Monthly Archives: December 2021

Be Content With What You Have

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Resolve to Be Content in the New Year


“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Tim 6:6 NKJV

January 1st is the day for many that self-improvement resolutions are made. Most will be financial, business, or personal fitness goals.

There is nothing wrong with any of that.

In fact, Proverbs 21:5 states that the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty.

Yet as children of the King we should be cautious of the motivation behind any resolutions we might make. Are our goals generated from a state of discontentment?

To say “I won’t be content until this happens” means God is not enough for us now. And if God is not enough now, it means we’ll be striving to accomplish that resolution by our own strength.

Paul says, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Phil 4:11 NKJV

Paul knew who he was. Paul was aware of his identity as a child of the King. When we say to ourselves, “I’m lacking”, or “I’m insufficient in my current state”, then we are living below our privileges. The prodigal son left his father’s estate to work by his own strength. That didn’t turn out well. The other son stayed, but lived below his privileges because he was waiting on something he already had access to.

Remember, godliness with contentment is great gain. Unlike the riches of the world, the riches of God cannot be taken away from you. When we are content we put ourselves in a position for God to bless us.

Once we know who we are in Christ, every resolution we set should be in Him and for Him. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our situation for the Glory of the Kingdom. In fact, God commissioned us to go out and do the work of His Kingdom. And when he commissioned us, he also equipped us with everything we need.

Perhaps a good practice for the start of this New Year is simply deciding to be content.

Before setting any goals or resolutions, spend some quiet time with the Father thanking him for what He has done. Thank Him for who He is, who you are, and acknowledge that He is more than enough. Regardless of your state: in debt, deployed in the military, family health issues, homeless… God is enough for you. It’s important to find that place. It may be difficult at first. It may only come through prayer and worship. But God would rather have you be complete in Him with zero resolutions than discontent in Him and hit every resolution you set.

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4

Another way to look at this scripture is that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, our desires will begin to align with his desires.

So find that special place of contentment where the Father can show you just how complete in Him you are. Delight yourself in His ways. When you do this, any goal or resolution you set will be one that God can bless!

Today’s Devotions


December 31

Daniel 9:2-3, 19 2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

19O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

The prophet Daniel was reading the prophecies of Jeremiah and discovered that it was time for the captivity to be over. He didn’t run out and tell everyone to pack his bags. In his heart he knew the people were not spiritually ready, so he interceded for them in prayer. He discerned the need for repentance before they returned and ended up making the same mistakes. He was very earnest in his intercession even fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes.

What a heart this man of God had for the people of God! But even more than that, he had a heart after God. He closes his prayer by asking because the people and city bear the name of Jehovah. He was concerned about the reputation of the name of the Lord in the world. Have you ever prayed for the church you attend with that in mind? “God help us because we are a poor example of Christ. We need forgiveness and restoration because we are called Christians.” It is a new perspective for many of us. We pray about many things but rarely out of concern for the name of the LORD. May the LORD help us all to be a testimony of the great name of God in all we do and say.

The angel Gabriel came to speak to Daniel about his prayer. Gabriel told Daniel that he is highly esteemed. He is in heaven’s Hall of Fame. Tomorrow’s evening devotion (January 1) is on the incredible word the angel brought to Daniel about forgiveness and restoration.

Consider: May we all prefer the honor of heaven over the honor of men.

When You Come to the Iron Gate – Streams in the Desert – December 31

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“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him” (Acts 12:5, margin).

Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.

There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord.

How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; love ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God.
–C. H. P.

Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer–the man himself.

No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed.
–The Bent-knee Time

“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”
–C. H. Spurgeon

The Year Is Gone

by Inspiration Ministries

“And now, LORD, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.” – Psalm 39:7 NKJV

Emerging from the mists of time, a hymn written by an unknown author put life in perspective for many believers. Known because it was sung in a commune in northern France many centuries ago, this hymn is a reminder of the passages of time and the importance of focusing on God. It is known as “The Year Is Gone, Beyond Recall” (translated by Francis Pott in the mid-19th century).

The hymn reminds us that the past is gone “with all its hopes and fears.” We can relive past events in our minds but cannot live those events again. This finality reminds believers of our dependence on God. We should praise Him “for countless gifts received.”

This also is an opportunity to ask God for His perspective on our future. We come to Him seeking His blessing on the year ahead. We ask that He might defend our land and give us peace, “forgive this nation’s many sins,” help us stay pure and not yield to temptations. We ask that He might help us flee from evil and win the crown of life.

This hymn is a prayer that God would help us serve Him in the future and keep His “watchful eye” on us. We pray that our lives would praise Him. And we pray that in all things we may bring Him glory.

As this ancient hymn reminds us, take time to commit the coming year to God.

New Year, New Beginnings

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New Year, New Beginnings



Gordon Robertson – President and CEO, CBN

The new year is a wonderful time to examine our hearts and consider our relationship with God.

Do we expect the Word of the Lord to guide us in the way forward? Are we ready for Him to do something new? Do we expect miracles and healing? Are we asking God to refine us and give us new challenges? Or have we grown complacent and settled in our ways?

We need to lay hold of the living God so that when He calls us, we’re right there in His presence and can say,

“Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9)

A couple of years ago, after my father was treated for a stroke, I was watching over him as he slept in the hospital that night. To my amazement, he started praying in his sleep.

Over and over again, he was asking God, “What do You want me to do?”

I thought, “Dad, you just had a stroke. Isn’t it time to rest a little?” But no; he kept praying, “What do You want me to do?”

Our heart’s desire should be to hear God’s voice and go where He leads.

Zephaniah 3:9 prophesies about the Messiah, saying,

“I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.”

This happened in the Upper Room. We can worship and serve the Lord with one accord. We have the Holy Spirit, filling us with His power and presence. And God delights in us!

Zephaniah 3:17 says,

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

May God bless you as you seek Him this year!

Streams in the Desert – December 30

“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him” (Acts 12:5, margin).

Peter was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.

There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord.

How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; love ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God.
–C. H. P.

Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer–the man himself.

