"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Not open for further replies.
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Give Him the Name Jesus

Day 1

Before You Begin
Read Luke 1:26-33

Stop and Consider
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus (v.31).

What other words come to mind when you hear or speak the name Jesus? What moods or emotions bubble to the surface? What hopes does He sitr up in your spirit?

If you had been Mary, how do you think you might have responded to this pronouncement of His name, especially at this declaration of Mary's involvement in His birth?

Let's begin our Journey:

Picture the omniscient eyes of the unfathomable El Roi--the God who sees--spanning the universe in panoramic view, every galaxy in His gaze. Imagine now the gradual tightening of His lens as if a movie camera were attached to the point of a rocket bound for planet Earth. Not a man-made rocket, but a celestial rocket--of the living kind.

Gabriel has been summoned once again to the throne of God. At least six months have passed since God last sent him to Jerusalem, to foretell another unexpected birth-- this one to an elderly priest name Zechariah, whose equally aged wife Elizabeth, was to bear a son, John---John the Baptist. This previous assignment took Gabriel to Herod's temple, one of the wonders of the civilized world. But this time heaven's lens focuses northward.

Imagine Gabriel plunging earthward through the floor of the third heaven, breaking the barrier from the supernatural to the natural world. Feature him swooping down through the second heaven past the stars God calls by name. As our vision "descends," the earth grows larger. God's kingdom gaze burns through the blue skies of planet Earth and plummets like a flaming stake in the ground to a backward town called Nazareth.

I love to imagine where Mary was when Gabriel appeared to her. I wonder if she was in her bedroom or walking a dusty path fetching water for her mother. One thing for sure: she was alone.

No matter where the angelic ambassador appeared to Mary, he must have stunned her with his choice of salutations: "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Prior to Zechariah's encounter, four centuries had passed since God had graced the earth with a heavenly visitation. I doubt the thought occurred to anyone that he would transmit the most glorious news ever heard in all the world to a simple Galilean girl.

How I love the way God works! Just when we decide He's too complicated to comprehend, He draws stick pictures.

I'm sure Mary wasn't looking for an angelic encounter that day. As the recipient of such news, she was totally unsuspecting. humble, Meek. Completely caught off guard. Luke 1:29 tells us Mary was "greatly troubled" at his words. the phrase actually means "to stir up throughout." You know the feeling: when butterflies don't just flutter in your stomach but land like a bucket at your feet. splashing fear and adrenaline through every appendage. Mary felt the fear through and through, wondering what kind of greeting this might be. How could this young girl comprehend that she was "highly favored" (Luke 1:28) by the Lord God Himself?

The angel's next statement was equally stunning: "The Lord is with you." Although similar words had been spoken over men such as Moses, Joshua, and Gideon, I'm not suggesting the Lord is not as present in the lives of women as He is men, but this phrase suggested a unique presence and power for the purpose of fulfilling a divine kingdom plan. The sight of the young girl gripped by fear provoked Gabriel to continue with the words, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God" (v.30). Not until his next words did she have any clue why he had come or for what she had been chosen.

"You will be with child and give birth to a son" (v.31). Not just any son---"the Son of the Most High" (v.32). Probably only Mary's youth and inability to absorb the information kept her from fainting in a heap!

Then came my favorite line of all? "You are to give him the name Jesus" (v.31). Do you realize this was the first proclamation of our Savior's personal name since the beginning of time? Jesus. the very name at which every knee will one day bow. The very name that every tongue will one day confess. A name that has no parallel in my vocabulary or yours. A name I whispered into the ears of my infant daughters as I rocked them and sang lullabies of His love. A name by which I've made every single prayerful petition of my life. A name that has meant my absolute salvation, not only from eternal destruction, but from myself. A name with power like no other name. Jesus.

What a beautiful name. I love to watch how it falls off the lips of those who love Him. I shudder as it falls off the lips of those who don't. Jesus. It has been the most important and most consistent word in my life. Dearer today than yesterday. Inexpressibly precious to me personally, so I am at a loss to comprehend what the name means universally.

Jesus. the Greek spelling is Iesous, transliterated from the Hebrew Yeshu'a (Joshua). Keep in mind that Christ's earthly family spoke a Semitic language closely related to Hebrew (called Aramaic), so He would have been called Yeshu'a. One of the things I like best is that it was a common name. After all, Jesus came to seek and to save common people like you and me. Most pointedly, the name Jesus means "Savior." Others may have shared the name, but no one else would ever share the role. We have much to learn about Jesus the Savior. I can hardly wait!!

What do you hope to experience at Jesus' feet as we worship Him together over the following days? What are you bringing that needs healing? What emptiness or brokenness needs mending? What do you want to say to Him at the outset of this journey?

Praying God's Word Today
O Lord, from ancient times You told Your people, "The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14), proving again the validity and consistency of Your Word. how I marvel at Your wisdom, Your truth, and Your eternal purposes, marveling even more that You choose to include us in Your plans and Your perfect will....AMEN

This is part of a series by: Beth Moore

How Can This Be?

Day 2

Before You Begin
Read Luke 1:34-38

Stop and Consider
Mary asked the angel, "How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?" (v. 34)

When was the last time you read a verse of Scripture, or sense a nudging of God in your spirit, and asked yourself, "How can this be?"

What would life be life without these kind of divine mysteries and impossibilities? What would we do if God never called us to greater things, to things that were mor His size?

Let's begin our Journey:

Luke 1:27 tells us that when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would bear the Son of God, she was a virgin "pledged to be married to a man named Joseph." Actually, their betrothal compares more to our idea of marriage than engagement. The difference was the a matter of physical intimacy, but the relationship was legally binding. Betrothal began with a contract drawn up by the parents or by a friend of the groom. Then at a meeting between the two families, in the presence of witnesses, the groom would present the bride with jewelry. The groom would announce his intentions to firmly observe the contract. Then he would sip from a cup of wine and offer the cup to the bride. If she sipped from the same cup, she was in effect entering covenant with him.

The next step was the payment of the mohar, or dowry, by the groom. This occurred at a ceremony, ordinarily involving a priest. Other traditions were also practiced, but these were the most basic and consistent. By the time a couple reached this step, their betrothal was binding, though a marriage ceremony and physical intimacy had not yet taken place. An actual divorce would be necessary to break the covenant. Furthermore, if the prospective groom died, the bride-to-be was considered a widow.

Betrothal traditionally occurred soon after the onset of adolescence, so it is probably accurate to imagine Mary around age thirteen at the time of the announcement. Remember, in that culture a thirteen or fourteen-year-old was commonly preparing for marriage.
Mary's question, then, was a quite obvious one: She asked, "How will this be......since I am a virgin?" (v.34)

Gabriel met Mary's question with a beautifully expressive response. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." The Greek word for "come upon" is eperchomai, meaning "to...arrive, invade....resting upon and operating in a person." Only one woman in all of humanity would be chosen to bear the Son of God, yet each one of us who are bleievers have been invaded by Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit (see Rom. 8:9). He has been invading the closets, the attic and the basement of my life ever since I accepted Him. How I praise God for the most glorious invasion of privacy that ever graced a human life.

