Jesus Chose to Come to Us

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NIV

As I was sharing the Advent wreath with my elementary students, I asked them to consider what Jesus left to come to earth, what He would face here, and why He made that choice. Let’s reflect on that together.

In heaven, Jesus had everything. He was with His heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. He shared in the glory of God before the world began (John 17:5) Jesus was adored and worshipped by the angels and by God’s people who were already in heaven. All of the riches off heaven were His. He had majesty. He had unlimited power and all knowledge. Jesus was not limited by time or location. Everything in heaven was and is done according to God’s will. Heaven is a perfect place.

Faced with a world of lost souls who needed a Savior, Jesus Christ chose to come to earth in accordance to the Father’s plan. He left everything behind for us.

Jesus was now separated physically from His Father and from the Holy Spirit. He exchanged His heavenly home for a feeding trough in a stable, probably in a cave. He left heaven’s riches for earthly poverty.  

Jesus became a refugee, fleeing with Mary and Joseph to Egypt to escape King Herod’s plot to kill Him. When Herod failed to learn his whereabouts, he had all males less than two years of age killed in the Bethlehem area. (Matthew 2:13-18)

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on

Jesus chose to come, knowing that His birth would be scorned because His mother, Mary, was pregnant before marriage. He was accused of being born of fornication. (John 8:41) His half-siblings through Mary and Joseph did not believe He was the Son of God during His life on earth. It was after His resurrection that they believed.

Our Savior chose to come to earth knowing that the religious leaders who should have been looking for Him and celebrating His coming were the same people who would mock His teachings and the truth of Scripture. These leaders would arrest Him, and He would be spat upon, whipped, and falsely tried. Ultimately Jesus would be crucified on a Roman cross, the most shameful and painful way to die.  

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on

Jesus knew all of this before He left heaven to come that first Christmas.

He came, willingly laying down His life for us. He knew He would live again!

As the Father knows Me. Even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. John 10:15, 17, 18 NKJV

Why did Jesus make this choice to leave everything for us?   He loves us and takes joy in us. He makes it possible for us to have faith in Him.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:9, 13 NIV

…Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NIV

Let’s respond to Jesus and thank Him for the choice He made for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author…of our faith who will bring us to perfection and completion.

Jesus, thank you for choosing to leave heaven to come to earth. Thank you for choosing to come for us, for me. Help me to fix my eyes on You above everything and everyone else.


Top Photo of wreath by Bastian Riccardi on


Angelic Messengers at Christmas

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest of care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow… Even angels long to look into these things. I Peter 1:10, 11, 12b NIV

God put His plan for mankind’s salvation into action. Our Savior was leaving heaven to live among mankind! God’s messengers were involved during the preparation for the arrival of Jesus, and into His early childhood. The apostle Peter wrote that angels long to look into these things. Imagine what the angels thought of everything that was happening around the time of the Messiah’s birth.

Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Zacharias.

“Do not be afraid , Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you shall have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” Gabriel goes on to tell that John’s roll would be “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:11-20 NKJV

Gabriel also appeared to Mary. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-32, 35 NIV

After Joseph considered putting Mary away secretly because she was pregnant with a child who was not his own, an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream. The angel told Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived from the Holy Spirit and to take her as his wife. Matthew 1:18-25. God knew Joseph needed the assurance that this was His plan.

Can anyone who has seen a Christmas pageant forget the announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds?

Photo by Monstera on
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 of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:9-14 NIV 

The Wise Men went to King Herod seeking “He who has been born King of the Jews.” Learning the prophecy said the King would be born in Bethlehem, they left Jerusalem and again saw the star which led them to the Child Jesus. They worshipped Him and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The Magi were divinely warned in a dream not to return to Herod and returned to their own country another way. Matthew 2:1-12

Joseph had additional visits from angels in his dreams. He was warned to flee to Egypt with Jesus and Mary because Herod sought to destroy the Child (Matthew 2:13-14). He was later told to return to Israel after Herod died, and then warned not to settle in Judea where Herod’s son Archelaus reigned, so Joseph settled in Galilee in Nazareth, fulfilling the prophecy that Christ “will be called a Nazarene.” (Matthew 2:19, 21-23)

The angels might not have understood how God could love us so much to send Jesus to be our Savior, but the messengers from God were obedient to the Lord’s specific instructions.

Let’s reflect on Jesus coming to earth. Let’s be quick to obey what God tells us to do.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Your Son, Jesus! Help me to not be afraid, but to trust and obey You as Mary and Joseph did when you sent your messengers to them.


The Names of the LORD – Part Eight of Nine

Jehovah-Shalom: The-LORD-is-Peace

So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The-LORD-is-Peace (Jehovah-shalom). Judges 6:24 NKJV

Peace. It can be hard to grasp when the world seems to spin out of control. Reading the news is more distressing than it is hopeful. Stress, troubles, and difficulties with other people cause an emotional and sometimes physical upheaval. Fear and turmoil often become the norm. When my focus is on problems I feel anything but peace.

Gideon certainly did not have peace when he is first introduced in the Old Testament book of Judges, chapter six. He threshed wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites who oppressed Israel. Gideon was fearful and discouraged.

I love how the LORD does not leave Gideon in his fears, but comes to him. In the time they are talking, Gideon questioned why bad things were happening and stated, “The LORD has abandoned us.” Then he gave excuses of why he couldn’t be the one the LORD was sending to deliver Israel. The LORD assured Gideon of His presence. “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon’s response grows from fear to bringing an offering. When the Angel of the LORD touched the offering with His staff and fire from the rock consumed the offering, Gideon feared for his life. “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.” The LORD said to him, “Peace be to you: do not fear, you shall not die.”

So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The-LORD-is-Peace (Jehovah-shalom).

