Week Forty-nine — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Faith in Yuletide Greetings — Luke 1:38

Sunday

Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks for all the humble saints who have obeyed you.

Thought for the day: Your obedience to the Lord may be the means of reaching someone in need of hope today.

Monday

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”

Prayer: Lord God, we believe that we may see your good works.

Thought for the day: Why did Henry Ford say that if you believe or if you don’t you will find your confirmation?

Tuesday

Isaiah 53:1,2 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had not beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we serve the children of God may we remember you were one of us.

Thought for the day: Why did it require fifty plastic surgeries for the teen to discover she would never be the actress in the movies?

Wednesday

Psalm 119:65-66 Do good to your servant according to your word, O Lord. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.

Prayer: Lord God, we believe that following your will and your word are leading us ever closer to you.

Thought for the day: The second stanza of the song “We are Climbing Jacob’s ladder” says, “Every rung goes higher, higher.”

Thursday

John 17: 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Prayer: Jesus, Son of God, to know you is to know the goodness of God.

Thought for the day: The echoes of Jesus’ preaching have never stopped sounding.

Friday

John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when we believe we do find you in the word and in the love of your disciples.

Thought for the day: Atomic scientists first believed they would find atomic particles, and they did.

Saturday

2 Timothy 1:11,12 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

Prayer: Lord God, following your Son’s example we entrust to you our spirit for eternity.

Thought for the day: Bank lockboxes are secure only if the rental fee is paid promptly.

 

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Week Forty-nine — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Abiding Love — I John 4: 9, 10

Sunday

I John 4:9, 10 This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Prayer: Lord God, we give thanks that you have loved us first and always.

Thought for the day:  To be loved by God is to be indebted to God.  This is good debt.

Monday

Psalm 146:8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.

Prayer: Lord God, it is only fitting that you love the good, upright and virtuous.

Thought for the day: Deodorant cannot cover up bad character.

Tuesday

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindness.

Lord God, we are so grateful that your love is an everlasting love.

Thought for the day:  With a little time a puppy will outgrow puppy love.

Wednesday

John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, in love for you we would willingly obey your commands.

Thought for the day: Some honey-do lists are honey-I-love-you lists.

Thursday

John 17: 25, 26 Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may your love abound within the circle of your disciples where we find ourselves.

Thought for the day: If Jesus’ disciples loved one another, the world would have one less excuse to disbelieve.

Friday

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Prayer:  O God, we thank you that you did not wait for us to do right before you offered to save us.

Thought for the day: God will not stop loving sinners even when some converts believe he should stop.

Saturday

Ephesians 2:3,4 Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.

Prayer:  Lord God, we give thanks for the saving grace we receive in Christ Jesus.

Thought for the day: The gift of life in Christ makes merchants’ holiday gift lists seem trite.

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Week Forty-eight — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Building Hope — Psalm 42: 5

Sunday

Psalm 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Prayer: Lord God, we release our despair and choose to place our hope in you.

Thought for the day:  Despair is like a mud puddle.  If you step into it, you will track it into your house.

Monday

Psalm 118: 7, 8 The Lord is with me: he is my helper.  I will look in triumph on my enemies.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

Prayer:  Almighty God, you are our helper, you are our refuge in troubled times.

Thought for the day: The faith of Corrie Ten Boom was a hiding place that no enemy could penetrate.

Tuesday

Proverbs 10:28,29 The prospects of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.  The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for providing a pathway of hope to God, the Father.

Thought for the day:  Warning: scratch-off lottery tickets are hazardous to most persons’ retirement accounts.

Wednesday

Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Prayer:  Lord God, in hope we serve and worship you without ceasing.

Thought for the day:  Children demonstrate an amazing capacity for hope during the Christmas season.

Thursday

Romans 5:1, 2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God though our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Prayer:  Lord God, the very thought of entering in the heavenly glory you share with Christ thrills us today.

Thought for the day:  Good angels never want to run away from home.

Friday

I Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we would tell anyone you are our reason to hope.

Thought for the day:  Someone you know wants to know the Jesus you know.

Saturday

Acts 23:6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and that others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My Brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.  I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.”

Prayer:  Lord God, we thank you for the hope we find in Jesus of the resurrection from the dead.

Thought for the day: Believers in Christ Jesus are on trial daily for the hope of the resurrection.

 

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photo: Hope by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-seven — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Obstacles to Hope — I Corinthians 15: 19

Sunday

I Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Prayer: Lord God, we trust you this day for having entrusted to us the promise in Christ of a tomorrow.

Thought for the day: The hopeless soul is to be pitied.

Monday

Psalm 43:3 Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Prayer:  Lord God, our Heavenly Father, in our moments of sadness and sorrow we turn to you for hope.

Thought for the day: Inaction and distrust feed depression, while action and trust feed encouragement.

Tuesday

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we thank you for all the times you have answered our prayers, come to our aid, and listened to your cries of anguish.

Thought for the day:  Biblical promises are not layaways that get canceled without notice.

Wednesday

Proverbs 10:27, 28 The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Prayer:  Lord God, forgive us when we have placed our hope in worldly pleasures.

Thought for the day: Adolph Hitler committed suicide when he saw his empire was hopelessly doomed.

Thursday

Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Prayer: Lord God, against worldly hopes we hope in you.

Thought for the day: The one who hopes in God is a successful contrarian investor.

Friday

Ecclesiastes 9:4 Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion?

