‘Day One’ Blog

Simeon the Devout – Dec. 13

Meditation for the Soul ~

Now there was a man in Jerusalem,
whose name was Simeon,
and this man was righteous and devout,
waiting for the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he would not see death
before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
And he came in the Spirit into the temple,
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus,
to do for him according to the custom of the Law,
he took him up in his arms and blessed God.
~ Luke 2:25-27 ~

Reflection for the Mind ~

I love Simeon’s story, and I love the kind of person he represents. Even though God had been silent for several hundred years, devout men and women like Simeon faithfully waited and prayed for the Promised One to arrive. Tradition held that these precious few were known as the quiet of the land. How counter-cultural to be one of the quiet ones! The elderly Simeon was seen by God and was mightily rewarded. The Spirit sent him to the temple that day to see and carry, and bless the infant Jesus and his family. Just amazing!

Today as we reflect, I wonder if we might examine our own resolve to faithfully pray and wait, not for the babe in a manger but for the returning King. What better time to renew our resolve than as Christmas approaches. May Simeon’s story inspire us to do just that.

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, Simeon reminds me that Your eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him,” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Thank you for righteous, devout Simeon and for stopping and fixing Your eyes upon him! You still look for the Simeon’s of the world… those who cling to Your promises and prayerfully wait for them! Help me by Your Spirit to be among the quiet of the land.

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Mary ~ The Mother of Jesus – Dec. 12

Meditation for the Soul ~

Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.”
~ Luke 1:37 ~

Reflection for the Mind ~

The angel Gabriel was really making the rounds in Luke’s first chapter. His next proclamation would be for a teenage girl. Once again he bore vital news that no other person in all of history would receive. Mary would be challenged as no one had ever been challenged. I cannot move past Mary’s initial response (written above) to Gabriel. There is plenty here to provide us with the days pondering.

Two things jump out of the text. Mary knew who she was (I am the servant of the Lord) therefore a hearty and quick “yes” was the only answer she would give (let it be to me according to your word). While she was naturally curious about how she could conceive a child (understatement of the ages), her “yes” was not hinged upon her ability to understand. It may be among the most profound examples of faith in all of Scripture.

Is that how you respond when God the Spirit speaks to you? Don’t despair! We all have room to grow and much to learn from Mary. It couldn’t hurt any of us to spend today meditating upon her simple faith-laden response to Gabriel.

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, today as Christmas stands thirteen days out, I stand in awe of this little girl and the godly wisdom she possessed. Thank You for a glimpse into her radical faith! It’s jaw-dropping and convicting in the best sense of the word! Ground me in my identity and faith (like you did Mary) so that I answer “yes,” no matter the challenge You put before me!

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Joseph ~ A Man of Character – Dec. 11

Meditation for the Soul ~

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.
When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph,
before they came together she was found
to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
And her husband Joseph, being a just man
and unwilling to put her to shame,
resolved to divorce her quietly.
But as he considered these things,
behold, an angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream,
saying, “Joseph, son of David,
do not fear to take Mary as your wife,
for that which is conceived in her
is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son,
and you shall call his name Jesus,
for he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph woke from sleep,
he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him:
he took his wife,
but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
And he called his name Jesus.
~ Matthew 1:18-21;24-25 ~

Reflection for the Mind ~

The story of Joseph is a study in Godly character. God hand-picked Joseph to do what only a man of Godly character could do. The short text above reveals an amazing look into Joseph’s remarkable nature. I believe God would have these traits come to bear in all His sons and daughters.

As I’ve meditated on the passage above, here is what comes to the fore. Joseph was…
… a just man
He cared about what was right.
… a kind man
He cared about not bringing shame.
… a wise man
He weighed the variables and made a plan he was resolved to carry out.
… a thoughtful man
He paused to think and ponder, even after he was resolved.
… a tempered man
He was afraid, but fear didn’t inform his actions.
… a teachable man
He was open to hear from God.
… an obedient man
Once God spoke, it was a done deal. He acted immediately.
… a disciplined man
He waiting to consummate his marriage.

