Anna, one who sees what Jesus will do

Mary and Joseph had just encountered Simeon and now they faced an old woman who was known as a prophetess.  There are a few women who speak for God under His guidance in the Bible.  Deborah (Judges 4:4) and  Aaron’s sister Miriam (Exodus 15:20) are the most well known.  Anna was known for her devotion to the Lord and constancy in prayer and worship.

anna“There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Going up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”  Luke 2:36-38

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there that day and heard what she said about Jesus and what He would accomplish?  Her focus was on the redemption of Jerusalem, meaning the Jewish people.  She knew that God was just and that He would redeem and rescue her people with this child  just as He had promised.

justHow is God just?  God’s justice is perfect.  His decisions are always based on His righteous character.  God cannot ignore sin because He is holy.  It would be unjust to ignore wickedness, rebellion and sin. God is just and does not show favoritism.  Every penalty will be fair and right.  God does not treat His children as their sins deserve because Jesus suffered the full punishment for our sins.  Because God is just and merciful, He will never punish His children for the sins for which Jesus paid on the cross.  Anna could see this sacrifice in Jesus’ future that day and knew He was the key to the redemption of all God’s people.

justice__a_cross__by_540_edalbHow are you and I affected by God’s justice?  We can count on God to always be Holy and intolerant of sin.  We can trust that His justice is and has always been perfect as He is unchanging in character and does not show favorites.  God is true to His Word and will do as He promised in Scripture.  He will be victorious over Satan and Jesus will return again.  We have proof of God’s justice.  He dealt with our sin through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.  Now that our sin has been dealt with, it is over and God’s justice is done!  Praise Him for His Justice and keep pointing others to Jesus.  Live focused on things with eternal value that glorify God.  Cling to God’s promises prayer for justice and mercyin Scripture and pray for those that do not know Jesus as Savior.  Do not judge others but leave justice to God. Trust in God’s justice and mercy it is and always will be perfect and always enough.

Linda

 

Seeing the Savior is life changing, just ask the shepherds

shepherd mangerLuke 2:15-20  “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The shepherds had a glorious encounter with angels that prompted them to go and seek the child born in Bethlehem.  Their second encounter that day was seeing their Lord and Savior in the flesh, the one that had come to earth to save mankind.  Luke 2:11 was the glorious message they had received, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  People were amazed when they heard their message and Mary treasured what they said and stored it away in her heart.   They all had personally encountered the Savior, Jesus.

jesus saviorGod showed the world their Savior and proclaimed his work on earth even at this humble beginning.  God reached down and rescued sinners from the penalty of death and hell that our sin deserves.  We cannot save ourselves from sin because we are dead in our sin.  God had a plan from eternity past to save His children fully from sin- from the penalty, power and presence of sin.  He sent His Son to live the perfect life we cannot live and die in our place for our sin.  Savior Jesus took all the punishment for our sin and saves us completely.  Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s motivation for sending His Son and our true condition, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  I love the explanation of why and how God did what He did in Titus 3:4-7 “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Through faith we reap the benefits of His love, eternal life, His righteousness in our lives, the indwelling Holy Spirit, His grace, mercy, hope and become heirs with Christ.   We know and serve an amazing Savior.  Thank you Jesus.

What do you do with the message of Jesus the Messiah, Savior who is the Christ? Are you excited, awed and motivated to tell everyone of your Savior?  As you go through your day, think about the message the shepherds received.  Ask yourself, what am I jesus reason for the seasondoing about the Savior who is Christ the Lord?  Am I telling others of His wonderful love, salvation, hope and eternal life?  If not, why not?  Christ is the reason for this season as His is the message of Hope for all mankind.  Spread the word!

Linda

Provider God gives exactly what is needed. See it?

The story continues in Luke 2:4-7 with scenes that could have been filled with confusion, despair, hopelessness and desperation but God.  I always love that whenever you see But, or Therefore in scripture you see the results of what God did or will do in a situation.  Here Mary and Joseph could have experienced all those emotions BUT God intervened. And Joseph mary and joseph journeyalso went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Mary and Joseph had to make the 60 mile journey by walking or riding a donkey.  The government required they travel to Bethlehem to register for the ordered census. (God provided protection for them during their journey.)   When they got there, the city was crowded with other travelers,  and there was no room at any of the inns.  The inn keeper having mercy upon them let them stay in his stables. (God provided a place when none existed and a merciful innkeeper.)  Her time to deliver the child came when they got to Bethlehem, not before on the road,  but mercifully after they arrived. (God provided the perfect timing.) They had no crib so they laid Jesus in a manger which is used to hold hay when feeding animals. (God provided a special place for the child.)  They were safe and The-Providerout of the elements because God provided what they needed.  God is our ProviderGod provides for every creature He has made.  He feeds the birds and gives us our daily food. We do not have strength or goodness of our own,  but God gives it to us generously.  He provides a way out of temptation and protects us from evil.  God’s greatest provision was sending His Son Jesus.  Because He gave us Jesus, we can trust Him for everything else we need.

