Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Matthew 2:1-121.



The three gifts of the Magi had a prophetic meaning: gold, the gift for a king; incense, the gift for a priest; and myrrh, a burial ointment as a gift for one who would die.

The first mentioned gift was gold. Gold was the usual offering presented to kings by their subjects, or those wanting to pay respect. When the Magi presented gold, they were honoring Jesus with the very best that they possessed, and they were also recognizing that Jesus was King.

The second gift brought out of the boxes by the Magi was frankincense. Frankincense is a very costly and fragrant gum distilled from a tree that is found in Persia, India and Arabia, as well as the East Indies. Frankincense is highly fragrant when burned, and was, therefore, used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. - Exodus 30:7,8

The primary lesson from frankincense is that our worship is to be pleasing to God.

The last gift brought by the Magi was Myrrh. Myrrh is an aromatic gum produced from a thorn-bush that grew in Arabia and Ethiopia, and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. This thorny tree, called "balsamodendron myrrha", is similar to the acacia. It grows from eight to ten feet high, and is thorny. When it oozes from the wounded shrub, myrrh is a pale yellow color at first, but as it hardens, it changes to dark red or even black color.
Myrrh then is brought as a gift to acknowledge the human suffering that Jesus partook of when He came into our world.




Wednesday, 17 December 2008


God-given Dreams of the Heart
By Rebekah Montgomery

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a desire to share the Good News. Because of this, some of my earliest childhood memories are of “playing church.”
My sister Ruth and I would dress up our cats and dogs in doll clothes, sit them on little red wooden chairs, then present flannel graph Bible stories and lead them in singing.

But we weren’t playing. We were serious. The Great Commission had instructed us to “preach the Gospel to every creature,” which included cats and dogs, of course. We loved our cats and dogs. We never knew when one of them would be called to meet their Maker.
Occasionally, a member of our congregation would make a break for it, but from past bitter experience, they knew escape was futile. Mostly they sat through our services with resignation.

Their lasse faire attitude proved good training for me: As a speaker, I am sometimes greeted with similar trapped expressions on audience members’ faces.
At the end of each church session, Ruth and I would lead many verses of Just As I Am and extend an “invitation.” We felt this was vitally important and conducted them with great earnestness. We didn’t want any cat or dog to fry for an eternity in hell because we had cut short the invitation to play Barbie or ride bikes. Our theology may have been skewed, but our hearts were in the right place.

The longer we urged them toward repentance and salvation, the more verses we sang, the sorrier the animals looked. When we finally had the closing prayer, some of them seemed to bow their heads, so we were encouraged that some had repented.

Examples to Follow

As an adult, I wholeheartedly wanted to serve God. I didn’t suppose God would ever open up a ministry for me. After all, I was a woman, and according to the lights of many, women were not supposed to do anything in the church except cook the food for potluck dinners and clean up afterwards. My parents didn’t subscribe to this interpretation of the scriptures, but so many did that I realized if I were to exercise the gifts God had given me, I would be the target of a great deal of criticism.

Little by little, God showed me in the scriptures exactly what He had called women to do. He showed me Mary who washed the feet of Jesus. And Martha who served Jesus food at first century potlucks. Then there was Mary Magdalene and others who supplied Jesus with financial help. Deborah led, inspired, and judged. Miriam led music. Dorcas clothed widows and orphans.

Lydia networked. Pricilla instructed Paul. The woman at the well evangelized her village. Jesus didn’t consign these women to work only in the nursery and hold babies: He reserved that extra special job for Himself.

But most of all, God pointed out to me the women who stood at the foot of the cross and bore witness of His crucifixion. These were the women who hastily prepared His body for burial then assembled the spices to return on Sunday to do a proper job of it. They were the first to realize that the tomb was empty.

These were the women Jesus told to tell Peter and the disciples that He was risen — and that was precisely the job I felt called to do: To tell the world that Christ was risen.
I concluded if He had called me to a ministry within the church, He would open the doors for me so others would recognize my call, too — which is exactly what has happened.

