Reason For The Season – Day 17 – You

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11

You want to know something that we will want to believe, but nobody has the guts to say it?  Christmas is all about you.  That is right.  It is all about you.  The best and most amazing gift is for you.  The day is centered around you.  If it was not for you, we would not celebrate Christmas.  Christmas is all about you, really I mean it.

Now before you think I have lost it, let me make my case.  The angel proclaimed to the shepherds that a Savior has been to them.  In fact he says born to you.  Jesus was born for you.  The whole reason that He left the glories of Heaven, was for you.  He loves you that much, that He traded in the greatness of Heaven for you.  Your life was so valuable to Him that He was willing to come to Earth for you.

Just like the beginning of His life, the end of His life was for You.  See, knowing You had a death sentence, He took your place and died a horrific death for you.  He died, so that you might not have to.  After He died, He rose again, defeating death, so that You might live with Him forever.  This offer is a free gift, which He wants to give to you.  If you choose to accept it, He will forgive you of your sins and save you from the wrath that you deserve.  All you need to do is to accept this amazing gift.  

Christmas is all about Jesus’ love for you and all that He did because of that love.  He did it all for you, but the question now is, what are you going to do with Him?  Who do you believe He is?  Based on how you answer that, depends where you will spend eternity.  Believe in the Lord Jesus and You will be saved!

Oh Jesus, all that You did was for me.  You came and died for me.  Your love is amazing and wonderful.  Thank you for all that You did for me.  I am eternally grateful.  Amen.

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Reason For The Season – Day 17 – Gentle As A Lamb

36 and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

John 1:36

The Almighty God, ruler over all, mighty in power, full of strength was born a baby.  A very gentle entrance into this world.  What is more gentle than a new born baby.  He did not come to judge the world, but in order to save it.  Jesus is often called the lamb of God and the first time He came, He was a gentle as one.

Our Holy God’s first reaction to sin is a gentle response.  He would have been in His rights to kill Adam and Eve, after they first sinned.  Instead, while not removing the immediate consequences of their sin, gave them grace.  After they sinned, they realized that they were naked and hurriedly make clothes out of fig leaves.  God provided them with new clothes.  His first response to them was gentle and not harsh.

He is a patient God.  He does not bring the judgement we deserve immediately upon us, instead He gives grace and time to repent.  He did so similarly with Israel.  Time and time again, He forgave their sin, until He finally had had enough.  Likewise, we receive the same treatment.  He patiently waits for us to turn from our sin.  He is a gentle as a lamb.

However, one day Jesus will return as a roaring lion.  This time, He will judge the world.  Those who have rejected Him, will receive His wrath.  They will be eternally punished.  God will not be gentle with them, for they had refused His offer of gentleness.  Time is running for you.  Accept the gentle lamb, before the roaring lion comes!

Oh Jesus, You came as a gentle as a lamb.  Full of both love and grace.  You took my place and my punishment.  My sin is overlooked, because of what You did.  Thank you for Your gentleness.  Amen.

Reason For The Season -Day 16 – Great Joy

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11

Christmastime is a joyous time, but sometimes that joy gets lost in the midst of the business of the season or because of personal issues.  Some of the personal issues involve trying to celebrate your first Christmas without a loved one.  How hard that must be and you find yourself in that situation I am so sorry.  I cannot imagine what you are going through.  I just pray you will find peace and some joy this Christmas.  Know that God loves you and is with you all of the time. 

The angel tells the shepherds that they have good news of great joy.  Joy that God is on the move and He is taking action.  Joy that we have hope for forgiveness of our sins.  Joy that we do not have to face the just punishment we so richly deserve.  Joy that God loves us.  Joy that things are about to be different and get better.  Christmas time is a time of great joy.

As we approach Christmas, let us stop being so busy and rejoice at the truth that Jesus was born.  Let us focus on what matters and not entirely on what we want for ourselves or to buy for someone else.  Rejoice, for God was born in human form to save us.  Rejoice that He did not forget us, but instead intervened for us.  Rejoice and bast in the love that this baby has for us.  Rejoice that God keeps His promises.  Rejoice the long awaited Savior has been born!  

