Clear instruction | Matthew 2:19-23

**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 2:19-23

Thoughts:

Joseph is once again visited in a dream by an angel and given direction. Seemed to be very clear instructions, but it looks as though he struggled with following direction because of fear. The angel tells him to go back to the land of Israel, but he learns that Herods son is now in charge and in fear does not want to enter Judea. He is again warned in a dream to now go to Galilee. There they started to live in a town called Nazareth. This was again a fulfillment of prophecy which said he would be a Nazarene.

How often do I turn from clear instruction in God's Word, when I become fearful of the consequences? How often do you? Often with 20/20 hindsight we can look back and say to ourselves...why was I so afraid? I recently had a situation where I was asking for a "promotion" at work. I pursued it with a lot of vigor. I stressed over whether or not my manager was "trying to hold me back". This lasted for about a week and a half, and then one morning it just dawned on me that I had never put the situation into God's hands. I immediately prayed a prayer asking for forgiveness for not giving the situation to Him sooner. Then I asked Him to take control of this promotion, get it or not, so that I could move on with my life. I instantly felt the stress leave me and I knew that whether or not I got the promotion, it was in God's hands and I could relax knowing that the right thing would happen. What an amazing relief to know that we have a God in Heaven that loves us enough to be involved in our lives on a personal basis. I highly recommend that the next time you experience some stressful situation in your life, if you can't find clear direction in God's Word as to which way you should go, just give the situation to Him and let the stress disappear.

You see, you CAN have peace whether or not things go the way you want. I had peace knowing that if I didn't get the promotion, it was God's Will that I didn't get it. Does that make sense? God's will is perfect. He sees a future I cannot even guess at. I can only live in the moment, but He can see what is best for me even before it happens. So, if I ask for His Will to be done, I can know that it WILL be done. He has made that promise. Then I can relax knowing that the right thing has or will happen. How do I know that if I really pushed in this situation that maybe I would get it, but then I would fail in the new position in some way and lose my job or my reputation. I don't know these things, but God does....do you see?

Rest and live in peace by giving things in your life over to God's Will.

Prayer:

Dear Shepherd,

Thank you for leading in my life. Please help me to be a good sheep and respond to the prodding of your "shepherd's rod". You do seek to be a part in my life and to lead in it...with only my best interest in mind. Help me to allow you to do that good work.

Please protect my family and friends this week. Please be with the young pregnant woman on life-support that Carol told me about. Heal her Lord if it is your will, and may it bring great glory to your name. Be with my son and help him to open up even more. Help me to train him in your ways as best I can. I am struggling with how to show him who You are...please guide me in that. Please be with Barry and bring him home safely. Please be with Carissa and Cora and bring them home safely. Please be with Dr. Lee G's bible study ministry...what an amazing approach to learning from Your word...and what a blessing. It is my prayer that his ministry will expand in this time of need.

Thank you for all that YOU, the Supreme Provider, give to me and my family. We are so blessed and I am very thankful. Thank you for your love for me. Take my will Lord, this week, and may my thoughts, words, and actions glorify you. Amen.

Herod fulfills prophecy | Matthew 2:13-18

**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 2:13-18

Thoughts:

So Herod's true nature is revealed in this passage. He finds out that he has been tricked by the wisemen and again makes a very brutal decision to destroy what he sees as a threat. This time instead of getting the actual child, he makes a sweeping decision to destroy all of the male children 2 years of age. What a horrible time that must have been, I cannot even imagine.  Matthew lets us know that this also fulfill's a prophesy from Jeremiah of "great weeping and mourning" because the children are dead.

A few things stand out to me here:

  • Again there is an attempt to put an abrupt end to the ministry of Jesus
  • Again, God protects his Word made flesh.
  • Matthew shows more evidence of Jesus being the Messiah by connecting this situation to a prophecy
  • Those who listen to God's instruction and follow Him are protected.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

I thank you for your promises of protection. I ask you for the ears to hear and the eyes to see and most of all...the heart to believe. It is only through are response to your voice that we can know which direction to go. I ask you for discernment. I ask you to guide me and help me to be a blessing to others by helping them to see your love for them.

