Sunday, December 31, 2017

Daily Word of God - Romans 2:4

Romans 2:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Dedicated to a New Life

To our faith family and grace partners, due to an illness, I was unable to record the message for December 31. I am posting the message text and will record it as soon as I get over my illness.
-Sr. Chaplain Jesse

As the final moments of 2017 slowly come to an end, we look forward to the new year. Some are already worried that there will be more violence and only bad news to occupy our minds. For most, we are optimistic and feel that 2018 will be our year. Some will see major changes in their lives. Some will move to a new city. Others will see a new job or change in occupation. All of these changes are good, but are they the changes that we should have in mind when we look to the coming new year? Have we changed or are we ready to change?

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Since we belong to Christ, we have undergone a major change in our lives. We are new. Our old lives have gone away. As Christians, our old lives of sin are gone and we should be acting as a new person and follower of Christ. By continuing to revert back to our sinful lives, we are not acting as new creations in God’s kingdom. We still remain a part of the old sinful world. We do not see the new year as an opportunity to do more with our lives. We see 2018 as just another chance to do the same things over and over. 

Jesus, in John 3, talks to Nicodemus, a pharisee, about being born again. Nicodemus, like so many others, cannot grasp the thought of being born again. He asks Jesus how could an old man go back to his mother’s womb and be born again. Jesus was not talking about a physical rebirth. He was talking about a spiritual rebirth. 

Looking at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians and what Jesus tells Nicodemus, we see what must occur in our lives. Our old lives are to die and we are to be reborn in a new life, a life full of love, hope and faith. It is not enough to say that you are a Christian. You are to act like a Christian. Christians do not concentrate on violence, but rather on loving our enemies and doing what Christ Jesus taught us to do. We are to lift up those who have fallen and restore them by showing them the way back to the Father. By acting in this way, we can truly tell the world that God loves them. 

I have heard so many times that Christians are the biggest hypocrites. They say one thing and do another. I have heard some say, “I refuse to go to church, because Christians are hypocrites.” In fact I had read an article some time ago, that said that hypocrisy was the number one reason why people do not go to church. Our lives, our Christian lives, should be a testimony to those who are lost. Instead, they are shadowy reflections of our old, sinful lives. We try to be better, but we slip back to our old lives and forget why Christ Jesus came to this world. How soon we forget the lessons of his birth!

Each New Year’s Day, most of us go through the ritual of making resolutions. We say that we are going to spend less and save more. We say that we are going to eat less and exercise more. We say that we are going to better ourselves. Within weeks of those words, we have stopped what we should be doing and reverted back to our old lives. On average, most people break their resolutions with a couple of weeks. 

Instead of making resolutions, I suggest to you that you dedicate your life to be better a Christian. I know that sometimes it is tough to be a Christian when there are those who seem to go out of their way to poke fun at you for believing. But, I remind you that Jesus endured more than just simply being poked fun at. He was beaten for you. He was whipped for you. He was crucified for you. As his followers, we knew that there would be those who would persecute us for our faith. It is part of being a Christian. The world, like Nicodemus, cannot wrap its mind around the simple truth of God’s love and its manifestation through His son, Jesus.

So, I ask that you dedicate 2018 not to yourselves but rather to God and that you dedicate your life, your new life, to Him. Do those things that bring Him honor and glory.  James points out clearly how we should live our new lives in accordance to God’s will. Reading from James 1: 22-27 using the New Living Translation. “22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. 24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

We are to do those things and fix our sights on those things that bring honor and glory to God. In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells the members of the church there at Philippi, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
That praise is not directed to us, but it is directed to God. Our voices should lift up a new song. Not one of pessimism, disappointment or doubt. 

The psalmist in Psalm 98:1 gives us the directions on how to dedicate ourselves to God and to serve Him and our brothers and sisters. “Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds. His right hand has won a mighty victory; his holy arm has shown his saving power!” 

When we dedicate ourselves to the work of the Kingdom and serve God with all of our heart, mind and soul and, equally as important, by loving our neighbors as ourselves, we can rest assured that we can firm stand in His grace.

