Tag Archives: 10 days

Ten Days before


Last year, the Lord impressed upon my heart to take each day of the 10 before Christmas and focus on a part of the Nativity story.

As I looked at the calendar this morning, I realized.

It’s ten days before Christmas.

So, beginning today, I’ll be focusing on a different part of the Nativity.

Matthew 1:23 KJV — Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew is quoting the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:14 NKJV — “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Truly, the prophecy is incredible, roughly 700 years before Jesus was born of a virgin.

In the book of Luke we get a close-up of what this young woman felt and experienced.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Luke 1:26‭-‬27 NKJV

I love that it is clearly recorded the name of the angel and makes careful to note, “was sent by God”.

This was not a chance encounter, it was a special moment in history.

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one,  the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Luke 1:28 NKJV

God was announcing the coming of the Messiah!

But when she saw him,  she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1:29‭-‬33 NKJV

No matter how familiar this story, let’s not miss the incredible news related here.

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 1:34‭-‬37 NKJV

It’s understandable.

Mary is struggling to see how this can be when she’s unable to be a mother in her current circumstances.

(How often does God hear from us ‘But I can’t?’)

He wasn’t saying she should do something.

His message was letting her know what He was doing.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

Her response is wonderful.

(And should be our example.)

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38 NKJV

Mary was a young Jewish woman, living in a village, in a country under the foreign rulers from Rome.

The Bible doesn’t record her education, nor her physical description, but it does show us the beauty of a life surrendered to God.

As we look at the mother of Jesus, we can praise the Lord for His grace and mercy.

He chose the humble to be the ones He worked through.

God still uses the humble.

A life surrendered to Him is truly beautiful.

Today, the 10th day before Christmas, let us hold the truth and love of Christ Jesus close to our hearts and surrender our lives before Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for working through those whose hearts are Yours. Lord, thank You for the example in this young woman who said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord!’ Jesus, please help me to be Your servant. To live for the joy of You each day. Lord, to walk in Your ways and speak Your truths. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming as a tiny babe. Thank You for walking among us, teaching us about Yourself and the Father. Lord, thank You for dieing and raising again. Thank You for eternal life. Amen.

Merry Christmas

Psalm 23:6b NKJV — And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Simply put, it’s God’s house.

Jesus has always resided in His house.

Today, we remember the sacrifice He made.

He was born of woman, a fragile human, to save us from sin.

His birth, death, and resurrection is the one way anyone can join Him in heaven.

He wants us to dwell in His house.

The invitation is open.

Add baby Jesus to your Nativity.

On this, the day we celebrate His birth, let’s not miss the reason He came.

He’s no longer a babe in the manger.

He’s our Savior, at the right hand of God. Mark 16:19

Romans 8:34 NKJV — Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

May we never forget the lessons within the Nativity, nor the true reason to celebrate:

Jesus Christ!

Merry Christmas.

One day till Christmas

Psalm 23:6a NKJV — Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;

People do better with pictures.

We can better understand something if it’s related to something else we already know.

This being the case, we are going to have two angels stand in the place of two of God’s attributes: goodness and mercy.

Because we clearly see throughout Scripture: God is good. He is righteous. (Deu. 32:4, Ezra 9:15, Psalm 116:5, Dan 9:14)

Goodness is simply part of God and without God there is none.

Even Jesus said: “So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.'” Luke 18:19 NKJV

Jesus, God’s Son, therefore is good.

Before the Fall (Gen. 3:6) God and mankind were able to walk together in the Garden. (Gen. 3:8)

But sin changed what had been God’s good creation (Gen. 127), mankind, and placed a barrier between us and God.

God’s goodness simply can’t be with sin.

They will never mix.

That’s where God’s mercy steps in.

God is good. (Psalm 107:8) He is also merciful. (Psalm 103:8, 116:5)

God knew at the Garden He would put into action His rescue plan for mankind.

Genesis 3:15 NKJV — 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.”

Jesus, the only One ever born only of woman.

Through His sacrifice He rescued us from sin.

How fitting to have a picture of both Goodness and Mercy at the birth of Jesus.

He is both.

Without Him, we have neither.

Luke 2:14 KJV — Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

2 days till Christmas

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5b NKJV

In the Old Testament anointing with oil was very important.

Aaron, the first high priest, was anointed with oil. He and his sons were set apart by God for the service of God and the Tabernacle.

Exodus 29:7 KJV — Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.

Kings were anointed. Saul, David, and Solomon were anointed with oil to show God had chosen them. (1 Samuel 10:1,16:13, 1 Kings 1:39)

In Matthew we see a detailed list of names, the importance being Jesus’s lineage through Joseph, a direct descendant of the kingly line.

