Charles Stanley – The Key to Financial Blessing


Malachi 3:7-12

All of us struggle when there’s a discrepancy between what our minds know to be true and what we feel in our emotions. One area that believers typically find difficult is finances. Understanding what the Bible says about money, do we choose truth or do we allow our ever-changing feelings to dictate our actions? Believers find it easy to give God one penny out of a dime or one dollar out of 10, but when the numbers grow bigger—100 out of a 1,000 or a 1,000 from 10,000—we often balk. However, we can’t expect the Lord to bless us financially if we’re not supporting His work.

Scripture speaks about giving a whole tithe—one-tenth of our earnings or 10 percent of whatever we produce, according to Deuteronomy 14:22. We should also note that we’re to give God the first portion of our income, not what’s left over at the end of the month.

God’s tithe goes into His storehouse—the church. From there, what’s offered can be channeled into the Lord’s work throughout the world. Imagine how many great ministries and outreaches would close if money dried up. Sharing the gospel is both a spiritual and financial responsibility.

When we refuse to give our portion, we block the flow of God’s blessing in our own lives. Often we decide to offer less than a tithe because we don’t trust His provision. Our Father has promised us protection and plenty if we follow His mandates. Give the Lord His due and see what great blessings He provides.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 9-12


Our Daily Bread — Reject Apathy


Read: Nehemiah 1:1-10

Bible in a Year: Zechariah 9-12; Revelation 20

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. —Matthew 25:40

The room was splashed with an assortment of enchanting colors as women in beautiful saris scurried around, completing the final touches for a fundraising event. Formerly from India, these women now live in the USA. Yet they remain concerned for their native country. Upon hearing about the financial situation of a Christian school for autistic children in India, they not only heard the need, but they also took it to heart and responded.

Nehemiah did not allow his comfortable position in life as cupbearer and confidant to the most powerful man at that time to nullify his concerns for his countrymen. He talked to people who had just come from Jerusalem to find out the condition of the city and its citizens (Neh. 1:2). He learned that “those who survived the exile . . . are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (v. 3).

Nehemiah’s heart broke. He mourned, fasted, and prayed, asking God to do something about the terrible conditions (v. 4). God enabled Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to lead the rebuilding effort (2:1-8).

Nehemiah accomplished great things for his people because he asked great things of a great God and relied on Him. May God open our eyes to the needs of those around us, and may He help us to become passionate and creative problem-solvers who bless others. —Poh Fang Chia

Father, there are great needs all around us. We choose not to give in to despair or apathy, but look to You for help in doing the task at hand.

Those who walk with God won’t run from the needs of others.

INSIGHT: Nehemiah is remembered for his part in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Today’s passage is the beginning of that project. Notice Nehemiah’s first response to the news about the condition of Jerusalem. He stops everything else and spends time in prayer (1:5). Never a bad first step in any situation.


Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Twelve Days of Christmas


The floor contains the remnants of torn wrappings, boxes, and bows. The stockings hang lifeless from the mantel, empty of all their contents. Leftovers are all that are left of holiday feasting. Wallets are empty and feelings of buyer’s remorse begin to descend and suffocate. On the morning after Christmas, thus begins the season of let down.

It’s not a surprise really. For many in the West, the entire focus of the Christmas season is on gift-giving, holiday parties, and family gatherings, all of which are fine in and of themselves. But these things often become the centerpiece of the season. Marketers and advertisers ensure that this is so and prime the buying-pump with ads and sales for Christmas shopping long before December. Once November ends, the rush for consumers is on, and multitudinous festivities lead to a near fever pitch. And then, very suddenly, it is all over.

In an ironic twist of history, Christmas day became the end point, the full stop of the Christmas season. But in the ancient Christian tradition, Christmas day was only the beginning of the Christmas season. The oft-sung carol The Twelve Days of Christmas was not simply a song sung, but a lived reality of the Christmas celebration.(1) In the traditional celebrations, the somber anticipation of Advent—waiting for God to act—flowed into the celebration of the Incarnation that began on Christmas day and culminated on “twelfth night”—the Feast of Epiphany.

For twelve days following Christmas, Christians celebrated the “Word made flesh” dwelling among them. The ancient feasts that followed Christmas day all focused on the mystery of the Incarnation worked out in the life of the believers. Martyrs, evangelists, and ordinary people living out the call of faith are all celebrated during these twelve days.

Far from being simply an alternative to the way in which Christmas is currently celebrated or an antidote to post-Christmas ‘let down,’ understanding the early history and traditions of Christian celebrations can reunite the world with the true focal point of the Christmas season. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory…and of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:14-16). Far more than giving gifts or holiday feasts, the joy of Christmas is that God came near to us in Jesus Christ. The Incarnation affirms that matter matters as God descends to us and adopts a dwelling made of human flesh. Far from a let down, we have the opportunity to be lifted up and united to God through Jesus Christ.

