Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Prayer for the New Year

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise,
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbor,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

from Christ’s Corner
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin,
I read in my Bible, if I do certain things, it is sin.
In today's verse, I read if I don't do certain things, I sin. I can just hear a person thinking, “I sin if I do, and I sin if I don't. What can I do!”
We know we sin by doing things outside the will of God. We know we can sin unwillfuly, and, unknowingly. That's when the Holy Spirit prays for us; when we don't know what to pray for.
Today's verse teaches us, if we know to do good and don't do it, we sin! We know to go to church is a good thing, if we don't, we sin. We know to give our tithes is a good thing, if we don't, we sin. We know to honor our Parents, if we don't, we sin. We know to love our neighbor and enemies, if we don't, we sin.
To conclude we can only say we are a bunch of sinners sinning every day! THEREFORE, we need to start every prayer by asking for forgiveness of our many sins, knowing Jesus has paid the price for our sin.
God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.


by Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV).

When I was in the primary school in the late 70s and early 80s, we used to look forward to the last day of the school term when every pupil would line up on the assembly ground to be given his/her end-of-term report card where he/she would find what he/she scored in each subject and his/her position in the class. It used to be a day of joy for brilliant pupils who would be firstly called to receive their report cards with possible prizes, and a day of sadness for other pupils that were not that brilliant because they would be called last with no prizes. While the brilliant pupil would be glad and proud to show their report cards to anyone, those that had bad reports would be ashamed to do so.

This is the end of another year. Imagine it is the end of a school term where you will line up on the assembly ground before God to be given report card for what your actions, inactions, words, and thoughts have been this year. What will be your report card? Will you be among those that God will call first to reward for best results this year? Will you be proud to show other people your report card for this year?
The psalmist prayed to God to teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. If you number your months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds this year, how many of them have you used to please God? How many of them have you used meaningfully for your own good? How many of them have you used for the benefit of others around you? If God is to rate you this year, what will be your score? If God is to reward you for your actions, inactions, words, and thoughts this year, what kind of reward will you get from Him? Job asked his friends: “Will it be well when [God] searches you out?” (13:9 NKJV), and Apostle Paul emphatically told the Galatians: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (6:7-8 NKJV).

If you have done well this year, congratulations! Determine to do better this coming year. It is a pity if you have done woefully in the year. However, you have the opportunity to turn a new leaf and do better this coming year.

What is your report card for the year?

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray that you will be able to do far better next year in serving God and the humanity.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

An Exciting Life In The New Year

The Bible says that "the godly man's life is exciting" (Prov.14:14 – Living).
Let me give you my testimony. I am 29 years old now, and I have been a born-again child of God for 13 years. I can testify honestly that my Christian life has been exciting. I have been through many trials, but in all of them, I have experienced God in exciting ways. And I believe the best part of my life is still ahead of me. I am excited to be able to live for God and serve Him. To serve Him is the best thing that anyone can do in this world.
I don't have a complaint against a single person in the world. Nobody has ever succeeded in doing harm to me so far. Many have tried to harm me, and some of my co-workers have betrayed me and turned against me. Many of my fellow Christians have spread falsehoods about me in Churches and some of them have even taken me to court. But all of these have only been a part of "the fellowship of Christ's sufferings" for me; and everything that everyone did has only worked for my good - as it says in Romans 8:28. So I actually thank God for all of them, because God has used their evil actions to make me a better man – more Christlike in my reactions. That was the main good that came out of their evil actions.
We need to be BROKEN first of all, before we can be useful to God. God uses many people and events to break our pride and our confidence in our own abilities and to make us small in our own eyes.
God broke me in my younger days, and He is still breaking me today. This is the way of fruitfulness. The more we are broken, the more God can use us to be a blessing to others. We read in Exodus 17 that it was only when the rock was smitten that the waters begin to flow. When a woman brought an alabaster vial of perfume to anoint Jesus, it was only when the vial was broken that the sweet aroma filled the house (Mark 14:3). To feed the five thousand, Jesus took the bread and blessed it. But no-one was fed until the bread was broken. What is the message in all of these examples? Just this that brokenness is the way of blessing. When an atom is split, it generates enough power to give electricity to a whole city! An atom is so small that you can't even see it under a microscope. But when it is broken, what tremendous power is released. The message in nature as well as in the Bible is just this: God's power is released through brokenness. May that message grip us all in the coming new year.
God gripped me with this message in 1999 when I first sought Him for power in my life and ministry. Right then, God showed me that the way of brokenness was the way of power. And I never want to forget this all my life. I want to encourage young people especially to learn this lesson while they are still young.
A second requirement is a living FAITH in the promises of God.
God made two promises to the elders of Israel in Egypt: "I will bring you (1) out of the land of Egypt and (2) into the land of the Canaanites." (Ex.3:17). As you can see, there were two promises there. But only the first one was fulfilled. The second was not fulfilled. None of those elders entered Canaan - because they did not respond in faith when the time came to enter Canaan (Numbers 13). God's promises are not fulfilled, until we respond in faith. God's promise and our faith are like two electric wires. It is only when they touch each other (as in an electric switch) that the power begins to flow through the wires. You may hear about God's promise and understand it. But it is only when your faith reaches out and says, "Yes, I believe that will be fulfilled in my life," that the promise will be fulfilled. At the borders of Canaan, only Joshua and Caleb believed God's promise, and so only they entered the promised land. May we have the same faith and live continuously in the promised land of victory in the new year.
I wish you all a very blessed New Year – one of greater brokenness and greater faith in God.
Love & Prayers,                                         
Michael Jeremiah Knight.
"By the grace of God I am what I am…." 1 Cor 15:10.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Thoughts on how to begin this Year

