At Christmas we celebrate God's gift of love in His son, Jesus Christ. He lived on earth a short time, but He changed everything. He fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament and gave hope of eternal life with Him in the New Testament.
It's fun for me during this time of year to think about Jesus' second coming. He said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" John 14:1-4.
How can we know we are included in the ones Jesus spoke to? He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6, and "If you love me, you will obey what I command" John 14:15. Do you believe in Jesus as your Savior? Do you love Him and obey His command to love your neighbor as yourself? Then, you can look forward to seeing Jesus when He returns.
Think About It
Jesus came that we might have life forever with Him. Anticipate His second coming with joy and peace.
Pray About It
Thank you, Father God, for Jesus, Your divine gift of love. Help me to love as you do. Amen.
Has someone done something to you that hurt you? Really hurt you? Is it hard to look at that person or talk to him? Do you think you could be friends again? Do you know what to do?
Peter asked Jesus this question, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" (Matthew 18:21). He used the number seven because in his day, that was a complete number.
Jesus said, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:22). Do you think Peter counted all the times he forgave so he would be justified at seventy-seven times? I don't think so. I think forgiveness became a lifestyle for him. Is it a lifestyle for you. Jesus died so we could be forgiven and forgive those who hurt us.
We can say we forgive, but what is happening in our hearts? Here are seven ways to forgive from the heart:
Think About It
When we truly forgive, we act as Jesus would. That's how people will want to come to know and love Him. Is there someone you nee to forgive? Choose today to take steps to show your offender Jesus' love.
Pray About It
Father God, I am sorry for my thoughts about my friend. I choose today to forgive, and I need your help. Amen.
Have you been this angry with another person? Your brother, sister or friend? The bully at school? It's hard to think what Jesus would do when we are upset, so it's good to learn before someone mistreats us, so we will behave in a godly manner.
Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
In this world we cannot expect to be treated fairly. People will say things that hurt us, things we do not deserve. See how quickly you can forgive the one who wronged you. Don't be overly concerned about setting the record straight. Don't worry about what others think of you. Concentrate on what God thinks of you. He loves you enough to send His only Son to die on the cross for your forgiveness and an eternity with Him.
Wait! There's more. Jesus said, "Do to others what you would have them do to you. Love those who are not lovable. Give without expecting anything in return."
Think About it
Consider how Jesus handled conflict. The government was always on His shoulder. The Pharisees accused Him of things He did not do. They hated Him so much they wanted to get rid of Him. Yet He talked to them in pleasant ways. He confronted their sin, their lack of love and compassion, but He did not retaliate to the way they treated Him. Think about these things, and when someone mistreats you this week, think what Jesus would do.
Pray About It
Lord Jesus, it is hard to endure persecution on any level. I need your help. I need your wisdom. Help me not to speak without your strength and wisdom at work in me. Amen.