Philippians 2–Messiah at Christmas; Emptying Himself

When our Messiah left Heaven, He did not have to complete some grand quest to obtain favor or a place of deity. He was already God.  Jesus’ assignment was the one He had planned before creation.  He knew that we needed a Savior and that Savior had to be Him.  So, God the Son set aside His immortality, His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His omnipresence and put on flesh. Then, if that was not enough, He lived humbly and died horribly to pay for the sins of the world–then and now.

The great news is that His sacrifice restored our ability to know and to have a relationship with God.  ​So, God exalted the Messiah to the highest place and gave Jesus the name that is above every name and 2000 Christmases later, every knee still shall bow in Heaven, on Earth, and below the Earth;  without exception, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! His authority recognized, His name exalted, and His sacrifice complete.

We celebrate that gift around the world.  God the Son emptied Himself to open a path for us to reach Heaven.  It is an amazing day, really.  We empty ourselves by giving to others.  We stop life for a day and celebrate those we love.  When we do selfless things, It is pleasing to God.  It is a to the world that Jesus’s sacrifice had meaning. 

 As the old saying goes, “imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”  For a brief moment, we imitate the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  In doing that, we share the Gospel.  We give testimony that Jesus’s sacrifice was real and His position is set as our Savior and Lord.  Merry Christmas.

God Bless You


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a]who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b]but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Messiah at Christmas-The Height and Depth

God could only solve the sin’s separation by reaching across time, space, and the eternal divide from the Holiness that was His identity and making a path for us.  What is more, that path could not require our changing one bit.  Sadly, as people, we are simply incapable of making such a change.  Sin has so ​imprinted itself to us that we can only live subject to sin.  But, on that amazing day, a child that could and would reach across the divide and make a way for us was born.


Jesus got no special deal.  He did not live a sheltered life.  He was not exalted or placed on a pedestal; instead, He was raised simply.  He traveled among normal folks.  He expected little, he served to the end, He sacrificed everything all in the name of love for us,  Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ and the Father’s first sacrifice.  Those sacrifices continued until the ultimate sacrifice of His death.


It is simply impossible to embrace the depth of what Jesus gave up for us. The God that spoke the universe into being became one sole person, on one planet, hovering meekly around one star in a galaxy of millions. He who holds the stars in the palm of his hand looked to the sun for light, heat, and life.  Still, at the end of the day, Christ was exalted to the highest place and given a name that is above every name.  As the shepherds looked upon Jesus, they had no idea they looked at the face of Almighty God.


Merry Christmas


Galatians 4
4-5 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” 

Isaiah 9For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Romans 5But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 210 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Genesis 3–Christmas and the Gospel

It all started in the Garden.  Man had only one tree He could not touch it was the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.  Sadly, as they would soon find out, it was really the tree of the knowledge of Evil, because they already knew all that was good.  They were surrounded by it and God made sure all he created was good.Still the serpent convinced them to become as smart as God.  They fell for it and now God the creator and Father had to restore what the enemy so cleverly had destroyed. 

So, as God was pronouncing Judgement upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent, He foretold of the Gospel. In a very simple promise, Adonai promises a day when the enemy and Savior will clash.  The enemy will injure the Savior, but the Savior will win, and the enemy will be vanquished. That Savior, Jesus was born a man lived a perfect life, died on a cross and rose to defeat once and for all the enemy and restore the relationship between God and Men.

That Epic battle is why we celebrate Christmas.  The day when God became a man and dwelt among us.We are blessed this and every Christmas with the simple truth that we can restore our fellowship and relationship with God by simply asking Him to forgive our sins and come into our lives and restore our fellowship with Him.  He gave up his position of God and died to make that possible.

  • God Bless You

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Exodus 35-39–Moses God’s Construction Manager

In God’s continued preparation for Israel to go home, He had to prepare the infrastructure for His people.  Moses was charged with the duty of assigning , gathering, and overseeing the construction of the Tabernacle, God’s meeting place. 

God gave Moses detailed instruction regarding the construction of the tabernacle and all the furniture and equipment it would require.  The next section of Moses story involves his management of that process.  Clearly not the most glamourous part of the Story of Israel, but a very important one.


For our part, this part of Moses duties is a testament to God’s desire that we do the details in life to make life smooth.  The great verse in the passage, “The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So, Moses blessed them.”

