12 Not that I have already attained this – that is, I have not already been perfected – but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (NET)
Paul’s testimony was about the way to perfection and his zeal to be perfected. He was explaining that the work of the Lord was not yet complete in him. He was still pursuing his goal, doing the work of the Lord, reaching upward toward the prize. He had a past of persecuting Christians, but he was able to leave the past behind. To focus on moving forward, reaching upward, toward the prize of heavenly life, striving for perfection to be more like Jesus.
Do you have troubles in the past that you need to release and reach upward, striving toward the prize, God’s heavenward call in Jesus Christ?
Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we are in awe of your love and forgiveness. We thank you for your Son Jesus. He was an example of perfection, who died for our redemption. Teach us to rely on You, to leave the past behind, and reach upward toward the goal of becoming more like Jesus. Like the magnolia blossoms are open and reaching upward toward the sun, let us be open-hearted and reach upward toward the prize God has provided through Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
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For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NET)
Paul is writing his friend and protégé Timothy. In this encouraging letter, he reminds Timothy that the Holy Spirit empowers and directs him. Power for our life comes when we rely on Christ, who strengthens us when we are weak. This power gives us energy, courage, a spirit of love, and the ability to make sound judgments. God has given us the Spirit of love which, carries us through opposition. Strength in God’s Spirit of power and His guidance for self-control. Faith in God empowers and casts out fear.
Are you empowered; do you rely on the power of God to cast away your fear?
Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for your love and care. Teach us to seek your direction, rest in Your strength, and rely on Your power. Lord empower us, strengthen us when we are weak. Let us embrace your Spirit of power, love, and self-control. Like the three camellia blossoms are open and closely gathered on the branch, let us have open hearts, closely gathered to the Holy Trinity. In Jesus’ Holy name. Amen
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21Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
1 Peter 1: 21-22 (NET)
Jesus, Son of God, was crucified for our salvation. God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him in heaven. Jesus’s victory over death into glory brings trust; we trust in God, He sacrificed His Son to save us. We have faith and hope in God’s promises and His plans for us. With belief, our hearts are open to the truth of God’s Word and His love. We need to embrace Christ’s commandment “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34). When our hope is in Christ, we are born again, and we can love one another earnestly, sincerely, and with a pure heart.
Is your heart open to love one another as Christ loved us?
Prayer; Lord, Jesus create in us a pure heart. Help us to forgive, accept, and love one another. Open our heart to Your truth and direction. Teach us to love one another earnestly, sincerely, and with a pure heart. Like the gentle, glorious beauty of the rose, let us be kind and gentle and spread Your glorious love. Amen
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9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 15: 9-11 (NIV)
Allowing Jesus into your life, following His ways, and giving Him your burdens, brings joy to your life. Jesus did not want His followers to live in fear; He wanted them to rely on Him, to receive His peace, love, and joy. Jesus wants us to lighten our burdens by turning them over to Him. When we let go of fears and worries and take time to be still in His presence, it opens our hearts to His way. Having faith, trust in Jesus lightens our mind, calms our day, and brings us joy.
Do you let temporary problems and struggles steal away your eternal Jesus given joy?
Prayer; Jesus, our Shepherd, and Redeemer, teach us to give our burdens and fears to You. Lead us on the path of righteousness and guide our way. Help us to embrace your teachings and grow in faith. Like the glorious open flowers of the water lilies, reach upward toward the sun, let us be open-hearted and reach upward toward You, Jesus, and live in joy. Amen
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The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock.
Matthew 7:25 (NET)
In life, rain pours down, floods drench and devastate, and storm winds buffet against our houses and lives. A house founded on rock stands firm, and; a life founded on The Rock, Christ stands strong. A life dedicated to God, obedient to the Word, and guided by Christ’s teaching is not undermined or destroyed. In times of trial, faith lets us weather the storm, knowing God is with us.
Are you founded on Christ, “the Rock”? Does your faith help you weather life’s storms?
Prayer; Dear Lord, help us to grow in faith and follow Your ways. Like a house founded on rock survives the storm, a life founded on Christ can weather life’s storms. Like the rocks, shelter the red rose blossoms, let us learn to find shelter in Jesus, our rock and redeemer. Amen.
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11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)
An angel announced to the shepherds watching their sheep by night, the birth of Christ the Lord. Then a multitude of heavenly hosts appeared praising God with glory; He gave His Son to be our Savior. The angels were worshiping the birth of Christ, the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger. God’s goodwill and love gave birth to the Savior, the Prince of Peace, to bring peace for all. Gloria in Excelsis Deo is Latin for “Glory to God in the Highest.” Let us remember to worship our Father in heaven and let our hearts focus on the gift of Jesus, our Savior.
Christmas Carol –Angels We Have Heard On High – Lyrics written by James Chadwick fit to the French tune – Gloria
Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains And the mountains in reply Echoing their joyous strains Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be? Which inspire your heavenly songs? Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King. Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36 (NIV)
True freedom; is found in Jesus. When we believe in Jesus; and submit to His authority, we are adopted and become children of God. Jesus is not setting us free to do what we want but freeing us; to clearly see what we should do. Faith in Jesus frees us, frees us from the slavery and corruption of sin. Jesus is our source of spiritual truth; in Him, we are free, free indeed.
What is holding you back from believing in Jesus and walking in a relationship with Him being free, indeed?
Prayer; Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for your grace and forgiveness toward us. We are in awe of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Teach us to believe, put our faith in Jesus, and become the people You created us to be. Help us to follow Your path. Like the petals of the daisy embrace the bright center, let us embrace Jesus, learning to be free from the slavery of sin. In His Holy Name. Amen