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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday - The Fourth Week of Advent

I couldn’t help but pick up a sense of excitement and expectation as I thought about the twelve year old Jesus sitting at the feet of the religious leaders at the synagogue in Jerusalem, in today’s Tuesday – the fourth week of Advent reading.  That picture sent me down memory lane in many different directions!  The thought of the “excitement and adventure that must have been glowing in the eyes of Jesus” immediately reminded me of that one special signature mark of my wife’s that has been missing over the last few years.  Ever since day one of our meeting back during our high school days, I have always been captivated by that wonderful glow of excitement, adventure and daring shining forth from those beautiful brown eyes of hers!

That is one of the things that I miss the most and is the strongest visual change that simply tears at my heart everyday as I look upon her face nowadays.  It is the reason that I hold Papa God’s promise to us through Job 33:25 where He has unequivocally given us His rhema word declaring that “Piper’s brain and anything and everything that is associated with it, is in the process of becoming fresher than a child’s and that she is returning as unto the healthy days of her youth.” (Paraphrased as I heard the Lord tell it to me!)  Her joy and excitement for life and for new challenges must have been similar to what Jesus felt as He sat hungrily at the feet of the teachers of God’s word.

The idea of Jesus staying behind in the synagogue also reminded me that church is one of my favorite and most comfortable places to be.  It is a trait that my wife and I passed on to our kids.  Not too long ago I had a conversation with our youngest daughter who related her same sentiments to me.  She fondly recalled all the hours we would spend alone in the church as we prepared for the numerous programs that we put on over the years!

Is being in God’s home enjoyable and important for you?  Do your eyes glow with excitement and adventure when you are in His presence?  I would encourage you to think on that thought as you experience today’s Advent reading…


The Greatest Gift!

Tuesday, the fourth week of Advent

Today’s Readings:  Exodus 23:14-17 / Deuteronomy 16:16 / Luke 2:41-52


As we near the end of our daily look at the story of the first Christmas during this season of Advent, it is only fitting that we take a peek at “the only passage of story recorded concerning our blessed Savior, from his infancy to the days of his showing to Israel at twenty-nine years old…” (Luke 2:41-52 Matthew Henrys Commentary on the Whole Bible)  It is interesting to note that this incident takes place when Jesus was about the same age as His mother when the angel Gabriel originally appeared to her as a young teenage girl.

Many years had passed since the miraculous set of events had occurred to Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.  Jesus as a young man of twelve was at the age when “boys began preparing to take their place in the religious community the following year.”  (Luke 2:42 footnote in NIV Study Bible)  But there was something different about this lad that separated Him from others his age.  I believe that this unique quality that set Him apart is the key to understanding this portion of scripture.

Jesus had a hunger for more of God.  He was also at the age where He was beginning to develop greater cognitive abilities and understanding of the world around Him, as well as seeing the first light of dawn concerning His divine purpose.  His retort to His mother after she had shared Joseph’s and her concern for Him was not one of rebellion, but simply an honest answer as seen through the eyes of a typical Middle School boy!  He was so focused on the revelation that was beginning to unfold to His understanding that I believe He did not even consider the worry and anxiety that His actions had caused His parents.  He was beginning to see that He had a job to do and decided that He would do it!

Jesus walked in the footsteps of David as He marveled and sought after the Lord’s precepts. (See: Psalm 119:99-106)  And like the Apostle Paul who would come after Him, He sat at the feet of the rabbis who were the experts in Judaism, absorbing their every word like a sponge absorbs water! (See: Acts 22:3)  But as the realization of the unveiling of His calling was beginning to come to Him, Jesus was also “an obedient child, whatever sense He also had of another relationship unconnected in itself with subjection to human parents.  Consciousness of the one did not injure His perfection in the other.” (Luke 2: 41-52 John Darby’s Synopsis)  Jesus duly obeyed the word of His earthly parents, went back home with them to Nazareth and “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52 NIV)

The example for us to draw from this final portion of our story is Jesus’ hunger for the things of God.  His pursuit and obedience to His father’s Word was the foundation for everything He became in life.  Every action that He took was based on His intimate knowledge of His father’s love and faithfulness to His Word.  That is also the key to yours and my success in the New Year ahead.  Jesus was the ultimate gift given to the world on that first Christmas over 2000 years ago.  It would be quite a shame to leave a gift of that magnitude unopened under the tree this year! 

Think about the look of excitement and adventure that must have been glowing in the eyes of Jesus as He sat at the feet of the religious scholars while they expounded the truths of the scriptures to Him!  You can experience that same excitement, peace and joy that will lead you through every adventure that you face ahead.  2 Timothy 1:7 declares that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power (or ability) and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)  All the tools and all the answers are to be found in His Word… and they are all very user friendly!

As you open presents with family and friends this Christmas, choose to remember to open and then fully utilize the greatest gift of all.  Then you’ll experience life in the New Year to come with a peace and joy like you’ve never realized before!  Have a Blessed and Joyous Christmas!  Stay in tune to His Word, share this reading with another today and keep asking yourself… What Exciting and Adventurous things am I expecting today and to continue through 2015?” 

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