As I write this it is Christmas morning. Darkness surrounds me as dawn has not yet set in. The evening was short concluded with my reading the true Christmas story from Luke 2:1-14 to my family. I slept well (though briefly) only to awaken with the first words before me from Scripture being:”the Word became a human being” (John 1:14).

Today we celebrate that miraculous event. When an omniscient and omnipotent God so loved the world that He sends His Son to us. A Savior Who is Christ the Lord that we can live for all eternity simply by our faith (Romans 1:17). A thought and reality that once captured the world reforming the church and we in it.

For myself life is getting to know God better. Praying, listening and then speaking to others about His Kingdom. A Kingdom that becomes ours through a birth in a manger in a stable in far of Bethlehem. Today is Christmas. A day to give glory to God. A day when THE WORD BECAME A HUMAN BEING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Word of God is a window to the wonders of salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Revelations 14:7 “give glory to God always”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for showing me the way.


  1.  Explore the difference between God becoming man versus man desiring to be God?
  2.  Explain God’s Word taking on the form of humanity through Christ being like the contents of a seed coming to life?
  3.  Where is the danger in glorifying self?
  4.  What does the birth at Bethlehem mean to you?


It is important today to consider Thanksgiving. Perhaps the reason our culture wants to give it little consideration (unless you are Macy’s with some commercial interest) is that it comes out of Judeo-Christian culture. The Puritans when first coming to American shores would model holidays after Old Testament guidance. Thanksgiving is modeled after Sukhot or Feast of Tabernacles mentioned in Zechariah 14:16-19. Then as today it is meant to celebrate the harvest and in fact if you did not remember this day you would bring down judgment upon next years crop. In fact of all the special events and times of the year giving thanks to God was the one event never to be forgotten or given up. As Christians we must always remember this day in a rightful way before we enter the more self centered holiday society has made of Christmas.

Giving thanks in proper fashion is also important. Paul in writing his letters to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:1-9 and 2 Corinthians 1:1-11) opened with words of thanks. Today during what we call the ‘holiday season’ we are often more concerned with sending a letter to Santa telling him what we want. The contrast of two holidays.

Finally a word on how we can apply this in a very practical way in our own lives. Growing up our family once upon a time gave thanks before each meal and then again after the meal. In 1 Timothy 4:3 we are told the “foods which God created are to be received with thanksgiving”. After the meal Deuteronomy 8:10 shares that it is good we thank God for the blessing just consumed. JUST A FEW THOUGHTS ON THANKSGIVING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Thanksgiving is a time to remember all the blessings come from God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Zechariah 14:16-19 “origin of Thanksgiving”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for all Your blessings.


  1. How do you keep Thanksgiving?
  2. How has society begun to commercialize the day of Thanksgiving?
  3. Do you offer thanks at mealtime?
  4. Do you follow your meals with prayer?


Soon we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday. You might not know it from watching television or even reading your daily newspaper as Thanksgiving seems to be overlooked. Yet this holiday which is the very heart and soul of who we are as a nation began and must be remembered for the belief system upon which we were founded. A belief in Christianity recorded in the first document (the Mayflower compact) that served as law of this new soon to be nation as well as the writings of the first pilgrim leader Wm. Bradford (‘the Plimoth Plantation’).

Today one would not know that as a small minority of unbelievers have used our Constitution to try and scrub all visible means of faith from the landscape guided by a willing media, government, educational system and entertainment industry. Unbelievers not satisfied in their own ways try to stir up trouble. This has always been the case from the time of the Jews who did not believe in Christ (Acts 17:5). The reaction should be, as it was for Paul and others, not to be intimidated.

Unbelief is caused by sin (John 16:9) and if we do  not believe we do not belong to Christ (John 10:26). No big surprise there. What is truly sad though is that unbelievers are hindered from miracles (Matthew 13:58) and excluded from blessings (Hebrews 3:15-19). Even worse is that one day they will experience the wrath of God (John 3:36).