So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.
Matthew 1:17 NKJV

God spoke clearly to Joseph about Jesus.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus , for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21 NKJV

Joseph’s adopted son Jesus was a direct line to David.

Jesus’s anointing isn’t only through the kingly lineage of David.

Hebrews 6:20 NKJV — where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus is both King of Kings and our high priest.

Hebrews 7:24-25 NKJV — But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

How incredibly intricate the details which all came together in Jesus.

As we add Joseph to the Nativity let us reflect upon Jesus’s dual anointing: king and priest.

It’s very clear, God choose Joseph to be Jesus’s adopted father.

We have a choice as well.

Whether one will live in total surrender to the King and Priest or not.

For those who choose to the scripture speaks clearly.

“He (Jesus) will save His people from their sins.”

Surely, our cup overflows due to His “intercession for” each of us.

Praise the LORD!

Three days till Christmas

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Psalm 23:5a NKJV

Can you picture it?

A wooden table with bowls and perhaps a wine flask.

The mother of many children bringing in food and setting everything for the meal.

Finally, she calls to the workshop that all is ready.

The Bible doesn’t tell us what an average day in Jesus’s childhood looked like. However, preparing food and serving the table is often part of a mother’s daily routine.

Today, we are adding Mary to our Nativity.

As the mother of Jesus, she would have been able to prepare many a meal for her son.

However, these verses in Psalms lean towards a much more important table than the every day one.

The line, …”in the presence of my enemies”…, points to a specific table in Jesus’s life.

During the Last Supper, the Passover celebration, Jesus was in the presence of an enemy. He was there with intent to lead more enemies to Jesus.

Matthew 26:25 NKJV — Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

Even in this Jesus understood all that the Father was allowing and why.

Scripture doesn’t mention Mary, Jesus’s mother at the Last Supper.

She was there at the cross. (John 19:25)

Did she stand there and recall the words?

Luke 2:34 NKJV — Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Even in the presence of so many enemies, Jesus knew this was not the end.

The table prepared before His enemies would be the last He would be at before His crucifixion.

Jesus knew that although this table was a stepping stone to His suffering at the cross, He also understood that same suffering would be a step towards a different table.

Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV — Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

One day Jesus, the Lamb of God, will be at the marriage supper.

Every believer in Jesus is invited.

Not a single enemy will be present.

How difficult it is for us to see suffering as a benefit, yet through the cross and Jesus’s suffering we are made new, clean, and eternal guests at the table of the marriage of the Lamb.

May our hearts praise and thank our Lord Jesus for His suffering and let us rejoice and be glad for the table yet to come!

4 days till Christmas

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 NKJV

The staff, a simple tool of the shepherd, is a comfort.

Shepherds are no longer common in our culture.

Yet, they still exist, and although each culture handles things uniquely, even now a staff is a useful tool.

Anyone who has raised sheep can explain how each one needs to be guided and often they tend to go their own way.

The staff is an extension of the shepherd and is used to direct, guide, and at times keep the sheep from heading the wrong way.

Scripture tells of a Good Shepherd, one who cares for the sheep.

Psalm 80:1 NKJV — To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth! (Emphasis added)

Isaiah 40:11 NKJV — He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young. (Emphasis added)

Micah 7:14 NKJV — Shepherd Your people with Your staff, The flock of Your heritage, Who dwell solitarily in a woodland, In the midst of Carmel; Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, As in days of old. (Emphasis added)

Jesus said:

John 10:11 NKJV — “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Not only did He sacrifice Himself for each and every one of us, He leads us down the paths of righteousness.

Today’s addition to the Nativity is a shepherd.

Another beautiful picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for each one of us.

The shepherd’s staff is a comfort to those who follow Jesus.

We have God’s Holy Word to guide and direct us.

We have Jesus to lead us.

We are not left alone, scattered and in danger of predictors.

John 10:10 NKJV — “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

As we look on our Nativity and remember our Good Shepherd, let us rejoice!

Our lives belong to Jesus.

When we submit our lives to Him, He becomes King.

With His Kingship, He guides and directs us, He comforts and provides for us.

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV

Five days till Christmas

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4b NKJV

The rod is throughout Scripture.

It can be seen in the hand of Aaron being used as the instrument of God before the Egyptians. (Exo. 7:19-20, 8:5, 8:16-17.)

Later when there was a dispute about who God had chosen to be the priest, Aaron’s rod was the sign. (Num. 17:8.)

God commanded Moses to do a variety of things with his rod. From frogs and lice to winning a battle, Moses and his rod were used to show God’s will.

How fitting that Moses also was the man God gave the Ten Commandments to as well as the Torah.

The rod continues through Scripture as either a symbol of authority and rulership or of correction. (Psa 110:2, 89:32, Pro 13:24, 22:15, 1Cor 4:21)

God even used a rod as part of the prophecy concerning the Messiah.

