December 8

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“Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives” (Jude 23 NLT).

From: December 8, 2018

GOD’S FIRST RESPONDERS
There are those whose sins have so overcome them that they are as one who thought only to play with fire, yet are now engulfed in flames. God calls us to “rescue” such sinners. Not gently, but boldly “snatching them from the flames.” Our manner is to be guided by the severity of the sin and its imminent outcome. In contrast to the “shameless shepherds” (Jude 12), who only care for themselves, we are to risk our lives to rescue sinners caught in a self-inflicted conflagration. For rescuers often get burned themselves. Yet, we act as the hands of Christ, depending on His gospel and power to rescue.
 
Then there are those who need our mercy and compassion. Their sins hang on them like filthy clothes. Let us remember what Jesus commanded those who witnessed His raising of Lazarus from the dead, “Take off his grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44). Such a one may be born again, but still needs help removing the old fleshly garment of sin, which is the old nature. We are to mercifully teach them to put off the old nature and to put on the new.
 
We are to be as God’s first responders, sometimes as God’s fireman, rescuing sinners from sin’s flames, and other times as God’s paramedics, helping cut away their still smoking clothes.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1 NKJV).

From: December 8, 2017

The Lord spoke through the prophet Hosea reminding Israel of His love and how He had brought them out of Egypt. Yet, here He used the phrase “my son,” which made the verse not only a reminder of God’s expressed love in the past, but also His intended manifestation of love in the future. For this is one of many Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Christ, showing God’s love in sending His Son (John 3:16).
 
The gospel of Matthew quoted this verse from Hosea when recounting the Christmas story. For it was fulfilled when Joseph obeyed the angel’s instruction to carry Jesus to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous plan and then to return after Herod’s death (Matt. 2:15).
 
The Bible is primarily about God. It is a love story and Christ is its lead character.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hosea 11:1 ESV)

From: December 8, 2016

The Old Testament prophets usually referred to Israel in the feminine. Hosea continued that tradition by beginning his book with references to Israel’s “harlotry,” even being called of God to take a “wife of harlotry” to illustrate the depth of Israel’s sin. But here, Hosea quoted the Lord calling Israel “my son.” Certainly, this passage must refer to Israel being led out of bondage in Egypt. Yet, the switch to the masculine signals something more. The apostle Matthew certainly thought so. For he quoted this verse as being fulfilled when Joseph carried Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution and then brought him out after Herod’s death (Matt. 2:15). There are over 300 messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and Christ fulfilled every one.

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son” (Hosea 11:1 NKJV)

From: December 8, 2015

The Old Testament prophets usually referred to Israel in the feminine gender. Hosea continued that tradition by beginning his book with references to Israel’s “harlotry,” even being called of God to take a “wife of harlotry” to illustrate the depth of Israel’s sin. But here, Hosea quoted the Lord calling Israel “My son.” No doubt this passage must refer to Israel being led out of bondage in Egypt. Yet, the switch to the masculine must signal something more. Matthew certainly thought so, for he quoted this verse as being fulfilled in Christ when Joseph carried him to Egypt to escape Herod’s persecution (Matt. 2:15). There are over 300 messianic prophecies in the Old Testament and Christ fulfilled every one.

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad” (Proverbs 29:17 NLT)

From: December 8, 2014

Parenting is a holy stewardship. Our children are a gift from God and He instructs us to “discipline” them. The word “discipline” used here could also be translated “to bind, chasten, correct, instruct, reform, reprove, or teach.” This is a full-time job, which is why many parents struggle. For they themselves are so undisciplined in their personal lives that they find it difficult to hold their children to any standard of behavior. To truly be able to discipline your children, so that you know the blessings of this proverb’s promise, you will need God’s power and wisdom. Submit your own life first to God, then depend on Him for strength to help parent your child.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1)

From: December 8, 2013

Our plans for building a house for our family, or for the church may be well-intended, but will not succeed without the Lord. Can you furnish your house with love, joy and peace without the Spirit of God? It is good that you work to provide food, shelter and education for your kids, but who will shepherd their hearts? Who will save their souls? Who will prepare them for eternity? When we decide to BE the family of God, He will BUILD the house. As Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” Let God build your house.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted” (Psalm 127:1)

From: December 8, 2012

We labor and go into debt installing marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors and flat screen TVs, then wonder why our spouses are unhappy and our kids ungrateful. Give your house to the Lord. Invite Him to be the Builder. We need Christ to be both foundation and builder at our house and the church house too.