This day and this season it is time to open our hearts and eyes to Christ. Let the word of Ephesians 4:18 soak in so that we are NO LONGER BLIND.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The ungodly way of unbelief prevents our union with Christ.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 3:36 “God’s wrath is the consequence of unbelief”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I never doubt You and Your will.


  1. What brings on unbelief?
  2. How in today’s world are unbelievers showing themselves?
  3. Have you ever been challenged for your Christian faith?
  4. Have you read the words of the Mayflower Compact?



Those of us growing up in a church that had Christian training in the form of a confirmation class will likely remember a great deal from that experience. On occasion I still refer back to the ‘catechism’ I was given and had to memorize for insight. At one time this confirmation ceremony, which in a very real sense could be considered a Christian graduation, offered a nice diploma as the ornate designed ones that my grandfather had framed and which I have. Today it is just another day in the life of the church and another after school activity in many cases. Confirmation itself is a simple peace of paper granting you certain privileges as a member of a church and for the most part is topped off by a family gathering of some sort. Far from what it once meant.

Christ felt a need to train his Disciples as well. He knew the time was growing short for His time on earth and these individuals, like we in our church today, were going to be responsible for carrying His message forward. He did this at Caesarea Philippi as recorded in Matthew 16:13-20. It was here that He wanted to make absolutely certain that the Disciples knew and understood who He was. They were about (as are we today) to become not just followers but witnesses to the faith.

It was important for those who would witness to Him to confess that He truly was the one and only Son of the Living God and that it would require they, as well as we today, give all even if it meant there life. Indeed then, as now, Jesus is our meaning in life. If you do not want to live out your life in vain then it is important that you have A RIGHT UNDERSTANDING OF WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Confirming who Christ is is critical to any confirmation instruction.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 16:13-20 “the Disciples confirmation service”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord You are my one and only instructor in matters of living out my faith filled life.


  1. Do you remember your confirmation service and how it affected you?
  2. Is your confirmation diploma displayed with the same importance as your other degrees of learning?
  3. Why does the faith of Christians and the strength of the church go hand in hand?
  4. Do you know who you are in Christ?


Today, as I write this, is Memorial Day. A day when once we honored our families since passed and those who have fought and many died in defense of our country. Sadly, what was once a day when high school bands in full uniform played stirring melodies at our cemeteries now has turned to a single trumpeter, a few potted plants easily placed and removed and people scattering (if they even come) to post memorial day  service barbecues, fishing or some other daily routine.

What has happened to us? I suspect some of the reason is living in a world that has de-sensitized us to death and that has promoted concern for self over others. We no longer understand grief and its importance to healing as individuals, families, communities and nations.

Grief comes to us on many fronts. It may be a foolish act committed by ourselves or our children (Proverbs 17:25). It may also be becoming aware of a disease similar to what Job faced (Job 2:11-13) where friends gathered to support him. Finally, and perhaps most obvious, is the grief that comes with death (2 Samuel 19:1-2). These and more often and rightfully so cause pain in our hearts that can best be healed by spiritual means which include memorial services of one sort or another.

We can know that our Lord not only grieves with us when we do but He also grieves expressed through His Holy Spirit as recorded in Isaiah 63:10. Sadness and grief is a natural emotion that can strengthen and unite. Today  as families and as a nation we need to take time for A DAY OF MOURNING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Grief provides spiritual growth when guided by the Holy Spirit.

DEVOTIONAL FOR TODAY: Isaiah 63:10 “The Holy Spirit is grieved”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for Your presence when I  grieve.


  1. How do you honor your ancestors and veterans?
  2. Are you experiencing any grief and how are you handling it?
  3. What are the steps of the grieving process?
  4. How can grief strengthen and unite?



Most everyone likes to gather for a party and Scripture encourages the gathering of people but as with all matters there are appropriate and inappropriate times to do so.

Worldly occasions that should not be held or avoided at the very least by Christians include those that honor a god other than our One True God. God’s anger was shown to Israel (Exodus 32:1-10) when they built and served idols and worshiped in this manner and I believe He will do so again.

