“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29 KJV. As wonderful as the invitation of Jesus is, to ‘Come unto Me’, we also should realize that when we come to Him there are some things He asks us to do. Today there is much confusion in religion because many people are told there is nothing for them to do. Because Jesus did everything for us, we simply have to accept it. But that is true only in one sense. Certainly, He did all of that glorious work of atonement for us that we could never do. But then, He calls us to do many things! He calls us to believe and put our faith in Him. He calls us to follow Him. Here in this passage, even as He calls us to Himself where we can find rest for our souls, He tells us to “Take My Yoke upon you”. But how many are willing in this day of pride and self exaltation, to take upon ourselves the meek and lowly Spirit of our Lord? How many are willing to decrease so that He can increase in us? Are we willing to yoke ourselves with Jesus so that He can lead us always in His will and way? Let us obey His command and experience the true rest for our souls that Jesus has for us.
“and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV. Most of the time when people think about going to church, which is ‘assembling ourselves together’, their attitude is about what they can get out of it. What will it do for me? And so, it the music isn’t blessing them or the message isn’t encouraging them, they leave disappointed. But the apostle reminds us here, that coming to God’s house and being a part of a local church isn’t just about us. Our lives and involvement in the body is also for the benefit of others. Our Christian love, faithfulness and good witness is to provoke them to love and good works also. What a difference it would make in every church service if we all came to ‘Be a blessing’ instead of only coming to get a blessing! May God help us to consider others and how God can use us to be a blessing to them.
“And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power…” Matthew 10:1 KJV. Most of the time when people read these words they focus on the word ‘power’. Everyone wants power in their life. But we should recognize that these words also imply that they answered His call! They followed Jesus just as He called them to do. And thank God we have the promise, that when we receive and follow Jesus, He gives us
power to become children of God. He gives us power to live for His glory as we were created to do. As we follow, we receive
power over the forces of sin and darkness that war against our souls. But let us be aware, this spiritual power does not come merely by talking about it or claiming promises that don’t apply to those who do not follow Jesus. Today we are in a time when many in religion talk about power. They sing songs and even boast of their spiritual power. But too often their own lives give evidence that they are not following the crucified and risen Saviour! Following religion will not do it. Following the lies of men won’t work. But when we truly follow Jesus, He will give us the power we need.
“And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus…” Luke 2:27 KJV. These words were written of old Simeon, that devout man of God who had long awaited the coming of the Messiah. Even though he lived before the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, he walked so close to God that he was led by the Spirit in his daily life. And how his heart must have thrilled that morning when he heard that still small Voice saying “Go to the temple, today is the day!”. And when he went, there was the Baby Jesus! There is a great lesson for us to learn from Simeon about being led by the Spirit. Many people today claim that they are ‘Spirit led’ and yet their lives are following the world in many ways. But when we are truly lead by the Spirit, one thing will always be true. He will lead us to Jesus! He will lead us to a deeper walk with Christ. He will teach us more about Jesus so that His image can be formed in us. It will be exactly as Jesus said “When the Comforter (the Holy Spirt) comes, He will speak of Me”. Let us be careful of being led in anyway that does not bring us to Jesus.
