Friday, December 27, 2013

The Wise Men

            “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?’” Matthew 2:2 (NIV)
            “When they saw the star they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2:10

The Magi travelled a great distance to see the Christ child. They had studied scrolls and watched the heavens for a sign that the scrolls foretold of the birth of the one who would save men of their sins.

The Magi came to the place Joseph, Mary and the child were staying. Their purpose was to worship the king. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   They received a warning in a dream to take an alternate route back to their homeland.

God protected these wise men. They made a journey to get to Bethlehem. They encountered King Herod on the way.  When they got to Bethlehem, they might have been very tired. They bowed down and worshipped the babe and chose to heed the guidance of the angel. He will protect us as we go through times of uncertainty and insecurity. We can depend on God to protect us as we go through life.

This is a song that has a few surprises in it. The lyrics speak of what the three gifts are and their meaning.
I found a place that refers to this carol as an Epiphany   carol.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Prayer for Two States


I am joining in the 50 states of Prayer movement. Each of the participants has been asked to pray for their home state. I asked permission to also pray for the state where our son lives.

Prayer for Indiana

Lord Jesus;

I bring before You my home state of Indiana. We will be celebrating our state’s bicentennial birthday in 2016. I give thanks for our being able to observe the date. We love the way You have given our state the privilege of having four seasons in which to see your beauty.

Please, dear Jesus, let Your Spirit fall on all the leaders of our state, all 92 counties and all the cities. Our city still faces severe economic trials and has for almost a decade. Small businesses have had to close their doors because the people can’t support them. Our children graduate from high school or college and have to relocate to other localities in order to have work.

Lord, we know there are things that are not as You would like them here in Indiana. I ask that You work through these many issues and allow Your glory to be seen. Please let your Holy Spirit fall on each city and town in our state. Do this out of Your grace and love for our state. AMEN

Prayer for Kansas

Lord Jesus;

I bring before You the state where our son lives, the Sunflower State.  I ask You to help the farmers who grow the wheat for our nation. I ask You to protect them from harm when the weather conditions create storms, tornadoes and snow storms. Protect the farmers as they plan for their crops and care for their animals.

Father, please guide the citizens who are unemployed. Please help their families. Grant them mercy and love on this your season in which we celebrate your birth.

Lord, please guide the leaders and the lawmakers through their days. Help them as they try to decide what is best for their people. Protect the small children as they grow and mature. Remind them of Your great love for them. Do this out of Your store of grace and love for the people of Kansas. AMEN

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Shepherds
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,

“. . . the shepherds said to one another,   ‘Let us go to Bethlehem
 and see this  thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about’”
 Luke 2:15 (NIV)

God sent angels to the poorest of the poor-shepherds out in the fields tending their sheep. The artisans, the merchants, and priests considered the shepherds as persona non grata. The others didn’t want the shepherds or their families around.
But God honored the shepherds by having the angels bring the good news of Jesus’ birth. The news excited the shepherds. They decided to quickly go into Bethlehem to see the new-born King for themselves.

Does our 21st Century have people who look down on others due to circumstances in life? I’m afraid we do. In our local newspaper this past week, a head line and story caused me angst for two reasons. Someone had vandalized the air-conditioning unit at an area shelter for women who were trying to get away from abusive situations. These ‘people’ took the copper tubing from the unit. One of the women who was interviewed felt that situation could have been worse- they could have taken the tubing from the heating system. One good thing was someone working there that night heard noises outside and called the authorities.

Several years ago, I read a collection of Karen Kingsbury’s books entitled, “The Red Glove Series.” At the end of each book she lists projects that families can do to help others during the Christmas season. Some of these were very simple ideas. I wish I had made a list of them for future reference.

In a sense, we all have needs. Take a look around your area, see people whom you pass by and then ask God to care for those people’s needs. 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...