Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Gospel of Luke December Challenge

I'm loving The Gospel of Luke December Challenge. I hope you are too.
If you're just learning about it, please go back and read my November 28, 2017 blog post.
I'm so blessed as I read each chapter and am so enriched as I take notes in my notebook.
But I'm afraid I have a problem with posting at the moment. My computer is down. Yesterday I planned to post my notes for Luke 3 and 4. After spending much time and effort it just couldn't happen.
My husband also spent much time trying to fix it.
A new computer might be our Christmas gift.
BUT--- my notes being posted here is not the main part of this challenge.
The main part is that each of us reading through The Gospel of Luke, a chapter a day to the end which brings us to Christmas Eve.
I hope you're journaling your own highlights --- note taking --- along the way.

Now enough of this slow typing on my phone!

I'm going to get back to journaling in Luke 5. After all, today is December 5.

I pray God richly blesses you as you continue to learn Jesus in The Gospel of Luke.

Your comments are welcome.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The December Gospel of Luke Challenge – Looking at Luke Look at Jesus: Dec. 2 – Luke 2



The December Gospel of Luke Challenge                     
  – Looking at Luke Look at Jesus: Dec. 2 – Luke 2

Thanks for joining this challenge. The goal is simple—Learn Jesus. 

There are twenty-four chapters in the Gospel of Luke. The challenge is, beginning on December 1, read Luke 1. Then on each day through Christmas Eve, read the corresponding chapter with that day’s date. If you’re just now starting, jump right on in.

For additional enrichment, journal or simply list the highlights of each day’s reading. I will share my own notes some days. My journaling will be hand written in a notebook and I won’t always have time to type it into the computer and post it. When I can, I will enjoy doing so.

An introduction and further explanation can be found in my blog post of November 28, 2017.  

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December 2 – Luke 2: 
 
First: pray, thanking God for Jesus and for His Word. Second: read Luke 2, if you haven’t already. Third: record meaningful highlights in a journal or tablet.

Here are my own notes as I read and meditate on Luke 2:

v. 1-2 – The decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all should be registered. This took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. Luke meticulously sets up the timing and political backdrop. 

v. 3 – All people went to register in the city of their origin
.
v. 4-5 – Joseph took his betrothed wife, Mary, left their home in Nazareth and went to Judea to the city of David (Bethlehem), to be registered. Mary was with child. 

v. 6-7 – While there, “she brought forth her first born Son, wrapped Him in a manger, because there was not room for them in the inn” (v.7).
Side note: For more details of the account of the birth of Jesus, read the first few chapters of The Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

v. 8 – It was night and shepherds were out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks.

v. 9 – An angel of the Lord appeared and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were afraid.

v. 10-11 – The angel said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
It’s thrilling that the angel said that a Savior has been born “to you,” making his pronouncement personal to those lowly shepherds.

v. 12 – The angel tells how they’ll find the Babe.

v. 13-14 – Suddenly a whole multitude of angels appeared praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth good will toward men!” (v.14).

v. 15–16 -  When the angels went away the shepherds said, “Let’s go ...” They hurried off and “found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger” (v.16).

v. 17-18 – When they left they told others about the Child and those who heard marveled. 

v. 19 – “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

v. 20 – Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen.

From the book, His Name is Jesus by Connie Wohlford

v. 21 – When Jesus was eight days old, Joseph and Mary had Him circumcised and His name was recorded. Jesus was the name given them by the angel before He was conceived. 

Still today the official recording of the child’s name is a part of the circumcision ceremony, which is called the brit milah. I wrote about this in my book titled, His Name Is Jesus.









v. 22- 24 – When Jesus was forty days old Joseph and Mary took him to the Temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the Lord. This was all done in accordance with the Law of Moses.

v. 25-27 – The old man, Simeon, had been told by God that he would live to see Messiah. The Holy Spirit came upon Simeon and when he went to the Temple he recognized Jesus as his long awaited Messiah. 

From the book, He is the ONE, by Connie Wohlford
v. 28-32 – Simeon took baby Jesus up in his arms, blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation...” (v. 29-30).

v. 33 – Joseph and Mary were amazed. 

v. 34-35 – Simeon blessed them and said, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel...”

v. 36 – The elderly woman, Anna, a prophetess who served God faithfully, came in and instantly recognized Jesus as Messiah and gave thanks to the Lord. 
In my book, He Is the ONE, I wrote about these amazing happenings on Jesus dedication day.

v, 39-40 – Joseph and Mary took Jesus and returned to Nazareth, “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.”

v. 41-42 – Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover. Luke tells about the time when Jesus was with them at the age of twelve.

v. 43-44 – When they were ready to return home Jesus lingered behind but His parents didn’t know. They figured He was with other members of their group. After a day’s journey they couldn’t find Him.

v. 45-47 – They returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. After three days of searching they found Him in the Temple sitting among the teachers. “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers“ (v. 47).

v. 48 – When His parents saw Him, they were amazed. Mary said, “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
v. 49 His answer: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

v. 50 – They didn’t understand.

v. 51 – They all went home to Nazareth and Jesus was subject to them. Mary “kept all these things in her heart” (v. 51). 

v. 52 – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

*****
There we have it—the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Thank you for joining in on this December challenge. I pray you’ll being blessed in it.
Your comments are welcome below. All who read will enjoy hearing about the highlights of Luke 2 from your perspective. 

