The Power of Acceptance – High Impact Living with Pastor Rick McDaniel – December 16, 2020

THE POWER OF ACCEPTANCE

The Serenity Prayer says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” it goes on to say “Taking as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.” There are many unacceptable things in life. It is unacceptable a child suffers with cancer, it is unacceptable terrorists kill innocent people, it is unacceptable an accident brings tragedy to a happy couple. But this is the sinful world we live in not the one we would like it to be.

Jesus chose to accept the unacceptable. The gospel of Matthew 26:37-38 tells us, “He (Jesus) began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.’” In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed to have the unacceptable, his torturous death on a cross, changed so he could avoid such suffering. The original word for troubled meant to be away from home. Jesus felt the alienation of where his future path would take him. He was literally “surrounded by sorrow” as he pondered the cross and the fulfillment of God’s plan.

But Jesus’ response was to say, “Not my will but your will be done.” Jesus accepted the unacceptable. Jesus was willing to have the wrath of God for the world’s sins placed on him. He accepted that only by dying on the cross for humanity’s sins could we be forgiven of our sins, mistakes and failures. Through Jesus we can be made right with God and enjoy a personal relationship with him. We can live a life of purpose and meaning in this world and experience everlasting life in the next.

Acceptance is asking God to give you the ability to take people and situations as they are, not as you want them to be. You come to the place where you are able to accept what you cannot change. There are so many things in life we cannot change. We cannot change the weather, we cannot change the past, we cannot change time and we positively cannot change another person against his will.

Of course there are many things we can change. We can change our attitude, we can change bad habits, we can change our job and we can change how we react to others. We certainly need the courage to change what we can and the wisdom to know what can be changed and what cannot.

In any unacceptable situation there can be denial, anger, bargaining and even depression. The source of true peace is to accept what you cannot change. Acceptance ends the pain and heals the hurt. Acceptance helps us to stop fighting what we can’t win and brings us to a place where the inevitable is acceptable. What we accept we not only live with we ultimately overcome it.

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An Appointment with Planet Earth – Greg Laurie Daily Devotion – December 18, 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020

An Appointment with Planet Earth

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law” (Galatians 4:4 nlt).

When you open your Christmas presents, most likely you’ll get something you’re excited about. But that which is new today can become old in two or three weeks.

Someone has said that familiarity breeds contempt, but I think more often it breeds indifference.

We can become like that toward the message of Christmas. Let’s try to put ourselves in Bethlehem two thousand years ago and imagine the impact of this message. From Genesis on, we read about angels, prophets, and messages from God that came in rapid succession. But prior to the arrival of Jesus, there were four hundred years of silence from Heaven.

But then angels broke that silence when the angel Gabriel came to tell Zacharias that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would be the parents of John the Baptist. Later, the angels announced the birth of Jesus Himself. This was a significant event that changed world history and all of humanity.

Luke’s gospel is very specific in pointing out certain facts, so we’ll have a historical basis to understand when this actually happened. Luke mentions the emperor Caesar Augustus and Quirinius, the governor of Syria.

He wants us to know this was a real event that happened in history rather than a fairy tale that he invented. Luke is telling us that this is a historical event that happened in real time.

Interestingly, the story of Jesus is not a rags-to-riches story; it’s a riches-to-rags story. He gave up everything to come to us.

Galatians 4 tells us, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (verses 4–5 nlt).

The message of Christ’s birth is that He came to bring hope, healing, and salvation to us.

Copyright © 2020 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

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Long Live the King – Forward with Back to the Bible – December 18

Long Live the King

Read Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Reflect

What does the prophet Micah reveal about the coming Messiah?

A misconception that I’ve heard from both children and adults is that Jesus was brought into existence by God at Christmas time. While it is true that we celebrate Jesus’s birth at Christmas, Micah reminds us that Jesus existed long before that storied night in Bethlehem. Micah says His “coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”

Jesus is both the Son of God and Son of Man. As Son of God, Jesus has always been. He is eternal—a person of the Triune God.

The Gospel of John records this in the opening verses, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (1-2). John also recorded Jesus’s own words about Himself in John 17:5 when Jesus was praying: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Yes, Jesus is God.

And yet, Jesus was also a man. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…” And this is what we celebrate at Christmas. The incarnation. As the hymnist, Stuart Townend wrote, “Fullness of God in helpless babe.” God sent His Son as a baby to grow into the man who would become our Messiah.

Micah’s prophecy also revealed that Jesus is King. The Magi understood this and presented Him with gifts fit for a king. The Roman soldiers mocked Him as “King of the Jews.” In John 18:36, Pilate asked Jesus about His claim to be King, and Jesus responded, “My kingdom is not of this world…”.

Jesus is King but not just of the Jews. Philippians 2:10 tells us, “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow..”. As you celebrate Jesus this Christmas season, remember that precious little baby is Your Eternal King. And His kingdom will have no end.

Pray

Jesus, You are my God and my King. Thank You for giving up Your throne to come to earth as a baby to be the Savior of the world. You deserve all of my glory, honor, and praise. Forever and ever. Amen.

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Giving out of your nothing – Experiencing LIFE Today – December 18, 2020

Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. — Johnny Carson

There’s a hundred reasons you might be saying, “I don’t have anything left to give this Christmas.” If that’s where you think you are, what’s your reason?

  • Maybe it’s financial. It could even be that you’ve recently received notice at work. They’re downsizing, and you got some kind words and a pink slip just in time for the holidays.
  • Maybe it’s material. You’ve had to tell your kids not to expect as much for Christmas this year. You’ve talked about downsizing the home, and they might have to move away from their school and friends.
  • Maybe it’s emotional. Perhaps your marriage is crumbling, but you’re supposed to be happily married this time of year so you’re pretending on the outside.

Sometimes, we stress about what to give the person who has everything. But what do you do when you’re the person with nothing? The biblical account of the first Christmas offers hope and perspective. A quick review of the key players in the Christmas story reveals that most of them had nothing to give.

  • A husband without a home.
  • An innkeeper without a room.
  • A young mother with nothing to cloth her just-born son.

But they discovered that in giving what they did have, they could find joy as they found themselves in God’s masterful plan.

And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul realized his emptiness was an opportunity to experience the fullness of Christ and share that power with others. Is it possible that this was God’s intent all along—that His Son should be given to the world through those who had nothing without Him?

Dear Lord, I thank You for all I am: Weak and empty on the outside; powerful and full on the inside. Just as You used Joseph, an innkeeper, and a pregnant young woman, live through me in a way that brings Jesus and joy to the world around me! Amen.

Taken from Pete’s 365-day devotional book Experiencing LIFE Today.

Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com

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