Here is a beautiful verse from the book of Psalms,
To make the bestout of this year and to use the opportunities that God gives us is we must besure that our hearts are right before Him. In 1 Sam. 13:14, David is described as being aman after God's heart. That means that he was a man who desired to know and dothe will of God. In Psalms 139 - 23: 24, David asks God to do three things in his life. If we wouldsincerely ask God to do the same things in our lives. We might also beconsidered as a person who seeks after God's heart.
I. "Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart..."
A. The heart is thecenter of our life.
B. (Prov4:23) "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues oflife."
C. (1 Sam16:7) "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or onthe height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth notas man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD lookethon the heart."
D. David asks Godto search him and see what is in his heart.
1. God already knew what was in his heart.
2. David asks God to reveal it to him.
3. That God would make him conscious of any wrong desires or motives that mighthinder the blessings of God upon his life.

E. We ought to do the same.
1. We should ask God to look into the very center of our lives.
2. And ask that He reveal to us anything in our hearts that might prevent usfrom being what we need to be in this coming year.
II. "...Try Me, And Know My Thoughts..."
A. Next David asksGod to literally put him to the test.
1. Much the same as we test and prove metals to evaluate their purity.
2. Gold is heatedtime and again to bring all the impurities to the surface where they can beremoved.

B. David prayed that God might know his very thoughts.
1. Read his mind.
2. When David said, "See if there be any wicked way in me."
3. He wasn't challenging God to try to find an area of wickedness; he wasasking God to show them to him that he might confess and repent before God.
III. "...Lead Me in the Way Everlasting."
B. If we want to be used of God...want to have a heart after God...we must seekHim.
1. That means we must admit that we need His direction in our lives.
2. We must be willing to follow His leadership.
3. He has given us a Guide.
The choice is ours. Do we want to have the blessings of God upon our lives inthis New Year? We need to be people who have a heart for God.
Search Me....TryMe.....Lead Me....O Lord.
Love& Prayers,                                         
Michael Jeremiah Knight.
"By thegrace of God I am what I am…." 1 Cor 15:10.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A New Beginning

During the course of the past year, many of us have faced some sort of trial, test, setback, or disappointment. Some of us have even experienced failure. But in spite of all of that, God has prepared this year, this moment in time for you to have a new beginning.

The enemy's objective is to keep you locked in yesterday, the place where the pain originates from. God has a different plan for your life. He knows all about the things that have gone wrong. He's not surprised at some of the questionable decisions that you have made. He's knows that you have let Him down. He is not shocked at all.

The good news is that He also knows your future. 
"If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17)

When you have life in Christ, you have the ability to experience new possibilities in life.There is a season of new opportunities that await you and you must be willing to pursue it. Victory in this new year takes some understanding.

