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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3800 - 12/24/18 at 05:39:08
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Luke 2:19 (KJV)
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.


Ponder It

During Oswald Chambers’ years at the Bible Training College in London (1911–15), he often startled the students with things he said during his lectures. One young woman explained that because discussion was reserved for the following mealtime together, Chambers would frequently be bombarded with questions and objections. She recalled that Oswald would often simply smile and say, “Just leave it for now; it will come to you later.” He encouraged them to ponder the issues and allow God to reveal His truth to them.

To ponder something is to concentrate and think deeply about it. After the events leading to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, followed by the appearance of angels and the shepherds who came to see the Messiah, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). New Testament scholar W. E. Vine said that ponder means “to throw together, confer, to put one thing with another in considering circumstances” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

When we struggle to understand the meaning of what’s happening in our lives, we have Mary’s wonderful example of what it means to seek God and His wisdom.

When we, like her, accept God’s leading in our lives, we have many new things about His loving guidance to treasure and ponder in our hearts.

Father, guide us by Your Holy Spirit as we consider Your great love and embrace Your plan for our lives.

Allow yourself a few minutes of quiet during this busy season to sit and listen for what God might be saying to you.


INSIGHT
Shepherds were considered to be irreligious because their shepherding work prevented them from performing their religious obligations at the temple. Because they were in contact with dead animals, birds, and insects, they were rendered ceremonially “unclean” all the time (Leviticus 5:2–5; 11:4–43). It’s noteworthy that the birth of the Messiah—the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who is called our Good Shepherd (10:11)—was first announced to despised shepherds!
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Wayne
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3801 - 12/24/18 at 06:00:36
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Nyte_Byrd
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3802 - 12/24/18 at 11:35:01
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Thank you, Nanny for your contributions to the forum.  Cool

It's those like you who help keep this forum the best civil forum in town!   Wink Kiss Cool
  


If You're Here To Teach, Then You've Much To Learn
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3803 - 12/25/18 at 06:14:17
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Thank you Byrd for your kind words. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and Blessed Christmas and especially a happy and healthy New Year.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3804 - 12/25/18 at 06:46:32
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Isaiah 42:2-3 (KJV)
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.


Winter Snow

In winter, I often wake to the beautiful surprise of a world blanketed in the peace and quiet of an early morning snow. Not loudly like a spring thunderstorm that announces its presence in the night, snow comes softly.

In “Winter Snow Song,” Audrey Assad sings that Jesus could have come to earth in power like a hurricane, but instead He came quietly and slowly like the winter snow falling softly in the night outside my window.

Jesus’s arrival took many by quiet surprise. Instead of being born in a palace, He was born in an unlikely place, a humble dwelling outside Bethlehem. And He slept in the only bed available, a manger (Luke 2:7). Instead of being attended by royalty and government officials, Jesus was welcomed by lowly shepherds (vv. 15–16). Instead of having wealth, Jesus’s parents could only afford the inexpensive sacrifice of two birds when they presented Him at the temple (v. 24).

The unassuming way Jesus entered the world was foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied the coming Savior would “not shout or cry out” (Isaiah 42:2) nor would He come in power that might break a damaged reed or extinguish a struggling flame (v. 3). Instead He came gently in order to draw us to Himself with His offer of peace with God—a peace still available to anyone who believes the unexpected story of a Savior born in a manger.

Lord Jesus, thank You for willingly giving up Your majesty and coming to earth in order to offer peace.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given! —O Little Town of Bethlehem


INSIGHT
Known as one of the Servant Songs (songs/poems that celebrate the service, suffering, and ultimate reign of the “Servant of the Lord”; see also Isaiah 49:1–13; 50:4–11; and 52:13–53:12), Isaiah 42 paints a beautiful picture of God’s care, concern, and coming justice for the nations. While there is some debate over the identity of the servant (in some songs the servant is expressed in the plural, suggesting the nation of Israel is the servant), there is little doubt about how today’s passage was viewed. Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1–4 in its entirety (Matthew 12:18–21). Matthew says that Jesus’s ministry of healing the sick was in fulfillment of this passage: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah” (v. 17). Matthew clearly sees Jesus as the Servant of the Lord in whom the nations “put their hope.”
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3805 - 12/26/18 at 08:07:20
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Acts 3:13 (KJV)
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.


Just Another Day?

In Christmas Every Day, William Dean Howells tells of a little girl who gets her wish. For one long, horrible year it is indeed Christmas every day. By day three, the yuletide joy has already begun to wear thin. Before long everyone hates candy. Turkeys become scarce and sell for outrageous prices. Presents are no longer received with gratitude as they pile up everywhere. People angrily snap at each other.

