September 13, 2022

Markers

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, Luke 3:1

I remember reading passages like this in the past and thinking: Why were these details in here?  I don’t really care who was in the political ranks 2000 years ago.  Why is this so important to God that He put these names into the scriptures?  This happens all through the Bible.  In Isaiah, there is a chapter that starts out by saying: In the year that king Uzziah died.  I don’t even know who king Uzziah is.  As I read these names in today’s scripture, I now understand that they are markers in times.  These world leaders identify the time frame that the God events were taking place.  It is really quite significant and in fact, the Bible can be used as a history book to mark the times of events in history.

So why is this important to me?  Not so much, but it does make me consider my mark in time.  The fact that I exist will probably never make it into the history books or the bible for that matter.  But I can leave a mark in time but the people I reach and the message I leave.  This is one of the main reasons I write each day.  It is my footprint in time and my legacy.  My writing will go on after me.  Maybe not on a global level, but it can still impact this part of the world when I am gone.

What about you?  Are you leaving a mark with your life?  What can you do to impact the world around you?  There are plenty of opportunities to touch people in everyday life.  It doesn’t have to be big, just pray that God would open up opportunities for you each day to make a difference in the world you live in.  It is one of the biggest reasons I encourage all people to write or journal.  Writing marks in time that you were here, and you can continue to speak even when you have left this world.

Today I want to encourage you to start leaving your mark in time.  Start by taking simple steps each day to serve those around you that God has placed there for you to bless.  Watch for hurting people that you would usually walk past in the store or on the street.  Give an encouraging word to someone who is feeling down or even ill.  Pray for people that share the struggles with you and start writing down the things God puts on your heart and share them with others to inspire them along in their faith walk.  Your life can make a difference to many people and you can leave a legacy that will live on after you, but you have to be purposeful in doing it.  It is up to you to love the world around you before your time here is done.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 3:1-2

1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 

2 while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 

September 12, 2022

What should you be doing?

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:52

Have you ever wondered what you should be doing in life?  Why are you in this world and what is the purpose for the life that you have been given?  Many people and I would even say most people live their whole life and die never knowing what they were placed here for in the first place.

Is verse 49 of Luke chapter 2, Jesus told His parents He was to be doing the work His Father in heaven sent Him here to do.  In today’s scripture, verse 52, it says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.  It doesn’t tell us exactly how He did that, but we know from Jewish culture that Hebrew boys went to torah school to learn the scriptures.  This certainly was one way He grew in wisdom since wisdom comes from God, it makes sense that it is in His Word.  He also submitted Himself to His parents which shows that He had a good attitude and learned much about living a pure and godly life of following the plan of God.  He had younger siblings that He helped out with in the household enabling Him to serve others in humility and love.  These are all things that helped Him to grow in favor not only with others but also with God. 

Lastly, He waited until He was released into ministry before He started really impacting the world around Him.  It didn’t happen until He was 30 years old, so all that time, He worked in His Father’s trade and helped care for His family through that season.  It wasn’t until His mother asked Him to do a public miracle at the wedding in Canaan that He stepped into the ministry of reaching the world around Him for all to see.

The point is these areas are all things we can and should be doing:  It is God’s will and God’s plan for us to grow in wisdom daily.  The God kind of wisdom.  It is His will and intention for us to have a good reputation and standing in our community which represents our stature and it is His idea for us to have favor with others, which gives us influence in our surroundings.  This is God’s will, plan and purpose for our lives and these are the things that we are to pursue every day that we breathe.

