It’s already here in many forms but the majority in the church have completely ignored the warnings and are merrily going about their way following the apostate teachers and reading the new versions of the Bible that literally remove the deity of Christ. Read our featured verse again, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” (emphasis mine)
Are you one of the righteous who are walking in the right ways of the Lord? Are you discerning? Discernment is a gift but, I believe, it is a gift that all can receive who are truly surrendered to Jesus Christ and who diligently seek His Word. True discernment can only be received by those who seek out truth through the Scriptures. Can an unbeliever have discernment? I believe they can but it is a little different from that of a believer. A believer has the Holy Spirit to give them the reason, the Word of God, which exposes the darkness and brings that darkness to the Light, the Light of Jesus Christ. An unbeliever may know something is morally wrong but they don’t know WHY it is wrong. The reasoning is within their own thoughts. The reasoning of a believer comes from above. It is not “our” thoughts, but it is the true Word of God that directs our thinking, our actions and our lives. The Holy Spirit warns the believer when something is not right. We may not always understand the reason but the Holy Spirit will give us a “check” in our spirit. I can’t tell you how often I have had that warning and it was only later that I learned why the Holy Spirit had spoken into my spirit.
My heart is always heavy around Christmas. Why? It’s not about Jesus’ birth anymore. Saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” doesn’t make it about Jesus. The enemy has made it so that even the words “Merry Christmas” bring offense to people because it is spoken by people who believe differently from them. Because “Christ” is in the greeting, they choose to be offended when many who say it are not even thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ! Many unbelievers are offended if you believe differently from them. It’s sad. I feel sorry for them because they are missing the only thing that can bring them fulfillment and true peace, Jesus Christ.
I still have an awe and amazement at the wonder of the One and Only True God sending His Son to earth to be born of a young virgin. Jesus, the only begotten Son, the Beloved Son of God, born on earth! And God announced His wondrous birth by sending an amazing bright star to light up the sky and angels to announce His birth! He was born in a stable! And the announcement of His birth was made to the shepherds who were out in the fields watching over their sheep! I ask you to please stop and really let that reality sink deep into your spirit. Even the circumstances of His birth declare the Gospel! His birth wasn’t announced to kings and rich influential people, it was to the humble and the meek. How amazing that was and is!
“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’ When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” (Luke 2:6-20 emphasis mine)
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God...” Wow! Can you even try to wrap your head around what actually occurred? A multitude means that there were MANY angelic beings and can also mean the heavenly bodies of the stars! We know that all creation praises God. They were created to declare His glory! “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalms 19:1) “The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory.” (Psalms 97:6)
Let’s continue in Psalm 19 for a few more verses to understand this more clearly, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” (Psalms 19:1-6)
When was the last time you actually stopped and looked up and took the time to watch and listen to what the expanse of heaven is declaring? Do you remember that it is declaring the glory of God and His creation of the heavens? How amazing is it that He not only created all of the heavenly bodies but He named each and every one! “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26 emphasis mine) Who better to declare the birth of the Lord of lords and King of kings?
Prior to this event, “There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.” But that glorious night the sky was filled with praises for the Newborn King! It was majestic and magnificent! The glory of the Lord shone all around them! God was shouting from the heavens!
We human beings like to put events into little boxes and I think we have done so with this wondrous event of the birth of Christ. All the nativity programs all these years really did not ever come close to the majestic night of His birth, nor have accuracy. Churches made the Scriptural account fit into about 15-30 minutes for their convenience. Please understand, I’m not criticizing the Christmas programs. But if we are honest, for adults a lot of that program is watching the children. They are so cute! But we usually do not see the program through the eyes of a child, the wonder, the miracle of the birth of the Christ child. So let’s start over this year and see and hear the story of this miraculous night through the words of Scripture alone.
Truly listen to Scripture with your heart. Hear Gabriel’s conversation with Mary and hear his words and allow the Holy Spirit to remove the veils that have been obscuring our vision and our minds. and feel the impact of them as he shares that God has chosen her to carry the Christ child! Can you begin to truly consider the reality of that conversation? Let’s read the account together. “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38)
Please keep focused on the account and do not lift Mary up to a position of worship. That would be idol worship and a sin in the Lord’s eyes. Mary is the picture of a surrendered believer. She was old enough to comprehend what the angel was telling her but had child like faith to believe and accept what the angel was telling her. Notice her words at the end of the account, “...And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word…” A bondservant or bondslave is one who doesn’t count the cost to their own lives because they truly understand that their life is not their own. Their lives are in God’s hands to do what He pleases. Her words remind me of Queen Esther when she stated, "... And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16) It also reminds me of the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’" (Luke 22:42 emphasis mine)
Obedience is a choice! To be obedient to the Lord’s ways are not easy or even convenient. One must be willing to put aside ALL their own agendas and plans and PRIDE. One must trust completely in the Lord and believe the words of the angel Gabriel, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” (Psalms 33:11) “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:1) “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 emphasis mine)
We see Joseph’s struggle with this situation UNTIL Gabriel appears to him in a dream. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’ And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
Notice that we are told that Joseph was a righteous man. Righteous in God’s eyes means obedient to God. Joseph knew the Word of God through the Torah and the Prophets. Gabriel reminded him of God’s prophecy spoken many years ago through Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’” (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7) Since Joseph knew the Word of God he could respond appropriately and obedient.
As I pondered and asked the Lord what we are to learn from this devotion I was touched deeply by His love. First of all we need to recognize God’s sovereignty and, more importantly, submit to it. In today’s devotion we have four prophetic pictures of God’s creation proclaiming His glory and submitting to His will. We have the miracle of the heavenly bodies having a voice and declaring His glory, then we have a young woman and young man who come into agreement with the Lord’s plan even though it will bring great stress and shame upon them and their families. We have the shepherds who heard the declaration and sought out the Christ child and spread the news to all they knew! “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) The meek are those who are gentle in spirit, they set the Lord before all things in their lives. My dear friends, is that you? Also, as I typed the above verse it struck me that Jesus was speaking prophetically that the meek will inherit life everlasting in the Kingdom of God, in the New Heavens and New Earth! And the number four is a global number. It again confirms what the angels declared, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”
Even though December 25th is not the actual birth date of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is a time when we take time to actually step back and spend time in His Word and allow the Holy Spirit to unveil the splendor and wonder of what we are celebrating. And, dear friends, please do not allow “Santa Claus” to reign in your celebration. Remember these words, "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8 emphasis mine) By the way, graven images is also translated “idols”. Santa Claus has definitely become an idol! “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand… But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:13, 16)
"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’” (Luke 10:21-23)
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12) (John 1:13) “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (emphasis mine)
Abba Father, I bow my knees to the One and only Sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth! Thank You for the divine gift of Your Son Jesus Christ! Nothing can compare to the gift of His life, life everlasting in Your kingdom! May Your Word touch many lives this season and unveil the blind eyes of those who do not know of Your gift, who do not understand Your love for them. I pray for the gift that goes beyond all comprehension, that by faith lives will be restored through the blood of Jesus Christ. Glory to Your majestic name, all glory in the highest! This I pray in the blessed name of Your Son Jesus Christ, amen!