Where do you see God’s provision for you in your life?  We live in a world driven by wants and desires, greed and power.  Sometimes we have to step back and look at our lives, what we have, the people, places and things that our ours.   Where did they come from?  If you say, “I did it”, aren’t you fooling yourself?  Who gave you the opportunities to achieve, who gave you the strength, desire and power to overcome?  God promises that He will meet our needs, not necessarily all our wants.  Philippians 4:19 reminds us of God’s power to provide, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  God knows what we need even before we ask as He is our all-knowing provider.

psalm 23 1Here are a few other verses to ponder as you consider God, your provider.  Psalm 23 :1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  Psalm 34:9 “O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones);  For to those who fear Him there is no want.”  1 Corinthians 2:9 ““No eye has seen, no ear has heard,    and no mind has imagined what God has prepared  for those who love him.”

no lackPraise and give thanks to your great Provider.  God alone can and does provide what we need physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Sovereign God, see Him today!

Joseph’s story inspires me in several ways.  He was an ordinary carpenter, a working man, righteous in God’s esteem and used by God to complete His plan for bringing His Son to us. He was completely obedient to God’s directions-he did as the Lord commanded.  He was compassionate as he respected Mary and sought to divorce her quietly not bringing further embarrassment because of her situation.  Here is his back story of how this happened to him, Matthew 1:18-25.

 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

history and sovereingty of GodWhere do we see God in this event?  For sure God’s power and might are displayed in the angel and the dream.  The choosing of the ‘right’ man for the job shows the knowledge of God and the exact timing of the events in the course of time-His sovereignty.

Today as I look at this I am struck by the Sovereignty of GodWhat does God’s sovereignty cover?   God controls all things.  There is nothing outside of God’s wise control, even the exact time and place for each person to live.  No one tells God what to do.  What God plans, happens.  No event, not natural disaster, no person, not even Satan can stop God’s plans.  God planned the time for His Son to come and He will return exactly as God plans in the future.   Do you see sovereignty here?  God chose the exact type of earthy father He desired for His Son-the right mother, the right home and time.  He placed him with a compassionate, righteous father giving Him exactly what Jesus needed to grow in wisdom and truth to accomplish His plan for our redemption.

What about you?  Do you trust wholly in God’s sovereignty?  Do you believe that He has the right place, plans and purpose for your life?  Joseph did not question God as He trusted in His wise judgement, plans and purposes for His life.  He was obedient to God-no doubting of God’s plan or power like we saw in Zachariah when the angel appeared to him.   No questioning of the incomprehensibility of the situation like Mary first did when the angel told her she would bear a son even though she was a virgin.  No, Joseph’s obedience and acceptance of God’s plans for his life are impressive and humbling.  He trusted totally in Sovereign God.

Sovereign-LordPray about Joseph’s example today as you seek to make obedience, compassion and integrity a part of your character.  God is sovereign and will lead you to serve Him exactly where He needs you to be.  Trust Him and He will grow and develop your character.

Linda

 

The Impossible is Possible with God

Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most beautiful prophecy’s about the birth of Jesus.  Isaiah gave this prophecy during the reign of wicked King Ahaz.  He had paid Assyrians to induce them to attack Syria.  King Ahaz had put his faith and trust in men instead of calling upon God for defense.  Isaiah invited Ahaz to request a sign of faith from God, but Ahaz in his stubbornness refused.  God then address the whole house of Israel with this prophecy of the coming Messiah, their true hope, and sign from Almighty God that He God with uswould provide deliverance.  Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”  

God is amazing as 400 years later this came to pass just as He said.  Matthew 1:19-25 gives us the account of the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, and telling him not to fear taking Mary as his wife. The child she is carrying will be called Jesus, Immanuel, meaning ‘God with us’ and was conceived by God the Holy Spirit.   “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

An angel also appeared to Mary and told her“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

What amazes you today about this prophecy and drama as it unfolded?  I love the specific details of young Mary and the baby.  Jesus, God with us, truly came to save us from our sins just as the angel said He would.  The odds of this happening just this way in luke-1-37exactly the way God said it would affirms God’s sovereignty, omniscience, wisdom and power.  How can all this be we ask along with Mary?  The angel had it right in verse 37 “ For nothing will be impossible with God.”   

Praise Him and give Him your impossible today!

Linda