No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed.
–The Bent-knee Time

“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”
–C. H. Spurgeon

‘God of All Ages, Whose Almighty Hand’

Scripture Reading — Psalm 46:1-11

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. — Psalm 46:1

As we draw close to the end of another year, we look ahead to the coming year. And as we look ahead, we trust that God will be with us.

Psalm 46 reminds us that “God is our refuge and strength.” In this psalm God is also referred to as an “ever-present help” and a “fortress.” This imagery communicates strength and confidence.

Over the past couple of years we have faced a lot of uncertainty. Yet there is one thing we know as we prepare for a new year—that God is always our strength and confidence. It is in God and God alone that we find our safety and security.

In “God of All Ages, Whose Almighty Hand” we sing of trusting in God the Almighty. “Thy love divine hath led us in the past . . ./ be thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay;/ thy Word our law, thy paths our chosen way.”

As we continue into the new year, we ask God to continue to lead us as he has led us in the past. God is the faithful God who continues to watch over his people. This is why the psalmist can say with such confidence that the Lord is “our refuge and strength.”

We do not know what we will face in the year 2022. One thing we do know for certain: God has been faithful, and in his faithfulness we will find our strength for the year to come.

How Great Is Our God

by Inspiration Ministries

“Great are the works of the LORD … Splendid and majestic is His work, and His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.” – Psalm 111:2-4 NASB

John Quincy Adams, son of America’s second president, achieved fame as the sixth president. Adams was known for being outspoken about his Christian faith.

Concerned for the spiritual health of his children, he began studying the Bible with new intensity, desiring to teach them scriptural principles. He wrote a series of letters to his son stressing the importance of Bible study. While writing these letters, Adams filled his diary with thoughts concerning faith.

These efforts made him more convinced about biblical truth. In October of 1826, he entered communion with his church in Quincy, Massachusetts, a step he conceded he should have taken thirty years before. During the service, he made a public confession of his faith.

Sometime during his career, he wrote a hymn, “O Lord my God! How great art Thou!” He saw God as crowned with honor and glory. Adams realized that He had made “spirits and angels,” and laid the “earth’s foundations.” He was able to “retire” floods with just a word. His hand was everywhere, establishing the boundaries of nature and nations.

Adams realized that everything comes from God. He saw all of God’s words as holy and knew everything depended on Him. He called all creation to praise Him: “His praise let morning sing to night, and night to morn repeat His praise.” His legacy should impact all generations. Study God’s Word. Be guided by His principles. Sing His praises.

The Lord Is Light and Salvation

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Get in the Glow

Happy group of people


He made darkness his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. (2 Samuel 22:12 NIV)

Have you noticed how some people are just not paying attention to what’s happening today? I mean they can’t be keeping up with the news. They walk around with a sunny smile on their faces, with happy thoughts to share, as though everything in the world is just peachy. Of course, you appreciate their optimism, even envy it a bit, but you wonder how on earth they do it. Henry Nouwen wrote, “Those who keep speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope, the true saints of our day.”

His thought rings a bell. After all, grousing and moaning and imagining the worst can’t really motivate your spirit or inspire thoughts of a bright future. Of course, some of us would be lost without our cloudy stories to share. We appreciate the commiserating spirits around us.

So how can we change things up a bit, get a sip of whatever it is those amazing dispensers of cheer are drinking? After all, we could all use a little taste of that bright spirit to ignite our souls and get us back into the game.

Here are a couple of thoughts:

You can go to the One who is actually in control, the One who wants good things for you and the people you love. If you stop what you’re doing and spend a moment or two letting Him know how grateful you are for the good things in your life, the clouds might not seem so heavy. God loves to hear about the things He is doing right now that actually make a difference in your life, even those that make you happy. So tell Him!

You can get His help with those things that throw you for a loop and keep you wondering if He’s still there. You may be surprised to discover He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s right there, waiting to help you shine a light on a new possibility. He’ll quickly move those clouds out of your sky so you can see Him more clearly.

It may not take as much work as you think to get through those gray days. God knows what you need, and nothing is too hard for Him to handle.

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)

Today you could step out from under those clouds and surprise yourself with a sense of renewed optimism, an over-the-top-you-can-do-it moment. It could even bring a smile to your face. Your shift in focus and attitude may bring a little light to someone near you, and before you know it, the future may look a little brighter everywhere you turn. God holds the future in His hand, but He wants you to embrace it.

Come on, you can do it. Let your optimistic side out to play today. Let go of the gloom and get your glow on!

‘Hours and Days and Years and Ages’

Brian Kuyper, today devotions

Scripture Reading — Psalm 103:13-18

From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him. . . . — Psalm 103:17

As we move toward the coming new year, we often reflect on the past year. One thing I experience with the passing of each year is that I often look back and wonder, “Where did the time go?”

As we reflect on the past year and the fleeting passage of time, we are reminded that no matter how fast time seems to go by, God is still faithful. As Psalm 103 says, “From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.” As quickly as the time comes and goes, there is one thing that never changes: the Lord’s great love for us.

In the hymn “Hours and Days and Years and Ages” we sing about time passing away swiftly. Yet God is still our God, and he is ever faithful. No matter what we have faced in the past year—and no matter what we will face in the year ahead—God remains and will be our faithful, loving God.

What a comforting thought: God’s love remains with us from “everlasting to everlasting.” That is a really long time, for eternity!

God’s love for us in Jesus Christ never changes. As stanza 3 of the hymn says, “When life’s dangers overwhelm us, you will ever be our stay;/ through your Son you are our Father, always changeless, come what may.”

Thank you, Lord!

dreams in the Desert – December 29

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“Arise… for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good; and are ye still? Be not slothful to go, and enter to possess the land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth” (Judges 18:9-10).

Arise! Then there is something definite for us to do. Nothing is ours unless we take it. “The children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance” (Joshua 16:4).

“The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (Obadiah 17).

“The upright shall have good things in possession.”

We need to have appropriating faith in regard to God’s promises. We must make God’s Word our own personal possession. A child was asked once what appropriating faith was, and the answer was, “It is taking a pencil and underscoring all the me’s and mine’s and my’s in the Bible.”