Oh Lord, may this Christmas be a time of great joy.  Help us to rejoice in the simple fact that You loved us enough to die for us.  Your love for us caused You to come live among us and save us.  I thank you that You were born to bring salvation to the world.  That anyone can call upon You and be saved.  Help those who are grieving and make Your presence known to them this Christmas.  Comfort and strengthen them I pray.  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 15 – God’s Peace (Pt2)

14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Luke 2:14

Yesterday, we talked about how Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gives us vertical, horizontal, and inner peace.  We get this peace when we put our faith in Him and trust Him as our Savior.  Christmas, for many, has nothing to do with peace.  Families fight, when they together.  It is the season where people are the most stressed and depressed.  We go crazy, trying to find just the right gift for someone, only to have them not like it.  We spend money we do not have and worry about how we are going to pay for it.  We fight with others about what words are said about Christmas and whether decorations or songs are offensive or not.  Christmastime can be anything but peaceful.

Jesus’ first arrival, as a baby, did not bring worldly peace.  Just the opposite, He brought division.  By coming to earth and dying for the sins of humanity, we are divided by what we choose to do with Jesus.  We divide ourselves, based on race or gender or genealogy or sexuality or political beliefs.  God does not.  He only sees one dividing line and based on if we have trusted by faith in Jesus to save us or not.  There are only two types of people in this world, the saved and the unsaved.  Peace is elusive between these two groups, because both sides think the other is off their rockers.

The words of Jesus, Himself:

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34

Eternal peace will come one day, when Jesus comes again.  On that day, He will take His rightly place on His throne and rule forever.  There will be peace.  There will be no more war, no more hurts, no more crying, no more strife.  Peace will reign and those who are saved will live under His rule forever and ever.  We will experience a peace never known since dawn of time.  

Those who chose not to believe, will be separated and live in eternal torment.  They will never know this eternal peace.  For they chose not to accept Jesus’ salvation and forgiveness.  Something we all deserve.  I deserve this eternal torment and to be separated from God, because of the gross vileness of my sins.  My only hope to avoid it is Jesus and what He did for us all.  I have chosen to accept Him and put my full trust in Him and His righteousness.  My sins are forgiven, not because I deserve it or earned, but all because of what Jesus did on the cross.  He took my punishment for me.  He took your punishment for you.  If you have done so, choose to accept Him as your Savior.  Believe in Him as the Son of God, who died to take your sin away.  Trust in Him, to be your only hope.  Ask Him to forgive you and save you.  Only then, will you get to experience this amazing eternal peace.

Jesus, as we celebrate Your first coming, we so look forward to Your second.  We look forward to the eternal peace You will bring.  Come soon, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Reason For the Season – Day 14 – God’s Peace (Pt 1)

6 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

Isaiah the Prophet, prophesied that among other titles, Jesus would named the Prince of Peace.  The Holy Child brought new peace with Him into the world.  Among them are a vertical peace, a horizontal peace, and inner peace.  The vertical peace is, the most important, is peace between us and God.  The horizontal peace is between us and others.  The inner peace is what is inside of us that helps us hold together in difficult times.  The Apostle Paul said that all of God’s peace is beyond our understanding, because it is so wonderful!

Vertical peace is between us and God.  Our sins cause a chasm between us and God.  We become enemies of God.  The chasm is so wide, we have no hope of crossing it ourselves.  What we cannot do, Jesus did on the cross.  His work on the cross made a way for us to get across this great divide.  It offers us a way for our sins to be forgiven.  When our sins are forgiven, we have peace with God.   We go from being enemies to friends and even better than friends, we become family.  We can have peace with God, all because of what Jesus did on the cross.

The second type of peace which Jesus brought is a horizontal peace.  It is based on having a vertical peace with God.  In response to the love, grace, and forgiveness we receive from Him, we do the same for other people.  We forgive them, when they hurt us.  We show them grace and love, just as God has shown us.  Which means we do not hold grudges and hurts.  We let go of them and forgive those who hurt us.  This peace tends to be contagious.  As we experience forgiveness from others, we are more apt to forgive others.

The last type of peace is an inner peace.  This peace, rules our hearts and minds.  It provides calm, when the storms of our lives are raging.  This peace comes from the Holy Spirit, who lives in us when believe in Jesus by faith.  Instead of responding with rage, we respond with love and grace.  This peace helps build a solid foundation, which is not easily shaken.  It is a gift from God.

Thanks to the baby, who was born in a manger, we can have vertical, horizontal, and inner peace.  They are all a gift, from the Prince of Peace!

