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Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful, with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained. … This, of course, is what the Cross signifies. And it is the Cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ. —Malcom Muggeridge

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. (Psalm 119:67-68, NIV)

We can stand affliction better than we can stand prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God. —Dwight L Moody

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (Psalm 119:71-72, NIV)

Those who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls. — C.H. Spurgeon

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV)

Dec. 6


They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, NIV)

The Three Gifts by G.K. Chesterton
There were three things prefigured and promised by the gifts in the cave of Bethlehem concerning the Child who received them; that He should be crowned like a King: that He should be worshipped like a God: and that He should die like a man. And these things would sound like Eastern flattery, were it not for the third.

Dec. 5


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” (Matthew 2:1-2, NRSV)

The wise men were experts in the movement of the stars and signs in the heavens. Their inquiry thrusts the provincial village into a cosmic concern. It is not scientific data they are searching out, but a person to worship. True wisdom is not gathering information; it is adoration of God’s revealed truth.                                                                 — Eugene Peterson

Dec. 3


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. (Matthew 2:1, NRSV)

The two names, Jesus and Herod, are in contrast. The general (“in the time of Herod”) gives way to the particular (“Jesus was born”). Kingship comes into focus. Rule is personalized. Geography and politics slip into mere background as Jesus centers all history. — Eugene Peterson

Dec. 2


Matthew does not begin his story of Jesus’ birth by saying, “Once upon a time.” … “Once upon a time” signals that this probably didn’t happen or that we don’t know if it happened, but it is a beautiful story that teaches us so much. But that is not the kind of account Matthew is giving us. He says, “This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ.” That means he is grounding what Jesus Christ is and does in history. Jesus is not a metaphor. He is real. This all happened. — Tim Keller

Dec. 1


Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, has always been, is always, and always will be available to all people and at all times. We are so focused on the Incarnation, on Jesus of Nazareth, that sometimes we forget that the Second Person of the Trinity didn’t just arrive two thousand years ago, but has always been. Christ was the Word that shouted all of Creation into being, all the galaxies and solar systems, all the subatomic particles, and the wonderful mix of Creation that is what makes up each one of us.
Jesus said, to the horror of the establishment people, “Before Abraham was, I am.” — Madeleine L’Engle



Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12, NIV)

Just to think of others and whisper, “Jesus,” is the noblest contribution most of us can ever make to other lives as well as our own. — Frank C. Laubach



Enoch lived in close fellowship with God. He lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. (Genesis 5:22-24, NLT)

By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5, MSG)

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
— William D. Longstaff, “Take Time to Be Holy”



Prayer is not an occasional exercise to which you turn now and then; it is a life attitude. It is the will to co-operate with God in your total life. It is an attitude rather than an act. You cannot expect God to come into the occasional, if you refuse him in the continuous. - E. Stanley Jones