When a party is held alcoholic drink often flows freely. Understanding Christ’s conversion of water to wine is one matter but drinking to  the point of drunkenness is wrong on many levels. The folly of Nabal showed this in 1 Samuel 25:36-38. It caused him his life as drunkenness often does.

Other social gatherings that end badly are also recorded throughout Scripture. Suffice it to say that gathering where pride and licentiousness (unbridled lust) of sorts are released or encouraged do not please God.

What God considers proper is to provide a feast (refreshments) for guests expected or unexpected (Genesis 19:1-3) where none of the afore mentioned are evident. For me one of my great joys is being invited to someone’s home for an evening meal followed by good conversation and/or a time for playing games.

Also noteworthy of feasting and celebration are family reunions. A good example of this was the reunion of Joseph with his family recorded in Genesis 43. Family reunions are indeed special especially when there is reconciliation within family as Christ shared in Luke 15:22-24 . Indeed feasting and parties are fun if understood properly. That being said LET’S PARTY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Feasts that focus on fellowship and our Heavenly Father should be frequent.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Luke 15:22-24 “a proper reason for a social feast”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I await with anticipation Your eternal feast.


  1. How and where is false god worship seen in the USA and other countries?
  2. How should drink be handled at times of feasting?
  3. What kind of gatherings today show pride and allow for licentiousness?
  4. Do you enjoy entertaining guests and in what manner?


Going through life is difficult enough. I can not imagine doing so thinking this is all there is. Yet so many do. Purpose and meaning in life comes with the Resurrection. Job expressed what Christians yet this day believe saying: “I know that my Redeemer lives..and (one day) in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-27). Christ affirmed this Himself in John 5:28-29. All will one day arise to be taken either to a ‘resurrection of life’ or if unrepentant having done evil to a ‘resurrection of condemnation’. To illustrate this He chose His good friend Lazarus bringing him (among others) back from death. This witnessed by many.

This will be accomplished by the power of God in union with Christ and “through His Spirit Who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). The key here is twofold. One is the importance of our being born again in the Spirit of which I have spoken before. The second important point is the resurrection of Christ which we rightly celebrate.

The resurrection of Christ and its meaning for our lives is clearly laid out in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Here we are told the facts, its importance, how it took place and how it now affects past, present and all future faithful. Indeed each and every day if we truly believe we should loudly proclaim the words of 1 Corinthians 15:54 that DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Resurrection is our reason to rejoice.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 15:54 “death is swallowed up in victory”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for dying for me.


  1. Do you believe in the resurrection and if so why?
  2. What is life without Christ?
  3. Have you invited the Holy Spirit into your life?
  4. Outline the details of the Resurrection given in 1 Corinthians 15?



Cassius Clay (M. Ali) once referred to himself as the greatest. We have a reference book called ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’ of the greatest of one sort or another . We travel often at great expense to places or events that epitomize the greatest degree of one thing or another. Extremes seem to appeal to mankind and the Bible speaks to that issue as well.

One example is that of extreme or great faith. In Genesis 22:1-3 we read of Abraham’s faith in God shown through his willing obedience to sacrifice his son. A foretaste of what God carried on during what we now celebrate as Resurrection week.Today we honor that strength of principle. In fact we honor and rightfully so anyone who sacrifices life for what is right.

With great faith often comes great grief and pain. That is only natural. Jesus prior to His death on the cross while yet understanding the importance of His sacrifice cried out what may well be the 7 most pain filled words ever spoken: “My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Many if not most of us for one reason or another have said that as well. Sadly,unlike Christ Who trusted in His Father through the pain and grief, many of us on earth do not see God’s love and tears in our pain and not doing so we remove ourselves from a relationship with our Savior.

This is what happened with lucifer which is recalled in Isaiah 14:12-15. His pride, as it is with ours, separated himself from God until one day he and all who separate themselves from God due to extreme personal pride will be cast into Sheol. A place of eternal torment. A place described by Christ in Luke 16:23-24. The greatest example of extreme torment mankind will ever know.

