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  #1221  
Old 12-10-2011, 02:24 AM
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Default Dec. 10

Risky Business

December 10, 2011

Read: Matthew 1:18-25

Then Joseph . . . did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. —Matthew 1:24

On some of the Christmas cards you will receive this year, no doubt there will be a man standing in the background looking over the shoulder of Mary, who is prominently displayed caring for the baby Jesus. His name is Joseph. And after the nativity narratives, he isn’t heard from much again. If we didn’t know better, we would think Joseph was an insignificant bystander or, at best, a mere necessity to undergird Jesus’ claim to the throne of David.

But, in fact, the role that Joseph played was strategically important. If he had disobeyed the angel’s command to take Mary as his wife (Matt. 1:20), he would have, from a human perspective, put the entire mission of Jesus at risk. Taking Mary as his wife was a risky assignment. Public perception that he was the baby’s father put him in serious violation of Jewish law and made him a public disgrace. Yet today all of us are thankful that he was willing to risk his reputation to participate in and facilitate God’s unfolding drama.

Most of us are insignificant compared to the major players in this world. But all of us are called to obey. Who knows what God has in store when we are willing to surrender to God’s will—even when it puts us at risk!

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey. —Sammis

It’s no small thing to trust and obey.
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-Colossians 3:23

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  #1222  
Old 12-11-2011, 02:49 AM
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Default Dec. 11

Breathtaking

December 11, 2011

Read: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

A man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life. —Ecclesiastes 8:15

A popular slogan says, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I see the phrase everywhere, on everything from T-shirts to pieces of art. It’s a catchy phrase, but I think it’s misleading.

If we measure life by breathtaking moments, we miss the wonder of ordinary moments. Eating, sleeping, and breathing seem “ordinary” in that we do them every day, usually without much thought. But they are not ordinary at all. Every bite and every breath are miracles. In fact, having breath is more miraculous than anything that takes our breath away.

King Solomon may have had more breathtaking moments than anyone. He said, “I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure” (Eccl. 2:10). But he expressed cynicism about it by saying, “All of it is meaningless” (v.17 NIV).

Solomon’s life reminds us that it’s important to find joy in “ordinary” things, for they are indeed wonderful. Bigger is not always better. More is not always an improvement. Busier doesn’t make us more important.

Rather than look for meaning in breathtaking moments, we should find meaning in every breath we take, and make every breath meaningful.

All that I want is in Jesus;
He satisfies, joy He supplies;
Life would be worthless without Him,
All things in Jesus I find. —Loes

Breathing is more miraculous than anything
that takes our breath away.
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  #1223  
Old 12-12-2011, 05:20 AM
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Default Dec. 12

A Growing Belligerence

December 12, 2011

Read: Philippians 4:4-9

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. —Romans 12:18

On a recent trip, the flight attendant asked if I flew very often. When I said I did, he asked, “Have you noticed people on planes becoming increasingly more belligerent and aggressive in recent months?” I had to confess that I agreed with him. We began talking about what might be contributing to it—things like increased airport security, higher costs, fewer services, and a general dissatisfaction with travel. As if to prove the point, our conversation was interrupted by a passenger who refused to sit in his assigned seat because he liked someone else’s seat assignment better!

When we encounter anger and belligerence, the follower of Christ can be a peacemaker. Paul wrote to the church at Rome with this challenge, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). What does that mean? For one thing, it means that we must control what we can control. We can’t control the attitudes of others, but we can control our response.

When we see angry or hostile attitudes displayed around us, we can show the heart of the Prince of Peace by responding graciously in a peaceful manner. In this way we will demonstrate the attitude of our Savior in a world filled with a growing belligerence.

Sometimes in a conversation
Words of anger can be heard;
If in peace we can defuse it,
We are living by God’s Word. —Hess

The world needs a peace that passes all misunderstanding.
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  #1224  
Old 12-13-2011, 12:51 AM
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Default Dec. 13

Free Pizza!

December 13, 2011

Read: John 6:25-41

I am the bread which came down from heaven. —John 6:41

Money is tight when you’re a college student. So when free food is available, students will show up anytime, anywhere. If a company wants to recruit new employees, it will entice young people on college campuses to come to a presentation by offering free pizza. Some students attend presentation after presentation—just for the pizza. The food in the present seems to be more important than the job for the future.

Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000, and the next day many searched for Him (John 6:10-11,24-25). He challenged them: “You seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (v.26). It seems that the food was more important to some of the people than the everlasting life Jesus offered in Himself. He told them He was “the bread of God . . . who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (v.33). Some didn’t believe, wouldn’t accept His teaching, and “walked with Him no more” (v.66). They had wanted the food, but they didn’t want Him and what would be required of them to follow Him.

