The Journey with Ron Moore
Devotion Text

Matthew 2:1-2

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.

On Christmas cards, it’s all picture-perfect. With a star illuminating the manger, three wise men bow down before the baby Jesus with their camels parked outside. And, of course, at the bottom of the card are the Hallmark words—Wise men still seek him today.  But…let’s see what Scripture says about these visitors.

What or who is a magi? These men were magicians or astrologers known for their wisdom. They may have been from Persia. If that is the case, they had knowledge of Scripture that could be traced back to the time of Daniel (see Daniel 5:11). 

How many magi traveled to see Jesus?  We don’t know for sure. Based on the number of gifts that were presented to Jesus many conclude that there were three. Some traditions even have names for these men. But their names or numbers are not given in Scripture.

What star did they see? The star that guided them could have been a supernova or a conjunction of planets. One writer says that it was a supernatural reality similar to the Shekinah that led the Israelites in the days of Moses. All we know for sure is that the star was a true miracle of God.

While there are things we don’t know about the wise men, here are the things we know for certain. These men made a great sacrifice to see Jesus. They traveled a great distance. They brought their best to him. They sought Jesus and didn’t stop until they found him. They worshiped him. That is the heart of the magi story. And…that should be the heart of our Christmas story as well.

Father, your word says that we will find you if we seek you with all our hearts. May we, like the magi, truly seek after you. May we truly worship Jesus, our Savior, and Lord. In his name we pray. Amen.

 

For parents: In the first chapter of Living Grounded are the instructions for a life map. If you have not completed a life map with your high school or college-age children or grandchildren, this Christmas break would be a great time to do so. Share your insights with us at prayer@ronmoore.org.


 

This Week on The Journey Broadcast:

 

Owning My Influence

Devotion Text

Luke 2:8-12

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. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

They were minding their sheep and minding their business when the angel suddenly appeared. In an instant, the darkness of night turned to brilliant light. The angel, coming from the presence of God, brought with him God’s glory and the place lit up! No wonder the shepherds were terrified. But the angel addressed their fears.

Do not be afraid. These were words that the terrified shepherds needed to hear. The news that the angel was about to deliver would bring comfort and confidence.

I bring you good newsThe good news was about a Savior. The long-expected Messiah had arrived. Nothing would ever be the same again.  

that will cause great joyThe arrival of the Messiah was the arrival of true peace. Through the work of Jesus, sinful man could be united with the holy God. This is the cause of unspeakable joy!

for all people. God’s free gift is for all people. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. Whoever trusts in Jesus as the only way to have a relationship with the living God is given eternal life.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Father, it can be a terrifying time when you prepare us for the next assignment. Thank you for always being with us to address our fears and remind us of the great joy found in you regardless of the circumstances. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  

Lori and I wish you a Merry Christmas! May you enjoy the warmth of family and friends as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


 

Today on The Journey Broadcast:

 

The King’s Humility

Christmas is all in the heart. It’s not about expensive gifts or long wish lists. It’s not about shopping malls that stay open until midnight or paying for express mail service to make certain that packages arrive in time for relatives who live far away. Christmas may be cluttered with busy schedules and mile-long to-do lists, but that does not change this simple fact: Christmas is all in the heart.

Christmas did not begin in a smelly Bethlehem stable. It did not make the calendar only after a little baby named Jesus took his first gulps of air. Christmas began in eternity past — conceived in the heart of a Father desperately in love with his children. A Father whose heart was broken in a garden when those children disobeyed his only request and turned their backs on the one who had stooped low to breathe into them their first breath of life.

Christmas began in the longing heart of a Father whose children were estranged and would forever remain so unless he stooped low again. The Father’s hatred for sin had caused him to place on it the stiffest sentence. Knowing the eternal separation sin would cause between him and his children, and knowing the hellish pain it would cause in life, the loving Father decreed that the penalty of sin would be death. And so the sentence stood and still stands.

Christmas is all in the heart. The heart of a loving Father with an extreme plan. His penalty on sin would stand, but he would bend down to pay the penalty himself. As one has so eloquently written:

The God of power, as he did ride his majestic robe of glory resolved to save; and so one He did descend, undressing all the way.

The Creator…The God of time and eternity…The God of strength and power and majesty descended from heaven, undressing all the way to a virgin’s womb, and there he began the process of humanity to pay the penalty of sin himself. Christmas is all in the heart.

God demonstrated his love in this way: while we were still sinners with the sentence of death hanging over our heads, Jesus—God in the flesh—died in our place on the cross.

Christmas is all in the heart of the eternal God desperately in love with his estranged children and willing to provide the way for them to return home.

Christmas is all in the heart—is your heart ready and willing to return home?

The Bible is clear.

All have sinned and fall short of the holy standard of God.

The penalty of sin is death, but Jesus came. He died on the cross for you. You can trust in him as the only way to forgiveness and restoration with the eternal God.

