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.”
We can’t thank God enough for his kindness.
Luke 17:11-19 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Modern medicine has an effective treatment for leprosy but back in ancient civilizations it was greatly feared and those that were affected had to isolate themselves from society.
Jesus used many different methods to heal people, sometimes he would just speak and it was gone but in this situation he told the guys to go see the priest and while they were on the way they were actually healed.
Jesus told them to go see the priest before the healing took place, the Old Testament law said that they were to go to the priest after they were healed. It was the priest job to verify the healing and offer an animal sacrifice but since there wasn’t a known cure the priest didn’t have very many people coming to the temple for that reason. (Leviticus 14:1-32)
Out of ten that needed to be healed, there was only one that returned to Jesus and this one happened to be a Samaritan, the people that the Jews despised. The crowd must have groaned when Jesus pointed that fact out to them.
Ninety percent of the men healed that day did not acknowledge that God had blessed them and changed their lives. That statistic probably stands true for us as well, we do not acknowledge God’s love and compassion for all of the blessings that we have been given.
Psalm 95:6-9 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! The LORD says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did.
How often do we remember to stop and run to Jesus feet? God has healed me and provided for every need that I have ever had, he has blessed me a lot more than I have ever said “thank you.” I need to remember that I was made to worship him and I have more than enough reasons to do so.
Thank you Lord for all of your blessing. From salvation from my sins to the awesome planet that you chose to create for my pleasure to the daily provisions that you have provided, there isn’t any way to adequately say thank you.
It is difficult to hide rotten fruit.
Luke 3:7-14 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!
9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.”
John had a very practical message for the new converts, he told them that they would need to live a different lifestyle, there would need to be a change of behavior that would prove that their conversion experience was authentic. At the same time John didn’t want to get them dragged down with a bunch of legalism. John gave them a short practical list of “how-to” tips:
- be generous (Luke 3:10-11)
- be fair (Luke 3:12-13)
- don’t steal (Luke 3:14)
Take note that the correct process is new convert first and then new lifestyle second. Jesus doesn’t expect us to become experts at living to please him overnight.
You should understand that all of us are producing fruit, it is just a matter of whether the fruit is good or not, Jesus says we can’t produce both. (Luke 6:41-45) We can try and cover up the truth about ourselves but when the produce is rotten then the whole world will figure it out.
I need to protect my heart so that the things that I say and do will be a testimony to the change that Jesus has made in my life. I need to live out Matthew 5:16 so that the world will see good fruit and be drawn closer to Jesus.
Thank you Lord for giving me a new life, I want to produce good fruit as a testimony of your goodness.
If I could just be as faithful as God is to his promises.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship, we will reign with him.
If we deny him, he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.
Trust me! Usually when you hear those words you know that you need to proceed carefully, but not so when the one saying “trust me” is our God, when he tells you to trust him, you can take it to the bank.
“If” is a tiny little word with a lot of power, it is a word that invites us to make a choice, in this scripture we have an invitation to live a new life. Paul wrote this message to Timothy, who was being mentored by Paul, he gave Timothy an invitation to a new way of life.
Not an invitation like some preachers are offering today, it isn’t an invite to health, wealth and happiness, rather it is quite the opposite. Paul is saying that if we die to self and if we endure hardship, then things will be better. You have an invitation to live for Christ and make your life count, the invite that Paul gave says that we will live and reign with God, we will get a new life. It looks a lot like the invitation that Jesus gave us.
“If” means that you have a choice.
Mark 8:34-38 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
It is only an offer, nobody is pushing you into anything, the offer that Jesus made to us is to be his follower, sounds like a good idea, but what does it take to be his follower?
There are two things that I must do and two things that I cannot do. Jesus said that to be his follower I must not be selfish, or ashamed and that I must take up my cross and give up my life. Jesus said that if I want to really live then it has to be in a way that doesn’t indulge my human tendency toward self preservation.
God can be trusted.
