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I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me!” (Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭8‬ NLT)

By the time the 2007 NFL football season kicked off, disappointed fans of the New York Giants were ready for a change, especially after losing their first 2 games early on. And then things did change! After going all the way to a Super Bowl championship, people in New York were glad that they didn’t give up on their team, even after years of struggle.

Any time that we fall short of the mark for God, which is usually daily, we are afraid that God might give up on us, moving on to a “better grade” of followers. But God doesn’t and with good reason: He understands your imperfections and knows what you are truly capable of. Where we see failure, God sees the chance to bring growth and strength into your life, as well as the lives you can touch.

Be careful about writing yourself off as a spiritual failure. What happened yesterday, last week, or last year doesn’t matter anymore. Live today with the desire to honor God and do right. If the Enemy would take you back for failing, then how much more will God, who loves you with an infinite love! Let today be different! You are loved!

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For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.” (Hebrews‬ ‭9‬:‭9‬ NLT)

I walked up to the grocery store counter with some flowers they had on a display cart. As the cashier scanned its code, she asked if it was for a birthday or anniversary, to which I replied that it was neither. She looked at me with an undisguisedly pathetic look. “So, what’d you do?” “Nothing”, I replied. As I was leaving, she simply shook her head and left her parting shot: “No one is innocent. Good luck with whatever you did!” (GUY 101: Flowers don’t fix everything!)

In this verse, when people brought their offerings of sacrifice to the temple, it was to atone for sin. But if the heart is not broken for its wrong doing, the sacrifice means nothing! God isn’t interested in penance, He desires repentance. Big difference! For when a person is truly sorry, then God has the ability to lead them in a right and better path, being able to forgive and restore.

If you have done things wrong, always be willing to make it right, whether with God or another person. Gifts and kind words are nice, but nothing resolves falling short like saying “I’m sorry.” Make things right and then buy flowers! You are loved!

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You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭20‬:‭35‬ NLT)

According to Fox News, the Toys R Us in Bellingham, MA, is where a kid can be a kid, and a complete stranger can be an angel. Around noon on Wednesday, a woman, dubbed “The Layaway Angel”, walked into the store and told a cashier she wanted to pay off a layaway balance: ALL OF THEM. In total, 154 people benefitted to the tune of $20,000!

When you stop to consider the better moments in life, it usually boils down to two things: Getting something as a gift and what you gave to others that touched their life. Greed feels good for a moment, but that moment passes quickly, usually as soon as you realize that you want more stuff. But to give, especially to those who can’t afford it, a little compassionate generosity goes a long way in your heart! It might even inspire others to do the same!

As you shop this weekend for Christmas things, take the chance to get something for someone in need. It could be an anonymous child through the Salvation Army or your local Angel Tree program, or even someone you know personally that is struggling. But when you take time to give, the blessings that return are always beyond compare to the cost! You are loved today!

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Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” (Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭10‬ NLT)

In the Old Testament, Abraham did an unheard of thing that became an incredible testimony by leaving home to follow God in a blind fashion: “Abraham obeyed God…He went without knowing where he was going” (Hebrews‬ ‭11‬:‭8‬). We don’t know what his mental process was to step out like that, but we simply know that he did. And by his obedience, life as we know it changed forever.

The hardest part of living the Christ Life is living by faith. Believing for things that AREN’T there, trusting that it WILL get accomplished, and even praying to a God that you’ve NEVER seen is really quite difficult! But without faith, we miss God’s approval. It’s not that God is cruel and hopes we stumble, but knows that if we learn to trust Him completely, life works out in a more desirable fashion!

While Abraham journeyed this life in faith, his greatest faith was for something beyond this life; he believed for his heavenly home. The faith to overcome this life is simply preparation to embrace the life that is to come! Live faithfully! But always aim for the prize of the greatest faith, to see God face to face! You are loved today and forever!

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I did not recognize him as the Messiah…” (John‬ ‭1‬:‭31‬ NLT)

We accuse teens of a lot of things, but heroes?! Two were. Teens Temar Boggs and Chris Garcia were enjoying a summer day in 2013 when they heard that police were outside searching for five-year-old Jocelyn Rojas, who had disappeared from her front yard and had possibly been abducted. With law enforcement and neighbors unsuccessful in their search, the boys canvassed the area on bikes, actually found and pursued the kidnapper, who in turn released the child, allowing the boys to carry her back to safety.

Just as these boys were unlikely heroes, Jesus lived among His peers as an unlikely savior. Even John, His own cousin, had no idea who Jesus really was until this moment at the Jordan River. But when God revealed the truth, everything changed.

There are still those who don’t realize the true identity of the Baby in the Manger, whose birth changed our world forever. Your life is God’s way of revealing Him, allowing others to see Christ in action. Let God use you this week to be an revealer of the marvelous unlikely savior of the world! You are loved today!

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But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭7‬:‭6‬ NLT)

Rebecca was missing her soldier-husband, badly. Stationed in Afghanistan, he had told her he had no idea when he was coming home. Then the surprise: “The moment I saw him was just unreal…I saw the boots, the uniform, and then the face. It was just complete joy, disbelief and relief, which is why I fell on the floor and sobbed uncontrollably,” wrote Rebecca. “It was the surprise of a lifetime, me and my girls had missed him soooooo much.”

One of the greatest ministries you could ever accomplish is the ministry of presence. It means to be there for someone, brightening their day by simply showing up! No need for words, gifts, great skills, but just the ability to be their for someone in need. Love is the only ingredient necessary!

During this Christmas season, there will be many that are lonely or depressed for one reason or another. Take moments and be yielded to God’s leading. He knows who needs some love if you’re willing to be there. Your hug, smile, and friendship could be the best gift someone receives this year! You are loved today! Share it!