Sunday 10 June, 2012

Lk 2:21-24

21 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. 22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[b]

How cool Mary and Joseph were obedient and used the name God had provided to them for Jesus.  I am not a parent but I can imagine being able to choose the child’s name is something very special for parents.  But names are important – they knew that too – so they did what God asked them.

And then the concept of saying thank you to God – He knew we weren’t great at remembering to say thank you so He made it a requirement for the Jewish nation to say an official thank you at the temple for a new child.   Being grateful for your child is probably more obvious than some other things God does in our lives but we still needed to be reminded.

Saying thank you – how important it is.  Do we remember?  I know I don’t often enough. A great reminder from a fairly simple passage.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Linda Stengl says:

    True, thankfulness with obedience and faithfulness, from Mary and Joseph, blows me away! What amazing role models for us.

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Luke 2:8-20

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 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.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The angels visit the shepherds, the shepherds visit Jesus, the shepherds tell all, the mother treasures all the events in her heart, it’s a fascinating stream of events.

I find it invigorating that the shepherds response to the ‘terrifying’ announcement, was to seek out the cause of the story and then the shepherds after meeting Jesus tell everyone they can.  What a great response to meeting Jesus. Vs. 17 has it.

It wasn’t just that they told everyone about what they had seen and heard but they told it in such an engaging way that all who heard it from them were amazed.

Telling about our meeting with Jesus should leave others with an appetite to meet Him as well – that’s clear to me!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    l love that the Shepherds moved from fear to wonder and that the telling of their story moved people. I think we sometimes underestimate the power of our whole story – including all the bits where we don’t know what’s going on and we feel out of control or afraid. But when I share these “moments of my story” with friends I sense they see the bigger picture of God at work in my life better.

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Friday 8 June, 2012

Luke 2:1-7

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 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.

These first seven verses of Luke 2 tell us about the birth of Jesus – they also properly introduce us to the man who would be his earthly Father, Jospeh.  As I’ve read these few verses, I keep hearing the words “humble & wise”.  Joseph could have walked away from Mary, but instead he chose to remain with her and raise her unborn child as his own.  He chose to put aside what others would have been thinking and saying to him about Mary and the baby.  He chose to take Mary as his family, and register her as his family as part of the census. To literally stand up and be counted for what he believed in…

Would I do the same if put into a situation similar to this?  To truly put my life on the line for my faith.  To partner God, even if I couldn’t see what the outcome would be?

Written by Mandy Miller

3 replies
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    Humble and wise – such an amazing and uncommon combination of traits today. Thanks for the reminder that partnership with God operates best in these conditions.

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Thursday 7 June, 2012

Luke 1:67-80

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[b]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

God answers their question “What then is this child going to be?” (v66), and this time Zechariah doesn’t doubt. He speaks those words out in a beautiful testimony about John and the authority with which he would testify about Jesus.

The first third is about what God is doing through Jesus. He says God has come, has redeemed, has raised up salvation (all past tense), although Jesus has not been born yet and it is still many years until Jesus will complete the redemption on the cross. God has set his plan in motion so the outcome is certain.

The second part is about God’s demonstrated faithfulness in rescuing his people so that they could serve Him in holiness and righteousness.

The last part is about John’s part in all this: speaking for God, preparing the way, and making His salvation known. And this because Jesus “the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us”.

The challenge for me is to make my purpose and significance, my blessing, like John’s: mostly about Jesus and about God’s faithfulness and a bit about the part I will play in what God is doing.

After this fabulous blessing, John had more than a quarter of a century of growing and becoming strong in the spirit before the time was right for him to appear publicly. God’s timing was all important for John’s role to testify about Jesus. God’s timing is vital for me too.

Written by David Cornell

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Wednesday 6 June, 2012

Luke 1:57-66

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

As I read this passage I am arrested by the fact that as soon as Zechariah could speak again, he was praising God.  I wonder how I would have behaved in a similar situation?  If I had been struck dumb a year previously, what would have been the first words out of my mouth?  Would I have wanted to take the first opportunity to explain to everyone around me what had happened to me?  Would I have wanted to complain about the fact that I hadn’t been able to speak for a year or so? Would I have wanted to tell everyone the destiny of my son that had been foretold by an angelic visitation?  I wonder what my first words would have been?

Zechariah’s first words are praises towards God.  I imagine some of that is relief at being able to speak again. However, I do believe that Zechariah has had some time to think about Gabriel’s visit and about how everything that had been foretold so far had come true. I think Zechariah would have been experiencing a profound sense of awe and excitement over seeing the rest of the prophecy fulfilled in the life of his son.

“Lord, regardless of my situation, whether good or bad or indifferent, may my first words be ones of praise towards you.”

Written by Jen Irving

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Tuesday 5 June, 2012

Luke 1:46-56

46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” 56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Mary has seen the evidence of the angel’s words to Elizabeth and has moved into a fuller belief of the truth of what God is doing in her life. She is not dismayed by the many possible negative implications – rejection by others for being pregnant out of wedlock – but is overcome by praise for God. She starts with praise for what He’s done in her own life, and moves into praise for His hand over the nations and His promises.

Do I look for the positive in life’s challenges? I am encouraged by this passage to remember God’s promises and recognise his hand in my life more, and to ‘let my hair down’ in praise for Him.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Monday 4 June, 2012

Luke 1:39-45

39 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. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary goes to Elizabeth her cousin’s house.

Both women are pregnant, Elizabeth with John the Baptist, Mary with

Elizabeth, with seemingly no prior knowledge speaks to Mary telling her
of the blessing her child will be.

Her final statement “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord
would do what He said” is a statement of transforming power.  Think of
it, blessing comes as a result of obedience.  Straight forward, powerful,
principled and essential for us.

Father, help me to live a life of obedience to your Word, for then I am
in the place of blessing.

Written by Richard Botta

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