Today I want to encourage you to grow in wisdom and stature.  Start out your day by spending quiet time pressing into your Father in heaven and seek His wisdom for the day.  Ask Him to make His path clear and plain that you can be following and to open the doors for you to have favor with others.  Begin to make adjustments in your attitude when we recognize yourself slipping into complaining and talking about others and solidify your reputation be being kind to those around you and serving people at every opportunity.  Stop wondering what you should be doing in this life and start following the example of the One who called you. Get on His path by growing in wisdom, stature and favor today.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:51-52

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

September 11, 2022

Submit yourself

Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.  Luke 2:51

When Jesus was twelve years old, He went to the temple in Jerusalem with His family for the Feast of Passover.  They did this every year, so by this time Jesus knew what to expect and that they would all leave to go home at the same time.  This year however, Jesus didn’t leave with the group as He did every year before.  He stayed behind to have discussions with the teachers of that day.  He was listening and asking questions and they were amazed at His understanding and answers.  After that, the scripture says He went home with His family, submitted Himself to His parent’s authority, and increased in wisdom.  Earlier in the chapter in verse 40, right after His circumcision at eight days old it says, “Jesus was filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”  He was filled with wisdom at eight days old, yet at twelve years old He increased in wisdom.  At each age, His capacity to receive wisdom had increased, therefore, He was always increasing in the wisdom of God. 

If Jesus needed to increase in wisdom, how much more do we need to?  Our capacity for learning is always increasing, therefore we always have more room for wisdom.  So, how do we increase in wisdom?  Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility (submission).” The foundation of wisdom is God!  Jesus stayed in Jerusalem to listen and ask questions of those who spent time with God.  Those who were dedicated to studying and meditating on the things of heaven.  He also humbled Himself by subjecting/submitting to the authority of His parents.  He didn’t say, “No, I’m God in the flesh, I know more than my parents do and I will do what I think is best.”  He honored God and humbled Himself, as we should do, also.

Today I want to encourage you to increase in wisdom. Start by submitting yourself.  Submit to God and His Word.  Make God the foundation of every step and decision you make.  Look to Him and His Word for wisdom when you don’t know the right thing to do.  Next submit to the authorities in your life.  Whether it’s your spouse, pastor, government, boss and all others, humble yourself and truly submit and honor all people in your life.  Today let’s follow the example Jesus gave us and grow in the grace of God!  Then you will see the results Jesus did of growing in favor with God and man.

Today’s scripture reading:  Luke 2:39-52

39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 

40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 

42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 

43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 

44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 

45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 

46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 

47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 

48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 

50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

September 10, 2022

We have the easy part

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

I have heard this story and read this scripture many times in my life, but today I saw something new.  My perception of this passage has always been: Yes, Jesus came into the world to do His Father’s business.  It was when He was twelve years old when He became aware of His purpose and who He was as the Son of God.  However, now I am asking myself the question of: Isn’t it also my purpose to be about my Father’s business?

This verse is almost used as an exclusion of Jesus being the only One sent to do His Father’s work, but the reality is that all of us that are born again and saved by the blood of the Lamb are children of God.  Romans says that He (Jesus) was the first born of many brethren. (see Romans 8:29) We are God’s family and as His people, we are to be about His business, His plan and His purpose.

So the question is:  How do we make our lives be about God’s business?  How do we get in line and know what our Father in heaven’s business is?  The answer is in Jesus final words to His disciples when He left this world.  He said: Go into all the world and make disciples! (See Matthew 28:19-20) God’s business is training people in God’s business.  Yes, we want to lead others to His saving grace, but it doesn’t stop there.  Then we are to walk through life with them training and helping them to grow in that grace.  Jesus came to do God’s business of being the sacrifice for the sin of the world for salvation. That was the hard part of the business, the start of work.  Now God’s business is easier.  We get to tell and help others know the way, find the light and then walk in it.  It is the greatest honor in life to be in the God business and when you are in His business, you will experience the greatest joy, satisfaction and contentment in it.

