The Greatest Gift to the Shepherds

THE GREATEST GIFT TO THE SHEPHERDS

Luke 2:8-15 That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared among them, and the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord. They were badly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing him.” When this great army of angels had returned again to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Come on! Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

This was sure a night different to other nights for the shepherds. They had several surprises that night.

1. An angel had suddenly appeared to them.
2. The landscape around them had shone bright with the glory.
3. An angel had spoken to them.
4. Many angels appeared singing.

This was the shepherd’s greatest night. They were the first to be told of the birth of Jesus.  The greatest night was to be a night to which the shepherds were invited.

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The Greatest Gift to the Angels

THE GREATEST GIFT TO THE ANGELS

This must have also been an exciting time for the angels. It is at this time that we see the greatest amount of angelic activity. The Angel was visiting Mary and Joseph, as well as appearing to the shepherds. What a wonderful gift to the angels to know that they would be used to announce the good news of Jesus birth.

Luke 1:38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared.

Luke 2:10-11 the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem!

The angels sang that hope had come. Imagine being used to announce that Jesus was on earth!

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The Greatest Gift

This is a wonderful time of the year. A time when we celebrate the greatest gift of all. The gift of Jesus to the world. May this time be one of the greatest times in which you sense the presence of God in your homes. This greatest gift – JESUS – was a gift to each of us. As we give gifts to each other, let us remember who the greatest gift is.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

Love has come for the world to know!

 

THE GREATEST GIFT TO MARY

 Luke 1:28-35 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you! Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’ He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly holy—the Son of God.

Many had longed for what was about to happen to Mary. She was to be the one who would carry the Messiah. The Bible says a few things about Mary:

1. She was a favored lady.
2. The Lord was with her.
3. God had decided to wonderfully bless her.

The greatest gift to Mary was that she would be the one to carry the Messiah.

If you have a PRAYER REQUEST, please send us an e-mail at Prayer@AliveToGod.com  For more information about Alive to God, or to subscribe to our free DAILY BIBLE VERSE, please visit www.AliveToGod.com

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We Can Depend On God

WE CAN DEPEND ON GOD

We can depend on God to lead us even though we cannot see the big picture. We have Someone who is higher than us and He can see what we cannot see. We may be surrounded by problems or obstacles that cause our vision to be blurred, but God wants to come and lift us up so that we can see things from His perspective and be changed.

Psalm 61:2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

SEEING THINGS FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE BRINGS CHANGE

When we see things from God’s perspective things change. When Moses saw the burning bush and God spoke to him, things changed. When Joseph had his dreams and saw a glimpse of what God had it sustained him through all that He was about to face. When the disciples discovered that they had a purpose and destiny to spread the Good News about Jesus to the world, they changed. The same is true for you and me. When we catch a glimpse of what God wants to do everything changes. We may see things dimly now, but a time is coming when we will see things clearly and we can look forward to that.

1 Corinthians 13:12 In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.

If you have a PRAYER REQUEST, please send us an e-mail at Prayer@AliveToGod.com  For more information about Alive to God, or to subscribe to our free DAILY BIBLE VERSE, please visit www.AliveToGod.com

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God’s Ways

OUR THOUGHTS AND GOD THOUGHTS
Our thoughts have profound effect on our lives. In our minds, if we have to admit it, we are filtering everything we see, hear and are exposed to through our minds. It is strange but we tend to have thoughts, opinions and perspectives on every conceivable thing, even things we may have nothing to do with or things that really don’t affect us. The problem is that these thoughts are usually very dominant in our lives and they seldom match up to God’s thoughts. This is where the conflict comes in.

Isaiah 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.

It is for this reason that we need to become flexible in our opinions and thoughts so that we can catch a glimpse of God’s heart. In my dealings with people I have discovered that it is this inability to entertain another view or perspective that robs us of seeing and doing what God has for us.

GOD’S WAYS
God’s ways is another aspect that we don’t always fully understand.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Because God sees the bigger picture, He knows why He is doing or allowing certain things to happen in our lives.

In the life of Joseph we see how he went from being the favored son, to becoming a slave and being falsely accused and ending up in jail. No human would have thought this was the best route to go. But God saw something different. Joseph himself must have often believed that both he and God had missed the boat. But nothing had altered God’s plan.

Moses is another example. God had chosen him to bring the nation of Israel out of captivity and yet God leaves him to wonder around the desert looking after sheep for many years while millions of people suffered. It does not make sense to a human mind, but God had a plan and when His time came He did as He had planned and promised and delivered His people from slavery.

It is not for use to try and understand God’s way – we cannot, it is for us to simply endeavor to fit into His plan from day to day and watch the big picture unfold as we are faithful.

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Seeing Life from God’s Perspective

SEEING LIFE FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

When we begin to see life from God’s perspective we see life differently. Many of the great men and women of God have had an understanding of God’s perspective and that has changed their lives.

Moses is a prime example. He had run away from Egypt and was living in the wilderness. Here he had found a home and had a family. He had settled down to this existence and accepted that this was his life. He then had the burning bush experience and God speaks to him and his perspective changed. As a result he went on to lead the nation of Israel out of captivity in Egypt.

Once Moses caught a glimpse of God’s perspective on things, he was ready to move beyond his comfort zones or his conditioning to become a great liberator. When we see things from God’s perspective things change.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OUR PERSPECTIVE AND GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
Our perspective is often limited and small. Our perspective can often be warped or flawed. This is primarily because we see things through our past, our upbringing and the things that have conditioned us.

