Scripture: Romans 15:1-6
Thought for the Day: May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 (NRSV).
Our church choir was a small group of dedicated singers. Some read music, and some did not. We had no one who felt confident singing a solo. But when they sang together under the guidance of their director, they sounded fantastic! They practiced with the director to learn the words and music. They started and stopped together on the director’s cues. They listened to each other and sensed when they were together and when they were not. They sang with “one voice.”
Being a Christian is like being in the choir. We study God’s word. We listen and watch for His direction. We try to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. We may not be able to do much on our own, but we have the support and the talents of others to complement our efforts. Working in harmony with others at God’s direction, we can make heavenly music in the world around us.
Prayer: Teach me your ways, O Lord. Guide me and help me to see the needs of others. Amen.
Key Verse: No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! Mark 13:32-33 (NIV).
As I read these scriptures as part of my regular daily Bible study, I was reminded of the 2012 doomsday hype that seems to get more prevalent every day. I’ve seen programs about it on cable TV. I’ve read about it in magazines and online. There’s a movie and even a 2012 Doomsday Web site. This is not the first time that the end of the world has been predicted. But, this one is based on the Mayan calendar, and they say December 21, 2012, is IT. The end of the world. Really.
Whenever I hear doomsday and/or Second Coming predictions, I always think of the key verse above. No one knows when Jesus will come back or when the world will end. Some people are scared to death by these predictions. The main thing we need to remember is that Jesus said we should be alert and be ready. He did not say that we need worry about it or that we should be afraid.
A writer friend, Jim Watkins, provides a list of previous doomsdays in his article, “Is This the End of the World as We Know It?” He also uses this very scripture to point out that there is no need to be afraid.
Prayer: Lord, help us to live productive lives, not worrying about when and where our lives will end. Give us strength to make the most of every day in your service. Amen.
A Christmas Gift for Everyone
Read Luke 2:8-15
Key Verse: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10 (NIV)
My 93-year-old friend shared a Christmas memory with me recently. She told me she grew up on a farm with a large family. When Christmas rolled around each year, they celebrated, but they didn’t have many gifts. One year, relatives spent Christmas with them. “Christmas Eve, I peeked and saw a doll under the tree. But, I knew it wasn’t for me, ” she said. To this day, she doesn’t know why that made her so sad, but her disappointment was real and lasting.
I wonder how many children, or adults for that matter, will be disappointed in their Christmas experience this year. Some people will get too many gifts while others will get none. If we will just remember why we observe Christmas in the first place, we’ll realize that the birth of Jesus was a gift for all the people (Luke 2:10). The gift of love and forgiveness is for every person who claims Christ as his or her savior. No one is left out. No one need be disappointed.
Prayer: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” Luke 2:14 (NIV). May we recognize and accept the gift of Jesus Christ this season. Amen.