Monthly Archives: December 2017
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7 – Prophecy of the Birth of Christ
For 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.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Luke 2: 1-21 The Birth of Jesus
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 whilea Quirinius was governor of Syria.) and everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 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 guest room available for them.
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.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “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 who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Revelations 22:6-17, 20 Invitation
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
If the scripture is true – then what does it mean to each of us?
Succinctly put, Jesus is God in human form sent to conquer death through his willingness to die on the cross as the final sacrifice for sin. God accepted Christ’s death as the final sacrifice for all sin, past, present and future. Once this was accomplished, God through the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from death to eternal life with God providing a way for each of us to also join Jesus for eternal life. “The Way” is by believing and accepting this gift of the “good news”.
God accomplished this. He told us about it. The Holy Spirit was sent to us to help us on our journey to belief in Christ. God formed the Church Universal as His vehicle to call His people to Him. It’s purpose is not as a social organization but as a vehicle to battle unbelief. Our unbelief is a stumbling block for living the life God destined us to live for His Glory.
As we approach the new year, let us ask God to search our souls and rid us of our unbelief in whatever area it is rearing its ugly head – whether it be in an illness, a financial crisis, an employment situation, the unbelief of a loved one, the waywardness of a child, the brokenness of your family, the death of a loved one or a tragedy that has left you reeling. Let us ask our Mighty God into these situations to shed light and wisdom – to give us hope and strength to hold our heads up and to bask in the light of His glory for one more day.
Remember, eternity meets us in this moment. So come and take the free gift of the water of life.
Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.
If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke. We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4
I know each day you are transforming me into your Glory. That is why I never give up. I try hard to reject that which is shameful and underhanded. I try to always tell the truth. Because I know you use the truth to set people on the right path.
I have come to realize that I have no control over who believes, only you are able to draw people to yourself – I am but a messenger sharing the truth that Jesus Christ is you in human form and that his death on the cross conquered death and freed those who believe to live eternally with you. This is a profound mystery to me.
But I have seen you in action – seen your miracles and transforming ways. I have experienced your mercy in my own life and what you have done to bring me out of the pit of death into the light of Christ. I hope your light shines brightly within me not for my sake but for the sake of those you place in my path.
I have been pressed on every side – fires, cancer, sickness, death, but I have not been crushed. I am perplexed about the way you bring about change in me and those you have placed me around on this earth. But even through it all, I have not been driven to despair. I know you never leave me or forsake me – no matter what. The suffering I have experienced you have allowed so that I can be closer to you. Faith I have only because I have walked, crawled and been carried through adversity.
I know I must continue to speak about you. Because I know that this is an eternal matter – that those around me who don’t know you may perish – so if you can use me to bring even one soul into the saving knowledge of your Glory, there will be great rejoicing!
That is why I never give up. Though I grow older with each day, I feel energized each morning, knowing you are going to do something miraculous in this day. Eternity is forever – so I try to keep that in mind as I weather these storms of life. Your plan and purpose uses these storms to bring me closer to you and prepare me for my eternal home.
May this day be the day you intended with many children coming to know you as their Father for all eternity.
Thank you, Abba. I love you.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why is it important to know that God is for us and not against us? Why is it critical that we know that Christ intercedes for us? Why is it imperative to know that nothing – absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus?
Because focusing and refocusing on these promises can mean the difference between life and death – between being able to persevere and giving up – the difference between hope and despair. Knowing this deep, abiding love will mean we can face tragedies and challenges with hearts, minds and souls that know our God is always for us and never against us.
God does not make bad things happen to us – but He does permit them at times. Why? Because He sees the whole picture – we see but a speck of sand on the shores of the ocean. Because He is weaving all circumstances and people together in the most beautiful tapestry ever created – we see only the backside of the tapestry with knotted and broken threads. Because He loves us so much that he wants us to be in full communion with Him – we see only where we are in our own brokenness. He uses ever tragedy in our lives to bring Glory to His Name – which we are able to see in His time.
So in this season of Advent – this season of hope for some, despair for others and joy for many, focus on His love – the love of a Father who gave His one and only Son so that we can live. Let us take our challenges and tragedies and give them to our God so that His Glory will shine through us and light up our World!
Many years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Richard Wurmbrand speak. (He was part of the beginning of the Voice of the Martys publication and web site) Richard had been held in a concentration camp in Romania. He said this about his time there, “Here in the United States, you have the words about the words about the words, there we had the Word.”
How many of us have the Word–living and dwelling in us? Too often we depend on the preacher, the speaker, or the writer to have the words for us. Scripture says “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” Colossians 3:16.
In this season of Advent, take a portion of scripture that God has laid on your mind and heart and ponder it as Mary pondered the words she heard (Luke 2:19). Reflect on it, chew on it (the word meditate means to chew the cud), and let it take root in your living.
To help you with reading the Word:
For those of you who love geography and are tired of reading place names that have no meaning for you, this is the book for you. With the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines, not only will you be able to see where things were then but also where things are now. For instance, did you know that “Antioch” where believers were first called Christians is in modern day Turkey?
The Blue Letter Bible–this is an app that can be used with android and Apple. You will find commentaries, definitions, and much more. Explore it and see if it helps you find your way through the Word.
If you want to go deeper into one particular book of the bible, then try the Holman New Testament/Old Testament Commentary. Not only will you be able to read one person’s insight into the text but you will also find definitions, teaching outlines, and issues for discussion.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 The Message
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.
14 I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
15 Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.
Galatians 4:4(NIV) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons, because you are sons, God sent the Spirit who calls out,” Abba, Father”. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
Revelations 1:3(NIV) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
Revelations 22:12 (NIV) Behold I am coming soon!
God’s timing is perfect.
It is hard to comprehend that when we are in a holding pattern – waiting for something to happen in our lives so that something better can come to fruition.
Just as it was so long ago, the people of Israel were waiting for the Messiah – for over 400 years they waited – and when God’s timing was perfect, the Messiah came.
We are again in a holding pattern – waiting for Christ to come again as He promised.
However, waiting when you know the outcome, can be the difference between waiting in peace or waiting in anxiousness and fear.
Whatever you are waiting for in this earthly realm, remember God’s timing is perfect for your situation. You can trust that the God who made you, who delivered you to this earth and who loves you, has the right timing. REMEMBER the outcome – God wins and as his beloved son or daughter, you win with Him.
May you find peace in the waiting remembering God’s timing is always perfect and rejoicing in His promise – “Yes, I am coming soon! Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Rev 22:20