Merry Christmas – Sunday, December 24 Devotional

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If you’ve ever been a caregiver for a member of your family, you know what it means to give your all. “Don’t forget to take care of yourself,” people reminded me. But my focus was upon Larry, my husband, not on me. Then, God in his perfect time took Larry home. Now came the time to take those words seriously. I had a multitude of doctors’ appointments and Larry was not there to drive me, as he always had for twenty-one years.

Frances offered me a ride to any place I needed to go. Middle of the week? Late in the afternoon appointment? Back to back appointments? “I’ll pick you up.” Arleen took her turn driving up and down the parking lot and then sitting patiently in the waiting room filled with people. Then Lyn, to DMV and back to Baldwin Park Kaiser. In my endless stream of tests and blood drawing and doctors in their specialties, I saw God.

It was God in action in the loving attitude of these women as they walked the path of grief and healing with me. I felt God loving me and caring about me because they loved me and cared about me. John said, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God.” For Frances, Arleen, and Lyn, it was like “breathing in and out.” They reached out with God’s love, because for them, it’s what you do as a Christian.

God has given me a greater appreciation for John’s words, “Love one another.” More important is the phrase, “for love comes from God.” Therefore, says John, “Do likewise,” or more emphatically, “Go for it!”

by Irene Y.

Morning Reflection

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7 (NIV)

We needn’t be reminded that it is not the things we receive nor the food we consume that makes for a merry Christmas. The love of God manifested in flesh in His Son makes for a very merry Christmas. Loving others and receiving love as we live and know God makes for a very merry Christmas. Thank God for those who have shown you the love of God.

Mid-Day Reflection

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.

Value those around you. Wish them a merry Christmas. Contribute to their merry Christmas. Lean into His Spirit and share about Jesus the Son of God with them. Allow God to love them through you. Go for it!

Nightly ReflectioN

Good tidings to you,
And all of your kin,
Good tidings for Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.

As you lie in bed take a few moments to turn your eyes toward God. Fix on His presence. Be still. Be patient with yourself as you listen in stillness. Receive any good tidings He brings to you.



We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Refiner's Fire – Saturday, December 23 Devotional

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In college, I attended church and learned about Christ. One day, a Korean Campus Crusade for Christ staff gave a message about knowing God personally. He said, “If you want to know God personally on a deeper level, pray for suffering and God will reveal Himself to you.” I was a good kid and obeyed authority, so I took this message seriously and prayed to God, “I would like to know you more. Please give me more suffering so I will rely on you more and trust you!”

Within a week, my dad wrote he was no longer able to support me financially. I was an international student who heavy relied on my dad financially. I told my landlord that I could not pay the rent any longer. Somehow she gave me $40 and told me that I do not need to pay rent. Also, she always asked me if I had eaten anything for that day and would cook meals for me on a daily basis. A believer in Christ, she showed me genuine kindness, just like Jesus. 

I expected to graduate, but I got a phone call from my school saying that I wasn’t eligible. I needed to enroll in one more class. It required me to pay $2500 within a few days! My Christian friends prayed for me. The bank refused to lend me the money and the financial office at school would not extend the payment due date. Instead, they replied harshly, “You pay the amount within two days or go back to your own country!” I stepped out of the office and sat down on a bench not knowing what to do. There was not much hope left.

I closed my eyes and dropped my head. All of a sudden, tears came out from my eyes and all worry miraculously ceased. I was deeply convinced that somehow God would provide for me, so I did not need to worry. The tears were joyous tears. I knew that He is my Heavenly Father and was able to do everything and anything for me. Miraculously God provided the amount I needed that very afternoon, interest-free. Who can do that? Only God can. 

by Taishi I.

Morning Reflection

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2-3 (NIV)

Many of us have heard this verse countless times. We know God uses trials to increase our faith and strengthen our relationship with Him. But truthfully, most of us don't ask God for suffering. Are you facing any trials or tribulations?  If you can tell God you are willing to let Him use it to increase your faith and strengthen your relationship with Him, do so.

Mid-Day Reflection

"Put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore." Psalm 131:3 (NIV)

Taishi writes: “I know only too well my own inadequacies in conveying the depth and breadth and height and length of his Greatness, but my desire is that whoever reads my testimony will be moved to believe Him more and be challenged to know Him personally on a deeper level. Yes, you can pray to God to give you suffering to know Him. I know for sure you will not regret that prayer.” Be encouraged by his faith in Him and you!

Nightly ReflectioN

"He loved you enough to send his Son to die on our behalf. But then Jesus rose from the dead conquering over death forever. Through Him, we can be raised to a new life. He truly walks beside you and prepares everything you need!" —Taishi

Be blessed in this thought of Taishi and in the birth of Christ, God’s son.


Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Instrumental)

Marvelous Gifts from God – Friday, December 22 Devotional

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In 1949, I was engaged in a heavy study program of 30 units per semester at the podiatry college when I experienced a progressive decline in energy level. I took steps to find remedy for this devastating condition.

Soon I was in a neighborhood Presbyterian church seeking a remedy. Two things I learned quickly at the church. There is eternal life beyond the grave. I discovered that a loving God is actively seeking to reunite separated ones into His family. I subsequently enrolled into the Adult Bible Class to learn more.

One evening, Pastor Howard Toriumi braved the heavy rains to come to my sparse living quarters. He quickly assessed my status as a defacto orphan when he learned that my entire family had repatriated to Japan in January 1946.

Pastor Toriumi said, “Tonight, Jesus Christ invites you to become a member of God’s family.” I was stunned by this incredible invitation! I deeply reflected momentarily on this unexpected invitation. I soon formed words to affirmatively respond to Christ’s marvelous invitation. “What must I do now?” I asked. I readily acknowledged my sin of gross neglect of God and accepted Christ’s salvation. I then received Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit into my life. On Easter Sunday 1950, I knelt before the altar to be baptized to become a follower of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Messiah.

I now had a new status as a child of the Triune God through spiritual adoption, and the gift of an eternal home in heaven…..truly unearned gifts!

An overwhelming joy flooded my heart and soul. Peace and hope came to this reborn Christian to recharge his life. To date, I have had the privilege of serving in God’s kingdom for 67 years. Heaven now awaits me. I expect an incredible adventure there while being in service to our Triune God. Hallelujah!

by Dr. Ben H.

Morning Reflection

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star

Many around the world find themselves to be defacto orphans. Pray for God’s mercy and intervention so that where uncertainty and loneliness exist they will come to find Christ.

Mid-Day Reflection

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Is there anyone you have encountered today for whom you could intercede asking God to lead them to the perfect light of Truth?

Nightly ReflectioN

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia!, Alleluia!,
Rings through the earth and skies.

Lift you your own “Alleluia” for the baby Jesus born to rise and conquer death and for those saints among us who have served and loved Him for decades.


We Three Kings of Orient Are