You were not created by accident. You were made by God himself. God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. He designed you to live for a unique reason. When He made you, He pulled out all the stops. You are His prized creation.

You were made to overcome obstacles. You were made for victory. He didn't create you to blend in with the scenery. Out of over six billion people in the world, there is only one like you. So, don't be shut off or boxed in by traditions or customs. Don't be held back by someone else's expectations. You were created for brilliance and excellence. You were made for success.

Before planting seeds, the ground must first be prepared. The ground must first be dug up and turned over in order to receive seeds. In the same way, we must cultivate our lives so that we will be able to yield a successful harvest. We must do some work in order for our lives to be ready for a new beginning. We have to make choices and not yield to the power of sin. As we choose God's way, the Holy Spirit will strengthen us even more.

There are some spiritual disciplines that we must develop to cultivate our lives:

Prayer--Not just asking God for things but communing with Him.

* Giving--We must change our perspective on our possessions.

* Studying the Word--We must take in His promises daily.

* Serving--We should always look for ways to improve someone else's life.

There is a lot of noise in this world. There are people shouting from every angle, trying to get your attention. To be able to distinguish between the voices, you need to be able to listen very closely. God is always speaking; we just have to listen for Him. The time is come to get your hearing in order. The alarm has sounded.

What is the sign that you are waiting for? The light has already turned green and you are clear to begin your journey. Step away from the crowd. Separate yourself from the average people who don't want anything other than what they have always had. You have been called out to make a difference. You have been called out reclaim territory for God and live out your destiny.

It's time for your New Beginning.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Focus Determines Direction

By Rachel Olsen
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2 (NIV 1984)

Focus is an interesting thing. A powerful thing. I believe it makes change possible.

I live in in North Carolina - home to NASCAR. I even drove a stock car once in a qualifying race at the Franklin County Speedway. So I've talked to a few race car drivers in my time. Here's what I learned from them: You have to focus on where you want to go.

Race cars move so fast that the slightest change in course - the slightest turn of the wheel - quickly produces big changes in your position on that track. Surprisingly, where you look can shift your body enough to turn the wheel just enough to send you in that direction. Even if that wasn't where you intended to go.

In other words, your focus determines your direction.
That's why race car drivers are taught never to look at the wall. Look at the wall and that is where you will end up - crashed.

I think that's also why the Bible spends so much time teaching us to keep our eyes on Christ. Because our focus determines our direction.

Do you recall the story of Peter when he saw Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14:29? Peter climbed out of the boat and walked on the waves. As long as he focused on Jesus, he walked toward Him on the water. But as soon as Peter looked down at the wind-whipped waves beneath him, that's precisely where he ended up.

I wonder if our typical New Year's Resolutions aren't us looking at the wall, or down at the sea instead of us focusing on Christ. We make promises like "I'm going to lose weight," or "I'm going to get more organized." (I've made both those resolutions before.) Or maybe, "I'm going to stop this affair." And then our focus is on our weight, the mess, or the forbidden fruit.

Next thing we know, although it's not where we intended to go, we're sinking in calories or clutter once again. And we feel defeated. Crashed. Then we give up.

Thankfully, I've found a new way to do New Year's Resolutions that keeps me properly focused. Instead of making my long list of ways I plan to improve, I prayerfully choose just one word to be my focus for the entire year. Just one word that represents what I most hope Christ will do in or through me that year. One word to give me direction.
It's not a regret-based word but a vision-driven word centering on the kind of person I want to become. It keeps me looking forward and upward.

I pray that word, meditate on it, memorize verses with it, and use it to remind me to keep my eyes on Christ, trusting Him for transformation in that area of my life. And I've seen transformation take place!

Reading Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances - off the problem behaviors or the "walls" in our lives—and fix them squarely on Christ. Because our focus determines our direction.

Ultimately Christ is the perfecter of us and our faith. We can trust Him to turn our resolution into reality as we stay focused with our one word and with our eyes on Him.

Dear Lord, I want to fix my eyes squarely on You today. Help me see You at work in my life and in the forming of my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Dreams for a New Year

By Amy Carroll
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Adulthood often seems like the place where dreams go to die. As a little girl my heart brimmed over with dreams. My parents' and teachers' encouragement convinced me anything was possible, so my prospects increased by the day.

