Friday, December 25, 2015

The Birth in Bethlehem

The Birth in Bethlehem
Matthew 2:1-11 

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him...

The little town of Bethlehem was a small village 5 or 6 miles outside the city of Jerusalem.  Wise men, magi, from the East came to worship Him who is called, “King of the Jews.” The exact number is not written but is thought to be three from the idea that there were three gifts given. It is not told how God caused the magi to know that the King of the Jews had been born, only that He gave them the sign of His star in the east.

Herod, the king, asked the wise men to search for the Child diligently and when they had found Him, bring back news so he too, could come and worship Him. Herod didn’t want to worship Jesus but wanted to kill the Child whom he thought was a potential threat to his throne. 

Scripture makes it known that the magi fell down and worshipped Jesus and not Mary giving Him treasures of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold throughout history has always been considered the most precious of metals and a symbol of material value and wealth.  Frankincense was a costly, magnificent smelling incense, that was used only for the most special of occasions. Myrrh was a perfume, not quite so expensive as frankincense, but yet, very valuable and used with other spices in the preparation of bodies for burial, even Jesus (John 19:39).

What life changing events our God designed for the world to behold and embrace. Imagine a star moving in the heavens, guiding men from a far off country to follow this phenomenon, then falling down and worshiping the Child, while presenting Him with costly gifts fit for a King. 

Lord, I am amazed  that You orchestrated such a magnificent birth.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Espoused Wife

The Espoused Wife
Matthew 1:16,18 
 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  

It is written in Scripture that Mary was Joseph’s espoused wife. This was a binding marriage that could only be terminated by divorce. Though the betrothed couple were regarded legally as husband and wife, the physical union had not yet taken place. Prophecy was being fulfilled before their very eyes and yet, there were those who would never believe that Mary had done things right. Stoning was the legal action prescribed for adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). Joseph being a “just man,” a true believer in God, had every right to stone her according to the law or put her away by a legal divorce.

What a good and faithful husband Joseph was to Mary in not putting her away. He listened to the angel which came to him in a dream and he obeyed. True faith trusts in God even when things appear very perplexing and are extremely troublesome. Mary was highly favored of the Lord and relied on Him when life seemed terribly difficult and trying. 

Though we have not been chosen to carry the Christ Child, we can be confident that His purpose for our life is worthy of our giving thanks and knowing that in His sovereignty all things concerning us work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We can center our attention on the person of Christ and not on the difficulty of the situation. We can thank God Mary’s heart was centered on obeying the Lord and by faith trusted Him with the prophecies foretold long ago. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Lord, thank You for Your great love in giving to us Jesus, the Christ Child.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Depression

Christmas Depression

Psalm 42:11 
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

As we read Psalm 42, notice the psalmist is struggling with some depression and feeling isolated from God. His feelings of isolation may have come from an absence of fellowship with God or discouragement from others. Whatever the cause, the feelings are real and recorded for our benefit. This time of year can bring depressing thoughts of loneliness and despair. Not being able to spend time with loved ones, during the Christmas season, can become extremely overwhelming to those alone. 

I remember the first Christmas I spent without my husband. We were opening presents with the grandchildren on Christmas morning. I recall thinking, “I’m doing so well, I haven’t even cried this morning.” My children brought out a gift that my husband had purchased for me while he was still living. Then I cried! The realization of someone being in heaven and still giving gifts was overpowering and huge. The act of kindness shown by my children made me truly thankful for their love and concern for their mother. It was a Christmas I will never forget.

Riding upon the storms of life, with Christ as your anchor, will without a doubt give you strength to endure. Knowing you have complete access and pleasure in His presence is most definitely the cure for sorrow. When you rely upon yourself for help and strength, you may begin to sink in the midst of the storm. But, when you hold on to the promises of God, He keeps your head above the billowing waves and comforts your aching heart. Don’t let Christmas bring anything but joy and gladness to your heart. Set your affections on the things above and allow your mind to ponder the glorious gospel of Christ (Colossians 3:2).

 Lord, may I keep my heart and mind fixed upon You with a thrusting for the true and living God.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Surviving Troubles

Surviving Troubles
Philippians 4:6-9 KJV
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus...  

Most people can't cope with life because life to them is just existing or filled with too many problems. Some of these miserable people don't like their families, they don't like the one they're married to and, they don't like their jobs, or themselves. They live an unhappy life with nothing ever changing for them.

Everyone has problems but the question is, how do you deal with your problems? Do you break down or fall apart when things happen to you that you don’t understand? Do you get angry, or pout inwardly when hard times come? Have drugs, alcohol, overeating, or other things been your way of escape? The Biblical answer is that it is God who is at work in you to do His will for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The Apostle Paul learned the secret of surviving trouble and the secret to victory. He was so secure in knowing that God was in control he could sing in jail and stand boldly before the Greeks on Mar's Hill declaring his faith without hesitation. Paul stood in confidence before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa with his life in their hands, fearlessly.

Paul taught that you are to pray about everything and specifically with a thankful heart. When any burden arises, you are to ease your mind by prayer, seeking wisdom and direction to lead you through the trial victoriously. Prayer is making not only your desires known before God, but also your hurts. Prayer will keep you from sinning during your trials and from sinking under the load of them. Peace is a calming affect without confusion or anxiety and brings satisfaction to your soul. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

Lord, thank You for prayer that brings perfect peace to my troubled heart.