A simple poem by Madeline Morse captures the calling of the twelve days of Christmas:

Let Christmas not become a thing

Merely of merchant’s trafficking,

Of tinsel, bell, and holly wreath

And surface pleasure, but beneath

The childish glamour, let us find

Nourishment for heart and mind.

Let us follow kinder ways

Through our teeming human maze,

And help the age of peace to come.(2)

Living out the mystery of the Incarnation is a daily celebration. The celebration began on Christmas Day.


Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

(1) Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait, “The Real Twelve Days of Christmas,” Christianity Today, August 8, 2008.

(2) Madeline Morse from the compiled readings by Rebecca Currington, Remember the Reason: Focusing on Christ at Christmas (Honor Books: Colorado Springs, CO, 2007), 7.

Alistair Begg – The Lord Has Helped Us


Till now the Lord has helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12

The phrase “till now” is like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and still “till now the LORD has helped us.” Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “till now the LORD has helped us.”

We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. In the same way look down the long aisles of your years at the green branches of mercy overhead and the strong pillars of loving-kindness and faithfulness that support your joys.

Are there no birds singing in those branches? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “till now.”

But the word also points forward. For when a man reaches a certain point and writes “till now,” he is not yet at the end; he still has a distance to go. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then he faces sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over then? No! Then there is wakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the company of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise your banner, for —

He who hath helped thee hitherto

Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in light of heaven, how glorious and marvelous a prospect will the “till now” provide for your grateful eye!

Family Bible Reading Plan

  • 2 Chronicles 34
  • Revelation 20

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

John MacArthur – He Who Sanctifies


“Both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.’ And again, ‘I will put My trust in Him.’ And again, ‘Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me'” (Heb. 2:11-13).

Our holy Christ has made us holy; thus He can now call us His brothers.

From our own perspective and experience, it is difficult to think of ourselves as holy. Sin simply is too much a part of us in this fallen world. In thought and practice we are far from holy, but in Christ we are perfectly holy.

We may not always act holy, but because of our faith in Christ we are perfectly holy in God’s sight. Just as a child may not always act like his father, he is nonetheless still his son. We are holy in the sense that before God, the righteousness of Christ has been applied and imputed on our behalf through faith. We were made holy through His sacrifice and have become “those who are sanctified.”

“By one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). We are as pure as God is pure, righteous as Christ is righteous, and therefore entitled to be called His brothers because we now share in His righteousness.

The Sanctifier and sanctified now have “one Father,” and the Sanctifier “is not ashamed” to call the sanctified His brothers. What an overwhelming truth!

The practical experience of a Christian’s life in this world includes sin, but the positional reality of his or her new nature is holiness. “In Him [we] have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). Yet practically we have a long way to go. So the overriding purpose of our lives is to become in practice what we are in position. Now that we are Christ’s brothers and God’s children, let that be all the motivation we need to live like it.

Suggestion for Prayer

Thank the Lord for His sanctifying work on the cross, which enables you to be holy.

For Further Study

Read Romans 1:16. Based on what God has done for you through Christ, can you wholeheartedly echo Paul’s statement?

Joyce Meyer – Celebrate the Positive


For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. —James 3:2

Our thoughts and words about ourselves are tremendously important. In order to overcome the negative thinking and speaking that have been such a natural part of our lifestyle for so long, we must make a conscious effort to meditate on and speak positive things about ourselves. We need to get our mouth in line with what the Word of God says about us.

Positive confession of the Word of God should be an ingrained habit of every believer. If you have not yet begun to develop this important habit, start today. Begin thinking and saying good things about yourself: “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. I prosper in everything I lay my hand to. I have gifts and talents, and God is using me. I operate in the fruit of the Spirit. I walk in love. Joy flows through me.”

We can appropriate the blessings of God in our lives if we will continually and purposefully speak about ourselves what the Word of God says about us. We will receive positive results.

Lord, I will make the positive confession of Your Word an ingrained habit of my life. Help me to get my mouth in line with the truth of what You have done for me. Amen.

From the book The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Devotions by Joyce Meyer.


Presidential Prayer Team;  J.R.  – Breath of Life


There was a time when nothing generated more fear than the prospect of contracting polio, a paralyzing virus. If polio attacked a victim’s lungs, the experience was excruciating and death almost inevitable. In 1927, a Harvard researcher named Philip Drinker assembled a contraption using an electric motor, two vacuum cleaners, and a tank respirator. Dubbed the “iron lung,” his invention saved thousands of lives. Polio sufferers were placed in the iron lung, typically for one or two weeks, so that the machine could breathe for them until the virus ran its course.

I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.

