“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Saviour was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11).

The story of the shepherds is well-known, but God sometimes surprises me when I think again about the familiar. This verse seemed to jump out at me recently: “When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the LORD has told us about’” (verse 15).

I’ve often heard those shepherds referred to as the lowest of the low. Jewish maybe, but nowhere near Rabbi status; undoubtedly smelly; considered nothing more than outcasts, and yet … ‘Let’s see this thing which the LORD has told us about’? They didn’t say ‘God in heaven’, or even ‘The God of our ancestors’; they called Him LORD. Here were this group taking care of their sheep, and already under God’s authority – so much so that when a prompting came from Him, they hurried to follow it.

I really want to be like those shepherds – quick to obey, and quick to praise. After their time with the baby Jesus, Luke tells us: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). Wouldn’t it have been great to be in the fields near them? I wonder what the sheep made of it all.

31 Jesus-Benefits: Green Pastures

Day 7 of Write31Days and I’ve recently been reminded how much I appreciate:

His care.

I’d had quite a bump to the head, so the regular headaches I was suffering concerned me. As I lay in bed feeling anxious, I felt God say: “I am your King and your God”, so I got to thinking about kings. What did they have? First I thought of a crown – precious jewels, and my song of that name which says:
“And so I tell you, do not be afraid,
But know that He is with you all the way;
And if you will hear His voice, respond to His call,
You’ll feel His love for you so great.”

Then I thought of the authority that kings have. If something needs doing, they’ve got the power to get it done. I was comforted to realise God had that kind of authority over my life and would make sure I got the care I needed.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).

The Thing About Curses

“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Proverbs 26:2).


I wanted to share this verse today because when I’ve heard in the past about people being cursed I’ve felt some fear, but I think this does something to dispel that.  The New Century Version is the Bible I read most, and this verse in the NCV makes it even clearer.  “Curses will not harm someone who is innocent; they are like sparrows or swallows that fly around and never land.”


The thing about curses is, they needn’t rest on us.  When we put our trust in Jesus, God looks at us through Him, and it’s as if He’s looking through rose-tinted glasses.  Because of Jesus, our guilt is gone.  God sees us as innocent/blameless, and that’s what gives us authority over our enemy, the devil.  In this authority that Jesus has passed on to us, there’s power available to break every curse.


There are some times (and this is one of them) when I feel that what Jesus has done for us is too high and too wonderful for me to fully comprehend it, and all I can say is thank You.

The Rose

I went out to an Indian restaurant last night with a friend, and after our meal, we were both given a rose.  As we walked home, she told me:  “The waiter seemed to be wary of you.  He gave me mine, but he just put yours on the table in front of you” (she seemed to think my blindness had made him nervous), so I felt a bit of a freak for a while.


As I spent time with the Lord this morning, I asked Him:  “When I get to heaven, will You give me a rose?”


Straightaway, into my mind came Psalm 2:8, where God tells us to ask, and He’ll give us the nations.  Then I thought of Noah, and how God gave him everything (Genesis 9:3), and then it hit me.  When we get to heaven, the Bible says we’ll reign with Jesus.  Have we forgotten the awesomeness of that?  He won’t just give us one teensy little flower; He’ll give us authority over the whole earth!  Wow!


We’re not meant to feel like we don’t belong.  If we’re Christians, we may be strangers here in the world for a time, and odd in their eyes, but we fit perfectly into God’s kingdom.  Will you make a choice with me today to live like one who’s accepted?

What a Lovely Man

I’ve been reading this week about the Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, and I saw something I’d never noticed before.  Verse 8:  “Lord, I do not deserve to have You come under my roof.”  The officer called Jesus Lord – a huge thing for him to do!  There were certainly some Roman emperors (like Dometian) who wanted to be thought of as a god, but here was this man, calling Jesus his Lord, putting Jesus in authority over him instead of his boss – the emperor.


And who did he do it for?  Was it his son, lying at home paralysed and suffering terribly?  You could understand a father being so desperate for his son’s healing that he would rethink his whole belief-system, … but no.  It was this man’s servant – someone with no standing in the household, but obviously very well-loved by the officer.  I read it and I thought:  “What a lovely man!”


If you’re an employer, would you do that for one of your employees?  Would you literally think twice about those in authority over you, in order to help them?  Aren’t these events in the Bible still so amazing?

The Armour

“Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” – Ephesians 6:13-17.


When I moved to where I live now, I had to spend about 6 weeks without E-mail or the Internet.  I had lots of sympathy from friends and family, who knew how many hours I spent at the computer, but actually, the time went quicker than I thought.  During that time I was sitting on my bed, thinking about the armour of God, when I realised something.


The belt of truth buckled around your waist – who is the Truth?  Jesus (John 14:6).

The breastplate of righteousness – who is the Righteous One?  Jesus (1 John 2:1).

The good news of peace – who is our Peace?  Jesus (Ephesians 2:14).

The shield of faith – who do we put our faith in?

The helmet of salvation – who saves us?

And finally, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God – doesn’t John talk about how the Word became flesh and made His home among us (John 1:14)?


I see Jesus as the full armour of God.  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18), so if we take Jesus into our situations, the devil’s “Flaming arrows” (his attempts to ruin our lives) will be blown out like a candle.  I think of when Jesus breathed on His disciples and they received the Holy Spirit.  Once Jesus breathes His Spirit into a situation, the devil doesn’t have authority over it any longer.


With Jesus, we can stand.

* * *

And that brings us to the end of the book of Ephesians!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.  Shall we keep reading with Amy till the end of the month?