Christmas in October

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Devotion:  Luke 2:11-14

On Saturday evening, I attended a Christmas parade.  You must be thinking; “Libby, you’ve got your seasons mixed up. Today is Halloween.”   A Christmas parade was held on Chinaberry Lane; in Concord, NC on October 29, 2016.  All the neighbors had the outside of their houses fully decorated for Christmas.

The parade was put on by the Concord Fire Department. Hoisted on their moter-cycles; four Concord policemen began the parade with their lights flashing and sirens blasting. Several of the fireman had Christmas decorated their firetrucks. They had their sirens blaring and one even had Christmas music booming from the truck’s loud speakers.

Neighbors and friends drove their vintage cars; some donned with beautiful women riding on the back of their convertibles, all shouting, “Merry Christmas.”  The Cox Mill High School Marching Band could be heard coming around the bend, playing “Jolly Old Saint Nicolas”.

A group of handsome boy scouts dressed in their uniforms; proudly marched in front of the high school’s flag team.  Those precious girls knew how to twirl and hurl their flags to the Christmas music beat.  Last but not least; Santa was up on a firetruck, waving and saying HO, HO, HO, Merry Christmas.

As I stood videoing the whole thing; I missed Chinaberry Lane; where my family had lived for twelve wonderful years.  These people know how to love their neighbors as themselves.

I’ve kept you in suspense long enough.  Here’s your answer to “the why;” these people were celebrating Christmas in October.

A precious lady named Michele is dying of cancer.  What began as breast cancer; has now metastasized to her brain, liver and bones.  This dear fifty seven year old woman of God; has continually given Him all the praise, honor, glory and blessing, for the good life she has enjoyed.

Michele told her family and neighbors, that Christmas is her favorite time of year.  The doctors had given her the news that she probably won’t be here that long.

                She only told one neighbor and the                                                  news spread like wildfire.

Everyone jumped in and put up their outside decorations.  Her family celebrated Christmas on Saturday evening before the parade.  The parade was a surprise for her.  Every night; Michele’s husband pushes her in a wheel chair, up and down Chinaberry Lane, to behold these Christmas lights.

Michele and her family were all seated on the lawn in front of their house.  After the band stopped to perform several Christmas carols, about forty some neighbors gathered to sing carols for this sweet saint.

On this seventy six degree night in October;  I witnessed the true meaning of Christmas. I watched these dear people give out “peace and goodwill” toward their neighbor.

If you would like to hear Michele’s story please go to:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/neighborhood-celebrates-christmas-early-to-honor-dying-woman%E2%80%99s-last-wish/viAAicVf7)  This is a people magazine video or you might want to go to WBTV’s interview at:  http://m.wbtv.com/db/395889/content/TW82CO5Y

 

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God; may we give out “peace and goodwill,” to the saved and the unsaved; to those that are living and to those that are not long for this world.  Bless these neighbors, family and friends who lovingly celebrated Michele’s life journey.  Lord, we pray You would minister love, joy and peace to Michele; until the day of her Heavenly Homecoming.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

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Attitude

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Devotion:  Philippians 3:15-16

Attitude!  We all have one.  How many times did you hear your mother say; “Change that attitude!” or “Do you need an attitude adjustment?”  We knew what that meant!

Attitude adjustments can be painful.  What attitude are you struggling with right now?  Maybe it’s an attitude of; “It’s my right!”  Possibly, you feel disrespected or slandered.  Whatever the cause of your inward struggle; God longs to change your attitude.  Yes, yours!

The Greek word for attitude is (phroneo); meaning to have understanding; to be wise and modest in my opinion of myself.

Is it even possible for our long held attitudes to be changed?  As Christians; our desire should be to grow more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.  God wants to talk to you about your attitude on a daily basis. Why?…

                      because every day is different.

How can we adjust our attitude?  First of all acknowledge the fact;

  It’s not all about you; your rights, your needs, your wants.  

I know; it’s hard to come into agreement with God on this fact.  Ask the Savior to help you.