Oh Jesus, You truly are the Prince of Peace.  Your peace is awesome and great.  It is well beyond my understanding.  Help me to let Your peace rule my heart and direct my life.  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 13 – God’s Promises – Timing

24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

Daniel 9:24-25

Jesus was born at the right time, God’s time.  God revealed to the Prophet Daniel that Jesus would be born in 69 weeks , after a decree goes out to rebuild Jerusalem.  Weeks in this case do not refer to day, but rather years.  Using the traditional Jewish calendar of  days, this puts the end of these weeks right about the time of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem*, right before He was crucified.  Once again we see that God kept His promise.

The Roman Empire also made it the right time for His birth.  Where the Romans went and conquered, they built up.  As part of that build up, was to builds roads between cities.  This made travel easier and safer.  These roads would be used by Jesus’ disciples after His death to spread the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus to the known world.  Before the Romans, it would have taken much longer and would have been much harder for this is to spread.

The timing of Jesus’ birth was all apart of God’s plan.  From the beginning, He knew when it would happen.  Also from the beginning, He knows the timing of Christ’s return.  This will not happen on our schedule.  For if I had to choose, it would have already happened.  Instead God know the perfect timing for it.  He has always known that time.  And when the time is right, Jesus will return for His church.  Soon after the clock will start ticking on that final week, which Daniel wrote about.  It will all come about in God’s perfect timing.

God’s timing is always right, because He knows what is best.  We are people who want immediate gratification.  We do not like to wait.  I do not like to wait.  But God sometimes call us to wait and endure.  We have lessons to learn while we wait.  We have growing to do.  We have learning to do.  We need to learn to trust in God’s timing and wait on Him.  For His timing is perfect and best for us.

Oh God, Your timing is perfect and best.  Help me to trust in it and submit to it.  Teach me to wait on You.  Grow me in the times of waiting.  Thank you for being faithful to Your promises.  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 12 – God’s Promises – God With Us

23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Matthew 1:23

God’s promise to us through the Prophet Isaiah, is that son shall be named Immanuel.  Immanuel means God with us.  This Son, who was to be born, is God.  Jesus is and has always been and will always be God.  He was born of a woman, into this world.  The creator, was created in the womb of a teenage girl and was born into this world as we were.  God was born into His created world and He was here living among us.

God did not send an angel to save us.  He sent Himself.  Nobody else could do what needed to be done, so God came and was with us.  I grew up knowing this and sometimes these facts do not sink in as far as they should.  This is utterly amazing.  God took on human form to save humans because we rebelled against Him.  All because He loves us.

The legendary Paul Harvey used to tell a Christmas story, called “The Man and the birds” (The link takes you to the Youtube playing of it, which I recommend).  In the story, he tells of a man who does not believe in Jesus, but his family does.  They go to church without him on Christmas Eve.  While the man is waiting at home for them, it begins to snow.  He heard a thump and found some birds on the ground, who had hit the house.  The man quickly tried to get the birds into his barn, so that they would not freeze in the storm.  No matter how much or what he tried, the birds would not follow him.  Then the though occurred to the man, if only I could become a bird, then they would follow me.  Then it hit him.  This is what Jesus did.  God became a man and dwelt among us, to lead us to safety.  God with us, Immanuel!

God promised to be with us and He came and He was!  Now, when we accept Jesus as our Savior by faith and follow Him to safety, He is with us all of the time.  He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  We, who are saved, are not alone.  For God, Immanuel, is with us!  Rejoice!

Oh Immanuel, I am so thankful You came to live with us.  I am so thankful, that You are always with me.  Thank you for never leaving me nor forsaking me.  I rejoice in You!  Thank you for the reminder that You are always there and that I am never alone.  I need You, forever and I ever, I need You!  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 11 God’s Promise – A Family Line

12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

2 Samuel 7:12-13

The Old Testament, in a lot of way, is a story about one family, from whom God promised to send His Messiah.  The promise started when God called the patriarch of the family, Abraham.  God told him that the world would be blessed by Abraham’s line, even before a child was born to him.  From Abraham, God chose Isaac to carry the line.  From Isaac in went to Jacob.  To Jacob, later renamed Israel by God, came the 12 tribes of Israel and the nation of Israel began.  

Jacob’s son Judah, was blessed by him on his death bed.  He said that the scepter shall never depart from the tribe of Judah.  Eventually from the tribe of Judah, we find the great King David.  God chose him to be king, because he was a man after God’s own heart.  God promised David that a Son would be born of his line and His kingdom would last forever.  