Take any word you please that He has spoken and say, “That word is my word.” Put your finger on this promise and say, “It is mine.” How much of the Word has been endorsed and receipted and said “It is done.” How many promises can you subscribe and say, “Fulfilled to me.”

“Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine.” Don’t let your inheritance go by default.

“When faith goes to market it always takes a basket.”

The cleansing of the leper

By: Charles Spurgeon

“And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his hand even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh; Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.” Leviticus 13:12-13

Suggested Further Reading: Colossians 3:5-14

Sinner, if you are to be saved, Christ must do it all; but when once you have faith in Christ, then you must be washed; then must you cease from sin, and then by the Holy Spirit’s power you shall be enabled to do so. What was ineffective before shall become mighty enough now, through the life which God has put into you. The washing with water by the word, and the cleansing of yourself from dead works, shall become an effectual and mighty duty. You shall be made holy, and walk in white, in the purity wherewith Christ has endowed you. The shaving off of his hair was fitly to represent how all the old things were to pass away, and everything was to become new. All the white hair was to be cut off, as you read in Leviticus 14:9: “He shall shave all the hair off his head, and his beard, and his eyebrows.” There was not a remnant or relic left of the old state in which the hair was white; all was to be given up. So it is with the sinner. When he is once pardoned, once cleansed, then he begins to cut off the old habits, his old prides, his old joys. The beard on which the hoary Jew prided himself was to come off, and the eyebrows which seem to be necessary to make the countenance look decent, were all to be taken away. So it is with the pardoned man. He did nothing before, he does everything now. He knew that good works were of no benefit to him in his carnal state, but now he becomes so strict that he will shave off every hair of his old state. Not one darling lust shall be left, not one iniquity shall be spared, all must be cut away.

For meditation: Very soon many will be breaking their New Year’s resolutions! The Christian is already a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), a new person with a new nature. May God give us grace and strength to be what we are in Christ.

Gear Up with Goals

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Gear Up with Goals



“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV).

Most of us look forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation. Then, almost too quickly, the New Year abruptly arrives only a week later. How do you view the coming year? Do you look forward to fresh possibilities and renewed potential? Or do you cling to the familiarity of the waning year?

Whether we like it or not, time hurls us forward. The New Year stretches before us like a blank white piece of paper. Why not take advantage of the clean slate the New Year provides and set some goals to work toward? As you set goals, be willing to take steps out of your comfort zone. But remember, making the goals realistic for your age and stage of life will determine whether the goals are attainable.

Following are some areas in which to consider goal setting:

Spiritual goals – (John 15:5) Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Decide to devote some time and energy to jump-starting spiritual growth:

1. Read the Bible through. Even if you’ve done this before, consider doing it again. God will show you fresh truths when you dig into His Word. Read-the-Bible through guides are available from a number of sources. Here is one suggestion: CBN – Read Through the Bible in a Year

2. Get involved in a structured Bible study. There are many options. If your church doesn’t offer group Bible studies, check to see if studies are offered in your community at Christian bookstores or other churches.

3. Decide to share Jesus without fear. Make witnessing a priority.

Mental goals – (Proverbs 1:5) Challenge yourself mentally by taking steps to learn or try something new. Examples:

1. Do in-depth library or Internet research on a particular subject – a country, a religion, or historical event. Take notes on what you’ve learned.

2. Enroll in a continuing education class at a local college or tech school.

3. Get your whole family involved in learning a foreign language.

4. Volunteer to teach English as a second language.

Emotional/Relational Goals – (Colossians 3:12-13) Often we need to work on emotional issues or strained relationships, but continually avoid doing so because of the difficulties involved. Consider goals in the following areas:

1. Forgiveness – Decide to extend the gift of forgiveness for an old hurt. You’ll gain a new sense of freedom because you no longer carry a grudge.

2. Patience – Practice patience in areas where you are historically impatient.

3. Anger management – Make a conscious decision to control your anger and determine its sources.

Physical Goals – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Following the marathon overindulgence of December, most of us need to get serious about maintaining the temple that is our body. Decide to:

1. Enroll in an exercise program and go! It’s easy to have a gym membership, but it takes discipline to actually attend and work out.

2. Deny yourself those tasty morsels that do nothing to adorn the temple. View food as fuel for the machine instead of gratification for the taste buds.

3. Have a family plan that encourages physical activity and togetherness.

‘As with Gladness Men of Old’

Brian Kuyper, author, today devotions

Scripture Reading — Matthew 2:1-12

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:2

The visit of the Magi is cele­brated on January 6 (Epiphany). But the story of the Magi visiting the child Jesus connects with the Christmas story as well. “As with Gladness Men of Old” tells the story of the Magi responding to their discovery of “the guiding star” that indicated a king had been born.

When the Magi saw this star in the heavens, they set out in search of the newborn king. Each stanza of the song encourages the singer to respond in a similar way. With the Magi, who eagerly follow the light to find the newborn king, to bow before him in worship, and to offer “gifts most rare,” we are encouraged to see his splendor, seek his mercy, and bring our “costliest treasures” to “our heavenly King.” We rejoice at the birth of Jesus as the King of kings, and we are called to respond.

We are encouraged to live our lives as an offering to the Lord and King, who has made our salvation possible. The song points us to the promises of Revelation 21-22 describing the full life we will have with God in the new heaven and new earth. Then we will no longer need “created light,” because Jesus, the light of the world, will be our light. There we can forever live with the Lord and “sing alleluias to our King!”

Pray in Difficult Times

by Inspiration Ministries

“Do not be silent! For they have opened a wicked and deceitful mouth against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They have also surrounded me with words of hatred … but I am in prayer.” – Psalm 109:1-4 NASB

David wrote this psalm in the middle of intense times. He felt discouraged, vulnerable, and taken for granted. He had been deceived. Others had spoken words of hatred and fought against him “without cause” (v. 3). He was motivated by love, but they “repaid me evil for good and hatred for my love” (v. 5).

David poured out his heart to God and realized that his only hope was in Him. He knew that his life was “passing like a shadow when it lengthens” (v. 23). His knees were weak from fasting. He knew others might “curse” him, but God would “bless” him (v. 28). David looked forward to the time when God would defend him and make everything right.

