Friday, January 27, 2017

Beautiful, Part Four

Who is Emmanuel?

But let’s go back further than the Cross, the Garden or even the start of Jesus’ ministry. Have you ever thought about how utterly amazing it is that the Creator of everything that exists, the One who invented and designed the solar system and everything in it, including us, would come to live among us in a lowly body like ours? Wow! Think about it. Could you imagine doing that if it had been possible for you to do? Leave the indescribable glory of heaven, the majesty and honor, and instead to experience pain, hunger, heat and cold, sheer exhaustion and everything we feel in our physical bodies? But the most unfathomable part is WHY—He came to suffer and DIE for us, knowing that after persevering through all the challenges, rejection, disbelief, disrespect and attacks against Him (who was perfect in all of His ways, always), He would endure everything written above for us undeserving, ungrateful creatures? Again, wow—talk about amazing!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14 For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:20-23

And 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 bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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." And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-35

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2 “now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” John 17:5

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." ...When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:1-2, 10

How much does God love us?

He knows everything about each of us. From the beginning of our lives to the end, He knows it all before it happens. (The Creator of time is not subject to it Himself.) Despite this, He loves us enough to willingly suffer and lay down His life for us. Nothing we could ever do would be unforgivable if we confess it. (Only outright unbelief–rejecting the Holy Spirit–will not be forgiven, but those who are born again are indwelt by Him.) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9 

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." John 10:18

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10 "...even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:7-9

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Matthew 12:30-32

This is Part Four of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.