Tag Archives: Shepherds

No Broken Promises

It has been said promises are made only to be broken, and since we do not live in a perfect world, this holds true on many occasions. Someone with the best of intentions makes a promise to us, but the person is unable to keep it. For many, politics comes to mind as soon as they think of broken promises. An imperfect world leads to imperfect promises.

But what if I told you there was someone who always keeps promises. What if I told you there is someone who always tells the truth? There is! He is the Lord, and we see this lived out the night the shepherds heard of Jesus’ birth.

The stillness of their night had been interrupted by an angel giving them good news of great joy, so the shepherds went to investigate. Luke’s Gospel tells us, “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph, and there was the baby lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16). They investigated the message they received from the angel and found that it was true. Everything was just like they had been told.

God doesn’t lie. He doesn’t change his mind or his character; he doesn’t go back on his word. Hebrews reminds us the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. He will always keep his promises. His word will always be true.

We can trust the promises given to us in the Bible. We can trust that the Lord will give us peace. We can trust that he will be with us. We can trust that he will provide for us and protect us. There is not one promise in Scripture which will be broken. God will always keep his word, so we can be like the shepherds, praising God for finding things just as we were told (Luke 2:20).

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Good News of Great Joy

The sun had set, and the shepherds were gathered around a small fire keeping warm in the darkness and coolness of night. Their sheep resting close by. It seemed like an ordinary night, but suddenly it became extraordinary. The darkness was pierced by the light of an angel, and the shepherds were terrified. Who can blame them? The darkness of night interrupted by the brilliance of an angel is enough to make the hair on anyone’s neck stand on edge.

“But the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. The Savior, yes, the Messiah, the Lord, has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David. And you will recognize him by this sign: you will find a baby, wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger.’ Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others, the armies of Heaven, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest Heaven and peace on earth with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:10-14).

Good news of great joy is what the shepherds needed. We all need good news of great joy, especially in the darkness of this era. Everywhere we turn we find negative headlines, but Christmas is a reminder there is good news, joyous news that is for everyone. This good news is Jesus. He is our way to peace with God.

The Bible says, “Do not let your hearts be trouble, but present your requests and petitions to God in prayer. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Because of Christmas, we can take the anxieties of this world and hand them over to the Lord. We can rest in the peace he offers.

The shepherds were the first to receive good news of great joy, but it is also for you and me. Allow the light of the Lord to pierce the darkness around you and bring you peace this Christmas season.

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changed

“When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about.’ So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them, but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:15-20).

The shepherds were truly changed by their encounter with the Lord. Luke says they returned to their flocks praising God. This is not the only time we see a life changed due to an encounter with the Lord. Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, and Saul became Paul after coming across the Lord. Perhaps your life has been changed by the Lord’s grace also. It is impossible to find the Lord and walk away the same way you came.

Make sharing your joy and faith a part of your holiday celebrations this year. God did not make a mistake sending the angel to the shepherds. The birth of the Messiah was an event causing great joy for all people. The shepherds started spreading the joy they experienced, and you and I should continue spreading that joy.

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how to respond like a shepherd?

The sheep were asleep. The shepherds were gathered around a small fire talking as some of them dozed off. The stillness of the night was suddenly interrupted by an angelic visit. The angel brought news that a Savior had been born. The shepherds listened intently as the angel spoke, and when the angel had left them, they hurried to investigate this news.

The shepherds’ response to the angel’s news is worthy of modeling. As their initial terror subsided, the shepherds responded with much faith and overflowing joy.

“When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger” (Luke 2:15-16).

The shepherds responded to the angel with much faith. Believing the angel, the shepherds acted upon their belief. The writer of Hebrews says the Lord rewards those who earnestly seek him. How are you and I responding to the Lord in faith? Are we taking him at his word and allowing our curiosity to spur us on to see his promises fulfilled?

Along with their faith, the shepherds experienced overflowing joy. “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:17-19).

The shepherds were so filled with joy they could not keep it to themselves. They had seen the Lord, and they wanted to share their joy with everyone. As you and I find the joy of the Lord, we should attempt to share it.

