Every Day With Jesus

Daily Devotionals from Pastor Quintin Stieff

Your Source of Joy

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 2:8-14 
 

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 

 

Today's Message

 

your source of joy

 

What brings you great joy? What is the source of your joy? For some, it's material things and success; or perhaps health and prosperity. Still others find great joy in their friends and family.

None of these things are bad, in and of themselves. The Scripture even says to put our "hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6.17). God gave us many good things to enjoy while we live our lives on this earth.

But our ultimate source of joy can never be the gifts of God. The ultimate source must be God himself. Paul says, in essence, "Pin all your hopes on God because he has already proven he can deliver." 

Take a moment today to reflect on "the good news of great joy" that God has shared with us: "A Savior has been born to you!" Find your deepest joy in God and his eternal salvation. Thank him for rescuing you, forgiving you, and giving you a home in heaven. That's great joy!

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Wednesday, January 23, 2019

One Child in a Big Census

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 2:1-7 
 

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

 

Today's Message

 

one child in a big census

 

The big news was the census. Caesar Augustus decided that he needed an accurate accounting of all his subjects, so he made the decree. It caused considerable hassle, as people had to return to their ancestral homes to register and be accounted for.

So, that was the buzz. Thousands upon thousands of people, following the orders of one man.  

Or was that what was happening?

Perhaps Caesar Augustus was not so much the emperor of the Roman empire, but instead an errand boy for the Most High God.

The truth is that God had promised through the prophet Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This promise had been made centuries earlier.

But Mary lived in Nazareth and was soon to deliver her firstborn. How, then, to get her to travel to far away Bethlehem at such a time?  

In his sovereignty, God arranged the circumstances, and moved the heart of the king in such a way that Mary and Joseph would travel at just the right moment so that Jesus himself would be born in Bethlehem, as promised. Joseph would need to travel there for the census. Voila, mission accomplished!

And so one more name is added to the census. A child born in an obscure village in Judea, far removed from the center of power in Rome. And what difference can just one more make to the world?

The name Caesar Augustus is still known, of course. He was an important figure in his own time. But the primary reason he is known so widely today, is that Luke chose to include his name in his account of the birth of Jesus, the one name added to the census.

So often, we think that power resides in well-known figures with armies and money and palaces and legal authority. But, in reality, power resides wherever God decides it will reside.

And this time, he chose lowly Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the most powerful One who has ever lived. No one calls on the name of Augustus for help and salvation. But countless people call on the name of Jesus.

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Prayer of Zechariah

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 1:67-80 
 

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us- 
72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 
79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." 
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. 

 

Today's Message

 

the prayer of zechariah

 

At the birth of John the Baptist, his father is overcome with gratitude to God and breaks out in this fervent and powerful prayer to God.  

Though many aspects could be explored, take a look at this one phrase in verse 74-75, where Zechariah describes the glorious future God has planned:

"to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."

God rescues his people so that they will be able to serve him. He rescues us from serving others, serving ourselves, serving darkness, serving our enemies. He rescues us to serve him. True freedom is not serving ourselves. True freedom is serving God.

And then Zechariah adds "to serve him without fear." When we are rescued by God, we are delivered from fear. We no longer need to fear our future or death or even our enemies.

And true service to God means living "in holiness and righteousness before him all our days." Life is at its best when we walk with integrity, when we walk rightly with our Maker and our Redeemer.

Don't settle for lesser versions of freedom. Real and lasting freedom is serving the God who rescues us.

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Monday, January 21, 2019

God has a Plan

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 1:57-66 
 

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 
58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 
60 but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John." 
61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who has that name."
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 
63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, "His name is John." 
64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. 
65 The neighbors were all filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 
66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, "What then is this child going to be?" For the Lord's hand was with him. 

 

Today's Message

 

god has a plan

 

A teaching has circulated in some Christian circles that states that God does not know the future. How preposterous and how contradictory to the plain teaching of Scripture. God declares in Isaiah 46:10:

I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say: My purpose will stand,

and I will do all that I please.

God knows the future because God has a plan for the future. Our little passage today reveals that God had a plan for a baby yet to be born. His name was to be John. Note that the people of Judea didn't know the future. They asked, "What then is this child going to be?" But God knows and plans the future. John was to be the prophet and forerunner of Jesus.

Today in prayer, praise God that he has a plan for all of the future...and a plan for your life as well. Take comfort and encouragement in a God who has a plan, who is sovereign, and who is working out everything for the good of those who love him. Isn't that great news?

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Sunday, January 20, 2019

We Love Because he First Loved Us

Today's Scripture

 

Luke 1:46-55 
 

46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name. 
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors." 

 

Today's Message

 

we love because he first loved us

 

In this beautiful and powerful prayer, Mary, the mother of Jesus, overflows with love and praise to her Lord. There are zero requests in this prayer. It is pure praise.

Mary recounts all the amazing ways God has been faithful to his people and to her personally. Her source of joy is that God has remembered her, honored her, and blessed her with the privilege of being in the covenant community of God. On top of that, God has a unique role for her to play in the advancement of the kingdom on earth.

Though none of us will have the same unique privilege that Mary had, we do share in being blessed by God, and in being invited to be co-workers in his kingdom.

Today, give praise to God. For the moment, lay aside your needs and your requests, and simply focus on the Lord himself and all the many ways "he has done great things for me."

God will be honored, and you will be blessed as you recall his many blessings.

Posted by Valley Church Communications at Saturday, January 19, 2019