As I reflect upon my Father’s Word today, I marvel at the hearts of the Magi who visited Jesus with His mother Mary. I am sure these three kings had busy lives with a lot of things to do and lots of people about them just as we all have, but their hearts were drawn with incredible pull to leave it all for a time and put forth sacrifice to seek out Christ. It was the priority they had their minds set on achieving and they implemented a plan to make it happen. Once they had reached the place where they found Jesus, they bowed down and worshipped Him. To bow down is to bend the knee. They yielded or gave to Him as was fitting, which was customary when one went before a king and they had hearts that were worshipful of Him, having great respect, admiration and devotion to Him. What a beautiful picture this is of what Christmas is all about! All of this has me thinking again and in response to the reading of His Word, I encourage us all as we go through this Christmas celebration to do as the Magi did, 1) to leave the hustle and bustle of every day life to seek out time with Jesus. 2) Consider what might be something fitting that we could give to Him as a gift and 3) show Him our heart of respect, admiration and devotion to Him. This is truly the Spirit of Christmas. Let us worship our King! Here’s a nice worship song I’d like to share with you:
Greetings to you this Friday! As we saw in yesterday’s study, “Greetings” is the way Jesus spoke as He appeared in His risen state to Mary Magdalene after her leaving the tomb where His body had been laid to rest. This is the same Mary out of whom He had driven seven demons. I can just imagine Jesus being happy to be with Mary and having a big grin on His face as he said “Greetings!” How surprised Mary must have been. Wow! What mighty works Jesus had done in her life. No wonder she had such a fond devotion and love for Him! Jesus definitely changes lives! After this encounter with Jesus, Mary then faithfully went and told those who had been with Him and who were now mourning and weeping over His death. I can just imagine how devastating it must have been to these disciples to be in a place of being separated and without their beloved Jesus. Without Jesus, life would be hard going which speaks to my heart that we need to keep going and telling others about Jesus in hopes that they who are weeping and mourning in their lives can have hope! Sometimes in doing so, there are those who will not believe us and that is what happened when Mary first went to the disciples. After Mary, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of His disciples as they were walking in the Country and these two returned and reported it back to the others that they had seen the risen Lord and they didn’t believe the two either. But God doesn’t give up on people easy. He desires that none perish, but that all have repentance. He desires that all have the saving knowledge and good news of Jesus. Because the disciples did not believe Mary’s testimony nor the story of the two disciples, Jesus Himself appeared to the eleven as they were eating. There was only eleven as Judas Iscariot had committed suicide because of the evil one’s influence on him over his perceived failing in life. If only he had been able to learn from his mistake, confess his sin to Jesus and accept His grace, how different his life could have been. Perhaps this is why Jesus was so concerned about Peter’s heart-broken state over his denial of Him. Jesus had already lost one of His loved ones to the enemy and He didn’t want to lose Peter whom He loved. Depression is an awful thing. There is help for depression and if you battle with it, I encourage you to seek out Godly help in overcoming it so that it does not overcome you. You are too loved and precious to our Father to allow physical problems that can cause depression or the evil one to destroy you! Please seek help quickly so that you are healthy. As Jesus appeared to His disciples while they were eating, He gave them the food of rebuke for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Ouch! Hmmm. Is this a lesson for me? I’m asking myself what are my fellow believers telling me that I am being stubborn about and refusing to accept? Where in my life am I lacking in faith? After pointing this out to His disciples, He said to them: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. He said that in His name, there would be amazing signs that would accompany those who believe. This is the great commission our Dad has given to us all and we all have part in it! What is my part and what is your part? Maybe you are one who is to physically go into the whole world telling the good news of Jesus and baptizing those who internally place their faith in Him for salvation and are willing to make an external or public confession of their saving faith in Jesus through baptism. Perhaps your part is to support the one going through prayer, sharing your giftedness in some way or providing financial support that is needed to keep one going out into the world. I encourage us to not be found by Jesus lacking in faith or being stubborn in refusing to believe Him. Yikes!!! Moving ahead to what’s next in the story, we see that after speaking these things, Jesus was taken up into Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God. The disciples thankfully got His message and faithfully went out and preached everywhere and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied the message. Hence, you and I as Dad’s kids received the message. Praise Dad and bless our brothers and sisters before us who faithfully carried the baton of faith to us. What will we now do with it? Hey, Dad has a great idea for us: let’s put on our faith sneakers, take the baton of His good news and run with it in such a way as to bless others and get the prize that waits at the end of the race. Whoohoo!!! On our mark, get set. Well, gonna run. I’m with ya in heart!
