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Behold, Your King is Coming!

Behold, Your King is Coming!

From the book of Zechariah written about 300 years BEFORE the birth of Jesus…

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey.    Zechariah 9:9

Mary, a young Jewish woman. Blessed beyond her years. Her understanding of the Torah was more than an act of kindness. Like blood flowing through her veins, the Law was her lifeline to God. Her quiet and gentle spirit set her betroths heart on fire. But, could Joseph handle nine months of turmoil and ridicule? Knowing Joseph’s thoughts, God confirms His plan through an angel…

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. -Matthew 1:20,21

In awe, Joseph responds in obedience. Together, he and Mary journey through uncharted waters. Mary’s heart resounded,

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior… He has helped His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His seed forever. Luke 2:47,54,55

Angels shout with joy. Echoes of praises release. Mary realizes she is the recipient of God’s long-awaited Holy Seed, the Messiah, the Kinsmen Redeemer.  In that moment, Genesis 17:7 comes to mind,

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you (Abraham) and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and your descendants a after you.

Peace stills her anxious heart. A smile emerges as she gently caresses her belly. God’s promised Holy Seed, safe and securely embedded within the womb of God’s chosen one.

       

Nine months seemed like a flash. Bethlehem? Why now? Mary wondered. Without complaining, she gracefully mounts the donkey. Joseph leads the way. With each stride, the birth pangs increase. Under his breath Joseph prays, Oh, Father please help us make it before she gives birth. Lead us to the perfect place for Your child to be born. Beads of sweat form on his forehead. Mary tries to hold back the tears. Fully trusting, yet filled with fear she recites the prophet’s words from Zechariah 9:9,

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey. 

A tear escapes as she glances downward and murmurs, On a donkey. Reaching out, she gently touches his mane. Immediately, she feels the baby leap within her womb. Behold, your King is coming, she shouts. Joseph knew her time was near. Hold on, my darling! We’re almost there. The Father has the perfect place prepared for us. There’s a cute little Inn in the heart of Bethlehem. You’ll love it!

 

What do you mean there’s no room in the Inn? My wife is about to give birth. Please help us! Confused, frustrated but still trusting. The innkeeper offers the stable for the night. With no time to waste, Joseph rushes into the barn. Helps Mary settle into a corner of the stable. A midwife was the furthest from his profession. Without hesitation, he accepts the position. Love escalates as their eyes met. I love this woman so much! Again she shouts, Behold, your King is coming!

 

Laboring in love, Salvation entered the world. Unspeakable joy echoes throughout the stable. God in the flesh born to a lowly woman riding on a donkey. Together, Mary and Joseph hold the Savior of the World in their arms as they recall Zechariah 9:9…

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey.  

God reminds Joseph of the angel’s words…  

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. 

Praises release, His name is Jesus. Yes, Jesus… Jehovah is Salvation. Immediately, the King of the World closed His eyes and falls asleep in the arms of His mother who whispered, Behold, our King has come. 

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As I sit in my prayer chair, tears well up and warmth fills my heart. A shout of praise escapes, “Thank you, Jesus, for choosing to come to earth and provide me salvation. Thank you for drawing me near to You at the age of 12 and providing a place for me in heaven with You forever and ever. Words can’t begin to explain my love for You. Humbleness envelops my soul. I choose to worship You and only You the rest of my days here on earth.

For… BEHOLD, MY KING HAS COME! Amen.”

 

Blessings Flow for this Christmas Season,

Carla McDougal

My Heart, Your Bethlehem

My Heart, Your Bethlehem

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Mary, a young teenager, chosen by God to carry His son… The Redeemer, our Savior, the Light of the world, Lord of lords, King of kings. Reading Mary’s response leaves me speechless, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

Why can’t I trust God like Mary? A prayer emerged, “Help me trust You like Mary. She didn’t have to know all the answers ahead of time. She simply believed.” Tears formed as God reminded me of Carly Jo’s blog. Be blessed as you read…

Make My Heart Your Bethlehem

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This week as I was reading God’s Word, He pierced my heart with two harsh, yet sweet realities.

I am messed up.