Numbers 23: 19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Who are you going to trust in? Here are a few people that would help you with the answer:
- Joshua reminded the children of Israel that “every promise of the LORD your God has come true” (Joshua 23:14)
- Abraham knew that God would be faithful to his promise. (Romans 4:20-22)
- King David spoke of the Lord’s faithfulness over and over again. (Psalm 25:10, 31:5, 33:4)
God asks that we give up a lot to follow him. That shouldn’t be such a scary thing for us to do when we realize that his faithfulness is worthy of our trust.
Help me Lord to trust in you one hundred percent.
- There Is Wonderful Joy Ahead (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- Believing Without Seeing (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- It’s Not About Me (devotionsfordisciples.com)
Sunday morning isn’t the time to be in the spotlight.
Isaiah 1:11-18 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony?
Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting— they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them!
When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
We sure can take a lot of things to church with us, no I’m not talking about your Bible or that box of Krispy Kreme’s. What I am talking about is all that smut that is stuck to us like dirt on a toddler, and how about that bucket of self-righteousness, and then there is that back-pack full of sin that weighs us down.
I am convinced that a lot of what happens in church on Sunday morning is a burden to God. I am pretty sure that he is tired of seeing some of us come back week after week holding on to our pious attitudes, feeling righteous and selfish, demanding that things be done the “right” way. So you brought your offering, you said a prayer, you stacked some chairs or maybe you even brought some food for the dinner on the ground, what else is there?
We get in the way of God finding pleasure in our worship, there is too much tendency to push our own agenda in order for the worship experience to be more pleasurable to ourselves, but there is a huge problem with that line of thinking. It isn’t about my pleasure! I think that most of us know that in our heads but it doesn’t seem to sink into our hearts, we know it but we just can’t fully put it into practice, what better place could there be to deny myself and take up my cross than when I am worshiping?
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.
God wants us to live selfless lives every day of the week and when we enter his house and participate in corporate worship it just seems to me that we should live it out more deliberately then than at any other time. I am supposed to be a servant.
Help me to make the focus of every activity that happens at church be all about you and your glory. My live is not about me and my worship isn’t supposed to be about me either, help me to worship you in a pleasing manner today and every day.
Sometimes following the simplest rules is just too hard.
Exodus 16:1-4 Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt.
2 There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. 3 “If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow My instructions.
Exodus 16:19-20 Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” 20 But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them.
Exodus 16:26-28 You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” 27 Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. 28 The LORD asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey My commands and instructions?
The whole nation begins to complain to Moses about the lack of food on this journey they haven’t passed a Popeye’s Chicken or even a 7-11 store, they are thinking about all the good food that was available to them back in Egypt. It seems that nobody is remembering the fact that the Lord destroyed all the livestock and the crops during the plagues that came as a result of Pharaoh’s lack of interest in letting the Israelites go.
The Lord has mercy on his people and gives them a food source that could only have happened because it was from a supernatural source. Every day except the Sabbath day their food was waiting for them in the morning.
All that was required was some simple obedience to some simple rules, but just like all of us, we are all tempted to take care of ourselves and provide for our own well being and security by bending the rules that God has given us. We are wired to take care of our security and we are easily led astray by the temptation to handle our own well being by any means available, but God wants us to obey, if he says that he will supply our “daily bread” on a daily basis then we need to act in faith and allow God to provide, how else will we see the miracle?
Obedience is commanded (Deut 13:4) and it is said to be better than sacrifice (1Sam 15:22) Therefore it is extremely important, we have a direct order from God to submit to his authority and he tells us that it is far more important than the sacrifices that God ordained as an atonement for sin, that says that obedience is a big deal and must be taken seriously.
I must trust God for my daily resources, knowing that he will supply all that I need for another day on this earth or he will furnish me with all that I need for eternity with him.
Forgive me Lord for all the times that I have tried to provide for myself instead of relying on you. I should never compromise on obedience in order to take care of things myself.
- Keep My Commands (devotionsfordisciples.com)
- Celebrate The Lord’s Day (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- What Makes You Really Happy? (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)