Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021
The apostle Paul writes to encourage Christ-followers in their ministry to one another.

Ephesians 1:15-16 [Paul wrote] For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; (NASB)

Paul had been a spiritual father to the Ephesian Christians and though it had been years since he had physically been with them — he rejoiced to hear of their increasing faith and love for other believers! Paul took his responsibility to these young Christ-followers seriously, and though imprisoned in a Roman jail, he regularly prayed for them and thanked God for their growth in faith. It’s no stretch to imagine Paul’s heart was lifted — and his own spirit filled with joy — as he saw the fruit of his labor going on for the Lord and maturing in their spiritual journey!

Someone said that regular . . . faithful . . . gratitude, for what God has done in the past, creates a greater expectation of it in the future. God places a high value on being thankful and it emboldens us to pray bigger prayers … to the God for whom nothing is impossible!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday, November 22, 2021
The apostle Paul writes to encourage those who are suffering.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (NASB)

Faith suffers … if you are not being regularly thankful for what God is doing in your life! Life focus quickly turns to “what I don’t have” rather than “all I have been given by God”. Waiting for God’s time to answer your prayer is essential – as you may grow impatient thinking prayer doesn’t work for you.

God knows our prayers before we even offer them! Think about this: prayer doesn’t change God – it changes you! The key to answered prayer is praying for things God wants to give you & trusting Him when He either says “no” or “not now”. Being intentional in your thankfulness avoids taking God’s goodness for granted!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday, November 19, 2021
A psalm of David affirming the mercy, grace, and long-suffering nature of God to His children.

Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. (NASB)
God’s love is easy to take for granted: as one Bible teacher declared: “God will never love you any more or less than He does right now”! God’s love for you is not performance based: it’s unconditional.
Yet, there’s more. God understands we are weak, flawed human beings. The first time we fall into sin – God does not strike us down with a bolt of lightning! Instead, He is long-suffering . . . slow to anger, willing to forgive.

Wednesday November 18, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021
The apostle John writing to encourage people to believe in Jesus as the Son of God.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (NASB)
When Christ walked the earth declaring, “I am the way, the truth and the life”– not everyone believed! In fact, most did not believe. Scriptures make it clear no one can believe in Christ unless the Spirit draws them.
However, when someone reaches out in belief in the finished work of Christ on the cross – a transaction occurs! The Holy Spirit gives us the right and privilege to become legal sons and daughters of God. With that family relationship comes the Holy Spirit to live within each Christ follower to strengthen and empower a life which pleases God. In fact, a process of transformation begins . . . making the child of God more like Christ!

Wednesday November 17, 2021

Wednesday November 17, 2021
The apostle Paul writing to offer encouragement to suffering Christians.

I Thessalonians 3:12 May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; (NASB)
Christ-followers are not to be static in their relationships. There is no point at which we can rest on our laurels and feel we “have arrived”, in our desire to live as Christ lived. We are either growing more like Him – or not.
The context for this prayer was the persecution of the Thessalonian church. Paul’s emphasis was showing the love of Christ to not only other believers — but also to those outside the bounds of faith. Not just that – but a Holy Spirit supplied, unconditional love . . . growing, increasing to all humanity – including the persecutors!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
The apostle Paul writing to encourage Christ-followers that they are a united body and need each other.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (NASB)
Funny how such little things can come between you, friends and family. Misunderstandings can mushroom into all-out animosity! It’s easy to become so isolated and self-centered that you don’t care to reach out in kindness to restore a relationship
In college a friend came into the dorm fuming and saying he could “never” forgive the person who had offended him! We’ve all felt that way, but Christ is our example: “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Forgive, as you have been forgiven.