God bless you as you meditate on the wonder of the birth and early days of our Lord. And, like Mary, keep these things in your heart as you experience this Christmas Season.

 ©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford

Friday, December 1, 2017

The December Gospel of Luke Challenge – Looking at Luke Look at Jesus: Dec. 1 - Luke 1



The December Gospel of Luke Challenge                      
 – Looking at Luke Look at Jesus: Dec. 1 - Luke 1

Thanks for jumping in on this challenge. The goal is simple—Learn Jesus. 

There are twenty-four chapters in the Gospel of Luke. The challenge is: beginning on December 1, read Luke 1. Then on each day through Christmas Eve, read the corresponding chapter with that day’s date.

For additional enrichment, journal or simply list the highlights of each day’s reading. I will share my own notes some days. My journaling will be hand written in a notebook and I won’t always have time to type it into the computer and post it. When I can, I will enjoy doing so.

An introduction and further explanation can be found in my blog post of November 28, 2017.    <>   So now, let the challenge begin.

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December 1 – Luke 1:  

Pray, thanking God for Jesus and for His Word. Read Luke 1, if you haven’t already. 

v. 1-4 – Luke lays out his objectives in writing about Jesus: 1- to set in order the things fulfilled among us—an orderly account; 2- get the eyewitness accounts; 3- get truthful information. 
Luke is directing his narrative to “most excellent Theophilus.” Theophilus means, friend of God; lover of God. Scholars don’t know if Theophilus was an actual person to whom Luke entrusted his story and who would see to spreading the Good News, or if this was a name used by Luke to include all who loved God.
 
V. 5 – Luke establishes the time in history of these occurrences. 

V. 5-23 –Luke tells of the miraculous conception and birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias and Elizabeth, a barren couple beyond child-bearing age.

V. 13 - When the angel, Gabriel, appeared Zacharias was startled and fearful. Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid...” 

In scripture whenever an angel appears to someone, that person is struck with fear. The angel always says some form of “Fear Not.” I don’t care for depictions of angels as babies or feminine. That is a wrong representation of these mighty warrior type messengers of God. I prefer seeing a daunting, authoritative figure.

v. 19 - I love this: “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings?”

v. 20 – It’s interesting that God decided to mute Zacharias until the birth of John.

v. 26-27 – God sent Gabriel to Nazareth in Galilee to the virgin, Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. Joseph was a descendant of King David.
Already in chapter 1, we’re reminded of the many prophesies about Messiah that are being fulfilled in the story of Jesus, and He has not even been born yet.
Nazareth Village depiction of 1st century carpenter's workshop in Nazareth, Israel -photo by Connie Wohlford

v. 28Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is awesome: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women!”

v. 29-30 – Naturally Mary was alarmed and Gabriel spoke the beautiful words, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

v. 31-35 – Gabriel tells Mary how she’ll become pregnant with God’s own Son. “... that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (v. 35).

v. 36-37 – Gabriel tells Mary about Elizabeth’s pregnancy, “For with God nothing will be impossible” (v. 37).

v. 38 – Mary’s famous response to the pronouncement that she has been chosen to be the mother of the long awaited Jewish Messiah: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
I want to reply to God in this same positive way whenever He calls me to do something. Lord, help me to be like Mary.

v. 39-45I love the account of Mary’s visit with Elizabeth—that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice she was filled with the Holy Spirit and John leaped for joy in her womb. How very exciting!

v. 45-55 known as “The Song of Mary” begins, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (v. 45). She continues on, beautifully and humbly praising God for His awesomeness and faithfulness; amazed that He chose her to play such a part in accomplishing His cosmic plan. 

v. 56 – Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, then went home.

v. 57-58 – Elizabeth gave birth to a son and her neighbors rejoiced with her.

v. 59-60 - On the eighth day baby John was circumcised. All assumed he would be named Zacharias after his father. Elizabeth said, “No; he shall be called John.”
In Jewish tradition, a part of the ceremony of circumcision, is the official recording of the child’s name.

v. 61-63 – The people made signs to Zacharias asking what his name should be. He wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.” All the people marveled.
In Jewish tradition, a baby’s name is to be a family name. Apparently, John was not.

v. 64I love this: “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.”

v. 65-66 – Fear came over the people and the news of the event spread all over the area. All who heard held it in their hearts and said, “What kind of child will this be?”

v. 67-79 – Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David ...”
If you haven’t already, do go read Zacharias’ powerful proclamation. 

v. 80 – The child, John, grew and spent time in the desert until his ministry was revealed to Israel.
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There we have it—the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, and it was a long one, but full of wonderful information setting the stage for chapter two, where we’ll read about the birth and infancy of Jesus, the Christ Child.

Thank you for joining in on this December challenge. I pray you’ll be blessed in it.

Your comments are welcome below. All who read would enjoy hearing about the highlights of Luke 1 from your perspective. 

God bless you as you meditate on God’s wonder-filled workings in the lives of Joseph, Mary, Zacharias and Elizabeth.

©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford