If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13 NKJV
James 1:17 KJV — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for all Your gifts. Lord, thank You for daily miracles and blessings. Lord Jesus, You taught us that good gifts are from You and we should be seeking the Kingdom of Heaven, requesting Your presence in our lives with persistence. Lord, it is easy to become sidetracked by the cares of this world, to be distracted by the demands of living. Lord, I confess my struggles with fear this morning and thank You for overcoming every evil. Lord, thank You that I need not fear anything or anyone, just You and You reassure me of Your love every day. Lord, please help our family to know what Your will is for us daily. Thank You. Lord, I lift up those who are in great need, those who are without hope, please touch each one and supply all that is lacking. Lord, please protect the innocent and the helpless. Please heal the sick. Lord, free the captive and remove the wicked. Let the world see truth clearly and be no longer blinded by the lusts of the flesh nor by the lies of the enemy. Please show people what walking in their own way truly brings. Lord, please return the prodigal and save the lost. Lord, for those who are called by Your name, let them not waste their time in idle pursuits nor walk in their own ideas, but rather let each one be humble, a servant before You looking to Your guidance each day. Lord, help us to bring glory to Your name and not to glory in anything but You and Your salvation. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Proverbs 27:15 NKJV — A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;
This stings, because it hits close to the heart.
The Lord is making it clear that a woman, who is of a contentious attitude, wears on those around her.
Contention will erode relationships as steadily as water will wear away stone.
Left to itself, a continual dripping can make marked damage, thus we can see that bitterness and an argumentative attitude bring devastation.
But the proverb doesn’t end there.
This contentious woman can’t be restrained by outward efforts.
Proverbs 27:16 NKJV — Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.
No one is going to fix this woman.
Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus broke the spiral of sin and rescues us from the futility of “looking out for number 1”.
Through the acceptance of His sacrifice anyone can be freed from a life of sin and selfish ambition.
For where does contentions come from?
James 4:1 NKJV — Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
1 John 1:9 KJV — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 4:10 NKJV — Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
As any follower of Christ can testify, our sinful nature doesn’t die easily nor quickly, and thus each of us can take a warning from these words in Proverbs.
It is vital that we guard both our hearts and our lips, that we not allow contention to reside in either place.
Colossians 4:6 KJV — Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word and Your truth. Lord, please help each of us to guard our hearts and minds from those things which would grow contention. Lord, please purify our perspective, that we might not allow unforgiveness, wrath, evil speaking, bitterness, envy, or anything else which would lead us astray. Lord, please help us to remember Your love and to walk in Your wisdom. Lord, help us to be humble and filled with Your grace. Thank You for all Your blessings. Thank You for warning us of those things which lead us away from You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Psalm 147:11 NKJV — The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.
Putting our hope of salvation and daily guidance in God is pleasing to Him.
To revere Him with our whole heart and walk in that continually is something God takes pleasure in.
Psalm 149:4 NKJV — For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.
What is more beautiful than salvation?!
To humble ourselves before God is to allow Him to be King of our hearts, sovereign over our lives.
Proverbs 11:20 NKJV — Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
The Bible is clear, no person is without sin, but Jesus paid the price of every sin, and to be blameless before God we simply confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus, God’s Son paid for our transgressions, then we pick up our cross and follow Him.
Romans 10:9-10 NKJV — that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Psalm 35:27 NKJV — Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
Who can refrain from rejoicing when the truth of salvation has been accepted and practiced?
Who can keep from praising God, Who is holy and righteous, yet has gone to such great lengths to save?
Surely, no greater prosperity can be valued at the enormous weight of eternity spent with God Almighty.
Psalm 117:2 NKJV — For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for these truths. Thank You that You are pleased by those who trust in You, who find hope each day in You. Lord Jesus, thank You so much for salvation. Thank You for giving Your life for us. Lord Jesus, please help me to walk in Your Word and Your will today. Lord, please guide and direct my heart, my mind, and my steps. Thank You for giving me so much. Please help me to continually humble myself before You and to love You with a whole heart. Thank You for Your Word. I want my life to bring You pleasure. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV — So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”
Here we see Samuel answering King Saul.
God had spoken directly to Samuel and the instruction was clear, King Saul was to go and wipe out the enemy.
But King Saul decided God’s command wasn’t the best way and proceeded to keep back the best animals.
When questioned by Samuel his response shows his heart.
Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”
He had not obeyed, but instead done what he thought was best.
Samuel wasn’t going to allow even the king to transgress the command of the Lord.
1 Samuel 15:14 NKJV — But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
And when called to account King Saul doesn’t humble himself.
1 Samuel 15:15 NKJV — And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”
It is here Samuel speaks the verse which can be applied to every heart:
“…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22b
God wants our hearts to be so devoted to Him that obedience is our first choice.