Today I want to encourage you to get in your Father’s business.  If you have received His great salvation and have become a child of God, start telling others about it.  If you have never become a disciple, which simply means following the ways of God, turn your life around today and start walking in His ways.  Maybe you have notice that something is missing in your life and have tried many different things, people, jobs or activities to fill that void?  The truth is that empty space was created in you for God, and He is the only one that can fill it as you begin to follow Him.  Trust Him today and start being about His business by telling others how they can fill the void in their lives by joining God family.  Now you are on to something good, something that counts and something that will last for all eternity.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:41-52

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 

42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 

43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 

44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 

45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 

46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 

47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 

48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

September 9, 2022

Make an Appointment

Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. Luke 2:37

Do you take time to pray each day?  I’m not talking about a few words as you drive or some simple prayer thoughts as you do your work.  I’m talking about setting time aside, on purpose to praise and worship, seek direction, make request and then listen for any wisdom God wants to speak to your heart.  If you do, that is awesome!  It is such a refreshing for your soul and an important element to your success in life.  If you don’t, let me encourage you that it will change your life.

In the scripture reading today, we read about Anna, a woman who worshiped God, day and night with prayer and fasting.  She had chosen to give her life to serving in the temple and had been there for over 50 years.  She had dedicated her life to God when she became a widow.  She depended on Him to take care of her needs and offered up her life in service to God daily.  She was there the day Jesus came and she spoke blessings over Him and talk about Him to everyone who had been waiting for God to rescue Jerusalem.  She was in the right place at the right time, because she continually pressed into God with prayer and fasting.

You can be in the right place at the right time, too.  By making time with God a priority in your day, everyday, you will be in tune with the things His is doing and the places He is moving.  You won’t miss any opportunities and when you do mess up, He will quickly get you back on track as you surrender and commit all your ways to Him.  God wants to partner with you each day and bring heaven into this world through your prayer for people, circumstances and events.  He has a good plan for you to be involved in, but you have to make yourself available.  You can be a part of God’s supernatural activities, but it is up to you to spend time getting the plan.

Today I want to encourage you to make an appointment with God.  Schedule a time to get alone with Him each day.  If you are not sure where you can fit it into your schedule, as Him to reveal the best time to get away and then make adjustments when He shows you.  I recommend getting up a little earlier than usual so that you can honor Him with the first part of your day.  It is usually the quietest time if you live in a household with others because everyone else is still sleeping.  When you begin to consistently seek Him first and His righteous ways, He will begin to trust you with the secret things He is working on.  Your relationship with God is based on how much you trust and believe the things He has promised and also how much He can trust you to keep your appointments with Him each day.  Start today to press into your part of God’s mission to rescue people from the deceptions of this life and suddenly, your life will have meaning, purpose and true satisfaction.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:36-40

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 

37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 

38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

39 When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 

40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

September 8, 2022

Don’t give up

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:26

Yesterday the Lord revealed something to me.  It was something that I have been praying about and something I have been waiting to see.  I know it is God’s will because it lines up with His Word and I know I will see it because of my faith.  The timing is what is a little cloudy.  I don’t know how long it will take to see it actually happen and I don’t know the way it will happen.  Still, since He opened my eyes to it, I have that revelation to hold onto until I do see it actually show up in the physical world.  I believe what He said in His Word, and I believe what He has spoken to my heart.  Now I am thanking Him for this revealing until my eyes see it in the natural.

This is kind of what happened in today’s reading.  Simeon, a devout man, was waiting to see what God had revealed to him.  He was shown that he would not die until Messiah was born.  When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem, he was also there to see His Messiah. He knew from seeing Jesus that the revelation God had given him was complete and he could die in peace.  The revelation that he had been holding on to for years had finally intersected with his life.  His prayers had been answered, but he had to wait for it for many years.

God works the same way today, but our world is a little different in that we expect to see things happen immediately.  Our culture is all about now, not later.  Often times this mentality transfers over into our prayer life.  We ask God for something and then expect that it will show up as soon as we finish praying about it.  While that can happen and does sometimes, the more likely thing is that we will have to wait and watch as God works out and strategically moves things into place for the answer to get through.  Our prayers are opening the door of heaven to reach into this world, but most times, it is not instantaneously.  The majority of the answered prayers only show up as we determine to hold on and hold out for the answer. 

