Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. This is a place where we can come together and share our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Kendra suggests you use the following process when studying Scripture. We have included an example of this process from John 1:1.
Step 1: Pray
Step 2: Read God’s Word (look at the passage)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Step 3: What Does God’s Word Say? (list the facts)
1 In the beginning the Word was with God and was God.
Step 4: What Does God’s Word Mean? (learn the lessons)
1 God‘s Word is not just ancient philosophy, it is eternal Truth.
Step 5: What Does God’s Word Mean to Me? (listen to his voice)
1 How do I view the Bible?
Kendra Graham NOTES from Luke 2:8-20
What does it say? The Facts.
8. In the same region shepherds were keeping watch by night
9. An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, they were afraid
10. Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy for all
11. Today, is born a Savior, Christ the Lord
12. This will be a sign, a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger
13. Suddenly a multitude of heavenly host praising God
14. Glory to God in the highest on earth peace with whom He is well pleased
15. The angels had gone, the shepherds began saying, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing the Lord made known to us”
16. They came in haste. Found the baby as He lay in the manger
17.When they saw, they made known the statement told of the Child
18. All who heard it pondered at the things told by the shepherds
19. Mary treasured and pondered these things in her heart
20. The shepherds went back glorifying and praising God, all they heard and saw was just as had been told them
What Does it Mean? Lessons we can learn.
8. The shepherds were the outcasts of society. Shepherds were also considered “unclean” so a shepherd could not go to the temple, they were too filthy. Imagine being told you were too dirty to worship God! You were not even invited! When a shepherd went to town they must yell, “Unclean” so people would quickly run away. They did not have a thrilling job, but a very difficult, hard and often times dangerous job for little pay. Shepherds had to work 24/7, often times in very harsh conditions. What do you think a shepherd thought about at night? Do you think they pondered their importance to God? If I were a shepherd I would be tempted to think God cared about everyone, except dirty ole, ignored, outcast, me. It’s easy to believe the lie that I am insignificant.
9. God can bring light to even our darkest nights.
10. The words spoken from heaven were not words of condemnation or judgment but of joy, excitement, kindness and love and they are for you, shepherds. Angels from heaven? Surely they must have a message for someone more important than just a shepherd. No, sweet shepherd, you have not been overlooked, you have not been cast aside! Heaven has news, the first of the news was entrusted to those society had sidelined and deemed “outcast”. The message was not just for the shepherds though, but for ALL people!!! This includes you and I! Hope, REAL HOPE in a hopeless dark place where we are tempted to think we are abandoned and forgotten…. yet no! Heaven sees you and I and is shouting and praising the birth of Jesus! Jesus has come for you and me!
11. Jesus, this Savior is for us! “For unto YOU THIS DAY!” A Savior! The shepherds you see were looking for just that! A savior! The government that had promised freedom, yet brought oppression. The government that had promised ease yet had brought them extremely high tax burdens instead, The government had promised freedom for all, yet brought fear and slavery. A savior was needed. A Savior IS NEEDED still today. Heaven still rings with the TRUTH, Jesus, a Savior was born that very night in Bethlehem for ALL people!
12. Heaven is clear on how to find Jesus. No two ways about it. No confusion. God is not a God of confusion but clarity! (I Corinthians 14:33). Jesus is also close and easy to get to. Jesus is not hiding from us but begging us to come!
13-14. Glory to God in the highest and Peace on earth. Heaven sings of it at the top of their lungs! Peace in a time of distress! Peace in a time of burden! Peace in a time of turmoil! Peace in a time of despair! Peace in a time of depression! Peace in a time of heartache and despair! Peace between God and man, a relationship that had been strained by sin since the beginning will be at peace through Jesus! This is something to sing about! 15-16a. The shepherds decided to go straight away in haste to Bethlehem. They did not search the “Yelp” app for a sheep sitter in the area, they did not wait until they could get cleaned up first to go see Immanuel, God with us. The shepherds did not write a list of pros and cons on why maybe tonight is or is not a great time to go. Jesus was there, in the manger, that night, if they didn’t go then, they would have missed the opportunity. Each shepherd had to decide and go for himself… Phil could not go for David, Josh could not go for Jim, they all had to make that personal decision for themselves. There was no one excluded from the invitation, there was room for all.
16b. The shepherds found the baby in the manger. Jesus was found right where heaven said He was! God’s Word is true, and the Shepherds experienced it that night.
17. After the shepherds experienced God’s Word to be true, they could not hold it in, they told what had happened. No longer did it matter if people thought they had eaten some bad fish on that hill that night and hallucinated… how many times did they say on the way to find Jesus among themselves, “No one will believe us… let’s just agree that what happens on the hill stays on the hill…” yet, after they saw Jesus, they could not hold in the message of heaven! A Savior indeed was born and God leaned His angels out of heaven to tell them, the shepherds!
