Advent…a Seeker’s Adventure

After receiving the news of the Savior’s birth, the shepherds immediately went in search of the Christ child. “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” Luke 2:16-20

How often do you remember exactly what someone tells you? We have selective memories and only remember those things we like best, that which impressed us or scared us most. But in this case, God brought to their minds exactly what the angel had said so that nothing was lost of His truth. God will always see that His truth prevails. Here are the angel’s words again from verses 10-12, “but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

The Shepherds told everyone they met how the angels had appeared to them, how they came and found the child just as the angel had told them, how this child was to be their Savior. They were living testimonies to the power and truth of God’s Word and how God keeps His promises.

What about you? Have you encountered the living Savior? Do you trust in the truth of God’s Word and know Him as the God who keeps all His promises? If we believe Him, then like the shepherds we need to tell others of the wonders and power of our God. We need to tell of the truth of His love and forgiveness in sending Jesus to save us. When you have had a ‘God experience’, like the shepherds you will be so filled with amazement over what He has done for you that you will go and seek to know Him more and hurriedly desire to tell others about your amazing God. Does that describe you today? If so, praise Him! If not, seek Him and as He promises He will be found. Matthew 7:7-8 ““Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Let us all be seekers like the shepherds were and go in search of the Savior, ready to tell everyone we meet about our amazing God and His Son, Jesus.

May you encounter Jesus in a fresh new way this Advent season. Be ready to enjoy the adventure of following Jesus, knowing Him and walking in faith and trust each day. Ready to tell others to tell others excitedly what God means to you.

Linda

Advent…What is your reaction to the Savior’s Birth?

Luke 2:14-15 is the part of the shepherd’s story that involves the reaction by both the heavenly beings and the earthly shepherds to the announcement of the birth of a Savior found in verses 10-11 “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Their reaction was:

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 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.”

The large company of heavenly angels came to praise God. Angels are heavenly beings but are not omniscient, and therefore do not know the future. They were genuine in their praises of joy at the announcement of Jesus’ birth. Their reaction was one of praise to God for fulfilling His plan and sending Jesus to bless all mankind. The shepherds reacted to the news from heaven with curiosity and a determination to find out about this child who was born that would save them. They trusted the messenger, their vision of angels and the message sent from God to be true and worthy of validation. So they acted upon this and went to seek out the child. Verse 16 begins “So they hurried off …”

My question for today is What is your reaction to the birth of the Savior? Are you filled with praises towards God for sending a way of reconciliation and restoration in Jesus? Do you praise God for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection? Do you praise and thank God for the forgiveness of your sins through His Son? That is a spiritual response of grand proportion to Jesus’ birth. In addition to praise, do you act upon the message of His birth? Do you step out in faith daily to follow and seek Him? Are you curious about who God is enough to study God’s Word for yourself? Are you determined to serve this Jesus with your life, acting with love towards others and telling them about this Savior, Christ the Lord? That is a physical response of grand proportion to Jesus’ birth.

Which is it? or Is it both? Meditate on verses 14 & 15 today, talk to God about your reaction to the birth of His Son. The outcome of your reaction will have a profound affect upon your life both today and tomorrow. I am reminded of Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,  whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Tell others of your reaction to the birth of your Savior; it is a glorious story!

Linda

This is a photo of the hillside just outside of Bethlehem as is looks today. Can’t you just envision the shepherds on the hillside being greeted by the hosts of heaven?

Advent…Do you please God?

On the night Jesus was born Shepherds heard the news in an amazing way. Luke 2:8-14

 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

I cannot even imagine seeing a host of angels shouting and praising God. The sound must have been deafening but glorious! It is understandable that the shepherds were afraid. These were God’s warriors from heaven’s armies come to earth, visibly, to announce this amazing news. The angel, probably Michael or Gabriel or the leader of the host of angels calmed the shepherds with his words and then quickly told them of the birth of God’s son, the long awaited Messiah. Their message to the shepherds and all of us too, was one of praise to God for sending this messenger of peace for all mankind. This peace on earth is to be bestowed upon those with whom God is pleased. Our question then is how does one please God?

Scripture tells us what pleases God. Here are a few for you to meditate upon today.

Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Faith is essential to pleasing God.

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
Living a life based upon His justice, love and kindness with humility pleases God.

Psalm 147:11 “but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.”
Our reverence, awe of Him and our trust upon His love pleases Him.

Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.
” Our faithful actions please God.

Jesus said in John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Our love for others shows we love Him and our obedience pleases Jesus.

May you be encouraged today as you mediate on the ways you are pleasing God and yet, challenged to do even more.

Linda

Advent, Sunday #3, the Shepherd’s candle-come feel the JOY!

Today is the lighting of the third candle in the Advent wreath. It is called the Shepherd’s candle and represents joy. During the lighting the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of the Christ child and where He could be found is told. Joy is contagious and once the arrival of the Messiah was proclaimed the shepherds wanted to find the child and worship Him. May you feel that same joy today and may it draw you closer to the Savior.

This next week we will be diving deep into John’s Birth, Zechariah’s Song of praise after being muted for 9+ months, Joseph’s story, and their journey to Bethlehem. Here are some words of JOY for today as we worship.

Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Luke 2:10 “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Romans 10:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

May we be filled with the joy of the Lord today as we continue to anticipate the coming of the Christ child who brought freedom from bondage to sin through His life, death and resurrection.

