Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

The Gifts of the Magi

January 6 is a Christian holiday known as Epiphany. Besides being the twelfth day of Christmas, we remember the visit of the Magi or the Wise Men with the Christ child. They brought gifts and they have significant meaning.

Gold is precious across all nations and cultures. It is fit for royalty and said to the Christ child, You will be a King.

Frankincense is a milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree and is known for its calming, restorative, and meditative properties. Ancient people burned Frankincense, believing it carried their prayers to Heaven. This gift illustrates Christ’s role as Priest.

Myrrh is the resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in semi-desert regions along the Red Sea. It is known as a wound healer because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Yet the most popular use is as an embalming ointment. After Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea anointed Jesus’ body with myrrh. This is the gift that signifies Jesus as our Savior.

Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi. For more fascinating information regarding the gifts of the Magi, follow this link: http://www.magi-gifts.com/significance.html

Application–The gifts of the Magi inspired the annual tradition of Christmas gift giving. What gift did you give or receive this Christmas that has lasting value?

Prayer–Thank you, Father God, for the greatest gift of all, the gift of love in Your Son and our Lord Jesus. Help us to love as you do so others may come to know your love too. Amen.

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Jesus–God’s Gift of Love

“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.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Did you know that these two verses, often quoted at Christmas, were written by Isaiah more than seven hundred years before Christ was born? Isaiah worked during troubling times when people had no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of His hands. God spoke through Isaiah to warn the people they would be exiled because of their life choices, but that He would bring hope and peace through one Man.

APPLICATION

While we celebrate the first coming of Jesus at Christmas, we prepare for His second coming. That means we respond to God’s amazing love by loving Him and others. Loving God means doing what is right and good. Sometimes that means standing alone. Have you ever had to do that? I have and I feel like the lone ranger Christian. Be encouraged! God says in Isaiah 7:9, “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” Hard words, but words that hold great hope and eternal life with God. How will you show God’s love this week? Will it mean that you will stand alone to do what God wants you to?

PRAYER

Father God, thank you for your incredible plan for us. Strengthen us to stand firmly in our faith and to reach out to others with your love, especially during this season when many people feel left out and lonely. Amen.

Find Rest for Your Soul

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” (Matthew 28:11 NIV).

The fourth commandment of God’s Big Ten says, “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” The Sabbath in the Old Testament, the day God rested from creation, was on Saturday. However, Jesus rose from the grave the day after the Sabbath, and today we keep that day holy. Some of your friends may not understand why you go to church and Sunday school. The post, “Jesus Loves Me,” http://sue-tornai4kids.blogspot.com/2011/05/jesus-loves-me.html, is based on a true story from one of my Sunday school students, and I hope it helps you make tough decisions about committing yourself to sports that require you to play on Sundays.

APPLICATION

When we know how much Jesus loves us and become familiar with His gentle ways, we want to be more like Him. He was persecuted for healing people on the Sabbath, but His compassion is not against God’s law. What ways do you keep God’s day holy?

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help us to be more like you, loving and compassionate, and keep Your day holy. Amen.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

When Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, not only did He send them power to speak the Good News and start the early church–He gave each of them and each of us power to live holy lives. That means we will have comfort in suffering, counsel and wisdom to make tough decisions, and peace and joy in all things. Living by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will become more like Jesus. It’s a little too amazing to comprehend, isn’t it?

No Idols

A few years ago I visited a friend whose best friend died. She gave me a tour of her house and finally her eyes landed on a beautiful Indian figurine. She said, “This is my Indian goddess, and I pray to her every day.” 

I couldn’t imagine anyone praying to a wooden figurine. I said to my friend, “She’s lovely, but she cannot see you with her eyes or hear your prayers with her ears. She cannot speak to you with her mouth and she has no power to help you.”

“But I can see her and touch her. She’s real to me,” my friend said.

The second commandment says we are not to make or worship idols. Do you have a friend like mine who trusts in something other than the One True God? I tried to tell my friend there is more truth and reality in things we cannot see than in things we can see. Sometimes our idols don’t look like Indian figurines. They look like anything that comes between us and trusting God. All we can do is show love to our friends and pray for them.

Lord Jesus, I pray for those who don’t know you or trust you. Send them a word or someone to soften their hearts and show them their need for you in their lives. Amen.