The Lord expands this idea by speaking through the prophet Hosea.
Hosea 6:6 NKJV — For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
To be a follower of God, one is to reflect God in their own lives, their attitudes and actions.
God is merciful and He wants us to be merciful as well.
God is loving and He wants us to be loving.
God teaches us through His Word, because through it we are given the instruction on how to live as He designed us and He wants us to follow and teach others.
God became flesh and dwelt among us to teach us and to give us an example for our everyday.
He wants us to follow Him.
Matthew 12:7 NKJV — “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Matthew 9:13 KJV — But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
May we each one be inspired to obedience and mercy as well as sacrifice.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your example to each one of us. Thank You for loving us so deeply that You paid the price for our sins. Lord Jesus, please help me to learn from Your Word each day. To understand the truths of scripture. Please help me to obey Your Word, to walk in mercy and knowledge of You. Lord, You do not want hollow service which has no substance. You want true devotion of the innermost. I want to give You that, every day. Please help me to do so, whatever it costs. Thank You, Jesus. I love You. Amen.
Proverbs 15:31 NKJV — The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise.
Being rebuked isn’t fun, nor does it feel good.
A rebuke can actually feel as if one is being harmed, but…
If we allow God to rebuke us we are abiding among the wise.
Because the wise understands the need to be teachable.
Proverbs 15:33 NKJV — The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
To be teachable means to humble one’s pride and realize one is not always correct, not always seeing the entirety of a matter, not always able to deduce the best possible action or response.
It’s to see oneself accurately, to realize each of us has limitations.
There’s such beauty in humility.
The humble heart is open and willing for God to work in them.
The Bible warns of what the proud, the hardhearted are choosing when they refuse God’s correction.
Proverbs 15:10 NKJV — Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die.
Proverbs 15:12 NKJV — A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise.
Amos 5:10 NKJV — They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, And they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.
Obviously, these are not only circumstances one would wish to avoid, these are people most wouldn’t want to spend time with, let alone be.
There is another way.
Each of us has a choice.
Proverbs 13:1 NKJV — A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
Not all people will give words of wisdom, but each one of us can find true wisdom from our Heavenly Father in the words He has given.
Proverbs 16:20 NKJV — He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the book of Proverbs where we can find such easy to apply direction. Lord, please make my heart teachable today. Help me to have Your perspective. Please guide me in Your will. Lord, please keep falsehood and pride far from me, let me be on my guard to those things, that I might not sin against You. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving me life. Please help me to live each day for You. Amen.
Proverbs 16:8 KJV — Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
This truth is ageless.
Righteousness is and always will be better than any earthly wealth.
Not only is it wrong in society to cheat or steal from others, it’s wrong in God’s eyes.
Exodus 20:15 KJV — Thou shalt not steal.
Whenever someone takes what doesn’t belong to them, they are actually, with their actions, telling God they do not trust Him to provide for their needs.
They are choosing sin and selfishness.
How one handles their possessions, or lack of, is an indication of faith.
Because those who can be blameless before God although they have little are truly trusting God alone.
It’s not about “how much” or “what you have” it’s about the condition of the heart.
We were made to love and honor God alone, but it’s easy to slide off track and to allow the things of this world to begin to erode our perspective and twist our desire away from God.
That’s why this warning was given:
1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV — For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
It’s also the reason we are not to covet other’s possessions.
Exodus 20:17 KJV — Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
God understands the waywardness of our sinful nature and has given many instructions that we might heed and avoid the snares.
For it is only through Christ Jesus we can be made righteous and by the scriptures we can learn how to walk in His ways.
No matter the circumstance today holds, whether in need or full, may we each one follow hard after the Lord Jesus, putting our trust in Him.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/php.4.11-13.NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your righteousness. Thank You for washing me and cleansing me from my sin. Lord, You know the struggles of my heart. You know I’m still learning how to walk each day. Lord, I want to be content in all things. I want to trust You in every way and to look to You first and always. Please continue to teach me. Please help me to be quick to repent when I have done wrong and help my heart to be humble before You. Lord Jesus, I want to be right before You. Thank You for making the way. Amen.
Last year, the Lord impressed upon my heart to take each day of the 10 before Christmas and focus on a part of the Nativity story.
As I looked at the calendar this morning, I realized.
It’s ten days before Christmas.
So, beginning today, I’ll be focusing on a different part of the Nativity.
Matthew 1:23 KJV — Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew is quoting the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 7:14 NKJV — “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Truly, the prophecy is incredible, roughly 700 years before Jesus was born of a virgin.