What would it look like for you and me to approach today with the hope of exhibiting some of these beautiful qualities? It can happen if the Spirit has hold of our hearts! That’s what made the difference for Joseph. Especially during a season where people might be sincerely wondering about the babe in the manger, let’s be approachable… resolved to put the character of our Lord on display.

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, by Your Spirit walk me through this list of traits and speak to me about my own character… or lack of character. Thank You for Joseph. Thank You for telling me part of his story and giving me such an exceptional example of Godliness. It helps me know how I’m meant to represent You to the world!

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Elizabeth ~ Mother of John the Baptist – Dec. 10

Meditation for the Soul ~

And they (Zechariah and Elizabeth)
were both righteous before God,
walking blamelessly in all the
commandments and statutes of the Lord.
~ Luke 1:6 ~
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary,
the baby leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
and she exclaimed with a loud cry,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 
And why is this granted to me
that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
For behold, when the sound of your greeting
came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
And blessed is she who believed
that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
~ Luke 1:41-45 ~

Reflection for the Mind ~

The mother of John the Baptist may be on my top-five list of people I can’t wait to meet in heaven. So much about Elizabeth’s character and enthusiasm is revealed in the brief text above. It’s enough for her to be seen as a person any of us would be honored to emulate. Like her son would be, Elizabeth was remarkably in tune with what was happening within her and around her. The righteousness she displayed in her life before her pregnancy was equally present after… as the miracles began to flow! She was just amazing.

Unlike her poor hubby, Elizabeth didn’t seem to struggle to receive the news that the angel Gabriel delivered. She thanked God and recognized the favor He extended to her by removing her reproach as a barren woman and granting her the honor of being in the presence of the unborn Messiah. She was also an agent of encouragement for Mary, quick to applaud Mary for her great faith! Oh, to be like Elizabeth!

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, I want to have the awareness of Elizabeth especially as Christmas approaches. Sensitize my spirit by Your Spirit, so that I’m quick to see You at work and give You honor. Let me be unashamed and generous in my praise of You, and let it be contagious, just as Elizabeth’s testimony is to me! Thank you for her life and for the gift it has been for two-thousand years.

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The Forerunner ~ John the Baptist – Dec. 09

Meditation for the Soul ~

Behold, I send my messenger,
and he will prepare the way before me.
~ Malachi 3:1 ~
A voice cries: “In the wilderness
prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
~ Isaiah 40:3 ~
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light.
~ John 1:6-7 ~
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
even from his mother’s womb. 
And he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
~ Luke 1:15-16 ~

Reflection for the Mind ~

Our second week of Advent will focus on a few primary figures surrounding the birth of Jesus. Each was invited by God to play very different but vital roles in the story of the coming Savior. We begin with the forerunner, John the Baptist. He shows up in the Christmas story as a Spirit-filled baby in utero who leaped in his mother’s womb when the unborn Jesus was near him. Before he was even born he was bearing witness that the Promised One had come!

The forerunner for the Savior of the world was strikingly humble: “The friend of the bridegroom rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease,” (John 3:29-30). His was a humility akin to that of Jesus. John also possessed an unshakable clarity of purpose: “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23).

How utterly Christ-like, never to put yourself forward but to live to elevate Jesus! And how fulfilling to be so clear about who you are and why you’re walking the earth that you confidently live it out! John lived his life under the sway of God the Spirit. It shouldn’t surprise us then, that he would so profoundly emulate the One he was born to usher in! May God have access to our hearts, so that we represent Him to the those in our path as John did… humbly and without reservation!

Response for the Heart ~

Lord, I’m inspired by the clarity and resolve of John the Baptist. And I’m convicted by the depth of his humility. Please use this time of remembering the birth of Jesus to make me the person You would have me be for Your glory! Capture my heart and be the ruling force within me. Help me to boldly yet humbly declare the truth about the babe in the manger who is Christ the Lord!

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