October 23, 2017

Great Joy

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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.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.  For this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).  And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: You will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.”  Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.”

Luke 2:8-14

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Do you recall the anticipation you felt before your child(ren) were born? Or before the birth of a niece or nephew?  I remember well.  I was concerned and expectant all at once!  I wondered if I would be a good mom, would I make the right choices as a new mom, am I ready to have some little person that I am responsible for.  Then I remembered…God has given me a gift.  Someone He is entrusting to me and my husband to rear in the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord can also lead to great joy.  Just as Mary submitted to God’s will for her life to have His Son, we can submit to His authority for His will in our life.  Angels live among us today.  There are many examples of situations where people were suddenly moved away from a possible accident, or have been miraculously healed of a disease.  I have heard of these in my own church and from friends. God is alive and very active in our lives! (We just have to be willing to see.)

When my son passed his driving test and received his license to drive, he felt great joy.  When he graduated from college he was relieved he had completed this part of his journey.  I pray he will be able to find that mate God has reserved for him. A mate to help him be more complete, a mate who will encourage him to do his best and he do the  same for her. I want my son to experience the joy of being a parent. To not feel the burden, but to see the child(ren) as gifts from his heavenly Father to nurture and grow in the ways of God.  Just as Mary and Joseph did.

Despite the whispers, looks, and misunderstandings, Mary and Joseph knew whose this Child was. They knew they had done nothing wrong and had obeyed God in all of the laws. These poor parents gave their all for God’s Child.  Yet their joy was in receiving from God the huge responsibility in raising His Son.  Joseph received more instruction from God in order to keep His son safe from Herod (Matthew 2:13-14; 19-23).  Then when called to return from Egypt, Mary and Joseph chose Nazareth to raise their family there.  Not too far from the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus would perform many of His miracles.

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Father, I thank You for sending Your Son to such humble beginnings. When we reflect on Jesus’ life and upbringing, we see You in every area.  You were there and You are present now, through your Holy Spirit, to guide and watch over us in ways we cannot begin to imagine. You are the great organizer of our lives.  I pray asking for Your favor and blessing upon our nation and our people.  I ask for a revival to begin in us as we help spread Your love to others.  In Jesus’ name, I praise You and thank You, amen!

How Suddenly a Baby Cried

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“How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed.
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace.
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth.
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth.”

How Suddenly a Baby Cried ~ Keith and Kristyn Getty

A baby’s first cry gets the attention of everyone around, yes? At the very moment of birth, all in attendance pause to hear a baby’s first cry—expectant parents, other relatives and loved ones, the nurses, doctors, and other caregivers—and then sigh with joy, with relief and with thankfulness at that wonderful sound! When the baby Jesus was born, His cry, too, brought great joy to his parents, Joseph and Mary. Think of the setting:

And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn;
and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6 and 7

Joseph and Mary had traveled many, many miles to come to Bethlehem to register in the census. Upon their arrival, there was nowhere for them to stay but in a stable…and this is where Mary birthed her firstborn, Jesus, God’s Son. Not the best surroundings! So I would think baby Jesus’ first cry meant oh-so-very much to them!

But, remember, both Joseph and Mary were fully aware of just Who this tiny Baby was! Both had been told of the significance of this Baby’s life by angels. (Read the records here: Luke 1:26-38;  Matthew 1:18-25). They each had contemplated, wouldn’t you think, for the entire duration of Mary’s pregnancy the magnitude and the awesome, eternal implications of just Who their Son would be! Think for a moment…place yourself in their sandals…when the baby was birthed and took His first breath and released a cry, can you only imagine the praises that must have welled up out of their hearts? Can you imagine the look they must have exchanged as they realized that the promises that the angel had made to each of them came forth into fruition? That initial cry of baby Jesus truly changed the world! Perhaps Mary remembered the words she spoke when she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth:

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
…because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.
Luke 1: 46-47 and 49-50

And so we do also exclaim and praise! Even now, don’t we love to sing these beautiful carols and anthems and songs that tell of Jesus’ coming and His birth. We are reminded of all that first little cry meant as it sounded out that the Savior was born! He had come…just as promised throughout the ages!

As the words of this beautiful song say,
“How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed.
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace.
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth.
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth.”

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May your voice rise up in praise and thankfulness to your heavenly Father!  Because of His great love for you, He sent His Son to redeem and save you; to rescue you and make available to you a relationship with Him for all eternity.  Never—don’t ever—doubt His love!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38 and 39

God bless you!    ♥    Merry Christmas!