Weekend Devotions

A Miracle in Bethlehem

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” – Luke 2:4,5 The image of parents-to-be Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus is thought provoking. It would have taken between four and seven days to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The nights are cold in Bethlehem, so you can imagine the strain this puts on a very pregnant Mary and Joseph. It was a harrowing journey.  I realized just how cold it can get in Israel when I visited during the holiday season. I was 18 years old and traveled with my grandpa Schuller, who brought 500 people with him! Israel is similar to

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Just Get Started

“So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.” – 2 Corinthians 8:6 Today, I would like to share with you a little hack that I have found to be really helpful when I am trying to get started on something I’ve been putting off. I think we can all relate to staring at a blank computer screen and not being able to type that first word. Perhaps you need to make a sales call, but you can’t get yourself to do it. Maybe you are single and you want to introduce yourself to someone, but you find it difficult to make the first move. Despite the many dreams and goals we have, we cannot bring ourselves to act on them. It is easy to tell ourselves that we’ll do it tomorrow or at a

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You Can Be a Peaceful Person

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 The best way to be peaceful is to have peace with God. There are two words that best describe the second phase of Advent that we are entering: peace and preparation. It’s interesting that we feel peace when we’re prepared. Today, I’ll touch on how to be prepared for opportunities in life, and how to have true peace. I realize more and more that the turmoil we experience in life, in our families, in our countries, and in our schools, comes from a lack of peace. There’s an old hymn entitled “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” It contains the phrase “…and let it begin with me.” It is a great line and communicates that you, as a person, take responsibility to be a peacemaker and someone who lives in peace wherever

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Hope Is a Vision

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 Having hope in God means that you have a vision of what your life can be like based on the words of God. There is no doubt that hope is a vision! You see it in your imagination, inspired by God’s Word and promises you can rely on. Without a vision for your life, it’s hard to move forward — to grow, improve, and develop. That’s what we call despair. Our hope comes from studying the scriptures and from studying people like yourself who have transformed their lives. That’s what we call fresh vision. Motivation for getting up each day comes from these types of encouragement. There are many older Christians in our community who are amazing in

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Drawn Out of Death and Into Life

“When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’ ” – Exodus 2:10 As fear of the Hebrews taking over Egypt gripped Pharaoh’s heart, he commanded that all Jewish baby boys be killed. Certainly that would stop their population from increasing (or so he thought). Moses’ mother tried hiding him for three months, but ultimately obeyed Pharaoh’s command and threw him in the Nile River, but not to drown. Instead, she placed him in a basket and hid him among the reeds. Miriam, the baby’s older sister, kept an eye on that basket. Miraculously, the basket was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, who immediately fell in love with the Hebrew child. She sent her servant to retrieve the baby and then decided she was going to raise him and call him her

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Don’t Presume

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1,2 Dallas Willard said good leaders don’t presume, don’t pretend, and don’t push. I want to look at what it means to not presume when we lead. When Jesus taught us not to judge lest we be judged, we often interpret it to mean that we shouldn’t make judgments about others, because if we do, God will make a judgment about us. But perhaps in teaching us not to judge, our Father was trying to spare us the pain of being judged by our friends and neighbors in return. Wisdom says that if I come down hard on someone without knowing their story and they get wind of it, they are going to come down

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Sharpen Your Axe

“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.“ – Ecclesiastes 10:10 On this Veterans Day, we are grateful for those who have served our nation and fought for our freedoms. May God bless you and your families.Training is always challenging until you master your skill set and succeed — whether you play sports or have been trained for a job. As the training progresses, it becomes a little more enjoyable. Everyone must go through those first few months of training. You have to clear the hurdle of that first difficult experience in your marriage, career, family, or in your walk with God. You have to endure the part that hurts, aches, or makes you want to give up. Consistency is key. If you keep training yourself, you will acquire the life God has for you because you will become a

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Come Clean

“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:21 If you’ve made a habit of lying or even “stretching the truth,” I encourage you to tear down the house of cards you’ve built. The unfortunate thing about lies is that it’s hard to tell just one. After making up a story about something, it’s likely that you will have to make up another one to sustain the first one. Before you know it, you’ve woven a web of dishonesty that finds you trapped and forced to keep spinning so you won’t be found out. Unfortunately, as much as you may like to, there is no easy way to gradually tear down a house of cards — when one card falls, they all do. The best thing

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One Yes Is a Thousand No’s

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.“ – 2 Kings 22:2 Yesterday we discussed possible reasons why the invalid man at the Pool of Bethesda made excuses for not receiving his healing when Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” Perhaps he would have lost his community of friends or the handouts he received from the pity of others. He told Jesus “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” You’ll notice he doesn’t simply say yes, I want to get well! You’d think if Jesus, this famous Rabbi, asked, “Do you want to get well?” he’d say yes, please heal me! However, he doesn’t

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Loving Your Enemies

“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” – Matthew 5:39,40 One of the best ways to prove to God that you trust Him with your life is by loving your enemies. If you don’t love offensive people or your enemies, you’re saying God doesn’t really have control over your life. Let me encourage you to test and see that loving offensive people is better for you in the end. Rather than obsessing over your comebacks, you become more friendly and relaxed. According to Jesus, we should turn the other cheek and this does not mean pretending that the offense does not matter. Rather than resenting or fighting a person, He said to try to go

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