January

Day 1.
Just as I Am

"Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."—Acts 15:10-11

Charlotte Elliott's health started to fail her when she turned thirty. Soon she was an invalid. As her physical health deteriorated, her sweet disposition soured. Dr. Cesar Malan, a famous Swiss minister, visited the Elliott home one evening. "If God loved me, he would not have treated me this way," Charlotte cried to him.

Dr. Malan patiently responded, "You are tired of yourself, aren't you?"

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"You are holding to your hate and anger because you have nothing else in the world to cling to," he said. He went on to explain the wonderful grace of God through Jesus Christ. He told her to go to Christ just as she was. There she would find salvation.

"I would come to God just as I am... is that right?" she wondered.

That evening, Charlotte gave her life to Jesus Christ. And fourteen years later, on the anniversary of her new birth, she penned the words to the favorite hymn, "Just As I Am."

We cannot tidy up our lives before we go to the Lord. Are you tempted to add good works to your salvation? Today in prayer praise Jesus Christ that it is only through the grace of your Lord that you are saved—just as you are.

"Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidd'st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come."—Charlotte Elliott

Day 2.
A New Creature

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."—Romans 8:9

In January 1956 American missionary pilot Nate Saint and four missionaries flew into the jungle of Ecuador to make contact with the Auca Indians, an isolated people who distrusted the outside world. The missionaries cautiously dropped gifts and gospel leaflets. After a few days they reported that they had contacted three Aucas. Nothing more was heard from the missionaries. Later a search party found the five men dead and floating in the Curaray River. All had been killed by Auca arrows and lances. Nate had been killed by a lance wrapped with a gospel tract.

The men's widows continued their husbands' work. Eleven months after the massacre they made contact with the Aucas. The women feared for their lives but God provided protection. The Aucas admitted they had killed the missionaries to preserve their way of life. Through the years the valiant women translated the Scriptures into the Auca language. Then a miracle occurred in the heart of one Aucan warrior. Iketa was fierce. He had lanced Nate Saint. But after hearing the Word of God, Iketa gave his life to Christ. His faith made him a new creature controlled by God's Spirit.

No one is beyond the love of God. Do you know someone who needs the life-changing salvation of Jesus Christ? Today pray for that person that they may find faith.

"Souls in which the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves became spiritual and send forth their grace to others." —Basil of Caesarea

Day 3.
To Describe the Indescribable

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"—2 Corinthians 9:15

The indescribable gift of God is salvation through Jesus Christ. One person has attempted a description of this good news using John 3:16:

For God... the greatest Lover

... so loved... the greatest degree

... the world... the greatest number

... that he gave... the greatest act

... his one and only Son,... the greatest Gift

... that whoever... the greatest invitation

... believes... the greatest simplicity

... in him... the greatest Person

... shall not perish... the greatest deliverance

... but...the greatest difference

... have...the greatest certainty

... eternal life... the greatest possession

The Lord cared so much for you that He gave you Himself. Thank Christ that through Him you have eternal life—His wonderful, indescribable gift.

"Let us forget how much we have done for God, and remember what he has done for us in Christ, and what he is continuing to do for us everyday."—George R. Hendrick

Day 4.
Temporal Building vs. True Security

"I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.? I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them."—Ecclesiastes 2:4-5

A. J. Gordon was a leading evangelical Christian minister at the end of the nineteenth century and founded what is now known as Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Seminary. He helped compile two hymnals and wrote the favorite hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee."

Once he noticed that if you tear down a sparrow's nest the little bird will build again in the same place. However if you pull the nest down several times the bird will catch on and seek a new location less vulnerable to attack. Gordon observed that Christians are not always so wise. They form dwelling places of happiness and hope that are built on the values of this world only to see them "pulled down" time and time again. Yet after each brief interval of destruction they rebuild in the same manner and make no significant changes in their lives. They fail to realize that through their disappointments the Lord is calling them to put their security in Him; to set their sights heavenward.

Building gives us a sense of accomplishment and security, but even the grandest monuments on earth are temporal and vulnerable. Our true security rests with Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible. Are you spending too much energy on projects that one day will rust or decay? Today in prayer give thanks to Christ that you can securely rest in Him.

"It is not enough to be busy... the the question is: what are we busy about?"—Henry David Thoreau

Day 5.
Spontaneous Combustion

"Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips."—Ecclesiastes 10:12

The following is a definition of spontaneous combustion as given by John Machnick, an engineer for the Travelers Insurance Company: "Under a variety of conditions, the temperature of certain materials can increase without drawing heat from surroundings. If the temperature of the material reaches its ignition temperature, spontaneous ignition is said to occur. In most cases, spontaneous heating occurs when a material reacts with oxygen from the air...

"Cotton rags soaked in linseed oil are very susceptible to spontaneous ignition. This is because the reaction of oxygen and linseed oil (oxidation) is fairly rapid and evolves considerable heat. Spontaneous ignition of the cotton rags can be prevented by restricting the amount of oxygen reaching the rags (placed in sealed metal container) or by providing sufficient ventilation (hanging on a clothesline) to quickly dissipate the heat."

Spontaneous combustion can occur if you let sin soak into your life. Only the foolish fail to deal with sin. Are you allowing sin to soak into your life? Today confess any sin to Christ and ask Him for His gracious forgiveness.

"Sensible talk meets with approval in a stable society, but there is a destructive talk that degrades."—J. Stafford Wright

Day 6.
The Nature of Light

"But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."—Ephesians 5:13-14

For centuries people have struggled to explain the nature of light. For Aristotle light was a state or a quality of an object which was acquired all at once from a luminous object. Descartes believed that the propagation of light was instantaneous. In his view light was beyond speed. Fermat refuted Descartes and proposed that light traveled in time. Light did move but extremely fast beyond measure.

