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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 14 Dec 2013, 8:53 am

"You Can Find My Fingerprints" — A Year with Jesus for 12/13/2013

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

One of the most amazing things about My story is that I made the mother who gave Me birth. Like every person who has ever lived, I made Mary and had a plan for her even in her mother's womb, even though she would carry me in her womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

This is part of the great mystery of my birth: the Creator enters His creation to redeem it and reclaim it by being part of it. When I was born in Bethlehem and celebrated by shepherds, hated by Herod, and honored by the gifts of the Magi, I was offering Myself to My creation to accept or reject Me — to respond to My love or to rebel against it.

Of course, I knit you together in your mother's womb, too! You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). My fingerprints are not just on your world and the universe in which your world is found, My fingerprints are on you. I made you to seek after and find me (Acts 17:27), which is exactly what I hope you will do during this season that celebrates my coming to earth, My Advent. I do not want our relationship to be Creator to creature, but family — Father to child, Brother to child of God, and Spirit that binds us together.
Verses to Live

Yes, I left my fingerprints on you!
For You shaped me, inside and out.

You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.

You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
As I took shape in secret,
carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.
You see all things;
You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it (Psalm 139:13-16).


And My fingerprints are on the world I made, although many of the very people I made did not receive Me or believe in Me.
Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.
The Voice was and is God.

This celestial Word remained ever present with the Creator;
His speech shaped the entire cosmos.

Immersed in the practice of creating,
all things that exist were birthed in Him (John 1:1-3).

He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him (John 1:10-11).

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people because, despite the fact that they knew the one true God, they have failed to show the love, honor, and appreciation due to the One who created them (Romans 1:20-21).


Because you have put your trust in Me, I have given you the right, the authority, to be re-born as a child of God!
But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn a! s children of God; He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will (John 1:10-13).


So yes, honor Me as your Creator, but also know you are part of My family!
Response in Prayer

Almighty God who came to earth in such a small and tiny package, I thank You for the gift of Jesus Whom I recognize as my Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and Friend. Thank You for making me in the way that You did and please help me discover how to use for your glory all that You made me to be. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 12 Dec 2013, 12:18 pm

Fulfilling the Father's Plan" — A Year with Jesus for 12/12/2013

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

In your world, everything is about independence, autonomy, self-sufficiency, and doing your own thing. A little independence can be good, but living your life in rebellion to the Source of life — the One who made you and knows what is best for you to find joy and fulfillment in life — is self-destructive.

Often, it's only when you can't figure out how to put things together that you go back and read the directions or seek the help of an expert. So I challenge you to be a little more inter-dependent and seek the counsel of spiritual wise people. Even more, I challenge you to open up God's Word and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading. After all, I sent the Holy Spirit to you to guide you into all truth (John 16:13).

When I was on earth, I always lived to please The Father (John 5:30; John 8:39). My words were the words The Father wanted spoken and the things I did were the very things The Father wanted done (John 14:10). From your point of view, that may not seem like a very exciting life — living, saying, and doing only the things that please God — but I can tell you that it is most exciting. In fact, it is a trailblazing (Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2) way to live — it's a life full of excitement with unlimited challenges, experiences, and opportunities.

So I want to ! challenge you to live to please The Father. This way you are not enslaved to what others think about you. You are not always trying to figure out what those around you think is cool or valuable or significant. Instead, you will discover life — real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of (John 10:10 MSG).
Verses to Live

So much of my life was lived to fulfill the promises of The Father given to the prophets or to fulfill the requirements of the Torah. This begins with my birth. So every time you talk about my birth, my Advent, remember how I came to honor The Father and obey His will, and let it challenge you to do the same.

