Monday, December 21, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021
The apostle Luke records God’s response to a generous heart.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, (KJV)

As you live generously, you’ll discover a bedrock truth – you’ll receive more than you give! Giving with the right attitude catches God’s attention. Living with a generous spirit, you can’t go wrong – your return on investment will surprise you!

If giving is an unfamiliar practice — start small – but, give consistently! God is our example for giving. He never gives just enough … He always gives more! If you choose to be generous with God, He will bless you.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Monday, December 20, 2021
The apostle Luke records Jesus’ declaration that giving should be a lifestyle.

Acts 20:35 [Jesus said] It is more blessed to give than to receive. (NASB)

The dictionary defines “blessed” as being “sacred in nature” or “connected with God”. Whether you realize it or not, “giving” is something God always blesses! Someone who just receives from others and never gives – becomes like a stagnant pond. You’ve been blessed, … so pay it forward!

It’s frighteningly easy to just be passive and receive the love of others, without learning from their example! If giving to the needs of others is foreign to you – I urge you to start with God. Regularly, returning a portion of what God has given you – say, 10% of your paycheck – is a great way to discover there is joy in serving Jesus!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friday, December 17, 2021
The apostle Matthew describes how a group of non-Jewish wise men watching for the birth of Messiah were among the first to worship the young Savior.

Matthew 2:9-10 . . . the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When [the wise men] saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. (KJV)

No one knows how many wise men there were, and we don’t know for sure that they rode on camels! (One Persian depiction of the magi shows them riding on horses.) Ever wonder how the wise men “from the east” became part of the first Christmas? It began in the Old Testament when Daniel was carried away into the Babylonian captivity and was trained to be a wise man. Later, when Daniel interpreted dreams, Nebuchadnezzar made him chief of the wise men or magi.

Daniel was a teen when he arrived in Babylon, and he was in his 80’s when he died. He influenced several kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, and Cyrus. Daniel also influenced the magi and undoubtedly taught them the prophecies of the Old Testament. So, 600 years after Daniel had died there were undoubtedly still a line of magi who knew the Messianic prophecies that there would be a star and a baby “King of the Jews” to be born in Bethlehem. John MacArthur writes that he finds it fascinating that “the first people to recognize the arrival of the King were Gentiles.”

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!