Today I want to encourage you to not give up.  Hold on to the things you are talking to God about and hold on to the things He is revealing to your heart.  Your answer may take some time to show up in your life, but if you continue to thank God that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose, (that being you) you will see His salvation and the answer you have been believing for after many days.  As you pray about things today, ask the Lord to reveal to you either by scripture or by knowing in your heart that He is working on this request and that it will be seen in this natural world.  Hold on to God’s Word the way Simeon did in our reading today and you will not be disappointed. Plus, you will have something to rejoice about along the way.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:25-35

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 

26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 

28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;

30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation

31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 

34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 

35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

September 7, 2022

Dedicated

Forty days after the birth of her son, Mary’s time of purification had completed, so she came to the temple with a sacrifice, according to the law of Moses.  So, Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to Jerusalem to be dedicated before the Lord.  Luke 2:22

According to the Old Testament law, when the first-born son was born, the parents had to go to Jerusalem to redeem that child by offering a sacrifice to the Lord.  By fulfilling this law, the child would be dedicated to God for His purpose.  The sacrifice was the substitute for the child’s life so that the child was now clear and free from a life of sin.  Even though the child was not perfect and still was going to sin, this sacrifice paid the price for the sin.

It reminds me of Abraham when he offered up his son as a sacrifice to the Lord.  He went to the place where the temple would be built many years later, and dedicated Isaac there on an altar.  He offered Isaac up as the sacrifice, but before he could make him into a burnt offering, the Lord redeemed his life with the life of a ram so that Isaac could go free and fulfill the plan of God on his life, represent what Jesus would one day do in the future.

Jesus’ parents fulfilled the requirement of the law by offering a sacrifice to redeem His life.  Even though Jesus would never sin and would lived a perfect life, they still fulfilled what the law said.  They dedicated Jesus to God for His service and Jesus then completed every detail that He was sent here to accomplish.

Now, the laws of God have been fulfilled in Christ Jesus and His work on the cross and in the grave.  We have been set free from the punishment of sin when we received His gift of salvation in the sacrifice of God’s perfect lamb and our life has been redeemed.  Now we dedicate our lives to Him to accomplish what is in the heart of God for each of our lives here in this world.  He has a good plan and when you line your life up with it, you will have joy, success and complete satisfaction with peace. 

We also offer up our children to be dedicated to His service.  Even though we cannot choose the path they take, we can dedicate their lives to the plan of God.  To complete down to the last detail every assignment God has designated for their lives.  Most churches give parents the opportunity to dedicate small children to God when they are babies.  This does not save them; it is merely an act of the parent to say: “We are going to train this child up to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  That child still has to make the decision to receive Jesus into their life when they become old enough to decide.  The dedication is an act of faith to purposefully mark a commitment you made as a parent to God concerning your child’s faith life.

Today I want to encourage you if you have never offered your life up as a living sacrifice and accepted the offering of Jesus’ life in your place, do that today.  Invite Him into your life to save, redeem and direct your life and start following His path now.  If you have never dedicated your children to the Lord, do that now.  Even if they are grown, offer them up as a living sacrifice and ask the Lord to direct their path to get in line with His plan.  It may take some time, but you have the dedication as a point of reference when you pray for them that they have been dedicated and God is turning their lives back to Himself.  Lastly, if you have already offered your life and the life of your family to Him, seek out his ways daily so that you will walk out the plan He has for our life.  Begin by following the directions He gave in His Word to love and serve others.  Then go through the doors He opens up to you as you follow after Him.  Decide today to offer your life as a sacrifice and the lives of those you love and receive His redemption in Jesus in place of your offering so that you can live out the purpose you were created for.

Today’s scripture reading; Luke 2:21-24

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 

23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 

24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

September 5, 2022

Born to you

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

 I realize that this portion of scripture is usually reserved for the Christmas season, but this is where we are now, so we will have a reminder today why we celebrate Christmas.  In fact, this is an event that we should celebrate and contemplate every day of the year.  Jesus our Savior.

