I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.Genesis 9:13
It is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. Why doesn’t God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but I have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. Why doesn’t God do everything we ask? He has done it. The point is— will I step into that covenant relationship? All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.
Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God— a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, “Now I believe.” There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22).
When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement— no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition
According to an old story, a man named Nicholas (born in ad 270) heard about a father who was so poor that he couldn’t feed his three daughters, much less provide for their future marriages. Wanting to assist the father, but hoping to keep his help a secret, Nicholas threw a bag of gold through an open window, which landed in a sock or shoe drying on the hearth. That man was known as St. Nicholas, who later became the inspiration for Santa Claus.
When I heard that story of a gift coming down from above, I thought of God the Father, who out of love and compassion sent to earth the greatest gift, His Son, through a miraculous birth. According to Matthew’s gospel, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son whom they would call Immanuel, meaning “God with us” (1:23).
As lovely as Nicholas’s gift was, how much more amazing is the gift of Jesus. He left heaven to become a man, died and rose again, and is God living with us. He brings us comfort when we’re hurting and sad; He encourages us when we feel downhearted; He reveals the truth to us when we might be deceived.
By Amy Boucher Pye
REFLECT & PRAY
Jesus, thank You for the way You left Your Father to be born in humble circumstances. May I never take for granted Your presence in my life. To learn more about the birth of Jesus, visit bit.ly/2R7FD4f.
How can you give the gift of Jesus today? How does His presence lead you to share your resources of time, wisdom, and love with others?
Today’s text introduces us to Joseph, a carpenter in Nazareth and step-father of Jesus. Joseph is only mentioned briefly in Scripture but he’s never the speaker; however, his life speaks volumes of his devotion to God. He’s concerned for the law and desires to act in obedience (Matthew 1:19), yet he pairs that concern with genuine compassion for Mary. His focus on obedience is likewise balanced by trust that the message he’s received from the angel is from God—giving him strength to obey (vv. 22-25).
“O house of Jacob, come all of you, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Isaiah 2:5
There are so many sources of light. Without light we walk in darkness and the blindness that goes along with it. I was in a cave once and the guide turned off the light source. The blackness was so complete that it felt like it was entering my body, and indeed, it was. I thought about it for a moment and realized that just a few days of this utter blackness and I would most likely go insane.
I believe it is the same with spiritual darkness. Without the light of God’s presence in our life we gradually become the very darkness we find ourselves in. It enters into our soul and destroys the image of God, the very One in who’s image and likeness we were created.
We have a choice, each day, each moment: to walk in the light of the Lord or to choose the darkness of the world.
The first brings with it an ever increasing freedom and joy; the second only offers blindness and chains.
Jesus said: “I am the light of the world, he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life!”