Dec 26 — Joshua 1:1-9

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 1:1-9

OBSERVATION:
1. A frightening moment for Joshua, the torch is being passed to him, he must follow in the footsteps of the greatest leader the clan of Jacob has ever known.
2. His assignment is conquest, to lead a ragtag army into an occupied, well-defended land.
3. The key to success, says God, is trust and obedience, follow His instructions and be assured He will make them successful.
4. God has a mission for Joshua, and He will help him, if he stays focused on God, His will, His plan, and boldly moves forward.

APPLICATION:
1. God is still unfolding His kingdom plan, though we are in a different stage of the plan.
2. We are now disciples of Jesus, and our conquest of the world is not by weapons but by words and deeds of love and mercy.
3. Jesus (Greek version of Hebrew Joshua) is to lead a ragtag army into an occupied, well-defended world.
4. God has a mission for us, and He will help us, if we stay focused on God, His will, His plan, and boldly move forward.
5. The place where I live is the promised land for me, I will see results if I move forward, doing the work of a disciple, wherever I set my feet.

PRAYER:
Lord, You have a mission for me, though I am probably more like Israel wandering in the wilderness… lost, uncertain, distracted. Remind me of my purpose, and where You are calling me to go. Amen.

Dec 25 — Luke 2:41-51

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:41-51

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
Jesus is 12 years old now. He is fascinated by the teaching at the temple. Did Jesus always know as he grew up that he was the Savior? Or did God the Father bring it to mind later? Mary would have told Him what the angels and prophets said. Did he always know He would be dying that terrible death and be raised from the dead? We don’t know. Here Jesus wanted to be in His Father’s house. The teachers were amazed at His understanding.

As Mary [has told Luke], she remembered all the things people said about Jesus and what He said and pondered them in her heart. How she must have wondered about what His future would look like. Mary and Joseph had other children. They carried on their daily routines. Yet there was Jesus, their special Son, in the midst of it all.

As I said at the beginning of this series, I have many questions. I don’t mind them. They make me marvel; about God and His plan for us and how Awesome He is. I hope they do for you too.

Merry Christmas we will be saying today. I pray that your day is merry, merry because you are remembering Jesus’ birthday.

PRAYER:
‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and has redeemed His people.’ The Lord has come ‘to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.’ Amen.

Dec 24 — Luke 2:21-39

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:21-39

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
Two devout seniors. The Holy Spirit made it plain to both Anna and Simeon that this child was Jesus, the Messiah.

Anna had been widowed for 84 years. We don’t know how many of them she had lived at the temple, a prophetess, worshipping, fasting and praying. Were there other women who did this? Was she considered odd? We don’t know, but to her was given the privilege of seeing baby Jesus, and knowing He was the Saviour. Here was the promise of God for redemption being fulfilled.

Likewise for Simeon, the Holy Spirit had told him he would see this day! He even knew that Jesus was come for all people, not just for Israel. (Simeon also saw how painful it would be for Mary, thirty some years later she would remember, perhaps find reassurance, knowing this was Gods’ plan.)

Some of us seem to be in the thick of things in God’s work; on the frontline, preaching, teaching, counseling, actively seeking the lost, risking our lives… But others are also in the forefront; worshipping, praying, interceding, not so noticed but as important, doing the task God has given us to do. We need both.

God needed a Mary and He needed an Anna. He needed a Joseph and a Simeon. Different jobs, all important!

PRAYER:
Thank-you God for the examples of Simeon and Anna, -heroes for us to follow. Holy Spirit, please show us our work and enable us to do it. Thank-you. And Jesus, thank-you for Christmas. Thank-you that You came. Amen.

Dec 23 — Luke 2:8-20

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:8-20

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
How amazed those shepherds must have been. What a surprise and privilege! God sending an angel to them to announce the birth of the Messiah! Not to the temple, nor to the leaders or the people snug in their homes, but to the low class shepherds out on a hillside. God is validating them. I wonder if they changed in how they thought of themselves. Did they already know how God treasured them? Did seeing the Savior commit them to God in a different way? Did they go to see Jesus when He was teaching and healing?

Yet this isn’t about the shepherds. It’s about Jesus. Our Awesome God coming to earth for us.

