God Must Love Me More by Randy Kilgore
During a difficult recession, I organized a support group for fellow Christians to help them cope with unemployment. We provided resumé reviews, networking, and prayer support. One problem emerged: Whenever someone got a job, he or she almost never returned to the group to offer encouragement. That increased the loneliness and isolation of those left in the group.
Worse, though, were comments from those who had never experienced a job loss. They mirrored the accusations of Job’s friends in his suffering: “If you were pure and upright, surely now [God] would awake for you, and prosper [you]” (8:6). By chapter 12, Job is starting to express things in terms modern workers can understand. He says that he feels despised by those whose life is easy (v.5).
When things are going well for us, we may start to think that we who don’t have troubles are better somehow, or are more loved by God, than those who are struggling. We forget that the effects of this fallen world are indiscriminate.
We are all loved by the Lord and we all need Him—in good times and bad. The successes, abundance, and positions that God has given to us are tools to help us encourage others in their time of need.
Give us the humility, Lord, not to act like Job’s friends who accused him of sin because of his trials. Show us how to help those who are struggling so that we might give the kind of encouragement You have given us. Humility toward God makes us gentle toward others.
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love. —Crosby The wonder of it all— just to think that Jesus loves me!_ Our Daily Bread.. http://www.reverbnation.com/darrynzewalk
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa
Moment Of Grace by David C. McCasland (Christmas Inspiration#1)
Every year, I enjoy listening to the BBC’s worldwide live radio broadcast of the Christmas Eve service from King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. This Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols combines Scripture readings, prayers, and choral music in a moving service of worship. One year, I was struck by the announcer’s description of the congregation leaving the magnificent chapel, saying they were “stepping out of this moment of grace and back into the real world.”
Wasn’t it that way on the first Christmas? The shepherds heard an angel announce the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11), followed by a “multitude of the heavenly host praising God” (vv.13-14). After they found Mary, Joseph, and the Baby in Bethlehem, the shepherds couldn’t help telling others about this Child (v.17). “The shepherds went back to work, glorifying and praising God for everything that they had heard and seen, which had happened just as they had been told” (v.20 Phillips).
They had been changed by their “moment of grace.” As they stepped back into their real world, they carried the good news about Jesus in their hearts and voices.
May we too take God’s grace into the real world this Christmas and every day of the new year.
May the grace that we encounter At this time of Christmas cheer Not be true just in this season But remain throughout the year. —Sper Take the joy of Christmas with you every day.
Plowshare Christmas by Dennis Fisher (Christmas Inspirational #2)
In his book Christmas 1945, Matthew Litt tells about the first peacetime Christmas celebration in the US after World War II. The New York Daily Newsalerted readers to expect a fleet of warships in New York Harbor: “Christmas Day will find a mighty armada, consisting of 4 battleships, 6 carriers, 7 cruisers, and 24 destroyers.” But instead of waging war, the military ships hosted 1,000 needy children.
The children’s measurements had been taken previously so that perfectly fitted navy-blue coats and woolen caps would be gift-wrapped and awaiting them aboard the ships. These vessels of war had been transformed into carriers of compassion.
The prophet Isaiah predicted a future day of Christ’s reign of peace on this earth: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (2:4). Christmastime serves as a reminder that the Prince of Peace will ultimately bring a time of global calm and compassion.
As we celebrate the first coming of the Prince of Peace and wait for His second coming, we are reminded of our privilege to serve as His “carriers of compassion.”
Lord, You have come and brought peace, and I long to share Your compassion everywhere I go. Thank You that this world will know ultimate peace when You return. Amen. True peace comes from the Prince of Peace.
No Answers by Ann Cetas (Christmas Inspiration #3)
Just before Christmas 2003, Lydia came home from work to the sight of flames shooting out of her house. She was devastated by more than the loss of her home—seven of her family members died in the flames. When news about the tragedy spread that morning, a deacon from her church rushed to comfort her. She had some deep questions for him, but he had no answers.
Lydia could relate to Job’s story. He lost all 10 of his children (Job 1:18-19), yet he continued to worship God (v.21). Then his health was affected, and his wife urged him to curse God and die (2:9). Job’s friends thought they had the answer—he must have sinned and deserved his troubles.