“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Luke 2:15 KJV. After the angel made the announcement of Christ the Saviour being born these lowly shepherds had a choice. They could act upon this glorious news that God had revealed to them. Or they could sit still and do nothing. They could have done like most people today do when they hear the message of Jesus. They could have ignored it. They could have mentally acknowledged it and did nothing else. They could have remained in the same place. But thank God, they were moved to action by the glorious news of Jesus! Oh may we realize the great and precious privilege that is ours when we hear the message of Jesus! And every time God reveals more of Christ to us, every time His Word comes to us, this should always be our glad response, to rise up and go! This is Jesus’ own invitation in all the circumstances of our life, “Come unto Me”. Let us rise up in our spirit and discover more of the fulness and complete sufficiency of our Lord and Saviour Jesus.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 KJV. These words remind us of part of the reason for Jesus coming into this fallen world. As the Incarnate Word, He came to communicate the truth of God to us. He came to reveal the glory of God to people who had fallen far short of His glory. All of His spoken words were revelations of truth. It was said of Him, “No one ever spoke as He did”. And it is amazing that in the heart of God there was this great desire to let us know Who He is! He wanted us to know His love for us and His desire for personal relationship with us. He wanted us to know that we can be spiritually restored to be His children. And yet, in addition to the words Jesus spoke, there was the perfect life He lived and the atoning death He died. There was His glorious resurrection. All of these remind us that every part of His human existence was meant to communicate God’s heart to us. And what a marvelous thing it is, that our Almighty, Infinitely Holy God would desire, not only for us to know about Him, but also to know Him in intimate personal relationship! Let us bow before Him in worship and adoration. Let us forever praise Him that He was mindful of unworthy creatures like us.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 KJV. These words were declared by the angels when Jesus was born. They remind us of God’s gracious attitude towards us and His desire for good in this world. Only a loving Creator would want peace on the earth He created and in the hearts of each person. In sending His Son Jesus, God was demonstrating His goodwill towards man. We know, because of sin, this world had fallen into warfare and chaos. Cruelty and mistreatment of others was commonplace. Wickedness abounded on every side. And, as Scripture says, “there was no peace to the wicked”. But thank God, in sending Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord, God was making a way for wicked, sinful people to become good! He was providing the means whereby man’s sin could be forgiven and cleansed. God knew there could be no peace as long as we chose to continue in sin. So in His goodwill, He offers us the opportunity to choose Jesus and receive new life in Him. My hope and prayer for all is that the peace of God will fill your soul and this Christmas Day will be very blessed.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 KJV. Most of us are very familiar with these beautiful words that have encouraged the hearts of so many. But they also include a Christmas message. We know that God was always aware of and active in different ways in the affairs of men. But when Jesus came, He was that ‘Very Present Help’ that this fallen world so desperately needed. He came to us in our troubled and broken condition. He came when we had no way to save ourselves. How profound it is to think, that God Himself stepped down into this world, to be ‘present’ with us in all that we face in this world! Jesus took on human form and became one of us. He knew the weariness of these human bodies. He was tempted in all points as we are. He was not a God afar off merely looking down. Rather, He was ‘present’ with us in all of the suffering and sorrow we go through. We have so many reasons to praise the Name of Jesus during this season. Let us rejoice that He came to be ‘our very present Help’.
“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.”
Psalm 46:5 KJV. When the prophet Isaiah declared that “His name will be Emmanuel”, we learned that in Christ the Messiah, God was coming to dwell with men. The angel repeated these words to Joseph in Matthew 1:23, “They shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us”. And it has always been because of His presence with us that we find security and stability. The security of God’s people has never been based on things of this world. It is not our intellect, talent or resources that cause us to stand. It is not the protection or freedoms granted to us by governments. We certainly are not secure because of our determination or strength of character. Let us be clear, it is the presence of God Himself in our lives and in our midst as a people, that gives us strength to stand in this evil world. With Christ, we will not fail! But without His abiding presence, we can do nothing. And Scripture tell us He will not dwell in an unclean vessel. Let us endeavor to live so our Holy Emmanuel can always dwell with us.
“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: The sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.”
Psalm 45:6 KJV. Much of the fear of this day we are living in is because people feel that their kingdom is threatened. For some it is losing control in the home or on the job. For others the concern is over governments and kingdoms of men crumbling and failing. And certainly all of that is possible on a human level, because all that men does has beginnings and endings. They rise and fall with the passing of time. But let us rest secure in the knowledge that we are a part of God’s kingdom which is forever settled! Over 2000 years ago Jesus came to setup His spiritual kingdom. This kingdom has no end. This kingdom is eternal because it is of God and God Himself is the King! No enemy can shake it and time will not wear it away. And what a joy to know that when we become citizens of this spiritual kingdom, that we can call the King our Heavenly Father.