We can share our joy in an appealing way. We can share our joy by starting a Pay-It-Forward chain at our favorite coffee shop. We can help purchase Christmas gifts for a family who otherwise would not have gifts. We could prepare a shoe box gift for Operation Christmas Child. We can call to check on a neighbor who may experience loneliness this time of year. There are many ways we can share our joy, and this is the perfect season to share it.

Many have commented they will be glad when 2020 enters the history books. It has been a sad and difficult year for lots of folks. It seems they may be hungry for joy and hope more this year than before, and the joy of the Lord can be prevalent in our lives. We can be like the shepherds and spread joy.

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why shepherds?

Another night had come. The little town was crowded by travelers passing through on their way to register for the nation-wide census. A young couple came into town looking for a place to stay, but they were later than most. There was no room in the inn, they were directed to the nearby stable to find lodging.

As they were seeking rest in the stable, the time came for the baby to be born, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:7). The routine of their travels was interrupted by the joyous birth of a baby.

Meanwhile, a short distance outside of town, shepherds had their sheep bedded down for the night. A small fire was providing warmth and light. The activities of the night were routine. The shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks as always until the routine of their night was interrupted by an angel.

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 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 Heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:9-14). This was the birth announcement of Jesus Christ, and it was delivered in a powerful way to – of all people – shepherds.

Shepherds were not thought of highly; they were considered to be social outcasts. The occupation required a nomadic, isolated lifestyle. As their sheep grazed, shepherds had to continually move to stay in green pastures. They had to live with their vulnerable flocks, so they could remain aware of needs and threats.

Shepherds were even accused of blurring the lines of right and wrong. Perhaps they helped themselves to a lamb or two as flocks multiplied on the pastures. Accusations allowed as this was a socially unaccepted group. Yet, they were the first to hear good news that would cause great joy for all people.

The world is the Lord’s palate; he could have chosen any method to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. He could have made an audible announcement from the Heavens. He could have appeared to a king, emperor, or pharaoh. He could have revealed it to the religious leaders of the day, but he chose a different way to make the announcement. He instructed an angel to appear to a group of socially outcast shepherds staying approximately 2 miles outside of Bethlehem.

“Why shepherds,” one might ask. From the very moment of his appearance, grace permeated from Christ Jesus. This announcement only begins to illustrate how this good news will be for all people. The Lord’s message is not just for a select few, but everyone. And, you and I can learn much from the shepherds and their response.

The Unaccepted Were Welcomed

As social outcasts, society may have shunned the shepherds, but the Lord welcomed them with open arms. Perhaps you can relate to the shepherds. You do not feel welcome by various people and groups. If so, remember, the Lord welcomes you with open arms. The Messiah’s birth was announced first to a group considered to be outcasts.

As Christians, you and I should possess the same welcoming spirit. We should welcome others with open arms. Their lives may be messy and we know the Lord can cause change, but first, they have to find the safety of God’s grace.

A mother recently posted on Facebook her young daughter had made friends with the neighbor boy. The mother was uncomfortable because the boy’s family was nothing like her own. Their living conditions were less than ideal, and the boy would use inappropriate language without knowing it. After all, he heard those words frequently.

One Saturday, the mother was cooking lunch while the kids played. She was okay with it because her husband was in the yard with the kids. When lunch was ready, she called her crew, and the boy asked if he could come too.

Her instinct was to send him home until after lunch, but something compelled her to welcome the young boy and give him a seat at the table. The boy was a little dirty. His clothes were torn and his shoes were worn. His fingernails in need of a trim. As they ate lunch, they tried to have a conversation.

School was about to begin for the year, so the mother asked the boy if he was excited to start the first grade. “No,” the boy replied. “School can be a scary place for a guy like me.”

The mother’s heart sank as a thought pressed on her mind like a ton of bricks. “If school was not a safe place, and home was probably not a safe place, where was this child’s safe place?”

They finished eating and everyone went outside except the mother. She stayed in to cleanup and cry. She told the boy he was welcome in their home any time. There are many people seeking a safe place, and as the hands and feet of Christ, we should have the same welcoming spirit the shepherds experienced on Christmas night.

Please share this post, and a big thank you to Light magazine for using this in a recent edition.