VIDEO Take a Left Turn – It’s All About Faithfulness

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:25

When Harry Swayne played in the NFL, his teammate, Mark Schlereth, kept inviting him to Bible studies. Swayne politely declined, but he couldn’t help noticing the difference in the players who did go. They were so kind to Swayne that he came under deep conviction and longed to give his life to Jesus. In January 1999, after the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII, he piled into the caravan of limos heading to the celebration. 

“I was so convicted that I told my limo driver to take a left, and I made him take me back to the hotel. And I gave my life to Christ.”[1]

The greatest gift we can offer our Savior is to yield our lives to Him. Compared to knowing Christ, even a Super Bowl victory dims and fades. What the world offers—even the most expensive Christmas present—is perishable. When we give Jesus our hearts and lives, we become imperishable, and we become the recipients of imperishable riches.

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[1]John Ackerman, “Mark Schlereth discusses how he received and gave spiritual guidance on NFL teams,” Sports Spectrum, June 23, 2020, https://sportsspectrum.com/sport/football/2020/06/23/mark-schlereth-spiritual-guidance-nfl/.


1 Corinthians 9 :24-27 It’s All About Faithfulness

Christmas Awe

Let all God’s angels worship him. Hebrews 1:6

I was in London one night for a meeting. It was pouring rain, and I was late. I rushed through the streets, turned a corner, and then stopped still. Dozens of angels hovered above Regent Street, their giant shimmering wings stretching across the traffic. Made of thousands of pulsing lights, it was the most amazing Christmas display I’d seen. I wasn’t the only one captivated. Hundreds lined the street, gazing up in awe.

Awe is central to the Christmas story. When the angel appeared to Mary explaining she would miraculously conceive (Luke 1:26–38), and to the shepherds announcing Jesus’ birth (2:8–20), each reacted with fear, wonder—and awe. Looking around at that Regent Street crowd, I wondered if we were experiencing in part what those first angelic encounters felt like.

A moment later, I noticed something else. Some of the angels had their arms raised, as if they too were gazing up at something. Like the angelic choir that burst into song at the mention of Jesus (vv. 13–14), it seems angels too can be caught up in awe—as they gaze on Him.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). Bright and luminous, Jesus is the focus of every angel’s gaze (v. 6). If an angel-themed Christmas display can stop busy Londoners in their tracks, just imagine the moment when we see Him face-to-face.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

When was the last time you felt a sense of awe? How can you rekindle a sense of awe over Jesus this Christmastime?

Father, I worship You. Thank You for the gift of Your awesome Son.

Living by Faith

Mark 9:14-29

Do you struggle with doubts about God’s power? If so, the reason is probably because He hasn’t answered prayer as you expected. But that doesn’t prove He’s unable to do what you desire; it just demonstrates He had a different plan in mind. Living by faith isn’t a matter of expecting God to do what you want but of trusting Him to do what He desires.

Sometimes we may feel like the man in today’s story, whose son was possessed by an evil spirit. He struggled with doubts about Christ’s ability to heal people even though Jesus had repeatedly proven that He could. We can all identify with the father’s response, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

At times even Christians experience some uncertainty regarding God’s ways, truth, or ability. Thankfully, when that happens He is gracious to us in our weakness. Yet lingering doubts can be a spiritual hindrance. Scripture says a doubter is “double-minded” and “unstable in all his ways” and should not expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8).

To overcome doubts and walk confidently by faith, we must learn to know our Father’s character, ways, and desires through His Word. Then we will have a foundation for trust even when our requests seem unanswered.

Be Shielded by the Word

“I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” (Psalm 119:113-114)

The Bible is replete with military imagery. We are told to “wrestle” against the “spiritual wickedness in high places” and to be sure that we put on “the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:12-13). As the good soldiers of the King, we are told to “endure hardness” (2 Timothy 2:3) and expected, as His army, to be about the “pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

David was a warrior king, and many of his psalms contain battle terms used both literally and figuratively to show the way God protects and provides for us in spiritual warfare. The “hiding place” David often mentioned was a secret retreat that provided shelter from the enemy (Psalm 32:7). The “shield” can refer to the same sort of retreat but is most often used to describe a soldier’s defensive buckler. Faith is our shield in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:16).

Thus, in this stanza (Psalm 119:113-120), the psalmist visualized God in the role of Protector and Captain. He looked to God for his life while being upheld “according unto thy word” (v. 116). Safety was no doubt prominent in his thoughts while affirming that he had continual respect for God’s statutes (v. 117).

The psalmist was also fearfully aware of God’s take-no-prisoners attitude toward those who are against Him (vv. 118-119). While our gracious Lord and King is patient toward all sinners, His ultimate plan is to “put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Knowing this, the psalmist concluded: “My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments” (Psalm 119:120). Only a fool refuses to fear the Creator’s wrath. HMM III

He Puts Me Flat Down

And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. —Ezekiel 3:16-17

I once heard a brother preach on the fact that the church should be without spot or wrinkle. To get the wrinkles out of a sack, he said, you fill it. To get a wrinkle out of a rug, you lay it down and walk on it. God sometimes fills us, the preacher continued, but sometimes He just puts us flat down so that everyone can walk on us!

King David long ago knew something of the latter method. He wrote, “The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows” (Psalm 129:3). I think David was talking about his enemies. And they must have been wearing hobnail boots!

Ezekiel had just come to this kind of a low-ebbed, humbling experience when God opened the heavens. In effect, God put His hand on him and said, “Now I can use you. I have some words and some plans that I want you to pass onto your country men.”   MMG117-118

Lord, whether You fill me or “put me flat down,” I want to befit to be Your servant. Use Your best methods on me, Father, as I submit myself for Your use and Your glory. Amen.

How to Receive the Holy Spirit

How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? —Luke 11:13

Here is how to receive [the Holy Spirit]. First, present your body to Him (Romans 12:1-2). God can’t fill what He can’t have….Are you ready to present…your mind, your personality, your spirit, your love, your ambitions, your all? That is the first thing….

Now the second thing is to ask (Luke 11:9-11)….He could give [the Holy Spirit] without our asking, but He chooses to have us ask. “Ask of me, and I will give thee” is always God’s order; so why not ask?

Acts 5:32 tells us the third thing to do. God gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. Are you ready to…do what you are asked to do…to live by the Scriptures as you understand them? Simple, but revolutionary.

The next thing is, have faith (Galatians 3:2). We receive Him by faith as we receive the Lord in salvation by faith. He comes as a gift of God to us in power. HTB047-048

The power to sin is one thing, the proneness to do so is another. Sanctification takes out the latter, but leaves the former, which is an attribute or necessity in a free moral agent. SAN041

The Star in The East

Matthew 2:9-11

There’s a light in the sky,

Though the sky be dark;

It’s the light of the Star in the East.

There’s a song in the storm,

Though the storm be long;

It’s the song that my heart loves the best.

It’s the song that broke over Bethlehem’s hill,

The angels’ song: Peace on earth, goodwill!

And the song made the whole wide world to thrill,

Lovely song of the Star in the East.

There’s a thorn on the rose

That in fragrance grows

In the woodlands of friendship and peace.

Oft the flesh must be torn,

Ere the rose be born.

That will give to its sweetness release.

To bring joy to others my heart must mourn,

The worth of peace is best proved in storm.

‘Twas the song in the night brought the Christmas morn,

’twas the song of the Star in the East.

Oh, come to Jesus, bring Him your care,

Your sin He’ll pardon, your griefs He’ll share,

He’s so tender, so strong, so true, so kind;

Oh, I love Him by far more than all.

Evangeline Booth, Carolers’ Favorites