In Brennan Manning’s book, “Abba Child”, he wrote that John, “the disciple Jesus loved”, did not believe that Jesus was the most important thing, he believed that Jesus was the only thing. Then I read a sentence from the book, “Prayer”, by Hans Urs von Balthasar, that just stood out to me like it was lit up with flashing lights. To me it just said exactly what I, and probably many others seeking the Lord, wants this brand new year, just this one beautiful awesome request. “LOVE DESIRES TO DWELL AT PEACE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BELOVED.” WOW! That says it all. It also could be the subtitle of the picture, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. It truly is one of my favorites because it reminds me of the Bridegroom embracing His bride. It so aptly decribes the verse in Song of Solomon 2:6, “His left hand is under my head, and His right hand embraces me.” (You can find it on the Internet.)
Proverbs 18:14 tells us that a strong spirit is what sustains us in any kind of trouble. A strong spirit is confident, established, unmovable and ready for anything. It is steady under pressure, full of joy and peace—and it never quits. A strong spirit will get you through anything—physical attacks, financial problems, relational difficulties, career setbacks and whatever else the devil throws your way….So, how can you strengthen your spirit? Here are four ways to develop a strong spirit in 2018. 1. Evaluate Your Spiritual Condition….Every believer has the potential to stand in a greater place of supernatural strength. As we build a stronger spirit, it will become easier to receive, resist and stand. We will be victorious with a strong spirit! And we will be strong enough to strengthen others. 2. Watch Your Spiritual Diet….You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” Well, the same is true in the spiritual realm. You must feed your spirit “faith food” in order for it to be strong. God’s Word is our food, and it contains the proper nutrients for building a strong spirit. It is our primary source of strength…. 3.Get Spiritual Exercise….Reading, studying, confessing, praying and standing in faith are all powerful workouts for the spirit….4. Take Spiritual Rest. First, we find rest when we cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:6-8). How much care do we cast? All of it….Worry is sin, and we’ve been given the assurance that God will take care of us when we trust in Him. Next, when we stand in faith for any of God’s promises and believe we receive, we will find rest in the Lord. We will be able to resist the enemy and his attempts to steal our peace. Spending time praying in other tongues will edify and build up your spirit while you are standing, as well. —-An excerpt from Kenneth Copeland ‘s email newsletter
Well, here we are again, the last day of the year. As usual, we will begin our corporate fast tomorrow, ringing in the new year, with prayer in our hearts and on our lips. This year we are joining with our brethren who are desiring to be free from tobacco. (The Missouri Correctional Department is banning smoking this year.) but probably the most important intention during the fast is to live fully in the Sacred Trinity in all of its glory. We all want to walk in he fullness of God. Kenneth Copeland, who will be speaking at Eagle Mountain Church this evening, received this word from the Lord for 2018. “2018 is the Year of the Holy Ghost and fire. The Big 18 for 2018: 9 fruits of the Spirit; 9 gifts of the Spirit.” That time is not just coming, says Brother Copeland. “It’s already here.” But, as His sons and daughters, “we’re going to have spiritual explosions going on throughout 2018”. Amen and Amen. (You’ll be able to see his New Year’s Eve Service at 7:00 PM (CST) at kcm.org.
We can do so many little things to make others happy. This combined effort made quite an impact on 5 faithful workers. Employees of a Waffle House restaurant have received a huge tip of over $3,500 from Ohio churchgoers whose pastor preached about generosity at Christmas. The Dayton Daily News and WHIO-TV report five women working at the Wapakoneta restaurant were stunned when congregants from Grand Lake United Methodist Church in Celina delivered the cash after a Christmas Eve service. The workers were told they could split the money, amounting to over $700 apiece. Church member Barb Vorhees says several dozen churchgoers drove to the restaurant, a popular Southern chain, and packed inside to see the surprise. The Rev. Mick Whistler had challenged families in his congregation to set aside cash during the weeks before the holiday and then to bring five $1 bills on Christmas Eve for the tip.
