Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord Luke 2:11

Remember Tickle Me Elmo? Cabbage Patch Kids? The Furby? What do they have in common? Each rank among the twenty most popular Christmas gifts of all time. Also included on the list are familiar favorites such as Monopoly, the Nintendo Game Boy, and Wii.

We all delight in giving gifts at Christmas, but that’s nothing compared to God’s delight in giving the first Christmas gift. This gift came in the form of a baby, born in a Bethlehem manger (Luke 2:7).

Despite His humble birth, the Child’s arrival was proclaimed by an angel who declared, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (vv. 10–11). Following this magnificent news, a “heavenly host” appeared, “praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’” (vv. 13–14).

This Christmas, enjoy giving gifts to your loved ones, but never lose sight of the reason for the giving—the spectacular favor of God on His creation crystallized in the gift of His own Son to save us from our sin. We give because He gave. May we worship Him in gratitude!

By: Remi Oyedele

Today’s Scripture & Insight:  Luke 2:4–14

A Sincere Thank You

In preparation for Xavier’s first job interview, my husband, Alan, handed our son a pack of thank-you cards for him to send out after he met with prospective employers. He then pretended to be a hiring interviewer, using his decades of experience as a manager to ask Xavier questions. After the role-playing, our son tucked several copies of his resume into a folder. He smiled when Alan reminded him about the cards. “I know,” he said. “A sincere thank-you note will set me apart from all the other applicants.

When the manager called to hire Xavier, he expressed gratitude for the first hand-written thank-you card he’d received in years.

Saying thanks makes a lasting impact. The psalmists’ heartfelt prayers and grateful worship were preserved in books of Psalms. Though there are one hundred and fifty psalms, these two verses reflect a message of thankfulness: “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High” (Psalm 9:1-2)

We will never be able to finish expressing our gratitude for all God’s wonderful deeds. But we can start with a sincere thank you through our prayers. We can nurture a lifestyle of grateful worship, praising God and acknowledging all He’s done and all He promises He’ll do.

By: Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

What would you like to thank God for on this day He’s made? How can writing down prayers of thanks help us cultivate a spirit of gratitude in all circumstances?

Generous and loving God, please help us acknowledge the countless and wonderful ways You work.

God’s Promise

For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:9

Lord, may we never take for granted all the things that come to us so easily each day. And may we be reminded that you are the giver of every good and perfect gift.

Fresh Oil

Men of Thunder: 1st Sunday Prayer

Honoring God Through Prayer


God is honored through prayer because our will and strength are intentionally given to His glory. Our first love is remembered because the “eye” is focused on Christ. As the believer prays, peace, joy, and satisfaction, that is only found in a close relationship with Jesus is evoked. Through prayer, it is recalled how Christs’ worthiness, humility, and holiness on the cross places Him in a class all by himself.

Because of His infinite perfections, greatness, and worth, when prayers are uttered, the level of faith is increased, divine insight is given, God’s truth goes forth and His covenants and promises are guarded in the heart. 1 Chronicles 14:14 says, “so David inquired of God again, and God answered him…” Prayer acts like a soldier, the warrior never quits, the mind of Christ is kept and instructions are given to handle situations or tasks.

Even when it is unknown what to pray, Romans 8:26 NIV says, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” It is important in prayer as said in Mark 11:24 NIV “to believe that you have received” “through God’s wisdom, understanding and not forgetting or turning from them” Proverbs 4:5 NIV. Lastly, to accurately discern and pray the Word, “we must abide in Him” John 15:7 NIV and “…forgive” Mark 11:25 NIV.

2019 Prayer Schedule

Communicating Through Prayer

Prayer identifies the form of communication utilized by man to speak to God.  The people of God pray or talk to Him, to make solemn requests for help, expressions of thanksgiving, or even declarations of their hope and earnest expectations for His performance in their lives.  Many times, as a believer, we are faced with opposition and trials; however, the Word of God lets us know that God will never leave us or forsake us.  Jesus reminds us in Luke 18:1 that we must always pray and never grow weary in prayer.  In this parable, Jesus revealed how an unjust judge, who feared neither God nor man, was easily troubled by a powerless widow woman because she continually petitioned him to fulfill her request.  Our God is just; therefore, how much more is He ready, waiting and willing to fulfill the requests of his children if we would only make a commitment to talk to Him.

Jesus continually demonstrated the will and heart of God throughout the gospels.  God’s desire is that all His people will come to Him and speak to Him about their concerns.  Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Many concerning situations that we face are beyond our control; however, as believers, we have the promises of God; not only provision, defense, justification or even vengeance, but His peace. In Philippians 4:6-7, the Bible reminds us that we should never become anxious regarding any situation that we face, and if we are honest, many times we are initially overwhelmed. However, the Lord has made a way of escape for us through prayer, by giving us the opportunity to let our requests be made known unto Him and He promises to faithfully keep our hearts and minds in return. 

Prayer to the true and living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only reason why we are empowered to resist the continual attacks of the enemy, for which he continually comes to steal our joy, kill our hope and ultimately destroy our lives.  Many times, the very same afflictions that we face are easily accomplished in the lives of those who do not know how to fervently hope in God through prayer. In Hebrews 11:6, the Bible reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please him, and he that comes to God must believe that he is and he will reward those that diligently seek him.  So, be encouraged and remember, God, is on your side.  Take a moment; 30 seconds, 15 minutes, or an hour, to pray and talk to your heavenly Father.  There is no religious form or an exceptional amount of faith required to be qualified to pray to God.  Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary, God has given you free access to boldly come before the throne of Grace, just as you are.  All you need is enough faith to simply open your mouth, speak to him and know that He is ready to hear and answer your requests right now.  Don’t forget; prayer will work if you work it!

Minister Dana Cox

 

Attitude of Gratitude

As the year closes, take time to reflect on every blessing of this year. Some of you may not have received everything you’ve asked for, but God most assuredly has provided every need. Take on the Attitude of Gratitude in this season; we have a lot to be thankful for. Close the year with thanksgiving and walk into the new year expecting to receive EVERY blessing that has your name on it.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

2 Thessalonians 5:18

Day 4: O Give Thanks

Increase

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.  ​

Luke 2:52, New King James Version (NKJV)