No matter what others might say or do, he was “in prayer.” He determined to “continue to pray” (CSB). He would seek God in every situation and call out to Him.

You can be honest with God. Pour out your heart about your feelings, the problems you face, and the things others have done and said. You, too, can look forward to a time when God sets things right. You can cry out to God, seek His help, and depend on His lovingkindness.

Remember to spend time in prayer, communing with God. In every situation in life, determine to “continue to pray” (v. 4). Seek God with your whole heart. Call out to Him, confident that He will hear you.

Today’s Devotions


December 28

Daniel 2:44-45 44“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 46This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands–a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.”

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon when Daniel went into captivity. Daniel had been through their re-education program to serve the king as a man of wisdom and counsel. This group of people also practiced magical arts, but Daniel and his friends continued to seek the one true God alone.

When Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him, he called for this group of counselors to interpret the dream. Apparently he was wise to their trickery and really wanted to know the truth about this dream. He asked them first to tell him what he had dreamed. Then he would know that they had special wisdom from the gods. When they could not help him, he ordered their execution.

Daniel asked his friends to pray for a revelation from God. Daniel was given the interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of a great statue. Its head was of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of brass, and the legs, feet and toes were part iron and part clay. A rock was cut out of a mountain and flew into the image breaking it in pieces. These metals and parts of the image were symbolic of coming kingdoms. Each metal was the main metal used by one of the coming kingdoms. The rock is the Kingdom of God. When man’s governments comes down to the final ten nations, the toes, Christ will return and set up the Kingdom of God. Man’s governments will end.

Consider: The eternal Kingdom of Christ is coming. Considering that this is the destiny of this world, how should we live today?

Little Things Are Important

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No Small Thing



As Jesus looked up, He saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. Luke 21:1-2 (NIV)

Introducing the Devotion book God Calling, A.J. Russell wrote:

There is a legend that the praise for building the Cathedral of St. Sofia was not given to the Emperor Constantine but to Euphrasia, a poor widow who drew from her mattress “a wisp of straw and gave it to the oxen” that drew the marble from the ships. That was all, she did nothing more. 1

With those words, he reminds us of the phrase from Zechariah 4:10, “Who despises the day of small things?”

Well, plenty of us do.

I have often heard Christians console someone when a great setback has occurred by saying, “Ah, it’s because God has a greater plan for you.”

Or, if someone is discouraged about their present work or ministry, they will say, “I KNOW God has a bigger plan for me. I keep praying for Him to send it.”

These may seem to be harmless messages of encouragement, but is that the witness of scripture that something bigger and better is always waiting down the road for the faithful? Our Savior came to us as a poor man, not as a king. He was terribly unimpressed with the Temple and all its glitz, but deeply concerned with people, often one at a time. Why do we think our road should be paved while His was rutted, or that this necessarily brings life?

For us to think we must achieve something big in the eyes of the world in order to matter is to deny the beautiful truth of Luke 21:1-2. In a magnificent Temple complex, filled with milling worshipers, some rich, Jesus saw a widow.

The word for “saw” often means a deeper kind of seeing – knowing, perceiving, grasping.  Jesus saw this inconsequential woman, and not only His attention, but His praise adorned her – not others.

This is such an important concept. Too many of us get caught up in future and grand thinking.  “The Lord is going to give me a great ministry down the road.  Then I will matter to Him and to others.”  We may not think it just that way, but is that why our hearts can reject our daily service as only a prelude to the “real thing?”

The danger in being caught up in “someday I will do a great thing for God” is that we may miss the frequent and daily opportunities to serve Him which may make an extraordinary impact for the Kingdom.

The Lord impressed this thought upon my heart recently through a painful, 25-year-old memory. Years ago, we rescued a puppy from the woods and he became a beloved, but persistently playful pet. Always, he was “on the move.” I was aspiring to grow in my musical ability, practicing piano constantly, dreaming of being so much more than the “ordinary” piano teacher I thought I was. There was no harm in striving for excellence.  It’s just that one day, for the umpteenth time, our young dog banged my leg with his rubber chicken, inviting me to play while I was trying to memorize a difficult piece. Annoyed, I put him outside. Stray dogs engaged him to run and that day we lost him as he was hit by a car.

The Lord reminded me that my devastation was not only due to losing my pet, but also to regret because I was striving so hard to matter to somebody that I could not stop to play with the sweet dog He had put in my life. Through this wisp of a memory, He pointed to other ways I still strain to earn value. “You don’t have to perform to be loved,” I felt Him say. “You are safe. Trust Me. Let Me love you and out of the overflow, give. No matter how small your daily gifts may seem, I see them and a chorus of praise rises up over each one.”

We must remember this in our walk with Jesus. If we fix our eyes on being noticed by people, on achieving greatness, we will probably miss the multiple opportunities to minister that He puts right under our noses. It isn’t that excellence or that growth of ministries is unimportant, it’s that our Lord is one who delights in “two small coins” given in love.

Iron Saints – Streams in the Desert – December 27

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The shackles hurt his feet; his neck was placed in an iron collar, —Ps 105:18

Turn that about and render it in our language, and it reads thus, “Iron entered his soul.” Is there not a truth in this? That sorrow and privation, the yoke borne in the youth, the soul’s enforced restraint, are all conducive to an iron tenacity and strength of purpose, and endurance or fortitude, which are the indispensable foundation and framework of a noble character.

Do not flinch from suffering; bear it silently, patiently, resignedly; and be sure that it is God’s way of infusing iron into your spiritual life. The world wants iron dukes, iron battalions, iron sinews, and thews of steel. God wants iron saints; and since there is no way of imparting iron to the moral nature but by letting people suffer, He lets them suffer.

Are the best years of your life slipping away in enforced monotony? Are you beset by opposition, misunderstanding, and scorn, as the thick undergrowth besets the passage of the woodsman pioneer? Then take heart; the time is not wasted; God is only putting you through the iron regimen. The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory. And iron is entering into your soul to make it strong and brave.
—F. B. Meyer

“But you will not mind the roughness nor the steepness of the way,
Nor the chill, unrested morning, nor the searness of the day;
And you will not take a turning to the left or the right,
But go straight ahead, nor tremble at the coming of the night,
For the road leads home.”