My ancestry fulfilled the expectations and promises that God gave to Abraham and David to have a descendant who would bless all nations and reign forever:
This is the family history, the genealogy, of Jesus the Anointed, the coming King. You will see in this history that Jesus is descended from King David, and that He is also descended from Abraham (Matthew 1:1)

Abraham and David were linked with 14 generations, 14 generations link David to the Babylonian exile, and 14 more take us from the exile to the birth of the Anointed (Matthew 1:17)


Even from my earliest days, my earthly parents made sure things were done in the way that The Father wanted them done.
Eight days after His birth, the baby was circumcised in keeping with Jewish religious requirements, and He was named Jesus, the name the messenger had given Him before His conception in Mary’s womb. After Mary had observed the ceremonial days of postpartum purification required by Mosaic law, she and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. They were fulfilling the Lord’s requirement that “every firstborn Israelite male will be dedicated to the Eternal One as holy.” (Luke 2:21-23)


Response in Prayer

Abba Father, You are majestic beyond my wildest imagination and yet personally concerned for my welfare. Help me, dear Father, to see that how You call me to live is for my blessing so that I will discover life that is full, rich, and meaningful. As I follow Jesus, I am convicted that I need to yield my will to Your's and discover how to live life abundantly. Today, as I think about Jesus' birth, I feel called to re-commit my words, thoughts, and actions to honor You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 8:22 pm

Pitching My Tent" — A Year with Jesus for 12/08/2013

Note from Jesus

Dear Disciple,

I love the way the Beloved Disciple you know as John describes my coming to earth: "The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us" (John 1:14). Quite literally, his words could be translated, "He pitched His tent among us."

As God, I didn't just come close, I moved into your neighborhood as one of you. So during the rush of your Christmas season, I hope you will join Me — "the one true Son of the Father" — at the manger, experience the wonder of the shepherds, and share My story with all who will listen.
Verses to Live

As soon as the heavenly messengers disappeared into heaven, the shepherds were buzzing with conversation.

Shepherds:

Let's rush down to Bethlehem right now! Let's see what's happening! Let's experience what the Lord has told us about!

So they ran into town, and eventually they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough. After they saw the baby, they spread the story of what they had experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn't stop thinking about its meaning. (Luke 2:15-18)


The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos.

He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will.

The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor — the one true Son of the Father — evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth (John 1:10-14)

Response in Prayer

Holy Father, I cannot begin to understand the incarnation — You in human flesh in Jesus, placed in a manger, wrapped in strips of cloth, and welcomed by shepherds. It doesn't fit in my head. But, dear Father, Your incarnation in Jesus touches my heart. Your love fills me with wonder knowing that you would "pitch your tent" among us to live as one of us. So I praise You for making such a bold move to make me Your child. I commit to follow the shepherds' example and share Jesus' birth with all who will listen and rejoice. It is in the name of Jesus, the Son of God, that I pray. Amen.
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sat 07 Dec 2013, 9:17 pm

Glory!" — A Year with Jesus for 12/07/2013
Note from Jesus
Dear Child of God,

Glory? Glorious? Gloria in excelcis deo? Not so much if you look at the place!

Glorious wouldn't much describe where I was born. I was placed in a feed trough and wrapped in strips of cloth. By most measures, my birth was less than ordinary... it was something only the poor and outcast would have experienced. Most would have missed the glory of the moment when I entered the world like you did — pushed into the harsh reality of life through the birth canal.

Being born in "less than royal" conditions, you might easily mistake My identity. I looked like any ordinary baby. Yet, I had left the glory of heaven to accept the simple comforts of the manger and the loving arms of my earthly parents, Joseph and Mary. I came from the glory of God that shone long before the world began, yet I accepted the simplicity of the stable to connect with you. I wanted you to know that no matter where you are in society's pecking order — the high thread count sheets of the rich and famous or the simple strips of cloth of the poor — I came for you. I wanted you to know that you are welcome in My Father's house even though I wasn't completely welcomed into the world I had made.

Glory? Glorious? Gloria in excelcis deo? Absolutely! Hear the angels. Watch the shepherds. Come to My manger and know you are loved.
Verses to Live

The glory that shined forth to those looking for it in my birth was a glory that I had before the world began and the glory that I came to share with you!
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
(Luke 2:13-14 NLT).

Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began (John 17:5 NLT.)