I wonder if Mary knew when He arrived in her womb. Brothers in faith might be appalled that I would ask such a question, but female minds were created to think intimate, personal thoughts like these! I have at least a hundred questions to ask Mary in heaven.

No doubt Mary would have some interesting stories to tell. Part of the fun of heaven will be hearing spiritual giants tell the details of the old, old stories. Mary certainly wouldn't have thought of herself as a spiritual giant, would she? I would love to know the exact moment this young adolescent absorbed the news that she would carry and deliver God's Son.

Gabriel ultimately wrapped up the story of the divine conception with one profound statement: "So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God" (v. 35). The term holy one has never been more perfectly and profoundly applied than in Gabriel's statement concerning the Son of God.

Could a teenager have fathomed that she was to give birth to the Son who was the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being? (Heb. 1:3). Perhaps Mary's age was on her side. When my two daughters were teenagers, and when they would tell me something, I always had more questions than they had answers. I'd say, "Did you ask this question?" to which they'd invariably say, "No ma'am. Never even occurred to me." I wanted to know every detail. They were too young to realize any were missing!

Mary only asked the one question. When all was said and done, her solitary reply was: "I am the Lord's servant....May it be to me as you have said" (v. 38). The Greek word for slave or servant is doule, which is the feminine equivalent to doulos, a male bondservant. In essence, Mary was saying, "Lord, I am your handmaid. Whatever You want, I want."
Total submission. No other questions.

We might be tempted to think: Easy for her to say! Her news was good! Who wouldn't want to be in her shoes? Sumitting isn't hard when the news is good! Oh, yes, the news was good. The best. But the news was also hard. When the winds of heaven converge with the winds of earth, lightening is bound to strike. Seems to me that Gabriel left just in time for Mary to tell her mother. I have a feeling Nazareth was about to hear and experience a little thunder.

Think of a time when you sensed the power of God "come upon you" in a moment of crisis, or worship, or perhaps on an otherwise ordinary day. What was it like, and why do you think He chooses when and how to reveal His presence so tangibly?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You have the authority to enable those of every people, nation, and language to serve You. Your dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and Your Kingdom is one that will not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:14). In Your hands and by Your power, You can do through me whatever You desire. May I believe this in ever greater measure. In Jesus name I pray....Amen
A Study by: Beth Moore

Jesus, 90 days with the One and Only

Kindred Hearts

Day 3

Before You Begin
Read Luke 1:39-44

Stop and Consider
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 41).

What are some of the greatest blessings (and greatest difficulties) of community?

Second Corinthians 1 talks about the personal responsibility that comes along with "the comfort we ourselves receive from God" (v. 4). Why is it not enough just to recieve it? Why do we need to share it around?

Imagine that you are Mary, thirteen or fourteen years old, but in a very different culture. You awakened to the sun playing a silent reveille over the Galilean countryside. You dress in a typical fashion, a simple tunic draped with a cloak. A sash wrapped around the waist allows you to walk without tripping over the long fabric. You are the virgin daughter of a Jewish father, so you have draped your veil over your head and crossed it over your shoulders for the duration of the day. You have never known another kind of dress, so you are completely accustomed to the weight and the constant adjusting of a six-foot-long, four-foot-wide veil. Beneath the veil, thick, dark hair frames a deep conplexion and near ebony eyes.

Without warning, a messenger from God appears and announces that you have been chosen among women to bear the Son of God. You can hardly believe, yet you dare not doubt. As suddenly as the angel appeared, he vanishes. You are flooded with emotions.
What do you imagine you would be thinking and feeling right now? What in the world does a young woman do after receiving such life-altering news?

Often God allows the space between the lines of His Word to capture our imaginations and prompt us to wonder. Not this time. He told us exactly what Mary did next.
Remember Gabriel's declaration. The most revolutionary news since Eden's fall: "the Savior is on His way." Announcing the soon-coming Messiah, he offered the stunned adolescent an almost out-of-place slice of information. By the way, "Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she....is in her sixth month" (v. 36). How like God! In the middle of news with universal consequences, He recognized the personal consequences to one girl.

For years the scene of Mary running to Elizabeth has tendered my heart. I'd like to share my thoughts on this moment from my first book, "Things Pondered: From the Heart of a Lesser Woman." These words were never meant to provide doctrinal exegesis, but to invite us to the momentary wonder of being a woman: "How tender the God who shared with her through an angel that someone nearby could relate. The two women had one important predicament in common---questionable pregnancies, sure to stir up some talk. Elizabeth hadn't been out of the house in months.

It makes you wonder why. As happy as she was, it must have been strange not to blame her sagging figure and bumpy thighs on a baby. And to think she was forced to borrow maternity clothes from her friends' granddaughters. But maybe Elizabeth and Mary were too busy talking between themselves to pay much attention. Can you imagine their conversation over tea? One too old, the other too young. One married to an old priest, the other promised to a young carpenter. One heavy with child, the other with no physical evidence to fuel her faith. But God had graciously given them one another with a bond to braid their lives forever.

"Women are like that, aren't they? We long to find someone who has been where we've been, who shares our fragile places, who sees our sunsets with the same shades of blue."

Elizabeth lived fifty to seventy miles from Nazareth. Mary had no small trip ahead of her and no small amount of time to replay the recent events. She probably joined others making the trip, but we have no reason to assume anyone traveled with her. Can you imagine how different she was already beginning to feel? How did it feel to finally enter the village Zechariah and Elizabeth called home? What do you imagine was going through Mary's mind as she passed village merchants and mothers with children?

Finally, Mary entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. Mary's words of salutation may have been common, but Elizabeth's reaction was far from common. The infant John jumped within his mother's womb, and Elizabeth was suddenly "filled with the Holy Spirit" (v. 41). Elizabeth proclaimed Mary and her child "blessed" and asked a glorious question: "Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (v. 43).

Mary and Elizabeth shared not only tender similarities but also vital differences. Elizabeth pointed out the most profound difference: she was expecting her son; Mary was expecting her Lord. The concepts seem almost unfathomable even with the complete revelation of the Word. Don't miss the riches that follow Elizabeth's inspiring question. She went on to announce: "As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:44-45)

Has God ever provided you someone to share your joy in the impossible or to understand the peculiar place you find yourself in? Describe how it impacted you. And determine how you will be used of God to be that person for someone else, when the need arises.

