A Christian Journey

Archive for December, 2013

He Who Merely Hears

“But he who merely hears and does not practice doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the torrent burst, and immediately it collapsed and fell, and the breaking and ruin of that house was great.”  Luke 6:49

Jesus came to give us eternal life but He also came to teach us how to enjoy the life we have here.  He was a servant Who came to take care of others.  He healed and met others needs, we are to be servants like Him.

In today’s verse He tells us that WE must do what He did.   Now no one I know has healing power in his or her hands, but we have the healing power of prayer in His name.   We must not merely sit in the pews every Sunday and listen to the preacher share God’s word, or even read it daily ourselves without putting what we read or hear into practice.  Look around you and the people you know, are there any needs you can meet?  We must go about doing good as He did, and not just to family and friends but to strangers.

Oh, one additional benefit of doing this is that when you think about others it gets your mind off yourself and you will feel a lot better.

What Is Your Response

“Then Herod, when he realized that he had been misled by the wise men, was furiously enraged, and he sent and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that territory who were two years old and under, reckoning according to the date which he had investigated diligently and had learned exactly from the wise men.”  Matthew 2:16

The last character in the story of Jesus birth is King Herod.  Oh what power does to people!  Herod was so consumed with power and riches he wanted to exterminate any challenge to that even if it meant killing innocent children. 

This one is easy. What was Herod’s response to Jesus – kill Him!  Those today who are so drastically opposed to Jesus and God try to do that in our culture.

What is your response?

What Is Your Response

“And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn, and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.”   Luke 2:7   Amplified

The verse above tells about Jesus being put in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals.  From that we have gotten the story that He was born in a stable, where animals reside.  The verse above afirms this saying there was no room for them in the inn.  Though the innkeeper is not named we know he existed because someone had to run the inn.  Remember too that a decree had gone out from Rome that all the people had to register in the town of their birth.  Accordingly, Bethlehem had an influx of travelers coming there, so the innkeeper likely had a full house.  When Joseph and Mary arrive they go to the inn, but they are turned away even though the innkeeper likely knew Mary was pregnant.

The focus today on the innkeeper is, as with the others, his response to Christ’s birth.  Of all those involved he may be the only one who did not know about the star, the wise men, the angels or the prophecy.  Let’s ask the question though, did he even seek any of that information?  You would think if there was a huge star shining over Bethlehem he might have heard about it or asked about it.  Like we often get in our lives, though, he was likely too busy to stop and look into it any more.  Not only did he not have room in his inn he had no room in his heart either, he was too consumed with his business.

What is your response, now that you know?

What Is Your Response

“And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning the Child.  And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them.”    Luke 2:17-18

The third group of people involved in Christ’s birth are the shepherds.  There isn’t one particular person mentioned, the shepherds are always referred to as them, in the story.   I think the reason the angel appeared to them was because of the great Shepherd Himself.  Plus shepherds were very plain, outdoors, working people, they weren’t on the lowest rung of the ladder, but they were pretty close.  Sometimes social status and education cause us to be more skeptical to believe.

They were initially frightened by not just one angel but an army of angels, then they talked about what happened and went to see the Messiah that they were told about.  I’m sure in that group there were some skeptics, there always is, but the believers prevailed – yay!!

Our scripture today tells the rest of the story – they saw and they told.

What is your response to being told about the Messiah?

What Is Your Response?

“And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh.”    Matthew 2:11

The three wise men, we all know about them, they are key figures in the Christmas story.  These men are known for always looking for spiritual activity, they studied the stars and God’s movement.  When they saw the star that was leading them to Bethlehem they knew something big was about to happen.  They were looking. 

So where are we?  Are we looking on a daily basis for God moving in our life and around us? 

The wise men gave gifts of gold (a precious metal), frankincense (a resin from trees) and myrrh (an essential oil).   It is believed these items were all very valuable and helped sustain the family for quite some time especially when they escaped into Egypt to get away from Herod.

The wise men’s response to Jesus’ coming was to search Him out, worship Him and offer gifts.  We can do the same and our gift to Him is our self.

What is your response?

What Is Your Response?

“And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:47

How did you receive the good news of Jesus coming?  This week we will look at the people involved when Jesus was born and their reaction to His birth.

First, there were those closest to Jesus who welcomed Him.  The verse today is Mary speaking, the scriptures say she was blessed among all women for being chosen to be the Messiah’s mother.  We can also look at Joseph, who questioned how a virgin could conceive a baby, but then trusted God with it, took Mary as his wife, and raised Jesus as his son.

To be one who welcomes Jesus we must have faith and believe God.

What is your response?

In Favor

“And Jesus increased in wisdom, in broad and full understanding, and in stature and years, and in favor with God and man.”         Luke 2:52

Sometimes I wonder how He could just lie in a manger and cry, or do all the other things a newborn does since He was God.  I believe Jesus grew up just like any of us did.   At some point though, He became aware of Who His real Father was and what His real purpose was.  The scriptures say when He was 12 years old He told His earthly parents that He needed to be doing His Father’s business. 

Today’s verse is shortly after the above statement, and it indicates that he matured into that full purpose we see when He turns 30.  Think about your own growth from 12 to 30.  Did you increase in wisdom, full understanding, and favor with God and man?   For Jesus this was all so much deeper because He came to save the rest of us from ourselves.