Glory to God

Merry Christmas, today and for evermore, may everyone be opened and filled with the love and spirit of Jesus.

Today we can remember Jesus in many ways:

  1. As the meek and gentle lamb; the baby King (foretold by the prophets and the angel), and as the boy, who was placed inside Mary’s womb by the Spirit of God.
  2. When Mary arrived at her cousin’s house, the baby John (still inside the womb of his mother, Elisabeth), recognized the presence of the Son of God, (Jesus) and John (the Baptist) jumped with joy.
  3. As the young boy who spent his time at the Temple, sitting among learned men, talking of his Father (in heaven)
  4. As the young man, who began God’s mission to save the world from sin.
  5. As the man who called 12 disciples to him and taught them how they were to go out into all the corners of the world and spread the good news of salvation.
  6. Jesus, the Son of Man, who helped others, loved them, blessed them and healed people in miraculous ways, only to be despised, hated and horrifically attacked by these same people he loved so much.
  7. Jesus, the Son of God who was crucified, willingly shedding his blood to cover all of our sins.
  8. Jesus (God, a part of the Trinity) who now sits in Heaven waiting until it’s time for him to return to earth, (not as a meek lamb) but as a roaring lion – the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords.

Let us remember, that Jesus’ existence did not start on the day he was born here on earth, but that He is and has always been a part of God (Trinity) and will continue to be, forever more.

All for the glory of God.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

Merry Christmas.

The Wise Men Visit Christ – Matthew 2: 1-12

Matthew 2: 1-12

[1] 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,
[2] 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.
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
[6] And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
[7] Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
[8] And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
[9] When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
[11] And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
[12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. (KJV)

THE MAGI (THE WISE MEN) Visit Christ

First a bit of background. Magi were skilled in astronomy and astrology. Many were also involved in occult practices and were especially known to interpret dreams. Because of their knowledge in mathematics, history and the occult, they were often called “wise men”.

Daniel 1: 4, 6, 19, 20 tells us that the Magi of Persia were considered more knowledgeable in religion, medical and intellectual areas than the wise men of Babylon. He tells us that the Magi who visited Jesus were not from the group of Babylon, but from the east and were true God-loving men. Nebuchadnezzar finds that Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) from the group of East Wisemen were “ten times better” than all the wise men in his service.

Very little else is known of the Magi who visited Jesus. The Bible, does NOT tell us the number, their names, how they travelled or where they travelled from, other than the east.

Over the years, false information has been added so often by songs, pictures, stories, etc. that many people now take this information as being factual.

We have the song of “We Three Kings” that say they are kings. The Magi were not kings, however they probably had good standing in the courts.

Song continues … from the Orient afar.

The Orient is not mentioned. Yes, the Bible tells us from the east but not a specific area. Also the Orient is far east of Bethlehem and the Bible does not say from the far east, just the east.

Some Church’s believe the three Magi’s names to be: Melchior (Persia), Caspar (India) and Balthasar (Arabia) as being those who visited Christ. The Bible does not make a suggestion of any kind regarding the names of the Magi.

Many believe there were only three wise men because the Bible only mentions three gifts offered to Christ. We jump to a conclusion, assuming that each offered one gift, hence three Magi.

There may have been other gifts presented but those particular gifts held special meanings for royalty and so were included in scripture.

Gold – Royalty (Precious metal)

Frankincense – Priesthood (Perfume or incense)

Myrrh – Death – (Anointing oil)

These were the standard gifts offered to honour a King.

The nativity. It is viewed depicting three wise men (with their gifts) at the birth of Christ, standing along side Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. This gives us the impression that the Magi were present at Jesus’ birth, when most likely they were not. Perhaps the nativity scene was originally set up in a way that could simultaneously encompass all of the special visitors.

Scripture tells us that the Magi saw the Star when Jesus was born. By the time they were ready to leave their own country and because of the distance to travel to Jerusalem, it was possibly months or perhaps closer to one year or two, before they arrived in Jerusalem.

