Today's Good News

December 2000

December 1    Luke 1:26-28
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!
I am hurting over the untimely death of a dear friend. His family is hurting. As I sit here and pray I am reminded that God is always with me. There is never a time when I sin too great or ignore too long that the Lord isn’t with me. As we begin this Christmas season rejoice with me, the Lord is with us.

December 2    Luke 1:30-31
“Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus.
The unknown is a major part of my everyday life. Developing events often startle me. I can be overwhelmed by unforeseen disappointments. Children having a car accident, reoccurrence of cancer in a loved one, a major mistake at work, a momentary lapse of attention, and the list seems endless. Any one of these things could happen. Any one of them could cause significant chaos in my life. Only God can deal with fear. My prayer is that He will continue to deal with my fear each day. He has and he will.

December 3    Luke 1:32-33
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Jesus is Lord. I don’t make him Lord, I submit to Him who is Lord. His kingdom is not coming it is here with us. But, He will return. When He comes back He will take us with Him.

December 4    Luke 1:37
For nothing is impossible with God.”
I grieve over the many failures in my life. I am saddened by the times I have failed the Lord. But my God is able to take all that I haven’t done and make something out of it.

December 5    Luke 1:50
His mercy goes on from generation to generation, to all who fear him.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Father help me to know your concern and love for me and to grow in my understanding of the responsibility that I have to you. Make me aware of my sin. Help me to mature in Christ so that I am not overcome by the world or my own foolishness.

December 6    Matthew 1:18
Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
God entered His creation under the same restrictions that I live under with the same resources that are available to me. When I pray, I see God at work in my life. The Holy Spirit speaks to my heart about God’s creative work in me. I want to be like Jesus and the Lord can make it happen.

December 7    Matthew 1:20-21
As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
I have had to make some hard decisions in my life. Some of those decisions were scary. When I went before the Lord during the decision making process I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart encouraging me to be at peace. God’s peace gave me the courage to move ahead and make the right decision.

December 8    Matthew 1:22-23
All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).”
I treasure my quiet times with the Lord. I am learning that if I will be consistent in having a daily quiet time, the Lord will be faithful to meet with me. As I submit my heart and actions to him I am learning more about His faithfulness in maturing me. By confrontation, and comfort, the Lord is steadily changing me into what He created me to be.

December 9    Luke 2:1-3
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own towns to register for this census.
I had a reprobate alcoholic tell me that I was a cold person. I fussed and fumed for days about this. Well I never. How could anyone like that know what God wants? Then I was reminded that a Roman emperor participated in the most critical, historical event in the history of man in. I knelt before the Lord Jesus and asked Him to give me a warm heart.

December 10    Luke 2:4
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.
Do not despise a small beginning. God can use me. He can use you. Whatever we have done, whatever we are doing, God can use us. God measures the extent of our usefulness.

December 11    Luke 2:7
She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.
I often panic when catastrophe strikes? Lord where are you, I cry? I am here, He says. Right where I don’t want to go. Mary quietly went to the stable and delivered the king of the universe. I complain about air conditioning, an implied or intended slight, and an improperly squeezed toothpaste tube. Lord, help me to function joyously at the stable.

December 12    Luke 2:8
That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!
Are you afraid of God? Are you afraid that if you get before Him and tell Him about yourself that He will somehow be disappointed? Don’t be afraid. God loves you. Spend time getting to know Him.

December 13    Luke 2:11
The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!
All around us are people wanting to manipulate the system. Generally they are looking for more material things. Jesus didn’t come to give us a Mercedes. Jesus came to save us from our sin. Sin is a terrible thing. It separates the sinner from a growing relationship with the Father.

December 14    Luke 2:12
And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”
The power of God is strongest in the one the world sees as vulnerable. When I love my enemy, God’s power courses through my soul. When I forgive my adversary, the Lord’s power is at work in my heart. God’s power enables me to meet people’s needs as His agent. Praise our all-powerful Father from whom all blessings flow.

December 15    Luke 2:13
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”
Peace is a valuable commodity. When a crisis strikes I can ask the Lord to give me peace. He does. I am immediately encouraged because that peace signals His presence. The presence of the Lord causes me to glorify Him.

December 16    Luke 2:15
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
I lead an ordinary life. When the Lord speaks to me my ordinary life is transformed. The transformation is not because of something I have done. Jesus is the transformer. He gives me value and purpose. What a wonderful thing this is.

December 17    Luke 2:17-19
Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.
When we know the Lord and experience the power of His presence we tell everyone about Him. Witnessing to others about what Christ has done in our lives is a simple task. The task is difficult when we don’t have anything to say about our relationship with Jesus.

