UNIMAGINABLE

William Carey is called “The Father of Modern Missions.” He was the founder of the Baptist Missionary Alliance, and he took the Gospel to India. As he encouraged churches to give to missions and share the Gospel with the world, he often said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

What is God able to do in your life today? Can you trust Him to do a great work through you?

In Ephesians 3.20-21, the apostle Paul praised the Lord, saying,

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Let the church arise this year, and let us trust in God for great things. Our God is great, and He is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine!



GOD IS NEAR

Jacob, the trickster, messed up His life. By deceiving his father, Isaac, he robbed his brother, Esau, of his birthright, and now he sought his life. So Jacob was forced to leave the Promised Land.

But one sleepless night in Bethel, the Lord appeared unto him in a vision (Genesis 28). Suddenly, he saw a ladder between heaven and earth, and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.

“Behold,” the Lord said to him, “I am with you and will keep you wherever you will go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it” (v. 10).

Maybe today you are wondering if God is with you. You’re trusting in Him, but like Jacob, you have made a mess of your life. Let me remind you, our God is near. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13.5). He’s only a prayer away.



THE ALMOST RUNAWAY GROOM

You probably have heard the story of a runaway bride, but have you heard the story of a runaway groom?

Meet Joseph – an ordinary carpenter living in the little village of Nazareth in the first century, betrothed, or engaged, to a young teenage girl, named Mary.

He already paid his dowry, and he was probably building a room onto His father’s house for them to live in. Such was the custom of his time. When, suddenly, the whole world caved in on him.

Mary comes to see him, and she tells him that she is with child, and she wants Him to believe that she is still a virgin, and that this child is actually the Son of God.

At first, Joseph didn’t believe her. Who would? He decided to call the wedding off and put her away privately. But then he had a dream, and God revealed to him that Mary was telling the truth, and the angel Gabriel commanded him to take Mary as His wife.

If God told you to do something incredible like this, would you be willing to do it?

Joseph knew people would talk about him. He expected them even to question his character.

But Joseph didn’t care. He obeyed the Lord, and he took Mary to be His wife.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, I want to challenge you to obey God’s Word and keep His commandments, and we know that His commandments are for our good.



FOLLOWING HIS PLAN

Are you a planner? Some of us are, and it drives us crazy when unexpected things happen.

Somebody once said, “I don’t mind a surprise, but I do appreciate a two-week notice before it comes.”

Mary had a plan. She was going to have a wedding, and she was going to marry Joseph, and they were going to have children and live happily ever after. But then the unexpected happened. God surprised her with some amazing news! He chose her to be the mother of His Son, the long-awaited Messiah of Israel.

When Mary heard the news, she received it gladly. Her response reveals the charter of her heart. “Let it be unto me according to your Word, O Lord.”

Lord, she said, you are my Creator and Savior, my life belongs to you. Go ahead, use me however you want too.

She never resisted the Lord.

She did not ask the Lord to wait until she got married.

She must have known Joseph would have questioned her character, and she probably expected the whole town to talk about her. Still she immediately embraced the Lord’s will for her life, and she completely and joyfully surrendered her life to Him.

Can you say with Mary, “Let it be unto me according to your word, O Lord”?



HE CAME TO SERVE

Do you like being in charge?
 

Do you like to throw your weight around from time to time and tell everybody else what to do?

That’s human nature, and it’s typical behavior for people in this world.

In Matthew 20, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to die on the cross for our sins. As He walked with His disciples, He caught them in an argument. They were fussing among themselves about who was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. They didn’t understand why Jesus came, and they certainly weren’t expecting Him to die on a cross. They were ready for Him to reign now, and they were expecting their promotions.

Yet Jesus gently rebuked them.

“Whoever desires to be first among you,” He said, “let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”

If Jesus was a servant, then shouldn’t we be servants too?

This Christmas let us remember that Jesus came into our world to be a servant, and let us focus on serving others instead of pleasing ourselves.



REAL GOOD NEWS

We hear a lot of talk today about “fake news,” and I’m sure that everything we read or hear in the news isn’t true. The media doesn’t always get the story right, and sometimes personal bias and prejudice obscure the reality.
 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, is not fake news!