Upon their arrival, they were allowed to have an audience with Herod, the king. We are told that the Magi asked Herod where they could find the “King of the Jews”. They must have been surprised that Herod didn’t know anything about this King’s birth, especially since the birth happened in Herod’s own kingdom.

Herod, asked his own scribes, chief priests and wise men about the King and was told that the birth of Jesus was recorded in the Old Testament, by the prophet Micah.

(Micah 5:2) “but thou Bethlehem Ephratah, through thou be little amount thousands of Judah, yet out of there shall come forth unto me, that is to be a ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from old, from everlasting. (KJV)

Then Herod asked the Magi exactly when the star had appeared in the East to them. This gave him a good estimation of Jesus’ birth.

Herod then sent the Magi to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”

When the wise men headed towards Bethlehem, they rejoiced as the star re-appeared and continued to lead them. It stopped above the house where Jesus was with Mary.

The Magi went into the house and as soon as they saw Christ, they fell down and worshipped Him and then presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When they were ready to leave, God told the Magi, in a dream, not to go back to Herod but to go home a different route. They obeyed God! This shows us that the Magi had full obedience to God over obeying a king’s command.

Most likely, on the day the Magi began their journey home or perhaps within a few days, Joseph had a dream. God told Joseph, to take his family and flee at once to Egypt and stay there until God calls him out. Joseph has shown, on many occasions, his obedience to God, by always doing exactly what God commanded, with no questions asked. This time was no different. Joseph and his family left at once, for Egypt.

In my previous post – An Invitation to a Very Special Birth – We see that the shepherds (considered lowly and who had nothing to offer as gifts) held a place of honour in Christ’s birth, being the first to meet and worship the King. As far as the Bible tells us, the shepherds were the only visitors to the manger on the night of His birth.

Whereas the magi were considered highly esteemed, and when they arrived, at the house where Jesus was living, they came bearing very expensive special gifts for Christ. These wise men had travelled a very long distance for the sole honour of worshipping Jesus.

Regardless of their rank or gifts, both groups received the knowledge that the child born, was the prophesied Messiah. Both the shepherds and the magi come before Christ with the perfect gift of all; to praise and worship Him, “The King of the Jews”.

Divine God

Father, when I started reading the Christmas story this year, it was like I was reading it for the very first time. So many new questions that I just had to study it further. I am thrilled and honored to pass along all that you showed and taught me about the birth of Jesus.

Thank you God for the gifts you give me on a continual basis. The knowledge, the belief, the faith and the understanding of who you really are. The joy, the happiness, the kindness, love for all men and of course the greatest love of all – YOU!

Thank you Father for the gift of your Son; Jesus. I ask that all people (who don’t know Jesus) would open their hearts and would see that he came to this earth to teach us about your perfect love and to be the Saviour for the world.

In the precious name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus,

I pray.

Amen

An Invitation to a Very Special Birth – Luke 2: 7-16

Luke 2: 7-16

[7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
[8] And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
[9] And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
[10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
[11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
[12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
[14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
[15] And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
[16] And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (KJV)

THE SHEPHERDS (on the night of Christ’s birth)

First, a bit of background information. People like Isaac and Jacob were considered blessed to have held the honorable and noble careers as shepherds. The Priest Jethro raised his daughters as shepherdesses and even David had once held the job of watching over the sheep.

However, as time went on, farming took precedence over shepherding. By the time of Christ’s birth, shepherds were outcasts and considered untrustworthy, thieves, third class, the lowest people of all. At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds would never have been even considered for an invitation to any type of celebration, much less to welcome and give witness to a new born King.

People of that day, would have been horrified that the shepherds were invited to witness the brand new Messiah, especially since kings, priests, pharisees and other religious leaders were excluded. So why did God have angels call the shepherds to be the very first visitors to the baby Jesus?

God was obviously setting the stage for his Son and the work He was about to do.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus was consistently seeking out the poor, the sickly, those banished from town due to evil or diseases, the thieves, fishermen, tax collectors, robbers, sinners and all those who were considered not quite fit to be members of society. However, all were welcomed, loved and accepted by Jesus.

