In the Time of Christ’s Birth…

 

1 Around this time, Emperor Augustus issued an order for a census to be taken throughout the Empire. 2 This registration, the first of its kind, took place when Quirinius was governing in Syria.3 Everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 So Yosef, because he was a descendant of David, went up from the town of Natzeret in the Galil to the town of David, called Beit-Lechem, in Y’hudah, 5 to be registered, with Miryam, to whom he was engaged, and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth; 7 and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him down in a feeding trough, because there was no space for them in the living-quarters. 8 In the countryside nearby were some shepherds spending the night in the fields, guarding their flocks, 9 when an angel of ADONAI appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of ADONAI shone around them. They were terrified; 10 but the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, because I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. 11 This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 Here is how you will know: you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” 13 Suddenly, along with the angel was a vast army from heaven praising God: 14 “In the highest heaven, glory to God! And on earth, peace among people of good will!” 15 No sooner had the angels left them and gone back into heaven than the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go over to Beit-Lechem and see this thing that has happened, that ADONAI has told us about.” 16 Hurrying off, they came and found Miryam and Yosef, and the baby lying in the feeding trough. 17 Upon seeing this, they made known what they had been told about this child; 18 and al who heard were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. 19 Miryam treasured all these things and kept mulling them over in her heart. 20Meanwhile, the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen; it had been just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1-20  CJB

Maybe This Is Why The World Is Confuzzled About Christianity?

From an add on Facebook:

1 Million 4 Jesus Christ
one-million-for-jesus

Tell the world you are for Jesus. Each shirt is serially numbered from 1 to 1,000,000. What is your number? Order now.

I always thought it would be better to show the world I am for Jesus in a biblical way – like doing His will, for His glory.

Matthew 5:16 (CJB)
In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

Who knew a T-shirt was a better option?

I’m just saying…

Do Not Be Conquered By Evil.

Romans 12

9 Don’t let love be a mere outward show. Recoil from what is evil, and cling to what is good. 10 Love each other devotedly and with brotherly love; and set examples for each other in showing respect. 11 Don’t be lazy when hard work is needed, but serve the Lord with spiritual fervor. 12 Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. 13 Share what you have with God’s people, and practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you – bless them, don’t curse them! 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be sensitive to each others needs – don’t think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don’t be conceited. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but try to do what everyone regards as good. 18 If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people. 19 Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, “ADONAI says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.'” 20 On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For by doing this, you will heap fiery coals [of shame] on his head.” 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. 

When you think of evil conquering good, what do you imagine? Do you see a dark, imposing figure standing over a helpless figure of light? Do you see Hitler standing over the Jews? Do you see satan prodding one with his pitchfork?

I guess any of these could be true, but it is not what I see this passage as saying. You see, our adversary is knowledgable. He knows he cannot steal us from God. He knows we cannot be snatched from the Lord’s grasp. So, conquering of the believer is nothing more than robbing God of His deserved glory. And the best way to do that is to get us to forget His admonishment to us.
Just these few passages are ripe with admonishments to the believer.

1. Make sure your love is not just show.
2. Recoil from evil.
3. Cling to good.
4. Devoted love to each other.
5. Setting an example of respect.
6. Be not lazy.
7. Serve the Lord with fervor.
8. Rejoice in hope.
9. Be patient in troubles.
10. Steadfast in prayers.
11. Share with God’s people.
12. Be hospitable
13. Bless those who curse you.
14. Rejoice with the rejoicing.
15. Weep with the weeping.
16. Be sensitive to others needs.
17. Do not think yourself better than others.
18. Befriend the humble.
19. Do not repay evil with evil.
20. Do good.
21. Live in peace when possible.
22. Leave vengeance to the Lord – it is His to take.
23. Feed your enemy.
24. Give your enemy drink.

Any of these things that evil can negate becomes a conquering for satan over the believer. ANY OF THEM! Because to follow God’s word is to bring Him glory. To honor God’s will is to bring Him glory. To Him belongs the glory!!

So when someone does you wrong, and you want to run to evil – STOP, DROP, and PRAY. Renew your mind, removing the though of evil. Drop to your knees to the Lord. Pray for His strength to resist the devil. God’s word promises that the devil will flee from you, if you will only resist!

It is not easy in the flesh, it is a light burden when you are yoked to the Lord.

Proverbs 5 Wrap-Up

Today brings our final verses in chapter 5 of Proverbs.  This chapter is about staying away from adultery and lust.  The strange woman spoken of in the chapter is any woman not your wife.  [And, although written to the son by the father, applicable also to woman and men not their husband!]

The strange woman is a dangerous enemy.  She will charm you, but she will not do you well.  She brings great temptation [v. 1-3, 6-8, 20], and horrible consequences [v. 5-4, 9-14, 21-23]. 

Today’s believer will do well to pay heed to Proverb 5.  Solomon’s words to his son are just as applicable today as they were when written. 

As with all things, may it be to His glory! 

Proverbs 4 Wrap-Up

Chapter 4 reminds us of the importance of wisdom.  It is important that we listen to our father’s instruction in ways of wisdom.  it is important that we allow wisdom to help us stay on our path, looking neither right or left to lose our focus. 

We are to be intent on our learning.  We are not just to let life “happen” – letting the chips fall where they may.  We, as believers, are to live in a manner that reflects the work Christ is doing through us.  That is true wisdom – and it is worth more than any silver or gold can be.

Do you realize that for a long time [scholars place it around 1530″ish”BC] there was not anything written down for the faithful.  The children learned from their parents.  The very knowledge of God and His creatiion, His character, His standards, His traits rested on the handing down from generation to generation.  Fathers were faithful to pass on to the sons…. even grandfather to grandson.  It was uber important for the younger generation to listen and learn from those who came before them.

