Continually Calling

Inspiration from day 2 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Calling Out To God’. Check it out here for audio:

Bible verses:

Be happy with the Lord . He will give to you what you most want.
Psalms 37:4 EASY

It is important for us to not forget to include the very next verse,

Commit your way to the Lord ; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalms 37:5 ESV

Jesus says,

Some branches that are part of me may have no fruit on them. My Father completely removes all those branches. But other branches do have fruit. My Father cuts all those branches to make them better. Then they will be good and make more fruit. The words that I have spoken to you have made you good already. Continue to live in me, and I will continue to live in you. A branch cannot make fruit by itself. It can make fruit only if it continues to be part of the vine . You are like that. You cannot make fruit unless you continue to live in me. I am the vine , and you are the branches. You must remain in me and I must remain in you. Only if you do that will you make plenty of fruit. That is because you can do nothing without me. If anyone does not remain in me, that person is like a dead branch. The gardener will throw that branch away and it will become dry. People throw all those dry branches into the fire so that they burn. You must remain in me, and my message must remain in you. Then you may ask for anything that you want. And God will do it for you.
John 15:2‭-‬7 EASY

Also, we can really trust God to help us when we turn to him. We know that he will hear us. When we ask for anything that he wants us to have, he listens to us. Since we know that, we also know that God will give to us the things that we ask for. It is like we have already received those things from him.
1 John 5:14‭-‬15 EASY

In Christ, beetle

The 4:13 Gifts of Jesus

“The 4:13’s Gifts of Jesus
Jn. 4:13-14 (Satisfaction)
Ac. 4:13 (Transformation)
Eph. 4:13 (Inspiration)
Php. 4:13 (Power)
1st Th. 4:13-14 (Consolation)






This is part of Mnemonics -Help In Memorizing Bible Verses

Go with God, carrying those gifts he has given, beetle

Peace On Earth As It Is Heaven

Jesus taught us to pray

Our perfect Holy Father, in heaven

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 ESV

When Jesus entered the world it was proclaimed,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14 KJV

We live here but we treasure heaven & store up for ourselves (stockpile) true treasures in heaven.

We may find & have peace on earth, peace of mind, but our eternal lasting peace is in heaven.

Go with God, beetle

1st Place

Recall when Joseph & Mary went to Bethlehem to register for a census and She gave birth to her first son (Christ), wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger (because)there was no room for them to stay in the inn.
Luke 2:7 GNT

Then, years later (3 decades later), Christ says to the religious leaders of that day,

“You seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you” (John 8:37).

I just finished the 5 day reading plan called, “Make Room”, A Devo By Mark Hall from the band Casting Crowns (it can be found @YouVersion!:

In his writings Mark said, When I wrote, “Make Room,” I wanted to challenge all of us to be more intentional about what we believe during the Christmas season. I don’t want this song to be a rallying cry to start saying, “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” because if God doesn’t change a heart, all we’ve done is change a slogan. I want the song to stir a desire that goes much deeper than simple acts.

Looking again at John 8, when Jesus was in his 30’s –

Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again. “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.” The

Pharisees said to him, “Now you are testifying on your own behalf; what you say proves nothing.”

“No,” Jesus answered, “even though I do testify on my own behalf, what I say is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. You do not know where I came from or where I am going. You make judgments in a purely human way; I pass judgment on no one. Jesus said all this as he taught in the Temple, in the room where the offering boxes were placed. And no one arrested him, because his hour had not come.
John 8:12‭-‬15‭, ‬20 GNT

This Christmas season we will all be going to all kinds of different places and be in different places. It’s my prayer, God’s desire, that we all become more aware that where ever we go, where ever we are, HE is there.

He knows far much more than we are able to know & understand. At His birth he was placed in a feeding box. As an adult He was next to where to offering boxes were. Now, having died & rose from the dead He ascended to Heaven and then sent His Holy Spirit to come live in our souls, not to be placed into a box or be next to a box just accepting donations.

His presence is what makes us different from the rest of this world, not better but better off and only when we make room for Him in our lives does He shine through & show the love & care for others that only He can give.

Go with God, beetle

Song, “Make Room”, by Casting Crowns:

Luke 2:8-16

I looked at
Luke 2:8-16 and here is what stood out to me:

That night some shepherds were living out in the fields near Bethlehem. They were keeping their sheep safe. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to them. A bright light from God shone all round them. That frightened them very much. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen! I bring you good news. This news will make everyone very happy. Something happened today in the town of David. Someone special was born. He is the one who will save you. He is the Messiah . He is the Lord . I will tell you how you will know this baby. You will find him with cloths round him. He is lying in an animal’s feeding box.’ Just then many more angels appeared in a great crowd. They were praising God. They said: ‘God is great! He lives in the highest place. He will be good to the people on earth that make him happy. They will have peace in their minds.’ After that, the angels went away and returned to heaven . Then the shepherds said to each other, ‘We should leave the sheep and go to Bethlehem immediately! The Lord God has sent his angels to tell us what has happened. We want to see this baby.’ So they went in a hurry to Bethlehem. When they got there, they found Mary and Joseph with the baby. The baby really was lying in a feeding box.
Luke 2:8‭-‬16 EASY

Whose Birthday Is This?

From day 3 of the @YouVersion plan ‘Make Room: A Devo By Mark Hall From Casting Crowns’.

Whose Birthday Is This?

My wife, Melanie, and I once performed a church skit depicting her birthday party.