December 18    Luke 2:20
The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.
The night was cold but the shepherd’s hearts were hot. For us to change a cold world we need hot hearts. The presence of the living Lord creates a hot heart. A hot heart praises God and loves a lost world.

December 19    Luke 2:21
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
Jesus is at work in my life. I can have confidence that He will guide me to pray about the right things. I can say this because of His promise in His Word and His faithfulness to me. Jesus is alive and He lives in my heart! His presence brings peace.

December 20    Luke 2:22
Then it was time for the purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
Holiness is an activity, not a position. When my speech is evil and my heart is cold I am cutting myself off from God’s warm presence. I can tell you I’m holy and say all the right words but if I am not walking with the Lord I will not be an effective disciple. When I walk with Jesus I will be like Him. I will love the Lord and love the brethren.

December 21    Matthew 2:13
After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up and flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to try to kill the child.”
Divine guidance comes only to prepared hearts. My prayer this Christmas is that I will be faithful in preparing my heart. That means that I will do what is necessary to get alone with the Lord for prayer and Bible reading each day. In my prayer time I will be careful to ask the Lord to search me, point out my hidden faults and cleanse me. I need the Lord to lead me or I will wind up at the wrong place.

December 22    Matthew 2:20
“Get up and take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”
Is anything too hard for God? I can trust Him with my life, my daily needs, and my future. He will guide me. He will take care of me. This I know. The Lord is faithful.

December 23    Matthew 2:23
So they went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what was spoken by the prophets concerning the Messiah: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
God is at work in me in every activity of my life. The out of the way places are used to build character and faithfulness. The little places are proving grounds. The Lord will shape me and mold me for His use. My responsibility is to be available.

December 24    Matthew 2:4-6
He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. “Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?” he asked them. “In Bethlehem,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ”
God does not hide his plans from us. The Lord works in His world according to a plan. The plan is specific for each one of us. His plan for me is an important plan. It is the most valuable plan that I could have. I do my best when I work God’s plan. God cares for me.

December 25    Matthew 2:1-2
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen his star as it arose, and we have come to worship him.”
I need help. Life passes so fast and change happens so often. So many things surprise me. They often defy attempts at control. I began a search for the one that brings order out of chaos. I found Jesus. He brought me to the Father. He gives me joy in my heart and hope in my daily life. His way is the right way. His love never ceases.

December 26    Matthew 2:11
They entered the house where the child and his mother, Mary, were, and they fell down before him and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When Christ touched my life, my immediate reaction was to give. When Christ came into the lives of Biblical characters, they each responded with an attitude of giving. I think it is true that when we have Jesus in our hearts we want to give to others. We want to share our joy and we want to share our wealth.

December 27    Luke 2:48
His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son!” his mother said to him. “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “You should have known that I would be in my Father’s house.”
My faith is not boring. I find that my earnest desire is to spend time with the Lord. The more I know Him the more exciting are our meetings. My Father has me on his heart. Knowing this inspires me to seek out fellowship with Him.

December 28    Mark 1:9
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and he was baptized by John in the Jordan River.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. I can make a sacrifice and not be changed. When I obey the Lord, I will be changed. That’s what God is calling me to do. I am to be changing into the likeness of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

December 29    Luke 3:23
Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry. Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli.
Time is not my friend. Satan often uses time to convince me that I am too slow or any other of a myriad of shortcomings. Jesus willingly served where God put Him until the right time. Help me Lord to wait calmly, patiently for the right time.

December 30    Mark 1:12
Immediately the Holy Spirit compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. He was there for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Wilderness experiences are no fun. I confess that I need them. The Lord uses them to help me stay on the right track. The truth is that once a wilderness time is completed I do not want to repeat that experience again. The Lord is faithful. When you find yourself in the wilderness remember that He will minister to you too.

December 31    Luke 4:3-8
Then the Devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change this stone into a loaf of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life.’ Then the Devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The Devil told him, “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them – because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.’ ”
Temptation comes to each of us. Sometimes it is carelessness on my part. Other times it is the result of disobedience. Maybe it may be for a reason that I will never know. The reason I am tempted isn’t important. What is critical is my response to the temptation. If I succumb to the temptation then I have sinned. If I stand fast when tempted then I have not sinned. That is simple and it is true.

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Clay Corvin

Clay Corvin is Co-Pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church. He is the VP Business and Professor of Admin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the pastor at the Brantley Baptist Center for twenty-five years. He is married to Carol Corvin and the father of three children and has three grandchildren.