Praying God's Word Today:

Father of mercies, God of all comfort, thank You for comforting us in our affliction, not merely that we might sense Your renewal and refreshment, but also that w may be able to comfort thaose who are in any kind of afflicktion, through the comfort we ourselves have received from You (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Thank You for making us an instrument of Your mercy and healing to others. In Jesus name we pray.....AMEN

A study by: Beth Moore

Jesus, 90 days with the One and Only

Mary's Song

Day 4

Before You Begin

Read Luke 1:46-55

Stop and Consider

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy (v. 49)

We are prone to dwell on our own weaknesses and shortcomings. But if someone were to really look inside, what evidence of God's work would they see in you? (It's not boastful to praise Him for what He does!)

If you were to write a song today, what words and phrases would you want to employ?
Mary's wonderful words from her Magnificat offer us an opportunity to catch a glimpse of serveral facts about her:

Her excitement: Mary had probably been too scared to celebrate before, but Elizabeth's confirmation of God's miraculous work set her free! How do I know? Behold verse 47: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior." The original word for "rejoices" is agalliao, meaning "to exult, leap for joy, to show one's joy be leaping and skipping denoting excessive or ecstatic joy and delight. Often spoken of rejoicing with song and dance." Whether or not young Mary began physically jumping up and down with joy and excitement, her insides certainly did! I am totally blessed by the thought. Nothing is more appropriate than getting excited when God does something in our lives. I think He loves it!

Her love of Scripture: Mary's song reflects twelve different Old Testament passages. She didn't just hear the Word; she held it to her heart and pondered it. Scripture draws a picture of a reflective young woman with an unusal heart for God. A young Hebrew girl believed nothing to be as important as motherhood. I believe she must have recalled a favorite Old Testament story when she received the news. Mary sang praises to God just as Hannah had done over the birth of Samuel.

Her humility: Her statement that "all generations will call me blessed" (v. 48) was not voiced in pride but from shock. Mary reminds me of David, who said: "Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?....Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?" (2 Sam. 7:18-19). In a way, the answer to his question is yes. God seemed to love little more than stunning the humble with His awesome intervention.

Her Experience: Please don't lose the wonder of it. Marvel with me at the fact that she was plain, simple, and extraordinarily ordinary. I always felt the same way growing up. Still do, deep down inside. That's part of the beauty of God choosing someone like you and me to know Him and serve Him. May we never get over it.

Praying God's Word Today

Like Mary, Lord, my heart rejoices in You today. My mouth boasts over my enemies---those many, many stronghold that have held me prisioner far too long----even Satan himself, who has been rendered defeated by Your great Salvation. There is no one holy like You, Lord. In fact, there is no one besides You! There is no rock like our God! (I Sam. 2:1-2). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study by: Beth Moore


"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

A Good Time to Celebrate

Day 5

Before You Begin

Read Luke 2:1-7

Stop and Consider

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered (v. 1)

What do you love most about celebrating the birth of Christ?

What would you say to those who think this holiday is somewhat sacrilegious, that mingling something so sacred with something so increasingly secular cheapens our worship?

I have heard the questions thousands of times: Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? How do we know when the birth of Christ took place? Why celebrate Christmas at a time originally set for ancient pagan celebrations?

The Scrooges are right; we don't know when Christ was born. But I happen to think His is a birth worthy of celebrating at some time of year. After all, God didn't just tolerate celebrations and festivals commemorating His faitfulness--He commanded them! His idea! Some were solemn; others were for the pure purpose of rejoicing before the Lord.

On one such occasion Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). The Book of Esther also speaks of an annual day set aside for "joy and feasting...a day for giving presents to each other" (Esther 9:19). The most concentrated list of Old Testament feasts appears in Leviticus 23. The chapter describes seven different feasts. In verse 5 we read, "The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month."

The first month falls, according to the new moon, over the last half of March and the first half of April. The timing has significance to all of us who have carried children in our wombs. In the Jewish calendar, the fourteenth day of the first month is called the day of conception. If our God of perfect planning and gloriously significant order happened to overshadow Mary on the fourteenth day of the first month of His calendar, our Savior would have been born toward the end of our December. We have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not He did, but I would not be the least bit surprised for God to have sparked His Son's human life on one Passover and ended it on another.

No, I don't believe in Easter bunnies, and I don't have much of an opinionon Sant Clauses, but I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to celebrating Christmas, the birth of my Savior. Until a further "Hear ye! Hear ye!" comes from heaven, December 25 works mighty fine for me.
Praying God's Word Today

O Lord, may we never lack desire to speak of Your glorious splendor and Your wonderful works, declaring Your greatness from one generation to the next. May we proclaim and celebrate the power of Your awe-inspiring works, giving testimony of Your great goodness and joyfully singing of Your righteousness (Ps. 145:5-7).

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Perfect Timing

Day 6

Before You Begin
Read Galatians 4:3-7

Stop and Consider

But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those unde the law (vv.4-5).

What has God shown you in your own life about His timing...His perfect timing?

How does this soverign power of God strike you? Does it leave you feeling confined and hemmed in? Or does it make you feel totally secure and at rest in His eternal purposes?

God purposed that His Son would come out of Nazareth but be born in Bethlehem. So He caused a census to require everyone in the Roman world to return to the place of his or her family origin. Probably the timing was too close to the birth of the child for Joseph to leave Mary behind. One commentary tenderly suggested that Joseph may not have wanted Mary left behind and subjected to gossip.

Bethlehem is about five mile south of Jerusalem, quite a distance from Nazareth, with chains of hills and mountains in between. Theirs was no easy trip. Women could be tempted to picket the New International Version for leaving out one little detail that had a profound influence on Mary's trip: "Mary....being great with child" (Luke 2:5). We have to appreciate the fact that the verb tense indicates a continuous action. We might say she was getting greater by the minute.

I certainly remember feeling that way. I'll never forget catching a glimpse of myself, great with child, in the distorted reflection of the stainless-steel faucet on the tub. My stomach looked huge, and my head and arms appeared like nubs. From then on I took showers. Taking "great with child" on the road is no easy task.

Whether or not Mary and Joseph planned Christ's birth this way, God certainly did. One of my favorite phrases in the birth narrative is humbly tucked in Luke 2:6: "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born." The time. The time toward which all "time" had been ticking since the kingdom clock struck one.

These words refer to the most important segment of time since the first tick of the clock. The second hand circled tens of thousands of times for thousands of years, then finally, miraculously, majestically---the time came. God's voice broke through the barrier of the natural realm through the cries of an infant, startled by life on the outside. The Son of God had come to earth, wrapped in a tiny cloak of human flesh. "She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (v. 7).

Praying God's Word Today

Father God, You have brought all things together in Christ---things both in heaven and on earth. In Him, You have made us Your inheritance, predestined according to Your eternal purpose---You who work out everything in agreement with Your will. Therefore, we who have put our hope in Jesus our Messiah praise His glorious name (Eph. 1:10-12). Obedient to Your call, He has met us in our deepest need....just when we needed Him most. In Jesus name we pray.....AMEN
Study by: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Heaven Came Down

Day 7

Before You Begin

Read Luke 2: 8-14

Stop and Consider

The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people" (v. 10)

What is your attitude toward common, ordinary, rough-around-the-edges people? How do you approach them, see them, respond to them?

