Jesus arrival is so exciting.
Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
How happy are you today? It’s a few days before the big day and there are a lot of reasons to not be happy so tell me if you are ready to rejoice or are you ready to recline and take a nap?
We cannot know what it is like to live before Jesus time on earth and to have to keep our faith without the fulfillment of prophecy to give us assurance, I think that it would be more difficult to keep the faith if I were living before Christ came to earth, faith is more difficult when there is less tangible evidence.
This guy Simeon was a Godly man, he had blind faith, it had been hundreds of years sine the last prophet spoke and it probably seemed that God had checked out on his people. Simeon didn’t know that the messiah was going to visit him in the temple that day but when it happened he couldn’t help but get excited to see what had been promised.
The baby was good news which caused Simeon and Anna to praise God, they were ready for the Messiah to come and redeem God’s people, their excitement is something that we seldom see these days at Christmas time. The Christ child gets lost in all of the excesses that we have cluttered around his birth. If we keep our eyes on the true reason for the season then we can really rejoice!
- Believing Without Seeing (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- Journey To Bethlehem (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- Prophecy Confirms Who Jesus Is (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Jesus arrival is so exciting.
Luke 2:15-18 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.
Every birth is an exciting miracle but this one was even more exciting and more miraculous than normal. This birth was predicted for hundreds of years, this child would be born in the lineage of the kings of Judah, this child’s arrival was exciting to the angels in heaven.
The shepherds receive the exciting news from the angels and they couldn’t wait to get there, not because they don’t believe the angels, they had to get there because they were sure that this child that was born was a special child. They were excited and had to get there because they had faith that what the angels said was true and they had to see him as soon as possible and after they found the baby they couldn’t contain the good news, everyone that they came into contact with was going to hear about it.
Delays are dangerous and can be very costly.
The truth about Jesus has been made known to us and we all decide for ourselves how to react to the news. Many think that they can check out Jesus at a later time when it is more convenient, they think that Jesus can wait, but none of us know how much time we have.
We need to be spiritually sensitive to the good news, it should be something that we can’t wait to know more about and we should be eager to tell others about it after we have checked it out for ourselves.
Are you excited that we have a Savior? Does it really sink in how desperate our situation was?
The “wise” choice is to be generous.
Luke 10:34-35 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
I wrote a post about the parable of the good Samaritan, and I thought of something that I had never seen before in the story. Everybody usually focuses on the victim, the Samaritan or the guys that pass him by without any offer of kindness. While I was working on the post it occurred to me that I have never heard anyone talk about the innkeeper.
It dawned on me that the innkeeper has been given an opportunity, the Samaritan has begun a good work and he has asked the Jewish innkeeper to complete the rehab on the injured man and after promising to repay him for his expenses, the Samaritan leaves. We don’t know what the innkeeper did but we do know that he has options, he can take care of the Jew that was beaten or he can take the money from the Samaritan and do nothing.
If he decides to care for the man, the innkeeper could:
- Keep a running tab of every single expense, he could be honest but legalistic about everything that it cost him.
- Be a thief and inflate the bill, he could make it look like the guy received the best care and that he was living in luxury.
- Be like the Samaritan man and practice generosity as well.
The innkeeper could have looked out for himself and padded his own pockets as his reward for being bothered with this guy or he could be as kind as the good Samaritan was and help without any restrictions.
This Christmas we need to be very careful that we live generously. Not generously to the people around us that already have too much stuff, we need to see the needs that are around us and look for ways to meet them, we need to see the world through the eyes of Christ.
God wants me to be honest and to be generous in love and mercy, I need to be aware of the opportunities that come my way everyday, and even more so as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
- Are You Prepared? (harvest.org)
- Thank God! (devotionsfordisciples.com)
- Love Your Neighbors The Same As You Love Yourself (tampabaptistchurch.blogspot.com)
- Journey To Bethlehem (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
The Bible is God’s love story to us.
Psalms 16:8-11 I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken,
for He is right beside me. 9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I
rejoice. My body rests in safety. 10 For You will not leave my soul
among the dead or allow Your holy one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the
pleasures of living with You forever.