Jesus fit this criteria.  He was a descendant of David.  Both Mary and Joseph genealogy was from that line.  Being a descendant of David, meant He was of the tribe of Judah.  Being apart of the tribe of Judah, meant of course that He was an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham.  God’s promise to this family came true.  Their descendant, Jesus rose to fulfill all of the promises given to them.  Once again we see that God does what He says He is going to do.

The really good news, for both the Jew and gentile is that God adopts us into His family when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  We become His kids, an heir to His riches.  When God promised Abraham that his descendants would be number like the stars in the sky, we are included in that number.  God does not care about our blood line, instead He cares more whether we are covered by the blood Jesus or not.  If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, please do so today and become a member of the family of God!  Call out to Him and ask Him to forgive you of your sins.  Ask Him to save you and believe in Jesus as your savior.

Oh Father, I thank you for Your promises once again.  I thank you that You are faithful to them and that You keep them.  I am apart of Your family, all because of what You have done for me.  I am eternally grateful.  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 10 God’s Promise – A Virgin

14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

The Prophet Isaiah was provided a sign about the coming Messiah, a virgin will have a child.  Now science will tell you that you need something form the man and something from the woman to be able to conceive a child.  It is not humanly possible for a woman to get pregnant without a man.  But with God all things are possible.

God’s promise once again came true.  Mary had never been with a man and will still a virgin.  Yet she God pregnant by the work of God.  Joseph was engaged to be married to her before all of this happened.  At first, he did not believe that this happened, but after an angelic message he took Mary as his wife and kept her a virgin until after Jesus was born.  

God made this promise and gave this sign so that the people of Israel would know that God was behind it.  He made the conditions to be so hard that only He could accomplish it.  Nobody else could replicate what God did.  He is all powerful and He can do all things.  There is nothing that is too hard for God.  So trust Him with your problems.  He is faithful and He is all powerful.  There is nobody else like our God!

Oh Lord, nothing is too hard for You.  All things are possible for You.  Help me to trust You at all times.  Help me to never forget how powerful and wonderful You are.  Amen.

Reason For The Season – Day 9 God’s Promise: The Place

2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”

Micah 5:2

Yesterday, we saw that God promised to send Jesus and that God always keeps His promises.  Starting today, we are going to look at several of those promises.  The first is, where Jesus was to be born.  God promised, through the prophet Micah, that Jesus was to be born in the town of Bethlehem.  King David was from Bethlehem, so it is fitting his promised heir would be born there as well.

Mary and Joseph, the human parents of Jesus, were from the town of Nazareth.  Nazareth, was no where near Bethlehem.  Today, it would be about a two hour drive to get there.  In their time, it would have taken like 4 or 5 days.  The 2 towns are about 80 miles apart.  A vast distance in their day.  We are not told in Scripture that they knew the baby was to be born in Bethlehem.  That was not one of the instructions left by angel, to either of them.

How would God keep His promise and cause this young couple to go where they needed to be?  He used a man thousands of miles away, who knew nothing about God or this soon to be born Baby.  August Caesar, the ruler of the Roman empire, called for a census.  Every man was to return to his ancestral home and register.  That means Joseph, who was of the line of David, would have to take Mary and travel to Bethlehem.  At this time, Mary was almost full term in her pregnancy.  God used a pagan ruler, to fulfill His promise.  The young couple, load up the family donkey and make the hard journey to Bethlehem, just in time for God’s promise to come true.  For on the first night they were there, Jesus was born.  God’s timing was perfect!

Bethlehem, like in the time of David, was a place where sheep were raised.  In fact, many believe the shepherds who got an angelic visit, were watching sheep used for the sacrifices at the temple.  How fitting for Jesus, the Lamb of God, to be born here.  The sheep, who were without defect, would be sacrificed and have their blood shed for the sins of mankind.  The new born baby, would go on to live without defect and no sin.  His body would be broken and His blood shed, also for the sins of mankind.  The sacrifice of animals was temporary and their sacrifices were ever on going.  The sacrifice of the Lamb of God, was a one-time thing.  Jesus died once and all of our sins are covered by it.  All includes past, present, and future sins.  When you come to Him by faith and accept His sacrifice on your behalf, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin forever.  Not that we stop sinning yet, but that all of our sins are forgiven.

Thank you Lord, for keeping Your promises.  Thank you for the birth of Jesus.  Thank you for the life He lived and the death He died.  Thank you for forgiving me.  I am forever grateful to You for that.  Amen.