Epiphany - Jan. 6th

Luke 2:21-38
21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child,[e] His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”),[f] 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”[g]

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 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. 27 So he came by 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, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother[h] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years,[i] who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord,[j] and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Matthew 2: 1-11

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Today is the Epiphany, which means appearance, manifestation or revelation. It is a Christian feast day that celebrates Christ being revealed as King through the Magi (3 wise men). It is also known as Three Kings Day. Some churches recognize this time also as the day of Jesus’ baptism and the marriage supper in Canaan. Epiphany is a Season of the Church Year and lasts from the end of the Christmas season (Epiphany) until Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.

Although Jesus came first to Israel, from the beginning the plan of salvation was for all mankind: the Jew and the Gentile. We see this through the truth spoken by Simeon in Jerusalem and also the prophetess. The Magi who came in search of Jesus, the king also are a testament of his salvation for the gentiles. The Magi were not of Jewish descent. Yet, they brought gifts and bore witness of his kingdom to all.
Today we celebrate Epiphany; the day that was made known to us that Jesus came to save all people. We praise him and thank Him, for it is His blood that will be shed so that we may have salvation.

**Our Celebration
1. A nice dinner (oriental flair), followed by dessert of “3 King’s Cake”.
2. Blessing the house as a family, that the Holy Spirit may guide us, just as the star guided the Magi.
3. Mark our front door with chalk 20 C M B 10 (C M B, are the initials of the Magi, but also refers to "Christus Mansionem Benedicat," meaning "May Christ bless this dwelling.")

12th Day of Christmas - Jan. 5th

“On the 12th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 12 Drummers Drumming”

The Apostle’s Creed (Do not read the numbers)
1.I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell.
5. The third day he rose again from the dead;
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
7. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints,
10. The forgiveness of sins,
11. The resurrection of the body,
12. And the life everlasting. Amen

The Apostle’s Creed has 12 points that all Christians must believe.

The first thing we must believe is God and that he created everything. Regardless of our belief in how long a day was, he made heaven and earth in 6 days. He created everything in the world. Therefore, we must remember that everything belongs to Him.

The second and third thing we must believe is that Jesus is God’s son and that he was born from Mary and that she was a virgin. She was impregnated by the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, he was crucified, meaning hung on a cross where he died. They took his body to a tomb and buried him. When Jesus died he went to Hell where he broke the chains of death.

Fifth he rose again, he came back to earth, he was not dead.
Sixth and seventh belief we must have is that he ascended into heaven and will judge everyone. Jesus, body and all went up to heaven. There he sits beside God and will judge all of mankind.

Eighth belief is to believe in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to live according to God’s word and guides us through everyday life. We must learn to hear the Holy Spirit when it speaks to us.

Ninth we believe in the holy catholic church, which means in the body of Christian believers, and the saints.

Tenth we believe that because of Jesus, our sins can be forgiven.
Eleventh and twelfth belief is that we to will be resurrected and will live forever with God.

11th Day of Christmas - Jan. 4th

“On the 11th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 11 Pipers Piping”

Luke 6:12-16
12 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.

Although there are 12 disciples mentioned in the verses we only count 11 of them because Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. What is a disciple? These men who Jesus called had to learn not only about Jesus and God but also about themselves. They were going to have obstacles in their way and they needed to believe in Jesus and everything he taught. Jesus taught them and instructed them to demonstrate and proclaim God’s kingdom in all that they did. They put Jesus, his teachings, and God’s kingdom in front of everything in their lives. They were willing to leave their family and friends to follow him and some would even die for their belief in Jesus. The 11 disciples Jesus called are an example of what our lives should look like as a follower of Christ. Are we willing to give everything away to follow Jesus, even if it includes our life?

10th Day of Christmas - Jan. 3rd

“On the 10th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 10 Lords-A-Leaping”

Exodus 20:1-17
1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 “ Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

The 10 Lords-A-Leaping refer to the 10 Commandments. Our goal is to obey the commandments, but first we must know what each one means. For the most part the 10 commandments are pretty self explanatory so we will be focusing on the first and second commandment. We read earlier which 2 commandments Jesus said were the greatest. Do you remember them?
The first commandment is probably one of the hardest ones to keep. Granted back when Moses was given the commandments it was common for people to worship other gods. Although we still have people worshipping other gods today it is not exactly the same. My opinion is that while it referred to Baal and other gods in earlier times. The gods we tend to worship today are TV, money and anything we put before God, which ties into the second commandment. It is so easy to put other things before God, we call them idols. For example we know we should read our Bible, but instead we spend hours watching TV and putting off God’s word until we forget about it. Think of the things you put before God. Make a commitment that you will begin to put Him first. Decide that you won’t do one of those things unless you read your Bible, pray, or do something putting Him first. Slowly you will begin keeping your eyes more on Him than on other things.

9th Day of Christmas - Jan. 2nd

“On the 9th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 9 Ladies Dancing”

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

A fruit seed needs 3 things to grow: water, light, and warmth. If it receives these three things it will begin to grow a root, which turns into a plant and then it will bear fruit.

When we become Christians we are like the fruit seed. The Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us as we hear God’s word, seek His will and begin applying it to our lives. As time goes by the fruits of our labor will be seen; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

8th Day of Christmas - Jan. 1st

“On the 8th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me 8 Maids-A-Milking”

Matthew 5:3-10
3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The 8 Beatitudes are virtues that we should have. Virtue is the practice of moral goodness, abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law (1828 Dictionary, Webster).

The first virtue is to be poor in spirit. Poor in spirit is to be humble. We humble ourselves when we put others first and ourselves last. We also humble ourselves by putting God first, knowing that we have sinned and fall short of His glory. We are not worthy of anything.

The second virtue is to mourn. Once we have humbled ourselves in front of God, we mourn over our actions which have caused us to sin. This leads us to repent and ask forgiveness.

The third virtue is to be meek. Meek also means humble. We know that whatever we have is from God, whatever we accomplish is because of God. We are gentle, mild mannered and praise God for all He has given (or taken away) from us.

The fourth virtue is to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We must long for His word. We are nothing but an empty vessel and only He can fill it.

The fifth virtue is to be merciful. Just as God shows us compassion and forgives us, we to must show compassion and forgive others.

The sixth virtue is to be pure in heart. The Bible instructs us to think on the things that are good and true. By focusing on these things are heart becomes pure because we are no longer thinking or dwelling on things which do not uplift God.

The seventh virtue is to be a peacemaker. By putting others first and not trying to get our way we can stop an argument from occurring. Look for a peaceful solution in all things.

The eighth virtue is to be persecuted for righteousness sake. No one wants to be persecuted but as a follower of Christ you will be hated. You will be looked down upon, but you must keep walking with God. Do not let it get you down; remember we owe Him everything because of what he has done for us.

It is a new year, memorize the Beatitudes and remember what each one means. Try to live up to each virtue and be blessed.