In the book of Luke we get a close-up of what this young woman felt and experienced.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27 NKJV
I love that it is clearly recorded the name of the angel and makes careful to note, “was sent by God”.
This was not a chance encounter, it was a special moment in history.
And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:28 NKJV
God was announcing the coming of the Messiah!
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:29-33 NKJV
No matter how familiar this story, let’s not miss the incredible news related here.
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:34-37 NKJV
Mary is struggling to see how this can be when she’s unable to be a mother in her current circumstances.
(How often does God hear from us ‘But I can’t?’)
He wasn’t saying she should do something.
His message was letting her know what He was doing.
“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37
Her response is wonderful.
(And should be our example.)
Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38 NKJV
Mary was a young Jewish woman, living in a village, in a country under the foreign rulers from Rome.
The Bible doesn’t record her education, nor her physical description, but it does show us the beauty of a life surrendered to God.
As we look at the mother of Jesus, we can praise the Lord for His grace and mercy.
He chose the humble to be the ones He worked through.
God still uses the humble.
A life surrendered to Him is truly beautiful.
Today, the 10th day before Christmas, let us hold the truth and love of Christ Jesus close to our hearts and surrender our lives before Him.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for working through those whose hearts are Yours. Lord, thank You for the example in this young woman who said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord!’ Jesus, please help me to be Your servant. To live for the joy of You each day. Lord, to walk in Your ways and speak Your truths. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming as a tiny babe. Thank You for walking among us, teaching us about Yourself and the Father. Lord, thank You for dieing and raising again. Thank You for eternal life. Amen.
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. Psalms 119:2-3 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You so much for these verses. Lord, thank You for Your Word and Your incredible plans for each one of us. Lord, I want to be this person. I want to keep Your testimonies. I want to seek You with a whole heart. Lord, I want to be one who does no iniquity. Lord Jesus, You know that on my own I can do nothing. Yet, Lord, dispute my failings I know through You it can be so. Lord Jesus, I surrender myself before You. Lord, I give You all my desires and schedule and expectations. Lord Jesus, I surrender my wants, my dreams, and my family. All belongs to You and I gladly give it back. Thank You. Please let Your will be done. Please draw people to Yourself. Lord, please protect the innocent and heal the hurting, the sick. Let Your people, who are called by Your name humble themselves and pray. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
These past few days I’ve been reminded of a lesson I learned years ago.
More than ten years ago our family were missionaries.
It took us two years just to get there.
One morning, after a few weeks of settling in, I went to the Lord with a heavy heart.
I prayed about how I was being overwhelmed with the daily tasks of life.
I just felt like laundry, dishes, and mopping the floor was eating up my time and I couldn’t get to the reason I was there.
“Lord, I just want to minister! How can I get to that with nonstop housework?”
He took me to Ruth.
So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” Ruth 2:2 NKJV
She just needed to survive.
But instead of feeling sorry for herself, she did the task at hand.
That was the key.
Housework is just as important as leading a Bible study if my heart is serving Jesus.
God is interested in my heart.
“Am I serving Him in this task I’m engaged in?”
It’s something I’ve been trying to ask myself frequently this week.
Not as a religious stipulation, but instead as a guard rail.
Guarding my heart from useless pursuits or pride.
I also find it helpful as a way to combat an old lie.
As a young believer I thought I had to : “Do big things for God”.
However, the Lord has shown me over and over again that He wants me to surrender my own agenda and simply live daily to Him.
When I’m sick, my “do” shrinks.
In those times, I have found it vital to remember: God isn’t disappointed because I’m not “doing” more.
He knows my limitations.
He even has things for me in those seasons, like prayer, Bible study, or sometimes just resting in His hands and trusting Him while struggling.
The task at hand may not seem valuable.
Ruth couldn’t have known that daily gleaning the fields would endear her to the man who would become her husband.
She couldn’t have seen that this back breaking task, which went on throughout the whole harvest, would end in her having a place in the lineage of Jesus.
Her faithfulness in the task at hand was used by God.
She was His servant.
And God used this humble lady to be the grandmother of kings.
The lesson is clear for me.
I need to do what God has set before me with joy and faithfulness.
I need to surrender my own ambitions, dreams, and desires before Him.
I need to trust Him in everything.
Including my “To Do” list.
Matthew 22:36 NKJV — “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Matthew 22:37 NKJV — Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this lesson. Thank You for continually bringing me back to this place of surrender. Please Lord, help me to be Your servant, humble, faithful, and filled with joy of serving You, no matter what that entails. Lord, thank You that my life is so much more valuable than self fulfillment. Instead, You call me to pick up my cross and follow You. Lord, thank You for reminding me of these truths. Please continue to wash my soul of sin and renew my heart through Your Word. I love You, Jesus. Amen.