I pictured myself traveling the countryside curing animals like James Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small. I envisioned myself as nanny-extraordinaire like Mary Poppins or an exquisite singer like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.
The advent of middle school challenged my girlish dreams. Not-so-encouraging peers, realizations of my limitations, and a few failures and hard knocks made me more cautious about my future. Although some dreams remained, others died along the way.

Sitting in a room of friends recently, I listened attentively as they shared a graveyard of dreams. Some dreams were killed by belittling from people who should have been supporters. Other dreams died a slow death when the realities of rent and grocery bills took precedence. Still others had been set on a shelf under a dusty dome of "some day." They wondered if God had forgotten the dreams in their hearts.

They aren't alone. The Bible records story after story of dreamers who had to wait for the fulfillment of their dreams.
Abraham dreamt of a promised nation.

Isaac dreamt of a beautiful woman in a strange land.

Hannah dreamt of a child.

Samuel dreamt of a godly king.

God is not only the weaver of dreams, but He answers them as well. God has limitless creativity, and His creation longs for the opportunity to create and build and produce things of value. He is the one who plants dreams in our heart to be held until the time is right to bring them to life.

I encourage you today to take out your dreams, resuscitate them if necessary and examine them. There may be childhood dreams that need to be allowed to slip away, like balloons gently released into the sky. But what about the others?

Are there any buried dreams that need to be dusted off, held in your hands and offered back to God? He's the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine with the ideas He's given. Offer those dreams a new start in this New Year.

Dear Lord, I embrace the dreams You've given me. Help me resist discouragement and hold on to them until I see Your power bring them to reality. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

by Mary Southerland
Today’s Truth
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger (Luke 2:8-12, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday, dear Jesus!
Happy Birthday to You!
Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ. I have always wondered why we typically celebrate His birth by giving gifts to everyone but Him. What gifts does Jesus want from us?
Jesus wants our trust.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, was a teenage girl, probably fourteen or fifteen years old. Mary was engaged to Joseph when an angel appeared to her with the startling message that she would have a baby, a son named Jesus. Since she was still a virgin, Mary didn’t understand the message, but she knew the One who had sent it – and that was enough.
Jesus wants our obedience.
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
Joseph’s engagement to Mary was legally binding. Imagine his shock and confusion when he learned that Mary was pregnant. Knowing that he could not possibly be the baby’s father, Joseph’s first reaction was to divorce Mary quietly. An angel from God appeared and told Joseph to “keep her but do not sleep with her!” Now Joseph’s response could have been many things - but he chose obedience.
A small child riding the car wanted to stand on the front seat by his father. The dad explained the importance of wearing a seat belt and told the little boy to sit down. The boy refused, crossing his little arms in defiance. The father physically sat his son down and buckled him into the seat, bragging on the little boy for his obedience. With a defiant glare, his son said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing up on the inside.” Obedience is not just an outward motion – it is also an inward attitude.
Jesus wants our praise.
Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” 
When the shepherds heard the angels’ news, they went to see Jesus for themselves. After they saw the baby, they left praising God! Anytime we are in the presence of God, we will praise Him. Praise is a continual choice we make until it becomes a habit. Don’t let anyone or any circumstance keep you from praising God!
Jesus wants our sacrifice.
The Wise Men came; bringing gifts that required sacrifice because they knew that true worship always involves sacrifice. Gold, a precious metal, Incense, a rare and expensive product used in worship and Myrrh, an expensive perfume were the gifts they brought to Jesus. Sacrifice goes beyond what is required or expected. The best gift - the most expensive and extravagant gift - should go to the one whose birthday we celebrate.  Gifts of trust, obedience, praise and sacrifice please God and are gifts fit for the King.
In other words, the best gift that we can give God at Christmas is us. May the words of this children’s song be the prayer of our hearts this Christmas season:
”I’m gonna wrap up myself for Christmas
And tie me with a big red bow.
That’s what I’m giving to Jesus.
It’s a present He’ll like I know.”
Let’s Pray                       
Lord, today I celebrate Your birth. Thank You for the gift of life and love I find in knowing You. My Christmas gift to You is everything I am, everything I have, and everything I hope to be. I love You, Lord. 
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Have a birthday party for Jesus. Bake a cake, sing “Happy Birthday” and worship Him by surrendering to His plan and provision for your life. 
Leave one Christmas decoration out this year as a reminder of His birth and what His presence means every single day.
More from the Girlfriends
I pray that this Christmas season is a true celebration of Jesus Christ in your life. Spend time with Him today. Praise and worship Him. He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Blessed are You among Women!