  • Apply God’s Word to your attitude.  Check to see if it lines           up with His powerful two edged Sword. Allow the Scripture           to transform your attitude.  Remember; old attitudes die               hard. Give God and yourself time to transform your attitude.
  • Write down how God speaks to you through specific                  Scriptures. Post it on your mirror or dashboard. Keep it                before you.
  • Ask yourself; “Am I living to God’s standard; the one He’s          calling me to live up to?”

It’s easy to allow life to form your attitudes.  It takes perseverance and endurance to seek God’s face and allow Him to make changes in your attitudes.  He will accomplish what concerns you.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I want my attitude to change!  I want to have Your mind and Your heart.  “Search me oh God and know my heart. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me to the way everlasting.”  Thank You for working a change of attitude in my heart.  I love You Lord.  Amen

 

 

 

The Grace Place

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Devotion:  John 15:14

Webster’s definition of grace is as follows:  “a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving.”

When my granddaughter was three years old; her great grandmother asked her to say grace at the table.  She said; the word; “grace”.  I laughed out loud.  What Ryann didn’t understand was the fact; her Grammy Ann was asking her to say the blessing over our food.

I’m not certain when grace became an equal word to prayer. Possibly it’s because such grace has been extended to us through our Lord Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us.

Let’s face it; everyone in your world is not going to love you. They may not even like you.  Jesus Himself; only had his family and twelve close friends.  Well; eleven; Judas was His betrayer.

In my very heart; I know Jesus treated Judas like his other disciples.  He never excluded him.  He washed his feet along with the other eleven.  Jesus treated Judas with respect, even though He ultimately knew he would betray Him.  Jesus poured out unconditional love on this disciple.   He extended the grace of God daily to Judas.  Yes, we are required to love the people in our sphere of influence, no matter what they say or do.

I’m calling it: The Grace Place.

The grace place is built upon loving others as Christ loved them. The following scriptures bring this to light.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

by purity, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

All of the above scriptures show us how to live in the grace place.  When it seems impossible to give out; do it anyway.  Stay in the grace place.  Remember; “To whom much is given; much is required.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus; because You have given me much grace; may I pour it out on those You have given me.  Thank You for pouring grace out upon this undeserving child.  Lord, help live in the grace place.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

The Day of the Lord

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Devotion:  2 Peter 3:10

In yesterday’s post; we talked about the Day of Christ.  We discovered the Day of Christ has to do with the rewards Christians will receive at the Bema seat of Christ.

Today; we will see the Day of the Lord is about judgement. Before looking intently into God’s Word; one would think the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ, to be one in the same.  When studying God’s Word, we must  be careful to never take the scriptures out of context.  These are two very different future events.

It is very helpful to cross reference the words or phrases you might be studying; in order to grow in your knowledge of God’s Holy Word.  Always ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach you to study the Word in such a way as to show yourself approved unto God. Be a man or a woman that rightly divides the Word of truth.

The following are scriptures that point to the meaning of the day of the Lord.

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

Amos 5:20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

You may have a couple of scriptures in mind; that when read alone, appear to contradict one another.  However; if you will look up the Greek or Hebrew meanings of words, read the whole context and do your cross referencing; you will find God’s Word will never contradict Itself.  Never!

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, thank You that every word in Your Word is yes and amen.  Thank you for teaching me there is a Day of Christ and a Day of the Lord. Thank You for leaving me with Your written Word.   Thank You for always teaching me and feeding my soul with this most powerful treasure.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

The Day of Christ

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Devotion: Philippians 2:16

The Day of Christ is closer now than it’s ever been.  What is the Day of Christ?  These three words are found three times in the book of Philippians.  There are two widely different schools of thought regarding this doctrinal phrase.

Some theologians believe it’s the Great White Throne judgement where believers and non believers are sent to their eternal destiny.  I agree with a man named Bob Wilkin; who wrote the following:

“It refers not to the Great White Throne Judgment, but to the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ.

“The Bema is the place where the works of believers will be judged to determine their eternal rewards. There is no future judgment of believers to determine their eternal destinies as the Lord promised in John 5:24 (“shall not come into judgment”). See Rom 14:10-12 and 2 Cor 5:9-10, which speak of the Bema (cf. 1 Cor 3:5-15; 9:24-27; 2 Tim 2:12; 4:6-8; 1 John 2:28; 4:17-19).