In 1 Timothy 1.15 the apostle Paul declared, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

In what sense is the Gospel “a faithful saying?”

Well, first it’s a true story. The Gospel is not a legend or a fairy tale. Jesus was born into our world; He died on a cross for our sins; and He rose again for our salvation. The Gospel is a matter of literal history.

Second, the Gospel is trustworthy. Because the Gospel is historically true, you can depend on Christ to save you. The message of Christ is worthy of all acceptance.

Thirdly, the Gospel is timeless. Its truth will endure forever. God will faithfully preserve His Word throughout all eternity.

The Gospel is not fake news!

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?



THE LIVING WORD

God has revealed Himself to us in His written Word. Prophets of old received the words of God and wrote them down for our understanding. Their words came from the Holy Spirit, and every Word of the Bible is true.
 

As incredible as this truth is, 2,000 years ago something even more wonderful happened. God Himself stepped out of Heaven and was born into our world through the virgin Mary. In the words of the apostle John: “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory just like that of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

So that, when God declared His love for us, He not only gave us His written Word, but He also came to us in person, and God has never spoken more clearly or beautifully to us than He has in the person of His Son.

Jesus is the living Word of God, and in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son.

God has never said I love you any more clearly than when He sent us His Son.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Word of God

He is the last Word of God to man, and He is the clearest Word of God.

He is the Word of faith which we preach, and He is near you, even in your mouth and heart: “that if you will confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10.9-10).



CONTENTMENT

Dear Abby once published a poem written by a 14 year old boy, named Jason Lehman. She was surprised by his wisdom and noted that he was advanced beyond his years. The poem, submitted by the boy’s mother, reads as follows:
 

It was spring. But it was summer I wanted

The warm days, & the great outdoors.

It was summer. But it was fall I wanted

The colorful leaves, & the cool, dry air.

It was fall. But it was winter I wanted

The beautiful snow, & the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter. But it was spring I wanted

The warmth, & the blossoming of nature.

I was a child. But it was adulthood I wanted

The freedom, & the respect.

I was 20. But it was 30 I wanted

To be mature, & sophisticated.

I was middle aged. But it was 20 I wanted

The youth, & the free spirit.

I was retired. But it was middle age I wanted

The presence of mind, without limitations.

Then my life was over, & I never got what I wanted.



THANKING GOD FOR HIS GRACE

Annie Flint is a celebrated Christian poet, but she suffered much during her lifetime. Her mother died when she was young, and her father, suffering from a terrible disease, had to give her and her sister up for adoption.
 

While she was in college, her adopted mother and father died, and her sister also was in bad health. To make matters even worse, she came down with a debilitating disease, and she was confined to a wheelchair the rest of her life.

In spite of all these tragedies, however, she trusted in the Lord, and she praised his name. In her poem, what God Hath Promised, we read these beautiful words:
 

God has not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.
 

What a tremendous blessing it is to be content, and to be thankful, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.



GIVING THANKS

An elderly lady was well-known for her faith in God, and she wasn’t afraid to praise His name. Each morning she would go out on her front porch and greet the new day by shouting, “PRAISE THE LORD! Thank you, Lord, for another beautiful Day!”

Next door lived a man who didn’t believe in God, and he was very angry because of her daily praises & prayers. So, he began shouting back at her, “There ain’t no Lord! There ain’t no God!”

But his angry shouts didn’t intimidate her. She kept on greeting each day with her praises and prayers, and very morning he continued responding to her.

Then hard times came upon the elderly lady, and she prayed for God to send her some help. She stood on her porch one morning and prayed,  “Lord, You have been so good to me. But right now, I’m having a hard time. Please, Lord, send me some food!”

The next morning the lady went out on her porch and saw a large bag of groceries sitting there. She shouted, “PRAISE THE LORD.”

Her neighbor jumped out from behind a bush and shouted, “I told you there was no God. I bought those groceries, God didn’t.”

The lady started clapping her hands and said, “PRAISE THE LORD! God not only sent me groceries, but He made the devil pay for them. Thank you, Lord!”




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