The discovery of God’s call on my life has been a joyous adventure. He has allowed me to share the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection in a variety of ways, from Bible school for underprivileged inner-city children to wealthy, upper crust matrons, from seminary-trained pastors to illiterate Haitians, from babies to senior citizens.

If He Asks You, He’ll Show You How

Pursue the dream God has placed within your heart. And don’t be afraid or hold back.

f God asks you to build an ark, He’ll give you the measurements.
If He asks you to fish for men, He’ll give you the bait.
If He asks you to get out of the boat and walk on water, He’ll show you the technique.
If He asks you to pick up your bed and walk, He’ll give you a hand to help you up.
If He asks you to pray, He’ll teach you how.
If He asks you to love your neighbor, He’ll give you love.
If He asks you to go to a new land, He’ll give you the map. © Rebekah Montgomery 2008


Angie’s Marriage Column

Marriage question: What do you do when your husband says he wants a close relationship, but continually has a negative attitude and is quick to become angry? I am just so discouraged!

Marriage guidance: I can certainly understand your feelings. When someone says they want to be close with their spouse but then behave just the opposite, anyone would get discouraged. It seems your husband is in contradiction to his own feelings. You’re not going to know why your husband has a negative attitude until you guys come together and communicate yourselves with one another.

Many times couples think they are communicating just fine but when they accuse, blame, use negative emotions, name-call, or tell their spouse “how they are feeling” or “what they are going to do” that is not communicating properly and nothing in the marriage ever gets resolved. Most couples communicate incorrectly and that is why resentment and all kinds of negative feelings get in the way of coming to a resolve.

We should always consider the feelings of our spouse during verbal communication; the reason for this is simple. For two-way communication to work both sides need to feel comfortable and trust the person they are communicating with. If one person is getting their feelings rejected or shot down by the other every time they speak, they will shut down. This will cause discouragement and frustration in marriage.

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”. (Proverbs 25:11)

Did you know that many couples never learn the proper ways of communicating with one another and they lose touch with the person they married – intimacy is gone and the marriage is in ruins. Then couples wonder what happened. Productive communication takes more than asking “why” or telling your spouse “what they did wrong” or “what you want” from them. Communication begins with listening to what they have to say.

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin”. (Proverbs 13:3) “Let your conversation be always full of grave, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. (Colossians 4:6)

What does our spouse want? Have you ever thought about that? Have we even asked? We’re so used to wanting our own needs met, that we forget that maybe our spouse has needs to. We must put ourselves in our spouse’s shoes once in awhile, otherwise what is the use of getting married if not to support one another through the difficult times. Here is a VERY true saying: Couples don’t know the person they married because they don’t communicate!

“For out of the overflow of the heart (attitude) the mouth speaks”. (Matthew 12:34)

Right now, you’re discouraged about what is happening in your marriage. What about your husband? He is probably discouraged too. Maybe you can help your husband to become encouraged and he can help you become encouraged. You’re married – that is what marriage is all about – working and growing together in the Lord.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification”. (Romans 14:19)

Marriage (between a man and a woman) belongs to God – Don’t let satan get a hold of it!

You guys are both pulling further way from each other because of your attitude. He wants to get close with you, but for some reason that’s not happening. I don’t know what is coming between the two of you, but one or both of you need to do something about it, and that means you need to communicate. Scripture tells us that we are to build each other up in our communication with one another.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”. (Ephesians 4:29)

The best thing you can do at this point is to resolve this issue before more resentment sets in and you guys cave in under temptation. Let your husband know that you feel discouraged about not being close anymore. Tell him you would like to work on becoming more intimate with him and ask him “how he thinks” you two can do that? Don’t tell him that you don't have a close relationship because he is angry and negative; let him figure that out on his own. Just do your part, building him up while you do it. That way, he can’t shut down on you, and he will be more likely to express his feelings too.

Husbands like to shut down with their wives. And the reason is some of us wives aren’t talking (communicating)! We’re usually nagging, yelling, ridiculing, blaming, arguing and or complaining. But that is not going to help the issue get resolved, is it. No!

