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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Right Gifts

December 13

(Matthew 2:11 NIV) "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

(1 Chronicles 29:1-5 NIV) "Then King David said to the whole assembly: "My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. {2} With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God--gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble--all of these in large quantities. {3} Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: {4} three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, {5} for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord?""

If you want to blame someone for having to buy Christmas presents, blame the Magi. They started this whole yuletide gift-giving thing. But for some reason we’ve altered the original plan. We’ve turned it upside-down. The Magi bought gifts and gave them to Jesus. Most of us neglect giving to Jesus so we can buy Christmas gifts for ourselves and others. What was originally about Christ-centered giving has become predominantly about man-centered gifting. We have taken Christ’s birthday celebration and made it about ourselves. Instead of giving to Christ, we go into debt to buy gifts and gadgets for people who already have everything they need… and many of those gifts will be returned to the merchant, or thrown into a dumpster, before the year is over. Consider a different kind of giving this year. Give something significant to Jesus. The Magi got it right. Will you? -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Magical Mystery Tour

December 12

(Matthew 2:1-12 NIV)  "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem {2} and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." {3} When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. {4} When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. {5} "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: {6} "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" {7} Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. {8} He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." {9} After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. {10} When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. {11} On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. {12} And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."

After Christ was born, Wise Men, also called Magi, came from far away looking for Jesus. This makes them the first “seekers”. They came in faith, seeking the new born King. That faith caused them to be among the Lord’s first earthly worshippers. They did not find the King of kings in a palace, but they still bowed before Him and gave Him expensive gifts. That’s what one does in the presence of a King. The King does not have to match our expectations -- we must meet His. Scripture says they were "overjoyed" to be in His presence. Genuine joy is hard to contain. It bubbles up in our lives like fizz in carbonated soda pop. Joy identifies the heart that has truly been with God. These Wise Men came prepared to give, and they opened their treasures to the newborn King. Worship and joy always give generously. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Worship Him today through generous giving. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Monday, December 11, 2017

The First Witnesses

December 11 

(Luke 2:8-17 NIV) "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. {12} This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." {13} Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, {14} "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." {15} When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." {16} So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. {17} When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,"

On the night Christ was born, the shepherds were given the good news and told where to find the baby Jesus. They believed God and went to Bethlehem. They were the first witnesses. God came to the shepherds -- that’s grace. They came to Christ -- that’s faith. It works the same today. Jesus came for us -- that’s grace. We come to Jesus -- that’s faith. The shepherds didn’t procrastinate, and neither should we. On that final day when we all stand before God, many will say, “I really was going to put my faith in you later someday.” That statement of intention will not be sufficient. There is no "later" in eternity. The shepherds came to Christ, and then went public with their faith. They were His first witnesses. They went out and told everyone what they had experienced. We should do the same. Come to Bethlehem and see. Then go out and be His witnesses. Go public with your faith. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Born to Us

December 10

(Isaiah 9:6 NIV) "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."

(Luke 2:8-12 NIV) "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. {12} This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.""

Jesus was born of God, born of a woman, and born King. He was also “born to us”. Christ was born to us because God's grace is for everyone. On that first Christmas night, lowly shepherds heard that a Savior had been born to them. The joyful news of the angels was for all people. Christ was born to us to allay our fears. God wants us to follow Him, not fear Him. He wants us to come near, not come apart. Christ was born to us to bring us good news. The gospel came with Jesus. Christ was born to us so that we could find Him, and so God immediately announced where He could be found. When Christ was born to us, the angels sang. They worshipped God that night and still do when anyone finds Jesus. Would you like to start a party in heaven? Believe that Christ was born to us and come to Him. Jesus -- born of God, born of a woman, born King, and born to us. Rejoice! -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day