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

I’ll Have an Order of Bah – With a Side of Humbug, please

I struggle a little more each year with the concept of Christmas. Now, I’m not going to waste time going through all the gyrations about Christmas being a Paegan holiday. You can see places like http://www.livescience.com/25779-christmas-traditions-history-paganism.html  or http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm  for some already published information on such things!  That’s not the focus of this writing. What I want  is to address the believer – those that keep saying they want Christ kept as the reason for the season – and what I truly feel that means.

Dear Brothers in Christ, ponder these things with me, please. Christ was born to be both man and God. Although Mary – the vessel used for the Messiah’s virgin birth – had been visited by the angel Gabriel, it appears even she didn’t get the full grasp of what was being accomplished by God. The Bible states, in regard to the shepherds and their visit:

 Hurrying off, they (the shepherds) came and found Miryam and Yosef, and the baby lying in the feeding trough. Upon seeing this, they made known what they had been told about this child;  and all who heard were amazed by what the shepherds said to them.  Miryam treasured all these things and kept mulling them over in her heart.  Luke 2:16-19

Now, let’s think of the wise men who visited. Jesus was so important that wise men brought him valuable gifts to celebrate His birth. This was the custom extended to only kings at that time. So, basically the wise men proclaimed Jesus a king – worldly confirmation of what the heavenlies had already proclaimed. They didn’t show up randomly, or quickly. They did not arrive at the feeding trough Jesus was born in. It took them time, up to two years in accordance to the timeline shown in the Bible. They left their homes, risking their lives with King Herod, to honor Christ with their gifts.

So, Mary – who was there at conception – pondered what the shepherds spoke of the angels sharing with them while they were in the fields. Jesus received gifts for his birth (not AT it) because HE was King, and worthy of those gifts.  THIS was the birth of Christ in a nutshell.

I challenge my fellow believers in Jesus Christ as Messiah, LORD and Savior, to really celebrate Christ’s birth. To me, this looks a whole lot different than what we do. WE assign lordship to friends and family by extending presents to them. (Remember, it was Jesus who received the gifts) and WE accept lordship by accepting presents from others. Think about that for a minute – ponder it, as Mary pondered things. WE decorate our churches with the worldly delights of trees, lights, bows and other such frills of the Christmas season. The only “decorations” at Christ’s birth was the adornment of a star from heaven and the appearance of the heavenlies proclaiming His Glory. Anything WE do in our churches and homes are pale – to the point of non-existent – in comparison. WE send out Christmas cards that remind people that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” or that they need to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. Do those even begin to tell what the angels gave the shepherd, and what they shared (both going to and coming back from) with those they saw?

… when an angel of ADONAI appeared to them, and the Sh’khinah of ADONAI shone around them. They were terrified; 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. This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord.  Here is how you will know: (emphasis mine) you will find a baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.” Luke 2:9-12

I’ll go out on a limb here, and say our cards and greetings are not even coming CLOSE!

You want Jesus to be the reason for your celebration this year, Dear Christian? I dare say He would find it more appealing for you to be out telling the Good News, sharing His love, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and telling all about the sin they are bound to, UNLESS they receive their delivery from it – that delivery being through Christ.  Your gift to Him should be to share His gift to you.

And, really, should WE only be doing that on a “special” day set aside by the world?  I’m just sayin’…

Let Freedom (from sin) Ring!

flag_flying_over_church_136000379I am not a proponent of celebrating national holidays in the church.  So, when July 5 rolled around and the title of Pat’s sermon was Let Freedom Ring, I was a bit dismayed – and, I must admit, surprised!  Really?  A sermon on the 4th of July?

Thankfully, I had jumped to a wrong conclusion.  The earth was still in alignment, and my pastor was still preaching Christ, and Him crucified!  Pat’s sermon was on the freedom from sin purchased by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

I highly recommend it – and I’m not biased at all…. much??

I’m just saying…

Oh, The Wonderful Cross

wonderfulcrossWhen I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My Richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an off’ring far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all
and the beauty and the shame
in the glory of His name

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross
Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace
draw near and bless your name

Hallelujah, What A Savior

christs-blood-is-sufficient1

“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Words and Music by Phillip P. Bliss

The Story Of Yeshua’s Birth

holly-garland

Luke 2:1-20 from The Complete Jewish Bible

1 Around this time, Emperor Augustus issued an order for a census to be takenthe-census-at-bethlehem 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. phillippsmanger

the-angels-song-and-the-shepherds-visit8 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. 20 Meanwhile, the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen; it had been just as they had been told.

holly-garland

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.

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The Greatest Christmas Gift

THE NATIVITY
May you be blessed this Christmas season, and in the coming year.
From our family to yours,
Barry, Robin and the Schneider Clan

Luke 2:1-19
Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of David. In order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manager, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manager.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made know to us.”

And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manager. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.