Isaiah 11:1 NKJV — There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Scripture is clear, Jesus was given His authority from God the Father. (John 5:26-27, 12:49)

He came to save (John 3:16-17), but He will one day rule the a rod of iron. (Rev. 2:27, Psa. 2:6-12)

Where is comfort in correction?

How can one find true freedom if being ruled by another?

Because true freedom isn’t being able to do whatever each person thinks is best, it’s being free from evil, sin, and death.

Romans 8:2 NKJV — For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Being ruled by Jesus is being led by the One Who truly understands what is best for every individual.

With the reminder that the Wise Men were not at the Nativity, but came later we are going to add them to our picture today. (Matt. 2:11)

The reason for adding the kings is a picture of how all kings are underneath the King of Kings.

They were kings, and they understood the child born, whose Star they followed, was King of the Jews. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Through the Scriptures we can see clearly, Jesus is the King of Kings. (Rev. 17:14)

1 Timothy 6:15 NKJV — which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

Rev. 19:16 NKJV — And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

He is the only One who can rule and reign in complete righteousness, causing all those who submit to His salvation to rejoice in eternal life.

And with this understanding, we can look on the babe in the manger and truly see how His rod can comfort us.

6 days till Christmas

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Psalms 23:4a NKJV

From His birth, Jesus’s life walked through the valley of death.

Herod wanted to kill Him.

Matthew 2:16a NKJV — Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem…

During His ministry people plotted against Him or tried to harm Him. (Matthew 12:14, Matthew 26::3-4, Luke 4:29, John 8:59 & 11:45-53 to name a few.)

The disciples even thought they were all going to drown. (Matthew 8:23-27)

But none of them understood.

Jesus never feared evil.

Jesus knew His life was in the Father’s hands. He knew why He had been sent. John 8:14

He knew when He would lay down His life.

From the observers it seemed like evil was winning, but Jesus’s death was infact the fatal blow to evil and death. John 8:34-36; Luke 24:46-47

Which is why Jesus is our Savior. He is the Light of the World.

John 8:12 KJV — Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Add a brilliant star to the Nativity as a symbol of the Light of the World.

The Star led the Wise Men to Jesus. Jesus leads us to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Just as the stars are always with us, whether we see them or not, the same is true for Jesus.

We need never fear evil, for He is with us.

Matthew 28:20 NKJV — “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Seven days till Christmas

Psalm 23:3b NKJV — He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

The path which led Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem was only a portion of the path which would lead to the cross.

God had proclaimed the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 NKJV — “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Although, Joseph and Mary were from Galilee.

Luke 2:4 NKJV — 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,

Jesus also lived in Egypt. (Matt. 2:13)

Then later, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus moved to Nazareth.

Matthew 2:23 NKJV — And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

As an adult Jesus traveled.

Matthew 4:13-15 NKJV — And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:Matthew 4:15 NKJV — “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:

From before His birth His life’s path followed the Scriptures, and we know it is all for His name’s sake.

Psalm 79:9 NKJV — Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!

Only by His name are we saved.

Acts 2:21 KJV — And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Psalm 106:8 KJV — Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power to be known.

Our Nativity drawing today is a donkey.

To remind us of the path of righteousness Jesus traveled His whole life.

The Bible doesn’t say Mary rode on a donkey to Bethlehem. However, it does say Jesus rode on one to Jerusalem, for the moment in history when He would be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.

Matthew 21:7 NKJV — They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

Jesus’s life was the path of righteousness and His life can cleanse ours.

While adding a donkey to the Nativity, realize the incredible truth of what He did for His name’s sake.

Psalm 25:10-11NKJV — All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

8 days till Christmas

Psalm 23:2-3a NKJV — He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

For a sheep to lie down in green pastures means two things

First, they have eaten their fill.

Second, there’s more available the moment they want to stand up and eat again.

Jesus said, “I am that bread of life.” John 6:48 KJV

Still water is the only kind most sheep will go near. They are afraid of moving water since they are not built to swim.

John 4:14 NKJV — “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross paid for every sin and saves us from eternal death.

His life gives us abundant spiritual bread and water.

John 6:35 KJV — And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Truly, Jesus restores the soul.

While celebrating the birth of our Savior, let us recall the beauty of salvation and the joy which comes from freedom from the bonds of sin and death.

Psalm 51:12 KJV — Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Pictures today can be either hay and a watering trough, or bread and a water jar. Both would be expected in a place which housed animals and people.

Play, listen, and or sing Away in a Manger.

While enjoying this Christmas carol let your heart meditate upon the truths we’ve already looked at. First, Jesus is the Lamb of God. Secondly, the manger wasn’t a mistake, but a purposeful picture. Third, Jesus’s death and resurrection restores our souls from sin and death.