What would be different or would have to change about God's "good news" if it wasn't intended for "all people?"

Luke 2 identifies the first person to receive the glorious announcement of Christ's birth. Why do you think God first proclaimed the good news to a motley crew of sheep herders? He seems to enjoy revealing Himself to common people rather than to those who feel most worthy. He often uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (see I Cor. 1:28). Maybe God had a soft place in His heart for the shepherds watching over their flocks.

Don't miss the fact that the announcement came to the shepherds while they were watching over their flocks "at night" (v.8). Sometimes in the contrast of the night, we can best see the glory of God. Verse 9 tells us that "the glory of the Lord shone around them." Notice the Scripture does not say that the glory of the Lord shone around the angel but around the shepherds. As you picture the scene, keep in mind that only one angel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to them first. The other heavenly hosts did not join the scene until after the birth announcement. Most definitely, the glory shone around the shepherds.

Try to imagine for a moment what happened. How do you think the glory of the Lord looked around the shepherds? We don't know for sure; I'm just asking you to picture it in your mind right now.

I am convinced that God wants us to get involved in our Scripture reading. Using our imaginations and picturing the events as eye-witnesses can make black ink on a white page spring into living color. No matter how the glory of God appeared, it scared the shepherds half to death. The words of the angel are so reminiscent of my Savior. Often He told those nearly slain by His glory not to be afraid.

Oh, how I love Him. The untouchable Hand of God reaching down to touch the fallen hand of man. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (v. 10). I am convinced our witness would be far more effective if we brought our good news with great joy.

Praying God's Word Today

How I thank You, Lord Jesus, that Your good news is for all people, that we who were once alienated and hostile toward You becaue of our evil actions have now been reconciled through Your death. Even more, we who deserved death and shame have been presented before You holy, faultless, and blameless (Col. 1:21-22). May I live to worship You for such amazing grace, and live to tell of its wonders to others. In Jesus name we Pray.....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

A Night of Nights

Day 8

Before You Begin

Read Luke 2:15-20

Stop and Consider

But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them (v.19)

What would have in change in your life for you to experience more times of "treasuring" your blessings, of "meditating" on the goodness and greatness of God?

If you did, what do you think would be the result of it? How would it benefit you? How would it alter your perspectives?

How do you suppose Mary felt on the night of nights after Jesus had been born? The following are just some thoughts that God gave me as I tried to imagine what it would have been like over those next couple of hours. But I want to be very clear here: this is strictly fiction. I just invite you with me what Mary's first moments might have been like as a mother:

Her body lay sapped of strength, her eyes were heavily closed, but her mind refused to give way to rest. She ached for her mother. She wondered if she yet believed her. She heard the labored breathing of the man sleeping a few feet from her. Only months before he was little more than a stranger to her. She knew only what she had been told and what she could read in occasional shy glances. She had been told he was a good man. Over the last few days, she found out he was far more than a good amn. No man, no matter how kind, could have done what he had done. She wondered how long it had been since he'd really rested.

A calf, only a few days old, awakened hungry and could not find its mother. The stir awakened the baby who also squirmed to find His mother. Scarcely before she could move her tender frame toward the manger, He began to wail! She scooped Him in her arms, her long hair draping His face, and she quietly slipped out of the gate. She gingerly sat down and leaned against the outside of the stable, propped the baby on her small lap, and taking a strip of linen and tying back her hair, she began to stare into His tiny face. She had not yet seen Him in the light. She had never seen the moon so bright. The night was nearly as light as the day. Only hours old, His chin quivered, not from the cold, but from the sudden exposure of birth. His eyes were shaped like almonds and were as black as the deepest well. She held Him tightly and quietly hummed a song she'd learn as a child. She had been so frightened of this moment, so sure she would not know what to do. She had never held an infant so small, and He was God, wrapped in soft, infant flesh, with bones so fragile she felt like He could break. She had pictured this moment so many times. What would the Son of the Spirit look like? She never expected Him to look so normal, so common. Must have been the part He inherited from His mother. She was so sure she'd feel terribly awkward. So afraid she'd drop Him---the Messiah--and God would be awfully sorry He had given Him to her! Instead, every fear, every doubt, every inadequacy was momentarily caught up in the indescribable rapture of a mother's affection.

She remembered asking Elizabeth things she dared not ask her father and mother. Once when they were walking together at the end of the day, the wind blew her cousin's robes against her, and like a curious teenager, Mary tried her hardest to catch a good glimpse of Elizabeth's rounded middle. At the time she herself had no physical evidence that God's promise was true. But she had enough faith to ask endless questions. What am I do do when He comes? Her cousin's reply would remain etched upon Mary's heart long after He had saved the world. He will tell you what He needs from you. Beyond what He needs, all He wants is for you to embrace Him and talk to Him.

She looked back into His delicate face and watched Him closely as He seemed to stare deeply into the moonlit sky. And she began to talk. "Sweet baby boy. Do You know who Your Daddy is? Do you know Your name? Do You know why You're here? What do You see when You look out there? Can You see the stars? Do You remember their names? Do You think I'll do OK? Will You love me too?" A tear dropped from her chin to His. He yawned and made such a funny expression she grinned, wiping her face on the yellowed rags she'd draped around Him. The fussing calf had obviously found its mother. Not a sound was coming from inside the stable. The earth stilled. The infant slept. She held the babe next to her face, and for just a moment, all the world was silent to the breath of God.

She closed her eyes and listened, stealing time like a hidden metronome, as high and as wide as she dared to think, but she still could not begin to comprehend. She, a common child of the most humble means who had never read the Scriptures for herself, was embracing the incarnate Word. The fullness of the Godhead rested in her inexperienced arms, sleeping to the rhythm of her heart. This time she hummed a song she did not know, a song being sung by the choir of angels hovering over her head but hidden from her carnal senses. The deafening hallelujahs of the heavenly hosts were silent to mortal ears except through the sounds of a young womans's voice who had unknowingly given human notes to a holy score. The glory of God filled the earth. Heaven hammered a bridge, but one young woman sat completely unaware of all that swelled the atmosphere around her. The tiny baby boy had robbed her heart. "So, this is how it feels to be a mother," she mused.

She crept back into the stable, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger. Just down the path, the sun peeked gently over the roof of an inn full of barren souls who had made Him no room.

What have you sensed in your heart as you've imagined these things with me? What are the real-life qualities of Christ that most surprise you to think of them?