The Ten Commandments

God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone and gave them to Moses to give to His people.

  1. Do not have any other gods before me. I am the one True God.
  2. Do not make or worship idols. Don’t let anything become more important than God.
  3. Do not miss use God’s name. Only say God’s name with reverence.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. God worked six days and rested one day. That’s what He wants for us.
  5. Honor your father and your mother. Do what they say.
  6. Do not murder. Do not kill another person out of anger or malice.
  7. Do not commit adultery. Husbands and wives should not have close relationships with others of the opposite sex.
  8. Do not steal. Do not take what is not yours.
  9. Do not lie. Do not say things that are not true.
  10. Do not covet. Be content with what you have.

Can you keep all these? The truth is we cannot. Although we may think we haven’t disobeyed God, He looks into our hearts and He has a different value system. Jesus said for a person to be angry at another person was the same as murder. He also said for a man to look with desire at another woman besides his wife is adultery. These are hard standards because they are God’s ways. We may think that we are better than someone else, but the only person we should compare ourselves with is Jesus because HE is the only one who is perfect.

 

To be close to God, we cannot have sin in our lives. He knew we would choose to do wrong things, but He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him anyway. He loved us so much He sent His son, Jesus, the only perfect person, to die on the cross for our sin, the wrong things we do. When we admit our need of Jesus in our lives, believe that He died to forgive us, and confess and ask Him into our hearts, we will live with Him forever. He promises He will never leave us but always be with us, through good times and bad. Do you see His ABC plan? It is:

  • Admit
  • Believe
  • Confess

Do these and Jesus will be your best Friend forever. I hope you will. I am praying for you.

Lord Jesus, I am praying for the ones reading this post. Give them new hearts to love you. Amen.

 

Jesus Loves Me

“Hey, Christi, are you signing up for soccer?” asked Julia.

“No,” replied Christi. “I thought about it but decided not to.”

“Why?”

“Because some of the games are on Sunday mornings.”

            “Yeah, so?”
            “Well, I go to Sunday school.”
            “Can’t you miss a Sunday or two?”
            “I suppose I could,” said Christi. “But I don’t want to.”
            “What’s so special about Sunday school?”
            “You mean you’ve never gone?”
            “No, why should I?”
            “Well, I like going because I have fun and learn how much Jesus loves me.”
            “How do you know Jesus loves you?” asked Julia.
            “Because He died on the cross for me.”
            “What?” Julia asked.  “What do you mean He died on a cross for you?”
“He was nailed to a cross for . . .”
            “Christi, that’s disgusting!” shouted Julia. “That’s horrible. How could that prove anything to anyone?” Julia didn’t give Christi time to  answer. She just stomped away. Christi walked home from school by herself. She looked down at the ground and felt terrible. “Dear God, I’m sorry,” she cried. Tears streaming down her face, she opened the front door to her house and ran straight to her bedroom.
            “Christi, what’s the matter?” Mom asked as she stepped into her room.
            “Oh Mom,” she said. “Julia wanted me to sign up for soccer, but I told her I couldn’t because some of the games were on Sundays. I told her I liked Sunday school and learning how much Jesus loves me.”
           “Christi, I am glad you made that decision,” Mom said.
           “Mom, she asked me how I knew Jesus loved me and I told her because He was nailed to a cross for me.” Christi couldn’t talk. She cried and cried.
           “Mom, Julia said for Jesus to be nailed to a cross for me was disgusting. She cut me off and strutted down the street. Oh Mom, I feel awful.” Mom held her close and Christi sobbed big sobs.
           “Christi,” Mom said, “I know God was with you and I know He  loves you very much. When you think about it, being nailed to a cross is pretty  disgusting. It was painful and humiliating for Jesus. But He endured the cross because He loves us. You were right. People who don’t know Him don’t understand the cross. I bet you gave Julia something to think about.”
           “Really?”
           “Oh yes,” Mom said. “I know she is a good friend and she trusts you.”
           “Do you think God will give me another chance to tell her how much Jesus loves her?”
          “It’s possible,” Mom said. “Let’s be thankful for today. God was with you.” Christi stopped crying and smiled. Mom started singing and Christi joined in,
            “Jesus loves me, this I know,
            For the Bible tells me so.
            Little ones to Him belong.
            They are weak but He is strong.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            The Bible tells me so.”