Listen and Question

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:39-52  (day two) Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. vs. 46

What later would become the hallmark of Jesus’ teaching is clearly evident in this twelve year old boy. Listening and asking questions. How often would the 30 year old version of Jesus confound the disciples, the pharisees, or crowds with questions: Who do you say I am? How many fish are there?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? Jesus would always direct the thinking of others with questions. These questions reveal not only whether you have the knowledge, but also what your heart truly values. Perhaps we can listen and ask more questions when speaking with others. What do you think?

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Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:39-52  (Day one)

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”–v 52.

It is our secret weapon!  We humans can grow.  Change.  Adapt. Learn.

The childhood of Christ sets the pattern.  Like us, the Lord grew.  Many simultaneous areas of life.   Intellectually.   Physically.  Spiritually.  Socially.  Nothing about the Lord was “perfect” if you mean a static condition that makes growth and progress unnecessary.

Becomes harder in adulthood.  More excuses accepted.  But the need for growth never goes away.

The story is told of the mountaineer who spoke one day to Mt. Everest ( before it had been conquered in the modern era)  “You have defeated us once.  You have defeated us twice, three times.  But someday we will defeat you.  You cannot grow any taller, but we can.”

What persistent problem/challenge of your life could be conquered if you learned/changed?  It will likely stay the same, but you can grow!

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Great Joy

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day seven)

Verse 10 has bothered me all week.  The angel proclaims to “bring good news of great joy which will be for all people.”  I know the good news is for all people.  We do not always share it generously, but we know that we should.  It is the other part that bothers me, the great joy.  Is the great joy for all people too?

There are people beyond the church who use the word joy, but I am not sure you can comprehend what joy is apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I imagine this is our message too.  It is possible for all people to be filled with great joy, but they only know what that is when the Gospel takes root in their lives.  When we witness we are setting out to help the lost come to know a new reality that produces joy.

You may be the key component to your neighbor finally understanding what joy is.  Right now they think it is some fleeting emotion, but by the Gospel they can come to know a state of joy in Jesus Christ that does not fade.  Do not miss the opportunity this Christmas season to spread the good news of great joy.  People are far more likely to listen this time of year than any other.  Spread the joy of the Gospel!

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Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day six)

God went to great lengths to do extraordinary things with the most ordinary of people. We are a people obsessed with notoriety and celebrity; we want to know what celebrities eat, what they wear, the places they go and with whom. We are infatuated with “extra”-ordinary people, while we pay little mind to the ordinary. Not so with God. He used an ordinary engaged couple, ordinary lowly shepherds, in an ordinary austere room to receive His Son.

God hasn’t changed; He still does extraordinary things through ordinary people. If you follow His Son He just might do the extraordinary through you.

Merry Christmas!

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Road to Calvary

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day five)

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7

The God who created the world, who orchestrated a census (for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem), could have certainly provided a room in an inn. In His sovereignty, God rules over hotel occupancies. Then, why not a room?  That was not His will. From start to finish, the birth, life, and death of Jesus would be identified with hardship, poverty, and suffering. Listen to Jesus’ words: John 15:20 “A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;”. Luke 9:59 “And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”. Paul explains it clearly, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:9‬

The road to Calvary begins in a stable in Bethlehem.

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How Far From the Glory?

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day four)

From the glory of the throne room of heaven to the humble beginnings of a stable birth…in our high tech world, it is almost unfathomable to comprehend that the most important birth of all the ages took place in these conditions.  How could a life that had such primitive surroundings impact the entire world?  And not just for the present day, but for all the ages to follow.  They did not even have Internet when He was born!

We can often lose sight of the true GLORY of heaven…we are distracted by the hype and dazzle of the accomplishments of man.  We get excited when we can gain useless information by the gigabytes each second.  God spoke a word and the universe came into being!  In His love and mercy, Jesus Christ gave up His glory to redeem mankind.

May this passage remind you once again how much Christ gave up, because of His love for you!

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Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day three)

“They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child ”  Research into corporate communication culture has shown consistently that the company grapevine remains a valuable and mostly reliable source of news.  In fact, a sizeable portion of employees rate the grapevine higher than formal channels of communication when it comes to telling the unvarnished truth.  You know why?  Because momentous news never fits well into carefully crafted containers of control.  People who try to dribble it out to the masses only get in the way, and pretty soon, people figure that out.  The ancient grapevine spread the gospel without stilted methods or flashy gimmicks and despite efforts by fearful leaders to rewrite it.  The buzz was that something good had occurred in a backwater village.  This was back-fence conversation—the way the gospel is meant to be shared.

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Glory and Peace

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day two)

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” vs. 13-14

Do you seek peace? Is it justice and truth that you are after in your life? Notice the order in which the angels offer a solution: Give God glory, then receive his peace. Not exactly how we normally would think this would or should come about. Our nature would say…let me achieve peace, and then I will glorify God. This is one of the things that angels were telling us that night. Look up, it’s not about you. It is only ever, and always about Jesus. Do you want peace? Try letting go of what is keeping your head down, look up and praise his name.

By the way these verses serve as the central theme to our Christmas at First presentation this year. Please make plans to join us Saturday and Sunday at 6PM. Invite your neighbors, friends, and family. Let’s glorify God together.

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Promise kept

Re:Verse reading–Luke 2:1-20 (day one)

“Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”–v 11

The only thing impossible for God (see last week’s lesson) is to break His own word.  He is eternally trustworthy and self-consistent.  Heaven and earth will pass away.  Not His word.  Not ever.

Luke 2 is written 1000 years after God made the promise to David.  One of His sons would reign over an eternal kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12-13) An eternal Kingdom?  Unimaginable!  Even to David.

As the years flowed slowly by, many forget this promise.  (Most of us have short memories and small faith.) God, however, did not forget.  When the time came, He orchestrated the historical events so that Joseph and Mary (by coincidence-Ha!) would be in the city of David for the Son of David to be born.

“God is not a man that He should lie.”–Numbers 23:19.

Child, what has God promised you?


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John the Baptist

Re:Verse reading–Luke 1:1-38 (day seven)

John the Baptist is an alien to us.  In Luke 1 he is described as “great in the sight of the Lord”, never having alcohol, and filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb.  How is that even possible?  Matthew 3 reveals another time in John’s life, but it just as incomprehensible.  John is preaching in the wilderness wearing a garment of camel’s hair eating locusts and wild honey.  That sounds terrible.

As foreign as the peculiars are surrounding John the Baptist’s life, the message is familiar.  In Luke, John is said to turn people’s hearts toward God (v.17).  Matthew uses the term we are more familiar with: repent.  John’s message to prepare the way for Jesus Christ was always repent.  Repentance is the only way we can ever prepare ourselves to meet our God.  Luke 1 focuses on two groups who need to repent.  One, fathers must repent for not taking their God given role as seriously as God demands, and two, those that are disobedient to God need to seek out God’s wisdom instead of their own.  Fathers:  repent.  Disobedient ones: repent.

We are not called to live like John the Baptist, but we should heed his message: Repent.

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