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

October Grace

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.  These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.” Matt. 15:8-9  Martin Luther wanted to turn them back to the truth, that we are not saved by what we do, but we are saved by grace.  Eph. 2:9 tells us For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. 

As Christians homeschooling our Children, we must remember to keep the Gospel, the Good News, in focus.  Once we are saved the Gospel isn’t void.  We are saved and continue to be saved and sanctified by the completed work of Jesus Christ.  Are you so foolish?  Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Gal. 3:3  Christianity isn’t about a set of rules and to do list; it’s about living in relationship with our Lord and Savior.  It’s not about trying to be the most ‘spiritual,’ the most ‘sanctified’ the most ‘loved’ Christian; it’s about living daily in the reality of who we are and who God is.

As we homeschool our children, this is an important issue to focus on, since it would be easy to forget this, as our children are sheltered from many of the obstacles and temptations found in the ‘real world.’  Our children could start to feel that for someone to be acceptable and lovable they have to behave in a certain way, or live up to a set standard, or be constrained by certain manmade sets of rules.  There is a great danger in this.  We are saved by grace, not by how good we are.  When we or our children start believing we are more spiritual, more sanctified, more loved because we live or act a certain way we are becoming like the Pharisee who prayed … “God, I thank You that I am not like other men – extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke 18:11-12

When Jesus came to walk among us, He came to show God’s great love and compassion for a dieing, hurting world.  The Pharisees were angered by His behavior.  They did not like the compassion He showed to the lost or the friendships He developed with the ‘sinner’s.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Luke 7:33-35  We also read in Luke:  And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners? Jesus answered them and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.  Luke 5:30-32     

Where is your focus?  Where are you directing your children’s focus?  – on living up to yours and others expectations, rules, to dos? or on an awesome Savior who came to nurture, love and die for a diseased world?

By Tami Munden

October Fall Picture with quote by Martin Luther