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 16:1

Proverbs 16:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

We can make our own plans,
    but the Lord gives the right answer.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Daily Word of God - Numbers 24:8

Numbers 24:8 New Living Translation (NLT)

God brought them out of Egypt;
    for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
He devours all the nations that oppose him,
    breaking their bones in pieces,
    shooting them with arrows.

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 33:6

Isaiah 33:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

In that day he will be your sure foundation,
    providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
    The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 20:24

Proverbs 20:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord directs our steps,
    so why try to understand everything along the way?

Daily Word of God - Jeremiah 10:23

Jeremiah 10:23 New Living Translation (NLT)

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
    We are not able to plan our own course.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Daily Word of God - Matthew 2:14-15

Matthew 2:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

Daily Word of God - Hosea 11:1

Hosea 11:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and I called my son out of Egypt.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Daily Word of God - Ruth 2:12

Ruth 2:12 New Living Translation (NLT)

May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.

Mid-Week Message - Do We Know?

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19 (NIV)

The popular Christmas song "Mary Did You Know" raises some interesting questions.  What all did Mary realize about her son?  We know she was aware the He was the Son of God because the angel told her so.  But did she know that, as the song asks, He would one day walk on water?  Did she have any idea of the power He would have?  Could she have imagined that He would heal people, calm storms or be able to turn water into wine?  Maybe someday in Heaven we will be able to ask her those questions.  I hope so.  

I guess the more important question for us is whether we truly understand who He is.  We have the scriptures that list many of the miracles He performed during His time on this earth.  We have the full story of His birth, life, death and resurrection.  Some Bibles even make it easy for us to find the words He spoke by printing them in red.  We have the story in multiple translations available to us at any time.  So, we know.  Don't we?

There is a huge difference between knowledge in our minds and true understanding in our hearts.  Do we live our lives in a way that shows we fully comprehend who He is?  Do we honor Him with our speech?  Do we trust Him with and for our needs?  Do we spend a lot of time in worry and fear?  Do we share Him with those around us?  Do we realize that He is returning at any time and live in expectation?  Are we joyful, loving and giving?  Do we spend time with Him, letting Him know how important He is to us?  

The answers to those questions will reveal what we honestly know and believe about our Savior.  We won't know what Mary knew until we get the chance to ask her, but we need to know where we stand today.  As the new year approaches, I pray that each of us will do the personal introspection needed to allow Him to be Lord of our lives.  God bless you.

Daily Word of God - Deuteronomy 33:3

Deuteronomy 33:3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Indeed, he loves his people;
    all his holy ones are in his hands.
They follow in his steps
    and accept his teaching.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 19:21

Proverbs 19:21 New Living Translation (NLT)

You can make many plans,
    but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 26:9

Isaiah 26:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

In the night I search for you;
    in the morning I earnestly seek you.
For only when you come to judge the earth
    will people learn what is right.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Daily Word of God - Matthew 2:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
    who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Daily Word of God - John 1:1-5, 14

John 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Christmas Day Message - Fifth Candle of Advent - Salvation

As we celebrate Christmas Day, let us strive to remember the true meaning of this day. It is not a day to count the number of presents or how much you received in gift cards. It is a day for us to look upon that one gift that was not wrapped in pretty paper. It wasn’t the biggest gift under the tree. It was a gift swaddled in cloth and presented to the world in a lowly manger. It was and is and will forever be the gift of the Christ child. God’s gift to the world. As we light the fifth and final candle of Advent, let us remember Jesus’ birth as a gift from God.

The Weary World Will Rejoice!

O Night Divine! The Night when Christ the Lord was born. We are led to the light.

Daily Word of God - Luke 2:7-19

Luke 2:7-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

Celebrating the Birth of Our Savior, Christ!

Sing Gloria! Let all hearts and voices ring out to the world and tell them of the birth! Declare in one voice God's gift to the entire world.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Message - Fourth Sunday of Advent - Adulation

Today is Christmas Eve and it is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. As Christians, we are excited by this day and share that excitement with everyone. Why is today important? As we approach Christmas Day, we are filled with the anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Man has waited so long for this moment. The prophets have told the people that a Savior would be sent to provide salvation and, most importantly, love. We are truly filled with an excitement that cannot be contained and must be shared with all those around the world.