Yes, you heard that right. I am a broken, cold-hearted, smelly wreck. There is no good in me (not even a little bit) apart from Christ. I am self-centered, weak, self-righteous, insecure, prideful, and prone to wander. I consciously choose sin over righteousness. I am unworthy to carry even the sandals on Jesus’ feet (Matthew 3:11) much less the Spirit of God in me… It sounds like I am airing dirty laundry but hang on tight because the second reality is unreal.

Jesus was born in a stable.

You’re probably confused… but just wait.

Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, was born in a broken, ugly, cold, nasty shelter for animals. This birthplace was by no means an accident – in fact, I am confident that it was by God’s design that the King of glory made a quiet entrance to earth in this tiny, humble abode in Bethlehem. With farm animals all around, Mary gave birth to our Savior then wrapped Him in strips of rags and laid Him in a manger (a feeding trough for animals). With remnants of animal slobber and moldy food, this repurposed manager was a perfect resting place for baby Jesus.

In my eyes, this scene seems like a mistake. The Lamb of God should have been born into a wealthy, well-known family with servants waiting on them hand and foot. However, in our Father’s eyes, every detail of this holy night is nothing short of perfect.

Everything about the birth of Jesus screams out restoration and redemption. God transformed a detestable stable into a temporary home for Joseph and his tiny family. He took a feeding trough and made it a resting place for Jesus. Finally, He turned an insignificant, “little” town called Bethlehem into the hometown of Yahweh. My God is in the business of bringing order from chaos. He takes shattered pieces and turns them into a beautiful, new creation. God did not ask Mary & Joseph to scrub the floors of the stable, bleach the manager, patch up the gaping holes in the walls, or even warm a fire up before giving birth to Jesus. Nope. All He asked was for them to trust Him.

Moral of the story, God restores hopeless places. He makes all things new in miraculous ways. I am very much a broken person with piles of baggage that display remnants of past failures. Yet, Jesus chose to make my heart (& yours – if you place your trust in Him) His sanctuary. He chose to take this damaged stable and make it his home! He did not ask me to clean up before He entered my life – all He asked was for me to place my trust in Him then He would work on my heart over time. Now, as time goes on, He perfects my heart piece by piece. He scrubs the floors, patches the walls, warms the fire, and searches every nook & cranny to make my heart (& yours) His home – His Bethlehem.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2

JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

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Word spreads quickly of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. With each step, the crowd multiplies gaining momentum and strength. In unison, they shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Tears form as He looks deep into the eyes of the onlookers. A spark of sadness ignites in Jesus’ heart.

Tears form as He looks deep into the eyes of the onlookers. A spark of sadness ignites in Jesus’ heart. Oh, Father, I need Your strength, might, and courage. They seek an earthly king, one to save them from empires and nations. Help them realize they need a King to save them from a life of eternal damnation; a King to bring them everlasting life with You. 

Beads of sweat gather on Jesus’ forehead. He continues His conversation with His heavenly Father, This journey seems too much for me to bear. Please, strengthen Me. All of a sudden, the words from the prophet Zechariah 9:9 pop into His head – Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey. A colt, the foal of a donkey. Glancing down, He smiles. Below Him, the symbol of peace displayed for all to see. A sigh of relief comes over Him.

Jesus silently scans the crowd. With love and grace, His eyes meet Mary’s. Immediately, He flashes back to the time Mary anointed His feet with the costly oil. Warmth consumes His heart. A quick reminder of His Father’s love and purpose for sending Him to this earth. By Mary’s side is her brother, Lazarus, like yesterday Jesus recalls breathing life back into him as he raises Lazarus from the dead. Again, another remembrance of His Father’s purpose for sending Him to redeem this world of sin. Peace fills His soul. Strength restores His soul. Jesus quietly praises His Heavenly Father for answered prayer.

The journey closes in as Jesus enters the gate into Jerusalem. The anthem of the crowd rings throughout the streets – “Hosanna the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus hears the praises and cheers, yet knows the truth. A lump forms in his throat as He whispers – Today they shout FOR Me, but in a few days they will shout AGAINST saying Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” 

Within seconds, compassion overwhelms Jesus. An abundance of love flows. Such confirmation of why His journey to the cross is not out of duty, but out of a heart of love, grace, and mercy.

Zechariah 9:11, He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.


From My Heart to Yours,

Carla McDougal

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