Daily Devotional

The Promise of His Presence

The entire Bible, from beginning to end, is about the plan of redemption God made in order to save us so that we could be with Him forever, exactly as He had planned when He created us in His image. From Genesis to Revelation, we go full circle, which was made possible through Jesus' suffering on the cross. When we decided to run away from Him, God refused to leave us. He wouldn't go through eternity without us.

May the promise of His presence be yours in your soul today and every day, until we see Immanuel face-to-face when He comes to take us home.

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Glory to God in the Highest

The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears. He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender regard for their human weakness, he had given them time to become accustomed to the divine radiance. Then the joy and glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lighted up with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song, -- "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Oh that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, with healing in His wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev. 19: 6.

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A Love Stronger Than Death

The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. The Savior's life and death and intercession, the ministry of angels, the pleading of the Spirit, the Father working above and through all, the unceasing interest of heavenly beings,--all are enlisted in behalf of man's redemption.

Oh, let us contemplate the amazing sacrifice that has been made for us! . . . Let us avail ourselves of the means provided for us that we may be transformed into His likeness, and be restored to fellowship with the ministering angels, to harmony and communion with the Father and the Son.

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Relationships Matter

Relationships mattered to Paul. The apostle knew that fractured relationships are detrimental to spiritual growth and church unity. When he was imprisoned in Rome, he met a runaway slave named Onesimus who had fled from Colossae to Rome. Coincidentally, Paul realized he personally knew Onesimus's master, Philemon. 

The letter to Philemon is Paul's appeal to his friend regarding the need for a restored relationship with the runaway slave. . . . At first glance it is somewhat surprising that Paul did not speak more forcefully against the evils of slavery. But Paul's intent was not what we would be concerned with, and in the end his approach proved far more effective. . . . The apostle sent Onesimus back to Philemon, not as a slave but as his spiritual son in Jesus and as Philemon's "beloved brother" in the Lord. . . .

A common relationship in Christ has a definite impact on personal relationships within the body of Christ, and the restoration of this broken relationship had a tremendous impact on the life of the early church, ultimately leading to the abolition of slavery in the Western world.

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True Godliness

To possess true godliness means to love one another, to help one another, to make apparent the religion of Jesus in our lives. We are to be consecrated channels through which the love of Christ flows to those who need help. . . . He who approaches nearest to obedience to the divine law will be of the most service to God. He who follows Christ, reaching out after His goodness, His compassion, His love for the human family, will be accepted by God as a worker together with Him. . . .

When the Lord's people are filled with meekness and tenderness for one another, they will realize that His banner over them is love and His fruit will be sweet to their taste. Heaven will begin on earth. They will make a heaven below in which to prepare for heaven above.

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He Loves and Cares for You

Can you see how pregnant the moment was? The great controversy's defining moment was at hand, yet Jesus suspended the proceedings for a moment so He could see Mary. Her comfort, her heartbreak, was so significant to Jesus that He placed His role in the salvation story on hold so He could give her good news! . . . But even at this time, with so much at stake, Jesus was still perfectly attuned to His followers. His heart was always bent to the cries of one who truly loved and sought Him.

Knowing I serve a God who will stop everything to see about me is wonderful! There is no crisis so urgent, no matter so pressing, that He will ignore the matters weighing on my heart. This story shows me that Jesus truly loves and cares about me. . . .

When we are in distress, Jesus is attentively dialed in to us. He never ignores or turns a blind eye. He was not willing to allow Mary to grieve one more moment that He could prevent. He paused His sacrifice to dry her tears, and while she runs to deliver the message He finishes the transaction with His Father.

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The Needy, the Least, the Last

Leave it to heaven to choose shepherds as the first recipients of the good news! That God would choose the lowly and the humble is a Lukan theme, highlighted from the very beginning of his gospel. There were two groups of people that were not allowed as witnesses in a court of law in the first century: shepherds and women.

Isn't it interesting that Luke mentions that the first witnesses of Jesus' birth were shepherds and the first witnesses of His resurrection were women? God reveals Himself to the needy, the least, the last, and the ones who are longing for something new. God reveals Himself to the unworthy, because the only thing that recommends us to God is our need.

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No Outsiders

The great-grandmothers of Jesus remind us that all nations, all people, everyone will be blessed through Jesus Christ. Everyone is included in the kingdom of heaven. At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, we are reminded to go out and preach to all nations. . . .

The geneology of Jesus reminds us that there are no outsiders in the kingdom of God. Perhaps this is the reason why Matthew is the only Gospel writer to record the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12). They were not Jews, and yet they were looking for the King of the Jews to worship Him. They had seen His star. God communicated with them even though they would not have been considered insiders.

Everyone is blessed through Jesus--Abraham's descendant and even those of us who have taken great detours away from the path of righteousness in our lives. God's grace is greater than our detours. No matter where you have been or what you have done, at the very moment you turn your face toward Jesus Christ, the divine GPS reroutes your path to take you toward your divine destination.

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Wonder, O Heavens!

Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.

The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. "Herein is love." Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth!

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God's Love for Man

Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes.

He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Savior, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.

Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father's heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men.

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