Please be with the young woman I heard of today. She was in a terrible car accident and was pregnant. I know that you see this situation and that you love her and her unborn child. Knowing that your will is good and perfect I ask that your will be done. I pray for healing Lord, but in all things I want your will to be done.

Please keep my family safe, Amen.

The Birth | Matthew 2:1-12

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**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 2:1-12

Thoughts:

This is the description by Matthew of the birthplace of Jesus and the circumstances surrounding His birth.

Interesting that wise men from another country (the east) were the ones who actually had studied the ancient text and knew not only of the expected arrival of the Messiah, but they responded to that knowledge with action; came to find Him and pay homage. We learn that the leaders and teachers of religious law knew where Jesus would come from, but they were too entrenched in their ideas of a Messiah coming with great earthly power to release them from Roman bondage that they completely "missed the boat".

King Herod, the acting "King" of the Jews, immediately saw the arrival of Jesus as a threat to his power. He fully intended to do away with Jesus as soon as he found Him. Angels warn the wise men not to reveal the location of Jesus to Herod to protect His life.

I find the response from Herod very interesting. If I understand correctly, Herod was a Jew as well. He, like all the other Jews, should have been waiting for the coming of the Messiah with great anticipation and longing. Instead, he saw it as a threat to his earthly power. He enjoyed his position and could only see the change a Messiah would bring as something to be feared. How do you respond to the idea of the second coming of Jesus? How do I?

Are we filled with joy at the thought? Are we filled with dread? Do we worry more about the conditions we will be living in (of which our minds love to "fill in the blanks") at the end of time or do we care only that the conflict will finally be brought to a conclusion...the battle will finally be won. Are we worried that we won't be able to experience this thing or that thing before He comes? Is there that one special worldly pleasure that just seems to say "If Jesus comes, you won't be able to enjoy meeee anymore..."

Lately I have been thinking of the coming of Jesus more. I feel in my heart that He is coming very soon. Things are happening world wide in the political realm, in nature, and on the human level that cry out "HE IS COMING SOON"; yet I continue to sit on the fence and play the part of a christian... on the outside...while the heart seems to be unchanged. I don't want to be a plastic christian any longer. I want to be ready when Jesus comes. I want Him to see me and say, "I know you. We spent many mornings and evenings together. You sought My counsel when things were confusing. You sought My comfort when things were hard. You shared your joy with Me when you were happy, and you shared your tears when life overwhelmed. Yes, I know you well and you will now know Me, clearly. No longer looking to Me through a cloudy mirror." I can only do those things that will help me to know Him and Him to know me...the question remains...when will I start doing them?

I do long for the day when sin will be defeated. Temptation will cease. Love will abound and blossom to what it really is and what it will forever be...the Character of God shown and lived in the lives of His children; felt and embraced by them from God... perfectly.

Prayer:

Dear Loving Father in Heaven,

Thank You so much for your promise to come back and take us home; where You are is home. Thank you for all that You provide now, while I am still a captive of this world. Thank You for providing a way of escape. Lord, please continue to work on my heart....continue to soften it and make it able to hear Your voice. I do want to change Lord, but sometimes it seems that I am swimming upstream in a river of molasses. I sense that there is a place, upstream, that will get easier to swim in. Maybe Lord, the molasses stays the same but my arms and legs (through your help) become stronger and it will become easier to swim. I do know that I must choose to swim otherwise I just get carried wherever the river flows. So, Lord I am asking for Your strength and guidance. Give me the power to choose to swim. Give me the power to move forward. Then help me to always swim toward You. Though my sinful nature seeks to hide it, my heart truly does want to know You more.

Please be with me and my family today. Guide us as we spend time with Your children. Help us to be a blessing to them.

Thank you for being able to forgive our sins. Thank you for forgiving my sin. Thank you for all that you do for us. We love You Lord; I love You Lord. Amen.