Gideon’s circumstances did not change, yet he found that The-LORD-is-Peace. The Midianites still were the oppressors of his people, but now Gideon had peace because he was listening to the LORD. In his obedience to do what the LORD instructed him, he tore down his father’s idol, he called 32,000 people to arms against their oppressors, and after dismissing all but 300 of them, he led the remaining small army to victory. Gideon became the sixth judge of Israel, and Israel had forty years rest from their enemies. (Judges 6-8)

Picture of Gideon from Kidfrugal Free Bible images

We also can find rest from our enemies and from our own distress if we rely on the LORD. Our circumstances may remain unchanged, but if we turn to the LORD, He will be our peace in the midst of the storm.

Jesus told His disciples, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace by which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1, 2 NIV (emphasis mine here and in Philippians).

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV.  Paul wrote to the Philippians while he was Nero’s prisoner in Rome, and yet the apostle is triumphant, writing of joy and peace. 

Let’s look to God as our source of peace. Let’s share that peace with others. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19 NIV

Jehovah-shalom, thank you for being the LORD of peace. Help me to not be anxious, but to rest in the peace You provide.

Top photo by Disha Sheta on

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday and are archived for your convenience.


The Names of the LORD – Part Seven of Nine Jehovah Rapha – The LORD Our Healer

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18-19 NKJV

“You have a mass on your kidney.” My doctor’s news shocked me. I always figured that given my family history that cancer would someday be on my horizon, but kidney cancer wasn’t in my family tree. Three long months later, it was removed during the biopsy surgery with clear margins. The cancer was gone.

A year later, in 2019, breast surgery removed another spot. The prognosis: “Not cancerous yet, but likely to become so.” The doctors told me to be tested every six months.

Praise to Jehovah Rapha, The LORD my healer! I have been fine since then. I know that is not the case for everyone with health issues. Why God chose to heal me, I don’t know. When Jesus walked on earth, He healed many physical diseases and raised a few people from the dead, but He didn’t raise or heal everyone. The Apostle Paul pled with God three times for healing, but the LORD told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.)

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The Lord’s healing involves much more than just the physical body. He heals the brokenhearted. We can turn to Him, knowing that He does understand. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 NKJV.

Jesus Christ sets at liberty the captive, which we all have been, for sin oppresses us as it has everyone since the fall of Adam and Eve. The devil would like nothing better than for us to be captive to his evil schemes and the eternal punishment he faces.

Consider the sin of the Israelites. The LORD repeatedly warned them through the prophets that if they did not obey God, that there would be consequences. He warned of the upcoming captivity they would face for their rebellion against Him. Yet the LORD still had compassion on them. The prophet Jeremiah gave God’s message, “‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God…and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.” “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jeremiah 3:12, 13, 22 NKJV.

Oh, may we take that plea from God to heart! Let’s be quick to repent when we sin. When we turn away from sin and confess our sins to God, He is quick to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Sin is not overlooked by God. Jesus died in our place so that we may repent and follow Him, like a sheep following its shepherd. He welcomes us to an intimate friendship with Him.

Dear Jehovah Rapha, Thank you for the gospel of Christ, the good news that heals me from the captivity of sin. You heal my brokenness physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You love me enough to want me as Your friend.  LORD, when you heal me, may I be thankful for the healing. When you say no, or not yet, may I lean on You, for Your power is perfect in weakness. Thank you for being The LORD my Healer. Amen.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.


Names of the LORD: Part Six of Nine

Jehovah Jireh – The LORD Will Provide and Jehovah Raah – The LORD Our Shepherd

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” …Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide (Jehovah Jireh)…Genesis 22:8, 13, 14a NIV

Abraham showed great faith as he obeyed the LORD and took his promised son, Isaac, to sacrifice him as the LORD had commanded. Abraham told the servants to stay with the donkey while he and Isaac went to worship. “We will worship and then we will come back to you.(Genesis 22:5, emphasis mine). Did he think the LORD would resurrect Isaac as he raised the knife to slay his son? All of the promises that God had made went through Isaac. Abraham believed the LORD would keep His promises.

I’m sure Isaac knew of the promises. Isaac was old enough to carry the wood for the sacrifice, so he certainly could have fought his elderly father. Isaac must have had faith to submit to his father even though they didn’t understand why God would require such a sacrifice.

The angel of the LORD stopped Abraham that day and provided the ram, but it was a picture of what the Heavenly Father would do with His only Son, Jesus.

God Himself provided the Lamb; The LORD Jesus became the sacrifice. There was no last moment substitution for Jesus. He died in our place to pay for our punishment for sin. He was the perfect Lamb for the LORD’s sacrifice, “…the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 NIV.

Jesus-1561637_1920-Image by UCE from Pixabay

Jesus is the Lamb. He also is The LORD Our Shepherd, Jehovah Raah. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as my Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason that my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:11, 14-18 NIV

Who are Jesus Christ’s sheep? They are people who listen to Jesus and follow Him. They have a relationship with Him. “The sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger…because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep…I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” John 10:3-5, 7, 9 NIV(emphasis mine)

Jehovah Raah – The LORD Our Shepherd, lovingly cares for us. He heals, leads, and rescues us. He finds us when we stray. He protects us from the enemy, even laying down His life for us. We follow a living Shepherd! He rose again!

The LORD provided, and He continues to do so. Jehovah Jireh gave His Son for us. Is there anything He will hold back that is for our good?

Let’s get to know the LORD’s voice so well that we will never follow a stranger. Let’s feed from the pastures of God’s Word, and drink from the Living Water that is Jesus. May we follow Jesus closely and never stray.

Jehovah Jireh, thank you for providing for me. Thank you for Your sacrifice, and for being my Shepherd, my Jehovah Raah. Amen.

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Top Photo of white sheep by Moaz Tobok on

Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.