So I ask you to redefine your concept of glory by what I did — don't cling to fleeting earthly glory, but walk beside and bend down to help those who need you to share My glory!
In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:

Though He was in the form of God,
He chose not to cling to equality with God;

But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new;
a servant in form
and a man indeed.

The very likeness of humanity,
He humbled Himself,
obedient to death —
a merciless death on the cross!

So God raised Him up to the highest place
and gave Him the name above all.

So when His name is called,
every knee will bow,
in heaven, on earth, and below.

And every tongue will confess
“Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,”
to the glory of God our Father

(Philippians 2:5-11).

Response in Prayer

Almighty God who became human flesh and came to us in Jesus, how can I thank You for Your indescribable gift? You are glorious, yet left glory. You are eternal, yet clothed yourself with mortality. You are all powerful, yet became vulnerable. You came to us as a baby placed in a manger to share our humanity so we could share Your glory. Open my heart to receive Your incredible gifts of grace during this special time of year. Even more, help me see Your glory in the simplest things around me where You are at work. In name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 11:01 pm

Note from Jesus
Dear Precious One,

The heart of our Father was beautifully revealed through the prophet Isaiah:
For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15).


I know there may come times when you don't feel like your prayers are heard, or that God is taking too ! long to answer you, or that your prayers don't matter because you are not an important enough person to be heard by the King of Glory. However, if you will lean into the story of My birth, you will see that good, righteous, and faithful people are not forgotten. This is true whether or not they are poor or rich, desperate or confident, disappointed or delighted, old or young.

Look at the story of My birth and notice that the key players in the Father's great drama of grace are all kinds of people — some of whom are folks just like you! If you read even more closely, you will see the joy, laughter, and surprise that God brought these people in His grace!
Verses to Live

Notice those whom the Father includes in My story... and these are just a few of them!

Zacharias and Elizabeth, an old, poor, and deeply pious couple who could not have children are caught up in the drama of grace!
One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God’s presence, according to the temple’s normal schedule and routine. He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, while outside a large crowd of people prayed. Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was shocked and afraid, but the messenger reassured him.

Messenger:
Zacharias, calm down! Don’t be afraid!

Messenger:
Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you great joy and happiness — and many will share your joy at John’s birth (Luke 1:8-14).

Meanwhile the crowd at the temple wondered why Zacharias hadn’t come out of the sanctuary yet. It wasn’t normal for the priest to be delayed so long. When at last he came out, he was making signs with his hands to give the blessing, but he couldn’t speak. They realized he had seen some sort of vision. When his time on duty at the temple came to an end, he went back home to his wife. Shortly after his return, Elizabeth became pregnant. She avoided public contact for the next five months.

Elizabeth:
I have lived with the disgrace of being barren for all these years. Now God has looked on me with favor. When I go out in public with my baby, I will not be disgraced any longer (Luke 1:21-25).


While many of Israel's greatest early leaders were shepherds — folks like Abraham, Moses, and King David — when it was time for My birth into the world, shepherds had fallen out of favor. Yet the Father had not forgotten them!
Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light — the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

Messenger:
Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.

At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God (Luke 2:8-13).
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, thank you for catching up all sorts of ordinary people in the story of Jesus' birth. What I love, dear Father, is that where there was disgrace, sadness, and an unceasing sameness, You brought joy, delight, surprise, celebration, and wonder. What a powerful way to remind me that you came to bring hope for each of us, even me! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 10:57 pm

Note from Jesus
Dear Precious One,

The heart of our Father was beautifully revealed through the prophet Isaiah:
For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57:15).


I know there may come times when you don't feel like your prayers are heard, or that God is taking too ! long to answer you, or that your prayers don't matter because you are not an important enough person to be heard by the King of Glory. However, if you will lean into the story of My birth, you will see that good, righteous, and faithful people are not forgotten. This is true whether or not they are poor or rich, desperate or confident, disappointed or delighted, old or young.

Look at the story of My birth and notice that the key players in the Father's great drama of grace are all kinds of people — some of whom are folks just like you! If you read even more closely, you will see the joy, laughter, and surprise that God brought these people in His grace!
Verses to Live

Notice those whom the Father includes in My story... and these are just a few of them!