Praying God's Word Today

I will sing to You, Lord, all my life, trusting that my meditation will always be pleasing to You (Ps. 104:33-34). May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Ps. 19:14). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore
"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Covenant and Redemption

Day 9

Before You Begin
Read Luke 2:21-24

Stop and Consider

When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (v.22)

What is the difference between being obedient to custom---in being merely traditional--and being faithful to do what God has commanded?

Which religious customes and disciplines carry the most meaning for you---not just in their warm feelings of nostalgia but in their true spiritual significance?

Jesus' parents had Him circumcised on the eighth day of His young life. Then they presented Him at the temple and offered the sacrifices required of new parents. Each of the steps Mary and Joseph took after Christ's birth was typical of devout Jewish parents. What made these events typical is that their infant would ultimately fulfill the prophetic representation of each of these rituals. Let's take a brief look at all three rites: circumcision, redemption, and purification.

The Rite of Circumcision. We read about circumcision in Genesis (17:1-14). It was so important that verse 11 says it would serve as "a sign of the covenant between me and you." Verse 14 says an uncircumcised male "will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant." The rite of circumcision was God's way of requiring the Jewish people to become physically different because of their relationship to Him

A careful reading of Colossians 2:9-15 sheds light on how the infant Jesus would later be used to fulfill a different kind of circumcision in believers. Verse 11 says: "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature." If you have walked with Jesus for any time, you can point to ways in which our spiritual circumcision results in proof that we are different than the persons we originally were.

When the infant Jesus was circumcised at eight days of age, I'm not sure His parents could fathom that He was the physical manifestation of the covenant God had made thousands of years earlier. Second Corinthians 1:20 says, "No matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ." The infant that Joseph held during Jesus' circumcision was the very Yes of God to the promise of the covenant being symbolized.

The Rite of Redemption. In Luke 2:22-24 two distinct rites were observed by Mary and Joseph. Before we research them, please note that a segment of time has passed between the circumcision and the presentation. According to Leviticus 12:1-8, a woman was to wait thirty-three days after the circumcision before presenting a son at the temple. Exodus 13 tells us the reason why every firstborn male was to be redeemed. The redemption was a reminder that "the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand" (v.16).

Mary and Josph went to Jerusalem in obedience to this command. Like all devout Jewish parents, they presented their infant to the Lord to depict sacrifice and redemption. When jewish parents presented their firstborn son to the Lord, they were symbolizing the act of giving him up by saying, "He is Yours and we give him back to You." Then they would immediately redeem him or, in effect, buy him back.

Few teachings are more important and consistent in God's Word than the doctrine of redemption. The Hebrew word is padhah, meaning "to redeem by paying a price." The New Testament tells us Christ came to fulfill for us the very rite Mary and Joshph observed as they presented the Christ child to the Lord.

Ephesians 1:7 says, "In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." Consider this verse from the apostle Paul's Jewish perspective. He drew a parallel to our entrance into the family of God. Since most of us are Gentiles, we are considered the "adopted ones" in God's family. What was true in a tangible sense after the birth of a Jewish son is true of us in a spiritual sense after our rebirth as "sons" of God. We all must be redeemed. The wonderful picture for us, however, is that we are not bought from God by our natural parents. Rather, Christ buys us from our natural parentage, which is sinful flesh, to give us to His Father. If the concept is too confusing, just celebrate that Christ has redeemed you!

The Rite of Purification. The rite of redemption was distinct from the rite of purification. This purification is described in Leviticus 12:1-8. The prescribed sacrifice included a lamb, but the law made provision for impoverished parents. Verse 8 says, "If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons." Luke told us that Jesus' parents offered the poverty version of the sacrifice.

Have you ever considered what Christ's earthly poverty has to do with us? Second Corinthians 8:9 proclaims that "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."

Mary and Joseph offered the least sacrifice permitted by Jewish law for the rite of purification. How fitting that they held in their arms the greatest sacrifice a holy God could ever make for their eternal purification. Tius 2:14 tells us that Jesus Christ "gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own."

The word made flesh first entered the temple wrapped in a baby blanket. His earthly parents lifted Him to His Father and, in essence, purchased Him from heaven---for a while---for a lost world. One day that baby would buy them from earth for the glory of heaven. WOW!:

What does your heart say to you as you witness the perfection and continuity of God's Word in Christ--the perfect joining of Old Testament promise and New Testament fulfillment?

Praying God's Word Today

I'm grateful, Lord, that in obedience, there is life---that in the consistent honoring of Your Word, You cause our relationship to grow and deepen. Your precepts are right, making the heart glad. Your commandments are radiant, making the eyes light up. Your ordinances are reliable and altogether righteous (Ps. 19:8-9). Everything about You is consistency, stability, and truth..In Jesus name we pray.....AMEN
Study By: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Listening, Answering

Day -10

Before You Begin

Read Luke 2:41-47

Stop and Consider

After three days, they found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions...and all those who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers (vv. 46-47).

What are some of the questions you have for Him right now? And how assured are you that He is listening?

What do you think it will require for you to be receptive to "His understanding and His answers?

I had the joy of raising my children alongside my best friend of twenty-plus years. Numerous times we thought one of our children was with the other, only to find the child in the dog bowl or splashing in the toilet. We feel fortunate we didn't leave any of them while on vacation somewhere.

I'm not sure anything prompts emotions like finding a lost child. Fear surges through your heart during the search. Relief floods over you when you find the child safe. Then if the child discounts parental concern, emotions surge to vengeance!

Yet even though I feel compassion concerning Mary's and Joseph's fear, I love what they found their son doing on the third day of their search--sitting in the temple, conversating with the teachers:

"Listening." I'm so thankful Christ not only speaks, He also listens. We don't know if God allowed the twelve-year-old Christ to exercise His full omniscience or to unleash just enough wisdom to astound His listeners. But I love the fact that Christ still listens----not just to learn, since He knows all things. Rather, He allows us to pour our hearts because He loves us and wants to hear us.

"Asking them questions." Contrary to popular belief, faith is not the avoidance of questions. Our faith grows when we seek answers, and we find many between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21. We may hear a gentle, "Because I said so," to those questions God chooses not to answer, but I don't believe our heavenly Father is offended by questions. Part of Christlikeness is learning to listen and ask appropriate questions, even of those you respect in the faith.

"His answers." As we go along in this devotional journey, we will see several examples of Him posing a question only He could answer. Christ certainly uses that teaching method with me. Sometimes He'll cause me to dig through Scripture for a question He seemed to initiate. Other times the question may come as a personalized whisper in my heart. Then as He reveals my insecurities and fleshly defense mechanisms, He gives me new understanding. He answers me, so that I don't have to live off my own answers.

Praying God's Word Today

O Lord Jesus, just as during Your earthly life You offered prayers and appeals to the Father with loud cries and tears---and were heard because of Your reverence and submission (Heb. 5:7). I pray that I too would come before You in perfect trust, knowing that You always live to intercede for us (Heb. 7:25). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

What It's All About


Before You Begin

Read Luke 2:48-50

Stop and Consider

"Why were you searching for Me?" He asked them.
"Didn't you know that I had to be in My Father's house?" (v. 49)

When was the last time you received an answer from the Lord that seemed this far above your ability to understand it?

