Friday, January 19, 2018

Best Forever Friend

BEST FOREVER FRIEND 
7th of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

Philippians 3:12-21

Philippians 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
            “who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like His glorious body.”

            People love to brag.  We boast about our looks, intelligence, and abilities.  We know that our Father HATES braggarts, though (Proverbs 6:17).   Check out the lesson linked below to learn when and about whom it’s always a good idea to brag.

            While Jesus never bragged—in fact, He usually ducked direct questions about who he is—He faithfully remains by our side cheering good times and consoling hurting hearts. 

            Believers-in-Christ want to develop a close, personal friendship with Him.  We cement that friendship when we obey His commands. 

            Let’s see how many questions you can answer correctly from the below:

            Question:  Where else can we learn that Jesus showed people on earth who our heavenly Father is?  Why does He love people so much that He longs to give us every good thing?
            Answer:  People learn about our Father’s many attributes when reading the Bible.

            Q:  Jesus spent time alone with the father each day in prayer.  Curious disciples wondered—as do Jesus followers today—how can we also form this close bond with our  Father?
            A.  We also can spend time in prayer drawing closer to our Father every day.

            Q:  People often let us down.  God NEVER fails His kids.  When we come to Him, He always helps.  He never leaves us alone.  What does repeated dependence on God build in us?
            A:  After watching God repeatedly help us in powerful ways, we learn to trust Him.

            Q:  Often parents or teachers motivate obedience by promising us a reward.  What reward does God promise His faithful children?
            A:  Each step we take in obedience, the Lord reveals more of Himself to us.

            Q:  People create a personal history library.  How does remembering how God worked in our lives add new dimensions to our friendship?
            A:  When we pay attention watching God work in our lives, we become familiar with His ways and goals.

            Q:  How can Believers ensure that God is #1 in our lives?
            A:  By recognizing how we prioritize our values, idols become clear.  Whatever is more important to us than God needs to go.

Take Home Nugget

            People form friendships easily.  From early childhood, kids bond closely together and boast one best friend.  While earthly friends come and go, can cheat and turn against us, Christ remains forever faithful.

Holy Father, Thank You for bringing me Your Son Jesus, who is my best forever friend!  Amen. 
              
Adapted from “Getting to Know Christ Intimately” by Dr. Charles Stanley.  In Touch a monthly devotional magazine.  December 31, 2017.  Georgia.
And
“Boast in the Lord” by Rev. Dr. Paul A. Philp.  Portals of Prayer a trimonthly devotional magazine.  January 12, 2018.  Missouri.
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  This eBook shows Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:   
Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued by Jeremy.  Jeremy is transformed by God after getting to know this gracious elderly lady. 

   

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

R.S.V.P.


R.S.V.P.  
6th of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

Revelation 19:1-10

Revelation 19:7-8:  “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.  [Not weird for boys!]
“Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen is stitched with every righteous act of the saints.  Our clothing is still being made while we live on earth).

            Twelve-year-old Cassie clutched the envelope and jumped up screeching, “This is it!  The invitation has arrived!”  She tore open the envelope.  While reading, worry lines etched on her forehead. 

            “What’s the matter,” mom asked.  “Isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for?”

            “Yeah,” Cassie admitted.  She waved a small envelope at mom.  “What’s this?  It’s even stamped and addressed. … The address is … Cindy’s home!”  Cassie wondered, “What does R.S.V.P. mean?”

            Cassie’s mom giggled her reply, “R.S.V.P. is French.  R├ępondez s'il vous plait means ‘Please respond.’  The invitation asks you to acknowledge whether you plan to attend the party.”

            “Oh, that’s pretty formal for a kid’s birthday party!” Cassie said.  “Return Signed Very Promptly” is English for what this small card wants.”

            Cassie’s mom laughed.  “Good translation, dear.  Just mark it and we’ll mail it tomorrow,” mom advised. 

            Cassie got an invitation to a birthday party and was very excited.  This is Cindy’s birthday party.  Yet, Cassie was delighted to receive the invitation.  She’d waited for the invitation for days and is eager to respond her acceptance.  “I’m so happy!” Cassie admitted.

