HOW WISE TO GIVE THANKS!

WINNING EACH DAY DEVOTIONAL
2 Cor 2:14 And thanks be to God who ALWAYS causes us to triumph…

December 4, 2016

HOW WISE TO GIVE THANKS!

Mat 2:10 MSG
They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

 

 

In the northeastern part of the Caribbean Sea sits the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, where an important ceremony on the National Calendar is Three Kings Day. People would exchange gifts with joy and creativity. Children would express their joy and creativity by gathering grass, making hay while the sun shone. The hay would be kept in shoe-boxes for the horses or camels of the Wise Men that saw Jesus.

The Bible speaks about the Wise Men that saw Jesus, but tells us nothing about their number. Some people think they were three because of the three gifts they brought. Western tradition also says what their names were — Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar, kings of provinces in Arabia, Persia, and India respectively. However, this is from a Greek document written long after Bible times, and is not found in Scriptures. It would therefore be wrong to call them three, or to even say they weren’t three. We simply don’t know. What is sure though, is that they had access to a lot of money to travel very far and they must have had an entourage including security presence to prevent banditry.

The Wise Men were wise enough to identify that the times and seasons had changed. They saw The Star and knew what it meant. They gave gifts; they gave worship; they gave thanks! When they saw The Star, they were overjoyed. “They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!” The place of thanksgiving is always the right place to be. Today, be at the right place at the right time — the place of thanksgiving. How wise to give thanks!

 
CONFESSION: I declare that the Lord satisfies me early. My prayer points have become praise reports. I’m at the right place at the right time, doing the right things and getting the right results!
PRAYER: Thank You Father for Your beautiful salvation plan. I worship You for who You are.

FURTHER READING: Mat 2, Psalm 95:6, Isa 60:3.

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE KINDLY

'Tis The Season To Be Kindly

‘Tis The Season To Be Kindly

WINNING EACH DAY DEVOTIONAL
2 Cor 2:14 And thanks be to God who ALWAYS causes us to triumph…

December 3, 2016

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE KINDLY

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
The excitement in the air was so real you could almost taste it. And why not? It was Christmas Eve! Probably what Old Papa Panov could perceive, though, was the whiff of warm, delicious soups wafting through shutters that weren’t well shut in his Russian neighbourhood. He picked up his worn Bible that looked as old as his wrinkled face, and read again the story of Christmas. He read that Baby Jesus had to sleep in a manger. “Oh my!” he exclaimed. “If He’d only slept in my house, I’d have given Him a beautiful quilt to keep warm”. Papa Panov, who was the village shoemaker, also read that Wise Men gave Him gifts. His face brightened when his eye caught a pair of baby shoes on his shelf. “I’ll give Him those”, he said aloud. And then he slipped into sleep.

Old Papa Panov had the sweetest dream — he saw Jesus! Jesus promised to come visiting on Christmas Day. The old cobbler woke up on Christmas Day excited. He boiled hot coffee in his special Christmas kettle and looked out of his shutters. Jesus wasn’t there, it was only the road sweeper, out in the frigid fog. Papa called him in for hot coffee. By afternoon, Jesus hadn’t come. Papa spotted a frail frame in the wintry bite. It was a girl carrying a baby. He quickly let them in and gave the baby some milk and the mother, cabbage soup. And when he realized the single mother couldn’t afford baby shoes, he parted with the pair he’d reserved for Jesus. By evening, he fed beggars while waiting for Jesus.

Jesus didn’t come on Christmas Day as He promised. As Old Papa Panov thought about this, suddenly, a bright light and the Voice from his dream! It was Jesus, saying: “I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house” (Mat 25:35 ICB). All at once, Papa Panov understood and laughed from his belly. The tale retold was told and sold by Leo Tolstoy.

 

 

CONFESSION: I am kind and tender-hearted. I am sensitive to the needs of other people. I walk in love everyday and hold no grudge against anyone.

PRAYER: Lord, I want to be Your hands and feet. I’ll go where You send me and heal the world with Your love.

FURTHER READING: Mat 25:34-40, Gal 5:22-23, Col 3:12, Prov 3:3.

PEACE, GOODWILL TOWARD MEN

Peace, Goodwill Toward Men

Peace, Goodwill Toward Men

WINNING EACH DAY DEVOTIONAL

2 Cor 2:14 And thanks be to God who ALWAYS causes us to triumph…

December 2, 2016

PEACE, GOODWILL TOWARD MEN

Luke 2:14 NKJV
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
When Millenials talk about the ’60s, they’re most definitely referring to the 1960s. However, there were beautiful events that happened in the 1860s too, for it was then that the great Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy wrote his first famous book, War and Peace. Tolstoy was very vocal about the need for peace which he shared in his book, The Kingdom of God Is Within You. Tolstoy was enraptured by the stories of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount, and like Thomas Jefferson, he had his own version of the Bible. Among his sweet short stories was a story about Christmas.

