Good News Makes You Different: Three Lessons from the Shepherds

What a different night, the shepherds thought. A host of angels sang to us, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” And that message!

Whispering at first, they talked about what the angel said,

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. (Luke 2:11-12)

“The Savior, born to us,” one shepherd marveled. “We will find a baby in a manger. That’s different, why a manger?”

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 were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:15-18).

From the shepherds’ response, we learn three ways we should be different.

A Different Attitude

The shepherds immediately left the fields to go to Bethlehem. As soon as the angels delivered the glorious news, the shepherds dropped everything.
They didn’t tell God they needed to think about it or go when their shift ended, or wait until a more convenient time. There were no excuses about being too busy or tired. Nothing could keep them from God.

From their response, we learn the importance of putting God first in our lives. God’s plan should take precedence over everything else, no matter what. Nothing is more important than seeking God and following Him. Do not let the urgent tasks and pulls of family, friends, work, and society, in general, dictate your pace. Stop and spend time following where God leads you.

A Different Agenda

The shepherds shared the good news. Normally isolated from the people who lived in town, the shepherds couldn’t keep God’s message to themselves. They knew who this Baby was, the Messiah, because the angels told them. Everything was exactly the way the angel described it.

Like the shepherds, we need to share the good news. Share with others the good things God does in your life. Encourage others with the ways God works and the difference He makes.

A Different Heart

The shepherds returned to their fields and responsibilities, but their hearts were filled with the joy the angels sang about. They knew first hand the peace of God. Now they spent their time glorifying and praising God as they cared for the sheep.

God’s favor and peace rest on us. Throughout the routine tasks we do each day, we should praise and glorify Him. Others should see His light shining in us because He lives in us.

Christmas is ten days from today. In the middle of a hectic time scrambling to get things done, be different. Let the joy and peace that comes from the good news shine. It will make a difference in your life and in the lives of everyone you meet.

Sharing today with #fiveminutefriday

I may also link with:

Inspire Me Monday, Blessed (but Stressed), Moments of Hope, Glimpses of Beauty, LLML Link-up, Trekking Thru, #tellhisstory, Tea and Word Tuesday, Ra-Ra Link-up, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Dream Together, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light, Quietly Through Thursday, Thankful and Grateful Thursday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings, Sunday Thoughts, Spiritual Sundays, Sunday Scripture Blessing.

 

Angels Sweetly Sing Joyous Strains for You

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Unexpected Angels

That would get your attention, wouldn’t it? Angels sweetly singing o’er the plains where you spent every day. All day. And night. Watching over herds of sheep. Studying the sky at night, stars shifting but always following a pattern. One you know. Until

Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. (Luke 2:9)

Can you blame them? Out of nowhere, in the middle of the night, these men suddenly have a bright light everywhere. The world they knew transformed with the glory of the Lord.

Angels Bring Good News

But there was no need to fear. Just as the angel told Zechariah and Mary, the angel said to them,

Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people. (Luke 2:10)

Good news? Great joy? For them? No one paid attention to shepherds, out in the wilderness, doing a dirty, thankless job. They rarely heard the news of the day.

The angel continued,

For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! (Luke 2:11)

The shepherds may have wondered, born to us? Are you sure? Did you not catch our unimportance? Maybe you’re in the wrong place.

The Angels Message

But that angel kept talking.

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)

Wait, wait, wait, the shepherds must have wondered. What did the angel mean, they’d find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger? They couldn’t go anywhere. What about their responsibility? All these sheep couldn’t be left alone.

Then suddenly there appeared with the angel and army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]. (Luke 2:13-14)

The shepherds surely felt overwhelmed. Did the angels really say God was well pleased with them? His favor and goodwill included them?

That truly was good news. No matter the world overlooked and forgot about them. God cared. He shared the good news of great joy. With them.

Life changing good news that filled their hearts with the joy and peace announced by the angels.

Rejoice, the Angels Good News is for You

Do you feel overlooked and isolated? Forgotten? Stuck? That announcement delivered by angels was meant for you. The Baby came for you. And He brings the good news of great joy. His peace is for you.

Because God never forgets you. His love shines brightly for you.


On Monday I’ll share what lessons we can learn from the joy-filled shepherds.

I may share with:

Inspire Me Monday, Blessed (but Stressed), Moments of Hope, Glimpses of Beauty, LLML Link-up, Trekking Thru, #tellhisstory, Tea and Word Tuesday, Ra-Ra Link-up, Writer Wednesday, Woman to Woman, Porch Stories, Coffee for Your Heart, Dream Together, Chasing Community, Heart Encouragement, Tune-in Thursday, Salt and Light, Quietly Through Thursday, Thankful and Grateful Thursday, Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Fresh Market Friday, Counting My Blessings, Sunday Thoughts, Spiritual Sundays, Sunday Scripture Blessing.

Do Not Be Afraid of God’s Unusual Plan for Your Life

Afraid and Unsure of the Future

What do you do when someone breaks your heart? Lie in a heap, sobbing? Walk around in a daze, seeing and hearing nothing but your pain? Argue until you’re blue in the face? Are you afraid of the future now your dreams lie shattered around you? Follow the example of Joseph.

Heartbroken, Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth, faced a dilemma. His precious betrothed, Mary, shattered his dreams with her news: she was pregnant. And the baby wasn’t his. Continue reading “Do Not Be Afraid of God’s Unusual Plan for Your Life”

Only One Question Answered: Wholehearted Faith

It seems like only yesterday, but forty-one years ago, during my senior year of college, I sat across from a woman I didn’t know. She confirmed what I feared with her announcement. “You’re pregnant.”

I stared at her as she continued to talk, but I remember nothing of what she said. Only questions flooded my mind, drowning out her words. I still had two quarters before I graduated and then at least one more year of school to earn my teaching credential. How would a baby fit into that? What would Van say? We talked about getting married, but we weren’t even engaged yet. I walked out of the clinic dazed and unsure.

While I wish we had done things God’s way from the beginning, He faithfully worked out the details of our lives. (You can read a little more of that story here.)

Christmas tells the story of another unmarried, unprepared girl hearing the announcement of an unplanned pregnancy (Luke 1:26-38). Mary didn’t sit in a clinic, afraid some stranger would tell her what she already knew.

Without warning, in the middle of an ordinary day, God sent His angel, Gabriel, with a greeting that surprised and troubled Mary, Continue reading “Only One Question Answered: Wholehearted Faith”

The Angel Visits God’s Servant, Zechariah

Reverently, Zechariah pulled on his priestly robes. His name, chosen by lot, meant today he could enter the temple and light the incense. An honor. Because there were 80,000 priests, not every priest got to enter the holy place, but today Zechariah could. His heart swelled with joy at the honor. Serving God, offering the sacrificial incense, the aroma that pleased God so He bestowed forgiveness on His people.

Before he left, Zechariah gently kissed his wife, Elizabeth, on the cheek. Looking at this woman he loved, Zechariah felt the familiar sadness. He couldn’t stop the old question, “Why, God? Why no child? This beautiful woman who loves You suffers shame. People look at us and whisper. ‘Surely, God never blessed them with a child because of their sin.’ But You know, God, You know we serve You with our whole hearts.”

Zechariah sighed. Asking those questions didn’t help; the hope for children died as Elizabeth grew too old. They would never have children now.

Shaking off the sadness that threatened the holiness of the day, Zechariah entered the temple alone. Continue reading “The Angel Visits God’s Servant, Zechariah”