God’s perspective is always big, balanced and filled with purpose. When Jesus was about to leave earth and return to heaven, his disciples started to get worried. Their perspective was that they were nothing if Jesus was not with them in person. God’s perspective was that Jesus had made the deposit in these men’s lives and that seed was enough to change the world. While these disciples were full of fear and even wanted to return to being fisherman, Jesus tells them to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

This just illustrates the tremendous difference in perspective. We must learn not to allow our limited perspectives to limit God. God wants to give us a glimpse from His perspective so that we will see things differently and never be the same again.

If you have a PRAYER REQUEST, please send us an e-mail at Prayer@AliveToGod.com  For more information about Alive to God, or to subscribe to our free DAILY BIBLE VERSE, please visit www.AliveToGod.com

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The Big Picture

Often times our perspective on things is very limited. We see things from our perspective and from our viewpoint. It reminds me of a tree. We may see the beauty of the tree, the branches and the beautiful shade it provides. What we don’t see is how that tree works and grows and the root infrastructure, which supports it. In the same way there are many dimensions about God that we simply cannot see or understand.  In the movie JOSEPH – KING OF DREAMS, Joseph finds himself in jail. At this point in the movie they sing a song: ‘YOU KNOW BETTER THAN I’. One of the lines of the song says the following: ‘IF THIS HAS BEEN A TEST, I CANNOT SEE THE REASON’. I is a beautiful picture of how we do not always see the big picture. God is at work in each of our lives. If we will allow him to continue working, He will bring about His plan and purpose for our lives. You see, God sees the bigger picture and this is something that we cannot see and this is why we have to trust God.

SEEING LIFE FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE
When we see life from our perspective we handle things different from one person to the next. We are all the product of our upbringing and our past experiences and this has a tremendous influence on us.

Perhaps you were brought up to believe that you a failure. When this happens we often begin to see ourselves as a failure and this has a corresponding affect on our lives. I had one friend who was brought up to believe that you NEVER go backward in life. As a result he always had to get a bigger and a better car or house. His life was continually motivated by this concept of progress. It just about destroyed, bankrupted and left him penniless.

We have all been conditioned in some way or another to see things through the eyes of our past and the things we have been exposed to. If we only see life from this point of view and can be very limiting.  It happens because we see just an element of life and that element is colored by the glasses we look through. God sees things differently.

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God Has Time for You

GOD HAS TIME FOR YOU

God is not too busy to listen to you. He is ready and able to give you His full attention.

Jeremiah 18:1-2 Here is another message to Jeremiah from the Lord: Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made, and I will talk to you there.

Like a good father who has always got time for His children, so God wants to give us time.

Psalm 102:17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute, for he is never too busy to heed their requests.

ASK GOD

When we talk to God we can ask Him for those things that we may need. I am so glad that we can approach God in this way.

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you.

Luke 11:9-10  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Why don’t you approach God for those issues and circumstances that are a concern to you today? Just talk to God about them and let’s begin to trust Him.

EXPECTING GOD TO COME THROUGH FOR YOU

God wants to come through for us.

Mark 11:24 Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it’s yours!

Isaiah 65:24 I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Nothing is impossible with God. While we are still talking to Him about our needs, He wants to start coming through for us. What more could we want? Be expectant as you talk to God about the things that concern you.

If you have a PRAYER REQUEST, please send us an e-mail at Prayer@AliveToGod.com  For more information about Alive to God, or to subscribe to our free DAILY BIBLE VERSE, please visit www.AliveToGod.com

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The Importance of His Presence

AT HIS FEET

‘Down at your feet oh Lord, is the most high place.’ This is a line from a song. It is special to me because it captures something of what God wants us to realize. Prayer is just coming to the feet of the One who understands. It is a place of humility. It is a place of dependence. When we come with humility and dependence on God to His feet, we are at the highest place.

Psalm 86:5 O Lord, you are so good and kind, so ready to forgive, so full of mercy for all who ask your aid.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HIS PRESENCE

We need the presence of God in our lives. If we sense His presence it makes all the difference. ‘The presence of God is the only thing that matters.’ I really believe this. It is this aspect that makes the difference between prayers that feel like they have God’s attention and prayers that just bounce off the ceiling.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

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Looking Into His Face

OUR FATHER

God is our Father. As with our earthly fathers, we should be able to communicate with ease. He wants us to come and talk to Him and He is waiting just to listen to us speaking to Him. Jesus taught us to pray to Our Father.

Luke 11:2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven”.

Our Father is always ready to listen when we talk to Him!

LOOKING INTO HIS FACE

We should be looking for the face of God. Often times when we pray we simply are looking to His hand. We want something from His hand. Perhaps for some form of provision or that He will supply a certain need.  This is good and we are entitled to do this, but sometimes we must just talk to God simply because we want to have contact with Him.  I have a picture on my computer of a little boy kneeling at the feet of Jesus. Jesus is seated and the little boy is resting his arms on Jesus’ lap. The little boy is looking intently into Jesus’ face. This picture is a constant reminder to me of how our relationship with God should be.

Psalm 5:3 Each morning I will look to you in heaven and lay my requests before you, praying earnestly.

If you have a PRAYER REQUEST, please send us an e-mail at Prayer@AliveToGod.com  For more information about Alive to God, or to subscribe to our free DAILY BIBLE VERSE, please visit www.AliveToGod.com

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