VIDEO “What Child Is This?”, Special Christmas Message – Right Kind of Help

The Right Kind of Help

And I, if I am lifted up…will draw all peoples to Myself. —John 12:32

Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery.

When you find yourself face to face with a person who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.

But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is trusting in the reality of redemption, his words will be compelling to others. What is extremely important is for the worker’s simple relationship with Jesus Christ to be strong and growing. His usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.

The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, he cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

The message of the prophets is that although they have forsaken God, it has not altered God. The Apostle Paul emphasizes the same truth, that God remains God even when we are unfaithful (see 2 Timothy 2:13). Never interpret God as changing with our changes. He never does; there is no variableness in Him.  Notes on Ezekiel, 1477 L


First Dallas LIVE for worship and Dr. Jeffress’ special Christmas message, “What Child Is This?

Look for the Green

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1

The gravelly voiced captain announced yet another delay. Crammed in my window seat aboard a plane that had already sat unmoving for two hours, I chafed in frustration. After a long workweek away, I longed for the comfort and rest of home. How much longer? As I gazed out the raindrop-covered window, I noticed a lonely triangle of green grass growing in the gap of cement where runways met. Such an odd sight in the middle of all that concrete.

As an experienced shepherd, David knew well the need to provide the rest of green pastures for his sheep. In Psalm 23, he penned an important lesson that would carry him forward in the exhausting days of leading as king of Israel. “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, . . . he refreshes my soul” (vv. 1–3).

On the concrete jungle of an airport tarmac, delayed from my destination and feeling the lack of comfort and rest, God, my good Shepherd, directed my eyes to a patch of green. In relationship with Him, I can discover His ongoing provision of rest wherever I am—if I notice and enter it.

The lesson has lingered over the years: look for the green. It’s there. With God in our lives, we lack nothing. He makes us lie down in green pastures. He refreshes our souls.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

Where can you look for the green today? In what ways has God provided a moment of rest when you thought it was impossible?

Loving God, thank You for being my Shepherd and for making me lie down in green pastures to refresh my soul.

Sunday Reflection: Light of the World

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, people had many opinions about who He was. Some thought the Lord was a great prophet (John 7:40), while others believed He truly was the Messiah (v. 41). These opinions caused so much confusion and discord that Jesus was almost arrested (John 7:41-46). So just a short while later, when Jesus called Himself the “Light of the world,” it’s no surprise that He was challenged again (John 8:12-13).

Light is used throughout Scripture to describe God and His glory, and the people around Jesus would have understood His words to be a statement of His deity. For those who believed He was the Messiah, it would have offered reassurance and signaled the fulfillment of a long-awaited promise: The darkness would be overcome.

Think about it
• What made Jesus the Light of the world?

• Read Matthew 5:14. Why do you think the Lord uses the same language to describe His followers, calling them the light of the world?

Keep Alive Thy Work

“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)

Habakkuk had long been grieved by the apostasy and injustice in Judah. A sensitive man who trusted God completely, he could not understand why God allowed such rampant sin to go unpunished. Knowing God must have a reason for His actions, he asked in faith the question “Why?” (1:3).

In love God honors Habakkuk’s sincere question, but the answer caused him even greater concern: “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their’s” (v. 6). God intended to use the vicious Babylonians to punish His chosen people (vv. 5-11).

This prompted the prophet’s second question, “How?” How could God use such an evil people to punish the Jews (1:12–2:1)? God patiently explained that Israel’s sins merited captivity, and furthermore that Babylon’s sins would eventually be punished also.

Once Habakkuk knew God’s plan, he did not dispute it. Rather, his concern turned to his people—soon to be in captivity. He was afraid they would lose all knowledge of God in a heathen culture, and he prayed, “O LORD, revive thy work” (3:2, literally “keep alive thy work”). This concern was answered by a majestic appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ (vv. 3-15), through which Habakkuk understood that God would indeed judge His enemies (v. 12) and deliver His people (v. 13).

Habakkuk’s final response? Total submission to God’s sovereign control over all things. He claims that in spite of these overwhelming problems (3:18), “yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” JDM

The Ministry of the Special Night

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. —Psalm 30:5

But there is a limit to man’s ability to live without joy. Even Christ could endure the cross only because of the joy set before Him. The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension. God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take. He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.

Slowly you will discover God’s love in your suffering. Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you—the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure. You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death and, what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth’s trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven.   TIC123-124

Thank You, Father, for the ministry of the night, for the lessons of pain. But thank You, too, that we’re not alone in the night. Thank You for the morning star and the glimpse of the light of morning. Amen.

Decorations in the Sanctuary

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me —Psalm 139:23-24

The fourth is: Make your thoughts a clean sanctuary. To God, our thoughts are things. Our thoughts are the decorations inside the sanctuary where we live. If our thoughts are purified by the blood of Christ, we are living in a clean room no matter if we are wearing overalls covered with grease.

Your thoughts pretty much decide the mood and weather and climate inside your heart, and God considers your thoughts as part of you.

Thoughts of peace, thoughts of pity, thoughts of mercy, thoughts of kindness, thoughts of charity, thoughts of God, thoughts of the Son of God—these are pure things, good things, and high things.

Therefore, if you would cultivate the Spirit’s acquaintance, you must get hold of your thoughts and not allow your mind to be a wilderness in which every kind of unclean beast roams and bird flies. You must have a clean heart. HTB055-056

The evil thought is the forerunner of the devil; for Satan knows that if a Christian will allow the evil thought he will in time allow the originator of the temptation to come in. SAN240

Follow The Star

Matthew 2:9-10

The dark of deep December

Is pierced by light afar;

The mountain path to Bethlehem

Is illumined by the Star.

No darkness is so total,

No journey is so far

That man cannot be aided

By following the Star.

So in this hallowed season,

Let none our pathway bar;

For wise men still their life’s way chart

By following the Star.

Edward Fritz, The War Cry