Since the beginning of time God has been pursuing relationships, it started in the garden with Adam and Eve we see God enjoying the sacrifice of Abel and the righteous attempt to correct his brother Cain.
It seems that God spent time everyday in the garden with Adam and Eve up until the day that they rebelled against God. Adam and Eve attempted to cover-up their sin but the relationship was different now, they had forfeited eternal life in the garden, their decision changed everything but God didn’t regret making man instead he continued to pursue our heart.
When trouble comes our way we think that God’s opinion of us has changed, we can easily think that our circumstances are a reflection of how much God loves us. We need to look at some of the people that God loved in the Bible, God obviously loved Job, he even bragged about how good he was but he didn’t keep him from experiencing trouble.
Psalms 23:6 Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live
in the house of the LORD forever.
The twenty-third Psalm is a beautiful picture of God’s loving care and provision for man. The good shepherd provides what is best for us, guides us along the path and protects us from danger. We can be a guest in God’s house, he prepares a feast for us and he fills our cup to overflowing but the best part is that the guest at God’s house don’t have to leave.
God did everything to guarantee that I can have a relationship with him, I need to take him up on his offer found in John 3:16, Jesus tells us that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) How often do we forget that promise? Perhaps it’s not forget in the traditional sense. After all we remember what the words are, and we may even utter them quietly to ourselves, searching for some sort of comfort when things start to get tough, but, when we look around, we have a hard time really and truly grasping not necessarily what it means but how it applies to our current situations. After all, if God is for us, should it really be this hard? Can’t it just be that much easier? Why can’t it be that much simpler than it is?
That’s the struggle though, isn’t it? It doesn’t come from God’s promises but from seeing how it is actually working in our lives. The words, they aren’t all that hard to understand, but how they apply, how they can possibly be true, that’s the real difficulty that we face. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” At times it just seems like pretty much everyone or everything and the burden, it is too much to bear as we search for the purpose and meaning in it all, as we seek the answers to why it has to be the way it is when the we know God is there, but we can’t figure out how He is there.
We’re not the first to face that question. What were the words of the Elisha as the army’s surrounded the city and it seemed as if all had been lost? “‘Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” (2 Kings 6:16) In many senses we can all be like the servant who cried out, seeing the insurmountable odds, “Oh no! My Lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15) We don’t necessarily see the army of the living God, standing there in front of us, we don’t necessarily see the miracle of His power and glory between us and our real struggle, our real adversity, because we are so focused on all the ways everything has or can go bad, on all the ways that it has or can go wrong. Yet, what we need to be focused on is faith. After all, if it is truly what is hoped for and yet unseen (Hebrews 11:1) then our salvation and our defense is truly at hand even when it is the least clear to us.
We are reminded by the words of the Psalmist, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6) More aptly we should be remember it is not just “What can mere mortals do to me?”, it is also a question of “What can this mere mortal world do to me?” No matter how many times it seems like it is there to knock us down, no matter how many times it may seem like it is there to break us, no matter how often the Devil may come to us, roaring like a lion that is seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8) God is there to heal us, to strengthen us in the love afforded to us by His goodness and mercy. (Psalm 147:3) After all, if He so loved each us, if He so loved the world that He would not even withhold His precious son from us, (John 3:16) letting his precious blood be spilled for us and for our sins then what really will He let touch us, what really will He let destroy us.
Each step of the way, in all that we are and all that we face, God really is there to stand for us. Sometimes it just takes letting go of the things that we think we know, remembering God’s wisdom and understanding surpasses even our own, and letting His invisible hand take hold of us, rising from the places we cannot see to stretch over us to protect us, to ensure that nothing that really and truly can rob us of His peace and comfort if we trust in Him will overtake us. Yes, that is a hard leap of faith to sometimes make when everything seems to be going against us, but then it is a question of how much hope do you truly put in the Lord and do you trust the promises He offers unto you as an undeniable truth for your life.
Take a moment in your day today, look at the struggles and the challenges that are weighing on you. Close your eyes, and search for God’s love for your life. It is there, and it is ready to make you more powerful than you ever thought possible if you just let it. No matter what hardship or difficulty life may offer, they fall if you stand firm in the Lord. It just takes the strength and the power He has already given to you and that you perhaps aren’t yet aware that you have. Then will you rest easy in the blessings of His promises for you.
