Christmas 🕍 Luke 2:25-35 – Faith

Read Luke 2:25-35

Can you imagine having received the message Simeon had, giving him the assurance he would see the Messiah before he died? Many had been waiting for the Messiah to come rescue them. It had been hundreds of years since the prophets had foretold a Messiah would come. In Simeon’s day, the Roman oppression was so great the people were anxiously awaiting the day their Messiah king would powerfully come to save them.

Simeon’s faith is commendable. Amidst the struggles of life under Roman control, and the natural aging process our bodies go through, Simeon never lost hope. He had faith in God’s promise. It seems as if his faith was the fuel that sustained Simeon through each day of waiting.

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Nehemiah 12:27-43 – Joy of Jerusalem

Read Nehemiah 12:27-43

Who doesn’t like a good party? The opening scenes to this reading are filled with the anticipation of what is to come. The day has arrived when the completed wall will be recognized and celebrated. When parties have a purpose, they are even more enjoyable. When that purpose is to celebrate God’s faithfulness and love, imagine the great expectation!

The celebration appears to circle the city wall with songs of thanksgiving being sung and instruments being played. That sounds a lot like worship to me. How fitting the people would use the worship element to further honor God in this moment. What God had done among them already, and promised to do forever, was so generous. If only they could stay true to God alone. People continue to struggle with keeping God first in their lives today.

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Zechariah 9:11-17 – Lost Sheep

Read Zechariah 9:11-17

Chapter 9 has been interesting because it seems to jump from theme to theme. With the brief oasis in our last reading that spoke about the king riding on a donkey, we now seem to be back to the promise of the coming kingdom and how God will make things right for his people.

While there are a lot of rich images in this reading, verse 16a was the verse that spoke to me the most today. It reads, “On that day the Lord their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep.” Of course, I couldn’t help but see Jesus as that shepherd and remember the story he told about the lost sheep.

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2 Peter 1:1-4 – Growing Your Faith

Read 2 Peter 1:1-4

You’ll soon realize that 2 Peter is much different from 1 Peter in language, style, setting, and even theological development. Take in Peter’s final testament of his firsthand witness from Jesus himself and being in Jesus’ inner circle. As you read, remember Peter saw the transfigured Jesus, watched Jesus ascend, and spent all the moments in between being shown what truth in human form was all about.

Having faith in that truth, in Jesus, is what our life focus should be all about. The text says, “This faith was given to you.” What went through your mind when you read these words? At first, I wondered why I was special, why I had been chosen by God to receive faith. Then, I simply marveled at the gift my faith is in my life. The bond of faith is what Peter shared with his audience, too.

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1 Peter 5:8-9 – You Are Not Alone

Read 1 Peter 5:8-9

Too often we let ourselves be blinded to the work of the enemy among us. We stop being vigilant. In these final words of Peter, he is talking about that “elephant in the room” we all try to ignore. Evil. The more we ignore the evil one or look the other way, the more he takes a grip on our lives.

“Stay alert!” is Peter’s cry. I’ve been amazed at how when watching a television program or movie produced within the last couple years how many things I see as contradictory to the Christian life and God’s word. Decades ago, people were upset when swearing became commonplace in these entertainment mediums. Today, we can become immune to hearing that kind of language. That’s only a small fraction of what we should be appalled by. Peter told us to “stay alert,” to not forget about God’s desire for us.

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