Devotionals for December 2-7

Click on the arrows to see a daily devotional for every day of the week. We believe that being in the Word of God daily is extremely important, and we hope that these devotionals can foster that daily habit! 

Monday, December 2

By Terri Smith

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
                                                                                                                                                 -Isaiah 9:6
Anyone who has had to see a counselor will tell you it wasn't an easy decision. I for a fact know quite well what it's like. There is such a stigma attached to this kind of problem that it makes it difficult to give in to this kind of treatment. But on the other hand once you do, you find out it wasn't so bad and you learn to appreciate the counselor's words and before long you are much better.  You have trusted this person to help, but not before you feel so broken that you think you will never be ok.
Jason Gray has a song called “Glow In The Dark”, that has really made me think about the time I felt so broken.  Some of the lyrics go like this…
“...the more broke you are the more the light shines through.”  Wow, what an awesome concept. Let’s all take this to heart and remember that God is continuing to work no matter how broke we feel.
Do you feel broken today?  Just BE and rest in the moment, God is doing a mighty work in you!!!
Prayer: Father, I love you so very much. Thank you for making a way to let us know we are .ok, even when we feel like we are not.

Tuesday, December 2

By Toya Aultman

“For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
                                                                                                                                                                                    -Isaiah 9:6
It's December and the Christmas rush is on! As Amy Grant belts out "I need a silent night, a holy night to hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise..." we hustle to get Bethlehem built, cookies baked, gifts wrapped, and let's not even talk about the traffic in the Conway Commons area!
Are you like Amy and long for a "silent night"? I use to be that way to, until years ago someone asked, "What do you think Bethlehem was like?" Think about it, it was craziness and chaos! Every hotel room from the Bethlehem Hilton down to the Shalom Motel was booked. People were everywhere, and though there weren't cars, there would have been lot more animals in the town. And there, in the midst of chaos and crowds, our Savior made His appearance into this world...and it's never been the same!
So as you go out Christmas shopping, give a hand to the tired mom with toddlers hanging on her; give the clerk who is standing on their feet for 12 hours, dealing with cranky customers, a smile; the postman that has a gazillion of Amazon boxes loading down his truck might like a treat left just for him. This world has no more darkness than it did centuries ago, perhaps it just has less light! Go shine His Light to this dark world and have a Merry Christmas!
Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending Your Beloved Son to this world so many centuries ago so I can have a relationship with You and be called Your child. May I embrace the chaos of this season and let it be a reminder to me of the babe born in a chaotic place years ago, the reigning Prince of Peace! Amen

Wednesday, December 4

Put on Your Awareness Glasses by Kerry Stitch

“He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.”
                                                  -Isaiah 53:3
You won’t see “suffering” draped across many mantels in a cute font decorating for the Christmas festivities, or choose it if you happen to be one of those folks that selects “a word” for your New Year.  Why?  We often miss the point.  At least I do.
Perhaps refreshing flowers at a special gravesite this week brought back many memories of a love that has changed in form and location for me. Holidays can be tricky for many since emotions aren’t checked at the door.  Perspective can easily get lost in the wrapping paper and sights and sounds of years past.
 Yet, I’m reminded through Christ’s suffering and being wounded that we now have the privilege to partake in the greatest of all Christmas shopping “finds”…eternal life through the blood of Jesus. These Jesus’ gifts are priceless, eternal, and fit perfectly.
There will be people close to you this season (count on it) that are suffering under the load of it not being the Norman Rockwell setting of festive celebrating our culture advertises. Perhaps it’s a “first” for them without a spouse, child, or income. Could we dare to resemble The Star in their stable/setting?  Would it be too much for us to become the Wise Ones who attended their needs with the precious gifts of hospitality, understanding, and compassion?  If we truly believe that it’s all about Him, wouldn’t we be more in agreement with scripture to provide His hope through friendship, inclusion, and a hug that says, “There is room for you here!”  So when you feel the pull to make it about this world hit “pause.”  Default to Bethlehem where it was a matter of the heart and out of His great suffering; we were given the perfect gift of a heavenly homecoming to follow a lifestyle of a family resemblance to God.

Thursday, December 5

Check the Facts by Shawn Hammontree

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
                                                                                 -Isaiah 53:4-7

I recently heard a true story about a Jewish young man who went to his Rabbi and asked him who Isaiah was talking about in this scripture.  After reading the scripture the Rabbi turned to the young man and said, “Well, it kind of sounds like he could be talking about Jesus.  However, we don’t really believe in Jesus, sooooooo…”  The young man went away scratching his head.
This causes me to scratch my head as well.  You see, the entire Old Testament seems to be pointing to a person; a person who will show up, fulfill all the prophecies about himself, and become the redeemer and savior of all mankind.  So, like this Rabbi, I read about all that was foretold in the Old Testament and have to think, well it sounds like they are referring to Jesus.  And then I turn to the New Testament, which is filled with eyewitness accounts of a risen Savior, and I have to think, who else could this be other than the promised one?
Bottom line: I think you and I have to go one step further than this Rabbi did.  I think we have to read the facts, accept the facts, and align our hearts and lives with the TRUTH.  Jesus is the One foretold in the Old Testament and he is the risen One of the New Testament.  HE IS THE PROMISED MESSIAH!  (Of that there is no denying.) 

Friday, December 6

By Nita Kay Freeman

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
                                                                                                     -Isaiah 9:6

One thing in the message that stood out to me was when Bro. Bobby asked, “What if you had a Counselor that was never wrong?” The answer he gave us is that WE DO!  He is a wonderful counselor.
If you look up the word counselor in the dictionary, it is defined as “a person trained to give guidance on personal, social or psychological issues”.  Who better than our Mighty God?  I truly believe that God ordains many counselors here on earth and guides them in the advice they give their patients AND I truly believe that many need a professional counselor, but we should all be seeking God’s counsel in our daily lives.  One commentary I read on this verse describes the word “wonderful” as “incomprehensible” and “full of wonder”.  “Jesus kind of wonder is awe-inspiring and superior to any other kind because He is perfect in every way” Matthew 5:48.  In Proverbs 3:6 we are told that Christ’s position as a Wonderful Counselor means we can trust Him to listen to our problems and guide us in the right direction. How marvelous, Oh, how WONDERFUL!