18. When people hear your testimony of how Jesus changes your life, there will be wonderment! It didn’t matter that the shepherds were outcasts anymore, they had been changed by Jesus, and everyone had to hear!
19. Mary is reminded that God’s Word is true. How she may have needed the shepherds story.
20. The shepherds were changed. You can’t come to Jesus and go back the same! What did the baby “do” for them? Did they go back with a million dollars? A new house? Were they able to pay their bills all of a sudden? What about a new job, so they didn’t have to be outcasts any longer? Jesus, you see, changed the state of their heart! They saw that night how precious they were to God! Freedom, peace and joy are not hinged upon a physical location or a certain job or way of life, freedom, peace and joy are a state of the heart that only Jesus can give. The shepherds experienced it that night. People even today are hearing the testimony of the shepherds and coming to Jesus! What is the state of your heart today?
What Does it Mean to Me? So now what do I do with that?
8. Do I know Jesus was born for me? Am I tempted to think the story of Jesus at Christmas is for everyone else but me because I have fallen through the cracks of God’s mind? Do I realize I am NOT insignificant to God?
9. What causes me to think I am a lost cause in the darkness unable to be seen by a loving God? Do I realize the One who breaks the darkness also reigns over it?
10. Am I in need of real hope that won’t pick me up to let me down? Will I finally choose to put my hope in Jesus who will not disappoint? “And the HOPE of JESUS does NOT DISAPPOINT us, because God has poured out His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.” Romans 5:5
11. Did I realize God sent Jesus, for me? To whom do I look to for Truth? Does it seem like I have trusted in everyone and everything else only to be let down?
12. Did I know God was so clear on how to find Him and does that fact bother me? Am I looking for another way to God? Am I tempted to think Jesus is being exclusive, when really, Jesus is just being clear and simple lacking confusion? John 14:6 Jesus said, “I AM the way, the Truth and the life, NO ONE comes to God EXCEPT through ME.”
13-14. How many of us need the peace of Jesus with all the chaos in our lives? Do you have that peace with God that Jesus came to bring? Is it time I stopped looking to the world and its leaders and friends for this kind of superficial peace and went straight to Jesus who died to give it to me? What or who am I allowing to keep me from coming to the Prince of Peace? Isaiah 9:6.
15-16a. Am I waiting to get things straightened up in my life before I go to Jesus? Do I realize I can never get things fixed without Jesus? Have I been hoping that someone else would go first, or for me? What personal decision have I made about Jesus and am I confident with that decision if I were to enter eternity this moment?
16b. How many times have I been let down by other’s definitions of the word “Truth” in my life, my job, my family, my governmental leaders? Am I ready to go and see for myself that real Truth is only found in Jesus?
17-19. How has Jesus changed my life and who needs to hear about it? How do I need Jesus to change my life so I will have a testimony of God’s power to tell?
20. Do you need Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Almighty God, Wonderful Counselor, and Everlasting Father to change your life this Christmas? Did you know you too can have the same testimony the shepherds had that night? Jesus came for you!
This Christmas simply take a moment to pray to the God who loves you so much, He came down personally to this world to fix the gap sin (anything we do wrong, the tiniest lie, the smallest infringement, to the largest) has placed between us. Just as the tide on the seashore fills the smallest dent to the largest hole when it comes in, the blood of Jesus covers all we have done in life to separate us from Him, if we just ask! Will you ask Jesus to change your heart today? Experience the same change those shepherds did that night! It didn’t matter that they were still “just” shepherds, they knew that God not only saw them, but that they meant everything to Him. You mean everything to the God who created you to know Him and walk with Him through life. This Christmas will you give your heart to Christ? You won’t regret it. The shepherds sure didn’t!
Lord God, thank you for coming to us! Jesus, who is God came to make things right between us by dying on the cross, shedding His blood so that I could be forgiven. Thank you for going to the extreme, and doing whatever it took, for me. Overwhelm me by your love. You died, then three days later rose again from the grave conquering the sin that has kept me away from you my entire life. Forgive me for things I have done to separate us. Change my heart as you changed the shepherds heart that night you were born.
If you prayed that prayer, those same angels that told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus are praising and raising the roof in heaven, for YOU! Jesus loves you and saw you as the reason to be born that night! Now, begin your walk with Jesus here on earth by studying His Word, the Bible.
Join us this year in this online study as we encourage one another daily in God’s Word! God bless you! Remember, peace is not a location, but a state of the heart that only God can give, for He is the Prince of Peace, why settle for anyone else? Amen and Merry Christmas!
Homework: Psalm 1:1
If you can make it to The Cove in person, join us on Tuesday evening, January 8, 2013, for a 7-week study on Psalm 23. It’s free! Bring a friend, neighbor or your Bible study group. all are welcome! Click here or call 1-800-950-2092 for more information and to register.