God Chose Mary and Joseph to give His Son to be born to.  They were the ones assigned to care for love and train Him up in the way He should go.  They were responsible to provide and keep Him until His appointed time.  Jesus was given to them.

When the angels announced His birth to the shepherds, the angel said, in the city of David a Savior is born to you (the shepherds) who is Christ the Lord.  Why would the angel say that Jesus was born to the shepherds when we know that He was born to Mary and Joseph?  The reason is because God gave Jesus to all of us.  He was born to the shepherds that day and He was born to us for our day.  Jesus was God’s gift to the whole world.  Even though Mary and Joseph were entrusted with His newborn life, He was actually entrusted to the whole earth.  Likewise, just as Mary and Joseph were held accountable for how they raised Him and what they did with Him and for Him, we are also responsible for how we receive and honor Him in our life today.

We can follow the Shepherds example of what they did when the heard the good news of Jesus birth.

  1. They went to Jesus
  2. They came quickly and immediately with no delay
  3. They found Jesus and received Him as their Savior
  4. They began to report the good news of His birth that the angels told them
  5. They rejoiced, glorified and praised God for all that they had heard and seen

Today I want to encourage you to hear the good news of Jesus coming to the world and to you to rescue you from the pit of sin of the world.  Acknowledge that He came to you to save you from sin and quickly invite Him into your life and your day if you have not already done so.  Receive Him as your Savior and guide through today and begin to share His love for the world with others.  Remember to celebrate this great gift of Salvation that God gave you and keep on celebrating as you walk through today and the rest of your life.  Lastly, thank God for giving Jesus to you to pay your penalty for sin and that you never have to spend one second separated from Him in the pit of hell.

If you have never invited Jesus into your life to rescue you, pray this prayer today from your heart.  Jesus will come into your life and save you and turn your life around forever.

Pray: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new today.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to accomplish the things You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:8-20

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 

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 host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 

16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 

17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 

18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 

19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

September 3, 2022

Where was God

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke 2:7

It was pretty awkward.  I had been given a job to do.  I knew it was going to be challenging and down to the wire.  I prayed about it all the way through.  I was sure God was working out all the details.  However, when the due date came, this project did not turn out perfectly. In fact, it wasn’t much like I had planned at all.  Of course, my pride got involve and I thought about how I would be disappointed those who gave me the opportunity, but worse than that, I felt like God let me down.  Little did I know God was working on something bigger.  He was opening up a future plan in which there would be a greater opportunity and a greater result.  In the end, God did a wonderful work and in what I thought was a failure at the beginning actually prepared me for the coming assignment that was far greater in importance.  When I look back at what I thought was a letdown, I am so thankful that God was working the whole way through, leading and protecting me away from a great fall.

If I would have been Mary on the day Jesus was born, I might have been disappointed in God at what was happening around me.  I would have been asking questions like:  Why wasn’t He working all the details out?  Where was the perfect setting for His Son to be born in?  Why did it seem like God wasn’t answering my prayer to hold off His birth until after the census?

I’m sure Mary had been praying about this day for several months, even since the time she became pregnant.  Now, at probably the most stressful time in her young life, the baby was being born.  They had to make a long trip in which she probably required a lot of stopping because she was uncomfortable.  Then they were late to the city so there were no suitable rooms available for them.  Now of all places, they had to spend the night with the livestock.  However, having had children myself, I’m pretty sure when Jesus was coming, she was at the point of, wherever, I just need a place to be away from others, which was exactly what God provided.  Some privacy and cover from the outside elements.

After Jesus was born, she probably looked back on the day and thought.  God really knew what He was doing.  He provided the perfect place for the baby to come into the world.  I was sheltered and protected and there was plenty of room for the shepherd guest to come to worship Jesus after the announcement of His birth.  It was a quiet place to rest after giving birth and He was born without any complications.