Paul is saying that he is confident that God will take their gifts and keep on using them right up until the Bema. That means that our gifts can keep on having eternal significance until the Rapture, even if we die long before that time.

Did not the gifts of the Philippians result in several of Paul’s letters? Aren’t those letters still bearing fruit two millennia later? That means the believers in Philippi are still gaining eternal rewards for their support of Paul’s gospel ministry.”

Faith without works is dead but we do not come into salvation by works.  Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us; “It is by grace that we are saved, that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, least any man should boast.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, may I persevere in doing good works, until the Day of Christ.  May every single thing I do; be for Your honor and glory. I want my life to count for You Jesus.  May I finish well ;the race that is set before me.  I love You Jesus!  It’s in Your Name I pray. Amen

Confidence in the Flesh

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Devotion:  Philippians 3:1-6

Webster’s full definition of confidence is as follows;  “a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances <had perfect confidence in her ability to succeed> <met the risk with brash confidence>b :  faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way <have confidence in a leader>”

How heavily do you trust in all your accomplishments; your own abilities and capabilities?  Paul said he had more reason than most to put confidence in his own flesh.  According to verses 5-6 he had achieved “bragging rights.”  He was called Hebrew of all Hebrews, concerning obeying the law, a Pharisee concerning zeal, by his persecution of the church and called blameless according to the law. 

According to 1 Samuel16:7; we must never trust in our own abilities; nor those of other human beings.  Why not?  …because we are all at best “flawed.”

             “Man looks at the outward appearance but                                                 God looks at the heart.”

          We should put no confidence in the flesh.

Our real confidence should only come from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Let’s look at His Word to us; regarding our own confidence and where it needs to lie.

According to Psalm 73:26; My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Our flesh will always disappoint us; as well as the people in our sphere of influence.

We find in Psalm 147:10-11 “God’s pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in HIs unfailing love.  

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:12  “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.”

These were Paul’s words to the Corinthians.  He could never conduct himself in fleshly wisdom but in holiness and godly sincerity only in the grace of God.

Oh dear reader; who and what are you trusting in?  You and those people in your sphere of influence have many God given characteristics and qualities. You have come to know and to trust them; based upon their character and qualities.  Just remember: we are all but flesh and although not intentionally; we will disappoint one another. Put your confidence in the Lord instead of human flesh.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, may I remember to always place my confidence in You and You alone.  You alone are my hearts desire and I long to worship You.  Forgive me for all the times I have trusted in what I can see and feel.  I put my trust in You Lord.  In Jesus Name. Amen

Voice Print

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Devotion: John 10:27

I recently heard the term, voice print used in a Core Values training session. Upon further investigation of this term; I found voice print to be a set of measurable characteristics of a human voice that uniquely identifies an individual.   They are used in voice I.D. systems for authentication.

Babies are able to learn their mother’s voice at birth, learning their mother’s voice prints in the womb.  Voice prints can be used to identify criminals, kidnappers and terrorists, even if they speak over the phone. Voice I.D. can allow authorized personal to access your records in the place of using a pin number.

Through voice prints, you can verify your account balances, transfer funds and pay bills.  Internet banking and LAN security may soon require some type of  voice I.D. for security purposes.

Every person has a different voice print, even when they say the same word.  The voice print differences also increase when people say different words.  The number of possible voice prints is large enough to identify every person in the world.

This amazing technology affects every human being alive on this earth.  It affects your current life and will affect your future earthly transactions.

I love the fact God created every person with his own DNA; as well as his own voice.  Our Lord knows your voice print.  He created it with and on purpose.  Your family, friends and co-workers can identify your voice when you call.  They do not have to say; “This is _____________.”

God says, “My sheep know my voice.”  God has placed within every believer, the ability to know His voice.  Although not audible; He longs for you to hear what He has to say.  You hear His still small voice through the equipping of His Holy Spirit.

Prayer in Motion:

Jesus, thank You for creating each of us with our own voice print.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, even down to our voices.  If we all sounded alike, we would be like robots, each having the same monotone voice.  Thank You for every voice we are privileged to know and most of all thank You for the still, small voice that You use to speak to Your children.  May your voice print be imbedded in my mind and may I listen for it daily! In Jesus Name.  Amen