Jesus calls us today to come to Him—not for the blessings from His hand but to receive the eternal life He offers and to follow Him, “the bread of God.”

Examining our motives
For following the Lord
Will show if we’re authentically
Believing in His Word. —Sper

Only Christ the Living Bread can satisfy our spiritual hunger.
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  #1225  
Old 12-14-2011, 02:00 AM
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Default Dec. 14

The Horse And Her Boy

December 14, 2011

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

[We are] strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience. —Colossians 1:11

When I was about 5 years old, my father decided that I needed a horse of my own to care for. So he bought an old bay mare and brought her home to me. I named her Dixie.

Dixie was a formidable beast for me at my age and small stature. No saddle was small enough, no stirrups short enough for my legs, so I rode bareback most of the time.

Dixie was plump, which meant that my feet stuck straight out, making it difficult to stay astride. But whenever I fell off, Dixie would simply stop, look at me, and wait while I tried to climb on her back again. This leads me to Dixie’s most admirable trait: She was wonderfully patient.

I, on the other hand, was less than patient with Dixie. Yet she bore my childish tantrums with stoic patience, never once retaliating. I wish I could be more like Dixie, having patience that overlooks a multitude of offenses. I have to ask myself, “How do I react when others aggravate me?” Do I respond with humility, meekness, and patience? (Col. 3:12). Or with intolerance and indignation?

To overlook an offense. To forgive 70 times 7. To bear with human frailty and failure. To show mercy and kindness to those who exasperate us. To gain such control over our souls—this is the work of God.

God of grace and God of goodness,
Teach me to be ever kind,
Always gentle and forgiving
With the Savior first in mind. —Brandt

Love that is born at Calvary bears and forbears, gives and forgives.
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Last edited by HardCory; 12-15-2011 at 02:01 AM.
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  #1226  
Old 12-14-2011, 04:40 PM
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HardCory, I believe that you accidentally posted December 13th devotional twice. I believe that today's devotional is:

The Horse And Her Boy

December 14, 2011 — by David H. Roper

Read: Colossians 3:12-17
[We are] strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience. —Colossians 1:11

When I was about 5 years old, my father decided that I needed a horse of my own to care for. So he bought an old bay mare and brought her home to me. I named her Dixie. Dixie was a formidable beast for me at my age and small stature. No saddle was small enough, no stirrups short enough for my legs, so I rode bareback most of the time. Dixie was plump, which meant that my feet stuck straight out, making it difficult to stay astride. But whenever I fell off, Dixie would simply stop, look at me, and wait while I tried to climb on her back again. This leads me to Dixie’s most admirable trait: She was wonderfully patient. I, on the other hand, was less than patient with Dixie. Yet she bore my childish tantrums with stoic patience, never once retaliating. I wish I could be more like Dixie, having patience that overlooks a multitude of offenses. I have to ask myself, “How do I react when others aggravate me?” Do I respond with humility, meekness, and patience? (Col. 3:12). Or with intolerance and indignation?
To overlook an offense. To forgive 70 times 7. To bear with human frailty and failure. To show mercy and kindness to those who exasperate us. To gain such control over our souls—this is the work of God.

God of grace and God of goodness,
Teach me to be ever kind,
Always gentle and forgiving
With the Savior first in mind. —Brandt

Love that is born at Calvary bears and forbears, gives and forgives.





I would like to personally thank HardCory for posting these daily. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

Last edited by bigironcross; 12-14-2011 at 04:49 PM.
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  #1227  
Old 12-15-2011, 02:02 AM
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Default Dec. 15

A Supporting Role

December 15, 2011

Read: Romans 12:9-21

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. —Romans 12:10

After the American TV personality Ed McMahon died in 2009, one newspaper headline read, “When it came to being the No. 2 man, he was No. 1.” Best known for his 30-year tenure as Johnny Carson’s late-night sidekick, McMahon excelled at helping Carson succeed in the spotlight. While most entertainers strive for top billing, McMahon was content with a supporting role.

When the apostle Paul gave instructions about how to exercise our gifts as members of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:3-8), he affirmed the value of supporting roles. He began by saying that we should have a realistic opinion of ourselves (v.3), and he concluded with a call to genuine, unselfish love: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (v.10). Or, as J. B. Phillips translates it, “a willingness to let the other man have the credit.”

Our gifts and abilities come to us by God’s grace and are to be used by faith (vv.3,6) in love and service for Christ—not for personal recognition.

