Those who are wise worship Him

Matthew 2_1-2, AMP.png

“To worship Him.” This was the reason the Magi (wise men) came. Travelling from their homes in the East to Jerusalem then to the place where Jesus was residing. It is estimated that their journey lasted several months to over one year. It was not an overnight trip or a spontaneous one. But it was a journey they deemed worth the time, distance, and effort, “to worship Him.”

We too come to the Messiah, the Word made flesh. We come and do so at His invitation. We come for various reasons because our needs are varied and numerous and only He can meet them all.

But when we come, let us first worship Him.

Worship:

An active response to the character, words and actions of God, initiated by His revelation and enabled by His redemption, whereby the mind is transformed (e.g. belief, repentance), the heart is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and actions are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service), all in accordance with His will and in order to declare His infinite worthiness.”1

 “… the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.2

Dr. Michael L. Williams, pastor, author, Christian Educator and Biblical counselor notes, “Every decision is an act of worship. Worship is based on our salvation and reflects the Spirit and truth of God and His Word. Worship reminds us of our position before God and His worthiness and position above us. Worship is for God’s glory, praise, and honor.3 

May we end this year in a place of worship and begin 2017 in a place of worship. And remain there all year long. For those who are wise worship Him.

****

In 2017, may you and those you love experience prosperity as God defines it.

Blessings,

Esther

Advertisements

Advent Week 4: Day 7 – LOVE

matthew-1_17-cev

It is Christmas Eve. What does a verse about the genealogy of Jesus have to do with Christmas Eve and what does it have to do with love? Everything.

Centuries passed after Adam and Eve believed the Serpent’s lie that God was lying to and defrauding them, and they made the choice to disobey Him. Centuries passed after He told them the consequences of their sin and He told the Serpent the consequences of his deception.

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15, NKJV)

Centuries passed from that moment to the time that the angel Gabriel spoke God’s words to Zechariah and to Mary and to Joseph. And Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem. And “the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”  (Luke 2:1-7, NKJV). And an angel said to the terrified shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2: 8-12, NKJV). Centuries passed and God kept loving us and kept executing His plan of redemption through generations of men until His plan of redemption was fully accomplished.

It is Christmas Eve. What does a verse about the genealogy of Jesus have to do with Christmas Eve and what does it have to do with love? Everything.

May you awake on Christmas Day full of anticipation and gratitude for God’s incomprehensible love for us. For you. Merry Christmas.

Prepare (Repost)*

What are you preparing for this Christmas season
As others deck their halls
And light up their trees
As they shop for presents
And look forward to time with loved ones?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season
As the Salvation Army bell ringers say cheerful “Merry Christmas”
And offer opportunities to share, to give to the needy
As gifts are wrapped and cards are addressed and mailed?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season?
The familiar ache of loneliness?
The pain of the anniversary of the death of a loved one
A marriage
A dream?

Whatever hard thing you are preparing yourself for the best you know how
Know this
The God of all comfort has also made preparation for you
There is a Balm in Gilead
He is near to the broken hearted and heals those who are crushed in spirit
He keeps your tears
He has numbered the hairs on your head
He knows you are hurting more than you can describe or even believe you can bear
He is ever present and calls you to the shelter of His arms
The healing virtue of His presence
He is with you always and will walk you through this season as He has every other one

*This post was originally posted as part of Five Minute Friday, December 12, 2014.

Joseph

Beginning on Christmas Day, I watched The Nativity Story:The Journey of a Lifetime, a Story for all Time, in its entirety and then watched various scenes again, several times. And  I am seeing Joseph as I have not before. I see his compassion which was demonstrated before he knew the truth about the conception of the Child Mary carried. I see he must have had a heart that was tender toward God. Unlike Zacharias, who initially doubted the word spoken to him in person by Gabriel, Joseph believed the word spoken to him in a dream. I am thinking of his total obedience and how his reputation was likely forever damaged in his community but he had the applause of heaven.

The Bible tells us that Mary was highly favored but I believe Joseph was favored also. He was trusted by God with a task that few other men would have accepted, much more executed as he did. Trusted to protect and provide for Mary and the Word made flesh. He knew in the most intimate manner what others would later discover – the long awaited Messiah had come. God had kept the promise He made. Also, if the birth scene in this movie is an accurate depiction of what occurred, in helping to deliver Jesus, Joseph was given a  gift that no one else ever received – He was the first to see God in human flesh and the first to hold Him. Joseph. One of the lessons of his life is – obeying God may result in loss, heartache, struggle, and pain but obeying God is always worth the cost and is always rewarded by God.

The Journey

mary-joseph-journey-to-bethlehem-958711-print

Photo Credit

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7, bold emphasis added).

God used a man’s decree to move Joseph and Mary from all that was familiar to the place where He had decreed Jesus would be born. Pregnant on the back of a donkey. The King James Version notes, she was “great with child.” There is no way this journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was a comfortable one for Mary. One writer estimates it was a journey of approximately 100 miles and took 8 to 10 days to complete. No, it was in no way a comfortable journey, but it was a necessary one.

So it is at times for each of us – He sets us on journeys to birthing places He has ordained, sometimes initiating the journey through external circumstances and at times which are inconvenient, at least according to our self-directed plans. The journey can be taxing on every level, with alternating moments of doubt and trust but the One Who calls us out also guides, provides, and accompanies us each step of the way.

Joy Unleashed: Elizabeth and Mary

maryandelizabeth2Photo Credit

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women,
    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
    the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
    greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
    believed every word would come true!

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before Him.
He bared His arm and showed His strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what He promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now. (Luke 1: 39-55)

Prayer:  Father, this Christmas, as we read and hear familiar passages of Scripture, may we experience a fresh sense of wonder and joy, as if we were being told of Your indescribable love for the first time.

Christmas and Easter

Christmas and EasterPhoto Credit