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Be Encouraged

http://bible.us/r/3D.1 Today I am reading day 1 of Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional:

Charles Stanley – Christmas Message

Dear Friend,

In the midst of your holiday preparations and festivities, do you take time to read the Christmas story? Is it still as beautiful and meaningful as it was when you first came to know Jesus as your Savior? Or do you skim the verses, thinking, I know this well. No rooms at the inn, the manger, the angels, the shepherds—I have so little time, and I don’t really need to go over it all again.

I hope that rather than skipping the biblical account, you make it the centerpiece of your celebration. I pray you read it anew, allowing it to speak into your life. This is my habit as Christmas approaches each December—meditating on the awesome day when God “became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). I think about Christ’s birth and consider all it means to our world and to me personally. Though I’ve studied the Christmas story countless times, I never want it to grow stale. I want the reality of “God with us” (Matt. 1:23) to remain fresh in my mind and the glory of His eternal plan to pierce my heart just as it did the first time I read about it in His Word.

Each year, the Father reveals to me something new about what He accomplished at Christ’s birth. For example, one year He showed me the awesome wisdom and simplicity of the name “Jesus.” Any child can say it. Imagine if the Messiah’s name had been Bartholomew, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, or Zachariah. Any of these would have been far too difficult for little ones to pronounce.

I remember my sister could not say “brother” when we were small, so she always called me “Bubby.” That was the only way she could address me at that early age. But she could certainly say, “Jesus.” She could declare the sweetest name on earth—the name that literally means “God’s deliverer.” When the Father showed me that in Scripture, it strengthened my faith.

The truth is we can easily overlook His astounding wisdom and loving provision, especially at Christmas when things become more difficult and can pass in a blur. That is why there is nothing better we can do than take a long look at the account in Luke 2:1-20 that sheds light on Christ’s incarnation (see also Isa. 9:6-7, Matt. 1; and Phil. 2-11). We need to take an intimate look at the birth of Jesus. It can only benefit us to ask, “What is it that God has to say to me about this right now?”

Perhaps you’re not quite sure how to meditate on these biblical passages or how to listen for what the Father wants to teach you. Here are some simple principles that will help you get the most from the account of Christ’s birth and all of God’s Word.

First, think deeply about the passage. As you read Scripture, ask questions such as who, when, where, what, why, and how about key details or things that do not make sense to you. For example, as you read Luke 2, you may wonder, Who was Caesar Augustus, and why did he call a census? What is so significant about Bethlehem that Jesus would be born there? Why is it important that Joseph was from the family of David? Sometimes it will be easy to find answers in Scripture, but at other times, you may need commentaries and lexicons to help you understand what the verses meant when they were written. However, asking questions such as these can help you gain insight into passages and help you draw life-transforming principles from them.

Second, realize that the Father wants to reveal Himself to us in a personal way. It makes a tremendous difference in our Bible reading when we realize that God has a message He wants us to receive. We are not simply memorizing facts or being entertained with a story. We are interacting with our living Savior who, “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (Phil. 2:7) so that we can have a relationship with Him. This is what the Christmas story is all about. He desires for us to experience His presence, obtain comfort in His grace, and find direction for our daily lives. If we examine Scripture with the anticipation of hearing Him, we’ll be amazed at what He will show us.

Third, ask God to teach you how to apply what you read to your circumstances. Simply inquire, “Father, what are You saying to me? How does this account relate to my life, and how should I proceed with what You reveal to me?” In fact, you may wonder, The birth of Christ was more than 2,000 years ago—how can it possibly relate to me today? Be assured, He wants to show you. In fact, He promises, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).

Finally, trust God and submit to Him, regardless of what He tells you to do. The Lord does not require you to understand His will, just obey it, even if it seems unreasonable. At the time, it may not have made much sense for our Savior to be born of a virgin in a rough stable in Bethlehem, but we know it was God’s perfect plan for our salvation. Learn from the faith Mary and Joseph demonstrated, and trust the Father—however He may lead you.