Linda

Advent Shows Seekers Find Peace and Hope in Jesus!

The appearance of Gabriel and the heavenly host spurred the shepherds into action. They were curious to see this child of peace that would bring the favor of God upon all who believed in Him. Our story continues in Luke 2:15-20 “ When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

Their encounter with the Christ child led them to tell others what the angel had said, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 They also told others what they had seen, “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,  and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Their experience of seeing the majesty of God in His heavenly beings and the manifestation of His glory in the baby Jesus would have been life changing. It is no wonder at all that they left the stable and went back to work praising and glorifying God.

What do you do with your encounters with God? Do you discount them in unbelief or do you relish them in faith and turn them into praise? God desires that we seek Him like the shepherds did that evening in Bethlehem. Scripture tells us seeking God will bring results. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” David wrote in Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” Solomon wrote in Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;” Jesus said in John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” An unknown author wrote in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Throughout scripture we are encouraged to seek God wholeheartedly.

Are you a seeker? Do you love to spend time in prayer and studying the Word of God? Do you love fellowship with other believers? Do you pursue God with your whole heart? I pray that this Advent you will be open to the Savior and come seeking Him with a newness of heart. He is waiting to bless you, draw you closer to Him and reward you with peace and hope. Paul put it this way in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. May you receive His blessings of peace and hope today!

Linda

Advent’s Third Sunday Brings Hope, Peace and A Time for Praise!

The third Sunday of Advent we light the candle of peace in our wreath. The story of the angelic beings appearing to the shepherds proclaims the birth of the Christ child and peace to the world. The angel of the Lord, identified as Gabriel in Luke 1:11, announced the Savior’s coming birth to Mary, Joseph and Zechariah. Now he comes with a host of angelic beings, shining gloriously before a group of shepherds and speaks words of hope and peace about the Savior who has just arrived. Luke 2:8-14 “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!”

How has God interrupted your life this year? Are you hearing a message of peace and hope? Do you feel His presence when you are afraid? The shepherds were going about their daily lives and then God intervened. I like to call this A GOD moment. In the midst of their ordinary day’s activities, God showed Himself real and powerfully in their midst. The shepherds were given directions to go and seek out this child. They were told where they would find Him, lying in a manger, and what He would look like, a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. The angel wanted there to be no mistake so they would know for sure they had found the Christ child, the Savior. Their response was obedience as they quickly went to find the child.

What is your response to the God moments in your life? Do you take advantage of them and pack them away for future encouragement? Do you share them with others to encourage their faith? As you ponder the shepherds and this revelation to them from God, recall your own God moments. Let the memories remind you of the joy and hope you have in Jesus and of His tender loving care. Let the shepherd’s encounter and your memories lead you to worship. God is worthy of all our praise!

Area today around Bethlehem where Shepherds would have been tending their flocks.

Linda

Advent Brings JOY!

Today is the lighting of the third candle in the Advent wreath. It is called the Shepherd’s candle and represents joy. During the lighting the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds announcing the birth of the Christ child and where He could be found is told. Joy is contagious and once the arrival of the Messiah was proclaimed the shepherds wanted to find the child and worship Him. May you feel that same joy today and may it draw you closer to the Savior.

This next week we will be diving deep into Zechariah’s Song of praise after being muted for 9+ months, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and the angel proclamation to the shepherds. Here are some words of JOY for today as we worship.

Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Luke 2:10 “And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

Romans 10:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

May we be filled with the joy of the Lord today as we continue to anticipate the coming of the Christ child who brought freedom from bondage to sin through His life, death and resurrection.

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

Angels appear- Oh my! What now?

shepherds fieldsI love the story of the shepherds and the angels.  God’s heavenly beings announcing the biggest event in history to lowly shepherds, the guys out tending the sheep in the lonely hills.  In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.   Luke 2:8-9

If you had been on guard duty that night, it would have been totally dark in the hills around Bethlehem.  The only light would have been the moon and stars until out of nowhere you are suddenly surrounded by glorious flashing lights.  I think terror would have been the emotion of the evening.  Before we hear from the angels in tomorrow’s passage, let’s stop and consider why would God send holy messengers to announce His Son’s birth to shepherds?  Why not to the powerful kings of the day, or nobles?  Perhaps Jesus said it best, in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Jesus came as our Savior to touch the lives of those that will seek Him.  He came to save 1 timothy 1 15the world from the penalty of sin which is death.  Timothy wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”  

As you listen and think about the flashing lights on that lonely night in Bethlehem, praise God that Jesus came.  He alone can save.  John 14:6 ” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  

Have a blessed day,

Linda

Glory to God in the Highest on this 2nd Sunday of Advent

Luke 2:10-14  10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly glory to Godhost praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men!” NKJV

This glorious portion of scripture is very poetic and eloquent in the New King James version.  The angel proclaimed that good news for all mankind had come in the form of a babe sent from God.  He would save us from our sins and it will mean good will towards all men.  His coming would bring peace.  Does Jesus bring those things to you today?  Are you assured of His love and salvation?  Remember Ephesians 1:13-14 “ In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”   The Holy Spirit living inside us is the guarantee that we belong to Jesus.  We are sealed eternally and are His.  Be assured today of the hope that is within you and praise Him for coming to save us.  

Listen to this glorious chorus and revel in the majesty of that night and the wonder of the shepherds.

Linda