We should still be living like that today!  We have the written, inspired word of God to refer to.  We should be paying strictest attention to what His word has to say to us.

I’m just saying….

This is one of those things you know, upon sharing, people are gonna say, “Well DUH! You didn’t know that?” [I didn’t]….but you want to share it anyway – just in case….

sleeping saint1 Thessalonians 4:14 speaks of those who have “fallen asleep in Jesus”, 4:16 speaks of those who are “dead in Christ”.  Verse 14 uses the Greek verb ‘koimao’ in the passive tense.  As it was explained to me, this means that the believer is put into a calm, [permanent at the earthly level] sleep by God – through no action of their own. Basically, God calls them home.  The world sees this as death – however since Christ has conquered death, the believer does not really experience what the world sees as death, but are asleep in Jesus. 

Now, here is the thing I found most interesting (although all of it was of interest…) – it was Christians who began calling the graveyard the  “cemetery”.  This is from the Greek ‘koimētērion’ – sleeping chamber, or basically ‘bedroom’. 

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 (ASV) 
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: 57 but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is Something About God’s Assurances That is – Well – Assuring!

Even His assurance that there WILL be trials, there WILL be terror and destruction from the wicked, there WILL be sorrow on earth…. all of this comforts me. Because it reminds me NOTHING is outside the will of God or a surprise to His plans for my life. He truly is my “Rest Assured”.

Thank You, Father, for the clarity You provide my life through Your word. Thank You that You make my path straight, and show me the standard You have for me. Thank You that You remind me, through Your word, that You are never gone from me – and that nothing can take me from You. Thank You that You have a plan, and that Your plan is perfection. Thank You that You hold my life in Your hand. Father, I love the feeling of Your grace pouring over me. Thank You that You have drawn me to You. Thank You for Your Son, and His redeeming sacrifice.

“The biggest mistake people make is that we think that sermons will produce spiritual maturity.” Rick Warren

This appeal is to everyone who comes to this site today. Please take the time to listen to these videos. Yes, I am asking you – mostly people I do not even know – to invest some time to listen to what these videos have to say. [Part One is approximately nine minutes, Part Two approximately six]

My second appeal is that they be in prayer for Rick Warren.  Harsh is the judgment on those who teach – harsher still for those who teach falsely.

[h/t Irish Calvinist] [ h/t Unashamed Workman]

This is Why the Gospel is Not Some Product to be Slickly Marketed.

1Cor. 1:17-31 (NASB)

For Christ did not send me [Paul] to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.  For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” [Is. 29:14]

Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the widsom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written,

“Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” [Jer. 9:23]

Continue reading

Why My Old Man Must Stay Dead.

Romans 8:1-11 [CJB]

Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who are in union with the Messiah Yeshua. Why? Because the Torah [law] of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the “torah” of sin and death. For what the Torah could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending His own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one – but without sin. God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing He executed the punishment against sin in human nature, so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants. For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom [peace]. For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah — indeed, it cannot. Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God.

But you, you do not identify with your old nature, but with the Spirit — provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to Him. However, if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin; but on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteous. And if the Spirit of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead is living in you, then the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit living in you.

Continue reading

Our Bodies as Temple

Holy of Holies,G-d's Temple of Ancient Hebrew

For the exercise enthusiast, their body is a temple. The same is true for the believer – the difference is that our body is God’s Temple. And while studying recently I found something that was exciting to me. I wanted to share it with you. I hope you find it encouraging also.

Here’s what God’s word says about the body of those who bear His name:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own.

Now, that in itself if exciting enough for me. My body, as a believer, is a temple of God – inhabited by the Holy Spirit. That, my friend, is awe inspiring. But here is something that is even more awe inspiring. It comes from the Old Testament.

2 Chronicles 7:11-16 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all he had planned on doing in the house of the LORD and in his palace. Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open, and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes, and My heart will be there perpetually.”

Because of God’s pleasure with the temple, He chose to be there perpetually. He has chosen to consecrate it. He chose to be attentive to the prayer offered in the temple.

The physical temple Solomon built has been destroyed. And, as God said in 1 Corinthians, the man who destroys it was destroyed. Now we have become His temple. And God is pleased with the temple. He has chosen to consecrate it through the Son’s blood. He has chosen to be there perpetually through the Holy Spirit. He has chosen to be attentive to the prayer offered in it. He is attentive to our prayer.

I am the consecrated temple of the LORD. My use is for His glory. My sacrifice is His pleasure. His cross is mine to pick up daily and bare. Praise the LORD.

Father, I cannot help but praise Your name. I cannot help but give You glory. I cannot help but thank You for gracing me by consecrating me with Your Son’s blood. May my sacrifice be pleasing to You, O God. May my prayers rise as incense to Your nostrils. May I bring You all honor and glory. May I be all to You that a temple is to be. In Your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

Check The Source – Then Take It Back To Truth!

We are becoming lazy in our Christianity. We would rather read the regurgitation of the ideas of others than go right to God’s word. That is not to say there are no good references – but don’t be drawn in because of the name or the reputation. Don’t look at everything you read and hear as if it is the gospel truth – UNLESS it is the Gospel Truth! Be careful, little eyes, what you see (what you see)!

Don’t just believe what you read from Wilkerson, Christianity Today, Beth Moore, Eldredge, and others. Just because a chapter is prefaced with a verse of Scripture does not mean it is Biblical. Cloaking things in Christian verbiage does not make it true. And the authors and thoughts they reference also need to be held to the truth.

Take time today to invest fifty-two minutes (download) to listen to this sermon by Mike Abendroth, pastor of Bethlehem Bible Church in West Boylston, Mass.

It will “speak to you” by drawing you back to God’s word.

Be blessed!

In Him,

R.