Zacharias and Elizabeth, an old, poor, and deeply pious couple who could not have children are caught up in the drama of grace!
One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God’s presence, according to the temple’s normal schedule and routine. He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, while outside a large crowd of people prayed. Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was shocked and afraid, but the messenger reassured him.

Messenger:
Zacharias, calm down! Don’t be afraid!

Messenger:
Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you great joy and happiness — and many will share your joy at John’s birth (Luke 1:8-14).

Meanwhile the crowd at the temple wondered why Zacharias hadn’t come out of the sanctuary yet. It wasn’t normal for the priest to be delayed so long. When at last he came out, he was making signs with his hands to give the blessing, but he couldn’t speak. They realized he had seen some sort of vision. When his time on duty at the temple came to an end, he went back home to his wife. Shortly after his return, Elizabeth became pregnant. She avoided public contact for the next five months.

Elizabeth:
I have lived with the disgrace of being barren for all these years. Now God has looked on me with favor. When I go out in public with my baby, I will not be disgraced any longer (Luke 1:21-25).


While many of Israel's greatest early leaders were shepherds — folks like Abraham, Moses, and King David — when it was time for My birth into the world, shepherds had fallen out of favor. Yet the Father had not forgotten them!
Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light — the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!

Messenger:
Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.

At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God (Luke 2:8-13).
Response in Prayer

O Father in heaven, thank you for catching up all sorts of ordinary people in the story of Jesus' birth. What I love, dear Father, is that where there was disgrace, sadness, and an unceasing sameness, You brought joy, delight, surprise, celebration, and wonder. What a powerful way to remind me that you came to bring hope for each of us, even me! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Thu 05 Dec 2013, 12:50 am

"The head may seek God, but it is the heart that finds Him." Jeremiah 29:13
Susannah' s Grace Life Coaching (Leadership; Mentoring; Counseling ) ~ Healing For The Wounded Heart
the Right Time... for You!" — A Year with Jesus for 12/04/2013

Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

The right time came for My birth into the world — God in human flesh entering the world to be raised as a child of human parents. Mary went into labor far from her home, in the city of Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David. This was a reminder that I descended from royalty in both My human heritage and My heavenly identity. I Am Son of David and Son of God.

In a similar way, My birth's timing was a coming together of the Father's work in history on three levels.

On a human level, Mary went into labor like all birthing mother's do. Think of it, the Son of God coming into the world through the birth pains of a human mother. I was born a vulnerable little baby to share your humanity.

On a world history level, the Father had been tuning history to prepare for My arrival. God had announced I would come for centuries through the Jewish prophets. God had preserved Israel through all sorts of political and military intrigues. So when the Father had tuned time to be right in the world — the great Roman Peace, called Pax Romana, with all of its political stability, common language of trade (Greek), and the ability to travel safely throughout the world — the time was right for My birth, the birth of the Son of God who is also the Son of Man.

There was still a third level on which My birth happened at just the right time: your time! You see, all of these events were chosen to be perfectly tuned not just for the world in general, but also for you. The Father did all this to adopt you into Our family — He wanted you to be one of His children.

God — Father, Son, and Spirit — determined the time for My coming as Son of God and Son of Man, fully human and fully divine, so that all people could have the right to be born not just in the way all humans are born, but also born of God (John 1:10-13) and adopted into Our family! My birth is the guarantee that you could be re-born and adopted into Our family!
Verses to Live

Notice the human reality of the timing of My birth:
And while they [Mary and Joseph] were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for her baby to be born. ​She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:6-7 NLT).


Notice it was the right time in human history for My birth:
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-5).


From heaven's perspective, the time was made right so you could be adopted into God's forever family:
Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed — not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us.​God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plan! s for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. ​He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us (Ephesians 1:3-5).
(Emphasis added to highlight key points.)
Response in Prayer

Abba Father, God Almighty, thank You for making the time right to send Jesus to our world. Thank You for making a plan to bring all of your lost children back home to you by giving us new birth and adopting us into Your family. I am humbled and amazed that You would love us, and love me, so much. I praise You for Your grace and thank You for Your plan in the name of Jesus! Amen.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 03 Dec 2013, 11:46 pm

God's Time, Human Time, and My Time" — A Year with Jesus for 12/03/2013
Note from Jesus
Dear Disciple,

Please know that I treasure everyone who follows Me. I know that many in your world do not believe in Me and that many who claim they believe in Me really don't know what it means to follow me — to love Me, to keep My teachings, to follow My example, and to depend upon God's grace through me. Thank you for taking this year to walk with Me through the New Testament.

My birth into your world came at just the right time! You will notice that the Scriptures talk about My coming, My advent, as an intersection of God's time, human time, and My time. There are basically two ways to look at time.

One way you understand easily in your world view: chronos time is linear sequential time that passes from second, to minute, to hour, to day, to year... That's why a technical name for your watch is a chronometer. Most humans have great difficulty imagining any other view of time.

However, there is a second view of time: kairos time. There are special, God-tuned moments in time where more is going on than just the passage of time. In kairos time, God's timing and human timing intersect. Miracles can happen. World-shaping events can be changed. Most of all, the Father is at work to bring heaven's salvation to earth through events shaped by heaven's grace.

When I was born Jesus of Nazareth — conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, fully God and fully human — the world was in kairos time! Prophecy was being fulfilled. God had conditioned the world to be in the right time for My message to spread like wildfire. The Jewish people were hungry for an authentic messenger from God, so John the Baptizer was born miraculously to precede Me and to prepare the LORD's people for My coming. This was such a special time, heaven's angels were standing on tiptoe for ages trying to figure out when it would occur!

Verses to Live

Yes, angels figuratively stood on tiptoe trying to figure out when I would come! The apostle Peter describes this beautifully:
Although you haven’t seen Jesus, you still love Him. Although you don’t yet see Him, you do believe in Him and celebrate with a joy that is glorious and beyond words.​ You are receiving the salvation of your souls as the result of your faith.

The prophets who spoke of this outpouring of grace upon you diligently searched and inquired of the Lord about this salvation: to whom and to what time was the indwelling Spirit of the Anointed referring when He told them about the suffering of the Anointed and the honor that would follow it?​ The Spirit revealed to them they were not serving themselves but you. And you have learned from those who told you the good news by the Spirit that was sent down from heaven. Even the heavenly messengers would like to explore this news (1 Peter 1:8-12).


The time was right for the Messiah to come. God had conditioned time and was beginning to fulfill great promises made through the prophets. This is when I came into the world, as a Jew, born of Jews, born under the Torah and traditional law. This was God's time for Me to come for you:
When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into this world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-5).


My coming was preceded by the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptizer to Elizabeth and Zechariah — two old, faithful, righteous and devout people. This was also under the rule of the Romans, and the Father used every condition to prepare the time for My coming: 
Around the time of Elizabeth’s amazing pregnancy and John’s birth, the emperor in Rome, Caesar Augustus, required everyone in the Roman Empire to participate in a massive census — the first census since Quirinius had become governor of Syria.​ Each person had to go to his or her ancestral city to be counted.

Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace (Luke 2:1-5).


With all of this, you also need to remember that My coming was for your benefit at God's expense! My coming was determined long before you were born, but entirely for your benefit!
You know that a price was paid to redeem you from following the empty ways handed on to you by your ancestors; it was not paid with things that perish (like silver and gold), but with the precious blood of the Anointed, who was like a perfect and unblemished sacrificial lamb. God determined to send Him before the world began, but He came into the world in these last days for your sake. ​Through Him, you’ve been brought to trust in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him for the very reason that your faith and hope are in Him (1 Peter 1:18-20).