Mk 16:9-20; Lk 24:13-53; 1 Co 9:24; He 12:1-3; 2 Pe 3:8-9
Today is Friday – for many, it is the last day of the work week. I haven’t seriously dived in to how the word Friday was derived, but I chuckle as I think about it in terms of a brain being “fri”ed after a long, tiring week and now ready for a weekend of rest! Hence, it’s “Fried”day! I’m hanging in there with ya’s! I hope ya’ll make it through the week and I hope you all have a great weekend! As we have been studying in Mark’s writing, at that time, it is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb and the disciples are asking Jesus about what He would like for them to do to enable Him to also observe the Passover meal. It strikes me that they didn’t wait for Jesus to instruct them, they proactively pursued how to minister to Him. They had concern for Him which speaks of their love and devotion to Him. They desired to see Him taken care of and blessed. Upon asking Jesus what He desired, Jesus asked the disciples to go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water would meet them. They were to follow him and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asked “where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” We see here that Jesus had insight that the disciples needed and the disciples stepped out in faith that the Holy Spirit was leading them and helping them. They were great examples that recognized “apart from Him, they could not succeed.” Jesus told the disciples that the man they met carrying the water would show them an upper room, furnished and ready. Ok, this begs the questions “Am I ready and willing to serve my Lord when He and where He calls me?” “Am I willing to share what is furnished?” Jesus told the disciples to “make preparations for us” there. I love Jesus’ heart attitude of team work here and the disciples’ hearts that willingly went into the city as Jesus had asked and found things just as Jesus had told them. Mark says “so they prepared the Passover,” faithful to what Jesus asked of them. So, in closing, a couple of questions to consider – “Do you have a heart for ministry for Jesus, but do not know where to serve? This story tells us that Jesus has the answer if we ask Him and if we get concerned about provision, Jesus does provide for the work He calls us to do as He shows us in this story. He is the Dad who knows how to give good gifts to His kids when they ask Him. Oh, that Dad of ours – He is a sweet One! May He bless your day!
Wednesday is upon us and as I open the treasure chest of our Daddy’s Word today, we see Jesus reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper. While Scripture doesn’t tell us for sure, Simon was probably a leper healed by Jesus. Jesus’ act of mercy, love and devotion towards him may have compelled the man to invite Jesus to his home out of a heart of thanks and a desire to give back to Jesus who had greatly blessed His life. Jesus is like that. Once you have been touched by His love, you desire more of Him and you desire to serve Him. The Gospel of John tells us this dinner was in Bethany where Lazarus lived whom Jesus had raised from the dead. It was a dinner held in honor of Jesus and it was served by Martha, while her brother Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus. It sounds they were relaxing and enjoying the moment when Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha took an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and broke it, pouring the perfume on Jesus’ head to anoint Him out of her great devotion to Him. She was doing what she could beforehand to prepare Him for what was to come (His burial). Many balked at the expense of her sacrifice as they saw many other needs, but Jesus saw the value of her choice. John’s Gospel says that what she did for Him was intended and He said that her act of love and devotion would be remembered throughout the world as the Gospel was preached. In application of all of this, I would like to encourage each of you brothers and sisters that the sacrifices you make for Jesus out of your love and devotion to Him will not be forgotten. He greatly appreciates what we do for Him. I’m resting in His love this day. Dad bless ya! ~Sheila~
Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8; He 6:10
It’s Friday with our Father everyone! Whoohoo! What a treat to go through this day with Him! As we join Him in His Word today, we see Him in the temple sitting opposite the place where the offerings were put and He watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts, but a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty, put in everything – all that she had to live on.” Wow! Can you imagine being in church and Dad watching to see what you put into the plate knowing what He has given to you? Yikes!!! I’d want Him to be proud of me for what I give. As I think about this story and giving my ALL to Him, the thought that comes to me is that more than ALL of my finances as a sacrifice, Dad more than ALL desires my whole heart devotion to Him. He says to love Him with ALL my soul, heart, mind and strength. I think the widow in this story modeled that and also what Paul said “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost ALL things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law (sacrifices), but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” God’s Word gives us guidelines for giving, but Dad says He loves a cheerful giver and does not want us to give out of compulsion. If you have to beg someone for them to give you a gift, it isn’t really meaningful is it? If we love God with ALL our heart, His love for us and our love for Him compels us to give. Our Father has wisdom and can guide us each individually in giving as there are many reasons He provides for us, including providing for our families. To return to Him a portion of what he gives us is honoring to Him as the source or giver of ALL that we have. When we are seeking oneness with Him, He will give us the desires (motivations) of our heart. He will move us to will and act according to His good purpose. How He moves one heart may be different from another. In light of ALL of this, I ask you as I ask myself “Are ya ALL in for Jesus?” Trust in Him to guide you and if He so moves you, put your two coins in or leave your two coins out, or put yer five coins in and pass the plate around, do the giving Hokey Pokey as He moves your heart about – loving Dad’s what it’s ALL about! Dad bless y’ALL!
Mk 12:30, 41-44; Php 3:7-9; 2 Co 5:14-15, 9:6-15; 1 Ti 5:8; Php 2:13; Lev 27:30; Ro 12:1-2