Tag Archives: christmas devotion

Jesus Is Born

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us].”

Isaiah 7:14 AMPC

“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 NASB

“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 1:18 NLT

“While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.’”

Matthew 1:20-21 GNT

“Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David. He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.”

Luke 2:4-7 GNT

““That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’”

Luke 2:10-12 NLT

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

John 1:14 NLT

Merry Christmas. God is with you.

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Believe

Believe. It’s a word that we see a lot of at Christmas, but what do we believe, and what are we asking others to believe? Mary believed what the angel had told her. She might have been confused and scared about the news, but she didn’t question it. She began preparing for her pregnancy and even told Joseph about it. She didn’t just sit around, and do nothing with it. Believing forces us to action. It’s not a passive thing.

All of us believe in things, and our actions are a result of those beliefs. As we move closer to Christmas, take time to find out what you believe by looking at your own actions. Don’t just listen to what your mind tells you that you believe. Others can’t read your mind. They can only see your actions, which speak louder than words. Our belief has a greater impact on the lives of others than our words. So, what do you believe?

Here are some Bible verses about believing.

1. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed…You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Luke 1:42, 45 NLT

2. Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.

John 14:1 HCSB

3. Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

John 20:29 MSG

4. But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.

JOHN 1:12 AMP

5. If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.

Romans 10:9-10 GNT

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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A Son Is Given

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I saw a Christmas play a few years ago where they told the story of Jesus’ birth as seen through the eyes of two angels. They were reading Heaven’s newspaper when they saw the headline that Jesus was going to earth. They were ecstatic thinking of what all it could mean. As they read on, they were suddenly confused. “Wait! It says here that He’s going down there as a baby,” said one of the angels. The other replied, “How will He fit into something so small?” The God who is bigger than the universe He created, came down and entered our world as a baby.

He didn’t just come as a baby, but He came as a boy. When you think of it culturally and in that time period, a boy brought honor to his family. It meant that their lineage would continue. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, it meant the royal line would continue and provide hope to Israel that at some point one of David’s heirs would rule the nation again. Everyone knew the promises God had made to establish David’s throne forever. They had been waiting for centuries for the House of David to return to the throne. The government of that country would once again be on the shoulders of the king.

Not only was that part of it important, but the fact that He was a boy has other implications. When a boy grows up, he gets married and his spouse takes his name. God came to earth to win our hearts. He came to propose marriage to each of us. In that time period and culture, a dowry was needed to secure a bride. It was usually something very expensive that would cost the groom everything he had. He had to work for years just to afford the dowry of engagement. After that was paid, He would have to provide a paid off home so that they could live together without worry. She would give up her family name and take his. She would leave her father and mother and cleave to him.

What does that have to do with Jesus? Everything. He came to pay a price that was equal to your worth. He came to win you over with His love. His life was all about proving how much He loved you and me. He did miracles, signs and wonders in an effort to get our attention. He bled and died in order to pay the dowry for you to be engaged to Him. He gave up everything He had to come in the form of a child, lived His life trying to get our attention and paid that price just to ask if you would marry Him. When you accept His proposal, all of Heaven rejoices just as we would for one of our friends. You then take on His name, Christian, and leave the life you once lived.

John 14:2-3 says, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (NLT). He is following the culture and customs of that time in His proposal of marriage to you. Revelations says that we will be going to the wedding feast in Heaven one day. You and I are the bride of Christ if we accept His proposal. He’s coming back for us once He’s finished preparing it. I can’t wait to see it. If He made this world in 6 days, can imagine how incredible Heaven will be after 2,000 years? I can’t wait for the wedding, how about you?

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The Birth Of Grace

I’ve got a friend who, when he sees people with a sour face, likes to say, “Smile! God’s in a good mood.” It usually takes them a second to hear what he said, then they laugh or smile. Many of us think of God as this angry, Old Testament figure who is sitting up in Heaven speaking in old English and is looking for someone to smite. As a result, we try to live a smite free life that makes us miserable.

If God is always angry, why did He give us the gift of His Son? I can tell you that when I’m upset or angry with someone, giving them a life changing gift is not an idea floating around in my head. In the Old Testament, we had a pact with God where we would do our part to keep the relationship open through sacrifice, but we constantly fell short. That did make God angry and upset. How do you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t do it.