Response in Prayer

O God, how can I, a mere mortal made of flawed flesh and blood, ever fully thank you for the divine plan you prepared, prophesied, and delivered to save me from sin and death and adopt me into your family? Thank you. I trust fully in what You did in Jesus through His birth, life, death, and resurrection to save me. Thank you for this assurance and the foundation of my deep and abiding joy. Through the intercession of Jesus, my Savior, I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Re: HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Tue 03 Dec 2013, 12:08 am

Mary's Problem Proves Joseph's Faith" — A Year with Jesus for 12/02/2013
Note from Jesus
Dear Disciple,
I know most of you hate tests! Some of those tests are medical tests and those can be terrifying. Some of them are tests necessary to get you into universities, special programs, receive licenses, or achieve professional certifications. I've heard your prayers, recognize your anxieties, and know the long hours you've put into these kinds of tests.

Some of these tests have to do with tough times in your lives that are hard, painful, and discouraging. They may involve a time of illness, hardship, persecution, marriage problems, family upheaval, job difficulties, loneliness, grief, or a host of other painful things.

These tests come because you live in a broken world. Sometimes they invade your lives because people do evil things or make unwise choices. Sometimes these tests come because Satan wants to discourage you and lead you to doubt My love and grace. The bottom line, the fallout from your time of testing blows into your world wreaking havoc. 

So please, know two things about your time of testing:

I will never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:32-39). That's why I came to earth and shared in times of testing facing many of the challenges you face (Hebrews 2:14-18).

You can grow stronger, develop character, and have compassion to share with others by faithfully living through your time of testing (James 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

One of the things I most appreciated about Joseph, who served as My earthly father, was that he faced an incredibly difficult test and proved himself faithful. He had shown himself to be completely committed to God as a young single man, serving God with holiness and honor. He had saved himself to be prepared to marry a woman who had saved herself for him. Joseph was committed legally to marry a young woman named Mary. Then, Mary told him that she was pregnant by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. Then, Mary disappeared and went away to be with her cousin Elizabeth for several months. What was Joseph supposed to think? How could he understand Mary's pregnancy? There was only one way for her to be carrying a baby: Mary had betrayed Joseph sexually. There was no other way, except...

Joseph believed what Mary told him. Joseph believed what the angel told him. Joseph believed that the Messiah, the Son of God, was conceived inside Mary by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. Mary was not only pure and faithful to Joseph, but they — both Mary and Joseph together — were chosen to parent their Savior, Christ the Lord.

Incredibly, Joseph accepted this truth by faith. He knew he would be tested all the days of his life for his faith. People would talk behind his back. People would say he wasn't My father and that Mary had "stepped out" on him and been unfaithful to him. He chose to accept this ridicule and also accepted taking care of Me with all of its risks, hardships, and impenetrable mysteries. Joseph passed all these tests and helped Me be ready when My time came to serve.

So here's my message for you today. You never know who will be blessed — even saved — by the character and compassion you show while you go through your tests!

I know this may seem hard to believe. So remember Joseph. Please remember that My life and your faith depended upon Joseph's faithfulness.

Also remember this. Someone is watching and depending upon you to pass your test! Hang in despite the hardship... keep your faith despite the pain... I'm with you and won't ever forsake you... and your testing will not be wasted. Your character and your compassion will be a blessing to others — some whom you will never know till you share in eternal glory with them.

When you remember Me, please remember this!
Verses to Live

Here are a couple of things I want you to think about as you face your tests and remember Joseph's test.

The first one comes from my "half-brother" James, who with the Spirit's help learned the lesson about tests from Joseph, too!
Don't run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line — mature, complete, and wanting nothing (James 1:2-4)


Matthew tells the story of my birth and the struggle of Joseph very clearly and simply. Isn't Joseph's faith amazing!
So here, finally, is the story of the birth of Jesus the Anointed (it is quite a remarkable story):

Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, son of David. They hadn't married. And yet, some time well before their wedding date, Mary learned that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, because he was kind and upstanding and honorable, wanted to spare Mary shame. He did not wish to cause her more embarrassment than necessary.

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.

Messenger of the Lord:

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else — rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonderworking of the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means "the Lord saves," because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.

Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

Years and years ago, Isaiah, a prophet of Israel, foretold the story of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus
A virgin will conceive and bear a Son,
and His name will be Immanuel
(which is a Hebrew name that means "God with us").
(Matthew 1:18-25)

Luke shares the story of My conception with a little bit different focus than Matthew's account. Notice the wonder and amazement of Luke's story pairs beautifully with the testing Joseph faced in Matthew's story:
Six months later in Nazareth, a city in the rural province of Galilee, the heavenly messenger Gabriel made another appearance. This time the messenger was sent by God to meet with a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David himself. The messenger entered her home.

Messenger:

Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.
The heavenly messenger's words baffled Mary, and she wondered what type of greeting this was.

Messenger:
Mary, don't be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him "Savior," or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever. (Luke 1:26-33).

At that very moment, an elderly woman named Anna stepped forward. Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years before her husband died and a widow to her current age of 84 years. She was deeply devoted to the Lord, constantly in the temple, fasting and praying. When she approached Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, she began speaking out thanks to God, and she continued spreading the word about Jesus to all those who shared her hope for the rescue of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38).

Neither Mary nor Joseph really understood what He meant by this. Jesus went back to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother continued to store these memories like treasures in her heart. And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom, in physical stature, in favor with God, and in favor with others. (Luke 2:50-52).
Response in Prayer

Holy God, thank you! Thank you for making Jesus' story so much a part of the world I know. Thank you for using real people like Joseph and Mary to show us that being faithful in times of great testing result in great blessing. Help me, dear Father, in my times of testing. Please use my struggles to bless others and to help them through their difficult times so that they can find faith and hope in You. In the name of my Brother and Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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HEARTLIGHT — A Year with Jesus

Post  Admin on Sun 01 Dec 2013, 7:02 pm

Your Invitation" — A Year with Jesus for 11/30/2013
Note from Jesus
Dear Friend,

I am inviting you to spend a year getting to know Me through a daily time together in the Scriptures. Each day, you will learn a little more about Me — what I did, what I taught, and Who I am — with the help of aYearwithJesus.com.

Four books in the New Testament tell part of My story — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Yet, this was just what I "began to do and teach." That's how Luke describes my ministry in his introduction to the book of Acts (Acts 1:1 NLT). I continued My ministry through the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of My followers. These disciples recognized My presence and power when they prayed, lived, gathered together, and did miracles in My name. In fact, I am still working in the world and in My church through people like them and through people like you!

So more than just wanting you to know about Me, I really want you to know Me. That's the goal of our year together. So let's start that journey today!
Verses to Live

Here are a couple of truths I want you to know!
Life is found in knowing me, so get to know Me!
This is what I prayed to the Father in front of my followers the night I was betrayed:
Father, My time has come. Glorify Your Son, and I will bring You great glory because You have given Me total authority over humanity. I have come bearing the plentiful gifts of God; and all who receive Me will experience everlasting life, a new intimate relationship with You (the one True God) and Jesus the Anointed (the One You have sent) (John 17:1-3).

I am the fullest message of God to you, so come to Me to know God's message for you!
This is what one of My followers wrote to help My Jewish brothers and sisters. He wanted them to know Who I Am and how I fit into their story:
Long ago, at different times and in various ways, God's voice came to our ancestors through the Hebrew prophets. But in these last days, it has come to us through His Son, the One who has been given dominion over all things and through whom all worlds were made.
This is the One who — imprinted with God's image, shimmering with His glory — sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins (Hebrews 1:1-3).


Get to know Me and you're going to find real life — life that can never be taken from you! Not only that, as you get to know Me, you learn what God most wants you to know: that I AM His fullest, most complete, message to you.

I know you will be blessed by this year we will have together!

May the peace of God, our Father, be with you.
Response in Prayer

Thank you, dear Father, for sending Jesus so that I can know You and so that I can find life that is full and rich — the life that You created me as Your child to discover and live. Please bless me, dear Father, as I get to know Jesus better as we journey through this year together. I pray this in my Savior's name, Jesus. Amen.
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The Thoughts and Prayers for 'A Year with Jesus' are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
Heartlight is proud to support and promote Compassion International.
© 1998-2013, Heartlight Inc.


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