The world is filled with people who are prepared to do no more than the absolute minimum necessary to get by. Do you want to be happy in your work? Do you want to experience promotion and financial reward? If so, you’re going to have to consistently do more than is expected of you; get more done than is required; and bring more excellence to your work than the minimum standards demand. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If someone compels you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” That’s where we get the phrase, “going the extra mile.” Jesus taught us to exceed the expectations of those we work for. It’s an important key to finding happiness on the job. —– An excerpt from Mac Hammond’s “Winner’s Way Broadcast”
“There are certain burning questions that every Christian must answer in total candor. Do you hunger for Jesus Christ? Do you want to spend time alone with Him in prayer? Is He the most important person in your life? Does He fill your soul like a song of joy? Is He on your lips as a shout of praise? Or has He been smothered by distractions, nullified by pride? Do you eagerly return to His memoirs, His testament, to learn more of Him? Do you thirst for the living water of His Holy Spirit? Are you making the effort to die daily to anything and everything that inhibits, diminishes, or threatens your friendship with Him?” —–An excerpt from Brennan Manning’s book, “The Importance of Being Foolish – How to Think Like Jesus”
Jerry Savelle received these words this past October for the coming new year 2018. “These are indeed the days of My Greater Glory, saith the Lord. I will cause it to manifest for all who have remained faithful to Me and faithful to My Word and I will cause them to flourish and to abound, even as I have promised in My Word. I will honor their loyalty to Me by enabling them to overcome every attack of the evil one. And I will bring them into the greatest breakthroughs they have experienced thus far. Rest assured that I am working in their behalf even now and they shall triumph and they shall be victorious and all shall see that I am still the God of the the breakthrough and I’m still the God that keeps covenant. So lift up your hands and lift up your voices and praise your God, the God who is unlike any other god. The God who blesses all who have been loyal and faithful to Him, saith the Lord.”
This was an excerpt of Pope Francis’ message on Christmas. “The first people to see the humble glory of the Savior, after Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds of Bethlehem. They recognized the sign proclaimed to them by the angels and adored the Child. Those humble and watchful men are an example for believers of every age who, before the mystery of Jesus, are not scandalized by his poverty. Rather, like Mary, they trust in God’s word and contemplate his glory with simple eyes. Before the mystery of the Word made flesh, Christians in every place confess with the words of the Evangelist John: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14)….Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, ‘there is no place in the inn’ (Lk 2:7)….The sign of Christmas has also been revealed to us: ‘a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Lk 2:12). Like the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we welcome in the Baby Jesus the love of God made man for us. And may we commit ourselves, with the help of his grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future.”
“As you share Christmas with friends and family, here are 10 ways to stir yourself up and be filled with the Hope of Christmas. 1. Believe and Be Filled This Christmas. 2. Rest in Hope This Christmas. 3. Refuse to Fear This Christmas. 4. Live Life More Abundantly This Christmas. 5. Know That Christ in You Is the Hope of Glory This Christmas. 6. Expect Miracles This Christmas. 7. Rejoice in Victory This Christmas. 8. Make Room for Jesus This Christmas. 9. Show Love This Christmas. 10. Give a Reason for Your Hope This Christmas. As you practice these 10 ways to be filled with the Hope of Christmas, remember that the true foundation of your hope is Jesus. As you live out this hope among your family and friends, you will be joyful and victorious, and a light in a dark world. And if you haven’t already opened up that beautiful, sparkly gift of Christmas Hope under your tree, do it now. Jesus is waiting for you to put your hope in Him. This precious gift, topped with a beautiful bow, has your name on it…all you have to do is receive it. Merry Christmas, and may you always be filled with the Hope of Christmas!” ——An excerpt from
Kenneth Copeland’s email newsletter
“Have you allowed Christmas to be reduced to a time of materialism, selfish gratification, and stress? In today’s world, this sacred holiday has lost much of its meaning because people do not really know what Christmas is all about. The hustle and bustle of gift-buying, shopping, and catching the best sale consumes the majority of the public around this time of year. However, God’s purpose for the Christmas celebration is for us to remember and meditate on the most precious gift of all—Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior….It is easy to get wrapped up in the receiving aspect of the holidays, with much of the focus being on what we can expect to get from someone else. But what if every person, family, and community took on the attitude of servanthood and giving during the Christmas season?… I believe if this shift of focus would begin to take place, people’s needs would be met, love would be released, and everyone would get blessed. The blessing of Christmas is…really all about Jesus! He is the One who deserves the glory, honor, and praise for the awesome work He did on our behalf. He gave us the gift of salvation, something we did not earn or deserve. This Christmas, I want to challenge you to focus on someone else and purpose to be a blessing to them, just like Jesus was and is, to us. Make a list of all the people you know and ask the Lord to show you what you can do to make their lives more joyous. Find out what and how God wants you to give so He can demonstrate His love to someone through you. This is the true meaning of Christmas. Now, I am in no way saying it is wrong to receive gifts and experience the joy of getting something you really desire. God wants to bless you too!…Jesus is the One who gave us the gift of eternal life. Now that is something worth celebrating!” ——An excerpt from “Daily Devotions” by Creflo Dollar