On my wall I have a group of angels with the words, Praise Him! I want people to remember what Christmas is about. Imagine seeing that heavenly host in the sky. Imagine hearing them singing praises.

Can you picture the shepherd’s faces when they see the tiny baby in the manger? Of course it was as the angel had told them. Then they ran about town waking people up, “come and see!” “The Messiah is born!” “Praise God!”

PRAYER:
Again Jesus, thank-you that You came. You are Awesome, splendid, magnificent. We honor You and thank-you. We praise Your Name. You are the great Creator yet You came down to us, for us. Glory to God in the highest! We praise You forever, Amen.

Dec 22 — Luke 2:1-7

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-7

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
The journey to Bethlehem and Jesus’ birth take only one paragraph to tell. I want to know so many things. Why did Mary go with Joseph if they weren’t married yet? Was he protecting her? Was she estranged from her family? Were there any women to help Mary with the birth? How long was she in labor? Who cut the cord? Was Joseph a good helper? How did they keep things clean? Did Mary wrap Jesus in cloths torn from her own garments?

Today I wrapped a doll in a light blue cloth and placed it in a ‘manger like’ stone planter, outside. When I picked up the doll to rearrange it, the fabric was dirty already. I thought about Mary and Jesus. How did she manage?

Wasn’t this a strange way for Jesus to come into the world? So humble. Could he have been born in a more lowly position?

Yet God chose Mary for this job. She loved the Lord and was obedient. So was Joseph. God chose the circumstances also. What better way for Jesus to show Himself as a servant, than to come to earth this way? Not proudly like the King He is, but humbly. If He can choose such simplicity and poverty, what about us?

Do I have to be a famous writer or speaker to serve Him? Do I have to be ‘noticed’? Can I not simply serve and do the things He puts in front of me to do?

PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, Thank-you that You came to us. Thank-you that You loved us so much. Did You know Your omniscience when You were a baby? I want to be Your servant. I want to be humble. Please forgive me for wanting to be ‘noticed’. I praise You. Amen.

Dec 21 — Luke 1:67-80

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:67-80

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
Zechariah began praising God the moment his voice worked again. The Holy Spirit filled him. This prophetic song is so powerful and beautiful!

Praise God because He has done what He promised to our ancestors long ago. He has brought salvation. He has shown mercy to enable us to serve him without fear! WOW. Praise God!

In reference to baby John; you are a prophet of the Most High, you will prepare the way for Him –Jesus, the rising Sun coming from heaven to shine in our darkness.

How many years had Israel waited? How the godly people longed to see this Salvation. Here it is, beginning in a little village, God kept His promise.

Do we see how amazing this is? How wonderful? Zechariah saw that the answer to every struggle, every fear, every longing was upon them. It is still so today. We should be singing Zechariah’s song all the time.

“Rejoice, rejoice, Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.”

PRAYER:
Oh Lord, I am sorry that I forget the wonder and importance of what You have done. I take it for granted. Please forgive me. I praise You. I thank You. Renew my urgency to share You with the world. Guide our feet in the path of peace. Thank-you. Amen.

Dec 20 — Luke 1:57-62

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:57-62

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
Elizabeth was old when she gave birth to John. If she had all the physical changes that come with getting older it must have been quite a challenge for her to carry and deliver this baby! Yet her joy is great! She loves this child. In their culture not having children was a great shame on a woman. More than that, Elizabeth and Zechariah probably longed for children as most couples do. God has been merciful to them as well as carrying out His plan.

In John being born to someone who ‘could not’ bear a child; Zechariah being unable to talk for approx 10 months and the baby being given an unfamiliar name; God is really bringing John to the worlds’ attention. All the people around them could see, hear and remember. They saw that God’s anointing/appointing was on John right from the start. Which would have been reassuring later as he carried out the ‘unusual’ work God gave him to do.

Zechariah’s tongue is loosened and he is immediately praising God. He must have been overjoyed to have a son. But of course, as a godly man, he is praising God that God was letting him see and participate in the coming of the Messiah.

John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. This is what we can do too. Help prepare the way for Jesus to come into people’s lives. Pray and love and care for those who don’t know Him.

