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Friday, December 15, 2017

Joyful Excitement

             Have you had your Joy Juice today?  The shepherds were filled with joy when they learned of the birth of Jesus Christ.

            The book of Luke gives an exciting account of the Christmas story.  When the angel appeared to the shepherds, they were “on the job”…out in the fields watching their flocks.  Keep in mind that these men may have been shepherds who supplied the lambs for the temple sacrifices that were performed for the forgiveness of sin.  But when the angel came to them, they were invited to greet the long awaited LAMB OF GOD, who would take away the sins of the world forever! (Bible footnote) What a supreme example of love and the best reason for JOY that anyone could have!

            Look at the verses in Luke 2:15-18: 

"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.'
      So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what they shepherds said to them."

            Do you sense the joyful excitement in that passage?  The shepherds never doubted for a second that what the angels had said was truth….And they put action to their faith!  They “HURRIED OFF”, the Bible says.  They didn’t sit around in a shepherd committee meeting trying to decide what they should do!  They were of one accord; and they hurried to see the baby. And don’t miss what they did next…..they “SPREAD THE WORD”!  Shouldn’t we be doing the same? 

            At every opportunity, let’s tell others the JOYful news that Jesus Christ is born!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meekness and Genuine Joy

         Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Drink the special Christmas-flavored joy!

            Do you ever wonder why Jesus’ birth was announced first to the shepherds?  Max Lucado writes in his book One Incredible Moment  that it was because of their meekness and willingness to accept that God knew what He was doing.  He goes on to write that “had the angel gone to the theologians, they would have first consulted their commentaries.  Had he gone to the elite, they would have looked around to see if anyone was watching.  Had he gone to the successful, they would have first looked at their calendars.

            So he went to the shepherds.  Men who didn’t have a reputation to protect or an ax to grind or a ladder to climb.  Men who didn’t know enough to tell God that angels don’t sing to sheep and that messiahs aren’t found wrapped in rags and sleeping in a feed trough…”

            In other words, the shepherds were meek men who accepted the truth without question.  So where’s the JOY in this part of the Christmas story?  It’s found in the meekness of the shepherds…their tender hearts toward God.  Keep in mind that meekness is not weakness.  It’s quite the opposite.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of our thoughts, words, actions, desires; when we’re completely surrendered to God in all areas of our lives, we’ll be developing the fruit of meekness….and that leads to MUCH JOY in the Lord.

            Let’s follow the shepherds to the place of meekness and drink in the Christmas joy that can be freely ours.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Birth Announcement of ALL Birth Announcements!

            Have you had your Joy Juice today?  Great announcements are usually filled with joy!  

            One example: When new parents announce their precious little one’s arrival, they may do so in a variety of ways.  They may:

  • Send out cards
  • Pick up the telephone and call
  • Send a message via text, email, twitter, Facebook or even Skype a video message.

No matter how they share their good news, their excitement and JOY are evident! 

            Do you remember the birth announcement of ALL birth announcements?  It’s found in Luke 2:10-14: 

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord .And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

            The greatest event in history had just happened!   And the announcement came to humble shepherds.  The JOY found in this part of the Christmas story is that Jesus came for ALL…including the plain and the ordinary.  He comes to anyone with a heart humble enough to accept him.   Don’t think you need extraordinary qualifications---he accepts you (and me)just as we are! (Life App. Bible footnote  p 1791)

            Announcing the joyful reason we can celebrate the season: JESUS CHRIST IS BORN!