What we want isn’t always what we need and what we need isn’t always what we want. That is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons that God teaches us in our lives as we struggle with purpose and meaning, searching for a reason, wondering to ourselves if He is even listening. Sometimes we just, well we have this image in our head of the way things should be or ought to be and it becomes such a prevalent thought that we can’t picture it any other way. Other times it’s that we look around and we can’t seem to understand why it is the way it is when we know it should be different, even if we don’t necessarily know how or why that should be the case.
It’s the question of divine purpose that so often gets to us, that so often weighs us down as we know what we want or how we want it, and yet, as we do, we have a hard time reconciling it to what God knows that we need in our lives. The thing about it is that we’re not even trying to be that terribly difficult, we aren’t trying to make it that much harder, we just want to know why it is the way that it is, we want to know what the plan and the design of it is, and we don’t necessarily get why it has to be the way that it is.
The deepest questions of who we are, and who we need to be, of where we need to be, they aren’t ever questions that come simply or easily. We don’t just become people, we grow into them. Perhaps, along the way or path is changed or altered, it might be that it we are affected, even shaped by the interactions we have with others, sometimes our road is hard, sometimes it is easy, but any way that you look at it, it doesn’t just happen overnight where, one day, we are suddenly who we are at this very moment in our lives. So why would it be any different with a God who knows how we grow, how we evolve as a person, how we learn and we change with time? Why would He make the answers clear to us in a way that He knows would be unclear because it was given without any thought or consideration to who we are and how we became that person?
What God promises us isn’t an easy path, nor a simple one in any way but to our salvation through Christ Jesus. (Romans 5:8) What He does promise is that, through the fires and the floods, through the dangers and the perils, He will be there for us and with us, (Isaiah 43:2) never leaving us or abandoning us. (Joshua 1:5) What He tells us is that what we need, in those times when we question the purpose and the plan of it is all, is trust and patience, because those who trust in the Lord will find His goodness (2 Samuel 7:8) and those who are patient with Him will find their strength and purpose, uplifted in His love. (Isaiah 40:31) This is the wondrous miracle of His hand in our lives even as we find ourselves questioning where He is when we want the most.
Remember, it is not our wanting that exalts us, it is God, our Heavenly Father, and God alone who does that. (Psalm 46:10) It could be, at that moment, we don’t quite get how He is exalting us, but it’s only when we put those feelings behind us, when we let go of them, in the blessings of His hope that He lets us be of one mind with Him, (Romans 15:5) to see as He sees, making more and more apparent the glorious nature of the lessons He is teaching us to become as we need to be as He makes all things possible to us through the power of His grace made perfect in Christ through us. (Philippians 4:13)
Take a moment today, and look at your life, look at what you are struggling with, what is challenging you. Take the time to look at what you have laid at God’s feet, the burdens you still feel weighing on you, and instead of mistaking want for need and putting what you want out there, say to God, “Lord, show me as You will, teach me as You must so I can be as You intend for me to be.” Let go not just of the struggles but of the wants and the desires you have in them, and make it about what the Lord, your blessed Father, intends for you and let Him, in trust, patience and hope, guide you to where you must be.
It is only then that you will find the true path to the peace you are seeking, the only way you will find the true reconciliation of your will with God’s to the glorious ends of the love He has for you as He makes it about you rather than you making it about yourself.
Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
We, the adopted children of God, are now officially sons and daughters of the King of Kings. And what does this mean beyond the fact that we are forgiven of our sins and brought into fellowship with God as part of His family? It means we get everything.
Everything? Yes, if we are children of God then we are heirs, just as Jesus Christ is the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). What’s His is ours. That’s…the glory and the suffering.
We’re called to more than just living a good life here and now on this earth when we enter into God’s family. We are given incredible gifts from the Father, but there is more to this life than what we receive. We have the privilege now of sharing with Christ in His sufferings.
Because we’re children of God, those who aren’t may take offense to our disposition and seek to harm us, whether physically or just emotionally and spiritually. We may not always be happy all the time because in this world there is evil and injustice that will not be eradicated until Christ returns. Oh, but when He does, we get to share in His glory. When that time comes, everything in this life will have been worth it.