VIDEO Carols to Inspire Your Christmas Joy – Marriage Supper of the Lamb

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory.  Revelation 19:6-7a

Joy to the world! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King; let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and heav’n and nature sing.

The father of English hymnody, Isaac Watts, captured what it should mean for all creation to welcome the presence of the Creator God. This hymn echoes the words of Psalm 98:4-9 where the earth, the sea, the rivers, and mountains “clap their hands” and rejoice—the same expectation voiced by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:18-22. But like Creation, the children of God long for the appearing of the Son of God (Romans 8:23-24). Thus, Watts wrote, “Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room..”

As a part of creation, is your heart open to Christ? Have you prepared Him room in your heart and home this Christmas? Let the joy of your heart become joy to the world!

Joy is the serious business of heaven.   C. S. Lewis


Revelation 19:1-10 – The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Never Forgotten

I will not forget you!  Isaiah 49:15

Egged on by my children to prove I’d endured years mastering the basics of piano, I sat down and started playing the C Major scale. Having played very little piano in nearly two decades, I was surprised I remembered! Feeling brave, I proceeded to play seven different scales by heart one right after the other. I was shocked! Years of practicing had imprinted the notes and technique so deeply in my fingers’ “memory” that they instantly knew what to do.

There are some things that can never be forgotten. But God’s love for His children is far more deeply imprinted than any of our fading memories—in fact, God can’t forget them. This is what the Israelites needed to hear when the exile left them feeling abandoned by Him (Isaiah 49:14). His response through Isaiah was unequivocal: “I will not forget you!” (v. 15). God’s promise to care for His people was more certain than a mother’s love for her child.

To assure them of His unchanging love, He gave them a picture of His commitment: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (v. 16). It’s a beautiful image of God’s constant awareness of His children; their names and faces always before Him.

Still today, we can easily feel overlooked and forgotten. How comforting to remember that we’re “etched” on God’s hands—always remembered, cared for, and loved by our Father.

By: Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt forgotten or abandoned? In what ways has God always been present with you to remind you of His constant love?

Jesus, thank You that I’m never forgotten by You. When I feel abandoned by others, help me to remember and rest in Your never-ending, constant love.

Promises for Painful Times

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Yesterday we learned about brokenness as a tool the Lord uses to mold us into His likeness. God’s followers desire this outcome, yet the process is a painful one. That’s why the Lord gives encouragement in a number of ways.

First, God disciplines with love. Just as parents redirect their children’s behavior out of love, the heavenly Father has our best interest in mind when correcting us. It’s not out of anger that He allows suffering.

Second, God gives us hope through His Son. He doesn’t want our suffering to debilitate us, but when it feels like too much to bear, the promise of eternity and Christ’s presence keeps us from despair (2 Corinthians 4:18). Our Father wants us to grow in Christlikeness, but He doesn’t want to break our spirit.

Third, God brings clarity through difficult times. As we learn that His ways are higher than ours, we gain greater understanding of His amazing attributes. At the same time, our self-awareness starts to sharpen, and old unproductive thought patterns begin to fade.

Fourth, God promises that He’ll never desert us. Brokenness can bring a feeling of emptiness as we are losing things that once captured our loyalty. But our Father replaces those with Himself—and He is vastly more satisfying and dependable.

Fifth, the Lord is patient. He knows our background and thought patterns but also sees the end result and knows the journey is worth it.

When you face hardship, remember God’s promises and keep your eyes fixed on the goal. He wants to help you reach your full potential.

Our Spiritual Hygiene

“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

We are bombarded these days with diet plans, exercise programs, health foods, beauty aids, etc.—all aimed at improving our lives or lifestyles. These may profit a “little” and should not be ignored, but we must never allow a preoccupation with physical things to negate our true priorities.

Spiritual hygiene is much more important than physical hygiene. As infants, we should “desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). For adults, “strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age” (Hebrews 5:14)—those who are no longer “unskillful in the word of righteousness” (v. 13).

We are to be “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:6), and admonished to profess “sound [literally ‘healthy’] doctrine” (Titus 1:9; 2:1) and healthy “faith” (1:13; 2:2), as well as healthy “charity” and “patience” (2:2), and use healthy “speech” (2:8).

Exercise must not be ignored, but it should be “exercise . . . unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7), enabling us to “discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). It may take the form of chastisement, which “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (12:11).

And, of course, cleanliness is important. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9). Christ gave Himself “that he might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). JDM

Nothing to Fear In His Will

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

—Isaiah 26:3

The only fear I have is to fear to get out of the will of God. Outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear, for God has sworn to keep me in His will. If I’m out of His will, that is another matter. But if I’m in His will, He’s sworn to keep me.

And He’s able to do it, He’s wise enough to know how to do it and He’s kind enough to want to do it. So really there’s nothing to fear.

I get kidded by my family and friends about this, but I don’t really think I’m afraid of anything. Someone may ask, “What about cancer? Do you ever fear that you’ll die of cancer?” Maybe so, but it will have to hurry up, or I’ll die of old age first. But I’m not too badly worried because a man who dies of cancer in the will of God, is not injured; he’s just dead. You can’t harm a man in the will of God.   SAT080-081

Lord, “outside of the will of God, there’s nothing I want, and in the will of God there’s nothing I fear.” Amen.

 

Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God, as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.—Luke 18:17.

 

Dear Soul, couldst thou become a child

While yet on earth, meek, undefiled,

Then God Himself were ever near,

And Paradise around thee here.

Gerhard Tersteegen.

 

Childlikeness, in its Scripture sense, is a perfectness of trust, a resting in a Father’s love, a being borne on in its power, living in it—it means a simplicity which resolves all into the one idea of lowly submissiveness to One in whom it lives, a buoyancy of spirit, which is a fountain of joy in itself, always ready to spring forth afresh brightly and happily to meet the claims of the present hour, not looking lingeringly back to the past, nor making plans independently, as of oneself, for the future; a resting contented in one’s lot, whatever that lot may be; a singleness of intention a pliancy, a yielding of the will, a forgetfulness of self in another’s claims. To be thus childlike in the pure sense of such an ideal, is to be living in God, as one’s Father, one’s Preserver, one’s Guide, felt to be a perpetual Presence and Providence.

T. T. Carter.

 

Absolute Total Assurance

“He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb. 13:5

Several times in the Scriptures the Lord hath said this. He has often repeated it, to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt of it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the Lord’s ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our Lord’s company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold, His favor is better than fortune.

We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than Almighty Goodness.

Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace, that thou mayest never leave thy Lord, nor even for a moment forsake His ways.