Author Archives: jeffb

Devotional: The Jerusalem Community

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2: 1-3

Why was all of Jerusalem disturbed? Continue reading

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Devotional: Magi from the East

Who is Jesus? Perhaps that is an easier question to answer than “Who were the magi?” They seem to be misfits to the story of the birth of Jesus. Their late arrival on the Jerusalem and Bethlehem scene doesn’t place them either in the birth story or at the manger.

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route” (Matthew 2: 9-12). Continue reading

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Devotional: Herod the Great

Who is Jesus? No one had more to risk in the answer to this question than did Herod. Every good story needs a villain. Herod is a cruel and vile one.

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him” (Matthew 2: 7-8). Continue reading

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Devotional Thought: Christmas at the Cave

In a quiet moment as you reflect back on Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning, may your thoughts lead you to a cave on a Judean hillside.

A Shepherd’s Cave on a Judean hillside

It is dark inside. It contains the foul odors of manure and extinguished camp fires. In such a place a baby was born. He came to be the Light of the World. He was born to die that we might have life. He removed the darkness and stench of our sins by willingly submitting to a horrible death on a cross. He rose again. King of kings; Lord of lords. May your Christmastime be filled with glory to God and gratitude for Jesus!

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Devotional: Hope for a Broken World

The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2: 14)

It is the season of year when God’s people celebrate. Peace, joy, and hope came to earth in the gift of Jesus.

My wife and I have many friends at Bethlehem Bible College. We have been blessed by their friendship and hospitality. We have used their facilities for orientation sometimes. We have volunteered there painting dorm rooms and helping as needed. We sometimes stop by with our group to hear their story and visit their campus and shop.

Last week classes at the college were ending for the semester and a small group of ESL students gathered for a party to celebrate. The ESL teacher is an American. As we do in North America, everyone brought sweet treats. There was one assignment for the day – “talk about your dreams”. Continue reading

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Devotional: Angels

“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: 13-14 Continue reading

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Devotional: Mary

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Continue reading

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Devotional: The Shepherds

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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’” (Luke 2: 8-11). Continue reading

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Devotional: The Community in Bethlehem

Who is Jesus? The little village of Bethlehem must have wondered.

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, 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: 4-7). Continue reading

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Devotional: Joseph of Nazareth

Who Is Jesus?
During the next several weeks of devotionals, the question “Who is Jesus?” will be considered through the eyes of those who first met the baby who was born in Bethlehem.

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1: 18-19). Continue reading

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