New Living Translation (NLT)
11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of GOLD, FRANKINSENCE AND MYRRH.
Myrrh as a gift to Jesus spoke prophetically of His suffering to come. Myrrh is spoken of in the New Testament only 3 times! Here in this narrative where probably only a few hours after this gift was given, Jesus and His family had to go on the run as they were driven away from Bethlehem and became fugitives fleeing into exile in Egypt, and at the same time much suffering broke out in Bethlehem. The next time was whilst Jesus was suffering and dying on the cross and a Roman guard mixed a certain species of Myrrh [which acts as a pain killer] in wine vinegar and offered it to Jesus, but He refused it as suffering was part of His mission. The final time was straight after Jesus had died and Joseph of Arimathea took His body and wrapped it in grave clothes laced with 100Lbs of myrrh and aloes.
If you look at the images above you’ll notice the thorns on the branches! Thorns came in at the fall and are part of the curse of pain, suffering and torment. This shrub is also very hardy and grows in very severe hot and arid conditions. Again both of which speak of suffering and trials. Jesus was born with a purpose, part of which was to suffer and die that we might live eternally. We will never ever suffer as Jesus did, however suffering, trials and tribulations are part of God’s plan for us as it is in the fiery trials where we are purged, it’s upon the potters wheel that we are shaped and it is in the crucible of smelting that the dross is exposed and removed and we are purified.
I just want to share a few thoughts from todays word for today from Bob Gass as I think they fit in:- The Bible says, ‘Then Samuel took a stone…and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”‘ As you end this year and look back, what do you see? Monuments to failure? Wasted opportunities? When it comes to your failures, God says, ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.’ (Isaiah 43:25 NKJV) When it comes to your wasted opportunities, God says, ‘I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…’ (Joel 2:25 NKJV) A wise man said, ‘If we do not learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it.’ It’s ok to look back and learn, but if you drive looking in the rear view mirror, you’ll end up in a ditch. Whether good or bad, don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t long for “the good old days,” for you don’t know whether they were any better than these! (Ecclesiastes 7:10 TLB) One of the dangers of growing old is that you become more excited about the past than you are about the future. [nostalgic] God says, ‘I know the plans I have for you…they are plans for good…’ (Jeremiah 29:11 TLB) God has a plan for you this coming year. So roll up your sleeves, go to work, and expect great things from God.
A New Year’s Prayer. [Anonymous]
Dear Lord, please give me a few friends who understand me and remain my friends; give me work to do which has real value without which the world would be the poorer. A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed in the spotlight. An understanding heart and a sense of humour. Time for quiet, silent meditation; A feeling of the presence of God and the patience to wait for the coming of these things with the wisdom to recognize them when they come. Amen.
From the squalor of a borrowed stable,
By the spirit and a virgin’s faith;
To the anguish and the shame of scandal
Came the Saviour of the human race!
But the skies were filled, with the praise of heav’n,
Shepherds listen as the angels tell
Of the Gift of God, come down to man
At the dawning of Immanuel
King of heaven now the Friend of sinners,
Humble servant in the Father’s hands,
Filled with power and the Holy Spirit,
Filled with mercy for the broken man
Yes he walked my road, and He felt my pain, Joys and sorrows that I know so well;
Yet His righteous steps, give me hope again –
I will follow my Immanuel!
Through the kisses of a friend’s betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for a world’s transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost
He fights for breath, He fights for me
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout, our souls are free –
Death defeated by Immanuel!
Now He’s standing in the place of honour,
Crowned with glory on the highest throne,
Interceding for His own beloved
Till His Father calls to bring them home!
Then the skies will part, as the trumpet sounds
Hope of heaven or the fear of hell;
But the Bride will run, to her Lover’s arms,
Giving glory to Immanuel! [STUART TOWNEND]
Well that’s it! 31 days of thoughts prayers and praise completed for another year. I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I have in doing them? Please let me know if you have as I get very little feed back and encouragement. I will continue with my posts in the new year so please look out for them, there’ll only be about 2 per week! So, God bless and have a wonderful new year. John :-))