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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Time for a Change

   When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
   So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” - Matthew 2:13-18

Life is full of pain, but sometimes it can be avoided. Obedience to God’s law, and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit can save us a lot of anguish. So, as we get ready for another year let’s decide to do it God’s way and not our way.
 
See what happens. It will change your life.
Amen and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking and Serving


In Luke 2:36-40 we meet another person at the Temple, a woman named Anna. She had served the Lord all the days of her life, and now she was old. She loved the Lord worshiping, fasting, and praying to Him. 
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 

I think because of her intimate relationship with God she was able to recognize the Messiah. I love this part of her reaction; she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of JerusalemAnna praised God and couldn’t help but to tell everyone about her encounter with Jesus. She knew He had come to redeem the world, and make a way to the Lord.

The same is true today. Have you accepted His redemption from your sins?

Ask for His forgiveness and believe He is Lord. Commit your life to serving Him in 2015. Amen?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Recognition

In Luke 2:25-35 we meet a man named Simeon who had been longing for Messiah. The Lord promised that he would not die until he had seen Him.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation ofIsrael, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
   29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
   33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Not everyone recognized Jesus as the Son of God. It says that Simeon was righteous, devout, waiting, and watching for the Savior. Today those attributes are necessary for recognition of Jesus in our presence as well.

Allow God’s Spirit to lead you and fill you in knowing Jesus even more intimately this coming year.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Presentation

We see in Luke 2:22-24 the baby Jesus being presented in the Temple.

    When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

The example being set here is one of wisdom. We are told throughout the Bible to fear the Lord and be obedient. Out of respect and willingness to do things God’s way Mary and Joseph went to the temple with their firstborn.

We need to approach the Lord with pure hearts and sacrificial lives. 1 Corinthians tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.  Christmas may be over, but we still need to let others see Christ in us.

Amen?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Share the News!


The Good news about Jesus' birth is something to be shared!

We need to Go tell it!


Go, tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain, That Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens, There shone a holy light

The shepherds feared and trembled, When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus, That hailed our Savior's birth.

Down in a lowly manger, The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation, That blessed Christmas morn.


What do we need to do?

Tell our story of how Jesus saved us, and God’s story that salvation is available to everyone who calls on His name!

It’s the best after Christmas gift you could ever give.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Revelation

My fourth and last sermon for the Christmas Grace series – The Reason for Christmas is The Revelation of Jesus! Below is the study outline starting with a prophecy. 

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.  And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5

 

What would you expect God to do after reading this verse?

 

The revelation of Jesus (as Messiah) Matthew 1:18-25
Discuss Joseph’s reactions in the following verses;
1. Joseph’s distress (Matthew 1:18) He is heartbroken, assuming his fiancĂ© has been unfaithful.
2. Joseph’s decision (Matthew 1:19) Not wanting to disgrace Mary, he determines to break their engagement secretly.
3. Joseph’s dream (Matthew 1:20-25) He receives a message in a dream concerning:
- The purity of Mary (1:20) Joseph is reassured that Mary’s pregnancy is caused by the Holy Spirit.
- The person within Mary (1:21) The Angel of the Lord tells him that mary will bare a son and that he shall be named Jesus.
- The prophecy about Mary (1:22-23) This son; conceived without the aid of a human father, is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel
4. Joseph’s discernment (1:24-25) Joseph takes Mary to be his wife.
How should we show discernment for what God has revealed?
I want you to know, brothers and sisters that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12

What do you think God expects us to do after reading these verses?

We are to receive this “revelation” and share the reasons for Christmas with the world around us.

What are some ways you can share the reasons for Christmas this week?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Real Christmas story

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galileeto Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
15When 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.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke chapter 2

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One Solitary Life

This has been around for a long time, and I don’t know who wrote it. It always makes me think about Jesus’ impact on the world. Enjoy!

He was born in an obscure village,
Earthly riches were not important to Him
He did not travel extensively, only once did
He crossed the boundary of the country in which He lived,
In infancy He startled a King, in childhood He amazed Jewish leaders,
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.
He then became an itinerant preacher.
He never held office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college.
He had no credentials but himself.
He healed multitudes without medicine,
He made no charge for His service,
He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the volumes that have been written about Him,
He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined,
He never founded a College, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students,
He never practiced psychiatry, and yet has healed more broken hearts than all the Doctors far and near,
He was only thirty-three when the public turned against him.
The devil tried to destroy Him, but the grave could not hold Him.
His Name stands highest of the heavenly glory, acknowledged by angels and feared by devils
Nineteen centuries have come and gone,
And today he is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
And all the kings that ever reigned
 have not affected the life of man on this earth
As much as that one solitary life.

Merry Christmas! Have a good Godly day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Gift

My family has a tradition on Christmas day to be the first to say, Christmas Gift! to another member of the family. It started years ago but it helps us to remember that the greatest Christmas gift is offered to us all byJesus.

   On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. - John 7:37-39

God made us for an intimate relationship with Himself, and we cannot get our deepest needs met anywhere else but in Him. Jesus offers the only satisfaction for spiritual thirst. In verse 38,from within them refers to the innermost recesses of the body.

Just as it was a miracle of God for water to flow from a rock in the Old Testament (giving life) it is greater miracle of God to have the Holy Spirit flowing from His people and eternal life.


Praise be to God for this gift!


Amen?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Mystery

Recently I preached on Christmas Grace – The Reason for Christmas and The Mystery of Jesus as found in  Luke 1:26-38. The following are notes from the study. The message can be found on our website: www.fbcredbank.com 

An angelic visit to Mary, concerning the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)
1. The salutation to Mary (Luke 1:26-37) She receives a heavenly visit.
a. The messenger (Luke 1:26-28) The angel Gabriel appears to this virgin girl in Nazareth. Mary is engaged to Joseph the carpenter.
b. The message (Luke 1:29-33)
- Gabriel’s assurance – He comforts Mary, saying she has found favor with God.
- Gabriel’s announcement – Mary will give birth to Jesus, the Messiah, whose kingdom and reign over Israel will never end!
c. The mystery (Luke 1:34) Being a virgin Mary is perplexed, wondering how this can be accomplished.
d. The method (Luke 1:35) Gabriel tells her that the Holy Spirit will father the baby!
e. The miracle (Luke 1:36-37) Mary now learns that her aged relative Elizabeth is already six months into her pregnancy!

2. The submission of Mary (Luke1:38)
I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants”.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12

Are you a willing servant of God?


Will you accept what you don’t understand (a mystery) by faith?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Mission

We'll continue to look at Jesus' ministry today as a reason why he came on Christmas. His mission is found in John 1:10-13, He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (also Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:3)
Some rejected Him. - the world and His own people. Some received Him. - those who believed became children of God.

John 3:17 - For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Our mission is to share the Good News!

The miracle is found in John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
God became a human and lived on earth among us!

Testimony is given in 1 John 1:1-4 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.


How is Christ working in your life today? 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Faithful Forerunner

For the next couple of days we'll continue to look at my preaching series,Christmas Grace - The Reason for Christmas. This week's focus is the Ministry of Jesus, and the facts concerning the incarnate Christ (After He was born) as found in the first chapter of John. 

We are introduced to the man who was the faithful forerunner of Messiah.  There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.) John 1:6-9 John the Baptist serves as a witness to Christ (also found in Malachi 3:1 and Mark 1-2)

Remember what Jesus proclaims in John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John the Baptist’s position in the Christmas story is important, because it was prophesied (the Bible is true) and his message was needed. God had been silent for 400 years to Israel. Good News was coming!

Maybe you are feeling God's silence. Seek His voice from His Word. There is something He has to say to you today.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Born and Given

This is a prophetic word from Isaiah foretelling the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 9:6-7 -    For unto 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.              

What does “unto to us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given” mean?