Today’s Devotions


December 27

Daniel 1:7-8 7The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel was one of the young men from the court of the king of Judah who was taken to be re-educated to serve as a eunuch for the king of Babylon. Daniel served the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia as a government official until the return of the Jews seventy years later.

One of the first things Babylon did was to try to change the identity of these men. Daniel means “God is judge,” but his new name means ‘Bel will protect’. Hananiah means “the LORD is gracious,” but his new name is “inspired of Aku.” Azariah means “the LORD is my help’, but his new name is “servant of Nego.” Mishael means ‘who is like God,” but his new name is “belonging to Aku.” These incredible Hebrew names were changed to the names of idols! That is exactly what the world wants to do to you. A name meant the identity of the person, their destiny and heritage. It was a part of the program of Babylon to cause the youth to forsake their culture and beliefs and adopt those of Babylon.

Who are you in Christ? What is the name He has given you? Converts of the first century changed their names upon conversion to match with their new identity. In heaven the overcomers will receive a white stone upon which is written their new name, an identity in God. Babylon was doing just the opposite. Can you see how the world would like to change your identity to that of one who belongs among them?

Consider: You will influence your world, or your world will influence you. Maintain your identity in Christ with firm resolve.

“What have I done?”

By: Charles Spurgeon

“What have I done?” Jeremiah 8:6

Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-8

What hast thou done? I hear thee reply, “I have done nothing to save myself; for that was done for me in the eternal covenant, from before the foundation of the world. I have done nothing to make a righteousness for myself, for Christ said, “It is finished;” I have done nothing to procure heaven by my merits, for all that Jesus did for me before I was born.” But say, brother, what hast thou done for him who died to save thy wretched soul? What hast thou done for his church? What hast thou done for the salvation of the world? What has thou done to promote thine own spiritual growth in grace? Ah! I might hit some of you that are true Christians very hard here; but I will leave you with your God. God will chastise his own children. I will, however, put a pointed question. Are there not many Christians now present who cannot recollect that they have been the means of the salvation of one soul during this year? Come, now; turn back. Have you any reason to believe that directly or indirectly you have been made the means this year of the salvation of a soul? I will go further. There are some of you who are old Christians, and I will ask you this question: Have you any reason to believe that ever since you were converted you have ever been the means of the salvation of a soul? It was reckoned in the East, in the times of the patriarchs, to be a disgrace to a woman that she had no children; but what disgrace it is to a Christian to have no spiritual children—to have none born unto God by his instrumentality! And yet there are some of you here that have been spiritually barren, and have never brought one convert to Christ; you have not one star in your crown of glory, and must wear a starless crown in heaven.

For meditation: While the self-righteous makes the fatal mistake of thinking that good deeds lead to salvation, the saved can make the sad mistake of forgetting that salvation is supposed to lead to good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The Gifts of the Magi

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The Gifts of the Magi

Some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1-2 NLT).

The curtain had closed on another Christmas season. Shadows from my Christmas lights danced across the wall in a valiant attempt to cheer me as I faced another round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Where are you God?

As I sought God in this unfamiliar journey through chemotherapy, he reminded me of the Magi. I wondered if the cry of my heart echoed the cries of these wise men. They left their familiar homeland and followed a star to worship the newborn king. Filled with hope, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As I reflected on the Magi, I wondered what gifts I could offer my King.

  1. Gold — I offer that which is more precious than gold, my faith. A faith that continues to believe in the goodness of God. A faith that acknowledges Jesus as the King of Kings who reigns over the whole world including my circumstances. Even cancer. This season I honor the King by walking in faith and trusting him with my future, relying on Jesus to bring me through the cancer and chemotherapy. God is faithful. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).
  2. Frankincense — Frankincense was an expensive and fragrant incense offered in the worship of a deity. My fragrant offering pleasing to God is praise and worship. Even in the midst of pain, confusion and chemotherapy, he is worthy. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased” (Revelation 4:11 NLT).
  3. Myrrh — The bitter perfume of suffering foreshadowed the death of Jesus on the cross. By his death and resurrection, he rescued us from our sinful way of life and gave us access to the living God. For me, myrrh represents my altar of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. I surrender my circumstances, hopes and dreams to the one who loves me, created me and died for me. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12:2 NLT).

God had given me a blueprint to walk through this difficult season. I will follow in the footsteps of the Magi and offer my gifts of faith, worship and surrender to Jesus. I, too, will look past my sufferings and focus on the majesty of my savior. He is the source of my joy. A joy not dependent upon my circumstances, but a joy that comes from his presence. And like the Magi, I will rejoice with great joy.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy… they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:10-11 NKJV).

God heard my cry. Through the gifts of the Magi, he revealed himself as Emmanuel, God with us. And he is still with me.

Left to Do Nothing – Streams in the Desert – December 26

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Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”—Matt 26:36

It is a hard thing to be kept in the background at a time of crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane eight of the eleven disciples were left to do nothing. Jesus went to the front to pray; Peter, James and John went to the middle to watch; the rest sat down in the rear to wait. Methinks that party in the rear must have murmured. They were in the garden, but that was all; they had no share in the cultivation of its flowers. It was a time of crisis, a time of storm and stress; and yet they were not suffered to work.

You and I have often felt that experience, that disappointment. There has arisen, mayhap a great opportunity for Christian service. Some are sent to the front; some are sent to the middle. But we are made to lie down in the rear. Perhaps sickness has come; perhaps poverty has come; perhaps obloquy has come; in any case we are hindered and we feel sore. We do not see why we should be excluded from a part in the Christian life. It seems like an unjust thing that, seeing we have been allowed to enter the garden, no path should be assigned to us there.

Be still, my soul, it is not as thou deemest! Thou art not excluded from a part of the Christian life. Thinkest thou that the garden of the Lord has only a place for those who walk and for those who stand! Nay, it has a spot consecrated to those who are compelled to sit. There are three voices in a verb—active, passive and neuter. So, too, there are three voices in Christ’s verb “to live.” There are the active, watching souls, who go to the front, and struggle till the breaking of the day. There are the passive, watching souls, who stand in the middle, and report to others the progress of the fight. But there are also the neuter souls—those who can neither fight, nor be spectators of the fight, but have simply to lie down.

