The four dreams of Joseph

From Matthew 1 & 2

an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” …When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

+++

egypt

When they (the Magi) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.

+++

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.

+++

Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.  So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he (the savior) would be called a Nazarene.

Read Matthew 1 and 2

 

Posted in Advent and Christmas, All posts, Devotions & Meditations

A prayer to begin a New Year

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
~ Psalm 90:12

I remember my grandpa telling me, “The older you get, the faster the years pass by.” As a ten-year-old this was just one of those puzzling things that older people said that really didn’t make much sense. How could time go faster or slower? How could years speed up and slow down?

We’ve just entered a new year. Whether this is the 98th time you’ve changed calendars or just the 27th, you are one day closer to the end of your life here on earth. A couple of verses earlier, the writer of this psalm wrote, “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Whether they knew it or not, the 70’s progressive rock band, Kansas, was simply summarizing a truth taught throughout Scripture when they sang, “All we are is dust in the wind.” We are here one moment and blown away with the breeze the next.

So, what does this mean for us? Is the point to simply make the most of every moment recognizing that our time is short? Should we just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die? Or should we just despair over the ever-shortening length of time we have left? No, none of these are real solutions. Instead we can pray, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Numbering our days means acknowledging that our time is short. It means not pretending that we are immortal, and will somehow escape death. But God doesn’t encourage us to number our days just so we are aware of how little time we have. He wants us to do this so that “we may gain a heart of wisdom.” He wants us to look away from ourselves to his compassion and mercy, because it is there we will find true wisdom. It is there we will find wisdom born in a manger in Bethlehem. In Jesus we find forgiveness, salvation, and new life. In Jesus our lives are charged with meaning and purpose, no matter how short they may seem right now. This is a prayer to begin the New Year:

Dear Jesus, Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Amen

WhatAboutJesus.com

Posted in Advent and Christmas, All posts, Devotions & Meditations

Adult Bible Study

Join us as we study the Path from Bethlehem to Nazareth that Jesus Knew. We meet at 9:00 on Sunday mornings. We have plenty of room and plenty of coffee! Bibles and materials are supplied.

Posted in All posts

New Year’s Day worship at 10:00

On January 1st we will gather together to begin a new year.   Please join us at 10:00 a.m. for worship, praise, and good news!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17

(no services will be held on New Year’s Eve)

Posted in All posts, FYI, Living Hope

Reconciled

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. ~2Corinthians 5:19-20

I look forward to receiving the notice from my bank that my monthly checking account statement is available. I like to reconcile my family’s Quicken account with it. Seeing the totals from the bank statement equal the transactions I’ve tracked on my computer is satisfying. Maybe you think that’s weird.

But I’m not the only one who loves reconciling. The almighty and eternal God does too! Okay, it’s not the same. He loves reconciling broken relationships. He loves to make peace where there would otherwise be war. He loves to balance the books when it comes to what needs to be in the holiness account versus what would be there based on our own efforts.

When we stand before God on our own, we are bankrupt. Our account of goodness and righteousness doesn’t contain what the Divine Accountant declares it should. Unclean thoughts, uncaring words, unloving actions toward him and others cause our ledger with God to be off…way off! But where he could and should come with retribution for the debt we owe, he comes instead with reconciliation.

That’s what Christmas is all about. God comes into our world in the person of Jesus Christ to reconcile himself with a sinful human race. He comes to take on himself the sins that blacken our books and to replace them with the righteousness that he alone can live and give. That’s what the angels are singing about when they sing about peace on earth, and that is what the apostle Paul is writing about in our verses for today: God has made peace with sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son! The war is over! God has restored the relationship through the forgiveness won by Jesus!

God is not counting our sins against us because of Christ! We are God’s own children in and through Christ! We are heirs of eternal life and the perfect peace of heaven because of Jesus! Take that message to heart that you might have true peace. Take that message to others that they might enjoy it too.

Lord God, our gracious heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for sending your Son into our world to reconcile us to you! Let that truth take deep root in our hearts. Let that truth be one that we take also to others as your ambassadors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

WhatAboutJesus.com

Posted in Advent and Christmas, All posts, Devotions & Meditations

Christmas at Living Hope

holly

when the time had fully come, God sent his Son…  Galatians 4:4a

baby boy

Celebrate the birth of God’s only Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ!

  • Dec. 24th: Christmas Eve Worship Service at 6:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 25th: Christmas Day Worship Service at 10:00 a.m.
Posted in Advent and Christmas, All posts, Devotions & Meditations, FYI, Living Hope

Fourth Sunday in Advent

candle 4

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

…they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. – Matthew 2:1-2, 9b-11a

Living Hope’s Christmas schedule:

  • Dec. 24th: Christmas Eve Service, 6:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 25th: Christmas Day Service, 10:00 a.m.
  • Dec. 31st: (no service on New Year’s Eve)
  • Jan. 1st: New Year’s Day Service, 10:00 a.m.
Posted in Advent and Christmas, All posts, Devotions & Meditations