Daily Devotions

Posts tagged “Bethlehem

God With Us

Emmanuel, “God is with us”, is the God-Man who was born of a virgin that God might dwell among men. Not only did Jesus, Emmanuel, live among men but He lived redemptively among men. He didn’t come to bring merely a message or a creed but He lived out redemptive acts through His life on earth. His disciples, those whom He has redeemed by His redemptive act of His shed blood on the cross must, in turn, live redemptively among men. There are too many and too much to redeem to simply live to go to heaven.

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God’s Good Will Touching Earth

miraclebethlehemstarMiracles are begun in grace and perfected in glory.  They start with God’s supernatural enabling and come to complete manifestation through His intent and purpose and timing.  As I wait on God, I shall continue to pray for miracles this Christmas season because the coming of the Christ is still in effect as well as God’s goodwill toward men.  May His presence and power and purpose and timing change your life as His goodwill touches the earth again.
(This is the last excerpt from Kathy Gabler’s article “Christmas Miracles“ taken from Volume 20 Issue 6 of SEEC Magazine.)


 


God Working Behind the Scenes

handpullcurtainWaiting on God involves continuing to do what we were born to do instead of deciding to be still and silent in a puddle of disappointment. For the record, I did get past my disinclination to encourage people like Marty had asked me to that Sunday morning and, before midnight, I got two phone calls with reports of undeniable supernatural interventions.  I did not hear about them before Christmas like I had prayed, but both had happened the week before Christmas!  One was financial and one was a granddaughter coming to an incredible God-turn in her life.  I remembered the word of wisdom that started the financial miracle and I knew about that grandmother’s prayer vigil for that particular granddaughter.  So, I realized  before either miracle, there had been a “working of miracles” behind the scenes before anyone saw the actual miracle.
(This is the eighth excerpt from Kathy Gabler’s article “Christmas Miracles“ taken from Volume 20 Issue 6 of SEEC Magazine.)


 

 


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The Christmas Story is the Story of Hope

The Christmas story is the story of hope — hope in the face of all that is contrary.
Christmas time is a great time to use for the purpose of remembering, memorializing the fact, that when God says, “I will….”, then God will. He will move mountains, seas and people. In Josh. 2:11 the fact and realization is that our God is able to move anything or anyone in heaven or in earth to accomplish His purposes. He is able to move in the life of an obscure girl who had no credentials or evident reason for expecting to be part of an earth-shaking, history-shaping event. Her qualities and integrity (evidenced in the writings of both Matthew and Doctor Luke) helped to place her in the middle of the road where an unprecedented moving of God was progressing like a steamroller and changing history as man had known it. That change AngelMarywas taking place through a small handful of individuals and not through some large and varied political or military movement. From all that we can find concerning this person called Mary, precious few people even knew of her qualities and integrity. It would seem that Jehovah was about the only One who saw and might very well have been the only One who noticed. And by the time she was discovered to be with child, she would have been disqualified by any who did happen to notice. Had it not been for dreams and angels intervening by Divine directive, her own husband would have done away with her.
When God promised Abraham a son it would appear that it was long deferred. Abraham most likely thought that the son which was promised was his immediate son. However, that promised Son was the One through whom the world would be blessed, the One who would be called the Christ. This Son of promise proved to be coming at the great distance of some 42 generations and about 2,000 years. Though it be long and arduous by our standards, God Jehovah is faithful in all and brings about detail for detail that which was foretold long before it was realized in this realm which we call reality. Delays do nothing to weaken the promise of God; for in what seem to us to be delays, our all-wise and provisional Father is preparing a people who will walk out His fulfillment rather than being caught unawares and overcome by His fulfillment. As we learn in the New Testament teaching of our Lord, the new wineskin must be prepared for the new wine or it shall burst and the wine and its value lost.
It is interesting to note Henry’s observation on this one point: “This son of David, and son of Abraham, who was to be the glory of his Father’s house, was born when the seed of Abraham was a despised people, recently become tributary to the Roman yoke, and when the house of David was buried in obscurity; for Christ was to be a root out of a dry ground.” From such a studious observation we could readily come to the conclusion that the performance and provision of our God comes when circumstances would place upon it the heaviest it has to offer. Ease and convenience are not the components or the ambiance of fulfillment. The Christmas story is the story of hope — hope in the face of all that is contrary.
CONCLUSION
The great majority of us who follow Christ Jesus might more easily identify with Mary than with that illustrious band that sought Him out in the city of David when He became the incarnate Christ. Our coming to Him may not have included such wonders and phenomena as shining stars; and what we brought to Him when we came likely didn’t sum up to near the total of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But we have come and we have place with Him and He is just as involved in getting us to fulfillment of purpose as He was concerning Mary.

(This is the last of four excerpts from Marty’s article “Wisemen, A Star and Somebody’s Daughter“ which was published in SEEC Magazine [Marty and Kathy’s ministry magazine].)


Marty Gabler will be giving declarations for 2016
at Grace International Church on Sunday 12-27-15.
Info and location: http://www.graceic.org

 


SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER

So far the details of the Advent have included the movements of the heavenly bodies and the timely placement of illustrious people. Mary was none of the above; and much like Mary, the great majority of us come from somewhat obscure backgrounds with reputations and merits that require Divine intervention if we are to be included in the well-designed purposes of Jehovah. It would seem, however, that most people qualify for inclusion in the Divine intentions of history simply because all the glory must go to God and not the participants. “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were MaryJesusnot many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;” (1Co.25:26). Would all those who have been proclaimed throughout the land as being wise, mighty and noble please raise their hand?

