Day 18. Treasures in Heaven

18.heart

But Mary treasured up all these thing and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19 

The Christmas Story from Luke 2:1-21

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

The Complete Word Study of the New Testament defines ‘heart’ as;

The Scriptures attributed to the heart: thoughts, reasonings, understanding, will, judgement, designs, affections, love, hatred, fear, joy, sorrow, and anger; these things can actually affect a man’s physical heart. Therefore “heart” is used a s a metonym for the mind in general. p.925

Heart also encompasses the moral or emotional part of being human;

  • A leader with heart is said to be compassionate.
  • If you’ve won someone’s heart it means you’ve won their affection or love.
  • If someone never loses heart they are said to have courage.

Or, heart can mean your innermost feelings and inclinations;

  • If you know something by heart, you’ve memorized it and it’s a part of you.
  • If like David, you’re a man after God’s own heart, your character is being defined.

Mary did not run around trying to clear her name when the angels told her she would be expecting.  When the birth of Jesus was foretold she says, “may it be fulfilled”.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:26-38

When Mary and Elizabeth came together there was joy in believing the fulfillment of the promise, even from Elizabeth’s baby.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Luke 1:39-45

Mary quietly and personally wondered what it was that God was doing.  She kept the the joy within her to herself and waited for God to further reveal the truth that was coming. She protected her treasure, as her body protected her baby, in her heart where it was safe.  With quiet confidence she carried her baby and her treasure in faith.

In Matthew’s gospel, we learn;

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For were your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 

At this time of wonder right before we celebrate Christmas, can we remember what His coming means? Can we leave todays cares unattended and come to wonder and ponder in our hearts the promise made so long ago? Can we treasure the Word which became flesh?  Can we let our hearts be filled by the love of God? And lastly, can we share this fulfillment with those who do not yet know?

 

 

Print this post by clicking on the green ‘printer friendly’ bar below, and write your answers to these questions.

Question (feel free to journal your answer here) Where is your hearts’ treasure? Is it in things? Or is it in Christ?  What would you like to ponder in your heart today?

 

 

Your prayer (feel free to write your prayer here)

 

 

Heart Jewelry can be found at shop.livedan330.com

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Day 17. Born to You

17.SaviorGood

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2:11 

Savior. Deliverer. Sustainer. Preserver of life.

In the Gospel of Matthew we find two names given to Mary’s baby upon his birth.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  Matthew 1:20-23

From the Old Testament we see the prophecy that is fulfilled.

For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.  Isaiah 43:3

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

As Savior he has removed all barriers of man, and all are equal in his sight.  He is the one who saves and unites all into the body of Christ. In Christ we are one without separation.  No more black or white, male or female, Jew or Greek, but all are sinners and all have been saved by His blood.  No wonder the lowly shepherds were the first to know of his birth!

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  Ephesians 2:11-22

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:13-14

In Greek, the name Jesus is from the Jewish name Joshua which means, “God is salvation.”  He was born to save.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  1 Corinthians 1:18

We are no longer lost and without meaning or hope because of the sacrifice He made.

“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:22-25

Then, how do we live?

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.  1 Peter 2:1-3

As His sheep, in His pasture, in His peace.  Listen in love.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  John 10:14-16

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 1:24-25

 

Print this post by clicking on the green ‘printer friendly’ bar below, and write your answers to these questions.

Question (feel free to journal your answer here) What barriers are still in your life?  Are you ready to release them to the One who can heal, restore, renew, deliver, sustain and preserve?

 

 

 

Your prayer (feel free to write your prayer here)

 

 

 

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Day 16. Listen for His Voice

16.Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

In our Christmas story we know that the shepherds were the first ones outside the family to know about the birth of Jesus, and upon seeing baby Jesus they praised God.  Were they familiar with the prophesy that he too would be a shepherd? A shepherd of people?  What an honor to witness the Messiah at his birth.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:20

From David, the Shepherd who would be king, we receive the comforting words and assurance of God’s leading and caring for us through life’s hardships and joys.

Psalm 23: Davids Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

It was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be a Shepherd.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 

In this New Testament scripture we know we are equipped for doing good according to His will, through Jesus.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

In John we learn that the Shepherd is our gate, that He leads us in and out, calls us by name, and gives us life to the full, even to the point of laying down his own life for the sheep.  That is a deep love.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:1-18

This laying down of the Good Shepherds life for the sheep means we will never perish.  What a gift to be under His care.

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  John 10:25-29

And at the end of time, when all is said and done, God will be there to wipe away our tears with His own hand, and in His Presence we will have fullness of joy.  Can you imagine a love so full, so personal, so safe and eternal?  One day we will know.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:17

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

 

Print this post by clicking on the green ‘printer friendly’ bar below, and write your answers to these questions.

Question (feel free to journal your answer here) Are you near enough to the shepherd to hear him or is he out looking for you in the dark?  

 

Your prayer (feel free to write your prayer here)

 

 

 

Shepherd Jewelry can be found at shop.livedan330.com

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