I think that it is a reminder that Jesus is for everyone and He is a gift from God. Salvation is available for all who call on the Name of the Lord.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.Romans 10:9

If we accept this gift of salvation then we too are reborn, and we are given to the Son. To give Him honor and glory all the days of our lives should be our main focus. 
Amen?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Great Grace

If Jesus was never born we would not know God’s grace and mercy. Jesus’ disciples John and Peter testify to His grace and mercy.

John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:3-4 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.

George Bailey, in It’s a Wonderful Life couldn’t grasp the affect that his life had made on the world around him until it was shown to him.  Jesus knew that the world needed saving, and He was the only way to bring it about. He left the splendor of heaven to come in to this dark world as a baby. Jesus brought the light of heaven to earth, and made salvation available through His sacrifice.

Praise God that Jesus was born and still lives today! Thank you Lord for Your great grace, love and mercy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Giving Gifts

If Jesus was never born we would not know about sacrificial giving.

Jesus taught us about how to give in Luke 21:1-4 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus said - My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 15:12-13 He gave up His life for us, and died in our place for our sins.

Because of Jesus’ willingness to come and give His life we can know eternity with God.

 Jesus promises eternity with God in heaven in John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 In John 14:6-7 Jesus declared - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Thank you Jesus, the Giver of Gifts, for preparing and being the way!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gift Giving

Let’s think about the question; What if Jesus had never been born?

There is a lot that we would never know.

Jesus tells us in John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

If Jesus had never been born we would not know the full extent of God’s love.
He loved us so much we was willing to die in our place on Calvary. He loves us so much that once we accept Him as Savior nothing can separate us from His love.

As Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Praise God for the gift of Jesus!
Why not share this greatest gift with someone today?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Living a Wonderful Life

All of us have seen the classic Christmas movie; It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. In the movie, Stewart plays George Bailey who inherited the Bailey Building and Loan after his father dies. Throughout the story we see this man overcoming one thing after another: the stock market crash, the Depression, and World War II. Just when life was returning to normal another drama unfolds. His absentminded uncle misplaces $8000 and George knows he will probably go to jail. On a snowy night he heads out in desperation, uncertain about what to do. He comes to a bridge and considers committing suicide wishing he had never been born. George is saved by Clarence Oddbody, his guardian angel, who jumps in first. George saves him, but still wishes he had never lived. George’s request is granted.

Stewart’s character gets to see what the world would have looked like had he never been born. Through the rest of the movie we discover that George’s life has made a significant impact on his family, his friends, his community, and had he never been born, other people’s lives would have been worse off. The movie helps us realize the impact one person can make on those around us whether it is for good or for bad.

How about the Christmas story, and posing the question, what if Jesus was never born?

What if the first Christmas never happened?  No angels, no virgin birth, no manger, no shepherds, no wise men… No baby Jesus?

What kind of an impression has Jesus made on the world?
In our personal lives Jesus gives us hope, healing, wisdom, direction, protection, provision, rest, and so much more.

In our society we know most orphanages, hospitals, care organizations, and colleges were all begun by Christians.

What impression has Jesus made on you?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Sharing

Look at what Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19 - “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

He is announcing that Messiah has come and that the Scripture has been fulfilled. Immanuel – God is with us! He wanted to make sure that the world knew who he was, and the ministry of compassion. Jesus proclaims freedom to the poor in spirit, those imprisoned in sin, and give hope to the hopeless. He healed the sick, lame, and blind to give people a miraculous sign of His power. Jesus shows His love for everyone – regardless of our condition.

This Christmas may we take on His compassion for the world around us. We have many opportunities to show God’s love in a real way.

Are you ready to share Christ and the real meaning of Christmas with someone?

Today can be that day to show your compassion to the world around you.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Adoration

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.
Luke 2:15-16

We all know the song, O Come All Ye Faithful:

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

We have that same calling and opportunity to experience Christ.
Remember the last verse?

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

Accept Jesus in every area of your life. It’s the best present you could ever receive. Amen?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Miracle of Christmas

The miracle of Christ's ministry and mission is seen in John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. God became a human and lived on earth among us!

Further testimony is found in 1 John 1:1-4 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.


How is Christ working in your life today? Have you received this miracle of eternal life?