Blog

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 21st

IMG_5151

He Himself Is Our Peace. Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.”

Our world is full of many things; peace just isn’t one of them. It seems every place on earth is in need of peace. We shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus Himself said we could expect to hear of wars or rumors of wars. As His return draws near, the lack of peace will only increase.

Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to see the state of the world in which we live. We can be tempted to fear, and our faith can falter. Still, Micah 5:4-5 says, “And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.”

Christ knew we would face frightening things and encouraged us to have faith. He said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

There is no doubt we will all face trials, but there is always hope in the midst of them. As Psalm 29:10 reminds us, “The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.” He is still enthroned over whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re drowning. Put your faith in Him for his word says “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3. Don’t waver in your faith; hold on tighter to Him!

Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Reflect on Paul’s answer to the question of peace. First He says, “Rejoice!” Then He says it again and tells us to take everything to Christ, with thanksgiving. Is there something you need to pray about today? Maybe you’ve prayed about it before but have no peace. Pray again today, but this time, praise God even for your trials for we “know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Ask Him to make you complete today and remember that He will work all things for your good! Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 20th

IMG_5148

His Will Through His Word. Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”

For so many years, Israel had looked to prophets to find God’s will. If they were convinced of sin, it was because God sent a prophet to them. If they had hope, it was because, through a prophet, God made promises. God grew silent, and the prophets stopped speaking.

Then, to break the silence, He sent his Word. Never again would we need prophets; never again would we need priests. Christ showed us the Father’s will by the way He lived. He offered the only sacrifice that saves.

For this reason, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15. Commit your way to Him. As the New Year approaches, obey commands God gives in Joel 2:12-13: “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”

God sent His son so His people would repent, so they would turn and seek Him. Don’t waste the gift God has given you. Seek Him today.

Psalm 27:4-11 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.” Let it be your prayer today. Sing or listen to the worship song “Better Is One Day” by Chris Tomlin.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 19th

IMG_5145

His Greatest Gift To You. Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

Before you do anything else today, bask in the light of Christ. Whether you are along or with family, read once more the story of Christ’s birth. Luke 2:1-20 “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David: to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Before you open the first package from under the tree, unwrap anew God’s precious gift. Focus on it afresh.

Remember that God is the giver of all good gifts, and the greatest gift He bestowed upon us is the gift of His son. Read aloud the account of Jesus’ birth then pray, thanking God for His great gift of grace. Sing your favorite carols and worship the Lord.

Begin the day by giving your time to the Lord. Imagine if, on your birthday, no one stopped to wish you well. Let’s not fail to notice the very One whose birth we celebrate today! Don’t get so wrapped up in celebrating you forget the purpose of the party.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 18th

IMG_5138

The Word Became Flesh. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory was of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:1-14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Today, if possible, try to stretch your imagination just far enough to think what it must have felt like for the Word to become flesh, for the God of eternity to step into time. It’s almost impossible to fathom, but try. What must He have felt as, for the first time, He was contained? Imagine: You sat upon the universe, held the world within Your hand. Could simply love have made You choose to take the form of man? What glory, what majesty did You choose to rescind. When You came down to earth to take away our sin. The stars, which one You put in place, seen from another view. From far below and not above, must have seemed so small to You. Your flesh and bone, Your earthly shape, could hardly hold You in. It must have been quite hard for You to go from space to man.

Today, remember that because Christ took on flesh, He knows how our lives feel. He can sympathize with us in every way. Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Remember that before He was ever a baby, God said He would be a savior. Thank Him for His body, which was broken for us.

Unspeakable Joy Devotional

December 17th

IMG_5131

God With Us…He’s In Us! Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Matthew 1:18-25 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” Joseph takes the stage today, and through his encounter with an angel, we learn a lot about Christ. You see, Joseph was stuck. No direction he could take seemed to be the right one. Even if he was angry with Mary, he was still concerned for her. A young, unmarried woman like Mary was in danger in their day. She could have been killed, and Joseph didn’t want that. So, he was going to divorce her “quietly.” Then the angel appeared, and just like Mary’s, Joseph’s plans changed.

Joseph was given courage because he was given a name. He was told to name the child Jesus, which is Greek for Joshua and means “the Lord saves.” He was also told that Jesus would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” If Joseph still feared to take Mary as his wife, God with him would take his fears away.

What does it mean to us that Jesus is Immanuel? For the people of Joseph’s day, it meant that God was walking right in the midst of them. For us, it means much more. 1 John 4:15 says, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Immanuel means He’s IN us! The God of the universe dwells in us. Imagine. Like Joseph, what have we to fear? “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” 2 Peter 1:3

Ezekiel 36:25-27 “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Today, ask God to renew your spirit and cleanse your heart. If you never have, ask Him to live in you today. Pray that God’s spirit in you will move you to follow His ways for “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. Ask him to work in you today.