I hope that rather than skipping the biblical account, you will make it the centerpiece of your celebration this Christmas, meditating on the awesome day when our Savior came to dwell among us. Surely, spending time in God’s holy Word is the very best present you can give yourself. May the Lord bless you as you focus on Him. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. If you would like to learn more about God’s awesome wisdom in orchestrating Jesus’ birth, I invite you to read this month’s In Touch magazine. In it, I’ve written an article entitled “Before the Ages,” in which I discuss the intricacy of God’s redemptive plan. I pray it will be a blessing to you. As always, thank you for partnering with In Touch in leading people worldwide into growing relationships with Jesus Christ.

Do not let anyone cause you to Sin!!!!

Proverbs 4:13-17

Hold on to instruction; do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked, or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it, turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

Even friends can make you fall. It is difficult for people to accept the fact that friends and acquaintances might be luring them to do wrong. Young people who want to be accepted would never want to confront or criticize a friend for wrong plans or actions. Some people can’t even see how their friend’s actions could lead to trouble. While we should be accepting of others, we need a healthy skepticism about human behavior. When you feel yourself being heavily influenced, proceed with caution. Don’t let your friends cause you to fall into sin.

God Has a Blessing for You!!!

One of my most favorite passages of scripture in the Old Testament can found in the book of Genesis. In the passage, Jacob, one of the Patriarchs of Israel prophetically blesses his twelve sons. Jacob (“heel” or “leg-puller”) who is later called Israel (“persevere with God”) has lived an extremely tumultuous life. This is how He describes His life when Joseph presents Him to Pharaoh. “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Gen. 47:9

So, we find Jacob at the end of His pilgrimage, in fact we are all pilgrims traveling through a barren land. I like the old gospel song “This world is not my home, I’m just a stranger traveling through” Abraham, Issac and Jacob all understood this, “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:8

Jacob has twelve sons, hence the twelve tribes of Israel. He prophetically proclaims blessing as well as curses on the twelve. God speaks through Jacob and allows Him to see what shall happen to His descendants. For the sake of time and not to bore anyone with my writing I will attempt to address only two of the blessings that are pronounced on Judah and Joseph. When God determines to bless you, there nothing that anyone can do to prevent it. When God places His hand on you, no one can remove it. I thank God for blessing me! I thank God for keeping me! He, God! is totally Awesome! I know God His real, because every now and then, He let me experience His presence! The Baptist Saints use to sing a song when I was child, “I wouldn’t have a Religion, that I couldn’t feel sometime” What they were saying is “I would serve a God if I couldn’t feel His presence.

Jacob, calls His twelve Sons to His bedside and says “Gather around me I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come” “Come and listen you Son’s of Jacob, listen to Israel your Father” The first prophetic words are spoken to Ruben, Jacobs first born. Jacob does not bless Ruben, but tells him he will not excel. The blessing that would normally befall the first born is passed on to Judah. Why you ask, well Ruben slept with Bilhah, one of Jacob’s concubines. Jacob hears about this and does nothing to Reuben, however later on, this act disrespect causes Reuben to be passed over by His Father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth.

You are first in rank and first in power. But you are as unruly as a flood,

and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.”

The character of Reuben is such that He is unable to control His Himself, lack of self control will cause us to miss out on what God has for us. Judah, is the one that His brother shall praise. The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver until Shiloh comes! Praise God. The name Judah means Praise, “I will give Praise to Yahweh” The blessings that are pronounced on Judah are many and they speak to coming of the Messiah. We believe that Shiloh or “He that is Sent” is referring to the Lord Jesus. We can trace the lineage of Jesus to Judah, that is if you believe in Jesus, The Messiah. If you cannot not understand this or believe that Jesus is the Messiah or that He is already come, don’t blame me. “But the Natural man can not receive the things of the Spirit, they are foolishness to him: Neither does he know them because they are spiritually understood” 1 Cor. 2:14

“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.

Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth initial with milk.” Gen 49:8-12

In order to understand the blessings of the Joseph and what they mean, one must read the full account of what happened to Joseph. How he was hated by His brothers and sold into slavery how God elevated him from the bonds of slavery and prison to being a Prince in Eygpt. Joseph is considered by some to be the savior of Israel or a type of Christ in the old testament. God is so awesome! God raised up Joseph and turned his tragedy into triumph and save His people. Hence the saying “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” What Jacob says about Joseph speaks to what I said earlier, when God decides to bless you, no one can stop Him. Listen to how Jacob blesses Joseph.”Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”

Joseph is a branch that produces fruit, a branch planted by a living stream of water (Jesus). His branches extends over the wall and blesses other. His enemies have shot arrows at him and persecuted him and hated him, but God strengthen him. Yet, God blesses Him. Does God have a blessing assigned to you? I say yes He does. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re already blessed. Read the bible to find out what shall happen to you in the end. Jesus tells us that He’s coming back and gather His Saints from all corners of the world, “The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a loud command” and we shall live with him forever. This is good news! I will trust in Jesus, and await His return because He keeps His promises. Have a blessed week!!

A Hope for All People

Very Interesting Video. Click on the Link below.

 

Change the way you think!

Joyce Meyer

Change the Way You Think

Have you ever heard the saying “a mind is a terrible thing to waste’? Our minds have so much capacity for good, to learn, create, think and grow, and it’s a tragedy when we don’t use them to their highest potential.

There was a time in my life when I allowed too many damaging thoughts to enter my mind, negative, tormenting, guilty, unforgiving, shameful and accusing thoughts. The problem was that I had no idea I could control my thoughts or choose which thoughts I focused on and believed in.

I didn’t realize that if I was thinking something that wasn’t true, I had the power to stop. No one ever told me I could win in my mind. Has anyone ever told you? If not, then I’m here today to tell you that you don’t have to let your thoughts control you. You can choose to think and focus on God-thoughts!

Romans 12:2 says to “let God transform you, by changing the way you think.” God wants to help you win the battle in your mind. But what does that look like on a practical level?

Here’s what has worked countless times for me and what I know will work for you too: The next time you’re wrestling in your mind, I want you to stop and find something specific that you can thank God for. Tell Him how grateful you are for His goodness and all the rich ways He’s blessed your life. As you’re diligent to do this, you will see your life begin to change and things will get better and better.

It’s my hope and prayer that you will know the power God has given you and that every day in your thoughts, you will walk in the fullness of His love for you!

Prayer Starter: God, I want to experience Your power in my thought life. I choose to focus on Your goodness and Your love for me. No matter what negative thought comes my way, I know that You are so much bigger and better.

Pleasing God

How Do I Please God?
http://laudell.wordpress.com/

In the life and ministry of Jesus Christ there was no question that He lived to please God, the Father. Jesus stated in John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. His works, His life, His ministry, His everyday path, was well pleasing to God. In fact,God declared in a loud thunderous voice, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

But the question is, “How do I please the Lord?” I have failed in trying to please some people but I desire, cry for and long for a life that is well pleasing to Him. So I ask myself the question and maybe you also, “How do I please the Lord?”

The scriptures mention a warning in Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Simply stated, pleasing God is a spiritual path not a fleshly pursuit. I must follow Him in Spirit and not try to gain His attention through the flesh. This makes it more defined as to the purpose of my desire to please Him.

Scripturally, there are three distinctive to pleasing God:

First, to please God is to praise Him. Psalms 69:30-31 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD …” To please God is to worship God. Praise His Name, sing, magnify Him and give Him thanks, attracts God’s pleasure. Break out in a song, worship Him and He will have pleasure in your voice.

Secondly, to please God is to have faith in God. Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. To believe Him is to please Him. Simply trusting in God that He will do what He said He will do, pleases Him.

Thirdly, to please God is through obedience to God. 1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Say “yes” to God and “no” to the devil is a simple formula with big results. Listening to His voice and living in obedience to Him pleases God. To fine tune your spirit to be in accord with His voice and to listen to Him and then to follow in obedience is well pleasing to the Lord.