“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”
Luke 2:13-14 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. Last week, I spoke and pondered about Mary. This week, I will talk and ponder about the message that the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds.
Can you imagine being in the place of the shepherds? One day you are quietly tending your sheep, as usual. The next day, the angel of the Lord comes to you and tells you a savior is born and you should go visit. Then, as if you aren’t freaked out enough by the angel, all of a sudden, heavenly hosts start praising God with the angel.
How would you feel? Would you be fearful, joyful, confused, hesitant, disbelieving, worried, humbled, or what? Would you want to start praising God with the heavenly hosts? Would you want to hide or celebrate? Would you feel honored that the angel came to you with a message?
The shepherds go to see Jesus, so we can guess that they either believed everything they were told or they were curious. Would you drop everything and go see your Lord and Savior? Would you believe or at least be curious?
I can’t even imagine being those shepherds. It must have been a magnificent, humbling, and joyous experience, once they got over their fear. It is difficult enough to imagine being visited by an angel of the Lord. I wonder what a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God would look like. It must be beautiful though.
Were they angel and heavenly hosts sent by God so that the shepherds would believe that Jesus was their Savior? Was it so the shepherds would understand the magnitude of Jesus’ birth and purpose on earth? I don’t know. Do we understand the magnitude of Jesus’ birth and purpose on earth? Do we show it? Do we live it? Do we share it with others? I can imagine that we will experience something like this in heaven some day. I wonder if the shepherds felt a little bit of heaven in those moments on earth.
Let’s ponder the message of the heavenly hosts, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Was this a foreshadowing of how Jesus would spend His time on earth? Was it a message and example of how we should act? I wonder if the shepherds understood it. Do we give glory to God? Do we act with peace and good will towards others?
Thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus! Thank you for the message through your holy Word. Help us to join with the heavenly hosts in praising you, giving glory to you, and giving peace on earth and good will towards others. Help us to appreciate and acknowledge the message you gave to the shepherds that day long ago. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Luke 2:13-14 (KJV):
*What does Luke 2:13-14 mean to me?
*Do I appreciate the message of the angel of the Lord and the heavenly
*How would I feel if I received that message on that day so long ago?
*Do I understand and appreciate the magnitude of Jesus’ birth and purpose
*What is the lesson God has for me in Luke 2:13-14?
*How can I better live the message of Luke 2:13-14?
*What can I do differently to better appreciate and live the words of Luke
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful that you are here. Please, let me know your thoughts. Comment below or contact me. I would like to hear your thoughts.
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“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:38 KJV
How are you? Other than the verses that directly relate to Jesus, this is one of my favorite Christmas verses. It shows the faith and obedience of Mary, who is a great example for all of us.
I don’t remember where I got the information, however, I remember hearing or reading something about Mary being very young as she was betrothed at this point. I don’t remember the age, this source mentioned, but it seems like it was probably like 10-13 years old. I don’t know her age at this time and maybe it doesn’t matter, but I do believe she was young and I do admire her faith and obedience.
I can’t imagine being told that I was going to have a baby created by the Holy Spirit and not through the normal means. I don’t know if I would be scared, confused, mistrusting, pleased, humbled, or what. I have no idea. What about you?
I really like what Mary said though. First she says, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” She acknowledges that she is God’s servant. How often do we acknowledge the fact that we are indeed God’s servants? We are created by God out of love and are meant to serve and give back out of love.
Then, Mary goes further to say, “be it unto me according to thy word”. She knew that she was God’s servant and acknowledged that it what the angel told her would come true. She was open to God’s Word. She accepted God’s Word.
May we all learn from Mary’s words and behavior. May we all acknowledge that we are God’s servants and acknowledge that His will be done.
Thank you for your Word and for role models to teach us to grow our faith and obedience in you. Help us to follow Mary’s example to acknowledge that we are your servants and help us to say that your will be done. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Luke 1:38 (KJV):
*What does Luke 1:38 mean to me?
*Do I acknowledge that I am God’s servant?
*Do I acknowledge that God’s will be done?
*Do I acknowledge that I was made out of love and should give
out of love?
*How would I feel if I got the message Mary received?
*How can I better act according to Mary’s example?
Now, it is your turn.
I appreciate you being here and reading your comments. What is your favorite Christmas verse? Speaking of Christmas, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. May God touch your heart with the spirit of the true season.
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“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Colossians 2:16 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I asked you to ponder the words in Jeremiah 10:3-4 and relate them to the tradition of decorating trees for Christmas. This week, I would like to ponder the words in Colossians 2:16. These too, have to do with celebrating.
Taken alone and out of context, Colossians 2:16 can be misinterpreted. It could sound like we can do anything we want to and we shouldn’t let anyone tell us differently. That sounds pretty snobby and self-righteous. Yet, that isn’t quite what Colossians 2:16 means. It doesn’t say that we can have a free for all and do anything we want.
If we take this verse in perspective, it is saying that since we have died to ourselves and have followed Jesus, don’t let anyone judge the things we do. When we are acting in Christian ways, it may seem uncool, silly, strange, or foreign to the world. It might not make sense to others.
What we eat, drink, do, celebrate, observe and how we do it might be different than those of others. Yet, it doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong. If we are following Jesus and doing the will of God, then we don’t have to do things as others do, not even as other Christians.
Unfortunately, people have a tendency to judge others. Although, this is a task better left for God. Sadly, this is true of believers and nonbelievers alike.
Nonbelievers may judge, because they don’t know God and His will for us. They may not know the Bible and what we are called to do. They may judge us out of anger or ignorance. Nonbelievers may try to “groom us” to follow more worldly practices. In my humble opinion, this can be seen in things like businesses being open on Sundays, encouraging people to work and shop on a day that is meant to be set aside for rest and spiritual rejuvenation or political correctness that says it isn’t right for us to say, “Merry Christmas” to others, to pray in school with a moment of silence, or any other number of things that it isn’t politically correct to say or do. (Am I judging here?)
Even other Christians sometimes judge the way we do things. Some Christian religions have different practices than others, and everyone tends to believe that they have the right way and only way to do things.
Yet, just because things are different, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Let’s look at something as simple as eating a peanut. Peanuts are a great source of many nutrients and can be very healthy for you. However, if you are allergic to peanuts, they can be very dangerous. The eating of peanuts are “right” for some and “wrong” for some. We are not to judge others or let people talk us into or out of doing what we believe is right for us.
The same is true in spiritual things. In spiritual things, whatever helps us to stay focused on God and whatever is God’s will for us, is what we should do. That is why we are to look to God for answers and let God be our judge, not people. We are called not to cave under peer pressure and not to let people sway us from our beliefs. If we think someone brings up a “good point” about what we are doing and we find ourselves questioning our actions, we are called to look to God through prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible for answers.
Thank you for giving us your Word, as words to live by. Help us to hold strong in our faith and beliefs as we follow Jesus. Help us to not be turned away or conflicted in our beliefs by worldly practices and judgment of others. Help us to focus only on you, Lord, in the things that we do. If we are uncertain in what we do, think, feel, or say, help us to turn to you through prayer, fasting, and reading your Word. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Colossians 2:16 (KJV):
*What does Colossians 2:16 mean to me?
*What are some things where people tend to judge me, but I am doing right
*Do I judge others?
*What are some things that are right for some people but wrong for others?
*What were some of things for which Jesus and his apostles were judged?
*Do I cave in or let others sway the way I believe, act, think, speak, or
*How can I better heed the words in Colossians 2:16?
Now, it is your turn.
I look forward to hearing your views. Please, leave a comment below or feel free to contact me. Thank you for being here. I appreciate your support. If you find value in the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations, please share it with a friend, family member, or even your church family. I appreciate it.
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“For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”
Jeremiah 10:3-4 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you are well. My topic for today’s Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations may not be a popular one. However, I think we are all called to evaluate ourselves, our actions, as well as the traditions we follow. I was researching verses for today’s post and I came across Jeremiah 10:3-4. It kind of surprised me. I have read the Holy Bible quite a few times and I hadn’t remembered this passage. Could it be that I didn’t remember it, because I didn’t want to remember it or maybe because I wasn’t ready to evaluate myself next to the words in this passage? I don’t know.
The words in Jeremiah 10:3-4, sound much like what we do in decorating Christmas trees. So, do we need to look at this tradition and evaluate whether or not we are really called to do it? Regardless of what we decide in the end, I do think it is a good idea to weigh what we do against God’s Word. Are we following and living in accordance to God’s Word?
The phrase that hits home for me in this whole passage is “For the customs of the people are vain.” Regardless, of whether we believe we are supposed to set up a Christmas tree as part of our celebration or not, I think if we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that it is a vain tradition.
I mean, chopping down a tree purchasing one, whether fake or real, costs quite a bit of money. There is also the extra expense of decorating it, not to mention the extra high electric bill in having the lights on the tree. Do we really need to spend that money? Do all those (real) trees really need to die, just so we can enjoy them lit up and decorated for a month or so? The answer to both questions is probably, “no.” We probably do not need to spend that extra money and live trees probably do not need to die for such a tradition.
So, why do we put up a tree? It is tradition! And, this is what I pray we can all evaluate. Are our traditions good in the sight of God?
Full disclosure, if you read on in Jeremiah 10 and put this passage in perspective, it probably does not have anything to do with Christmas trees. It is more about making idols out of trees to worship, which is definitely bad in God’s eyes. Yet, this still doesn’t answer the question about our custom of decorating Christmas trees.
It touches my heart to bring this up, because we are called to be “in this world, but not of this world.” (See John 15:19 for example.) The world likes to “suck us in” to worldly traditions and beliefs. Yet, we are not of the world. We are called to act in accordance with God’s will for us. I do believe that celebration of Christmas (not just the decoration of trees) is very commercialized. In the commercialized world, the focus is definitely not on the birth of our savior.
However, I can’t say whether decorating a tree, as part of a Christmas celebration is right or wrong. I don’t see anywhere in God’s Word, where we are called to decorate a tree. Yet, the right or the wrong of it might be for each one of us to decide. I urge you, and I will as well, to pray about it and really examine whether or not it is right for you. Don’t just blindly follow along with everyone else, because it is tradition.
Thank you for giving us your Holy Word to show us the way to live. Help us to examine ourselves in accordance to you Word, and let us not be afraid to change, even if it is against our worldly traditions. Help us to pray before we act and let you guide us, instead of doing things our own way. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Jeremiah 10:3-4 (KJV):
*What does Jeremiah 10:3-4 mean to me?
*Is Jeremiah 10:3-4 talking about Christmas trees?
*Do I believe that decorating a tree for Christmas is vain?
*Do I believe we are called to decorate a tree for any reason?
*Do I let decorating a tree take the focus off of Jesus in anyway?
*Have I prayed about the rightness or wrongness of decorating a tree?
*Why do I decorate a tree?
Now, it is your turn.
I am thankful you are here. I look forward to your comments and ideas. Please, let me know your thoughts by commenting below or feel free to contact me. Also, please pray for our Christmas ethics and practices. Let us put our focus on Jesus.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.