Thursday, December 16, 2021

Thursday, December 16, 2021
The apostle Luke records the repentant song of praise of a one-time doubter.

Luke 1:67-68 Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,” (NASB)

These are the final words recorded in Scripture from Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had lived full lives and were characterized as righteous and blameless. Zechariah is known as the priest who prayed for a son for his barren wife, and then didn’t believe it when the angel Gabriel appeared to confirm the answer!

There is a lesson to learn from Zechariah: when you pray, do so with faith believing. Don’t doubt . . . remember you serve the God for Whom nothing is impossible! Zechariah was struck speechless until his son was born because of his unbelief. Yet, when Zechariah’s speech was restored, the first words out of his mouth were praise for what God had done! Zechariah’s habit was to believe. Yet, he failed God as we all fail God at times. The take-away is to confess and turn away from sin – and continue living a life of faith.

Wednesday, December15, 2021

Wednesday, December15, 2021
The apostle Luke describes the persistent faith of a godly woman.

Luke 1:41-42 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (NASB)

Elizabeth was a daughter of a long line of priests and a woman of standing in her community. She had lived most of her life with one distinguishing characteristic: she had no children! To further complicate matters Elisabeth was now past the age of childbearing. While this was a serious thing in the Jewish community — where every woman longed to be the mother of Messiah – Elizabeth never stopped asking! When her husband, Zacharias, was chosen to go into the presence of God, Elisabeth made sure that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity included a prayer that they would be blessed with a child. To me, the first great spiritual quality I see in Elizabeth was unwavering faith in God!

When in the course of time Elizabeth conceived — she secluded herself, no visitors — just savoring the experience of motherhood so long desired! Then her niece Mary comes to visit. Nowhere in Gabriel’s conversation with Zacharias is Mary identified as the mother of Messiah, so until the pre-natal John the Baptist kicked in Elizabeth’s womb and the Holy Spirit revealed it to her – only then does Elizabeth connect the dots! Imagine!! What did they talk about? Two miraculous conceptions: one a virgin . . . the other a woman past child-bearing years. With God this is not even mildly difficult!

Tuesday, December 15, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021
The apostle Luke describes the reward God gives to those who watch for His promises to be fulfilled.

Luke 2:37-38 [Anna a prophetess] never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. [She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph], and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of [the child] to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (NASB)

In the swirl of activities and personalities that surrounded the birth of the baby Jesus – was a godly woman who was at least 84. This woman was named Anna, she had been married, but when her husband passed, she devoted the remainder of her life to God. In fact, Scripture says she never left the temple, but spent her time fasting and praying “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

On the day Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple to be dedicated – Anna notices the Christ-child. Upon hearing that the babe is the Messiah, Anna expresses no doubt . . . but gives thanks and begins telling others a Messiah has come! After the Magi visited with King Herod, Jerusalem knew of the Messiah born in Bethlehem – but no one traveled to see the Child save the shepherds. Anna, and another seeker of Messiah, Simeon, are distinguished from others because they were looking for Messiah!

Friday, December 13, 2021

Friday, December 13, 2021
The apostle Luke records God’s promise to a devout man that a Messiah would be born in his lifetime.

Luke 2:29-30 [Simeon said] “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, (NASB)

Angels came to Mary and Joseph to announce they were to become the parents of Messiah . . . but there were others to whom Heaven reached out. Simeon is a righteous, devout godly man who was watching and waiting for the coming of the Promised One. In fact, the Bible says the Holy Spirit told Simeon he would not die until he has seen “the Lord’s Christ”. It was Jewish law to dedicate first-born children to the Lord, to circumcise, and for the purification of the mother after giving birth – all these rituals meant there were a lot of little babies in the temple at any given time.

When the Lord moved Simeon to go to the temple, he immediately recognized Mary and Joseph’s baby as the Messiah! This was red-letter day for Simeon! After holding the Promised One, Simeon, was ready to pass from this world and enter His eternal reward. Matthew Henry writes, “how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ may welcome death.”

Friday, December 10, 2021

Friday, December 10, 2021
Isaiah writes in troubled times of hope and a promise.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (KJV)

This wonderful prophecy is all about the babe born in a manger! Hard times were in the pipeline for Israel … 100 years after these words were written, Israel was overrun by Babylon and carried into captivity. It would be 600 years before the babe was born … but the prophecy did come true!

“For unto us a Child is born” – easy to see Mary, Joseph, and the little Babe in a cave or stable. This Babe was God in a form you can relate to … the God of “no beginning and no end”! His name is: “Wonderful-Counselor”, because His wisdom has no end; His Name is “The Mighty God”, because this world is broken and needs a God with big shoulders; His name is: “The Prince of Peace”, because world peace IS a great dream – and one that will be fulfilled one day when Jesus reigns justly and perfectly on this earth. Personal peace is available now, if you call out to the Babe-Now-A-Grown-Up-Savior, who died for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. (For more on discovering personal peace go to, and “click” on the box that asks, “Do you know Jesus?”)

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday, December 9, 2021
Moses writes of hope and the Lord’s faithfulness.

Numbers 24:17 . . . there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel (KJV)

It may surprise you to know that this promise of Christmas came from a wicked prophet — Balaam. Balaam was a “prophet-for-hire”, and although his services are being paid for in return for a curse against Israel – because of God’s intervention — he could do nothing but bless! This prophecy looked ahead to a time in God’s timetable, when the curtain would rise on what we call today: the Christmas Story.

Tradition holds that the appearance of some celestial wonder: a comet, a new star … was a sign of the birth of a king or some illustrious person. Was this the Old Testament prophecy that moved the wise men to come searching for the King of the Jews? The description of “a Scepter rising out of Israel” underscores this royal intent. Then, recall when the Magi came seeking the birth of the king of the Jews they said: “we have seen His Star in the East.”