Daily Word of God - John 3:16

John 3:16 New Living Translation (NLT)

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."

From World to Another - Christmas from 240,000 Miles Away

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts; Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders did a live television broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from Apollo 8. Lovell said, "The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth." They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis.

William Anders:
"For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you".
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

Jim Lovell:
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Frank Borman:
"And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."

Borman then added, "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth."

Daily Word of God - Ezekiel 34:15-16

Ezekiel 34:15-16 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Daily Word of God - Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4:32 New Living Translation (NLT)

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 26:7

Isaiah 26:7 New Living Translation (NLT)

But for those who are righteous,
    the way is not steep and rough.
You are a God who does what is right,
    and you smooth out the path ahead of them.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Daily Word of God - Ecclesiastes 9:1

Ecclesiastes 9:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor.

Daily Word of God - John 14:6

John 14:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Daily Word of God - Exodus 4:22

Exodus 4:22 New Living Translation (NLT)

Then you will tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son."

Daily Word of God - Malachi 3:1

Malachi 3:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Daily Word of God - Psalm 37:23

Psalm 37:23 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives.

Mid-Week Message - The Innkeeper

"While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:6-7 (NASB)

We know the story.  It was time for a census to be taken so Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem and Mary, who was heavy with child, went with him.  In our minds, we see Joseph leading the donkey that carried his betrothed.  They get to Bethlehem, knock on the doors of the local La Quinta and Best Western, only to be told by the innkeeper that there was no room for them.  Finally one directs them to the stable and there Mary gives birth to the King of Kings.  

Lovely story.  However, there are some things that have become tradition that scripture doesn't mention.  For instance, we do not know that Mary rode a donkey.  In fact, that would have been a very uncomfortable way for a woman who was about to give birth to travel.  It may have been a donkey, but it may also have been a wagon.  We are simply not told.  Another detail that isn't mentioned is an innkeeper.  

We do not need to know who it was that turned them away to know the rest of the story.  However, that is a very interesting detail to me because each of us has the choice each and every day of whether to allow Jesus room in our hearts or not.  When we awake, we make the choice of including Him in our day or shutting Him out.  When trouble arises we have the choice of turning to or away from Him.  If we are joyful, we can praise Him or celebrate on our own.  We choose.  Do we open the door or not?

I have often wondered about those responsible for sending Mary and Joseph elsewhere.  When they heard the news of the birth of our Lord, what questions did that create in their minds?  Were they regretful?  Did they wish they had tried harder to accommodate them?  Did they go to the manger to see the baby King for themselves?  Did they even believe?  Did it change how they lived the rest of their lives?

What about us?  Jesus left His heavenly domain to be born as a helpless infant and was ultimately crucified because of His love for each of us.  What impact does that make on us?  Do we seek Him?  Do we honor Him?  Today, did we make room for Him?  As you go through this week and prepare for Christmas day, I urge everyone to examine their hearts and make sure there are no closed doors where He is concerned.  Invite Him in. Give Him full access.  Let Him know that there is always room.  God bless you and have a very Merry Christmas.  

Daily Word of God - John 1:1-2, 14

John 1:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Daily Word of God - Colossians 3:1

Colossians 3:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

Daily Word of God - Proverbs 16:9

Proverbs 16:9 New Living Translation (NLT)

We can make our plans,
    but the Lord determines our steps.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Daily Word of God - Matthew 6:33

Matthew 6:33 New Living Translation (NLT)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Daily Word of God - Ecclesiastes 10:2

Ecclesiastes 10:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

A wise person chooses the right road;
    a fool takes the wrong one.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Daily Word of God - Luke 1:42-45

Luke 1:42-45 New Living Translation (NLT)

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Third Sunday of Advent - Exultation

