December 1 – Where It Begins

“And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:5-6 (NASB)

This is where it begins for every person who by faith believes the Word of God. The words of this verse are the words God spoke to Abram when he reaffirmed His covenant (unbreakable promise) regarding Abram’s descendants. They were to be uncountable. Genesis 15:6 provides an important note, but it does not pinpoint Abram’s conversion. That occurred years earlier when he left Ur. Verse 16 is a truth recorded here because it is foundational for making the covenant. It is repeated three times in the New Testament (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23) and teach us that righteousness is reckoned in return for faith. It is belief in God which is only by the gift of faith that we are saved. Nothing exists that we can do to earn the righteousness God gives to us in Christ. Good works and good behavior has no bearing on us having from God eternal life. This truth is repeated many times in Scripture. Trusting God’s promises is where it begins for us and those who truly believe by faith will find that it never ends. That  is why it is called ‘eternal life.’

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November 30 – Stay Close, Have Peace

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

We all experience times when peace is distant and not resident in our lives. Especially if we focus on conditions of our lives and world during moments of crisis. Who could possibly be more of a true source of peace than the Lord of peace?  Our verse is often used as a benediction in worship services. But we look at it today because it is good any time to remember the promise here.  We may think that we can experience peace by deciding not to worry anymore and we may think then, that we did all by our own  effort.  Our verse reminds us that true peace comes from God.  He is the God of peace and He gives His peace to those who believe and trust Him.  We can know God wants us to have His peace reign in our lives always, at all times, in every way.  In every circumstance of our lives – even today no matter what challenges we are facing or what we are struggling with, God can give us peace that comes directly from Him.  Why? Because He is with us.  Stay close, have peace. This is the promise.

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November 29 – Hungry? Thirsty? Needs Met

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”  John 6:35 (NASB)

It was a practice of Jesus when He was on earth teaching the people about Himself to use common everyday experiences and ideas to underscore who He truly was.  Hunger and thirst are familiar to every person and who does not wish to never be hunger or thirsty again?  In these words, Jesus is not speaking about our physical hunger and thirst.  He is speaking about how He satisfies our spiritual needs.  He was answering people who had been so  impressed at the way He had fed thousands of people the day before.  Like them, He wants them to recognize that we have spiritual needs and that He is able to meet such needs for us.  This is our promise.  We need to constantly turn to our Lord Jesus for the needs of our hearts and souls.  It is not enough just to believe in Jesus as our Savior.  We need to always be looking to Him to satisfy our spiritual longings.  Jesus says if we constantly trust Him we will never be unsatisfied.

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November 28 – The Covenant of The Bow

“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18  (NASB)

Before the Great Flood God said that He would be making a covenant (an unbreakable promise) with Noah (Genesis 6:18). It is after the flood when Noah and his family of 8 exit the ark that God declares what the covenant contains. A covenant is a promise, like a contract, and is worthy. God’s covenant were often backed only by Him and His perfect word. The specifics of this covenant are detailed in Genesis 9:9-16. Verse 13-17 specifies that the ‘bow in the cloud,’ what we call a rainbow, is the sign of this covenant.  God’s rainbow is given to remind us of His promise to never totally destroy the earth with all living things again as happened in the Great Flood. God’s rainbow is given to remind us of His promise that cannot be broken. God’s rainbow is not a sign of pride for any human activity but a sign of God Himself who puts it there. God’s rainbow is established for God to remember His covenant, a covenantal promise between Him and every living creature of all flesh. God’s rainbow is not given to enshrine sinfulness or for sinful humans to celebrate their disobedience to God.

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November 27 – God’s Promise to Satan

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head,     and you shall bruise his heel.” –  Genesis 3:15.” (ESV)

We spend each day considering verses from God’s Word which contain promises. He keeps all his promises. Today we look at a very important promise God made to the first two humans. Our verse spoken to Satan as a curse contains is the “first gospel” uttered. It came after Satan, inhabiting a serpent, lied to Eve who tripped and fell for the lie along with Adam into the first sin, the original sin. As a result, Adam and Eve have passed on to every human child born in their likeness. All humans are born in the same condition and under the curse of sin. ‘This “first gospel” is prophetic of the struggle and its outcome between “your seed” (Satan and unbelievers, who are called the Devil’s children in Jn 8:44) and her seed (Christ, a descendant of Eve, and those in Him), which began in the garden. In the midst of the curse passage, a message of hope shone forth—the woman’s offspring called “He” is Christ, who will one day defeat the Serpent. Satan could only “bruise” Christ’s heel (cause Him to suffer), while Christ will crush Satan’s head (destroy him with a fatal blow).[1]

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[1] John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ge 3:15.