While the person of Mary was not lauded and acclaimed before she gave birth to the Christ Child, she was notably prepared for her inclusion in the Christmas story. In following the lineage of Joseph we discover that he was a descendant of Abraham and of David (for the Jews looked to the father’s lineage rather than the mother’s and Jesus was referred to as “the carpenter’s son” in Matt.13:55). Matthew Henry shows us that Mary and Joseph were of the same tribe. As Jesus was not just any son, we must also realize that Mary was not just anybody’s daughter. Mary was a daughter of Abraham. Though she had no personal bragging rites or achievements to speak of, she was foreordained to bear the Son of the Most High God. The line of Abraham and David was carefully guarded by Jehovah and Mary was part of that line of preparation even though her name was not renown. People did not walk around pointing at Mary and proclaiming, “Keep an eye on that young lady. She is in line to do great things for Yahweh.” In fact, as we shall see, the house of David from which she is descended is buried in obscurity. But when we read the oft-repeated phrase “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” we are being reminded of the faithfulness of God to perform that which He has promised.  “…yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:20-21, NAS)  “For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,” (Lk 2:30-31, NAS).

When Matthew calls Jesus the son of David and the son of Abraham (Mt. 1:1) he is showing that God is faithful to His promise. God will make good every word that He has spoken including the bringing forth of Messiah through lineage that He has prepared and protected. “The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand,” (Isa 14:24, NAS)  “For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate {it}  And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isa 14:27, NAS)  “Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Isa 43:13, NAS)  “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” (Isa 46:10, NAS)  “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding {in the matter} for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:11, NAS)

(This is the third of four excerpts from Marty’s article “Wisemen, A Star and Somebody’s Daughter“ which was published in SEEC Magazine [Marty and Kathy’s ministry magazine].)


Marty & Kathy Gabler invite you to read their
articles in the latest issue of SEEC Magazine.
Volume 19 Issue 6  December2015/January2016
CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO READ:
READ SEEC MAGAZINE


The Star of Bethlehem

THE STAR
An ingredient which has, for centuries, caused no small stir among Christian and non-Christian alike is the miraculous appearance of a star that directed the three wise men to the Christ child. Of all the factors in this hallowed story, the star would probably be considered as the foremost factor outstanding. The record of Matthew gives the report of what the wise men saw when they inquired of the Christ child’s whereabouts. “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” (Matt 2:2, NAS) From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia we learn that in the year 1572 a new star appeared in the constellation Cassiopeia. At its brightest it outshone Venus and was visible in the daylight, and though it gradually declined in splendor it was not lost to sight until after 16 months. There have been other instances of outbursts of short-lived bright stars, and in the annals of the years 1265 and 952 some brief notices have been found which may have referred to objects of this StarBethlehemclass, but more probably described comets. The guess was then hazarded that these three events might all refer to the same object; that the star in Cassiopeia might be a “variable” star, bursting into brilliancy about every 350 years or so.
After a studied argument the conclusion is that there is no reason to suppose that the star of 1572 had ever appeared before that date or will ever appear again. The study brings its writers to be perfectly sure that it could not have been the star of Bethlehem, for Cassiopeia is a northern constellation, and the wise men in their journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem had Cassiopeia and all her stars behind their back.
The appearance of an unexpected star was recorded by Roman scholars as an omen of a remarkable event. They record the appearances of stars and comets in relationship to the birth or death of a number of important historical characters. Some argue that the Magi of the Christmas story believed the Christmas star to be the sign of the birth of a long-expected Prince. Barnes informs us that it is possible that they had been led to this belief by the prophecy of Balaam (Num. 24:17), “There shall come a star out of Jacob.”
There is no direct evidence of scripture as to what this star exactly was. Barnes also believes that the phenomenon was the same “glory of the Lord” that “shone round about” the shepherds in Lk 2:9. He purports that the light might have been visible from afar, and might have been seen by the wise men in the East.
A matter of some interest, which has been respectfully held throughout the centuries, is a legend reportedly still current in Palestine. It is of an actual star which was believed to have been observed by the Magi. The well in the legend is shown to tourists today as the well in which the wise men saw the star the second time in the form of a reflection.
It is said that when they had reached Bethlehem, apparently nearly at mid-day, one of them went to the well of the inn in order to draw water. Looking down into the well he saw the star reflected from the surface of the water and knew that it must be directly overhead. Its re-observation under such unusual circumstances would be a sufficient assurance to the Magi that they had reached the right place, and inquiry in the inn would soon inform them of the visit of the shepherds, and of the angelic message which had told them where to find the babe.
If we may accept this legend we may take the star as having been what astronomers know as a “new” or “temporary” star, like that of 1572. When the Magi first saw it, and in consequence set out upon their journey, it may have been an evening star and thus, being seen only in the west shortly after sunset, it would appear, evening after evening, to point them their way to Judaea. As they journeyed in that direction it probably faded as temporary stars in general quickly do. At the same time it would have drawn nearer and nearer to the sun, until it was lost in its rays by the time they reached Jerusalem, when they would seem to have lost sight of it altogether. Having thus lost it, they would naturally not expect to see it again until it had drawn away from the sun on the other side, and been detected as a morning star in the east before sunrise; they would not expect to discover it in the daytime. (Information taken from ISBE)
It would have been nice if just one more scripture could have been included which would have solved all our conjectures about the much debated star. As some have noted, that scripture was probably not included in the scriptural narrative so that the importance of the star would not exceed its intention. The star was not given as the great focal point of the story but rather it was given as a guide in helping to find Him who is THE Focal Point. One has commented that the Scriptures were not written to instruct us in astronomy, or in any of the physical sciences, but that we might have life eternal through Christ our Lord (Jn 17:3).
(This is the second of four excerpts from Marty’s article “Wisemen, A Star and Somebody’s Daughter“ which was published in SEEC Magazine [Marty and Kathy’s ministry magazine].)