After the Wise Men met with King Herod and got further directions on where to find this child born ‘king of the Jews’, they proceeded to Bethlehem. Matthew 2:9-12 “After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”
Here we see the provision, protection and love God has for His Son who was now on earth. We know the Magi did not visit on the night of Jesus’ birth as in verse 2 we were told they came to see Herod after Jesus’ birth. Also there is no mention of a stable or animals but a house. (When visiting Bethlehem, guides took us to a house believed to be where Mary and Joseph lived during this time period. It is very near to the stable cave and had several rooms where they could have lived comfortably.) The Magi followed the Star and found where Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were living. The gifts they presented to them were very costly and befitting a king. We see God’s Sovereignty in the fact that He warned the kings not to go back to Herod. God knew what was in Herod’s heart and protected His Son.
As you prepared for Christmas and the celebration of Christ’s birth, what gifts did you present to Him? Did they include love, worship, devotion, service, monies to be used for His work, passion for telling others about Him, or time to spend in God’s Word studying to learn more about Him? Any and all of these gifts are desired by God and yet in Micah 6:8 He tell us: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” God desires our hearts be aligned with Him so that we can act justly towards others, be merciful in love towards others and ourselves and walk daily with humility. Let these be your gifts to the Savior this New Year.
Merry Christmas! I found this Christmas Blessing while blogging this year and really loved the sentiments it contained. May you know the blessings of Peace that Jesus brings, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” May you see your Hope in Him, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” May you feel the Sprit of His Love, 1 John 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” May you have the Comfort of Faith in Jesus,2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
All of these gifts complete the circle of our Advent Wreath as we light the Christ candle on Christmas Eve or morning proclaiming His birth. May you find His Love, Comfort, Hope and Peace in Jesus. May you rejoice in the arrival of Jesus and claim the JOY God has for you.
Have you ever thought that your gifts of love, food, blankets, or money bring back thanks to God? The New Testament believers in Corinth were asked to give donations to their suffering fellow believers in Jerusalem. Paul was headed to Jerusalem and would carry the offerings to them. Paul explains the benefits of giving to them in 2 Corinthians 9:11-15.
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.” Paul first tells them 2 good things will come from their generosity. Their needs will be met and then they will thank God for providing for them.
Paul then continues, “3 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” Your giving and their thanks will bring glory to God and show your obedience to Christ. Then they will pray for you and give thanks for you and your giving.
Paul is showing us that giving generously to provide for others brings glory to God, and thank-filled prayers for ourselves. Giving comes back to you in thanks. Thanks is something that cannot be measured or quantified but received with grace and turned back to God brings Him glory and you good.
Your giving causes needs to be met and the receiver to be thankful = glorifies God.
Their thankfulness caused by your giving shows how much you love Jesus =glorifies God.
Their thankfulness spurs them to pray for you = glorifies God.
Consider your own generosity at this time of Thanksgiving. Do you know someone who is in need that you can help? Remember your generosity brings glory to God and will result in good for you too. At the very least, it makes you feel good to help others and pleases God by your actions, but knowing our Good God, it will achieve so much more!
As Paul begins his first letter to the Corinthian church, he introduces himself and then proceeds to tell them why he is thankful for them and their faithful witness for Jesus. Walk with me through 1 Corinthians 1:4-9and put yourself in the place of a receiving Corinthian believer and see what Paul is saying to you too.
“I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Have you thought about the gifts God has given you in Christ? Who would give thanks for your serving them with your gifts of encouragement, love, peacemaking, hope, and joy? 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. Okay, how active are you in your church? Do you go there with the intent of serving the body of Christ? 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true.7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.Knowing you have faith and gifts from God, are you serving with anticipation of His return? 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Through faith in Jesus we have all we will need to keep a steady course and await His return, are you living like He could come today? Are you doing things (praying, studying, worshiping) to keep you strong in your faith?
I thank God for Paul’s ministry, sacrifice and love for others that spills over to me generations later. He was committed and totally living in anticipation of Christ’s return. He wanted to encourage others to follow Christ completely knowing that Jesus equips every believer to complete the tasks He has prepared for their lives. How are you doing in giving thanks for your fellow Christians that serve alongside you at your church, workplace, or neighborhood ? Are you using your God given gifts to support the body of Christ and live a life filled with thanksgiving and praise?
May this November be a time of renewal and praise for you as you consider Christ and all He has done and given you to keep you strong for Him. May it overflow to others daily as you give thanks and serve Him.