When that experience comes to thee, remember, thou are not shunted. Remember it is Christ that says, “Sit ye here.” Thy spot in the garden has also been consecrated. It has a special name. It is not “the place of wrestling,” nor “the place of watching,” but “the place of waiting.” There are lives that come into this world neither to do great work nor to bear great burdens, but simply to be; they are the neuter verbs. They are the flowers of the garden which have had no active mission. They have wreathed no chaplet; they have graced no table; they have escaped the eye of Peter and James and John. But they have gladdened the sight of Jesus. By their mere perfume, by their mere beauty, they have brought Him joy; by the very preservation of their loveliness in the valley they have lifted the Master’s heart. Thou needst not murmur shouldst thou be one of these flowers!

Resolutions & Redemption

by Anna Kuta,

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It’s that time of year again! I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions, of course. It’s still December as I’m writing, but I guarantee that by the time you read this, I’ll already be asking myself what possessed me to come up with such grand, unattainable plans the new year. (It seemed like a good idea at the time). Every year I tell myself it’ll finally be the year I keep all my resolutions. I mean, come on – how hard can it possibly be to finally set aside an hour for exercise each day, to stop consuming so much chocolate and coffee, and to never sleep for less than eight hours again?

Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep? I don’t know, but it’s a lot like another area of life. Let me explain.

Before I became a Christian at the age of 17, I approached my life the same way I often approach New Year’s resolutions. I would try so hard to do the right things but I always ended up falling flat. I convinced myself that as long as I was the “good girl,” I’d be fine, so I tried really hard to live up to certain standards to please everyone, and hopefully God too. The problem, though, is that there’s nothing anyone can do in his or her own power to “earn” God’s favor.

As Ephesians 2:8 says, it’s by God’s grace that we are saved, not because of anything we could ever hope to attain or accomplish. God’s gift of His son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins through His death and resurrection is just that – a gift. Doing all the good, noble things in the world will never earn salvation, and like verse 9 says, nobody could ever think of boasting about such an undeserved gift.

Of course, the desire to do the right things is one result of making Jesus the Lord of your life, but we all continue to mess up because, after all, we are just sinners saved by grace. I still lose sight of it all sometimes and get caught up in the cycle of trying to “out-good” myself and others. This new year, however, in light of any New Year’s resolutions you may have made (or already broken), join me in remembering the assurance of one thing we never have to work to attain: God’s grace.

Merry Christmas

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A Christmas Prayer of Praise to the Son


“And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 (NLT)

On this Christmas Day, we praise You, Jesus, as the Son of God.

Before the creation of the world, You were set apart by the Father for a unique mission.
You are our Messiah, the One sent to save us.

As Immanuel, God with us, the One through whom all things were created,
You chose to lie in a manger and die on a cross for us.
You willingly laid aside your majesty to come down into our world.

By believing in You, we have the gift of eternal life.
How amazing is Your power and glory!
May we always hold You in awe as the Son of God.

We praise You, Jesus, as the Son of David.

Your birth was foretold by many prophets who never saw You with their eyes,
but received truth about You through the Holy Spirit.
The Father preserved Your birthright generation after generation.
He fulfilled His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
to give them countless descendants who would follow You.

You are the Lion of Judah, a King forever in the line of David.
Though You did not establish an earthly rule as many hoped,
You transcended those hopes with a universal kingdom to last for all time.

You are the fulfillment of countless prophecies, prayers and dreams.
May we always honor You as the Son of David.

We praise You, Jesus, as the Son of Man.

The Son of Joseph, a humble carpenter from Nazareth
who chose the path not traveled and proved himself faithful.
The Son of Mary, a young virgin of steadfast faith
who felt You turn in her womb and watched You suffer on a cross.
The Son who impressed teachers of the law
and amazed His parents even as a child.

The Son who understands our weaknesses
and faced all the tests we face yet never sinned.
The Son destined to cause many to fall and many to rise,
opposed without cause yet glorified above all.

As the Son of Man, now You are seated at God’s right hand,
offering prayers for us day and night as the Great High Priest.

You are the stairway between heaven and earth,
the only way we have access to the Father.
You are coming back on the clouds of heaven to give us eternal life.
May we always revere You as the Son of Man.

This Christmas Day, may our thoughts be fixed on You, Jesus.
May we believe in You as the only true God, the Lord over our lives.
May we trust You with all our hurts and hopes.

May we walk in fellowship with You, knowing you perfectly understand us.
May we rejoice in your birth and resurrection,
looking forward to the day when we will see You face to face.

In Your Name we pray, Amen.

A Christmas question

By: Charles Spurgeon

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:6

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 2:8-20

Why are we sad? I am looking upon faces just now that appear the very reverse of gloomy, but maybe the smile covers an aching heart. Brother and sister, why are we sad this morning, if unto us a child is born, if unto us a Son is given? Listen to the cry! It is “Harvest home! Harvest home!” See the maidens as they dance, and the young men as they make merry. And why is this mirth? Because they are storing the precious fruits of the earth, they are gathering together into their barns wheat which will soon be consumed. And what, brothers and sisters, have we the bread which endureth to eternal life and are we unhappy? Does the worldling rejoice when his corn is increased, and do we not rejoice when, “Unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given?” Listen yonder! What means the firing of the Tower guns? Why all this ringing of bells in the church steeples, as if all London were mad with joy? There is a prince born; therefore there is this salute, and therefore are the bells ringing. Ah, Christians, ring the bells of your hearts, fire the salute of your most joyous songs, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Dance, O my heart, and ring out peals of gladness! Ye drops of blood within my veins, dance every one of you! Oh! All my nerves become harp strings, and let gratitude touch you with angelic fingers! And thou, my tongue, shout—shout to his praise, who hath said to you: “Unto you a child is born, unto you a Son is given.” Wipe that tear away! Come, stop that sighing! Hush your murmuring. What matters your poverty? “Unto you a child is born.” What matters your sickness? “Unto you a Son is given.” What matters your sin? For this child shall take the sin away, and this Son shall wash and make you fit for heaven.