November 26 – A Life of Waiting

“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” – Psalm 25:5 (NASB)

Are we not all in need of guidance through life? With many crucial decisions to make the wise one looks to God for help in making the best choices. Much like traveling in a region or city that we are not familiar with, we need directions and we get that from many sources. We all have many things to learn from the Lord. Even though we may have been following the Lord for many years and even though we may have been learning from Him many things, He still has very much to teach us. And how will God have an opportunity to teach us what we need to learn? We have that opportunity by recognizing and waiting on God. By constantly being ready and expecting God to teach us His ways and His paths. It is through an attitude of expectation that we wait with hope for God to teach us what He wants us to know. “Lead me in Your truth and teach me” is what David wrote. We too can be at all times looking expectantly to God for Him to show us and teach us and lead us.

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November 25 – Being at Home – Always

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1 (NASB)

And this day many are traveling home after their visit with families or other travels on the busiest travel day in some countries. Going home is often a wonderful trip no matter what the reason. This is a very short verse today from a Psalm written by Moses. He was writing about his own experience and the experience of other people of faith who lived before him. We believe his words can describe our experience today as well. We like the picture of the Lord as being our dwelling place. It is like saying that the Lord is our home. Isn’t it true that when we trust in Him we do feel at home? Our Lord does want us to feel at home with Him. It is so comfortable to be able to trust Him and to sense His fellowship. So let’s always remember to come home to the Lord because that is where we belong. He is and He always will be throughout all generations for those who believe and accept Jesus. That is something we can be very thankful for today…tomorrow…forever.

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November 24 – Thanks Giving Every Day

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!” Psalm 107:21 (NASB)

Giving thanks is an important activity in the life of faith believers. We’re commanded to be thankful for everything and that is not always easy. This week we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA. To the north in Canada, our friends have celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. But whenever we pause for a national day of thanksgiving, it is good to think of the real reason we do that. We have reason to make every day a day of Thanksgiving.  Today’s verse is just one of many that focuses on giving thanks to the Lord. He is certainly worthy of our thanks. He has done so much for each of us. He has loved us and because of His love He has brought us into His family. Some of us will be together with our earthly family and we should remember God’s help for each of our loved ones and let’s be thankful that God has brought us into His family.

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November 24 – Obeying Out Of Love

“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” –  John 2:5-6 (NASB)

This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always deliver what is true. God has revealed Himself in His Word which we call the Bible. In it He has revealed how we should live. ‘First John presents two external tests that demonstrate salvation: doctrinal and moral. The doctrinal test consists of confessing a proper view of Christ and of sin (1:1–4; 1:5–2:2), while the moral test consists of obedience and love (1: 7–11).’1  All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. We are reminded in today’s verse that when we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word His love for us is made complete. If we are willing to let God’s love work in our hearts it will make obedience a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow, let’s remember that He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.

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1John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Jn 2:3–6.

November 22 – In The Same Way

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” – Romans 8:26 (ESV)

Sometimes each of us struggle with knowing just how and what to pray for. Our circumstances can be overwhelming and we can be at a lost in our need to cry out to God for help. One of the last promises Jesus made to His disciples was that he would send a helper. That promise is fulfilled through the Holy Spirit sent from God our Father. All who have believed in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, and we hope that this is true of you, have the Holy Spirit in their lives. In this verse today, God explains what is going on while we are praying. The Holy Spirit is helping us to pray by praying with us to our Heavenly Father. To start with, we really don’t know in ourselves how we should pray. We do know that if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us He will impress on our hearts things to pray for and even how to pray. As we pray we can trust the Spirit to pray with us and we can depend on Him. We can also trust that God will hear and answer our prayer.

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