Isaac Newton theorized that light is particles—big particles were red and little particles were purple and the other colors were made of particles that varied in size between the big red particles and the little purple particles. Christian Huygens postulated that light was composed of waves. He believed that light was ripples in a medium that could be detected by the eye. The long waves were red and the short waves were purple and the other colors were made of waves that varied in size between the long red wave and the short purple waves.

Albert Einstein declared that the speed of light is the same for all inertial observers regardless of the motion of the source. In Einstein's theory the speed of light is a constant and is more fundamental than time or space.

We may have difficulty understanding the nature of light but we know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. In Him all things are made visible and judged. Are you letting the light of Christ shine in your life? Today in prayer give thanks that God has taken away the darkness and provided true light.

"Light reveals what the darkness conceals. Darkness is not driven away by preaching at it; darkness is dissipated by the presence of light."—J. Vernon McGee

Day 7.
The Name above all Names

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."—Isaiah 9:6

The Guinness Book of Records lists some interesting facts about names. The oldest recorded personal name outside of the Bible is Sekhen—a predynastic king in Upper Egypt about 3,050 B.C. The longest name to appear on a birth certificate is Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams who was born September 12, 1984, to Mr. and Mrs. James Williams of Beaumont, Texas. Three weeks later Mr. Williams filed an amendment that expanded his daughter's first name to 1,019 letters and he added thirty-six letters to her middle name.

A. Lindup-Badarou of Truro, England as of March 1995 had a total of 3,530 first names registered as his full name. And Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra wanted to ensure he was the last name in the San Francisco telephone book.

Jesus Christ was given a name that exceeds all other names. He is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more wonderful, more beautiful, or mightier than that of Jesus Christ. Today thank Him for His name.

"The name Jesus is the combination of all the Old Testament titles used to designate the Coming one according to his nature and his work."—Keil and Delitzsch

Day 8.
Remembering him until He comes again

"For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."—1 Corinthians 11:26

In January 1777 the American Revolutionary War was entering its first winter. General George Washington's army made its winter camp in the heights surrounding Morristown, New Jersey, an excellent strategic position for a four-month encampment.

One of the few comforts Washington sought for himself was to attend a church when it celebrated the Lord's Supper. He heard that a local Presbyterian church was going to have communion. He visited the home of the Rev. Dr. Jones, pastor of the church, and asked him, "Doctor, I understand that the Lord's Supper is to be celebrated with you next Sunday: I would learn if it accords with the canons of your church to admit communicants of another denomination?" Rev. Dr. Jones responded, "Most certainly; ours is not the Presbyterian table, General, but the Lord's Table; and hence we give the Lord's invitation to all His followers, of whatever name."

Washington was relieved and replied, "I am glad of it: that it is as it ought to be; but as I was not quite sure of the fact, I thought I would ascertain it from yourself, as I propose to join with you on that occasion. Though a member of the Church of England, I have no exclusive partialities." The next Sunday General Washington joined the congregation of the Presbyterian Church for worship and communion.

It is a Christian's privilege to remember Christ at His table. Today give thanks to Him for this celebration and seek to celebrate it regularly.

"It is a pledge of the Lord's return. As it points backward to his death, so does it also point forward to that marriage supper where He, the returning Bridegroom, will entertain his bride clothed in white array."—Johann Peter Lange

Day 9.
The Hand of Prayer

"I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing."—1 Timothy 2:8

A hand can be clenched in anger or used for prayer. The index finger represents those who point the way to Christ. This would include ministers and pastors, missionaries and Sunday school teachers. The middle finger is the tallest of the fingers and represents those who have authority. This finger represents the president, Congress, the governor, and all who are our leaders throughout the world. The third finger, sometimes called the ring finger, is the weakest of the three larger fingers. We are to remember those who are helpless, homeless, ill, poor, and less fortunate than us. The smallest finger represents my own needs and those of my family, friends, and neighbors. The one digit that can easily touch all of the fingers is the thumb. The thumb represents prayer. As the thumb touches each of the different fingers, we can remember to pray for those who Christ has brought to mind.

The next time you feel your hands clenching into a fist, extend them to Jesus Christ instead. Which "finger" is causing the anger? Touch it with your thumb and pray. Christ is faithful to give you wisdom.

"No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."—George Jean Nathan

Day 10.
A Full Life of Contentment

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."—1 Timothy 6:6-8

Henry Martyn was born in 1781, studied at Cambridge and at age twenty was the top undergraduate in mathematics. However, the awards and recognition he received from mathematics left him with a hollow feeling. Charles Simeon, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, encouraged Martyn to become a missionary. After reading of the life of David Brainerd, he resolved to go to India as a missionary.

Arriving in India at age twenty-four, Martyn prayed, "Lord, let me burn out for You." Before his death at age thirty-one, Henry Martyn had translated the New Testament into Hindi and Persian. He also revised an earlier Arabic version of the New Testament, translated the Book of Psalms into Persian, and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer into Hindi. In 1812 Henry Martyn died. In his diary he expressed a deep love and devotion to Jesus Christ and contentment in serving God.

We come into the world with nothing and we leave in the same manner. Today in prayer turn your life over to Jesus Christ. Know that He will provide the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. Ask Him to grant you contentment as you live a full life for Him.

"Contentment makes much of little; greed makes little of much. Contentment is the poor man's riches and desire the rich man's poverty."—John Quincy Adams