Courageous Characters in the Christmas Story
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
We all have heard the Christmas story since we were little. It's a beautiful story of God's love, faith, hope, redemption and more. Today let's look at this beautiful narration in a new way. Where God used daring trust in Him to bring His Son into the world which ultimately saved mankind. Each part of the story the characters all had a trust in their God and that He would fulfill His plan. It was this unfading trust that led them all to trust in the part they played when Jesus was born.
Interrupted by Heaven- Mary’s Faith- Luke 1:45
There is no way I could ever comprehend how Mary felt when God chose her to be the mother of the Messiah. I am a wife and a mother of three and my life faced many interruptions but none like Mary. God stepped in and turned her world upside down.
Imagine being young and in love. You're planning your wedding and see your new future unfold with a wonderful man and things are great and on track. Suddenly, heaven speaks telling you that you are highly favored by God and have been chosen to bear His Son. At this point Mary had a critical decision to make which would have changed the course of history. Although troubled, confused and interested how God's great plan would unfold, Mary's response showed how great her faith in God was. “I am the Lord's servant, may your words to me be fulfilled.”- Luke 1:38.
Have you ever felt confused about how God would accomplish His plan in your life? No matter how you feel at the moment, could you respond as Mary? Do you trust and have faith that God's plan will turn out for the good? We may not see the entire picture, but Mary shows us, that when we put our faith in God, He will richly bless us.
Adopting God's Plan- Josephs Belief- Matthew 1:20
For Joseph, he too had to have faith. This probably was hard news to swallow at first. He loved Mary, he was going to marry her. Now, she tells him she's expecting a baby that wasn't his. It is how Joseph’s story unfolds where we can see his obedience and belief in God and how he helped establish the name of Jesus. Although Mary was having the baby, Joseph needed to adopt God's plan and still marry Mary. How wonderful it must have felt when the Angel reassured Joseph in a dream. He was able to see God's plan of salvation unfold in front of him. Joseph knew he'd face criticism still making the choice to marry Mary while pregnant. Yet his belief in God's plan and in God helped him choose obedience.
What promises has God asked you to obediently fulfill? God assures us through Joseph’s story that we can find peace amongst doubts because God will comfort us when we need it. Do you know, when God asks us to obey, He is giving us a chance to watch His plan unfold?
Pursuing the Promise- The Wise Men’s Expectations- Matthew 2:11
When the wise men saw the star, they knew the promise from God to send a Savior was fulfilled. They had been expecting it, they had studied for years about it. Now the time had come and nothing was going to stop them from pursuing this baby, Jesus. Not even the King's evil plan would hold them back. What is important to this part of the story is that the wise men knew what the star meant because they had kept God's words alive in their hearts. Oh, the excitement that had to have been brewing when they turned down the path to Jesus following the star. Right in front of them they were able to watch God's promise unfold.
Have you ever been able to see God's promises unfold in front of you because you obeyed God? Although we all have faced moments of discouragement and lost hope, when we lose that unwavering faith of God fulfilling his promises. What we can learn from the wise men is to never give up, always pursue God and His promises, God will always do what He says He will do! If you need a little assurance along the way, look up to God for help and He will help just as He did with the star so long ago.
Humble Evangelists- The Shepherd’s Journey
Shepherds are one of the main focal points in the Christmas story. They appear in the story of the manger scenes; they are more focused on than the wise men. Yet many wonder about their significance to the story or why the angels chose them first to share the announcement of Jesus’ birth. After all shepherds held a low status in the social ranks, their jobs were dirty and kept them away from social circles. Shouldn't such news go to those in high nobility first?
Yet, shepherds were also humble, and their faith was strong as they had many moments of quiet time to reflect on God, His teachings, and His promises. They were able to stay out of the rat race because their focus was their herds not what people thought. The announcement went to them to show that Jesus came for all people, rich or poor, female or male.
The shepherds were eager to embrace the good news and immediately went to find and worship Jesus. After sharing the events of the evening and visiting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, they left glorifying and praising God sharing the good news to all who would listen.
Do you eagerly share with everyone the good news of Jesus? Are you too caught up in your own social status that you miss God sharing with you? Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and He is here to take care of us no matter rich or poor, male, or female. May you always seek to spread the good news of Jesus. May you always be filled with worship.
Worship- Our Greatest Gift
When Mary was filled with understanding of God's leading in her life, she couldn't help but praise Him. Joseph, despite the threats, chose to make room for the Messiah. The wise man fell to their knees and worship, overjoyed when they met Jesus. The shepherds couldn't help but spread the good news of the long-awaited Savior.
Without the birth of Jesus, we would still be destined to die because of our sins with no hope of salvation. Yet, because Jesus died on the cross sin was conquered and we have access to heaven. Jesus came to shine a light in a dark world and as His family we are to also shine the light of Jesus to those still in darkness.
“This Christmas think about how you can truly praise Jesus. True worship is actively showing your Savior how much you love Him, and it's a vital part of our walk with Him. When we feel scared to obey God's plans, praising Him for what He's already done will remind us that He is always faithful, good, and with us every step of the way. Our praise paints a picture to the watching world and to our own hearts of how good God truly is.” -Daring to Share Ministries
The Bible contains the truth and reveals to us the mind of God. Yet it is important to understand that it is not a private diary of God’s thoughts that mankind just happened to discover. The Bible contains revelation. God has not revealed all that He knows, but He has revealed everything He wants us to know. Moses said, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Let's continue our study with Hebrews 9:1-10.
Study 14, Hebrews 9:1-10- https://www.docdroid.net/jhMT5pp/study-14-docx
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