He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV)
Everything you have God has graciously given to you. God has richly blessed you. Look around and consider the wealth, which flows far beyond money and possessions, the love of your family and friends, the health of your mind and body, the beauty of your surroundings.
God loves your tender heart and your benevolent spirit. When you give generously, you honor God. When you give of yourself through acts of service and return your tithe to the Father, He will pour out His blessings on you.
He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. (Psalms 37:26 NKJV)
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving. (2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV)
That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:15 NKJV)
A candle should burn until it is all consumed; likewise a man’s testimony should continue until his death. If one candle’s light is to live on, then it needs to kindle another before it is completely burned out. By kindling candle after candle, the light can shine on and on until it covers the whole world. Such is the testimony of the Church.
When the Son of God came to the earth, He kindled a few candles; later on He ignited another candle in Paul, and of course many more. During the 2000 years since then, the Church’s light continued burning on in candle after candle. Many have even sacrificed their lives to ignite others, but although the first candle gutters out, the second one continues, and so on and so on. Go therefore and witness for the Lord! Let His testimony shine out in the earth unceasingly.
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. (Matthew 2:7 NIV)
Christmas is first and foremost an attitude of the heart. There are many people who shared in Herod’s attitude. He is the prototype of those people who live in sin and in enmity with God; who want to banish Christ from their lives. They hide their disapproval behind a mask of hypocrisy.
They also want to go to worship the Child. They also celebrate the Christ feast, but in reality their hearts do not belong to Him. Their motives are impure as they search for a Child.
They want to use religion to advance their careers and to keep the crown on their own heads.
Advent proclaims the following message: Christ can be found in Bethlehem, but only those who have the right attitude in their hearts and whose worship is true in spirit.
This is the attitude of the wise men. They came from a distant land, in the same way that we have to come from the distant land of sin as lost sons and daughters. They persisted in their search and did not allow anything to distract them from their purpose.
Jesus Himself promised that those who seek Him will find Him. The wise men stipulated no conditions. They expected a palace and a golden cradle, what they found was a stable and a manger. Like them, everyone who seeks can experience the joy of finding what God intended for each of us during this Christmastime.
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. (Psalms 39:7 NKJV)
What drives a man to pound the pavement to look for employment the day after he loses his job. Hope. What encourages a runner to compete in a marathon every year, even though he doesn’t win? Hope. What motivated Jesus’ followers after He died on the cross? Hope.
Hope is an invaluable resources that never has to run out. It’s available whenever you want it and for however long you choose to hold on to it. It’s more than dreaming or wishing; it’s a confident belief that everything will go according to plan when you keep your eyes focused on Him rather than on your circumstances.
Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” (Romans 4:18 NKJV)
The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. (Isaiah 50:4 KJV)
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3 NIV)
One of the foremost keys in hearing from God is living with expectation toward God. Expectation places a demand on the Holy Spirit. We should live with expectation toward God 24 hours a day. It takes no faith to hear or obey an audible voice. God desires that we live a life of listening.
Our expectation puts a demand on His presence, and pulls virtue out of Him. If we have no expectation, our faith has nothing to rest on. Two enemies of expectation are self-satisfaction and distraction. Expectation is the key to the move of the Holy Spirit among the saints. When saints gather with anticipation, the Holy Spirit moves in response, no matter who ministers. Those who expect nothing never leave disappointed.
Do you want to hear from God? Live with expectation! Pray with expectation! Listen with expectation! You will hear His voice.
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1 NKJV)
Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we get to know God Himself.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3 NKJV)