Isaiah 43:11

It is a blessing to live in an era of incredible medical advances that make life better and longer. Yet, as the prophet Isaiah writes, it is only God who breathes life into every human being. He is the Lord! Every heartbeat and every breath is a gift from God. It is the Creator you must regard, not the created.

Pray today that God will breathe new life into America’s citizens and leaders in the coming year. May they hear His life-giving words from today’s verse and be saved by them.

Recommended Reading: Isaiah 43:1-12

Greg Laurie – Two Ways to Be Happy


Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.—Psalm 112:1

There are two ways that we can live our lives: the right way or the wrong way. There are two paths that we can take in life: the right path or the wrong path. The result is that we can live either the happy and holy way or the miserable and unholy way.

Everything you’re looking for is found in a relationship with God. Take the story that Jesus told about the prodigal son. It appears from the story that he wanted nice clothes, great food, and parties. So he left home and spent all of his money. And then he returned home, empty-handed and miserable.

But what was the first thing his father did? He gave him some nice clothes. He ordered his servants to prepare some fine food. And then he said, “‘We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began” (Luke 15:23–24). Everything the son was searching for was in his father’s house all along.

The way to be a happy person will be found in what you do and don’t do. Psalm 1:1 says, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.” So these are things that happy people don’t do.

But then the passage tells us what happy people do: “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (verses 2–3).

So happiness comes not only from what you do, but also from what you don’t do.

Max Lucado – Hidden in His Love

Do you ever think… If people only knew–if my secrets were ever made public, I’m not sure what I’d do!  Or maybe I do….!

It is time to let God’s love cover all things in your life. All the secrets. The hurts. The mornings you woke up in the bed of a stranger? His love will cover that. The years you peddled prejudice and pride? His love will cover that. Every promise broken, drug taken, and penny stolen. Every cross word, cuss word, and harsh word. His love covers all things! Let it!

Discover with the psalmist, “He loads me with love and mercy.”  Picture a giant dump truck full of love. There you are behind it; and God lifts the bed until the love starts to slide until you’re hidden, buried, and covered in His love!

“Hey, where are you?” someone asks. You say, “In here—covered in love!”

From Grace for the Moment

Night Light for Couples – Everyday Moments


“I was filled with delight day after day.” Proverbs 8:30

We all cherish the milestones and special events in the course of married life: the wedding and honeymoon, the birth of children, the twenty‐fifth and fiftieth wedding anniversaries, the kids’ high school and college graduations. These are occasions to celebrate with hugs, photographs, and congratulations all around. But don’t forget to savor the everyday moments that make up the rest of our days. Think about what it means to wake up in the morning next to someone you love and to begin the day with a kiss… to exchange knowing glances with your partner as you rake leaves in the yard or share a cup of coffee… to hold hands with your mate in church as you sing praises to our glorious God. When you review the mental scrapbook of images from your marriage, we hope it is filled with happy memories of the “big moments” you’ve shared together. But also be sure to include snapshots of those joyful, everyday events that make each day of marriage something special.

Just between us…

  • What everyday activities bring you joy?
  • Do you think we have lived from one big event to the next—or have we tried to make ordinary days special, too?
  • How can we help each other savor everyday moments?
  • Do our lives demonstrate to others that each moment is a gift from


Father, we find Your love in the simple joys around us—a bird’s song or a smile from our mate, blue skies or the laughter of children. Thank You for health and for Your unfailing abundance. open our eyes to the wealth of each day, o Lord. May we never live like paupers when You have made us so rich. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

C.S. Lewis Daily – Today’s Reading


Let us suppose we possess parts of a novel or a symphony. Someone now brings us a newly discovered piece of manuscript and says, ‘This is the missing part of the work. This is the chapter on which the whole plot of the novel really turned. This is the main theme of the symphony’. Our business would be to see whether the new passage, if admitted to the central place which the discoverer claimed for it, did actually illuminate all the parts we had already seen and ‘pull them together’. Nor should we be likely to go very far wrong. The new passage, if spurious, however attractive it looked at the first glance, would become harder and harder to reconcile with the rest of the work the longer we considered the matter. But if it were genuine then at every fresh hearing of the music or every fresh reading of the book, we should find it settling down, making itself more at home and eliciting significance from all sorts of details in the whole work which we had hitherto neglected. Even though the new central chapter or main theme contained great difficulties in itself, we should still think it genuine provided that it continually removed difficulties elsewhere. Something like this we must do with the doctrine of the Incarnation. Here, instead of a symphony or a novel, we have the whole mass of our knowledge. The credibility will depend on the extent to which the doctrine, if accepted, can illuminate and integrate that whole mass. It is much less important that the doctrine itself should be fully comprehensible. We believe that the sun is in the sky at midday in summer not because we can clearly see the sun (in fact, we cannot) but because we can see everything else.

From Miracles

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis