This week I want to start off with some verses, “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at a table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13 In this passage Jesus calls Matthew, the Pharisees ask; why does Jesus hang around with those who are sinners and tax collectors, but Jesus says, “He came not for the righteous, but for the sinners and that a physician does not come to the healthy but for the sick”. This is why Jesus called a tax collector, typically tax collectors are known for being corrupt, because they control how much you were to be taxed and most would charge you more than the Romans ask for and keep the difference. They lived in larger houses with lots of money and protection, while under Roman authority most struggled and the people felt betrayed, because they were Roman by choice. Matthew left all that to be homeless and poor as He followed Jesus. What will you have to leave or to give up to follow Jesus? I have heard people say that they had done too much wrong to come to Jesus, but if you think you have, then you are probably exactly who God is looking for. He is looking for sinners to choose to follow Him and become His hands and feet and show His light to the world. So this week no matter who you are, Jesus wants you to follow Him and to know Him. If you think you are too far from His grace you are not, He is in the practice of saving sinners.
This week I want to start off with some verses, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:1-7 This week I would like us to take some time and reflect on how Jesus came for us at Christmas. God’s goal for sending Him was for Him to die on the cross, so we could have eternal life. But, like I said last week He came for all, so that none should perish. I also want to encourage anyone who is reading or listening to this, if you do not know Jesus to come to know Him today. There is no better time than Christmas to come to know Him. Christmas for so many people this year and every year can also be a sad time, they reflect on who they have lost, but that is the Hope that came in the manger, that we will see them again and be with the Lord forever. So this week lets not forget to thank Jesus for coming to die for us. Yes, this might not be His actual birthday, but we can celebrate like it is. So this Christmas let’s celebrate the greatest gift that God gave us the gift of being redeemed, able to know Him, and to be His son or daughter.
This week I want to start off with some verses, “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11; “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:20 There are several things we can learn from these verses. The first things we can learn from the wise men and shepherds is that Jesus came for all, from the magi who pick kings in a foreign land, to a shepherd who is not even allowed into a synagogue (what today is a church) to worship God or make sacrifices. God sent angels down into one of the greatest celebrations in human history and this is the closest any mortal has come to being in the throne room of heaven. The wise men got to come into the presence of Jesus, it was probably sometime after the shepherds visited, based on the age of the children that King Herod had killed, after the wise men left. So, no matter who you are Jesus came for you, no matter what you have done, He loves you and wants to know you. Another thing we can learn from the shepherds is that they were some of the least in their communities, the outcasts that could not even come into the synagogue because they were considered unclean and the fact that they often were so poor they would not be able to clean themselves. Angels came down and brought them the good news, to the least first, they did not go to the kings or the religious leaders, but came to the shepherds first, who were not even welcome in a synagogue. So this week if you do not know Jesus, there could not be a better time to know Him than here at Christmas time. You can click the link below to find out more about coming to know Jesus. Also this week I want you to think about how God wants everyone to know Him and we should tell everyone about Him. Because as I discussed last week, I do not think in our lifetime there has ever been a time when people have been more open to hearing the gospel.
This week I want to start off with some verses, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25. Some people have been thinking about what a post COVID world looks like and I get it, I am looking forward to that day too, but we as a church and as Christians have an opportunity to step up during COVID. Which may not be in person, but there are other ways we can show up and be a light to our community. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans, that means 20 million Americans over 16 percent of the entire population needs food and water. We as the church can step up and meet these needs, maybe not all of us are doing well financially during these times but the ones who are can step up and meet these needs. We also don’t need to just meet their physical hunger, but also their spiritual hunger, people are looking for hope and we have it. I believe that this is the most open people may have ever been in our lifetime, because we are in a pandemic and it is Christmas time. Jesus came over 2000 years ago in a manager to die on the cross for the sins of the world. I think this time more than any other that people are open to talking about God. Because they are all struggling with the question of where am I going to go when I die. We have the answer to their question, we see their needs so we should go and fill both their spiritual and physical needs. Samaritan’s Purse has a feed the hungry program that is local and international, this is one way you can reach others with the gospel by meeting their needs. There will be a link below where you can donate. So this week I want you to pray and seek God to see how you can meet the needs of others. If you are going out share the gospel with others or share this blog or another Christian blog or podcast.