“Happy birthday, Sweetie!” I said as I burst into the scene and sat next to her. “This is your day! It’s all about you! I’ve got presents!”

I slid over three huge boxes, wrapped in bright paper and bows and full of tissue paper. Melanie acted overjoyed and flung paper all over the stage as she tore open the presents.

She reached inside the first box and pulled out a watch—a man’s watch.

“Oh, hey…it’s a watch,” she said.

“Yeah, don’t you love it?” I said. “It’s awesome!”

“Um…it’s kind of big.”

“Nah, it’s perfect. It’s going to be just right.”

“Is this a lady’s watch?”

“No, silly.” I grabbed the watch and fastened it on my wrist. “Now, can you imagine how you’ll feel? I mean, I’d be so happy to wear this if it would make you happy. And this is all about you.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, and her smile dropped a little.

“But there’s more. Open this one,” I said.

We went through the whole excitement routine as she unpacked two other boxes. The first had a softball glove that was a perfect fit on my hand. Then she reached in the last box and pulled out a leather jacket. It was sleek and black, and the people in the front row could smell the new leather. Melanie let out a shrill giggle and stood to lift it to herself for sizing. Once again, her beaming face fell.

The jacket was extra large. I grabbed it, put it on, and pranced around to model the perfect fit. I snatched up the softball glove and held up my arm to show the wristwatch as I raised my eyebrows and broke into a cheesy smile.

“This has been the best birthday you’ve ever had,” I said as I ran off stage and left Melanie standing in the middle of the shredded boxes and wads of paper. She looked out at the audience with a confused look, turned, and walked away as the lights dimmed.

I came back onstage and looked out at the crowd. They laughed, and some even called out my name in mock chastisement: “Mark! How dare you!” I looked around at the mess and the gifts onstage and talked about worshipping Christ and making sure we keep him the focus of our attention and adoration rather than ourselves.

“I wonder how many times Jesus shows up,” I said, “when he’s not even invited to his own birthday.”

Are we preparing gifts of worship and devotion for the Savior of the world this Christmas season? Or are the only gifts we’re planning to give wrapped in thin paper? Is there room in your heart for God to write his story?

John 4:21-24

Here is another portion from one of these readings written by Mark from Casting Crowns-

Instead of thinking about gaudy house decorations and ornate Christmas trees, maybe we can think about a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Instead of dwelling on the highest-priced gifts we can afford, maybe we can sing glory to God in the highest. Rather than turning to a store that can offer us savings, maybe we can turn to a Savior born to save us.

Check it out the full 5 day @YouVersion plan ‘Make Room: A Devo By Mark Hall From Casting Crowns’. here:

Christmas Myth Buster

I was reminded by a friend that, although we think of Luke 2 as the primary account of Christ’s birth, John 1:14 says it all –

The Word became a man. He lived among us. We saw how great and how good he is. He is great and good as only the Father’s one true Son can be. He is completely kind. He speaks only what is true.
John 1:14 EASY

John was a personal, firsthand, eyewitness. He literally looked, saw, touched, hugged, and followed Jesus Christ.

John’s account/documentation busts any myths about Christ’s birth and what Christmas is really all about.

We tend to lump characters like the shepherds, the Wiseman, even the animals into one oversized nativity scene, let alone make up characters like the little drummer boy, and a talking mule. We turn a man who was a real Saint into Santa. Don’t get me wrong, all those characters can be fun & part of Christmas; but it is my desire to detect what’s make believe and what’s really ‘worth’ believing, taking stock in, and facts that can be life changing.

I love dramatizations and telling fictional stories with good moral endings; but, with so many stories and attempts at recreating Christ’s birth out there things can be or become confusing.

Looking directly into God’s word can help us clearly separate fact from fiction, reality from myths.

If we base ourselves in God’s Word we can enjoy the make believe while still building a foundation on the true miracles he has given.

Here are some hard true facts that have really stood out to me this year:

God placed the savior of the world into the most humble setting. He chose a small town, not a temple, not a big city and in that small town there was, “no room”.

God closed everything else up. The only place left was a stinkin’ animal stall, hardly offering protection from the elements.

God’s way of doing things, right from Christ’s birth, shows us that,

“Nobody is insignificant.”

God does not associate success, nor measure wealth by how many materialistic things people own or what neighborhood they live in.

God calls us to love people regardless of where and how they appear, what they have or don’t have, where they live or don’t live.

Most of us were born in a hospital. Christ was not. He came into the world humbly & lowly.

Again, the birth announcement was given to shepherds, not the reigning king of the times, not the high class wealthy folks.

No, he sent angels to some of those who were found on the bottom level of what most people would consider great achievers. He reached those shepherds who were not even allowed into The Temple.

Once again I refer to John.

John 3:16&17

God loved the people in the world so much that he gave his one and only Son on their behalf. So, as a result, everyone who believes in the Son will not die. Instead, they will live for ever with God.’ God did not send his Son into the world because he wanted to punish people. He sent his Son to save the people in the world from punishment.
John 3:16‭-‬17 (Easy Translation)

The word “GAVE” here, translated from greek, means, given as a gift.

What blows my mind is how God not only gave us this way of Salvation but as a result he took our guilt, pain & sin.

I hope that all of us are able to enjoy the make believe mythical stories that especially surface this time of year, while still maturing to the point that makes us, gives us reason to, truly believe in Christ.

Go with God, beetle