Out of love, God decided to establish a New Covenant between us. One where when we fall short on our end, Jesus makes up the difference. His birth was also the birth of grace. It announced that God would make a way to reestablish the relationship between He and us. His desire has always been that we would know Him, and go to live with Him for eternity. To take the burden off of us trying to keep our part, He sent Jesus.

John 3:16-17 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (NLT). Smile! That’s good news. This Christmas, celebrate the birth of grace into our world. Live your life in response to God’s love for you rather than out of the fear of being smitten.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

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The Shepherd’s Birth

If I were to ask you who was invited to the birth of Jesus, most of you would answer, “Shepherds and wisemen.” I believe that answer is wrong. Only shepherds were invited to the birth. Many scholars believe the wisemen May not have shown up for over a year after His birth. I still believe it’s important that the wisemen came because they showed that Jesus would be the King of Kings. Now think about the manger scene with just shepherds. Interesting.

Why would God only announce the birth of the Savior of the world to shepherds and no one else? Why would the place God prepared for Him to be born be a barn? I believe we can go back to Psalm 23 for that answer. The Lord is my shepherd. God finds that shepherds make great kings. They provide for their flock, they lead them and protect them too. Before Jesus was a carpenter, He was born a shepherd.

When the wisemen went to King Herod looking for where the messiah was born, Matthew 2:6 says they read him, “And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel” (NLT). God knew we would need a shepherd more than a king. While kings rule and dictate, shepherds lead and serve. People were looking for a king to free them from the oppression of the Romans. Instead God sent them a shepherd to free them from their sin.

If you’ve accepted Jesus as king of your life, have you let Him also be your shepherd? Have you given Him not just the ability to rule, but also to lead? Sheep willingly follow where their shepherd leads, but subjects are forced to obey a king. God doesn’t force us to serve Him as a king would. Instead, He invites us to follow Him out of love. I believe shepherds were the only ones invited to His birth to remind us God knew we needed a shepherd more than a king.

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

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God Revealed

Around Christmas, we begin to see clever signs like the ones that say, “Wise men still seek Him” or “Born to die”. As Christians, we tend to spend a lot of our attention on that last one because salvation hinges on it, and our reconciliation with God is made possible. The truth is that Jesus didn’t come down to earth just to die for our sins. He had another mission as well – to reveal who God Really is.

We’ve all been misunderstood at some point in our lives. We did something with the best of intentions, and someone else took it the wrong way. Depending on how that person or group of people react, determines how hurt you got from their misunderstanding of you. If we misunderstand people’s intentions, how much more so do we misunderstand God? Part of what Jesus was here for was to clear some of that up.

One of the greatest misunderstandings about God is that He’s our God collectively instead of our God personally. This idea that God wanted to have a personal relationship is one of the things that angered the religious people of Jesus’ day. They couldn’t get past their misunderstanding of Him, so Jesus went to the people who weren’t so set in their ways to educate them and to reveal God to them.

What misconceptions do you have of God? Are you so set in your belief that He’s a certain way, that you’re refusing to let Jesus reveal who He really is to you? Don’t let your misunderstanding of who God is keep you from a deeper relationship with Him. John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (NLT). Pray today that Jesus would reveal who God really is, and to help you get past your misunderstandings of Him.

A friend of mine wrote a book called “Misunderstood: A Refreshing Guide To Dumping Religion For Good And Diving Deep Into A Personal Discovery Of The God Who Changes Everything.” You can check it out here.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

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Children Of God

I think adoption is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. I have watched many of my friends adopt children and love them as if they birthed them. It gives hope and identity to children who are orphaned. Adoption doesn’t create a perfect family, it opens the doors for love to come in and heal. God has always looked out for the orphan and provided a way to bring them into a family. It’s a beautiful thing.

When sin entered the world, we became orphans ourselves. We lost our identity and our way, but God, in His great mercy, sent Jesus into the world to begin the adoption process. His birth signaled that God’s love for us was greater than our sin, and that He desired to bring us into His family. Spiritual adoption, just like physical adoption, gives the child all rights and privileges as if they were born into that family. You and I are officially children of the King of Kings. We are royal heirs thanks to adoption made possible by Jesus.

Here are some verses on being children of God.

1. When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons…So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:4-5, 7 HCSB

2. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

1 John 5:1 NLT

3. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.

Matthew 5:43-45 GNT

4. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:15-16 NLT

5. For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus.

GALATIANS 3:26 AMP

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