Verses To Live By
Devotionals by Marian
The breathless anticipation of Christmas morning keeps children from falling asleep the night before. They just can’t wait to wake up and find presents under the tree! Once they find their name on a gift, they can’t wait to open it. At last, they tear off the ribbons and wrapping and find out what’s in the box.
It’s then that words fail them. A little dance or jumping in the air or uncontrollable giggles might begin to express their happiness. And yet, it is indescribable.
This is the joy that characterizes Paul as he remembers God’s indescribable gift of our Savior. How thankful he is that God would give such an extravagant and beyond description gift to save mankind from their sins. This is the most generous gift of all time. It’s a gift that’s undeserved and could never be paid back.
When words fail, let us pray that same prayer . . . thank you, Lord. And then may God help us find the words–and the boldness–to proclaim to the world that Jesus Christ is born.
But He is not only to be celebrated for coming to earth one Christmas morn long ago, but also for being born anew in our hearts. This rebirth has made all the difference in my life and I pray it has touched yours as well. If you do not know Jesus as Savior, I pray that this Christmas becomes the merriest of Christmases for you as you invite Him into your heart.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
How we remember the fish that we used to eat in Egypt for free! And the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic!–Numbers 11:5
The Israelites could only remember the amazing fish in Egypt. Their selective memory glamorized the few good times without speaking the whole truth about the horrible treatment they received from their oppressors. Instead of being grateful for the manna from God, they continually grumbled about this heavenly food that the Lord delivered practically right at their doorsteps. Talk about a fresh, healthy, and definitely, organic diet!
How easily I can adopt their same attitude of discontentment and criticism. Whenever I feel the need to complain, I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict me on the spot and remind of the Lord’s unending loving-kindness, which is the Hebrew, “chesed”. God has always been faithful to me and He only deserves my highest praise! Ingratitude and complaining have no place in the life of a child of God.
Prayer for today:
Dear Heavenly Father: You are full of compassion and mercy in all You do. Everything Your hand provides is a blessing. It’s undeserved. Forgive me if I should ever look back and imagine a life far from You that might bring satisfaction and happiness. True joy is found only in pursuing a daily walk that fears the Lord. May my every word, thought, action, and decision glorify Your holy name. In Jesus’ name I ask all this, Amen
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.–Psalm 84:11
The Lord gives direction and protection to those that seek Him. It is beautiful to see God’s favor shine on the life of a Christian. He does not hold back His blessings on those who walk in fear of God and according to His ways. The Lord is concerned with every detail of our lives–even the parts that we don’t know about yet.
Gracious God: All good things come from you. They are given because You are good and loving. I thank you for compassion and kindness. May my life continually bring you glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”–Luke 10:41-42
The Lord approved of Mary’s wise choice, but wasn’t at all impressed with Martha trying to get everything perfect. He said that what Mary was doing will never be taken from her. She was making a decision on earth that would have eternal rewards.
A prayer for today:
Lord, Give me a heart like Mary’s that seeks you above the endless distractions of this life. Teach me to desire only one thing: time spent at your feet. Open my eyes, ears, and heart to listen to You every day. In Jesus’s name, Amen
Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
–II Timothy 2:15
The apostle Paul reminds Timothy that he is working for God. He is to study and be acceptable before Him. Bible study is not about spouting off facts or getting a head full of Bible verses. Rather, it’s about not being embarrassed about our service before God. Timothy needs to know how to handle God’s precious word. He needs God’s wisdom and understanding as he earnestly studies it. He is handling the truth and needs to know it so well that he is not fooled by lies.
As Christians, we have the same call. These are not directions limited to pastors or lay leaders, but to every believer who desires approval from God. The reason we want to spend time immersed in God’s word is because we are seeking God’s approval.
Prayer for today:
Gracious Father, Your word is the truth we need for godly living. Give us your power to diligently search it out. Teach our hearts to tune in and listen to Your voice as you speak to us through Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.–Psalm 90:12
We easily count down the days to something big…like our next birthday or the day when we finally get to go on vacation. But how often do we consider that in some sense, whether we do it intentionally or not, we’re all showing how we “count” our days by how we “spend” our time?
When I’m living for temporal fulfillment, then I’m not marking each day with God’s daily stamp of approval: “Time well spent for My kingdom.” When I’m frittering away the hours on short-lived, self-centered goals, then I’m not viewing this brief life through the long lens of eternity. Whenever I’m letting the moments, the minutes, and the months slip away without purposefully storing up the treasure of today’s time for heaven, then I need to seriously stop and ask God: “Lord, do I have a heart of wisdom?” (Even if you feel like you’re walking close to God, I believe this is a prayer we should all ask from time to time!)
When we ask this, God is faithful to come and shed light into every corner of hearts. He will examine us…if we let him. And when He does, we should allow Him to change our hearts into hearts that beat just like His. He gives every sincere seeker a heart of wisdom every time we ask.
A prayer for today:
Gracious Father: I invite you to search out my heart and replace it with a wise heart. May I spend every day remembering that I can make it count for eternity through the wisdom of Your Word. Show me that I can make each day count for eternal values when I spend it on You. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.