PRAYER:
Thank-you God that You brought joy to Elizabeth and Zechariah, that You rewarded their faithfulness to You, that they participated so personally in Jesus’ coming to earth. Give us an urgency Lord to be godly, like them. Push us to pray and love and care for those who don’t know You. We love You Lord. Amen.

Dec 19 — Luke 1:39-56

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:39-56

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
What a joyous occasion -this meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. The Holy Spirit showed Elizabeth that Mary’s baby was Jesus before they even spoke! She was not jealous but rejoiced with her. Elizabeth must have been awed that her own baby leapt for joy. She applauds the fact that Mary had readily believed what the angel said to her

Mary burst into praise too. She thanked God for being her Savior, for recognizing her servant heart, for blessing her. She praises Him for His mercy to all the generations who fear (awe) Him. She remembers God’s power, that He is in charge, that He feeds the hungry, is ever merciful to Israel, as He had promised.

What a splendid time these two must have had together. They would have laughed and cried and prayed and wondered about the future of their children. Mary would have helped Elizabeth when she was weary.

Here was God the Son, come to earth as an unborn child, letting Mary take care of Him, letting both couples love and serve Him. He knew both the pain and the joy these parents would face later as their sons walked the roads laid out for them.

PRAYER:
Oh Lord, I don’t understand all the whys and wherefores of how You carried out Your plan to be a real baby. I do thank-you again that You came. Thank-you that You include us and let us serve you. Thank-you that You understand what being a physical person is like. Please, help me to remember that You do understand us completely. Amen.

Dec 18 — Luke 1:26-38

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:26-38

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
God sent Gabriel to Mary. “Greetings favored one,” The Lord is with you. Wow! How surprised Mary would have been. To see an angel, to be told she was blessed, told not to fear and then finding out her part in God’s plan for saving His world. Mary was going to give birth to the Son of the Most High! Some of us would have fainted! Some would have been skeptical. Mary’s question is practical. She receives an astounding answer.

All women of Israel wondered if they would give birth to the Messiah. The honor has come to Mary and she accepts it as the Lord’s servant.

God, our Creator and Master, was carrying out His plan, which would affect all people. Yet He still cared about each individual. He knew that it would be difficult for Mary to be an unwed mother, how some would shun her. He understood about the questions, joys and pains. He provided, in Elizabeth, another first time mother, already known to Mary, who could share the process with her.

PRAYER:
Thank-you for Your kindness to us God. Thank-you that You always know what we need. Thank-you that You include us in all Your work. Help me to trust You, especially when the path You give me to walk seems impossible. Thank-you for the evidence that you are Big Enough. I want to serve You. Amen.

Dec 17 — Luke 1:5-25

Welcome to Jill Hamming, a friend of mine from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a regular participant on this web page. She will share her reflections on the readings from Luke 1-2.

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:5-25

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:
Zechariah was behind the curtain, in the holiest place on earth, for the first and only time in his life! For a godly man who loved the Lord it would already have been a momentous event -to perform this service, to be in the place where his God actually met with the people.

And now there was an angel! No wonder Zechariah was afraid. No wonder he found it hard to believe. Who would not be like him? And yet his struggle to believe gives the story more credibility. The fact that he couldn’t talk made the event more believable than if he could speak about it right away. Another way for God to reassure us that what Zechariah would tell us later, was true.

The angel said that John would bring them joy, be great in the Lord’s eyes, bring people back to the Lord, turn fathers’ hearts back to their children, help make people prepared for the Lord! The time of reconciliation was begun. God so wanted us to come back to relationship with Him.

Don’t you love how God uses regular people to carry out His plans? Yes Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous godly people, yet they were still human like us. God could have just had angels make pronouncements from the sky. He could have had Jesus arrive as an adult and teach us and then die and rise again. But He wants relationship with us, for us to be part of His plan, carrying out His work. He wants us to learn what He is like as He relates with us individually.

PRAYER:
Thank-you God, that we have the example of Zechariah. Thank-you that even godly people can doubt or be afraid. Thank-you that You brought joy to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Lord teach us what this means that You care about us so much. Use us to reach others. Amen