May God grant us the ability to embrace with enthusiasm the supporting roles to which He calls us. The ultimate goal is His glory and not our own.

The church, a living body, containing all the parts—
It lives, it moves, it functions, and touches many hearts;
When each part is committed to do the Savior’s will,
His members are united, His purpose they fulfill. —Fitzhugh

The church works best when we see ourselves
as participants, not as spectators.
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  #1228  
Old 12-16-2011, 01:57 AM
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Default Dec. 16

Avoid The Husks

December 16, 2011

Read: Luke 15:11-24

He would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate. —Luke 15:16

Ah, the life of a pig! Each new day brings nothing but slopping through the mud and snorting happily at mealtime. And what meals they have! Crunchy corn husks—or whatever leftovers get tossed into the pen.

Sound good? No? It probably didn’t sound good to the prodigal son either.

Before he started eating with pigs, he had a warm bed, a rich inheritance, a loving father, a secure future—and probably good food. But it wasn’t enough. He wanted “fun.” He wanted to run his own life and do whatever he desired. It resulted in a pig’s dinner.

Whenever a young person ignores the guidance of godly parents and the instruction of God’s Word, similar results occur. It always shocks me when someone who professes to know Jesus chooses a life that rejects God’s clear teaching. Whether the choices include sexual sin, addictive substances, a lack of ambition, or something else, any action that leaves God out risks ending badly.

If we ignore clear biblical morals and neglect our relationship with God, we can expect trouble. Luke tells us that the young man turned things around after he came to his senses (Luke 15:17). Keep your senses about you. Live for God by the guidance of His Word—unless you have a hankering for the husks.

When we are lured to turn away
To follow sinful lust,
Lord, help us to resist the pull
And in You put our trust. —Sper

If sin were not deceitful, it wouldn’t seem delightful.
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  #1229  
Old 12-17-2011, 03:28 AM
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Default Dec. 17

Hope In Him

December 17, 2011

Read: Isaiah 53

The virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. —Isaiah 7:14

As we drove home from a Christmas party one evening, my family and I approached a small country church nestled between glittering snowbanks. From a distance, I could see its holiday display. Strings of white lights formed the capital letters: H-O-P-E. The sight of that word shining in the darkness reminded me that Jesus is, and always has been, the hope of humankind.
Before Jesus was born, people hoped for the Messiah—the One who would shoulder their sin and intercede with God on their behalf (Isa. 53:12). They expected the Messiah to arrive through a virgin who would bear a son in Bethlehem and would name Him Immanuel, “God with us” (7:14). The night Jesus was born, their hope was fulfilled (Luke 2:1-14).
Although we’re no longer waiting for Jesus in the form of an infant, He is still the source of our hope. We watch for His second coming (Matt. 24:30); we anticipate the heavenly home He is preparing for us (John 14:2); and we dream of living with Him in His celestial city (1 Thess. 4:16). As Christians, we can look forward to the future because the baby in the manger was, and still is, “the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1).

That night so many years ago
Which brought the Savior’s birth,
Gave promise of a brighter hope:
Good will—and peace on earth. —Anon.
The key word of Christmas is “Immanuel”— God with us!
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  #1230  
Old 12-18-2011, 12:28 AM
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Default Dec. 18

Christmas Journey

December 18, 2011

Read: Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4-5

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son. —Galatians 4:4

How far is it from Nazareth to Bethlehem? If you’re in Pennsylvania, it’s about 9 miles and takes about 10 minutes by car. But if you’re in Nazareth of Galilee, and you’re traveling along with your pregnant wife, as Joseph was, it’s about 80 miles to Bethlehem. That journey probably took Joseph and Mary about a week, and they didn’t stay in a nice hotel when they got there. All Joseph could find was a stall in a stable, and that’s where Mary delivered “her firstborn Son” (Luke 2:7).
But the journey for the infant Jesus was much farther than 80 miles. He left His place in heaven at God’s right hand, came to earth, and accepted our humanity. Eventually, He was stretched out on a cross to die, and He was buried in a borrowed tomb. But the journey was not over. He conquered death, left the tomb, walked again among men, and ascended to heaven. Even that is not the journey’s end. Someday He will return as King of kings and Lord of lords.
As you take a Christmas journey this month, reflect on the journey Jesus made for us. He came from heaven to earth to die for us, making salvation available through His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection.
Praise God for that first Christmas journey!

When God stepped out of heaven above
And came down to this earth,
He clothed Himself in human flesh—
A Child of lowly birth. —D. De Haan
Jesus came to earth for us so we could go to heaven with Him.
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