Thankfully, Howell’s story is just a satirical tale. But what an incredible blessing that the subject of the Christmas celebration never wearies us despite the fact that we see Him throughout the Bible.

After Jesus had ascended to His Father, the apostle Peter proclaimed to a crowd at the temple in Jerusalem that Jesus was the one Moses foretold when he said, “God will raise up for you a prophet like me” (Acts 3:22; Deuteronomy 18:18). God’s promise to Abraham, “Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed,” was really a reference to Jesus (Acts 3:25; Genesis 22:18). Peter noted, “All the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days”—the arrival of the Messiah (Acts 3:24).

We can keep the spirit of Christmas alive long after the celebrations have ended. By seeing Christ in the whole story of the Bible we can appreciate how Christmas is so much more than just another day.

Father, thank You for giving us Your Son, and for giving us His Story on the pages of the Bible.

This year, as you pack up the Christmas decorations, don’t put away the spirit of Christmas.

INSIGHT
The book of Acts describes how the Spirit of God enabled followers of Jesus to spread the word of what they had seen with their eyes (Acts 1:8). Their witness was given credibility by miracles (3:1–10), care for one another (6:1–7), a love for their enemies, and a willingness to suffer and die for their life-changing story (7:59–8:4).

From the temple of Jerusalem to a prison in Rome, they told how the long-awaited King and Savior of Israel had been crucified (3:17–18). Together they showed how the Jewish Scriptures could be read with a new understanding (8:26–35), and even how other religious beliefs (17:16–31) could be seen in light of a resurrected Savior and Lord.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3806 - 12/27/18 at 05:37:14
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Colossians 1:17 (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.


The Highest Place

My husband invited a friend to church. After the service his friend said, “I liked the songs and the atmosphere, but I don’t get it. Why do you give Jesus such a high place of honor?” My husband then explained to him that Christianity is a relationship with Christ. Without Him, Christianity would be meaningless. It’s because of what Jesus has done in our lives that we meet together and praise Him.

Who is Jesus and what has He done? The apostle Paul answered this question in Colossians 1. No one has seen God, but Jesus came to reflect and reveal Him (v. 15). Jesus, as the Son of God, came to die for us and free us from sin. Sin has separated us from God’s holiness, so peace could only be made through someone perfect. That was Jesus (vv. 14, 20). In other words, Jesus has given us what no one else could—access to God and eternal life (John 17:3).

Why does He deserve such a place of honor? He conquered death. He won our hearts by His love and sacrifice. He gives us new strength every day. He is everything to us!

We give Him the glory because He deserves it. We lift Him up because that is His rightful place. Let’s give Him the highest place in our hearts.

Jesus, You are my Savior and my Lord, and I want to give You the highest place of honor in my life.

Jesus is the center of our worship.


INSIGHT
The New Testament concept of “image” (Colossians 1:15) involves three things: “exact likeness” (2 Corinthians 4:4 nlt), “exact representation” (Hebrews 1:3), and complete revelation (John 1:18). Man is created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), but Jesus “is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The writer of Hebrews says the Son “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (1:3) or “expresses the very character of God” (nlt). Jesus in His very essence and nature is God (Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5–6). The apostle John (John 1:18) says Jesus “has made [God] known” (niv) or “has explained Him” to us (nasb).
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3807 - 12/28/18 at 05:53:19
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Psalm 103:12 (KJV)
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.


Good Riddance Day

Since 2006 a group of people have celebrated an unusual event around the New Year. It’s called Good Riddance Day. Based on a Latin American tradition, individuals write down unpleasant, embarrassing memories and bad issues from the past year and throw them into an industrial-strength shredder. Or some take a sledgehammer to their good riddance item.

The writer of Psalm 103 goes beyond suggesting that people say good riddance to unpleasant memories. He reminded us that God bids good riddance to our sins. In his attempt to express God’s vast love for His people, the psalmist used word pictures. He compared the vastness of God’s love to the distance between the heavens and the earth (v. 11). Then the psalmist talked about His forgiveness in spatial terms. As far as the place where the sun rises is from the place where the sun sets, so the Lord has removed His people’s sins from them (v. 12). The psalmist wanted God’s people to know that His love and forgiveness were infinite and complete. God freed His people from the power of their transgressions by fully pardoning them.

Good news! We don’t have to wait until the New Year to experience Good Riddance Day. Through our faith in Jesus, when we confess and turn from our sins, He bids good riddance to them and casts them into the depths of the sea. Today can be a Good Riddance Day!

Thank You, Father, for freedom from sin.

What sins do you need to say goodbye to? How does it make you feel knowing that God infinitely and completely forgets your sins?