            Believers-in-Christ are very blessed and should always feel happy, too.  We’ve been reading how Jesus blesses us in four most recent devotions.  Now we’re asked to acknowledge Jesus’ invitation to the most spectacular banquet ever thrown!  The attendees are our spiritual brothers and sisters—many that you’ll recognize from worship each week—Jesus’ church. 

            This banquet is for you!  You are the guest-of-honor, as though you were the birthday girl.  (See lesson linked below for more information).

            Christ Himself is both the celebrant and meal at once.  No one ever went to a party where the host was the meal.  (Imagine Jesus serving you Holy Communion).  The marriage supper of the Lamb is where the “Priest” (as One interceding for us) represents the sacrifice.  And this supper will be the most nourishing ever, too: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation!

Take Home Nugget

            With every heartbeat, every breath sings praise for LORD Jesus!  For only He poured out His lifeblood for me.  His sacrifice was perfect, complete, and final for forgiveness and eternal life with Him!

Holy Father, Please mark your R.S.V.P. checked for my attending this heavenly wedding banquet of You Son, the Lamb!  I pray this in His precious name, Amen. 
           
Adapted from “Blessed Are You” by Rev. Dr. Frederick W. Baue.  Portals of Prayer a trimonthly devotional magazine.  November 22, 2017.  Missouri.
J.D. Griffith


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Latest Christmas eBook by J.D. Griffith:  
To purchase "Star Watchers" for only $0.99 USD, click here   This eBook shows Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:  
Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued by Jeremy.  Jeremy is transformed by God after getting to know this gracious older lady. 

   

Friday, January 12, 2018

Jesus' Profession

JESUS’ PROFESSION  
5th of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

Hebrews 1:1-3:  “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He created the universe.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.  After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

            Jesus’ profession [pro-FESH-on] is His job.  Everyone is created with gifts and a path to pursue.  Everyone is happy when doing whatever talent Papa endows.  Work is “easy” when we exercise that talent instead of denying what we naturally WANT to do.
 
            Work is a gene with which everyone—even Jesus—is created.  We gotta DO something!  Check out the lesson linked below for work that God first assigned to Adam.  The days are long and life drags on when we’re bored.  But when we enjoy our work, life is a delight.  We actually enjoy waking up each day!  

            How does Jesus feel about the job Papa gave Him?

            Evidently, people are Jesus’ job.

            We always were, and we’ll always be Jesus’ profession … forever.  From the beginning, Jesus knew that He’d be born as a human and die for human sin.  Now that work is finished and Jesus ascended to the Father.  Phase two of Jesus’ profession claims His time.

            Aren’t you thrilled that God is infinite?

            Jesus’ job is to work on our behalf.  John 10:10 shows that Jesus’ job is to provide Believers-in-Him abundant life.  He gives us peace.  He equips us to live joyfully.  He empowers us to accomplish whatever job He appoints us to do.

            Romans 8:34 promises that Jesus hears every prayer lifted up from Believers’ hearts or spoken with our lips.  He “cleans up” (adding praise, aligning with Father’s will) Believers’ prayers and presents them to Papa.

            Colossians 1:15 teaches that God is a loving Father who cares about our concerns, and is detail-oriented!  He longs to hear from you and wants to share your most intimate problems!

            John 14:2-3 promises that Jesus is preparing a place for you!  Doesn’t that make you feel special and confident that you will have somewhere to live with Him forever?

            In Revelation 22:12, Jesus promises, “I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. ”

Take Home Nugget

            People are Jesus’ purpose.  He loves us unconditionally and provides everything we need.
 
Holy Father, awaken a fresh insight in me to appreciate Jesus more each day!  Amen.
   
Adapted from “What’s Jesus Doing Now?” by Dr. Charles Stanley.  Georgia.  In Touch monthly devotional magazine.  December 26, 2017.
J.D. Griffith


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Latest Christmas eBook by J.D. Griffith:  
To purchase "Star Watchers" for only $0.99 USD, click here   This eBook shows Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:  
Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued by Jeremy.  Jeremy is transformed by God after getting to know this gracious elderly lady. 
   

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Jesus' Destiny

                                                                                                                                          
JESUS’ DESTINY 
4th of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:21:  “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

            The previous devotion, Jesus’ Powerful Name, showed “A” words that explained why His name is powerful.  This devotion targets five more “A” words that explain what Jesus’ destiny [DES-tin-ee] means to us. 