  ​
We must remember that as we follow and trust God, He will bless us.  It is His desire that we trust Him in the Big and the little details.  Each are important to Him.  It is also important to remember that superheroes like Moses are as great when they are managing the construction of the tabernacle as they are when they part the Red Sea. 

Our journey is full of a million details that God wants to be a part of.  If we allow it, He will lead, guide and direct us through life’s ups and downs.  He will transform us into His image and prepare us for an eternity with Him.  That is a great adventure to say the least!

God Bless You


32 So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses. 33 Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses: the tent and all its furnishings, its clasps, frames, crossbars, posts and bases; 34 the covering of ram skins dyed red and the covering of another durable leather[e] and the shielding curtain; 35 the ark of the covenant law with its poles and the atonement cover; 36 the table with all its articles and the bread of the Presence; 37 the pure gold lampstand with its row of lamps and all its accessories, and the olive oil for the light; 38 the gold altar, the anointing oil, the fragrant incense, and the curtain for the entrance to the tent; 39 the bronze altar with its bronze grating, its poles and all its utensils; the basin with its stand; 40 the curtains of the courtyard with its posts and bases, and the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard; the ropes and tent pegs for the courtyard; all the furnishings for the tabernacle, the tent of meeting; 41 and the woven garments worn for ministering in the sanctuary, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when serving as priests.

42 The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.

Exodus 34 Final–Radiating God’s Presence

It was a hard 40 days for Moses.  He fasted and sat in God’s presence redoing the tablets and preparing again to lead the people to the promised Land.  When Moses returned, He was radiant wit God’s glory.  He was so obviously changed that it caused the people to fear Him. 

Moses assured them and set them down and shared all that God shared with him. From that time forward, Moses remained veiled except when he was in God’s presence.  Then Moses would return, and the people would see His radiant face and know he had been in God’s presence.  After he would convey God’s message, he would replace the veil until the next time He was in God’s presence.  There was never a doubt that Moses and God were together. 

One cannot be in God’s presence and not be changed.When we start a relationship with God, We are also changed.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 

As with Moses, God’s spirit indwells us, and we begin a journey of transformation that carries on until His return.  While we do not become perfect, we do become different as was Moses.  His impact on our lives should be noticeable.  As we go through our day, we should strive to radiate God’s presence in our lives. We do not need to veil that presence; we need to allow God to shine.  Jesus said it best, “Let your light shine before men so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16.

God Bless You


27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

The Radiant Face of Moses

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Exodus 34 Part 2–God Reveals the Main Thing

God reiterated the main things to Moses the second round.  I was struck by verse 20.  “No one is to appear before me empty handed”…I think so many days in our lives, we expect for God to protect, prepare, and provide for us.  It is a reasonable expectation; He promises to do so if we will follow Him. But, like Israel, I think we start believing we are entitled to those gifts; and believe me, they are wonderful gifts. 


Still, God wants His chosen to live lives that do not resemble entitled and spoiled children. We must come before God living sacrificially and presenting to Him selfless lives. It is not that He has any desire to take away the life He has provided; instead, He simply wants us to hold on loosely to the things of this world.  Allow the Lord to bless us; but be willing to lay whatever we possess on the alter before Him and allow Him to do with it what He sees fit to do.


Israel was training to be God’s chosen people.  All their grumbling centered around their selfish fears and desires.  God was training Moses to change the attitude to one of gratitude and sacrifice.  With that attitude, there would be no one or no thing that could stop Israel.


During this season of celebration of Christ’s coming to the world, We need to adopt the same spirit that God commanded of the Israelites.  Do not appear before God empty handed.  We must always follow with an attitude of gratitude and selflessness! If we will, we will not become entitled or spoiled. 

Further, we will see God at His best guiding us to the amazing goal of His promise.  I think Paul said it best in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”


God Bless You


“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

21 “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

22 “Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.[b] 23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.

25 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.

26 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

The Radiant Face of Moses

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Exodus 34 Part 1–Committed Leaders

After days of intercession and discussion, Moses and God came to terms.  Moses cut new stone tablets and headed up the mountain to meet God.  God, for His part, made a new covenant with the people to drive out their enemies and inhabit their inheritance.


It is a very interesting scenario. Moses and God both forgiving the people and both working for their blessing.  Moses carving out new stones and climbing the Mountain alone to meet God.  God forgiving the outright rebellion and lack of faith for a group he freed, led and fed.


