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Devotional

Valvoja: Annukka

Alive and Active

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 13.12.2013 18:18

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional December 13, 2013



Dear Anja,


Alive and Active

"For the word of God is living and active..." Hebrews 4:12

One minute the night skies over Bethlehem were cool and quiet; the next minute someone turned on the light switch. Stars that were twinkling suddenly stepped aside as the veil of heaven parted for an instant. An angel stepped through the curtain of night, threw out his (or her?) hands to let loose divine fireworks. "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'" (Luke 2:13-14 KJV).

Not long ago, I decided to paint this scene. But I wondered, How do you paint an angel... much less one rejoicing? I knew that the moment was packed with powerful emotion. After all, the Word of God is living and active. Those angels must have been jumping up and down for excitement! That's all the inspiration I needed.

I also needed someone to model as an angel. I called my secretary into the art studio and asked her to stand on a chair and drape a sheet around her. "Now," I said when she was ready, "throw up your arms and yell, 'Surprise!'" She gave me a funny look and so I added, "Think of your happiest memory!" She rubbed her chin and then an idea donned. Throwing back her head she hollered, "Whoopee!" I quickly sketched the joy in her face. In no time, I had my angel on the canvas. It was the best painting of angels I had ever rendered.
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This month you will see lots of Christmas cards and store windows displaying the word "Rejoice!" You'll sing about joy and carols and read about it in the pages of scripture. Smile when you say it... see it... or sing it. After all, the announcement of the angels was the Word of God, alive, active, and full of joy!

You, Lord Jesus, are what the joy is all about. This alone makes my smile effervescent. I rejoice!

Blessings,

Joni and Friends
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Why Christmas? Because of Calvary.

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.12.2013 14:20

Why Christmas? Because of Calvary.

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Why did Jesus come? Luke 19:10 tells us. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me” John 14:6. He is the solitary Savior, the only Savior.

I’ve often said Jesus is not a good way to heaven. Jesus is not the best way to heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven. When you say that, a lot of people get their hackles up, but I still want to tell you, apart from Jesus, there is no salvation. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

He’s not just one more Savior. If He’s not the only Savior, He’s no Savior because He said He was the only one. And if He said He’s the only one and He’s not the only one, then He’s a liar, and a liar is nobody’s Savior. I’ve got some wonderful news for you, friend. He can save anyone.

Because of the birthday of Jesus, each year you are one year closer to heaven, one year closer, if you know Him, to seeing His dear face. Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God who left heaven, came to this earth, suffered, bled, died, and walked out of that grave a living, risen Savior. He’s the one who sent me to tell you that He loves you.

ACTION POINT:
He wants to save you and He will save you today if you’ll give Him your heart. If you have not already done so, do it today. Pray, “Jesus, I give You my heart. I believe You died to save me. You will save me if I trust in You. I do trust You, Jesus. I'm trusting You today.”

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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Romans 14:5

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.12.2013 14:20

Today's Verse for 12/14/2013

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. — Romans 14:5


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Thought

So often we let personal preference, peer pressure, and concerns about the celebration of certain days, especially holidays, have a divisive effect on our Christian relationships. Bottom line, we're not to try to press our opinion or position on anyone else. We're not to judge another because he doesn't celebrate a special day to the Lord and we're not to judge another because she does celebrate special days. This is a matter of personal conviction that revolves around our desire to please the Lord and to honor him in ways we feel are appropriate. Let's not be so insecure that we have to do what everyone else does or force anyone else to do as we prefer. Instead, let's remember the right angle to take with all things: honor God with everything we are and to consider the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer

O Father, please forgive us for fracturing the fellowship of your people based on human observances and our preference about those observances. As for me, Father, please give me courage to honor Christ according to my convictions, but also please give me the wisdom to do so in ways that bless your people and that do not cause division. I know I will never fully succeed at this goal, but I do believe with your help, I will find ways to bring you the glory due you and to also maintain my fellowship with your children. Purify my heart in this matter and guide me in the way I need to go. In Jesus' name. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Rude Shepherd

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 14.12.2013 14:22

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional December 14, 2013

The Rude Shepherd

"And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as he lay in the manger." Luke 2:16 KJV

It was one of those classic, picturesque Christmas plays at church. The concert was near the end. Mary and Joseph were in place with baby Jesus around the manger. The lights were low, the choir sang softly in the background. Man-made snowflakes drifted slowly on the scene. The shepherds gathered quietly around. You felt like you were really there.

But Pete, one of the shepherds, wasn't satisfied. Blocked by one of the other shepherds, Pete wanted to get closer to the manger. He elbowed the other boy and glared at him as he moved in. A few in the audience chuckled, others were taken aback by the young man's rudeness.