by Sarah Phillips
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to the city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord." Luke 1: 39 - 45
You don't need me to tell you Christmas is here. Chances are, this past week, you've been rushing around trying to get last-minute errands completed. I had a mental list of "must do's" running through my own head.
So as I read the gospel for the final Sunday of Advent, I was struck by how Mary prepared for Christ's coming. Mary received the biggest news of human history, the coming of the Messiah (through her?!), and what did she do? Mary set aside her own agenda and "went with haste" to visit her cousin Elizabeth. At this point, Elizabeth's pregnancy is entering the final trimester and no doubt this older mother is tired and in need of assistance.
I imagine Mary must have had a lot of thoughts running through her head on the way to Judah. "Is Elizabeth really pregnant in her old age? She must be… but really? And how am going to explain my situation to Elizabeth? Will she believe me?"
Mary's arrival is one of those great moments in history - a moment that reverberates throughout the ages that follow. This simple story of two pregnant women meeting carries so many implications. Some of the themes that stick out to me include:
1.     Mary's faith. Mary was obedient to God and put faith in him. She set aside her own comfort and questions to help Elizabeth. Mary's virtue shines through here, and God throws in a little reward - a miraculous and joyful greeting from Elizabeth.
2.     Elizabeth's selflessness. Elizabeth's news is a pretty big deal. Her husband receives a vision from an angel and she conceives in her old age after years of waiting. Yet, her first response focuses not on her big news, but on Mary's. This reveals Elizabeth's virtue and also adds emphasis to the reality that Mary's news holds even more profound implications for humanity than Elizabeth's miracle.
3.     The humanity of the unborn. In those days, pregnant women didn't enjoy the luxury of ultrasound technology. Yet, God makes the humanity of these little ones very clear here. Elizabeth exclaims, "And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Elizabeth refers to Mary as "mother" in the present tense and she refers to the growing baby inside of Mary (who probably wasn't even showing yet) with his proper title:  Lord. God was "with us" the moment Mary conceived, and even the unborn John the Baptist recognized this!
4.     God works through fellow human beings. God could have found any number of ways to communicate his message that day. He chose to speak through Elizabeth and John and the communion between Mary and Elizabeth. He also brought help to Elizabeth during her last trimester through Mary and comfort to the newly pregnant Mary through Elizabeth.
5.     God's love for women. How can there be any doubt that God has a special place in his heart for the fairer sex after reading of Mary and Elizabeth's stories? God could have arrived on earth in any form he chose… and while the rest of the world remained ignorant, two women basked in the presence and knowledge of the Lord.
I am sure great theologians can extract even more from this story, but I'll leave it here for today. As you celebrate Christmas, imitate Mary who "treasured up" the mysteries revealed to her and "pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).
Intersecting Faith & Life: How has God been present in your life this holiday season? Think of the little ways God makes his presence known and brings you comfort and joy even in the midst of trials.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Don't be a Christmas Jerk

Isaiah 9:6
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is the classic Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Last year my wife and I enjoyed a fantastic stage production of this wonderful old story.
It seems every Christmas story has to have a Scrooge, from predictable Hallmark dramas to children's books. The reason we always write a jerk into our holiday stories is because it's true. It's real life. 

Today I want to encourage you not to be a Christmas jerk. Don't be the Scrooge. It's all too easy. Maybe you're expecting an Xbox and you get a sweater. Maybe your parents have to tighten the belt and you have fewer packages under the tree. Maybe Christmas is a tough time because you're reminded again of the fragility and dysfunction of your family. Perhaps you wish your family would be like the others who seem to have it all together. 
Or... maybe you're stressed out because you have a ton of stuff to do. Recitals, plays, people, parties. 

