What precedes a spiritual awakening, the conditions that create the kind of environment for God to move with power? There are probably multiple ways to answer. But, one thing is certain. Prayer precedes an awakening. If we desire spiritual awakening, we should be in prayer. There is more through prayer.
It's not hard to settle for too little in life, even in your relationship with God. One of the benefits of a new year is the opportunity to establish a new normal. When it comes to our walk with God, there is more than our present experience. In fact, God is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." Don't settle for too little in 2019. There is more...
The end of another year reminds us that nothing in this world lasts forever, including even our own lives. As we reflect on the loved ones we have lost this year, we are reminded of the words of the Psalmist: "Teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
There are two responses to Jesus' birth in Matthew 2:1-12. Herod wants to kill Jesus. The Magi want to worship him. Jesus' birth paints a picture of God's vision for the world. The first people to recognize him as a king and bring him a sacrifice of praise are Gentiles. It's an unlikely scene: the king of the Jews, surrounded by farm animals and his unwed parents being worshipped by people from another country. This Christmas season it's important to give the proper response to Jesus' birth: worship.
Esau forfeited something of lasting value to satisfy something fleeting, an appetite. At Christmas, it's easy to think about what you want now. But, it won't satisfy for long even if you get it. If we're not careful, we can focus on receiving what we want and lose all perspective. We should spend less time thinking about satisfying our momentary desires and more time dwelling on what God has done for us through Jesus. This Christmas season it's important to prioritize what lasts, not what doesn't.
Christmas has become a consumeristic holiday. Holiday sales will likely exceed $1 trillion! It seems that we can never receive enough. We always want more. Jesus offers a warning when it comes to receiving things: "Watch out for greed." This Christmas season it's important to remember that life is not about things.
This is one of the most counterintuitive teachings of Jesus: "It is better to give than to receive." It's not found anywhere in the gospels. It's something that Paul attributes to Jesus. In fact, it was so important to Paul that he remembered these words from Jesus in everything he did (Acts 20:34). This Christmas season it's important to remember that it is better to give than to receive.
Life is hard. It's easy to get beat up and, eventually, give up. But, we're a family. We lean on one another. One of the things we do is "spur one another on toward love and good deeds." We inspire one another.
We're a family, which means sometimes, we hurt one another. Families have conflict and the church isn't immune to it. We're called to forgive one another. The standard of forgiveness is high. How high? "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
The church in Rome was facing a challenging situation. After the church was founded, all Jews were required to leave Rome. Eventually, they were allowed to return. When the Jewish Christians returned to the church in Rome, it was different. That created challenges for the Roman church. They had to learn to accept one another.
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