Two women were having lunch in an elegant hotel. A mutual friend saw them and asked for the occasion for the meal. One lady replied, “We are celebrating the first birthday of my baby boy.” “But where is he?” inquired the friend. “Oh,” said the mother—“you didn’t think I’d bring him, did you?”

Christmas without Jesus is like celebrating a birthday without the birthday person. Jesus is the heart of Christmas and the only way to the heart of God.

Devotion Text

Luke 2:6-7

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 room for them in the inn.

God took on flesh. The One who spoke the world into existence made only the sounds of a baby’s cry. The One who formed man from dust was confined by strips of cloth. The One who breathed life into man took his first breaths in a musty stable used to house animals. The Creator lay helpless and dependent on a young girl for his own existence.

Without any pomp or circumstance, a royal baby was born. In the chaos of the Roman Empire, the Prince of Peace entered the human race. All heaven looked on as God wrote his story of love in living letters. Jesus became, in Paul’s words, “the image of the invisible God.”

In the words of the well-known Christmas carol O Little Town of Bethlehem:

 

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting Light—

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight. 

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!  Amen.

 

For parents: Don’t let the gifts for your children cause them to miss the Gift that God has given. How do you keep Christmas a time focused on Jesus rather than presents? Share your strategies and ideas with us at prayer@ronmoore.org.


 

Today on The Journey Broadcast:

 

The King’s Message

Devotion Text

Luke 2:1-3

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

Seven hundred years before Caesar Augustus, the prophet Micah told the people that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus, who thought himself a god, issued the decree that a census should be taken. But it was the sovereign God who directed the event. Can you imagine the commotion as families throughout the Roman Empire traveled back to their hometowns to register?

Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth and were quite content to stay there. Mary was well along in her pregnancy. But the census, purposed for taxing the people, changed their plans to stay put. They would have to make a long hard journey to Bethlehem.

Maybe something has changed your plans this Christmas. A job that didn’t go the way you expected. An illness that showed up uninvited. A relocation. A separation. A broken relationship. The loss of a loved one. Sometimes things seem to happen so randomly. But for the believer, God is always in control. Hold on! He is using today to prepare you for tomorrow. He will never waste your time.

Father, I pray for the person going through a challenging time this Christmas. Please remind them of Your presence and strength. Give them the assurance that You will never waste their time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

For parents: spend some time thinking about the chaos of an entire empire full of people traveling to their hometowns. If possible, have your children draw what that commotion may have looked like. For older children, use this story to remind them that God will never waste their time. In the first chapter of Living Grounded is a life map that will help you and your children see God’s hand in the events of your lives. I encourage you to do the life map exercise with your children. Let us know what you discover at prayer@ronmoore.org.


 

This Week on The Journey Broadcast:

 

Enter the King

At the first Advent, John the Baptist was chosen by God to be the “voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord.” So who is God calling to prepare the way for Christ’s second coming?

Ron Moore shares the answer to that question in this half-hour.

Who are you?  In a broken and desperate world, where do you fit?  What purpose do you serve?

Today Ron Moore shares three principles that will give you purpose, direction, and meaning.  Learn them well and they’ll change your life for good.

How do you respond when God asks you to do something difficult?  Something that could alienate your closest friends?  Something that could alter your life forever?

For biblical insight, today Ron Moore shares the story of one remarkable woman who was asked by God to bear the unimaginable.  In her faith response, you’ll discover a way to live your life.

Devotion Text

Luke 1:18-20

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Zechariah and Elizabeth had given up any hope of having children. They were well past childbearing years. When an angel appeared and promised a child, Zechariah found the news hard to believe. Sometimes even news from an angel seems farfetched. Zechariah told the angel that he was too old to have children and boldly asked, “How can I be sure of this?”

The angel did not mince words. He was quick to share his credentials. He said, “I am Gabriel,” a name that means “mighty man of God.” Now Zechariah was trembling. He realized that the angel written about in the Old Testament book of Daniel was the one speaking to him. Gabriel continued, “I stand in the presence of God,” confirming that the message was from God Himself. To prove that the promise was true, Gabriel explained that Zechariah would not be able to speak until the day of the baby’s birth.

Some promises from God are hard to believe. In fact, many—like this one, a baby born to parents past childbearing age—are outside the realm of human explanation. Christmas is filled with such miracles. An angel appearing to Mary. A baby born to a virgin. Joseph’s dream. Angels appearing to shepherds. The star. A warning to the wise men. Christmas is filled with miracles. Would you expect anything less when God took on flesh and lived among us?

Father, thank You for the miracles of Christmas. Thank You for bolstering my belief and strengthening my faith. Thank You for giving me the proof I need for the inevitable challenges ahead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

For parents: Have your children write a story about one of the Christmas miracles. Share their story with us at prayer@ronmoore.org

 


 

This Week on The Journey Broadcast:

 

Reflecting the Glory

It was a still, silent night when light began to shine in one man’s darkened heart.  It was the night that gave him, and us, some of the most treasured words found in scripture.

Prayer

Do you need prayer?

Email prayer@ronmoore.org.

RON’S SERMONS

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