New American Standard Bible (NASB)
28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish
In today’s passage, Jesus’ example of building a tower shows the importance of planning and using resources wisely. Otherwise, money may run out too soon.
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20) But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21) keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22) Be merciful to those who doubt; 23) save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
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A Balanced Schedule
Ephesians 5:15-17: 15) Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
We often think seconds are not very important. But seconds tick away into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours into days. We have all been amazed at how swiftly days turn into weeks, months, and years. Think of it this way: a 70-year-old has lived the equivalent of about two billion, two hundred seven million, five hundred and twenty thousand seconds!
While you read that last sentence, about five seconds of your life elapsed, and you can never go back and decide to use them differently. As small as they are, seconds are precious because they are a creation and a gift of God. How we use even these small time increments makes a difference. Since our heavenly Father has a plan for each life—that we live for His purpose and His will—then we must consider how we spend not just years, months, and days, but even minutes and seconds. And the time to decide is now, before any more of your life passes by.
Understanding the value of each moment, the apostle Paul urged us, “Be careful how you walk . . . making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). In essence, he is instructing us, “Take advantage of every opportunity God gives you. Don’t waste your time!” Let Jesus be your role model for keeping a balanced schedule. He knew that spending time with the Father was the most important thing He could do. Follow His example, and begin each day in the Father’s presence. He will help you arrange your schedule and can make every second count.
The Shepherds’ Obedience
Luke 2:8-20.. 8) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13) Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14) “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 1 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16) So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17) When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18) and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19) But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.-
Since the Savior’s birth was the greatest news of all time, shouldn’t God have announced it to important people like kings and nobles? Instead, He sent His angel make the announcement to insignificant shepherds. They were absolutely awed by what they heard and witnessed—the long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived. Though their message probably seemed strange to others and could have resulted in ridicule, they wanted everyone to hear the good news.
We must become bold like those shepherds. It’s our job to take the gospel to people who haven’t heard, but many believers lack the courage to share their faith. At times we don’t feel knowledgeable enough, and yet we understand far more than the shepherds did. They had this one experience with angels, but we have the written Word of God available anytime we choose to open it. Don’t let the fear of rejection, embarrassment, or inadequacy keep you from sharing the only message that can change someone’s eternal destiny.
Today you probably won’t get a message from an angel, but through Scripture or by an inaudible “whisper,” God still speaks to those who are humbly listening. The real issue is what we do after hearing from Him.
The shepherds left immediately to find the newborn Messiah—just think what they’d have missed had they refused to leave their sheep! Are you quick to obey God’s instructions? By hesitating, you could miss great opportunities. Ready obedience is the key to experiencing the Lord’s plans for you.
On This CHRISTmas Day, Enjoy, Reflect on all that he has done for you and your Family. Then tomorrow and the Next Day Remember that he came to forgive of all Sins, heal all Disease’s, Set the Captives Free, and Break every yoke of bondage.
Luke 2:1-7-“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2) This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria 3) And everyone went to their own town to register.
4) 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. 5) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6) While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7) and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
Every year around Christmastime, we read the account of Jesus’ birth, but perhaps we’ve let the familiarity of the story dull our concentration. More often than not, we skim over the well-known verses, telling ourselves we already understand all there is to know about the story. But without a deeper, more intimate look at our Savior’s birth, we’ll miss some of the truths the Lord wants us to learn and apply to our lives.
From a human perspective, there was nothing special about this scene. Mary and Joseph were just an ordinary couple having a baby. Because poor people were so common, even the lowly setting of a stable as a birthplace was no big deal. Yet this was the most significant event in human history. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, that baby was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy—the Creator and sovereign Ruler of the universe became Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1: 23). The Son of God and Savior of the world was lying in a cattle feeder!
Who could ever have imagined God’s plan—to send His Son into the world as a baby who would grow up in an ordinary family? It’s such an unimpressive way for the Messiah to make His entrance. The lesson is that we can’t judge a situation on the basis of appearance.
Likewise, events that seem ordinary in our lives may be occasions when God is doing something awesome. Since He works continually to achieve His will, every event and choice in our lives has significance. We just need the eyes to see beneath the surface and the faith to believe that He’s working.
ON this CHRISTmas Eve, Let us remember and remind those we see, that Jesus is the Christ of CHRISTmas.
18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
• Confession of Faith. David declared, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts” (1 Sam. 17:45) and stated his trust in God’s deliverance. Whenever we face difficulties, we, too, must proclaim our faith, expressing thanks to the Lord for who He is, who we are in Christ, and what we have through His Spirit.
• Reliance on the Lord’s power. Not once did David claim he was going to defeat the enemy. Instead, he pointed out that the battle was the Lord’s; it was by the power of the Almighty that victory would be gained. In the hand of God’s servant, a simple stone was mightier than the weapons of the Philistine army.
• Assumption of Victory. Prevailing faith reckons the victory before the battle even begins. When the young shepherd looked at Goliath, he saw him as a dead man. In fact, because of David’s relationship with the Lord, he understood that all giants— whether bears, lions, or Goliaths—were the same.
How does this reckoning take place?
· First, we fight the “battle before the battle.”
· Through prayer and meditation on Scripture, we work through any uncertainties and fears.
· We reaffirm in our heart that this is the Lord’s battle, declare He has won the victory, and wait for His timing.
· When we act, we do it God’s way, with trust in His presence and provision.
For what area of your life do you need prevailing faith? Approach the throne of grace with faith to receive what you need (Heb. 4:16). God’s Precious Promises
Of David. A Psalm
1 I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing. 2 I will study the way that is blameless. When shall I attain it? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eye anything that is base. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 Perverseness of heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
Once we have the favor of God through salvation, does it matter how we act? The Bible responds with an emphatic “Yes!” and gives us numerous examples of godly lives to consider.
• Noah responded to God by walking with Him daily. And our Father responds positively to those who walk closely with Him, live by His Word, and listen carefully to His Holy Spirit. For those of us who believe, that means not only making Scripture a vital part of our lives but also learning who God is and what He likes. How well do you know Him?
• Moses, despite initial protests, chose to obey the divine call and live life God’s way. The Lord favors followers who choose His preferences over their own—that is, those who think about their life in terms of pleasing Him. This requires learning to think as He does. How closely do your thoughts align with His?
• Paul, after his conversion, lived with the single-minded focus of serving Jesus. He sought to do his best by means of inward and outward obedience. The Lord favors those whose hearts are bent toward Him. Do others see that your life is centered around Christ?
• Mary responded with trust and did not doubt when the angel announced that she would give birth to the Messiah. God extends His blessings to those who choose to believe even when evidence says otherwise. How much do you trust the Lord?
We find favor with our heavenly Father through believing minds, responsive hearts, and obedient spirits. Won’t you let this increasingly describe you?
2 Peter 1:1-4
1) Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2) May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
The Christian’s Call and Election
3) His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4) Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
As believers, we are spiritually wealthy because of the exceedingly great promises we have in Jesus, our Savior. Below are some of the wonderful guarantees we have been given in Scripture.
1. Our reconciliation to God through the death of Christ
“While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” —Romans 5:6-10
2. The daily forgiveness of our sins
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9
3. The Father’s continued presence wherever we go
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” —Deuteronomy 31:8
4. A constant Helper through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” - John 14:26