INSIGHT
Recognizing our propensity to be forgetful and unfaithful (Deuteronomy 6:10–12; Hosea 13:6), David wrote Psalm 103 as a thanksgiving song, calling us to praise God for who He is and what He has done. He reminds us not to forgot “all his benefits” (vv. 1–2). The psalmist describes the character of our redeeming Father. He is compassionate, slow to anger, loving, forgiving, and gracious (vv. 3–13). He “does not punish us for all our sins . . . [or] deal harshly with us, as we deserve” (v. 10 nlt). God has forgiven our sins completely (vv. 11–12). David recounts God’s character in the aftermath of Israel’s idolatrous sin (vv. 7–8; Exodus 32): Our God is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7).
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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nanny
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3808 - 12/29/18 at 05:32:45
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Isaiah 25:1 (KJV)
O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.


When God Says No

When I was conscripted into the military at age eighteen, as all young Singaporean men are, I prayed desperately for an easy posting. A clerk or driver, perhaps. Not being particularly strong, I hoped to be spared the rigors of combat training. But one evening as I read my Bible, one verse leaped off the page: “My grace is sufficient for you . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

My heart dropped—but it shouldn’t have. God had answered my prayers. Even if I received a difficult assignment, He would provide for me.

So I ended up as an armored infantryman, doing things I didn’t always enjoy. Looking back now, I’m grateful God didn’t give me what I wanted. The training and experience toughened me physically and mentally and gave me confidence to enter adulthood.

In Isaiah 25:1–5, after prophesying Israel’s punishment and subsequent deliverance from her enemies, the prophet praises God for His plans. All these “wonderful things,” Isaiah notes, had been “planned long ago” (v. 1), yet they included some arduous times.

It can be hard to hear God saying no, and even harder to understand when we’re praying for something good—like someone’s deliverance from a crisis. That’s when we need to hold on to the truth of God’s good plans. We may not understand why, but we can keep trusting in His love, goodness, and faithfulness.

Lord, give me the faith to keep trusting You even when You say no.

When God says no, He has a plan. Keep trusting Him!


INSIGHT
Throughout Isaiah we see dark and dire prophecies interspersed with oases of hope. We may think these dramatically different sections contrast with each other—and they do—but they’re also complementary. Note how Isaiah 25 responds to previous pronouncements of judgment, which the prophet praises God for.

Chapter 24 declares that the entire earth will be devastated (vv. 1–3). Then it concludes by saying, “The Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders—with great glory” (v. 23). This sets the stage for Isaiah 25. “In perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things,” says the prophet (v. 1). These things include God’s judgment: “You have made the city a heap of rubble” (v. 2). Because of the judgment, “strong peoples” will honor the Lord, and “cities of ruthless nations will revere you” (v. 3). Even God’s judgment draws His creation to Him.
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Re: A Daily Prayer for all
Reply #3809 - 12/30/18 at 07:26:02
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2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


All Things New

Junkyards intrigue me. I enjoy working on cars, so I frequently make trips to the one near our home. It’s a lonely place, where the wind whispers through discarded hulks that were once someone’s prized possession. Some were wrecked, some wore out, and others simply outlived their usefulness. As I walk between the rows, a car will sometimes catch my eye, and I’ll find myself wondering about the adventures it had during its “lifetime.” Like a portal to the past, each has a story to tell—of human hankering after the latest model and the inescapable passage of time.

But I take particular pleasure in finding new life for an old part. Whenever I can take something discarded and give it new life in a restored vehicle, it feels like a small victory against time and decline.

It sometimes makes me think of Jesus’s words at the end of the Bible: “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). These words refer to God’s renewal of creation, which includes believers. Already, all who’ve received Jesus are a “new creation” in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

And one day we will enter into His promise of unending days with Him (John 14:3). Age and disease will no longer take their toll, and we will continue the adventure of an eternal lifetime. What stories each of us will have to tell—stories of our Savior’s redeeming love and undying faithfulness.

Loving Lord, I praise You that I am a new creation in You, and that in Your kindness and mercy You have given me the promise of eternal life.

The end of a year and beginning of another is an opportunity for a fresh start. What might God be making new in your life?


INSIGHT
Today’s passage gives us a glimpse of heaven, describing it as a physical place (vv. 1–2). Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:2–3), and this promise is fulfilled in the New Jerusalem, the holy city (Revelation 21:2). While it’s a great comfort that heaven is a perfect place (v. 4), the most important thing is that it’s the dwelling place of God (v. 3). In this final vision of the beginning of eternity (21:1–22:9), John hears Christ declaring, “It is done” (21:6). The New Living Translation renders it, “It is finished!” echoing Christ’s victorious cry from the cross (John 19:30). Sin’s curse will one day be completely removed and reversed (Revelation 21:4–5; see Genesis 3:16–19).
  

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
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