What do you do with answers from His Word that either seem not to make sense or seem impossible to emulate?

Mary, understandably hurt that Jesus had chosen to hang back in Jerusalem and leave them to worry about His safety, asked Him a question in verse 48: "Son, why have you treated us like this?" Christ's response in verse 49 suggests He was as mystified that they'd expect to find Him anywhere else as they were mystified to find Him there: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?"

The words "had to" come from the Greek word dei, meaning something that is "inevitable in the nature of things." Likely this word has never been used more literally. After all, the Father and the Son had the same nature. Christ was drawn to God, not as a devout believer, but as an overpowering magnet---as two pieces of the same whole.

Still, the fact remains that Mary had asked a question, and Jesus had given an answer. But verse 50 tells us that she didn't understand the answer He supplied.

This remains part of our experience today. I believe we are always free to ask Jesus questions. And I believe He is always faithful to answer, even though his answer may not be speedy in coming. But even if it does come immediately, we may not understand the answer until later. Maybe much later.

In my opinion, Christ's response was quite interesting. I've searched every Greek translation I can find, and none of my resources have an original word that directly translates to "house" (NIV) or "business" (KJV) in verse 49. From what I can gather, a more precise translation of Christ's response might be: "Didn't you know that I had to be about my Father?"

That question implies the desire of my heart more than any other I can imagine. I just wnat to be about God. Not about ministry. Not about my own agenda. Not about writing Bible studies. Not about me at all. When all is said and done, I would give my life for people to be able to say, "She was just about God." That would be the ultimate legacy. "Not that I have already obtained all this...but I press on" (Phil. 3:12). May we live lives that would cause others to be surprised to find us any other place than to "be found in Him" (Phil. 3:9).
Praying Gods Word Today

Lord God, Your light has shone into my darkness, and has exchanged it for the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). I pray that I will never be allured by the light of any other false attraction, but will ever find my joy in Your light, in Your life....In You.. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Study By: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Picturing Jesus

Day - 12

Before You Begin

Read Luke 2:39-40, 50-52

Stop and Consider

Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people (v. 52).

What image do you think most people have of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. And why do you think they perceive Him that way?

In today's reading, I'll share some of the qualities I most like in people. Wht would be on your list if you were to make one? And which of them can you see Jesus possessing?

Luke 2:52 appears brief and to the point but actually boradens dramatically our concept of Christ during those years when He went from boy to mature man.

Jesus grew in wisdom - The Greek word for "wisdom" is sophia. Consider two segments of the definition: (1) Sophia is skilled in the affairs of life, practical wisdom, and wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense. (2) In respect to divine things, sophia is wisdom, knowledge, insight, deep understanding. So as you seek to formulate an impression of what Christ was like in His earthly form, please view Him as both completely practical and deeply spiritual. In fact, Christ came to show us that the deeply spiritual is very practical.

I encourage you to avoid imagining Christ as so deep you'd have to dig to find Him or so spiritual His head is in the clouds. He came bringing heaven to earth. In today's terms, He was a man who could preach an anointed sermon, then change a flat tire on the way home from church.

No wonder Christ became such a rare teacher! Believing people are starving for a wisdom that is both deeply spiritual and vastly practical. Christ embodied every dimension of wisdom in His earthly life, even before He officially began His public ministry.

Jesus grew in stature - This phrase tells us the obvious: Christ grew physically (and mentally) in the vigor and stature of a man. What is, of course, less obvious is what He grew to look like. God's Word lets us use our permanent markers only once as we try to imagine Christ's appearance.

Isaiah 53:2 predicts about the coming Messiah: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." I simply cannot imagine Christ not being beautiful, but I also believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All of us can think of people who are beautiful to us but whose faces might never be chosen for a magazine cover. Don't read more into Isaiah 53:2 than is there, however. The intent of the original terms is that He didn't have a magnificent, godlike physical appearance that attracted people to Him. The descriptions don't necessarily imply that Christ was unattractive but that His looks were most likely ordinary.

Jesus grew in favor with God - Oh, how I love picturing the relationship Christ shared with His heavenly Father. I will limit my comments for now because I don't want to steal the joy of discovery as we search out dimension of their relationship in the days to come.

For now, note what the word favor means. The Greek word is charis, which is often translated "grace" in the New Testament. Charis means "grace, particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance." Jesus growing in favor with God basically implies that their relationship became an increasing delight to both of them. Without a doubt, the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is totally unique. Indeed Jesus is the One and Only---the Only begotten of the Father. And the relationship the two of them shared while Christ was earthbound is unparalleled.

Jesus grew in favor with men - As we attempt to formulate a picture of Christ's stature and personality, this description is extremely important. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that He was despised and rejected by men. But understand that He was not despised and rejected until He became a complete threat to the establishment. Actually, His popularity was the driving force behind Jesus opponents' lust for His blood.

In Luke 2:52, God states Christ's favor with men, but throughout the Gospels He demonstrates it. Fishermen don't leave their nets to follow someone void of personality. People didn't just respect Him---they liked Him. The word favor is undeniably related to the word favorite. I don't believe we are stretching the text in the least to say that Christ was a favorite of many who knew Him.

Think for a few moments of the different characteristics of people who tend to capture your favor. Unless those characteristics are inconsistent with godliness, in all likelihood Christ possessed them. I can readily share a few of my favorite characteristics in people: godly, warm, and personable, at least somewhat demonstrative, knowledgeable in a specific area so I can learn from them, trustworthy, and funny! Although God's Word tells us that we are not to show favoritism, all of us have favorite characteristics we enjoy in people. You can safely assume that Christ possessed many of the dimensions you would favor most.

I simply want you to be reminded that He was real. His sandals flapped when He walked down the road. His hair was misshapen when He awakened. He had to brush the bread crumbs off His beard after He ate. The muscles in His arms flexed when He lifted His little brothers and sisters. He had hair on His arms and warmth in His palms. He was the Son of God and the Son of man. Fathom the unfathomable.

In what way is this exercise helpful to you? Or new to you? How does it alter (if at all) the picture you have of Jesus in your mind's eye?
Praying God's Word Today

How I long to grow with my brothers and sisters into the knowledge of Your Son, growing into a mature person with a stature measured by Christ's fullness---not tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, but walking in the truth, growing in every way into Him who is the head---our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:13-15). In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Wearing Our Transgressions

Day 13

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 3:1-6

Stop and Consider

They were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins (v. 6).

What's the purpose of confession and repentance after we've already been forgiven of our sins? Why does God still demand and expect it of us?

In your times of repentance, what do you find the Lord doing in yuour heart? What does He achieve during these moments that never seem to happen at any other time?

