Luke 2:7 “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
What an amazing account! God Almighty was born of a virgin and placed in a feeding trough in a stable. Who would ever expect the Creator of the universe to make His entrance into the world in such a humble fashion?
Men always seek to proclaim their glory as far and wide as possible. Yet here is the only one who really has any glory to proclaim, and He comes humbly. It wasn’t because He didn’t have the power to do things otherwise.
He could have chosen to be born in a fashion that would have brought all creation to their knees in worship. He could have announced His birth to the most powerful and famous men of the day instead of lowly shepherds. He could have had the most luxurious accommodations instead of a stable. But that is not the way of our God. It would not have taken any faith on the part of men if Jesus came in such a manner that His deity was obvious.
Likewise with us, the Lord could manifest Himself to us in such a way that we couldn’t miss Him, but that wouldn’t please Him. God desires faith and, “without faith it is impossible to please Him:”… Hebrews 11:6.
Today, let’s please our Heavenly Father and acknowledge His presence in faith just because of His promise… Matthew. 28:20; Hebrews 13:5.
Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Here, Mary makes a very clear distinction between her soul magnifying the Lord and her spirit rejoicing.
Our soul is the part of us that is considered to be our personality. It is our intellect, emotions and will. Our spirit is the part that gets changed at salvation and it is always operating in “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23). That’s true whether our souls (feelings and emotions) “feel” it or not.
Many believers wait until their emotions feel like praising the Lord before they enter in to worship. They think it’s hypocritical to act like they are rejoicing in the Lord if they don’t “feel” it. But our spirits are always rejoicing in the Lord. It’s actually hypocritical to go by our feelings and not magnify the Lord with our souls when our born again spirits are already rejoicing.
Our born again spirits are always in tune with the Lord and walking in the joy of the Lord. Our flesh is often dominated by what it sees and feels.
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like praising the Lord, but the choice rests with our souls. If we choose to praise the Lord, our emotions will follow.
The decision is yours… Deuteronomy 30:19
Today, choose to walk in the joy of the Lord.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
One of the ways that God’s goodness is revealed is by His mercy. We may describe mercy as the readiness of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures. Many times, mercy is called compassion or lovingkindness. It is expressed toward the sinner because of the misery that sin has brought upon him.
God’s mercy to the believer is revealed by God taking away the misery of sin’s consequences through the New Covenant of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Mercy is not something merited or earned, but a gift, as the apostle Paul states in Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us,…”.
Paul speaks of the heavenly Father as “The Father of mercies.” The word father is used many times in scripture as an originator or as a source of something. For example, the devil is called the father of lies in John 8:44, and he is the author and originator of lying. Likewise, our heavenly Father is the author, originator, and source of all mercy. Each time that mankind cried out in faith, God’s mercy reached out and met their need.
God is said to be rich in mercy because of His great love wherewith he loved us, Ephesians 2:4, and to have a throne called grace whereby we may come and obtain mercy. God wasn’t motivated to save us through pity or a sense of obligation as our Creator. He was motivated solely by love. God loves us.
Mark 12:41-42 “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.”
The treasury that is spoken of here is a place located in the Women’s Court that was in the temple complex but was not part of the temple itself. Women were not allowed in the temple, so the fact that this widow was casting her offering into the treasury verifies the location of the treasury.
Jesus used this instance to teach His disciples a very important lesson. He did not say these things to this widow personally. God’s promises concerning giving give us an assurance that this offering was blessed back to this woman in this life, but the widow did not hear His commendation. There is no indication that this poor widow ever knew that anyone recognized the extent of her sacrifice.
Likewise, there are times when we may feel that no one knows or appreciates our sacrifices. However, just as surely as Jesus saw this woman’s giving and knew of the sacrifice involved, God takes note of our smallest deeds and one day, will reward us openly.
The Lord does not judge the size of our gifts by how much we give, but rather by how much we have left over after we give. Men tend to compare themselves with each other but the Lord doesn’t judge our giving by what others give. He judges our gifts by what we have to give. The Lord looks at the heart of the giver more than at the gift. The Lord weighs the giver more than the gift.
When we stand before the Lord, all of our works, not only our giving, will be tried to determine what sort – not what size they are.
Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”
Deception can be avoided or else Jesus would not have said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Satan can only deceive those who allow him to do it.
Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Putting on the whole armour of God will protect you from the deception of the devil. Just wearing part of God’s armour will not fully protect you. Many Christians have been running around with the helmet of salvation on but nothing else. There is more to overcoming the devil than just being saved. We have to understand our righteous position in the Lord. We also must possess faith, know the Word, and understand the gospel of peace.
The Christian life is a constant struggle against Satan, who is trying to corrupt us. Most Christians are aware of the warfare, but they don’t know where the warfare is occurring. The battle is in our mind. Just as the serpent didn’t come against Eve with brute force, but rather used words to deceive her, likewise Satan tries to corrupt us through thoughts contrary to the gospel. Satan’s original tactic was deception and that is still his method of operation today.
One of the characteristics of children is that they are easily deceived. They are gullible. One of the things that must take place to move from childhood into sonship is spiritual discernment. This comes from being grounded in the Word of God.
The way to recognize deception is not to analyze all the false claims but rather to become so familiar with what is genuine that a counterfeit will be easily recognizable. Anyone who is truly grounded in the Word of God will not be deceived.
Mark 4:2 “And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,”
The Greek word used here for “doctrine” means “teaching” and occurs a total of 30 times in the New Testament. The four gospels refer to Jesus teaching 43 times and preaching 19 times, and six verses refer to Him preaching and teaching in the same verse. This would indicate that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Jesus’ teaching is the basic building block of making disciples and a stumbling block to the religious.
Why is it that a person who is seeking so hard to please God can be rejected, while a person who has not sought God at all can come into a righteous relationship with Him? This is an important question and its answer is one of the most profound doctrines in scripture. The answer is faith and its object.
The Jews were zealous for the things of God, but their faith was in themselves. They were trusting that they could earn God’s favor by their acts of righteousness. On the other hand, the Gentiles had no holiness to trust in. So, when they heard the Gospel message that Jesus paid our debt for us, they readily accepted His “gift” of salvation, while the religious Jews could not abandon their trust in themselves for salvation.
The same problem exists today. Millions of church people are trying to live holy lives, but they do not have a true faith in Jesus as their Savior. If they were to stand before God and He was to ask them what they had done to deserve salvation, they would immediately start recounting all their acts of holiness such as church attendance, giving receipts, etc. Regardless of how good our actions are compared to others, they always come short of the perfect standard of God. The only response to this kind of question that would grant us entrance to heaven is to say, “my only claim to salvation is faith in Jesus as my Savior.” Let Him be the object of your faith today. He is all you need.
John 4:50 “Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.”
Jesus didn’t have to touch the child. He didn’t have to send anything home with the father to affect the cure. All He did was speak and the son was instantly healed (v. 53).
This man had traveled over fifteen miles from Capernaum to Cana to find Jesus. Therefore, the son was not within ‘earshot” so that Jesus’ words sparked some cord of hope in his heart, thereby releasing God’s power. No, Jesus’ spoken word had so much power that no barriers (such as time or space) had any affect on it whatsoever.
This is hard for us to comprehend. We spend an entire lifetime learning physical limitations and adapting to them. But there are no limits to the power of God’s word. Jesus created everything in this physical universe by His words, and that creation will respond to anything He says.
The Lord gave His Word to the Jews but they didn’t believe it. Hebrews 4:2 says, “…the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” We have been given God’s words too, in the Bible. If we will speak God’s Word in faith, we will get the same results that Jesus did here.