GOD’S GENEROSITY. . . . . Matthew 20:15 This parable is a strong teaching about grace, God’s generosity. We shouldn’t begrudge those who turn to God in the last moments of life, because, in reality, no one deserves eternal life. Many people we don’t expect to see in the kingdom may be there. The criminal who repented as he was dying (Luke 23:40-43) will be there, as well as the person who has believed and served God for many years. Do you resent God’s gracious acceptance of the despised, the outcast, and the sinners who have turned to him for forgiveness? Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another person? Instead, focus on God’s gracious benefits to you, and be thankful for what you have.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
KEEP TRACK. . . . . Matthew 18:22 The rabbis taught that Jews should forgive three times those who offend them. Peter, in trying to be especially generous, asked Jesus if seven (the “perfect” number) was enough times to forgive someone. But Jesus answered, “Seventy times seven,” meaning that we shouldn’t even keep track of how many times we forgive someone. We should always forgive those who are truly repentant, no matter how many times they ask.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
EYES. . . . . Matthew 14:28 Peter was not testing Jesus, something we are told not to do (Matthew 4:7). Instead he was the only one in the boat to react in faith. His impulsive request led him to experience a rather unusual demonstration of God’s power. Peter started to sink because he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the high waves around him. His faith wavered when he realized what he was doing. We may not walk on water, but we do walk through tough situations. If we focus on the waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to Christ for help, we too may despair and sink. To maintain your faith in the midst of difficult situations, keep your eyes on Christ’s power rather than on your inadequacies.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
TESTING. . . . . Matthew 9:27-30 Jesus didn’t respond immediately to the blind men’s pleas. He waited to see how earnest they were. Not everyone who says he or she wants help really wants it badly enough to do something about it. Jesus may have waited and questioned these men to make their desire and faith stronger. If, in your prayers, it seems as if God is too slow in giving his answer, maybe he is testing you as he did the blind men. Do you believe God can help you? Do you really want his help?
Friday, December 21, 2012
OUT OF CONTROL. . . . . Matthew 5:21-22 Killing is a terrible sin, but anger is a great sin too because it also violates God’s command to love. Anger in this case refers to a seething, brooding bitterness against someone. It is a dangerous emotion that always threatens to leap out of control and lead to violence, emotional hurt, increased mental stress, and other destructive results. There is spiritual damage as well. Anger keeps us from developing a spirit pleasing to God. Have you ever been proud that you didn’t strike out and say what was really on your mind? Self-control is good, but Christ wants us to practice thought-control as well. Jesus said we will be held accountable even for our attitudes.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
HOLDING BACK. . . . . Malachi 3:6-12 Malachi urged the people not to hold back their gifts to the priests, their “tithes.” Tithing began during Moses’ time (Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 14:22). The Levites received some of the tithe because they couldn’t have land (Numbers 18:20-21). During Malachi’s day, the tithes were not used to support God’s workers, so the Levites had to go to work. God has given us everything. When we refuse to return to him a part of what he has given, we rob him. Do you selfishly want to keep all you’ve been given, or are you willing to return the first part for advancing God’s kingdom?
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
BE BLESSED. . . . . Zephaniah 3:12 God is opposed to the proud and haughty of every generation. But the lowly and humble, both physically and spiritually, will be blessed because they trust in God. Self-reliance and arrogance have no place among God’s people or in his kingdom.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
One of the best innovations to come out of Asia, this variety of Oil Absorbing Sheets is made of some type of silky material rather than paper. Plus this variety handles a particular problem very well—retrieving one sheet at a time. Once you open the lid, a piece of tape grabs one sheet for easy pop-up dispensing.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
AMAZING STRENGTH. . . . . Habakkuk 3:17-19 Crop failure and the death of animals would devastate Judah. But Habakkuk affirmed that even in the midst of starvation, he would still rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk’s feelings were not controlled by the events around him, but by the faith in God’s ability to give him strength. When nothing seems to make sense, and when troubles seem more than you can handle, remember that God gives strength. Take your eyes off your difficulties and look to God.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
IN YOUR DREAMS. . . . . Micah 2:1-2 Micah spoke out against those who planned evil deeds at night and rose at dawn to carry them out. A person’s thoughts reflect his character. What do you think about as you lie down to sleep? Do you desires involve greed or stepping on others to achieve your goals? Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds as surely as morning follows night.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
NO GAIN. . . . . Amos 5:12 Why does God put so much emphasis on the way we treat the poor? How we treat the rich or those of equal station too often reflects what we hope to get from them. But since the poor can give us nothing, how we treat them reflects our true character. Do we, like Christ, give without thought of gain? We should treat the poor as we would like God to treat us.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Friday, December 7, 2012
COW GIRLS. . . . . Amos 4:1 Israel’s wealthy women were compared to the cows of Bashan—pampered, sleek, and well fed (see Psalm 22:12). These women selfishly pushed their husbands to oppress the helpless in order to supply their lavish lifestyle. Be careful not to desire material possessions so much that you are willing to oppress others and displease God to get them.