December 16, 2017

God Has Come To Earth

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All praise to You, eternal Lord
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood
You chose a manger for Your throne
While worlds on worlds are Yours alone

Once did the skies before You bow
A virgin’s arms cradle You now
And angels who in You rejoice
Now listen for Your infant voice
They sing

Glory in the highest
For there’s no other name by which we can be saved
Glory in the highest
Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim
God has come to Earth

O, little Child, You are our guest
That weary ones in You may rest
Forlorn and lowly is Your birth
That we may rise to Heaven from Earth
Singing

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him

And there’s no other name by which we can be saved
And Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim

God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth

Aaron Shust

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Luke 2:4-7

His first throne was a manger.  And now, He is seated at the right hand of His Father.  This baby, born to Joseph and Mary, would change the world forever!

Jesus was born to walk the earth.  He went through things—hard things—so that we could see that all would be OK.  He taught us how to love and how to serve.  He showed us that it is awesome to be friends with sinners…because there are no perfect people, except Him. He performed miracle after miracle, just to prove Who His Father is, so that all would believe and live eternally with Him.

He brought dead to life and restored sight to the blind.  He healed by just a touch.  And, oh how He loved!  Everyone He came in contact with went away better.  And then He died on a cross, broken and poured out for us. He crushed every sin we would ever commit so that we, too, could live with Him in heaven.

So let’s adore Him today as they did on that night so long ago…

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!
Luke 2:13-14

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Let us pray: Dearest God, oh how we love You!  Oh, how we worship You and bow down at Your feet.  We lay down all our burdens today and we ask that You take our worries.  Thank You that You are for us and that nothing that we have done can separate us from You.  Help us to remember what this season is about; and to not get so wrapped up in the gifts that we don’t have, but to remember the only Gift that we need…You, Jesus.  Remind us, too, that the same miracles that happened back then can happen today.  You are enough!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Get Off Your Mat

If you have been to Sunday School in your lifetime, you heard the story of the four friends who brought their paralyzed friend to be healed by Jesus. It was so crowded that they carried their friend up to the roof and let him down, through the roof, into the house on his mat. I colored the picture. Four men on the roof of Jesus’ home, cutting a hole in the roof and letting their friend down through the hole in that roof to see Jesus. They couldn’t use the front door because the crowds were so big, inside and outside of the house. So they had to get creative. That’s when they cut the hole themselves and let him down on the mat. He landed right in front of Jesus. I still remember coloring that picture.

Mark 2:1-5

When Jesus returned to Capernum, several days later, the news spread quickly that He was back home. Soon the house where He was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While He was preaching God’s Word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above His head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed  man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.

This was Jesus’ fifth miracle. He had just begun His public ministry and He had been out teaching and preaching and healing for the past few days. I imagine that He was tired when He came home that night, after teaching and He wanted a little rest. He goes to close the door and the people won’t let Him. They are everywhere.They have come from everywhere, from Galilee to Judea.  Outside, these men are carrying their friend. He is sick and paralyzed and people assume it is because of some sin his parents committed sometime in their life. So they find the stairs and take the stretcher up and get creative. They dig a hole in the roof to lower their friend down. Which meant they had to dig through a mud roof, not a wooden one.

Jesus saw their faith. Not only did the man on the mat have faith, but his friends believed as well. All of them came together in this time of need and brought their problem  to Jesus. Jesus healed him and told him to take up his mat and walk.. Have you ever thought about those words? Now up to this point, the man’s friends have done the work to get the friend here. After Jesus heals him, Jesus tells him to take up his mat. Jesus is asking him to take action. The man’s mat represented his paralysis. But a mat could be anything that has you paralyzed.  Sin is only fun for a time and then it turns on you. You ask Jesus for His help and you ask for forgiveness. Jesus is always ready and willing to forgive and take you back under His arms and love you.

What is your mat? After reading this, did anything come to mind that Jesus may be asking you to take up and sin no more? He is waiting with open arms. He loves you and wants you to live a joyful abundant life that He has planned for you. I pray today that you are willing to help a friend as these men did, instead of turning their back on the man. Jesus loves you. He forgives you. Let us come before Him and ask Him to reveal to us anything that would keep us from Him.

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Dear Lord,  thank You for Your Word…so full of stories of miracles just like this one. Thank You for being so willing to forgive us when we sin against you. Lord, we may not be lowered through a roof on a mat, but  we all have a mat that we need to pick up. We pray today that You would reveal to us anything that is hindering us from living the abundant life You have planned for us. We love you and praise You. In  Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

The Only Name (Yours Will Be)

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Yours will be the only Name that matters to me
The only One Whose favor I seek
The only Name that matters to me

Yours will be the friendship and affection I need
To feel my Father smiling on me
The only Name that matters to me

Yours is the Name, the Name that has saved me
Mercy and grace the power that forgave me
And Your love is all I’ve ever needed

When I wake up in the Land of Glory
And with the saints I will tell my story
There will be one Name that I proclaim

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, just that Name

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

 
~  Performed by Big Daddy Weave / Words and Music by Benji Cowart  ~
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Jesus.  The Name that calms storms and heals the sick and raises the dead to living. The blind could see again just by believing in Him.  The woman at the well carried Living Water home with her so she never would thirst again.  And Lazarus, he rose from the dead, just as our Savior would one day.  Jesus.   Doesn’t saying His name just calm you?

His Name is the name that we should seek above all.  Do you know that He experienced everything on earth that we do?  I’m not saying that He sinned, I’m saying that He lived here and walked here and saw the same hurts and sickness that we do.  God sent Him to pave the way for us.  And to experience the same powers that He had.  Of all the things of this world, nothing else matters except our relationship with Jesus, the Son of Man, the Son of God.  Jesus is the difference between life and death.  He is the difference between Christianity and all other religions. You must accept Him in your heart and have a relationship—a day to day speaking, and loving, relationship with Him.

Do you see His beauty?  Do you feel His presence with you?  As it says in this song, His name saves.  His name forgives and shows mercy and grace.  He so readily loves and so readily befriends all.  He is Jesus, friend of sinners.  He is the “I Am.”  We all will live with our Heavenly Father forever, because of Jesus.  He ate with tax collectors.  His own brother didn’t believe in Him and yet Jesus loved him so.  His own disciple betrayed Him, yet He broke bread with them and gave thanks, knowing that His own Father would have to turn His back on Him.  Don’t you want to love like that?  If so, then let’s do this together.  Let’s start now, preparing our hearts for His coming.  While we are here, let’s love each other.  Let’s get our hands dirty and get in the middle of life with each other.  There are plenty of onlookers but not enough team members!  Let’s ask God to empower us to truly turn it all over to Him and start fresh.

This week was the first week of Spring.  It’s time to do some cleaning up and cleaning out; and it’s time to plant some new seeds.  And when you’re ready to give in or give up, or when life is so hard and you just can’t breathe—just whisper His Name, Jesus. It still calms storms!

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Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we praise You for who You are.  We thank You for sending Your Son to walk before us in life and prepare the way for us.  Thank You for Your Word that documents His every move, from birth to death and every miracle in between.  Oh, how we are blessed!!!  Thank You that we can call on You in every situation and You are right there.  Because of Your Son, we are never alone and never will be.  We will forever walk with You and we have been given life abundant, full of joy, full of peace, full of grace, and full of You!  Thank You for the journey…for the wild ride that’s called our life.  Help us to prepare our hearts for Easter and to never take His death for granted.  For it’s in His name we pray, Amen.