The Shepherds Candle, Tiding of Great Joy

Helen Lowrie Marshall wrote:

Once, someone said something nice about me,

And all undeserved I knew it to be,

I treasured it there on my heart’s deepest shelf,

Till one day I surprised even myself

By honestly making an effort to be

That nice thing that somebody said about me!

While I was in college, I read about an intriguing experiment in a classroom. You may question the ethics behind this experiment and rightfully so when you learn about the results of the experiment.

The names of the students were written on separate pieces of paper and put in a bowl. Those conducting the experiment decided how many students would receive A’s and B’s and so on. They arbitrarily pulled names out of the bowl, one at a time, assigning a predetermined letter grade. The experimenters didn’t know any of the students.

The teacher was then, accidently, given that information. At the end of the school year, you guessed it, those students ended up with grades almost identical as those arbitrarily predetermined grades.

Expectations.

How about this one. What do we expect from God?  

Do we expect to be rich and good looking? Do we expect to have a great family, a good job, or a blessed life? How about good health and no problems? Maybe you just want God to watch but not take part in your life so you can do it your way. Maybe we expect that he should keep all of his children safe from difficulties and trouble. If we could ask Abraham, Moses, David, Paul or Peter, they could assure us that troubles come to us all.

What do you expect from God? We may say we don’t expect God to give us all the good things in life and keep us protected from the bad. But when the difficulties come, we get mad at God and leave Him out of our lives.

What does God expect from us? He expects us to read and study the Bible. Psalm 119:105. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. We must know the word of God if we are to keep it and apply it to our lives.

God also expects us to pray. He desires to have lines of communication open at all times. I Thessalonians 5:16-18Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God expects us to watch what we say. James 3: 3-6. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

He expects us to act right. Ephesians 4:25-32. Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

He expects us to Love our neighbor as ourselves. God expects a lot of us.

So, what can we expect of God? We can expect him to keep his word. He is truth and is the same yesterday today and forever. Whatever He says He will do.

In Isaiah 9:2,6,7 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.             God promised a Divine Child would be born who’d bring light into the darkness.

In Luke 2 we read how God promised the Shepherds they’d find their Savior, lying in a manger of all places! Luke 2:8–11 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Christmas is all about God’s promise.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

He says that if you receive Jesus as more than the baby in a manger; if you will receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will enter his family forever.

The Sinner’s Prayer (by Dr. Ray Pritchard)

Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.

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