The Shattered Mirror

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Dustin Stradley woke up on a jailhouse floor in an orange jumpsuit—with no idea how he had gotten there. His drinking was out of control. When he was released on bail, he went home and looked in the mirror. “I was disgusted with what I saw. And so, I…just punched the mirror and shattered the mirror and fell down and just started bawling, crying.”
Dustin’s dad gave him a Bible with a note saying, “This is God’s love letter,” and Dustin eventually gave his heart to Christ. “I realized God loved me, period. Even though I did all these things, God loved me exactly like I am. And He wants to have a relationship with me now.”

God made us in His image, but we’ve all broken the mirror by our sins, addictions, and flaws. But God can restore us! His love for us enables us to love Him in return.

Choose to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength today.

God met me right there, and He’s doing the same thing for all of us. It’s not about earning more of God’s love. He loves you right now, exactly like you are.

Dustin Stradley
– David Jeremiah

A Hot Mess

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

Talk about “cleanup on aisle 5!” A truck in Memphis, Tennessee, hit a retaining wall and crashed, spilling its load of Bertolli alfredo sauce. The road was closed as workers struggled to clean up the sticky, high-calorie sauce and the thousands of broken glass jars.[1]
We all make messes, don’t we? Remember the time you dropped the pizza upside down on the kitchen floor? What about the time the garbage bag broke before you got it into the bin? Or that awful moment you opened your mouth and said something impulsively?

Sometimes we make a mess spiritually—yielding to temptation, neglecting our devotions, losing our temper, engaging in a habit we know is displeasing to our God. We need to guard our heart carefully and repent of sins promptly. We should also remember that God doesn’t stop loving us when we mess up. At times we might think that God’s love for us stops when we sin. But that’s not true. God compassionately loves us in spite of our sin.

Thank Him today for His compassion and love, and seek to please Him always.

No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you.

Franklin Graham
– David Jeremiah

Loving Limitations

Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Romans 7:12
A mother tells her young children: “You may play in this children’s park, anywhere you like. But you may not play in the school playground over there.” The children ask, “Why?” And the mother explains: “Because you would have to cross this busy road which would be dangerous. So you may play here, but not there.”
Laws are meant to protect us and make our life better—not to frustrate us and limit our pleasure. Not only is that true of civil laws like speed limits, but it is also true of God’s laws. In Galatians 4:1-7, Paul used the illustration of children in his day who were guided by tutors until they matured, using the law as an example of a tutor. Just as a tutor would keep a young child from harm, so the laws of God can keep us from harm until we are old enough to understand God’s expectations and wisdom. Chafing against civil or spiritual laws is a sign of immaturity.

If there is a law, commandment, or guideline you don’t see the need for, be patient. Trust that there is a loving reason for every limitation.

When the law of God is written in our hearts our duty will be our delight.

Matthew Henry
– David Jeremiah

Let All Our Songs Employ

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:13-14
Have you heard of lip sync? It stands for lip synchronization, referring to people who pretend to be singing but are actually only moving their lips. Performers do this during dance numbers because of the lung exertion needed for physical activity. Vocalists use this method to preserve their voices. But many fans don’t want to pay money to see their favorite stars pretending to sing.
It’s easy for us to engage in a form of lip syncing. We can “mouth” the words of carols without really thinking of the words or absorbing the meaning. How many of us have stood in church and sung while our mind was wandering far away? Or we moved our mouth without truly singing?

Not this Christmas! The wonder of Christmas—the birth of Christ and the hope of salvation—leads us to express our joy through song, just as it was that first Christmas.

Express your joy through music today and sync your heart to heaven’s choirs.

What joy the glorious music of Christmas brings to our celebration of Christ’s birth! No other season offers such an abundance of spiritual enrichment through song.
Kenneth W. Osbeck

  • D Jeremiah

Best News Ever

Now when [the shepherds] had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
Luke 2:17
Human beings are very good at sharing new discoveries or experiences with others. We go to a new doctor or dentist, have a great experience, and tell others about it. We discover a new product that meets a specific need, and we post that product on social media so others can use it. If a group of researchers makes a new medical discovery, they publish their results for the wider medical community to assess.
Ironically, the best news in the world—news which would benefit everyone—is news that we are most hesitant to share with others: the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. One group that was eager to share this Good News was the group of shepherds who were the first to visit Jesus at His birth. “They made widely known” what had happened to them—seeing the angels and then seeing Jesus. They followed their natural human instinct to share good news with others.

Be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit today. He may present an opportunity to tell someone the best news of a lifetime.

