas- is approaching, I think of the little word, joy.  It is the joy of Jesus’ birth in the stable and the joy of what Jesus brought to each of us. 

God sent Jesus to be born in the manger to save each of us.  We  can have joy every day when we remember that God gave us a loving Savior who takes our sins away.  We have to make room for that joy in our hearts.  Advent is a time to remember and renew in us, the joy of Jesus. 

Joy came to the barn when Jesus was born

Joy came when they saw the star

Joy came to Bethlehem

Joy came to the world

Joy is here for each of us
Prayer: Dear God, During this Advent time, help us find the joy that Jesus brought to each of us.  Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus so we can have joy. Amen

Susan Taylor, reprinted from our Advent Devotional of 2011

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Avid Reader


Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.

I have always said I am not an avid reader; but maybe that is not totally the whole story. I do love to read news articles, history books, autobiographies and of course Facebook. (If you can consider that reading). As a young child I was privileged to have many books in the house to read. It was important to my Mom that we had books available to read. She was an avid reader of all kinds of books, love novels, fiction, non-fictional, medical, magazines ...you name it she read it. I remember as a child having the wonderful “picture” books with Cinderella, baby ducks and cuddly kittens to look at more than the words themselves. Probably the first book I remember reading by myself was “The Adventures of Mrs. Quack” and I read it several times. I think besides the enjoyment of the story it was the pride that I completed it by myself.  

As a teenager I worked for a wonderful friend and mentor in her home helping her clean house, cook and watch over her elderly mother. She was an avid reader of the Bible. I remember admiring her for your loyalty and dedication to her faith. She set aside two hours every morning at her desk. This was her planning time. She reviewed her schedule, wrote notes and communication, read her bible then prayed for most of the second hour on asking His guidance and protection on her daily activities, for those she felt needed a prayer, and any other concerns she may have had. She then proceeded on her daily activities. I know she prayed many other times during the day, but her morning routine inspired me to set aside some of my time during the day to read and spend time with my Lord. 

I am grateful to have had her and my parents to inspire me to read the bible and spend time with the Lord. One of my inspirations is to someday to have completely read the whole Bible. I would love to say I have done it, but I find myself many times returning to the same portions or stories that I have enjoyed or find inspirational to me for whatever life event I am facing. 

Dear Lord: Help me to be an avid reader of the Word. Inspire me to continue to find the comfort and guidance I need from the words of so long ago. Inspire me to achieve my goal and continue to read for the answers of yesterday and todays crisis. Help me inspire someone else to find the same excitement I find as I reread the stories of our past. Thank you for your guidance and protection and continue to help me find your path to becoming an avid reader. AMEN

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Lori Hood

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Commitment to Christ


“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” Matthew 22:37-38

I have experienced hardships with this commandment. Even though it seems simple and maybe even obvious, there have been times in my life when I have wondered far from the love of Christ. It seems at times too easy to forget our main purpose as children of God. When all of the bustle and noise in our daily lives overtakes us and pushes us further away from focusing on Christ, it is important to make an extra effort to take the time for quiet moments with God, for fellowship, and for worshiping Him. This is a relationship. We have to work at it like any other relationship in our lives. Taking time to make ourselves available to God is of the utmost importance, just as it is with our friends, family and spouses.


Prayer: Father God, Today help me to remember to make time and space for you in my life. Let my days be focused on serving you and bringing the message of Christ to others so they may know the feeling of Your pure and unconditional love. Help me to bring You joy through my acts as a Christian and through my commitment to our relationship. In Christ’s name, Amen.



Brandi Phillips