The third Sunday of Advent is the one I call “Exultation”. The definition of this word is “a feeling of triumphant elation or jubilation; rejoicing”. Yes, as Christians, we have a lot to rejoice about during this Christmas season. We celebrate the birth of the Christ, the Messiah foretold so long ago. The excitement and joy we express now is the same that was expressed over 2,000 years ago. The shepherds who watched their flocks by night were told of this wonderful birth. They were, at first fearful, but later their hearts were filled with great joy. That joy was shared not only on the Earth but also in heaven. Huge choirs of angels sang and filled the world with a joyful chorus. They praised God in the highest and wished something wonderful, “on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Daily Word of God - Luke 1:26-33

Luke 1:26-33 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Daily Word of God - Psalm 72:1-2

Psalm 72:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
    and righteousness to the king’s son.
2 Help him judge your people in the right way;
    let the poor always be treated fairly.

The Wonder of Christmas - Luke 1:30-33

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Luke 1:30-33 NLT

Daily Word of God - Luke 1:14-17

Luke 1:14-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. 17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Daily Word of God - Mark 1:1-3

Mark 1:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
    Clear the road for him!’”

Daily Word of God - Zechariah 6:12-13

Zechariah 6:12-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 52:7-9

Isaiah 52:7-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

7 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,
the good news of peace and salvation,
    the news that the God of Israel reigns!
8 The watchmen shout and sing with joy,
    for before their very eyes
    they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.
9 Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,
    for the Lord has comforted his people.
    He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Daily Word of God - Psalm 89:1-4

Psalm 89:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

1 I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
    Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
2 Your unfailing love will last forever.
    Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.

3 The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant.
    I have sworn this oath to him:
4 ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever;
    they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’”

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Daily Word of God - Isaiah 40:9-11

Isaiah 40:9-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 O Zion, messenger of good news,
    shout from the mountaintops!
Shout it louder, O Jerusalem.
    Shout, and do not be afraid.
Tell the towns of Judah,
    “Your God is coming!”
10 Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
    He will rule with a powerful arm.
    See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
    He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
    He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Mid-Week Message - Angels and Shepherds

"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'"  Luke 2:8-14 (NASB) 
Do you have a manger scene set up in your home for Christmas?  Many of us do, I'm sure.  Almost all of them contain the same pieces.  Mary, Joseph, the Baby in the manger, three wise men with gifts, several animals, and an angel and a shepherd.  These are the classic parts in Christmas plays and pictures.  However, the wise men were not there.  They didn't make it to Jesus until He was at least a year old.  And, does it surprise you to know that there is no mention of an angel there either?  At least not visibly.  Surely the Lord's armies were encamped around His Son.  Where then does the angel come into the story?
Shepherds were in the fields guarding their flocks.  These men were doing a lowly job.  They were smelly and not the favorite people to invite to the Christmas party.  Yet, God chose them for the angels' visit.  He chose them for the announcement that the prophecy had been fulfilled and the Christ child had been born.  And in what a mighty way!  There they were, under that night sky, probably tired from a long day's work, talking among themselves.  Suddenly they see a sight they couldn't believe!  An angel of God had come to deliver the good news.  After that we are told that a multitude of the heavenly host appeared to them and began praising God.  
So, why them?  Of all the people the angels could have made their announcement to, why dirty sheep tenders?  What can we learn from this?  The Father wanted to show that the Savior had come for all.  Not just the rich or the religious.  By appearing to the shepherds, the angels not only announced the birth of the King, but also God's inclusion and acceptance of people from all walks of life. 
There is one thing that amazes me each time I see a manger scene.  That is that there is almost always only one shepherd present.  However, scripture says "they" went to see what the angels proclaimed was true.  So, a more accurate representation of that night would be Mary, Joseph, the Baby and several dirty, smelly shepherds.  Does that change how you feel about that scene?  I don't know about anyone else, but it makes it more beautiful to me.  God bless you!

Daily Word of God - Micah 5:4

Micah 5:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
    for he will be highly honored around the world.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Daily Word of God - Hebrews 6:12

Hebrews 6:12 New Living Translation (NLT)

Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.