It was a little embarrassing for a Christmas concert, but how realistic! How fitting that there should be a few pokes and shoves at such a momentous occasion. I imagine there was more than one "Let me see!" that first night. Pete's pushiness was not just realistic, but appropriate. The coming of the Messiah is not just an event to behold but an occasion upon which to intrude with as much self-centeredness as possible. Every sinner ought to run to the manger and cry, "Out of my way! Me first! He came because of me!"

That's how Bartimaeus, the blind beggar felt. He cared not at all that he was being rude. Parents of desperate children pushed their way to Jesus. Men broke through a roof for their paralyzed friend. And Peter's approach to Jesus was often one of intrusion -- he pleaded with Jesus to clean not only his feet, but his entire body.
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Crash the nativity scene this year, won't you? Get as close as you can, daring even to pick up the Christ-child. Selfishly cling to the incarnation as if you were the worst of sinners. Jesus will not mind. He came because of you.

Jesus, You intruded on our planet in a rude visitation. You sought joy for Yourself and broke through Satan's kingdom to reach me. Thank You for Your heavenly rudeness.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

www.joniandfriends.org
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

John 1:14

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.12.2013 19:12

Today's Verse for 12/15/2013

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14


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Thought

Jesus is God's message. It wasn't a message contained in a book or given in a vision, or revealed on a mountain to only a watchful few. No, God's message was human flesh, bone, and blood. God's message came and lived among us. He faced our hardship, got our dirt between his toes, felt our disappointments, struggled with our temptations, suffered our treachery, and bled our blood. Yet living in our world, God's message brought us more than truth; he delivered us from death by God's grace.

Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for speaking in the past through your prophets. Thank you for inspiring godly men to give us your Scripture. Thank you for making the proclamation of your Word powerful today through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. May I hear you truth in each of these areas. Most of all, Father, I praise you for speaking your clearest, more profound, and most accessible message in Jesus. Because of Jesus, I know you love me, I know you have cleansed me, and I know I will share heaven with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may my gratitude be seen in the quality and character displayed in my life. In the name of Jesus. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Do You Have Peace in Your Heart?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.12.2013 19:14

Do You Have Peace in Your Heart?

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
I was trying to witness to a man one time. I knew him well. He was what you would call a self-made man, pretty comfortable in his status in life. He was standing in front of his house. We had a friendly conversation, but when I broached the subject of Jesus he said, “Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine like I am. You see that house? It’s paid for. There’s my wife on the inside. She loves me and I love her. I have my retirement income. I’m doing quite well, thank you.”

I said, “Sir, may I ask you a question?” “Well, sure,” he answered. I said, “Oh no, don’t say that lightly. I want to ask you a question and I want you to think about it and answer me honestly. Will you?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Sir, do you have peace in your heart?” He said, “I told you, I’m fine.” I said, “No, you said you would answer the question. Now answer it. Do you have peace in your heart?”

His chin began to quiver and his eyes brimmed with tears. He said, “No! I don’t have peace. How did you know?” I said, “Because the Bible says ‘There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.’” (Isaiah 57:21)

The only real peace you will ever know is found in the wonderful name of Jesus.

ACTION POINT:
Do you have peace with God? If you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ, I want to invite you to pray a prayer like this: “Dear Jesus, I need You. I’m a sinner. I’m lost. I don’t want to die in my sin and go to hell. I need You, Jesus. I trust You, Jesus. I believe You’re the Son of God. You paid for my sin debt with Your shed blood on the cross. Thank You, Lord, for doing that. Thank You for saving me. Now give me the courage to make it public. In Your name I pray, amen.”

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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Let Go of Christmas

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 15.12.2013 19:17

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional December 15, 2013

Let Go of Christmas

"Let's go to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened."

Luke 2:15

My friend complained to me one day, "Christmas is wonderful, but quite frankly, I'm tired of the arranging, the shopping, the visiting, the hosting, the wrapping, and the decorating. When I was a child, none of this ever concerned me. But now that I'm old, well... I'm just tired of being in charge of Christmas!"

I know the feeling. It seems the holidays aggravate our need to control and arrange. Daily life is hectic enough. The responsibilities of managing holiday moments and staging special memories sap the strength out of the best of us. Whether it's a Charlie Brown Christmas or a Martha Stewart Christmas, it all seems to be a lot of work.