So we can see that inviting the shepherds, to be the first witnesses to the Holy Child, was done with purpose. Starting on the very first day of Christ’s life, the shepherd’s presence shows that no matter who we are, what we are, rich or poor, or even the number of or the degree of sins we carry; everyone is welcomed before the presence of Christ (God).

Luke tells us the story of the shepherds:

An angel appeared to shepherds; who were in the same country where Mary had just given birth, telling them that the Saviour, Christ the Lord was born in the City of David. The angel tells them where they can find the child and how they will know it is Him.

Then the sky was suddenly filled with (possibly) millions of angels who were singing and praising God for the Christ who is to bring peace and goodwill to the earth.

The angels, made quite clear that this particular baby was someone very special and deserving of everyone’s praises and worship. Yes, even the shepherds.

The shepherds didn’t waste any time after the Angels were gone. They left immediately and went into Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and saw the baby Christ, lying in a manager on that very night he was born.

Father

Thank you that you loved us enough to send your only Son, even knowing everything that he would have to face to bring salvation to the world.

Thank you that the stage was set, at the beginning of his birth. Every person (regardless of sin, sex, race, standing in society or occupation) can come before Jesus. As he grew up and began his ministry, he welcomed everyone that came to him, never turning anyone away that longed to hear the truth. Today is no different. All those who come before him, asking for forgiveness, mercy and grace, find love and salvation.

Thank you that the Holy Spirit was sent to us to continue what Jesus began. If we ask, the Holy Ghost will lead us, guide us and help Christians to walk (and stay on) the narrow path that leads to eternal life.

Thank you Father that these methods were not set in place as Plan B, but rather were the intention, to bring salvation from the beginning of the foundation of the earth.

In His holy name, I pray.

Amen

Obedience to God – Hebrews 5: 8-9

Hebrews 5:

[8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
[9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Jesus learned obedience by living, as a human man, in a world which required obedience. He became obedient to God by being obedient, to God.

I think one of the best examples of obedience, was at the Mount of Olives. Jesus knew exactly what he would be facing the next day. The agony of crucifixion would be horrific but I believe just knowing that he would be separated from God the Father, during the time Jesus was carrying the sin of the world, was what caused Jesus to sweat blood.

Luke 22:42 tells us that Jesus asked if there was any other way for salvation. We know there was not! So Jesus being obedient to God, drank the entire cup (Of which we could not have endured even one drop). This means that Jesus knew he had to complete what he had set out to accomplish. There was no other way. I believe that possibly Jesus wasn’t asking God to take away what lay ahead for him. I believe he was asking God to help him be obedient, in spite of what lay ahead for him.

And he faced it! He was obedient all the way through to the end of his earthly life when he said “it is finished” showing that he had completed his job on earth successfully. Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection have guaranteed that all who come to him, in obedience, will receive salvation.

Heavenly Father

Just as Jesus learned and grew through his trials and suffering, the lessons we learn are taught in the same manner; by experience.

If we, as Christians, think we are immune to any hardships or suffering, then we need to take a closer look at the Bible. One example where you tell us that we will experience hardship is found in 1 Thessalonians 3: 3-4

” [3] That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. [4] For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

So just as Jesus had his times of being hungry, cold, thirsty, tired, tempted, humiliated, taunted and persecuted, there is a very good chance that Christians of today will be also.

Jesus came to earth to experience the way of life and to learn obedience to you Lord and that is exactly the same reason why we are on this earth today! I desire obedience for you Lord.

I know I need to bring my actions, thoughts and even my mouth into captivity and to obedience under Christ. I’ve tried to do this alone but I fail.

I ask that your love and guidance will teach me life-giving obedience. Jesus understands exactly what it takes to be faced with challenges and remain obedient to you Father and so I ask in the name of Jesus, for the strength needed to become an obedient child for you Father.

Thank you Lord for sending your son to this earth, in a human form, with a great task to accomplish and thank you Jesus, for living the perfect life, dying and being resurrected to overcome Satan.

Thank you Jesus that because of your great love for us and your obedience to our Father, eternal life with God is possible.

In the glorious name of Jesus Christ, the Saviour for the world, I pray.