The circumstances and environment around the holidays make it all too easy to fall into jerk mode. And I'm saying, don't let it happen. Why? Because, of all people, it is Christians who should be full of joy on Christmas. Why? Becasuse this is the celebration of our story, how God moved dramatically to rescue His creation by sending Jesus to live, first as a baby, then as a growing boy, and then as a man. 
Christmas is good news. It is God's entrance into the world. God didn't stay in Heaven as a detached deity, he moved to become flesh. What a powerful story. 

How do you avoid becoming a Christmas jerk? First, meditate on the story. Go back to the chapters in Isaiah and Matthew and Luke. Remember why we celebrate. Second, go with the flow. What I mean is hold your Christmas plans loosely. Remember its about love, about giving, about peace. So if you get stiffed on the Xbox, let it go. Third, find ways to give back this Christmas. Is there a needy child, a program at your church, a community center that needs you're time and perhaps your money? Give. Fourth, don't get hung up on frivolous stuff. Don't be a Christian who whines about commercialization, about the "War on Christmas." Just fight against those with genuine, Holy-Spirit-led Christmas cheer. 
Strive this year, to be part of the good at Christmas. And leave the jerkiness to Dickens, Hallmark Channel, and others.
Check out our Christmas Facebook page at
Daniel Darling is an author, pastor, and public speaker. His latest book is Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, follow on him on Twitter at, or check out his website:

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Unfinished Story of Christmas

“…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…
When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe…” 2 Thessalonians 1: 7, 10

The Jesus who came the first time is coming again, and Christmas is not complete without the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The incarnation without the coronation would be like east without west. It would be like an engagement without a marriage. The story is not complete until Jesus comes again.

You may have thought that this was a good Christmas for you—but, friend, I want to tell you…the best is yet to come! The Heavenly Father has so much more in store for us when Jesus comes again.

You see, we get all wrapped up in the little baby, the baby that was born, and we then go beyond the birth of the baby, saying, “Yes, He came to die for our sins” (thank God He did that), but I want to remind you that the First Coming of Jesus and the Second Coming are linked together.

The Christmas Story in Luke 1 and 2 speaks not only of the Jesus who redeemed, but the Jesus who reigned. Not only Jesus who came the first time, but Jesus who is coming the second time to sit upon the throne of His father David, to rule over the house of Jacob forever and ever.

Imagine for a moment what your life would be like without the Resurrection, the Rapture, and the Second Coming of Jesus. The most glorious fact of the past is that Jesus came the first time. The most glorious fact of the future is that this Jesus is coming again. The one sure hope of this jittery old world is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Devotion taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Prince of Peace

Adrian Rogers

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:14

One of the wonderful names of our wonderful Lord is “The Prince of Peace.”

Jesus holds the key to peace, whether it’s personal peace in your heart, domestic peace in your home, or eternal peace in heaven.

Isaiah prophesied that He would be called The Prince of Peace. The angels told the shepherds that His coming was “good tidings of great joy,” for His incarnation meant “peace, goodwill toward men.”

Certainly there is a need for peace. But look around. What has happened to the promised peace? It was purposefully postponed when God sent the Prince of Peace, but the world rejected and then crucified the Prince of Peace. There will be no peace on earth until the world that rejected our Savior receives Him again in power and glory. The only true hope for peace for the church, the nation and the individual is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This Christmas, do you have peace with God or is the war still going on? The only way you can have the peace that Jesus made is to surrender to Jesus in absolute, total, unconditional surrender. He has fought the battle and the battle is won. But it will do you no good until you bow to Him. Have you laid down your sword of rebellion at His feet? He has made peace with the blood of His cross, but that peace does you no good until you bow to Him in total surrender. There is peace with God. Once you have that peace with God, then you can have the peace of God.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Do You Need a Friend This Christmas Eve?

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“…He hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

Some people over this holiday season feel so alone. One Christmas Eve I went to talk to a person who was hurting. I said, “Why don't you call a friend?” She said, "I don't have a friend." I said, "Oh yes, you do." And I told her His name. It is the One who said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

Greek scholars tell us this sentence, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," actually has five negatives in it. Now we say a double-negative is bad English, but evidently it wasn't bad Greek. Here's what it literally says: "I will never, no not ever, no, never leave nor forsake you."