We can almost picture John waist-deep in water with people streaming out to be baptized. They were confessing their sins, because they weren't being baptized unto salvation. John was baptizing them unto repentance, preparing them to encounter the Savior, the One who could bring them salvation.

I believe they were quite specific confessing their sins. In all likelihood they were crying out these confessions, maybe even wailing them, weeping over their sins. Then came Christ. We know He was not coming to be baptized unto repentance. He was the spotless Lamb of God. Complete perfection. He was the only One who had no confessing to do that day in those waters. He came for John to baptize Him.

I just want you to get the picture here. I'm not trying to make a doctrinal statement or an interpretatin of Scripture. I'm just asking you to see a picture. We know that God was baptizing His Son into ministry---the representation of the death, the burial, and the resurrection. But I also see something so precious in the fact that the people had confessed their sins standing in those same waters and then were baptized. Christ comes after they've made these confessions. He is baptized--drenched in the same waters where they had confessed their sins. I'm just talking symbolism here, but do you almost see Him wearing the sins they had confessed in those waters?

I love the practice of daily coming to the line with Christ and naming my sins. I don't practice a "Lord, forgive me for all my sins." I don't see true biblical repentance in that. Repentance assumes we are naming the sin to acknowledge it. Then I like to discuss with God why it doesn't agree with His Word, why the sin isn't what He wants for me. That kind of repentance begins to get those precepts down into my soul.

I love Acts 3:19: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord." Those of us who have already received Christ have been baptized into Him. Now daily confession is like refreshment to our souls. We come away from repentance cleansed. Ready to be filled. Ready to walk in the Spirit.

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, You have said, "It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more" (Isa. 43:25). "I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like a mist (Isa. 44:22). Therefore, make us quick to return to You, for You have redeemed us. Make us as eager to wear Your righteousness and holiness as You are to wear our sins. In Jesus name we pray....AMEN

Day 14

"Jesus" 90 Days with the One and Only

Waist Deep in Glory

Day - 14

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 3:13-15

Stop and Consider

But John tried to stop Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me" (v. 14).

What keeps far too many believers from being as humbled and overwhelmed by the presence of God as John was?

What changes could you make in your daily activities and typical priorities in order to cultivate a heart that continues to be stunned by His willingness to stoop to our level?

Our gloriously deliberate God orchestrated the lives of two extraordinary men, born six months apart, to converge waist-deep in the waters of the Jordan River. For John the Baptizer, it was the beginning of the end. He had prepared God's way, and now God was preparing his. For Jesus, it marked the end of the beginning. His life would descend on Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem like a desert storm. That day in the river of promise, John baptized Jesus with water, and Jesus baptized the Jordan with glory.

Just imagine what was going on in the mind of Christ as He was walking to the River Jordan. I wonder if He stopped to watch the scene for awhile, with the people confessing their sins. Did He watch this mighty servant of God preaching the Word with boldness? I'm just picturing somehow that horizon and His figure overlooking the scene. Then He walks up to the shore, and John sees Him.

I've written something that is strictly fiction. I was just reflecting on what might have been going through John's mind as Jesus approached him. Perhaps these thoughts will help us see again what happens when very real people encounter the Son of God:

"My tongue had been like a flame that day. The Word of God came to me in the desert like fire from heaven. If I hadn't preached it, it would have consumed me. I had no fear. No intimidation. God sent me to those Jordan waters, and I knew they'd come. No preearranged meeting. Just the wind of the Spirit wooing, drawing, then blowing away the debris of sin, preparing the way for the Deliverer. No matter who came to the shore to hear or to jeer. The message was immutable, "Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near!"

"The fruit of repentance pierced the wind with cries of confession and waves of grief. I hardly stepped out of those waters that day. My voice grew raspy and hoarse but never quiet. Boldness was the marrow in my bones. Funny how stunned we are when the future we prophesy suddenly becomes present. I had told them I was unworthy to loose His sandals and that I would only baptize with water for repentance. He would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. I spoke like an authority. Like an associate of the closest kind. Like someone who knew it all. I didn't.

"I was just raising a repentant man from the waters when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye walk to the water's edge. As I think back, how those waters kept from parting that day, I'll never know. Numbers were gathered on the shore. Others were waist-deep in the water. Suddenly I became oblivious to all but the overpowering presence of the One. There He stood, looking straight at me, through me. Oh, it was Him all right! I had been preparing for Him all my life, and yet I was not ready. All I could do was look at Him and shake my head, 'No. Please, no! Not me. I have need to be baptized by You!'

"Suddenly I was overcome by my own compulsion to flood the shore with waves of repentance, and He answered, 'Let it be for now. It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' So I consented, shaking all over. I placed my left hand on His back and my right hand on His chest. I felt the heartbeat of the Son of God. As if in slow motion, I leaned Him back into those waters, His weight submitting to my hands.

"All of a sudden the Jordan chilled me to the bone. I raised Him from the waters, and He stood before me drenched in the river of promise. The water dripping from His beard seemed to drop like diamonds, proclaiming His endless perfections. He alone had no confessions to make that day. Only one was made over Him, the confession of His holiness enthroned in heaven. 'This is my Son whom I love and with Him I am well pleased.' The blessing of the Father fell like a dove from heaven. He walked out of those waters into our lives, interrupting a fallen world with grace and truth. My name is John. I am the son of a simple man and woman. I baptized the Messiah that day."

Can you imagine? He had prepared all his life. When we set apart our lives unto Him, He will do wonders with us the likes of which we cannot imagine.

I left you plenty of room today so you could try to recapture what it was like when you first met the Christ. How did He seemed to you? What was it like? How does He still amaze you at times with the sheer glory and wonder---and stark reality----of His presence?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, to see You today in glory---your head and hair white like wool, Your feet like fine bronze fired in a furnace, Your voice like the sound of cascading waters, Your face shining like the sun at midday---I, like John the apostle, fall on my face as though dead (Rev. 1:14-17). Your boundless beauty and majesty astound me. May it ever be so! In Jesus name we pray....AMEN
Study by: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

A Father Unlike His Son

Day 15

Before You Begin

Read Matthew 3:16-17

Stop and Consider

The heavens suddenly opened up for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him (vv. 16-17).

Why isn't heaven always open to our sight? What is the benefit of knowing it's there---and knowing He's there---without being able to physically see for ourselves?

Whether you feel like you've received your father's blessing or not, describe the importance of this in a person's life. What goes missing when it's not given? What comes pouring through when it is?

Back in Genesis 1, God created the heavens and the earth, He separated the expanse from the waters, and He called that expanse the sky. I can't help but think, then, "If He called it into being and put it in its place, He can open it if He wants to!" On the day when Jesus was baptized, the Father opened up the sky like a window, and showed Christ the vision through it.