In our time in history, God is the very same provider and miracle worker.  Yet, how many times do we get in a struggle and ask God to work things out with the perfect setting and surroundings, according to our imagination?  Then when He gives a different answer, we feel like God is not there and not making the circumstances perfect.  The truth is, He is there, and He knows way better than we do what “perfect” circumstances look like.  He is planning for things way beyond today so in the moment things may look less than ideal, but in the long run, you end up better than before you went into the situation.

Today I want to encourage you to see problems as opportunities.  Start looking at every obstacles as a faith work and know that as you commit it to the Lord, He is working it out for the greatest outcome.  Even when you get to the place that you think is the deadline, He is working beyond that day.  He is continuing His good work to prepare you for all the goodness He has for your life and the overall goal of advancing the kingdom of heaven is being fulfilled.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:1-7

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 

2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 

3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 

5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 

6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 

7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

September 2, 2022

Jesus has always been the Answer

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, – Luke 2:4

I hear a lot of people today talking about how God is going to move ungodly people out of our government and move His people into the position of power in America.  As wonderful as that would be, the truth is, God is not depending on the government to put things right in the world and neither should any of His people be waiting for a political solution to the trouble around us.  Our only hope is Jesus.  It’s always been the case and will never change.  We look to God for the answers to our questions and our problems, not the president and not the congress.  God is the only one who can fix this world.  If He chooses to do it through the government, great.  In reality, things are getting worse and worse just as Jesus said they would in the last days.  However, for God’s people we are growing in strength and power, the power of God.  The body of believers is God’s solution to today’s issues.  It has always been.  We are the ones to reach out to the lost and dying world, introduce them to the One who will save them from this world’s circumstances and bring them into the eternal kingdom of heaven.

In today’s scripture, Jesus was the answer back then too.  When the government made laws for the people of Israel, Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem for a census.  God used this order to fulfill His plan and He knew that this order would be in effect at the time Jesus was to be born.  Do you think the people of Israel were happy that they all had to go to a place away from their home?  Was it possible that they were unsatisfied with the government’s rules to be counted and taxed?  Of course they were upset and scared.  They were being oppressed by a foreign country and a tyrannical leader.  They prayed continually for that government to be overtaken and changed up.  But God was using that evil government that was coming against them as a fulfillment of His prophecy that they had been waiting for so many years.  However, Israel was praying for their messiah.  They knew that Messiah was the only answer and the only One who could deliver them.  Even when He did come, it looked so much different than they expected it to.  Jesus came, but He came to fulfill God’s plan, not turn over a government that was oppressing His people.

How does that fit with what we are up against today?  First of all, we are not nearly in a position that the people of that day were.  They were oppressed to death just because they were Israelites and God’s people.  We, on the other hand, are living in the most freedom of all time.  In America, we are free to worship God, we are free to invite and introduce anyone to Jesus and we are free to support the gospel message being preached around the world.  Glory to God!! This is the greatest time and God’s plan is being accomplished.  Not through the government, but though His people.  So when you listen to the media about how terrible things are going in the world around us remember that Jesus is the solution and His people are here to get His message of salvation out to all those being oppressed.  Not of the government, but of God’s enemy the devil.

Today I want to encourage you to know that God is working all the things around us for the good of those who love Him and for accomplishing and finishing up the plans He has established for the whole earth.  The government and the problems are not the focus by any means.  The church is and Jesus is leading us as the head.  God’s people are the ones God is working through to bring hope to the hurting souls and He is counting on us to bring the salvation of Jesus to all the nations. If you have been watching for God to change the politicians to make things better, it may or may not happen.  It just doesn’t matter.  What really matters is that the good news is spreading, even to the ends of the earth and it is our time to lead to the answer that so many are looking for. Freedom in Christ Jesus!!

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 2:1-5

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 

2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 

3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 

5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.