The picture of covenant commitment is very real.  God never stopped loving Israel, He was plenty angry with them, as was Moses. The good news was that both were committed to seeing God’s promise fulfilled.  So, Moses cut the stones, climbed the mountain, and listened to the Lord as He prepared Moses for the journey that lie ahead.


We can never give up on God.  God never gives up on us. When we ask him to be a part of our life, God enters that covenant with His eyes wide open.  Like Israel, we have an advocate–Jesus, who intercedes on our behalf when we make foolish choices and sin against God.  We must remember the pain our choices cause, but, as with Moses, we need to remember God continues to march forward with us to bring us to the promised land which is our eternity in Heaven.


He will go to amazing lengths to secure us and will forgive great sin.  He simply asks that we trust and follow Him to the end of this amazing journey.


God Bless You


The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”

So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

10 Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 12 Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. 13 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles.[a] 14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Exodus 33 Part 2–Moses as God’s Friend

Moses was talking God off the ledge.  That is the only way to put it.  God was furious with the people who openly rebelled as he was constructing their rules for a great life.  But God had had it.  He told Israel He would keep His promise, but he would not go with them.  Not to punish them, but to keep from destroying them.  It was kind of a “Don’t ask Don’t tell” scenario.


Moses called God on His stuff.  He simply laid it out. If you are not going, then we are not going.  Pretty strong words.  Those are words spoken to a friend, not to a boss or an authority.  It is not that God was surprised by the people, they had been a pain the entire time and will continue to be a pain until God’s return. 

No, it was God getting to a place with His chosen leader, that allowed the leader to lead; and not simply act as a puppet for others to manipulate.  Rest assured, if Moses could stand up to God, (Albeit reverently), then the lowly kings and rulers of Israel’s enemies would be no problem.


Finally, Moses asks God to take their partnership to the next level…Show me your glory.  So, God does.  God wanted and did have a partnership with Moses unlike any other of His Stars.  Through the years, God and Moses would laugh, cry, and grieve over this stiff-necked people.  It would ultimately cost Moses his entrance into Israel, but even in that, God would handle Moses as a friend, not a subject.


We are blessed to be treated as God’s children not his subjects.  We will be able to look God in the eyes. He will hug our necks, restore our eternal bodies, and treat us as one He loves.  God will treat us as He treated Moses.  We will probably not be talking God off a ledge, but we can speak to Him face to face. 

It is the greatest gift of Christmas the change from a national relationship to a personal one.  We do not have to look to a Moses, but only to our Lord for leadership and direction!  Merry Christmas!!!!!!!
God Bless You


Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you, and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Exodus 33 Part 1–Moses as Friend to God

As we have looked at Spiritual Superheroes, the relationship they enjoyed with God often varied.  Abraham was reverent and trusting, Isaac was quiet but prayerful. Jacob was not in a good state, but never quit.  Joseph was always faithful circumstances really did not matter. 

Moses, however, was the most unique.  He and God co-parented Israel.  The Israelites were a bunch of scared but entitled people.  They feared they would be abandoned, yet God dwelt among them. They feared starvation and dehydration, yet God met their needs daily.  They feared they would be lost, But God led them everywhere.  They feared they would be defeated, but God destroyed their enemies.  

In the verses today, I can hear a parent’s tone–“I am going to get you to your inheritance…BUT, I am not going, because if I do, I will probably have to kill you!”  The only thing more parent like would have been, “Don’t make me pull this Pillar of Smoke over!” 

These people were a constant drain, and the glimpses of the conversations between Moses and God showed two folks that understood each other.  God and Moses had each other’s back!  

That is why the tent of meeting is so great.  It had to be where God and Moses talked about the ridiculous stuff the Israelites pulled.  I am sure they started many conversations with talk of plagues and death and ended with “I know but they are your people!”  It only depended on the day to determine whether it was God or Moses saying that last phrase.

I often wonder if at the Mount of transfiguration, Jesus and Moses talked about the days in the wilderness.  I can almost hear Moses tell Jesus, I know this is tough, Lord, But they are worth it!  No one would know better than Moses.

I pray that I can have some “Tent of Meeting” conversations with God.  I hope we can laugh at what a dunderhead I really am.  I know I will be ashamed of many dumb decisions, but then God will say, “At least you did not make a golden calf at my feet when I was writing for you “do not make a graven image…”  

I think we will be surprised at how real God is with us and how little really surprises Him.  I think that is what helped Moses to be able to shepherd these folks for 40 years.

God Bless You


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.’” So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.

The Tent of Meeting

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

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