For meditation: God sent his only begotten Son to be born as a child, so that sinners could be born again and become the children of God. The deepest sadness belongs to all who still refuse to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour (John 1:12-13).

‘A Christmas Alleluia’

Scripture Reading — Psalm 146:1-10

Praise the Lord. . . . I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. — Psalm 146:1-2

Psalm 146 is a rousing song of praise that celebrates God’s faithfulness. And today, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded in this psalm to praise the Lord and put our trust in him alone. For God “reigns forever . . . for all generations.”

“A Christmas Alleluia” is a contemporary song by Chris Tomlin celebrating the day of Christ’s birth. It recalls the scene and song of the angel hosts of heaven, singing, “All glory to our God and King!” And it calls us to sing “Alleluia,” which means “Praise the Lord!” We give praise because “Christ, the Savior of the world . . . has come!” We sing “Alleluia” because Christ’s is the highest name of all.

We are reminded in Psalm 146 that God is the Maker of all things and that “he remains faithful forever.” With the coming of Christ, God fulfills his promises to send the Messiah, the Savior; he is faithful forever.

Christ our King is born! And because of his birth, life, death, and resurrection, he demonstrates his supremacy over all. He comes to uphold “the cause of the oppressed” and to give “food to the hungry.” He “sets the prisoners free . . . gives sight to the blind,” and “lifts up those who are bowed down.”

And because Christ reigns for­ever, we sing “Alleluia”; we “praise the Lord all [our] life.”


Alleluia, Lord Jesus Christ! We give you praise for coming to bring your kingdom to this earth. May we praise you as long as we live. Amen.

Names of Christ: My Redeemer

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Names of Christ: My Redeemer

One of the names of Christ is Author and Finisher of our faith found in Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV): Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When I think of this verse, especially in the context of Christmas, I think of the great gift that Jesus was and is. He came to this earth in the most humble of circumstances, born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah that God’s people had been waiting for, for centuries. And centuries of prophecy and His life bore that out. In His life, Jesus performed miracles and wonders and taught all of those around Him how to live.

But it wasn’t until His death on the cross that all of us were saved. “It is finished” (John 19:30 NKJV), Jesus said on the cross. Jesus endured the cross so that all of us—anyone who believes—might be saved and have eternal life.

And so, in the season of giving and receiving gifts, the greatest gift we could ever receive is Jesus—the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Glory to God and Merry Christmas!

A Revealed Savior

by Katherine Britton,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

I wish I could ask the Magi what it was like after they returned to their homeland. After watching the skies for years, journeying for weeks, and seeing Jesus with their own eyes, how did they return to the life they once knew? Did they ever hear about the rest of Jesus’s life? Did they realize the Jew who was killed on the tree was the same child to whom they offered gifts befitting a king? Did they understand that his birth was a precursor to a far greater event?

We don’t know much with certainty about these men. They brought three gifts—gold, incense, and myrrh—but there may have been dozens of Magi who went on that journey. These wise men were certainly Gentiles, probably from Persia. They acted as something close to astrologer-priests in their homeland, we think, marking the movements of the heavens to find out its impact on man. Judging by their gifts and their titles, their status and wealth came close to royalty.

Now consider what we definitely know about them: these Magi considered it worth their time, efforts, riches, and worship to come worship at a Bethlehem house.

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” – Matthew 2:10-11

These pagans searched for the Messiah as no one else did. Their adventure is an extraordinary tale of God’s grace mixed with man’s hunger, as they followed the star God set up in the heavens with single-minded devotion. They were on a search for God, who had given them the signs to find him. I think these men, who knew so much less than I do about the Messiah, sought him harder than I ever have.

Consider Matthew Henry’s commentary on what transpired:

“They might have said, ‘If such a prince be born, we shall hear of him shortly in our own country, and it will be time enough then to pay our homage to him.’ But so impatient were they to be better acquainted with him, that they took a long journey on purpose to enquire after him. Note, Those who truly desire to know Christ, and find him, will not regard pains or perils in seeking after him.”

Personally, I don’t think the Magi were ever the same after their encounter in the Bethlehem house. They invested themselves to finding the King of the Jews, and he revealed himself to them. I think all other stars must have paled in comparison.

Streams in the Desert – December 24

He went out to relax in the field in the early evening. Then he looked up and saw that there were camels approaching.—Gen 24:63

We should be better Christians if we were more alone; we should do more if we attempted less, and spent more time in retirement, and quiet waiting upon God. The world is too much with us; we are afflicted with the idea that we are doing nothing unless we are fussily running to and fro; we do not believe in “the calm retreat, the silent shade.” As a people, we are of a very practical turn of mind; “we believe,” as someone has said, “in having all our irons in the fire, and consider the time not spent between the anvil and the fire as lost, or much the same as lost.” Yet no time is more profitably spent than that which is set apart for quiet musing, for talking with God, for looking up to Heaven. We cannot have too many of these open spaces in life, hours in which the soul is left accessible to any sweet thought or influence it may please God to send.

“Reverie,” it has been said, “is the Sunday of the mind.” Let us often in these days give our mind a “Sunday,” in which it will do no manner of work but simply lie still, and look upward, and spread itself out before the Lord like Gideon’s fleece, to be soaked and moistened with the dews of Heaven. Let there be intervals when we shall do nothing, think nothing, plan nothing, but just lay ourselves on the green lap of nature and “rest awhile.”

Time so spent is not lost time. The fisherman cannot be said to be losing time when he is mending his nets, nor the mower when he takes a few minutes to sharpen his scythe at the top of the ridge. City men cannot do better than follow the example of Isaac, and, as often as they can, get away from the fret and fever of life into fields. Wearied with the heat and din, the noise and bustle, communion with nature is very grateful; it will have a calming, healing influence. A walk through the fields, a saunter by the seashore or across the daisy-sprinkled meadows, will purge your life from sordidness, and make the heart beat with new joy and hope.