Famed research analyst Dr. Abraham Maslow said, "The truth is that the average American does not have a real friend in the world." And psychiatrist Alfred Adler said, "All human failures spring from a lack of love.” People need someone to love, and they need to be loved. Without it, their lives are filled with fear and frustration. Hebrews 13:5 tells us we can face a new year with the certainty of His provision and with His companionship in our hearts and in our lives.

Who do you know that might need a call from a friend today? A new widow? An empty-nester? A stay-at-home mom? Make that call today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Why Frankincense and Myrrh?

“And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Take unto thee sweet spices…with pure frankincense…And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.

And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.” Exodus 30:34-37

Not only did the Wise Men bring gold, they brought frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense speaks of His sinless deity, myrrh of His sacrificial death.

In Bible times they worshipped the Lord by burning incense, a sweet perfume rising up to the nostrils of God. It was a symbol of worship—to be used in the worship of God alone. Frankincense tells of the beauties, the fragrance, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Frankincense represents Jesus, our Intercessor, and His intercessory prayers for us. Its fragrance speaks of the love and mercy of God.

Myrrh was used to embalm the dead. When the Lord Jesus Christ was being buried, they poured spices and myrrh into His grave clothes. “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.” (John 19:39) Myrrh to embalm the body of Jesus.

In the gifts the Wise Men brought to the young boy Jesus, we see His sovereign dominion, sinless deity, and sacrificial death. He was born to die.

He is King and they brought gold.
He is God and they brought Him frankincense.
He is our Savior and they brought myrrh.

Give—worship—witness—serve. These are what a wise man will do. I wonder, are you really wise? Do you understand that He was born to die?

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Symbol of Gold ~ His Sovereign Dominion

Adrian Rogers

“The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart's desire…with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.” Psalm 21:1-3

Gold was a gift that was fit for a king. The Wise Men asked, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” Our verse today speaks of kings. They wear a crown, and it is a crown of gold.

When the Wise Men brought gold, they were saying, “We recognize this child is the king of the Jews. He’s destined to reign. He has sovereign dominion.”

“Well, how am I going to crown Him?” you may ask. You can crown Him the way they did—with gold. If all of your wealth is not under His control, you’ve not recognized Him as your sovereign king. He has a right to all you own. You say, “It’s mine.” If He is not Lord of everything you have, He’s not your Savior. His throne is not a duplex.

How will you serve Him? One way is to serve Him with your wealth. As the saying goes, “He has no hands but our hands.” Serve Him is by showing His love to those in need. He requires your absolute surrender to His lordship. He is the king.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What Christmas Is All About

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt
Note: Today's devotional is part of HomeWord's Family Christmas Devotional series, 16 family devotionals to help your family make the most of your Christmas season focus.

To download the entire series in a pdf document, click here.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” —Luke 2:8-11

One of my favorite Christmas television specials of all-time is A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the cartoon, Charlie Brown wrestles with the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of a world that seems overloaded with commercialism. First appearing in 1965, the issues Charlie Brown grapples with ring just as true today as they did over 40 years ago.
In one scene, Charlie Brown is so frustrated, he yells, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” To answer, Charlie’s friend Linus steps out onto the auditorium stage and recites the Christmas story straight from the Gospel of Luke. It seems so simple. Yet today, many people celebrate the holiday for a lot of reasons, and some have nothing to do with the birth of Christ, like family traditions, a day off from work, a time of gift-giving, Santa Claus, parties, and so on. Commercialism and materialism is a part of the fabric of Christmas celebrations in our society. It’s easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning, Jesus, to Thee be all glory given; Son of the Father, Now in flesh appearing; O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.
            (from O Come, All Ye Faithful)
Make this one of your best Christmases by choosing to make the birth of Jesus the primary motivation for your celebrations.
1. What problems did Charlie Brown face in trying to understand the real meaning of Christmas?
2. How does commercialism and materialism detract from the real meaning of Christmas?
3. What can you do this Christmastime to remind yourself of the real meaning of Christmas?
Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas with your family and use the content above to debrief after the program is over.