Amen

2 SAMUEL 24:1-16

2 Samuel 24:1-16 – Earthly Pride

2 Samuel 24:1-16- Our Earthly Pride gets us in trouble.

  • And again the anger of theLordwas kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
  • 2For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
  • 3And Joab said unto the king, Now theLordthy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
  • 4Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.
  • 5And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
  • 6Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon,
  • 7And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba.

People have been counted because of our earthly pride

  • 8So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
  • 9And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
  • 10And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto theLord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, OLord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
  • 11For when David was up in the morning, the word of theLordcame unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
  • 12Go and say unto David, Thus saith theLord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

The Prophet Gad tells David of God’s Choices

  • 13So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
  • 14And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of theLord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.
  • 15So theLordsent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men.
  • 16And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, theLordrepented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of theLordwas by the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite.

Read the full chapter here: http://www.biblegateway.com

Hand drawn picture of Jesus with outstretched arms holding a Bible.
Text: Todays lesson in Adoration is taken from 2 Samuel 24:1-16

According to 2 Samuel 24:1-16 God has anger over earthly pride. He deserves all the credit. God is the one who gives us his grace, mercy and all good things from his bounty.

Who caused David to count the people?

God did not make David count the people. Verse 1 tells us The Lord was angry with Israel again. The people were rising in earthly pride, and so God withdrew his grace and mercy from them. He temporarily turned his back on David and his people. This allowed Satan to be the instigator, encouraging David to count the people.

A prophet warned David not to count the people. But David sent men out to count them anyway. David should have asked the Lord to guide him. Because of David’s lack of judgement, many in Israel died. 2 Samuel 23 & 24 gives the full account of David’s fall from grace and his restoration.

David had 3 choices of punishment

After 9 months and 20 days, the counting ended. There were 800,000 men in Israel who could use the sword. And there were 500,00 men in Judah. David felt ashamed that he had counted the people. He repents and asks God for forgiveness.

The prophet Gad told David the Lord was giving him 3 choices of punishment. Three years of hunger to come to you and your land. The second – your enemies chase you for 3 months. And third – 3 days of disease in your country. David chooses the plague, which comes on all of a sudden.

The Lord had momentarily turned his back on David and the people. David realizes that God is the reason for his success and for his downfall. David understands why he is being punished. People are still dying but David does not give up crying out to God in supplication. (earnestly requesting, begging, humbly asking).

David realizes that we prosper not by our own merit, but by God’s

David offers to die for his mistake , but points out that there is no profit in his death. He pleads for another chance to make things right. He points out that in his death, the people will never see God’s great love and mercy.

However, in keeping his life, the people will be aware of David repenting and begging for mercy. They will witness that David’s God is righteous but also forgiving, merciful and gracious. David will be the living proof.

As David prays, his focus finally comes back on God. God hears David’s cries and gives him grace and mercy. The Lord stops the plague.

Seventy-thousand of David’s people died. The angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, but the Lord felt sorry and said to the angel “Enough, put down your arm”. The destruction finally ends! Once David is told that the plague is over, he immediately throws off his sackcloth (mourning). He begins rejoicing.

David knows that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness but is thanking God for giving it. His distress and misery are turned into gladness. He thanks God for hearing his prayers and for leaving a remnant of his people and land.

David writes Psalm 30 to gives praises to God. He promised he would keep his focus, honour and glory where it belongs – on God.

Picture of monkey on tree stumps. Text:  Not by our own merit
Not by our own Merit

My Prayer for 2 Samuel 24:1-16

Almighty God

It is my joy to focus on you and your word. May I always be in a state of knowing that everything I am and have, is only because of your great love for me.

Yes, I could work hard (on my own) and get many of the things that I may want or feel I need. However it’s a much harder process, one in which I (like David) could become more dependenton myself than on you.

Please Lord, never let me slip into the place where I start believing that I am in control, leaving you out of the picture. I know Lord that everything I have is because of you. It is not because I have made something happen. Help me always to keep you at the center of everything I am and everything I do.

Thank you Father for being a righteous and living God.

In the blessed name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen

See 2 Samuel 24:10-25 regarding the punishment and restoration.