A Merry Christmas

By: Charles Spurgeon, Park Street Chapel, New York, circa 1860

“And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Job 1:4-5

Suggested Further Reading: Nehemiah 8:9-12

The text gives a licence. Now, ye souls who would deny to your fellow-men all sorts of mirth, come and listen to the merry bell of this text, while it gives a licence to the righteous especially—a licence that they meet together in their houses, and eat and drink, and praise their God. In Cromwell’s days, the Puritans thought it an ungodly thing for men to keep Christmas. They, therefore, tried to put it down, and the common crier went through the street, announcing that Christmas was henceforth no more to be kept, it being a popish, if not a heathenish ceremony. Now, you do not suppose that after the crier had made the proclamation, any living Englishman took any notice of it; at least, I can scarcely imagine that any did, except to laugh at it; for it is idle thus to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Although we do not keep the fast as papists, not even as a commemorative festival, yet there is something in old associations that makes us enjoy the day in which a man may shake off the cares of business, and relax with his little ones. God forbid I should be such a Puritan as to proclaim the annihilation of any day of rest which falls to the lot of the labouring man. I wish there were half a dozen holidays in the year. I wish there were more opportunities for the poor to rest; though I would not have as many saint’s days as there are in Romish countries; yet, if we had but one or two more days in which the poor man’s household, and the rich man’s family might meet together, it might perhaps be better for us. However, I am quite certain that all the preaching in the world will not put Christmas down.

For meditation: Perhaps you are completely opposed to the keeping of Christmas! That is your right! But you can still benefit from the holiday and show the joy of the Lord to those who are going to be with you.

Faith In Jesus Brings Salvation

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One of the names of Christ is Author and Finisher of our faith found in Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV): Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When I think of this verse, especially in the context of Christmas, I think of the great gift that Jesus was and is. He came to this earth in the most humble of circumstances, born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah that God’s people had been waiting for, for centuries. And centuries of prophecy and His life bore that out. In His life, Jesus performed miracles and wonders and taught all of those around Him how to live.

But it wasn’t until His death on the cross that all of us were saved. “It is finished” (John 19:30 NKJV), Jesus said on the cross. Jesus endured the cross so that all of us—anyone who believes—might be saved and have eternal life.

And so, in the season of giving and receiving gifts, the greatest gift we could ever receive is Jesus—the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Glory to God and Merry Christmas!

Today’s Devotions


December 23

Ezekiel 11:19-20 19I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Ezekiel saw another vision of God. The predictions of doom were so dark that he cried out asking if any would survive. There were two separate times in which Babylon came and took people into captivity. This prophesy came in between those times. The LORD said that He was the sanctuary of those already in exile.

Then the LORD gave him one of the first promises of restoration in the book of Ezekiel. God promised to give them an undivided heart and a new spirit. God had just shown Ezekiel how corrupt their hearts had become. Receiving a new spirit was the only hope for their future. Their main problem was that their hearts were divided between Jehovah and other gods. The only way that can be dealt with is to have a new heart. The heart they had then was too hard. They did not have the tenderness of God’s heart toward them. If we could but see how tender and patient God’s heart is toward us, it would help to give us an undivided heart.

The new heart is that of the new creation birthed in us when we come to Jesus asking for life. He takes out our old stony heart and gives us a heart of flesh. Then, in tenderness toward His Spirit within us, we live the Spirit behind the Law. We become His children and can call Him our God. Is your heart tender toward His Spirit? Or is it divided between Him and the world, like Judah of old? If you recognize it is divided, ask for revelation of His tender heart toward you. Ask for that miraculous work of a spiritual heart transplant.

Meditation: God longs for your heart to be undivided.

‘From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable’

Brian Kuyper, author, Today Devotions

Scripture Reading — Psalm 130:1-8

But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. — Psalm 130:4

Psalm 130 is a powerful reminder of our brokenness. We cry out from the depths, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” But there is also the powerful reminder that with the Lord there is forgiveness so that we may serve him.

“From the Squalor of a Bor­rowed Stable” tells of the life and work of Jesus in a moving way. It ranges from his humble birth in a stable, to his betrayal and his death on a cross, to his victory over the grave, and to his ascension to heaven and his coming again.

As we celebrate Christ’s first coming, we are reminded that we are waiting for his second coming. We live in the “already but not yet” tension of God’s salvation—Christ has already fully paid for our sins, and we are given new life; but in this world we still face sin and suffering, and the kingdom of God is not yet fully realized. So we await Jesus’ coming again.

We wait with eager expectation for Christ’s return. As the psalmist puts it, we “wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” And as we wait, we are also encouraged to “put [our] hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”

In Christ we see God’s unfailing love and full redemption.

God’s people, put your hope in the Lord!

The incarnation and birth of Christ

By: Charles Spurgeon

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 10:5-7

“Go,” saith the Father, “and thy Father’s blessing on thy head!” Then comes the unrobing. How do angels crowd around to see the Son of God take off his robes! He laid aside his crown; he said, “My father, I am Lord over all, blessed for ever, but I will lay my crown aside, and be as mortal men are.” He strips himself of his bright vest of glory; “Father,” he says, “I will wear a robe of clay, just such as men wear.” Then he takes off all those jewels wherewith he was glorified; he lays aside his starry mantles and robes of light, to dress himself in the simple garments of the peasant of Galilee. What a solemn disrobing that must have been! And next, can you picture the dismissal! The angels attend the Saviour through the streets, until they approach the doors; when an angel cries, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and let the king of glory through!” I think the angels must have wept when they lost the company of Jesus—when the Sun of heaven bereaved them of all its light. But they went after him. They descended with him; and when his spirit entered into flesh, and he became a babe, he was attended by that mighty host of angels, who after they had been with him to Bethlehem’s manger, and seen him safely laid on his mother’s breast, in their journey upwards appeared to the shepherds and told them that he was born king of the Jews. The Father sent him! Contemplate that subject. Let your soul get hold of it, and in every period of his life think that he suffered what the Father willed; that every step of his life was marked with the approval of the great I AM.

For meditation: When we think of the birth of the Son of God, our eyes are rightly focused on earth. But are we in danger of forgetting God the Father in heaven, the one who so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son (John 3:16)? May we remember to give “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).