A woman finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23)

The truth of the matter is you can only do your part in the marriage, that means you can’t feel for your husband you can’t take over his responsibilities in the marriage for him, or tell him what his responsibilities are. He must be ready to fulfill his own responsibilities just as you need to fulfill your own responsibilities. This is how husband and wife fulfill one another’s needs by doing what is right in the Lord and taking care of the duties and obligations that God imparted them with in the marriage. Do you see how that works? This is why it is so important to keep God ALWAYS at the forefront of the marriage. If we base our marriage upon things of the world will have a worldly marriage but when we base our marriage upon things of God we will have a Godly marriage and that is the way marriage is designed.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord Forgave you”. (Colossians 3:13)

Get encouraged by reading scriptures and applying them into your life. Don’t worry about what your husband is or is not doing – just do what you can for the marriage, which is acting on your responsibilities and always keeping Christ at the top of your priority list.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Monday, 15 December 2008





Monday, 1 December 2008


How to Deal With Your IssuesDr. Betty R. Price
Proverbs 4:20-27 gives us some very sound advice if we want to move ahead with God:
20 My son [that includes daughters], give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence [that is careful effort, perseverance], for out of it spring the issues of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look right before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.According to these verses, how we deal with the issues or challenges that face us in life come from our hearts.
In Matthew 15:18-19, Jesus gives us more information about the issues that come from the heart:
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Jesus is telling us that any time we are involved in fornication and adultery, and all the other things He listed in Matthew, they come out of the heart. That is why you have to protect your heart, in order to keep those things from getting in there.

Luke 6:45 says: For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. It is up to us as Christians to keep all the ugly things out of our hearts and to protect our hearts with all diligence by right thinking and right action. So many people bring the types of things listed in Matthew from the world right into their Christian life because they have never been told that they do not have to keep those things in their hearts and they don't have to do them.

Many Believers don't really know how to take the Word and drive these things out of their hearts.

You might be wondering where the heart is. We know it is on the inside of us. There are many views about where the heart is. There are some who say the heart is where the spirit and the soul meet. This theory witnesses with my spirit. The Bible indicates that the spirit man is the heart of man. The heart and the soul go together. You can only separate them to talk about them, but they go together. When a person gets born again, he or she is supposed to take his or her born-again spirit--the new man--and renew the new man's mind by the Word of God. The renewed mind is a part of his heart and is the soul and spirit combined. It now exercises control over the old man--the soul that used to control the heart.

How do issues get into the heart?

These negative issues enter the heart through thoughts, ideas, and suggestions that are planted by Satan and also by the eye (what we see), the ear gates (what we hear), and by the mind (the things we experience and dwell on). Some of the other issues of the heart we also deal with, in addition to the ones Jesus talked about in Matthew are: sicknesses, bad relationships, rejection, promiscuity, hurts, depression, abuse, low self-esteem, loneliness, lying, jealousy, envy, gossip, bitterness, guilt, malice, lack of peace, lack of finances, worry, fear, overweight, racism, prejudices, and unforgiveness. The list goes on and on. We can't cover every issue, but there is a principle that leads to victory over every one of them: you cannot get victory over your issues or live the Christian life victoriously without the Word of God. You can take this same principle and deal with whatever issues you may be facing. There are still too many churches today that do not teach the uncompromising Word of God. Believers who attend these churches are usually up and down in their Christian walk. They may get emotionalized every week, but they are not taught to be overcomers. That is why they live in and out of sin, committing fornication and adultery, and doing all the other junk we covered earlier. Even when they are in church, they may be planning how they are going to meet their girlfriend or boyfriend and have sex that night. They may shout and fall out every Sunday morning in church, even after having a sexual affair that Saturday night before.

They are what we call carnal Christians, and basically they live that way because they don't know they can do better. They do not have enough Word in them. They will never have peace in their lives because they can't continue to live that kind of life and be prosperous or victorious in the kingdom of God. If you are caught in such a trap, the only way to escape and find peace is to find out what the Word says about your situation, and then do what it says. What does the Word say about fornication? What does it say about adultery? You are going to have to refuse to go down to the level of how you feel, and make up your mind that you are going to do what the Bible says to do.

This devotional was excerpted from Dr. Betty's book entitled, Wisdom From Above, Volume 1

BetweenYou and Me

BetweenYou and Me