What a contrast with the first Christmas. The announcement of Jesus' birth, though dramatic and brilliant, came with no preparations on the part of the shepherds. Mary and Joseph did not whip up a banquet or deck the halls of Bethlehem. No invitations written. No gifts purchased. No programs arranged. Just a birth. And just a midnight visitation by obedient shepherds.

No one but God was in charge of Christmas the night Jesus was born. Salvation had been prepared before the foundations of the world. God's sovereign hand worked in the details of history so that all would be fulfilled as promised. He arranged for the miraculous birth, the willing servant Mary, and the angelic announcement. All that remained for the shepherds to do was to go and see what had happened. They left rejoicing, telling everyone the good news.
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Take time before this season starts to see with your heart what God has done in sending Jesus. Reflect on His preparations before you take any responsibility. Celebrate the season before you control it. Meditate on the wonder of His incarnation before you manage it for everyone else. Let go and you will rejoice in what you see.

Lord, Christmas belongs to You, not me. You're in charge as much now as You were in olden times. Let me see as the shepherds saw, full of wonder and joy.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

www.joniandfriends.org
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

A Banquet for All

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.12.2013 13:36

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional December 16, 2013

A Banquet for All

"Then they said to each other, "We're not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let's go at once and report this to the royal palace."

2 Kings 7:9

The Syrians had surrounded the capital of Israel and the people inside were starving and desperate. Unknown to the Israelites, the Lord had sent the Syrian camp fleeing. Beyond the city walls, out in the desert, the Lord spread out a rich banquet. Thing is, nobody knew it. And so, the famished people continued to eek out an existence on tree bark and bird dung.

The lepers, realizing they had nothing to lose, ventured outside the city. When they wandered into the empty camp of the enemy, they found the tents filled with food and treasure. They began to stuff their faces as well as their pockets with booty. However, the more they feasted, the emptier they felt. They were only able to completely enjoy their stumbled-upon banquet when they turned, ran and told the good news to their starving neighbors.

The pleasures of God are never private pleasures. They are, as Dr. John Piper says, "always shared, public, and communal." The joy we experience in our salvation is true, radiant and sincere only when we share it with others. The writers of the Bible say, "Let us exalt his name together."

The apostle John served many a banquet plate up to others, calling them, "my joy and my crown." John doubled his joy whenever he brought someone new to the good-news table. My motive in writing this book is the desire to double my joy by passing the plate of God's blessings to as many people as I can.
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The banquet of God's blessings will taste sweeter if you invite someone to take a seat next to you. What aspect of the gospel can you share with someone today? Pass the platter to a person who's hungry... and experience the joy!

Show me people who are hungry, Lord, and I will show them to the banquet table.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends

www.joniandfriends.org

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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

1 Thessalonians 5:6

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.12.2013 13:37

Today's Verse for 12/16/2013

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. — 1 Thessalonians 5:6


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Thought

So many sleep walk through life. They never are awake enough to really live. But we are not going to do that with our lives! We are alive because we know Jesus has come and not only brought us life, but he has also showed us how to live. So we are going to be alert. we are going to be self-controlled. We're going to be fully alive, because we know Jesus' return is imminent and our day of salvation and deliverance is near.

Prayer

Forgive me, Heavenly Father, for the times that I have lost my sense of urgency to live for Jesus. Use the Holy Spirit within me to arouse my passions to serve him with my eyes wide open and heart set on great and heavenly things. I know you can, and will, do more than I can ask or imagine, but please, awaken me to dream great dreams and imagine great things for your glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

The Stars and Scars of Christmas

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 16.12.2013 13:40

The Stars and Scars of Christmas

BIBLE MEDITATION:
“But Thomas, one of the twelve…was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said unto them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” John 20:24-25

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
At Bethlehem there was a bright star pointing the way to Jesus. But there is a darker side to Christmas. Consider the scars of the Lord Jesus. They’re not incidental. They are so fundamental that Jesus carried those scars with Him to heaven.

Did you know that the only man-made thing in heaven are the scars of Jesus Christ? When He went back to heaven, He took some souvenirs of His visit with him…the scars in His hands and side. He has kept those scars as a lasting memorial through all eternity. When Jesus comes again, one of the ways we will know Him is His scars. Zechariah 13:6 says, “And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? And He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.”

ACTION POINT:
I want you to imagine our risen Savior. See Him on the throne of His glory. See in His hands the print of the nails, because He bears them for all eternity. I want you to see those nail-scarred hands reaching to you right now. Would you not like to put your hand in that hand and say, “Save me, Lord Jesus. Thank You that You are the God-man. Thank You that, as a man, You suffered in order to save me.” Pray it and mean it.

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Devotions taken from the messages of Adrian Rogers.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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