Tolstoy grew up as a rich kid in the aristocratic circles of Russia. His heart went out to poor people, and he wanted the government to act differently so that there would be peace and prosperity. Tolstoy’s ideologies inspired generations of freedom fighters. Tolstoy made quite an impression on Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, Gandhi was in South Africa when he started his long walk to freedom for British India. Gandhi influenced Nelson Mandela a great deal. Tolstoy’s works on nonviolent resistance outlived him and they were also embraced by Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Tolstoy would have been a farmer, but he was terrible at it, thank God, and so he kept a journal and became a writer. In that way, his story is similar to that of Isaac Newton, who did poorly at farming and so, kept a journal and turned to Mathematics. In Tolstoy’s world, peace arose with the morning sun and glimmered in moonlight. His desire was simply an echo of Heaven’s promise. While shepherds watched their flocks by night, angels appeared all around, singing about the God’s gift of Christmas to the world: “on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
CONFESSION: I have peace with God; I have the peace of God; I live in peace with my neighbours. The peace of Christ rules my mind. The Holy Spirit produces peace in me. I am not worried about a thing; I am highly favoured in everything. (Col 3:15, Gal 5:22)

PRAYER: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. I am Your child; therefore, I am a peacemaker. (Mat 5:9)

FURTHER READING: 2 Cor 13:11, Mark 9:50, 1 Cor 7:15.

CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING!

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

WINNING EACH DAY DEVOTIONAL
2 Cor 2:14 And thanks be to God who ALWAYS causes us to triumph…

December 1, 2016

CHRISTMAS BELLS ARE RINGING! 

1 John 5:11 AMP

And the testimony is this: God has given us eternal life [we already possess it], and this life is in His Son [resulting in our spiritual completeness, and eternal companionship with Him].

 

 

A brilliant writer in 19th century England spun delightful tales of Christmas that the world still remembers today. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer of the Victorian Era. His novel “A Christmas Carol, in Prose” is a beloved classic, which was widely embraced the moment it was in print (December 19, 1843). The publisher sold all, and returned to press at least 8 times within the first 6 months of release. At Christmas, when it snowed outside, families would stay close to the fireplace as it sparkled and crackled; folks would huddle and cuddle their warm blanket, listening to a riveting Christmas story by this author. He made the indoor stay a welcome, winsome, worthwhile venture.

He was revered on both sides of the Atlantic. Some have said he was the first modern example of a celebrity because the lectures this British man held in America were heavily attended. For such a prolific writer, it’s extraordinary that he had no formal education, with repeated truncation of his education due to the dire financial situation of the family. His father always wanted to be rich but tried too hard and went to jail. This left him no choice but to start working at the tender age of twelve. Those early experiences shaped his life and inspired his unforgettable writings. It was also he who wrote Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. No doubt, Charles Dickens was a literary genius.

Christmas is an exciting time of the year. In different parts of the world, people engage in fun activities, such as reading a book while snow flakes lazily drizzle. This doesn’t happen everywhere. In the Tropics where it never snows, the activities are different. Christmas isn’t really about what we do; it’s about what Jesus has done. He’s the reason for the season. Eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3) and that life is found in Christ. He lived and died that we may live and not die. He rose again, stamping Christianity into being. Be excited, not just about the holiday season, but about the reason. Ding, dong, ding, dong, Christmas bells are ringing!

 

 

CONFESSION: The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Christ lives in me. I have eternal life. I’m winning each day; I’ve got victory!

PRAYER: Thank You Father for such a grand plan of salvation. Thank You Jesus for Your matchless grace. Sweet Holy Spirit, help me to be all that I was born to be.

FURTHER READING: Gal 2:20 NIV, 1 John 5:11-13, 3:16.

HOUSE OF LOVE

house-of-love

WINNING EACH DAY DEVOTIONAL
2 Cor 2:14 And thanks be to God who ALWAYS causes us to triumph…

November 30, 2016

HOUSE OF LOVE

Psalm 122:7 NLV

May there be peace within your walls. May all go well within your houses.
“If you can really make a man believe you love him, you have won him.”
— Dwight L. Moody
Dwight Lyman Moody was born in February 1837 to a father who was a poor stonemason and peasant farmer. To make it worse, his father died when he was barely four years old. Dwight was the 7th child, and his dad’s death happened in his mom’s last trimester of pregnancy — she was carrying twins. Thus, he grew up in a family of 9 children and was raised by a poor widow. His schooling didn’t proceed beyond the equivalent of a 5th grade (in other words, primary school education).

Dwight’s spelling was horrible; his grammar was terrible and his behaviour was annoying, so much so that a shoemaker once chased him with a knife, ready to stab him to death! Then the strangest thing happened — he found love, the true love that’s found in Jesus. A Sunday School teacher told him about the love of Jesus and he became born again. His initial grand plan was to wait until just before he died before becoming born again, but the love of God changed all that. He was the most unlikely convert; in fact, his application for membership of church was rejected for about a year! Dwight didn’t let that slow him down — no day passed without him telling someone about Jesus.

D. L. Moody was one of the greatest evangelists of the 19th century, with influence in Europe and America, reaching over 100 million people. He believed so much in the love of God. It was God’s love that saved him; it was that love he preached. When the love of God is in our homes, differences will become delightful; conflicts will strengthen us, not separate us. A major mark of loving is forgiving. Robert Quillen said: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers”. D. L. Moody said: “Forgiveness is not that stripe which says, ‘I will forgive, but not forget.’ It is not to bury the hatchet with the handle sticking out of the ground.” This means that we shouldn’t bury issues in a way that we can still pull them out for use in a fight. Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor 13:5). A happy house is a house of love.
CONFESSION: The love of God is fully expressed through me. There is peace within my walls and all goes well within my house.

PRAYER: Whatever the enemy is trying to do in our house will be of no effect in Jesus’ name. We uproot anything God didn’t plant in our home. We say, strife, bitterness, anger, unfaithfulness, lack — NO MORE!

FURTHER READING: Mat 7:24-27 MSG, Col 3:13 NIV, Eph 5:25 AMP.

Resident Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Kwara.