Advent Week 2 – Bethlehem

Bethlehem

Father God, as I learn more and more about You, as I see the truth of Your Word, as I study history and see all You did to bring about the birth of Your Son, I stand amazed and can only cry out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.   You have given us Your Word to teach us who You are.  In John 1 we read that Jesus is The Word become flesh.  In Ezekiel 34 we read that You planned to come and walk among Your sheep, healing the broken, recovering the lost.  In Revelations we read how You, our Great Shepherd, have become the lamb slain for our sins.  What a mighty and wonderful God we serve.

Advent Week 2 Bethlehem Nehemiah 8:10 & 12

Lord Jesus, My King eternal, this is the second week of Advent when we remember Your birth place, Bethlehem.  You revealed many details concerning the where and why of Jesus’ life long before His birth.  The Prophet Micah tells us:  But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”  Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.  Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel.  And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.  And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.  And this One will be our peace. Micah 5:2-5a.

Bethlehem was the city You chose, the City of David, a city whose name means ‘house of bread.’  You, who are our Bread of Life, were born in the city whose name represented, in part, what Your birth would mean to us.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

You Lord, our Creator, revealed yourself to us through the prophets and through Your Word, that we might know You.   Then You came to earth, born of a Virgin, (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-38) born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 2:1-7); You came to the outcast, the sick, the lonely (Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 5:31-32), and made us family (Romans 8:15), healing our wounds, and loving us with Your great mercy.

Now, we, Your children can live in peace, with joy beyond understanding even though we live in a fallen world with much pain and suffering.  Because of You, because You came and were born in Bethlehem, because You chose to come and walk among us, because You chose to die for our sins, because You love us, we are free.  Thank You My Lord and Savior. Amen.

From my Archives

Martin Luther

October is a good time to remember Martin Luther.  On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Door.  These theses were to challenge the church to come back to the truth of Scripture.  The church of the day had gotten away from the good news and started laying down man made laws and imposing their rules on their followers. Martin Luther wanted to turn them back to the truth, that we are not saved by what we do, but we are saved by God’s grace.

Martin Luther Quote

“To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.” ~ Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

“What awful presumption to imagine that there is any work good enough to pacify God when to pacify God required the invaluable price of the death and blood of His One and only Son?” ~ Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Following is an excerpt from Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians – Verse 2:21:

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:21

“Did Christ die, or did He not die?  Was His death worthwhile, or was it not?  If His death was worthwhile, it follows that righteousness does not come by the Law.  Why was Christ born anyways?  Why was He crucified?  Why did He suffer?  Why did He love me and give Himself for me?  It was all done to no purpose if righteousness is to be had by the Law.

“Or do you think that God spared not His Son, but delivered Him for us all, for the fun of it?… 

“To reject the grace of God is a common sin, of which everybody is guilty who sees any righteousness in himself or in his deeds…

“We will always affirm with Paul that either Christ died in vain or else the Law cannot justify us.  But Christ did not suffer and die in vain.  Hence, the law does not justify.

“If my salvation was so difficult to accomplish that it necessitated the death of Christ, then all my works, all the righteousness of the Law, are good for nothing.  How can I buy for a penny what cost a million dollars?  The Law is a penny’s worth when you compare it with Christ.  Should I be so stupid as to reject the righteousness of Christ which cost me nothing, and slave like a fool to achieve the righteousness of the Law which God disdains?

“Man’s own righteousness is in the last analysis a despising and rejecting of the grace of God.  No combination of words can do justice to such an outrage.  It is an insult to say that any man died in vain.  But to say that Christ died in vain is a deadly insult.  To say that Christ died in vain is to make His resurrection, His victory, His glory, His kingdom, heaven, earth, God Himself, of no purpose and benefit whatever.”  ~ Martin Luther Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 2:21)

Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling. “How could it be so?

It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!”

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more! ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Daily Scripture Readings for Advent 2013 – because Christmas DOES mean so much more.

Advent