Friday, December 5, 2014

Consider the Wise Men, RJD Dec. 2014 (Dec. 5)

Journal Entry: January 2, 2004

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2, NIV)

               They left their homeland in order to find the Christ child. They studied ancient scrolls for several years and knew of the impending birth.
               They traveled the deserts following a star. When they got lost, a king put them on track again. This king had an evil heart and tried to deceive the travelers into thinking he, also, wanted to worship the Christ child. An angel showed them a safe way home.
               We, also, have to “leave our homes” and step outside our borders in order to find Christ. We have to refrain from our worldly ways and want in order to begin following Jesus.
               Like the Magi, we travel our lives trying to follow a guide. In our journeys we will have times of falling off course and then asking the wrong persons how to get back on track.
               Just like the Magi, we receive help from God delivered through various ways. The Magi’s help came through an angel. Our help may come through another person, a sermon. a friend, or from a Christian author.
               Sometimes, I feel I am walking where no one has been before; it’s at these times I find I am wrong. God has repeatedly led His children through the same ‘unknown’ territory. He does this to either teach us or reward us.
               He rewarded the Magi for their efforts. He allowed them to see the Christ child. These men were educated men, knowledgeable of the beliefs of this land they visited. They knew the proper respect for the Messiah.
               When they found the child, they humbled themselves (bowed down) and worshipped Him. Don’t you think, once we find Him, we should do the same?

UPDATE: By the date, you can tell I wrote this almost eleven years ago.  If I were to rewrite this, I would include something about how the Magi humbled themselves by the very act of bowing down before Jesus.  Each morning, as I begin my prayers, I feel humbled that I can go before the King of Kings and talk to Him, ask His guidance and protection and present requests to the Son of the Most High.      Most of the time, I find myself worshipful as I enter into a time of prayer. How do you feel when you enter into prayer, into God’s presence?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


“In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the child you will bear!’” Luke 1:42 (NIV)

               Gabriel told Mary of her Cousin Elizabeth’s upcoming birth. Mary journeyed to the hill country of Judea to visit Elizabeth and Zechariah. When Mary arrived, Elizabeth greeted her with, “‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’” As excited as she was about being able to carry her baby, she was all the more excited about Mary and her baby.
               We only have a short account of Elizabeth in the Bible. We know she and Zechariah were older, thought to be beyond the child-bearing years. They were strong in their faith. Zechariah was a priest. Both were descendants of Aaron. They knew the prophecies of the olden times.       
               The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and allowed her to recognize her young cousin to be the mother of her Lord.
               In the verses immediately before this, Mary had greeted Elizabeth and, at that time, the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth’s heart and apparently spoke to her.
               Does the Holy Spirit speak to us who live in the 21st Century? I believe He does. He chooses those He sees as living close to Him to further God’s kingdom. Can we listen for the Holy Spirit in our lives during this season and into the New Year? 


Monday, December 1, 2014

The Angel Gabriel

LaVista Chruch of Christ. org

As we enter the season of Advent, let’s look at the one whose birth we celebrate. We begin with the Angel Gabriel.
“‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.’” (Luke 1:28, 30)
“‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’” (v. 31)
“‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’” (v.32)
“This news stunned Mary. ‘How can it be, I haven’t been with any man.’”
“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (v.:35)

            Mary had recently become engaged to Joseph, a carpenter in their town. How could this be? Will he believe her when she shares this information with him? What will her parents think? She knew how the people in their town will treat them. She had seen the citizens of Bethlehem ostracize young couples before. She even saw young girls stoned because of their transgression.

            But Gabriel said that this child would be very special—the Son of God.

            How do we view Jesus in the 21st Century? Do we believe He is God’s Son? Jesus asked the disciples, “‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The twelve answered, saying ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah, still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus then homed into the crux of the issue, “What about you? Who do you say I am?’”

            Sometimes we have to return to this question and ask it of ourselves. “Who do we think Jesus is?”     

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 ...