Christmas is over and the New Year begins. We have been reminded of Jesus, born as a fragile babe into a pivotal time of World History. And Mary... And she gave birth to her first born son; and she wrapped Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2: 7).
God announced the birth of His only Son to the lowly shepherds. Not to kings or in the high courts of the law; nor in cathedrals or the bastions of opulence and power. Jehovah God chose, as He often prefers, the least of these, those through whom His power and grace is best glorified. And, God the Father selected a lonely hillside where the Shepherds kept watch over their flocks. Fitting that Jesus calls himself our Shepherd; protecting us in the same way from predators.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake (Psalm 23: 1-3).
I can't imagined how overwhelmed by love and the light of the Father the Shepherds were. And especially when the angel presented himself, physically and visually present in their midst.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born, for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2: 9-11).
The Shepherds were forever changed and could not keep silent about what they had experienced and seen. I imagine that throughout their adult lives they continually proclaimed what God had chosen them to first see, then hear. And finally what was given them as very great privilege to share with all who would listen.
We have been given ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand. Jesus, in the coming days we pray... please give us an increased passion for conversation with You. For prayer and for leaning into the Kingdom of God that we might hear, see, and understand. Give us a special anointing of heart and mind to know You Father, Your Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit more fully; as we never have before. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2nd Timothy 1: 7).
And God the Father provided a way of escape. He sent the wise men whose costly gifts would underwrite the expense of the flight to Egypt where Mary and Joseph would stay with baby Jesus until it was safe to return home. Remember... whatever battle you are in... Your loving Father has already designed for you the gift of provision, the means of escape. Ask and pray for that gift and that means. Pray about everything: tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace... (Philippians 4: 6,7). And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death (Revelation 12: 11).
The Prophet Isaiah predicted the coming of Jesus Christ and told us a bit about the everlasting impact he would have upon mankind.
For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 6.
Before the cross Jesus was foretold. A word picture was imagined for us as the suffering Servant; Isaiah chapter 53.
Speaking for Father God, Isaiah prophesied. Behold My Servant, whom I uphold. My chosen One in whom my soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him. He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street. "A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed, until He had established justice in the earth. And the coast lands will wait expectantly for His law" (Isaiah 42: 1-4)
Jesus was called a bond-servant which is to say, "a servant by choice." Jesus willingly went to the cross that death and Hades would be defeated. By faith in Christ the sentence of death that came at the fall in the garden of Eden was exchanged for the future reality of eternal joyous life; life ever-lasting. You and I together with Jesus Christ forever in that place called Heaven. Following is a verse I often quote when praying for deliverance. I find that these words penned by Paul both prepare me and also lends Holy Spirit power to my prayers. Satan hates the reminders stated in these words. When proclaimed and prayed in a spirit of warfare against life consuming evil, no demon will hang out for long.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 5-11).
Also: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; To the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2nd Corinthians 2: 14-17). Only Jesus.
Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2: 14).
...and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1: 19-23).
Jesus always prepares us for what is coming. He prepared His disciples for his coming death and told them them that in temporal life on planet earth they would enter into the fellowship of His suffering. "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up the third day" (Luke 9: 22).
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal (John 12: 24, 25).
Just as the prophets and saints of old looked deep into the Hebrew scriptures for wisdom to read the signs of the age... And wondered at the many predictions of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Even as we look back at the cross and celebrate the birth of our Savior... Even now our hearts and our minds yearn forward... as if drawn by a divine hand. More and more of us feel and acknowledge this call to study and look deeply toward that future picture of the coming Messiah. What it all means. Just as Jesus prepared His disciples for His coming death and resurrection... that same Jesus is preparing us for His second coming. Look deeply into scripture and embrace that picture of Jesus today.
And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him, which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written. KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19: 11-16).
Just as the saints of old studied the Hebrew Prophets through whom God spoke to the nations. This may be the time for you to embrace a fresh study of His second coming. If you love and serve Jesus, and if you pass to heaven before that, "day of the Lord," you'll be returning with him to planet earth... clothed in fine linen, white and clean... following Jesus Christ the conquering Messiah, following Him on white horses. And I love this last. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written. KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Today, right now, it is Jesus... Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle (Psalm 103: 3-5).
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all (1st Timothy 1: 15).