Every believer is a witness whether he wants to be or not. 
Donald Barnhouse

  • D Jeremiah

An Empathetic High Priest

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15
Sympathy and empathy are two words often confused—but there are important differences between them. We express sympathy when we have feelings of pity or sorrow for someone’s misfortune or situation. Sympathy is knowledge-based. Empathy is when we understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is experience-based. Sympathy says, “I feel for you,” while empathy says, “I feel how you feel.”
 

 

Hebrews 4:15 uses the English word “sympathize” to describe Jesus’ perspective on our trials. But then it says He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Therefore, Jesus can empathize with us when we are tempted because He was tempted the same way we are. Jesus understands our situation because He experienced the same thing. He has walked in our shoes when it comes to resisting temptation and human weakness. His compassion is not just knowledge-based; it is experience-based as well.

When you experience a moment of temptation or weakness, approach God, through Christ, with confidence to find mercy and grace in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus will intercede for you because He has felt how you feel.

Empathy is your pain in my heart. 

Halford E. Luccock
– D Jeremiah

Do I Have To?

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38
Parents long for the time when their children transition from asking, “Do I have to?” to completing a task before even being asked. It’s the difference between obligation and willingness. It’s one thing to do something because we are obligated to do it. It’s another thing to do it willingly without thought of reward or remuneration.
Imagine if when the angel Gabriel approached the young Mary with the message of the conception of Jesus, she had said to Gabriel, “Do I have to?” Mary had already passed from obligation to willingness when it came to serving God. That’s why she described herself as the “maidservant of the Lord.” “Maidservant” is the Greek translation of doule or bondservant—a servant who had willingly placed himself or herself into submission to a master. The roots of this notion come from Deuteronomy 15:12-18—when a freed slave chose out of love to remain a servant in the master’s household. Mary was ready and willing to serve God.

Let Mary be an example for you this Christmas season, an example of willing service to God and others.

The highest honor in the church is not government but service. 

John Calvin
– David Jeremiah

Unusual Kindness

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness.
Acts 28:1-2, NIV
A new study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that small gifts, coming as a surprise, have a big impact on the recipient. So do unexpected notes, calls, or texts of encouragement.[1] Have you ever received an unexpected gift—a bouquet of flowers, a box of your favorite tea, a tray of cookies, or some curious item for your kitchen? Someone saw something nice and thought of you.
 

 

Here’s a helpful tip learned from generous people. Whenever you’re with a friend and they’re without some small thing, make a mental note of it and send it to them the next day. Suppose someone says, “I’ve thought about trying that new hand cream” or “What book would you recommend?” Imagine their surprise and pleasure to have that item delivered to their house later in the week!

The islanders on Malta had little, yet they showed Paul unusual kindness. Being generous doesn’t depend on how much we have to give. God uses even our small acts of generosity to encourage others and bring honor to Him. Be generous to someone today!

The closest I can come to one secret of success is this: a lot of little things done well.
John Wooden

 

  • David Jeremiah

The Cost of Compassion

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.
1 Peter 3:8

We often hear, “Freedom isn’t free.” Likewise, we refer to salvation as a free gift. It was free to us, but it was not free for God. His love for us was paid for with the life of His only Son.
Love and compassion always come with a price in time, talent, or treasure—and often, all three. Jesus illustrated the price of compassion in His parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan man who helped the injured Jewish man paid with his time: He interrupted his own travels to stop and help. He paid with his talent: He employed his creative compassion to make arrangements for the man’s care. And he paid with his treasure: He paid out of his own pocket for the victimized man to be cared for at an inn. Jesus’ story illustrates that love and compassion are not free. It will cost something to be compassionate to those in need.

Take a moment today to pray for the grace to expend time, talent, and treasure toward those in need.

Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.
Francis Schaeffer

  • David Jeremiah

Root and Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Every gardener knows two things: The fruit depends on the root, and fruit happens naturally—fruit cannot be “willed” to appear. “Root” refers to the kind of plant it is—tomato, squash, bean, or other plant. Plants naturally produce their own kind of fruit, not the fruit of a different plant. And healthy plants naturally produce their fruit; it cannot be forced to appear.
 

 

In spiritual terms, the New Testament speaks of both root and fruit. In Colossians 2:7, Paul wrote that we are “rooted and built up in [Christ].” In other words, we are in Christ, born again to become different beings than we were before. In plant terms, whatever fruit Christ produced in His life, we should reproduce in our life. Paul also wrote of that fruit, calling it “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). That fruit cannot be willed into existence by us. It is the result of the Spirit living in us.

If you want to manifest love, joy, peace, and other attributes of Christ, you must be rooted in Him by faith. From the root comes the supernatural fruit. Make it a priority to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to others today.

Fruit is evidence of the root.
John Blanchard