Prayer:  Lord God, we thank you for the breath of life this day that we live and work in your world.

Thought for the day:  The songwriter said, “He woke me up this morning.  He started me on my way.”

Saturday

Hebrews 6:19, 20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.  He has become a high Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Prayer:  Lord God, we give thanks for the hope you have given us for the good and the bad days.

Thought for the day:  In calm and in troubled waters sailors cling to the hope they shall set foot on dry land again.

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photo: Hope by Fr Lawrence Lew, OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-six — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Hope Abides for Now — Romans 8:24, 25

Sunday

Romans 8: 24, 25 For in this [redemption] ­­­hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we await your redemption in your time.

Thought for the day:   Whether we can track them or if not, God’s deliveries are on time.

Monday

I Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope I Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, in you we hope for everlasting life.

Thought for the day: The sweetest fruits are sun ripened.

Tuesday

I John 3: 2, 3 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, for hope’s sake we would live pure lives for you.

Thought for the day: If you have to ask if the water is safe to drink, it probably is not.

Wednesday

Titus 2: 12, 13 It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in the strength of the Holy Spirit may we live lives pleasing unto you.

Thought for the day: the thought of spending eternity with Jesus makes saying No so much easier,

Thursday

Proverbs 13: 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Prayer:  Lord God, we rejoice that you are a promise keeper.

Thought for the day: Not every box of cereal has a surprise toy inside.

Friday

Romans 4:18 Against all hope Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations just as it has been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Prayer:  Lord God, knowing you, we would choose a heavenly hope.

Thought for the day:   Many hopes are mutually exclusive.

Saturday

Psalm 71: 5, 6 For you have been my hope O Sovereign Lord, My confidence since my youth.  From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.  I will ever praise you,

Prayer: Almighty God, our hope is in you.

Thought for the day: Knowing a person well is vital, if you plan to put hope in the person.

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-five — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Perserverence in the Race of Faith — Hebrews 12: 1, 2

Sunday

Hebrews 12: 1, 2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Prayer: Lord, in the strength of your Spirit may we lay aside the entanglement of the world.

Thought for the day: Marketers know that sin sells.

Monday

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 

Prayer:  Lord God, may we build our faith as we listen to your holy word.

Thought for the day: Listening is a spiritual skill.

Tuesday

Matthew 7:7, Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we confess we have not made the search for a deeper relation with you our priority.

Thought for the day: What would an inventory of a day’s soul searching say about you?

Wednesday

I Corinthians 16:13: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

Prayer:  Lord God, truly our faith in you is worth safeguarding.

Thought for the day: Who knows the combination to open the safe to your heart?

Thursday

James 2:17, 18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Prayer: Lord God, like Jesus may we be about our Heavenly Father’s business.

Friday

Matthew 17: 20, 21 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.  I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.

Prayer:  Lord God, may we exercise the faith we have knowing that you are greater than our faith.

Thought for the day: Those who refuse to believe rarely come to see.

Saturday

2 Corinthians 13: 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as we look within may we ever be drawn closer to you.

Thought for the day:  A songwriter said, “It’s easy to see the Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you.” 

S – T – A – N – D

Saturation in faith — Matthew 7:7

Trust in faith — Proverbs 3:5, 6

Application in faith — James 2: 17, 18

Nurture in faith — Romans 10:17

Duration in faith — Hebrews 12:1, 2 & 2 Corinthians 13:5

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com

Week Forty-four — Verse by Verse Devotional Series — Doubt as Faith’s Obstacle — Mark 9:23,24

Sunday

Mark 9:23, 24 “If you can’? said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help my overcome my unbelief!”

Prayer: Jesus, may you help us overcome our unbelief.

Thought for the day: Psychologists report that we can act our way into a belief.

Monday

Matthew 13:58 And he [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Prayer: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, may we not be lacking in faith.

Thought for the day: Henry Ford said that whether we believe or if we do not we will prove ourselves correct.

Tuesday

Psalm 32:8,9 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the lord, you his saints for those who fear him lack nothing.

Prayer: Lord God, this day we are trusting you as our refuge and our blessing.

Thought for the day: Fresh wallpaper and new vinyl siding do not make a house hurricane proof.

Wednesday

Hebrews 3:12, 13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Prayer: Lord God, may our faith in you never waver.

Thought for the day: If you open the chimney of your lantern on a windy night, you will soon be walking in the dark.

Thursday

Romans 11:19, 20 You will say the, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief. And you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.

Prayer: Lord God, we believe it is by grace and mercy in Christ we are called your children.

Thought for the day: Christ’s church is not a club of the self-made.

Friday

James 1:6,7 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.

Prayer: O Jesus, we believe that you are the giver of good gifts.

Thought for the day: Many UPS packages are marked as undeliverable.

Saturday

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Prayer: Lord God, may we be sold-out for you.

Thought for the day: Detours lead to dead ends for those who refuse to follow the signs.

D – O – U – B – T

Deceived instead of Dependable – I Cor. 15:33

Obstacles instead of Opportunities – Numbers 14:33

Unstable instead of unstoppable – James 1: 6-8

Balaam’s error instead of Bountiful blessings – 2 Peter 2:15

Trust misplaced instead of Trustworthy Triumph – Proverbs 3:5, 6

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photo: “Called to Holiness in Christ” by Fr Lawrence Lew OP on http://www.flickr.com