            Jesus destiny (or purpose), was to be born so that He could die—in order to save His people from our sins.  The Father didn’t convince His Son to enter earth as a human baby so that He could die. 

            Jesus ACCEPTED His destiny without question. 

            As co-creator, Jesus loves created beings the same as our Father does.  Jesus knows that only shed blood can forgive sin.D   He may have grieved the thousands of bulls and sheep slaughtered before He came to earth. 

            ATONEMENT.  Sin began in heaven by the devil.  “Satan” was not the devil’s original name.  That evolved from “the” Satan—or the accuser—until 1 Chronicles 21:1.  Satan was jealous of God.  He wanted to be God.C  He was very beautiful and proud (Ezekiel 28:11, 13, 14, &15). 

            Satan hated people because God crowned us with the glory that Satan hungered for himself.B   When he was tossed out of heaven, earth became the devil’s playground.E  His specialty became tempting people to sin.  He found victory tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  All human sin is inherited from her, making people enemies of God.A
                Jesus atoned—or suffered and died as payment for human sin—so that we might be reunited with the Father.  Christians are no longer enemies of God (Romans 5:10).

            ACCESS.  Jesus opened the pathway to the Father.  He blocked the door opened wide so that people can approach God’s throne with confidence.  We believe that God loves us and hears our every prayer (John 14:6 & Hebrews 4:16).

            ADOPTION.  Adoption is different from natural children.  Believers-in-Christ were chosen before the world was even created (Ephesians 1:4-5, Romans 8:16-17).  Believers are adopted into God’s family.  We’re co-heirs with Crist!

            ASSURANCE. Through faith in Jesus, Believers are gifted eternal life.  Jesus guarantees that future is secure with Him in heaven forever! 
    
Take Home Nugget

            Christ is not Jesus’ last name.  Christ means “the Anointed One” or Messiah.  Jesus was anointed by God the Father to save His people from our sins (John 20:31). 
            Jesus’ destiny was death so ours could be eternal life in glory!

Holy Father, our hearts overflow with gratitude that You sent us Your Son Jesus.  From Him, we’re awed about who You are and what faith in Him means!  Amen.

A, B, C, D, E  Check out the lesson linked below. 
               
Adapted from “The Destiny of a Name” by Dr. Charles Stanley.  Georgia.  In Touch monthly devotional magazine.  December 24, 2017.
J.D. Griffith


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Latest Christmas eBook by J.D. Griffith: 


This eBook shows Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:  
Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued by Jeremy.  Jeremy is transformed by God after getting to know this gracious elderly lady. 

   

Friday, January 5, 2018

Jesus' Powerful Name

JESUS’ POWERFUL NAME 
3rd of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

John 16:7-24

John 16:23:  “In that day [after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven], you will no longer ask Me anything.  I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.”

              “Oh well, that changes everything!”  Can you hear the disciples’ response when Jesus surprised them with this promise?  They had no idea why they’d need this most precious gift.  After all, Jesus had chosen each one and taught them for three years.

            But that was about to change—radically.  

            Jesus was born to die.

            Naturally, Jesus’ disciples resisted hearing about His death.  But Jesus’ shed blood, death, resurrection, and ascension paid our Father’s debt for sin.  Jesus knew that before His birth.  Who would die for sinful people who hated Him?

            Only Jesus.  He loves His created beings so much that He agreed to come to earth as a human.   He delights offering sinful people eternal life.

            Christians use Jesus’ name daily because we know the power that only comes with His name.

            Have you ever been in someone’s presence that made you feel like no one else in the universe exists?  Jesus possesses that Ability.  He makes each individual feel special.  Mary couldn’t leave His side long enough to help her sister in Luke 10:38-42. 

            He’ll capture your adoration the same way if you let Him.

            Although the Father sees Christians as righteous, we still sin.  Jesus stands as our Advocate at the Father’s right hand 24/7.  His shed blood continually washes us clean—as Hebrews 9:14, 1 John 1:7, and 2:1-2, confirm.

            Sometimes we feel helpless against forces over which we have no control.  But no force plows over us which Jesus hadn’t first Authorized.  Jesus promises that He’ll empower us to overcome whatever troubles arise (John 16:33).

