Advent Devotional Day 21
Prophecy: Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12, ESV)
Fulfillment: Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. (Matthew 27:38, ESV)
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (Luke 23:34, ESV)
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of December 14-20, 2014, is 3 John 1:11. John is writing a simple letter to friends. Included within the letter are these timeless instructions.
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:11, ESV)
Meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this verse this week. Who are you imitating?
Daily Bible Reading for December 20, 2014, with Commentary: Acts 25-26
Click here for the Daily Reading.
Context: God had told Paul that he was going to Rome to spread the gospel. Today’s reading continues Paul’s journey to Rome. It has been two years since God told Paul he was going to Rome. God’s plans are not always instantaneous. God had plans for Paul before Paul ever reached Rome. These chapters remind us to slow down in life and use the opportunities we are given for God’s glory, but also to move forward with His plan for our lives. By appealing to Caesar, Paul assured that he would go to Rome, but used the time until he went to continue to spread the news of Jesus’ resurrection wherever he was.
Do you ever wish God would speak to you like He did with Noah, Abraham, and Moses? Do you ever wish your relationship with the Lord was more like David’s? Do you ever wish you were granted a gift like Solomon? Looking back on their lives, it is easy to wish that God still spoke to us as He did to them. We tend to forget, however, that they still had the trials and tribulations that we have today. Speaking with God did not make their lives easier…it often made their lives more difficult!
God did not speak with them everyday. Years could go before they conversed once more. Abraham lived for 175 years. There are only seven recorded instances of God speaking to him! Noah lived 950 years. There are only four recorded instances of God speaking to him! Four!
Today, we may not think that God speaks to us as directly as He did to Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and Solomon, but that does not mean that He does not speak to us! Today, we can speak to God whenever we want or need. God speaks to us through His word, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit. God’s answers may not always be clear, but we can better understand Him by studying His word.
This year, The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries asks you to join us in our year-long Bible study. Over the course of one year, beginning December 28, 2014, we will read through the entire Bible. Follow along with TThe Forgiveness Foundation's 52 Week Bible Reading Plan (available here). Check back to our website, www.theforgivenessfoundation.org, everyday for commentary on each day’s reading. If you miss a day, past commentary can be found under out “Scriptures” tab. Each week, we will have select a Bible passage from that week’s reading for extra consideration.
Do you want to hear God when He talks to you? Then get studying
The tree is decorated in lights and ornaments made over the years from school projects and various places the family had visited. Stockings are hanging over the fireplace. A nativity scene is on display across from the tree. Pieces of holly and branches from an evergreen tree are spread throughout the house. Christmas cards from family and friends decorate the mantel. A child slowly walks through the house, taking one last look at the tree, and the lack of presents under the tree, before going to bed with a small grin on his face. He is excited for morning. What will it bring?
As he awakens, he realizes it is Christmas!! He jumps out of bed and, still in his pajamas, runs to look under the tree. Are the presents there? How many? How big are they?
What would your child’s reaction be if he ran out to the tree and saw that there were no presents? What would your reaction be?
On December 21, 2000, Robert Rega and three friends were concerned over their lack of funds to purchase Christmas gifts for their children. Together, they created a plan to rob a local motel and recruited a fifth individual to join them. No one was to be harmed. Several hours later, one man was dead, a security guard who was performing his job. Instead of providing a happy Christmas for their children, Robert and his friends ruined Christmas for their families and the family of the security guard. Was it worth it? Are Christmas presents worth losing a lifetime with your children?
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, ESV)
What are we teaching children about Christmas? We are inundated with advertisements for Christmas gifts from Thanksgiving forward. And now, many stores are beginning advertising before Thanksgiving and beginning their sales on Thanksgiving! How can we focus on what we are truly thankful for when we are worried about presents?
Christmas!!! With the pressure of buying presents finally behind us, we are then faced with the pressure of paying for the gifts which were charged to credit cards. It is exasperating! How can we enjoy the holiday when our focus is not on the Lord?
Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ was the long-awaited fulfillment of numerous prophecies. His birth was the beginning of providing salvation for all who accept His wonderful gift. How does your celebration of the birth of Christ share the Gospel?
December 19, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 51
China: Eighteen years ago, 18-year-old Huugjilt was executed for the rape and murder of a young women. Huugjilt went on to report the crime to police after hearing the women cry out for help. He was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime. In recent years, another man has come forward and confessed to the crime, causing an investigation into the case to be re-opened. Huugjilt has recently been cleared of all charges. The police officer, now a deputy police chief, who was in charge of the investigation of Huugjilt has recently been arrested and charged with torture to coerce confession, dereliction of duty, and taking bribes.
Iran: In Rajaishahr Prison of Karaj, which is west of Tehran, three prisoners were executed by hanging on Thursday, December 11, 2014. Two of the condemned were convicted of raping and sexually abusing two young boys. The third inmate, an Afghan national, was convicted of murder.
Iraq: One hundred fifty women have been executed by the Islamic State after they refused to marry its members. The attack occurred near Fallujah and the victims, including pregnant women, were buried in a mass grave.
Malaysia: A 51-year-old woman from Australia, could face the death penalty after she was arrested for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine.
Pakistan: The Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has lifted the moratorium on executions in the nation following the attack on a school in Peshawar, which killed 141 individuals, mainly students. The death penalty will resume for terrorism-related cases and “heinous crimes.” Pakistan has had a moratorium on the death penalty for the past two years.
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.