This event makes me think of Stephen, the very first martyr, because heaven was opened to him and he saw Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God on his behalf. What I want you to understand is that heaven is right there. We look up at the sky at night and the expanse of the stars. He is literally just an open window away from us, sitting on His throne. His presence is in us and on us. God upon His throne is near. We just can't quite see it yet.

On this special occasion God did something unusual. He opened up that window, and Christ looked straight into heaven. It had been a long time since He had seen that vision. I believe part of God's purpose for sending Jesus here was to experience life as we do. That means I don't believe He had X-ray vision every single second into the throne room of God. I believe that many times He prayed, meditated, and had relationship with His Father in the very same ways we do today. So what a time this must have been to capture that moment when He could see heaven open and the Holy Spirit descend.

And then to hear His Father's blessing. Again, I don't think God spoke audible to His Son every day He was on earth. I think maybe Jesus was called here to sympathize with us and to take part in the kind of relationship we do. A whole lot of His prayer was spent talking to God, knowing only in His own Spirit and through God's Word what the Father was answering Him. So the audible voice of His Father sounding forrth at His baptism must have just fallen on Jesus with the dearest of familiarity. This was the love of His life. I want to think that through the night, He replayed that voice and blessing in His own mind a thousand times. "He loves Me. Life is hard here, but He's proud of Me. I have the blessing. I have the blessing."

Praying God's Word Today

Lord Jesus, lest I ever forget, You are the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by You, everything was created in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities---all things have been created through You and for You. You are before all things, and by You all things hold together (Col.1:15-17). In Jesus name we pray...AMEN

Study by: Beth Moore

"Jesus" 90 days with the One and Only

Tempting Invitations

Day 16

Before You Begin

Read Luke 4:1-13

Stop and Consider

Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the Devil (vv. 1-2).

Why would God lead His Son into the desert immediately following His baptism?

What have been some of your most obvious "wilderness" seasons? Do you remember what preceded them? How did they change you?

Christ's experience in the desert represented an intense season of temptation that was tailored by the enemy for the challenges of messiahship that lay ahead. God placed Jesus with His adversary in a lab of sorts to establish the ground rules from the very beginning. With this idea in mind, let's briefly consider each temptation:

1.) "Tell this stone to become bread" (v.3). Could Christ turn a stone into bread? Undoubtedly! So why shouldn't He? After all, He was famished. Matthew 4:2 tells us He had been fasting for forty days. Nothing is wrong with eating when a person is hungry---unless a greater issue is involved. Most likely Jesus' intent in fasting was to seek God and refrain from all distractions, much the same way Anna, the prophetess, was said to serve God "night and day, fasting and praying" (Luke 2:37). Since we know Jesus was filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit, we can assume the Spirit prompted the fast; therefore, the fast wasn't over until God said so.

What did this temptation have to do with Christ's imminent ministry? Robert Stein says the issue was whether or not Christ would use His power for His own ends. "Would He live by the same requirements of faith and dependence on God as everyone else in the kingdom?" Satan's strategy wasn't all that different from what he used when tempting Eve in the garden (see Gen. 3:1). In both cases, Satan wanted to sow doubt, but not because he had any. He knew what God had said to Adam and Eve, and he definitely knew Christ was the Son of God. Why in the world would Satan have tried sowing doubt in Christ?

We see a second similarity between the Garden of Eden and the wilderness, in that both temptations involved food. Christ was hungry. Eve was hungry, too, even though her hunger was for something different. Our appetites are ferocious. They are fodder for much temptation. I find Paul's description of the enemies of the cross of Christ very interesting in Philippians 3:19 when he said their minds are on earthly things and "their god is their stomach." Although you and I are not enemies of the cross, we certainly know the temptation of making our stomachs gods. But Christ didn't fall to this temptation. Instead He responded with two critical phrases. Christ first phrase of response was universal, because Scripture applies to every temptation we can ever face. He said, "It is written (Luke 4:4). In those words He clarified the matter of authority. Jesus subjugated Satan's words to God's Word.

The second phrase of Jesus' response was issue-specific. "Man must not live on bread alone." Christ applied the specific word from Scripture to meet His need. So Satan moved on to the next temptation.

2.) "If you worship me, it will all be yours" (v.7). We cannot imagine Christ ever being the least bit tempted to worship Satan, but can we not imagine that He might have been tempted to rip Satan's authority out of his hands?

Christ didn't challenge Satan's ability to make such an offer. We can assume Satan must have had the authority as the prince of this world. It's true the authority God has allowed Satan is limited and temporary, but it is nonetheless very real.

Yet can you imagine how Christ must feel as He watches the state of the world under the influence of the evil prince's authority? Oppression, violence, and deception characterize the world God loves. Surely Christ is counting the days until He grabs the deed restriction to the world and reigns without rival in righteousness.

Satan was hoping Christ would be so anxious to secure the world that He'd worship him. Needless to say, Satan was wrong. Christ will most assuredly reign over this world, but not until all things have happened according to God's kingdom calendar.

Once again Christ called on Scripture, this time with the specific application: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only" (v.8). Christ adamantly resisted worshiping Satan as a way to gain the world. So Satan moved to his third temptation.

3.) "Throw yourself down from here" (v.9). Based on Christ's response to this temptation, we know that at least one of Satan's intentions was to tempt Christ to put God to the test. But Satan may have had a second intention in this particular temptation. The placement of the temptation at the temple suggests that the enemy may have been hoping a dramatic scene would cause the Jews to hail Jesus as their king before He faced the cross. If Christ had foregone the cross, He would have been no less God, but we would be lost.

In conclusion, it's clear that these were no ordinary temptations. They appear to be direct assaults on the messiahship of Christ. We can, however, draw a few applications from them:
  • Seasons of intense temptations are not indications of God's displeasure.
  • Satan is tenacious. Don't expect him to give up after one or two tries.
  • Scripture is the most powerful tool in our fight against temptation. Don't fight back with your words. Fight back with God's!

What are some of the patterns you've observed in the way temptations come to you? How can that help you be better prepared to deal with them?

Praying God's Word Today

Lord, I am so grateful that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, I cling to the promise that no temptation has overtaken us except what is common to humanity. You are faithful, Lord, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. In fact, with the temptation You will also provide a way of escape, so that we may be able to bear it (I Cor. 10:13). In Jesus name we pray...AMEN
Study By: Beth Moore


Sorry for the delay in getting this out.
Well you have done so much here Godbe4me, where did you get it all from silly thing for me to say it must be from God Himself, as I get so much information myself from Him,well it seems that each of us get different information to write down it would be no good if we all did the samething.
I printed off some of it to read later,

God love you so do I

Hello Raymond,
I cannot take the credit for this. This is a study by Beth Moore. I am just typing and sharing with all who would like to have a 90 day journey with the One and Only. I am glad that you have enjoyed it.

Thanks Raymond,
Not open for further replies.