            Just because we can’t see Jesus doesn’t mean that He’s not with us.  Immanuel (God-with-us, Matthew 1:23) promises His Assistance in John 16:13-15.  Jesus’ promised Holy Spirit comforts and guides, teaches and helps us to live holy and obediently.  (See the lesson linked below).

            As the opening Scripture promises, when we Ask for anything that Aligns with God’s will, we will receive a “Yes” Answer to prayer (John 16:23-24).

Take Home Nugget

            As a head’s up to everyone who doesn’t know Jesus, Isaiah 45:23 and St. Paul writes in both Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10: “that at the name Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.”

Holy Father, help me to forget pride and remember these
“A” words as I
depend on Jesus’ powerful name every day.  Amen. 
               
Adapted from “The Powerful Name of Jesus!” by Dr. Charles Stanley.  Georgia.  In Touch monthly devotional magazine.  December 25, 2017.
J.D. Griffith


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Latest Christmas eBook by J.D. Griffith:  


This eBook shows Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:

Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued by Jeremy.  Jeremy is transformed by God after getting to know this gracious elderly lady. 

   

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Jesus Confession

JESUS CONFESSION  
2nd of 7 devotions in Jesus Appreciation series

John 1:11:  “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.”

            “Who do you say I am?”  Jesus asked His disciples more than 2,000 years ago.
            He asks the same question today.

            Originally, Jesus asked this question after leaving Caesarea Phillipi far up in northern Israel.  The disciples led by the Master Himself just witnessed people who hated God and lived in terrible idolatry.  [I-DOL-i-tree] means placing supreme importance on anything other than in God. 
 
            Of what does “terrible idolatry” remind you?

            Can you see boys and girls calling one another hateful names?  Do you watch them cheating each other?  How much do they lie?  What games—baseball, basketball, football, hockey—do you see them play?

            Imagine that the disciples were shocked to see that extreme idolatry.  Jesus may have purposefully led them through a totally different place than to what they were accustomed.  What we consider normal may totally contrast others’ norm.  Often, different people are obviously and glaringly unlike us.  The things they do and how they think simply don’t compute in our brains.

            Jesus wasn’t as surprised as His Jewish disciples probably were.  Remember, Jesus is co-creator with the Father.  He reads peoples’ hearts.  Jesus knew that He would be rejected by the same race who looked and spoke like Him.  Most of His disciples fit the Jewish mold.   A Gentile physician named Luke was the only exception. 

            So, Jesus probably expected their answers to His probing question, “Who do you say I am?”

            Then Peter upset the applecart.  See the lesson linked below for their various responses.  Mathew 16:16 reports that Peter responded with, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

            Can you see Jesus’ raised eyebrows when He exclaimed, “Blessed are you, Simon Son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven!”

            Peter’s answer reflected poorly on the other disciples.

Take Home Nugget

            Peter’s confession is how we’re to confess—or admit—Jesus to others.  The enemy wants to shut us up with lies that we must not talk about God.  “Don’t upset the applecart!” he warns, “No one will talk to you!”

            If we believe that, we won’t ask, “Who do you think Jesus is?”  We decided ahead of time that another is disinterested. 

            No!  Asking that question opens up a dialogue where we get to testify about God.  We can share the secret that in Christ our sins are forgiven and we’re adopted into God’s family! 
            We get to show excitement about living in heaven with God FOREVER.
 
            We get to confess Jesus!

Holy Father, empower me to confess Jesus to others every day as my new year's resolution.  Amen. 
    
Adapted from “Caesarea Phillipi” by Mr. Steve M. Cohen.  Texas.  Portals of Prayer Devotional magazine.  December 27, 2017.
J.D. Griffith


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Latest Christmas eBook by J.D. Griffith: 
To purchase "Star Watchers" for only $0.99 USD, click here   

This eBook relives Mary’s adventure traveling to Bethlehem right before Jesus’ birth.   This Biblical fantasy weaves supernatural delight into facts surrounding His birth. 

Here’s another eBook by J.D. Griffith:  

Twelve-year-old Jeremy befriends “Aunt” Rita when lured up her front steps after football practice one fall day.  Her piano music isn’t the only thing that makes Rita especially different.  She is intrigued.  Jeremy is transformed.