Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 9, 2013

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:8-20

I get some of my news from the Free-Lance Star newspaper, I get some news from the Roanoke Times online version, I get some from The Warsaw Times-Union on the internet, some from the radio, some from Fox news, and most from the internet. Rarely do I get good news from any of those sources.

The shepherds got their news from and angel. Lucky shepherds!

As you would imagine, the breaking news that the angel brought was good news! In fact, it was great news that brought joy! Talk about a news flash! One moment these shepherds are staring at the stars and the next moment an angel apprears!

What was this good news? God had heard the prayers of His people over the centuries and now the Messiah was about to be born! The silence of God was to be broken and the Son of God would soon appear!

You have to love how these shepherds responded to the news. We can learn from them!

Good news is to be believed!

The shepherds heard the news from angel and believed it! Of course, hearing it from angels makes it a tad more believable! But, also, they believed it because they know the prophecies and were versed in the teachings of the religious leaders. They were spiritually atuned enough to recognize that something was from God! Are you?

Good news is to be beheld!

".....the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Hearing this news was wonderful! Going to see it would be better - so, off they went according to what the angels had said. They found it to be exactly as the angel had said - except better!

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger."

Good news is to be believed and it is to be beheld and one more truth we can learn from the shepherds - good news is to be broadcast!

"When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."

When good news is believed and beheld and then broadcast, it is believable and it blesses! 

Good news is meant to be shared!

One more thing about these as they returned from sharing this good news that they believed and beheld and broadcast, one more thing happened to them - they were blessed! When you share good news and it is believed by others, it causes you to believe it more! When you see others be blessed by the good news you beheld and broadcast it blesses you! That happened to these shepherds!

If you want this Christmas to be a time of "great joy", believe the good news that a Savior is born! Do you believe it?

This Christmas can be a time of "great joy" if you will behold the Savior! Take a fresh look at the story. Read it. Read it out loud to someone else. Meditate on it. See Him afresh and new in your eyes of faith! Will you behold Him this Season?

Christmas 2013 will bring you "great joy" if you will broadcast it! Tell others with your lips and with you life that Jesus is born and it matters to you! Who will you tell?

The "great joy" is enhanced when you see others believe the story and when it blesses them, you are blessed! If you want to be blessed this Christmas, share the blessing with others!

How do we know these shepherds, believed and beheld and broadcast it and were blessed? Who else passed on the story? We know it because they were faithful to share it! Will you be faithful with this transforming truth?

December 8, 2013

"And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit;" Luke 1:77-80

There is a sense in which every birth is miraculous. Life itself is a miracle and a new life is a marvel. The fact that two mortal people can reproduce an immortal soul is a miracle.

Two miraculous births set the stage for the unfolding of the Christmas drama. This historical event that would alter the history of the human race happened because an elderly couple who had been infertile their entire married lives, supernaturally conceived a son. And, Mary, the virgin became pregnant via the Holy Spirit and brought the Savior into the world.

No parent can be objective toward their child. Parental love is an irrational unconditional overwhelming emotion which takes objectivity out of play. Your child is precious but my child is special. However, the most biased parent would be delusional to compare their child to the Christ child. There is only one Son of God supernaturally conceived by the Spirit.

Having said that, there is a child in the Christmas story with whom you could compare. Identify with his purpose and learn from his parents.

John came to prepare hearts of people to receive the Lord. That is something that every child of every believer can do. Every child born to Christian parents are given for that purpose.

But first, the parents of the child must prepare that child's heart to receive the Lord and point him in the ways of God. That is exactly what Zachariah and Elizabeth did.

I want you to grasp what Zachariah is doing in this Scripture portion above. At the dedication of this child, his father is prophecying over John the Baptist. He is speaking into this child's spirit. Although this newborn has no understanding of what is being said, still, his father's prophecy lodges in the spirit and consciousness of John.

Like, Zechariah and Elizabeth, each parent has a sacred privilege of shaping their child so that child can "grow and become strong in spirit". Children who are strong in spirit will prepare others and point them to Jesus!

Be very careful what you speak into the life of children!