Job complained bitterly to the Lord and pleaded for an explanation and relief, but God didn’t give him any answers. He didn’t even tell him about Satan’s request to test him (1:6-12; 2:1-6). Instead, He reminded Job that He was the all-wise God and that Job was not. Job was humbled, and he repented for having questioned God’s authority (42:1-6).
This side of heaven, we may not find answers for our desperate questions of “Why did this happen?” and “Why me?” But we can rest in the truth that God is in control and that He loves us.
Though darker, rougher, grows the way And cares press harder day by day, With patience in His love I'll rest, And whisper that He knoweth best. —Pentecost
God does not have to answer our questions, but He will always keep His promises.
"Joy" by Julie Ackerman Link (Christmas Inspiration #4)
After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, joy was lost. God expelled them from their garden home to prevent something worse from happening. If they had eaten from the tree of life after eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would have lived forever in their misery.
Life outside the garden was not easy. Adam and Eve had to work hard for their food. The reality of death was everywhere, and animals preyed on one another. Even worse, the couple’s firstborn son murdered his younger brother. What could be worse? Sin had pierced their lives, and the couple could not stop joy from draining out.
But God had a plan to restore joy. Joy was lost in the Garden when death came, but joy returned through birth—the birth of God’s own Son. “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). Jesus grew up to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and raise the dead. But this was just a taste of things to come. God entered our world, experienced our sorrow, and conquered death, giving us hope that He will keep His promise to end pain, and eliminate sorrow and death (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Rev. 21:4). No wonder Christmas is the season of joy!
Have you felt the joy of the shepherds, Who were first to behold the sight Of that holy Child of Mary, On that wonderful Christmas night? —Brill The joy of Christmas is Jesus.
Glad To Get Home! (Christmas Inspirational #5)
In wintertime, a condition known as a “whiteout” sometimes occurs along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The air becomes so filled with powdery snow that you can’t see more than a few feet ahead. You feel totally helpless, especially if you’re driving, and that’s what we were doing on a bitterly cold December day.
Our family had been invited to my sister’s house for Christmas dinner. As we headed west toward Lake Michigan, the weather became treacherous, but we made it to our destination. Later, however, as we were driving home after dark, the situation grew even worse. The expressway was covered with ice, traffic slowed to a crawl, and several cars were in the ditch. Then all at once we were enveloped by a brief whiteout. Believe me, it was frightening. After a slow, tedious journey, we finally reached Grand Rapids and pulled into our driveway. I think every member of the family said, “I’m sure glad to get home!”
I wonder if we’ll have a similar feeling when we enter heaven. The dangerous “whiteouts” of our earthly journey will be over. The temptations, stresses, and failures will all be in the past. Best of all, we’ll be safe with our Savior.
Yes, we’ll be so glad to get home!
When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We'll sing and shout the victory. —Hewitt
Heaven for the Christian is best spelled H-O-M-E.
Hiding In Plain Sight by Mart De Haan (Christmas Inspirational #6)
A Baltimore congregation found the answer to their financial troubles on the wall of their church. And it had been “hiding” there for more than 25 years! Someone finally recognized a piece of art hanging in the chapel—it was a valuable woodblock print by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1493. The work shows the angel telling Mary she would give birth to God’s Son.
Some members just could not believe they had been unaware of the value of the old masterpiece, saying in effect, “If it were real, why would it be here?”
What about us? Are we overlooking the value of the event depicted on that woodblock print?
Jesus isn’t hiding. The truth that God came to earth in human form is plainly announced in His Word. It is reflected in our art and in our hymnbooks. But the significance of Christ’s birth is still neglected. We get so wrapped up in activities and programs that we miss the immeasurable worth of knowing who that Baby was.
What’s missing is our worship. Think about the meaning of His birth. Jesus is God! He came to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) and give us eternal life (John 3:14-18).
This Christmas, join with the wisemen and shepherds and give praise to Jesus—God who became Man.
He left His Father's throne above, So free, so infinite His grace! Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam's helpless race. —Wesley
Christ's birth brought the infinite God to finite man.