In this life there are a great many extremes. Through the good and bad it is important to endure in one thing only. Our faith in God Who will one day bring us to salvation. That of all extremes as we will see is bar none THE GREATEST.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Extremes when exercised in the examples of Christ are everlasting.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Genesis 22:1-3 “Extreme human faith”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire strength to build an extreme faith within me.


  1. What examples of extreme faith has our world shown?
  2. What in life has been most painful for you?
  3. Have you ever felt forsaken by God?
  4. Do you have an extreme faith?


The expression that something is carved in stone generally means what the Pharaoh in the original ’10 Commandments’ movie once said. His comment was: “so let it be written, so let it be said”. That sense of permanence is what the first prophet Samuel records for us in 1 Samuel 7:12. Here he calls a stone memorializing the Lord’s help an Ebenezer stone.

Stones when placed as monuments bespeak many things. We use them at the head of a grave to honor a person and I believe to honor the Lord for His guidance on earth. The reason so many of the early ancestral gravestones included Bible verses and mine will one day as well.

Stones as memorials are also Scriptural. For example Christ as our foundation or cornerstone is foretold of in Isaiah 28:16. The verse rightly points out that only Christ gives us the assurance for confronting rightly all else that life puts before us.

In a sense a stone can also serve as a conscience crying out a reminder of that which is important to remember (Habakkuk 2:11). For me stone crosses, that atheists are so quick to want to remove from sacred sites, are one such example among many. To see a cross is often a reminder to look into your heart.

Christ definitely is or should be the chief cornerstone of our lives for with Him we can take on all that confronts us as Matthew 21:42-44 shares. With Christ I can not be beat. Now it is up to me to build on that stone (relationship) in a beautiful and glorious fashion (1 Corinthians 2:11-14). That is my job as I grow in righteousness. The very essence of who I am that will one day live with God, is a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5), here to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ. Of this the Holy Spirit will witness for it truly is CARVED IN STONE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The foundation stone of Christ is steadfast when placed in our soul.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Samuel 7:12 “importance of a memorial stone”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord You are my cornerstone.


  1. What would you like to see carved on your memorial stone?
  2. What spiritual examples of stonework do you know of?
  3. How does having Christ help us conquer all that confronts us?
  4. How can we add beauty to a glorious relationship with Christ?




The battle goes on each year between those who want to deny or minimize this season and so greet us with the words ‘Happy holidays’. Contrary to these secular oriented people we have those of us who see the spiritual nature of this celebration and with joy wish one another Merry Christmas.

As has often been said: “leave Christ out of Christmas and all you have left is a ‘mas’ (pronounced mess)”. That is indeed true for Christ is the love which makes the season happen. Without Christ in Christmas you simply have a time of increased stress and increasing debt.

What makes Christmas special is that it is a season of hope, peace and love that only the appearance of the Glory of God can make happen. This hope, peace and love comes to us as a small child born in humble circumstances.

In Scripture the appearance of the Glory of the Lord is mentioned 3 times adding how important God felt an event to be. The first occurred in Exodus 40:34 when God filled the Tabernacle using it to guide the nation of Israel to the land promised them by God.

The second example recorded in 1 Kings 8:11 was when the Ark of the Covenant was placed in Solomon’s Temple which will only be rebuilt prior to Christ’s return to earth.

Finally as mentioned earlier we see the Glory of God appear at the announcement of Christ’s birth to the Shepherds (Luke 2:8-11).  The response in each instance should be our shouting out: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace good will toward men” (vs. 14). Our doing so will be the assurance that CHRIST WILL ALWAYS BE IN CHRISTMAS.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Glory of God brings gladness to Gentiles and Jews alike.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 2:14 “What God’s glory provides”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire to bathe in Your glory.


  1. What problems do secularists have with Christmas?
  2. Are you able to enjoy every aspect of the Christmas Season?
  3. What was placed in the Ark of the Covenant to give it special meaning?
  4. Explain the ‘Glory of God’?

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