January 17, 2018

Great Joy


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

   *    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

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!

Joseph’s Lullaby


During the Christmas season, I often think of Mary.  I place myself in Mary’s shoes and consider how scared and confused and undoubtedly honored she must have felt that God had chosen her to carry baby Jesus for nine months and then to be His mother while on this earth.  Just as Mary was chosen by God, Joseph was chosen to be Jesus’ earthly father.  I let this part of Christmas slip by until I listened to Joseph’s Lullaby.

Put yourself in Joseph’s place, as you close your eyes and listen to these words…

I believe the Glory of Heaven is lying in my arms tonight. 
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment simply be my child.

Joseph’s Lullaby  ~ Mercy Me

These have to be my two favorite lines throughout the whole song.  I can only imagine how Joseph must have felt knowing the Glory of Heaven was lying in his arms that night.  This song has challenged me to read through the Christmas Story from Joseph’s perspective.  When Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy, he did not want to publicly humiliate her so he decided he was going to break off their engagement.  How heartbreaking of a thought for him, but one which shines his true character through and through.  Mary was someone Joseph loved dearly.  They were planning to spend their life together and now this dream vanished before him—or so he thought until the angel appeared before him.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sin.”
Matthew 1:20-21

With confirmation from the angel, that Joseph was supposed to keep their engagement, Mary and Joseph traveled the long, nine-month road placed before them which led to that awe-filled moment where Joseph reached out into the Glory of Heaven.

I believe we can take a piece of Joseph’s journey for ourselves.  Just as Joseph held the Glory of Heaven in his arms, we hold the Glory of Heaven in our hearts with us everywhere we go.  Let us never take for granted this precious Gift we have been given.  Not for one moment should we ever rush what God is doing in our lives at this moment.  For what He is doing now is preparing us for our very own awe-filled moment with Him in Heaven one day. Until that face-to-face encounter takes place, let us just be His child.  Let us just be still and know that He is God and know that in what may seem like our momentary troubles God is achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs it all.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

It is my sincere prayer that we reach for one thing this Christmas—the Glory of Heaven.