Good News

The Process of Salvation

Jesus is Jesus, for the Lord is our Salvation.
Jesus is predicted throughout the Scriptures, for He our Predestination.
Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary, for He is our New Creation.
Jesus was greeted by John in the womb, for He is the Father’s Salutation.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for He would bring Regeneration.
Jesus and Mary were cared for by Joseph because He is our Adoption by our Father in Heaven.
Jesus was circumcised and later dedicated in the temple, for He is our Sanctification.
Jesus was worshipped by the Magi, for He is the Focus of our Adoration.

Jesus was immersed in water, so we would know Him as our Initiation.
Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil, He brought our Liberation.
Jesus called people to turn from sin, for He is our Correction.
Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, for He is the Lord of all hosts and our Invitation.
Jesus invites us to humble ourselves under His yoke so He can grant us honor, for He is our Instruction.
Jesus showed people the pattern of service before success, for He is our Vocation.
Jesus sent out the disciples on mission trips as He brought Redemption.
When Jesus led groups of His disciples up the mountain, we became His Congregation.
When Jesus raised the dead in Israel, He proved to be our Resurrection.

As Jesus had his last Passover, He offered Himself as our Libation.
When Jesus laid down His Life on the cross, He became our Sure Foundation.
When the sun was darkened, the earth shook & the veil was torn, Jesus proved to be God’s Revelation.
Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb over the Sabbath, for He is our Restoration.
Jesus rose from the grave, for He is our Justification.
Jesus appeared to the missionaries, so He became our Proclamation.
Jesus ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father, He for is our Intercession.

When Jesus baptized the Church with the Spirit so we could preach with power from on High, thus He is our Vindication.
When Jesus joined foreigners to the family of Abraham, both Jew & Gentile,
we became a new and true and holy nation.
He will come again to judge the living at the dead, for the Lord is the Source of our ultimate Glorification.

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Love and Hate

The Lord’s hatred is more loving that the most compassionate Buddhist or most devout Muslim.

Buddhism states that that the key to escaping the pit of suffering is to cease desire.

The Word of God says that the way to escape suffering is to desire the Lord Jesus more than your necessary food.

Often, compassion  is demonstrated by Buddhists by allowing people to die with dignity.

Jesus displayed the depth of His compassion by getting angry at death and raising the dead.

Mohammed demonstrated his devotion by calling for the execution of those who dishonored him.

Jesus displayed his devotion by calling for mercy on his executioners as he was shamed on the cross.

Mohammed demonstrated his love by gathering up to 10 wives at one time to himself, regardless of their marital status, age, etc.

Jesus showed his love by rebuking religious hypocrisy and forgiving the immoral woman who threw herself at his feet.

Human religions of every variety excuse sin.

Jesus judges sin and pardons sinners so that we might come to Him.

Jesus did not stay on the cross for us to gaze upon; He rose from the grave on the third day so that we might have power to transform societies into gatherings of saints who likewise hate sin and love one another.

O that I might hate sin more and live in God’s love more!!

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Joe and John

Today “Joe” t.alked to “John.”

Joe is a Christian who has talked with John before.

Today we met at a local retailer and got on the bus together and sat next to each other at the back of the bus.

John started his hustle, trying to get girls to pimp and make money from. Trying to get girls pregnant. Promoting “adult” entertainment, etc.

He did acknowledge that after a near heart attack recently, that limitless weed smoking is not a good thing. Smoking is indeed a health hazard. Joe the Christian urged John to repent of his pimping and promoting sex as an entre to prosperity economically.

John wanted to close off his ears to the good news “noise.” He rejected the law of God so he could not hear the hope of eternal life. He did not want to be honest about the consequences of his sin. As a result, John missed the hope of eternal life yet again. He heard enough of the warnings about God’s wrath to know that he deserved it.

The last I had a chance today to really speak to his heart: John was still hardened to the call to holiness.

How many people are going to hell simply because they repeatedly reject the invitations to get right with God. They know they sin. They know that God is calling them to repent but they keep postponing repentance. They pretend that there will always be another day to do the right thing.

Today is the day of salvation. If you know you are sinning, admit that to the Lord and turn away from your selfishness.

Jesus is waiting just a little bit longer. Your sins will find you out. Your lust, your theft, your lies, your selfishness, your adulteries and curses will all be exposed on judgment day.

Are you ready?

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Father, forgive them …

I continue to ponder the paradox of forgiveness and the offensiveness of the Good News of Jesus.

Today, let’s turn to the Lord’s prayer. In one petition, we say, according to one version, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us.”

I particularly like this more than saying transgressions or sins because it quantifies our guilt: We have a debt towards God greater than all the taxes of the world. Our neighbor may owe us a hundred days’ wages.

Like all large numbers, infinity is hard to grasp. The offense, the debt, that our sin creates towards God is hard for the human mind to grasp.

However, when we see that our father or mother, our sister or brother, perhaps your husband or wife, your sons or daughters, your neighbors, coworkers, or fellow citizen has offended you will often have in mind particular numbers of offenses and the exact punishment which you believe is due them. Perhaps you think they owe you a dollar for the soda you purchased for them. Perhaps you think you should kill them for not comprehending that you are a person of honor and dignity and should be respected as such.

The moment we think of the offense of a transgression or sin, we humans are apt to think that we deserve X in compensation for our trouble. We seek to justify our anger.

Maybe we think they started it, and we are just exacting a just revenge, at least in our minds. Perhaps in the back of your mind, the repeated offense has become chalked up against your relationship with that person. The weight of the offense becomes tremendous. You feel you MUST execute vengeance. Your self-righteous anger rises and your virtue falls.

Lord, have mercy!!

As long as we hold onto the burden of bitterness, we are unable to release the pain of the past. As long as we hold onto past offenses, we are unable to embrace fully the future Open Door. As long as we focus on what other people have or have not done for us, we will forget what God has done for us.

Here is the offense of the Gospel, the Good News. The Good News beckons us to reorient around God’s promise of freedom which was secured on the cross and in the resurrection. 100% guaranteed … if we will accept the challenge of living by trusting God rather than seeking to defend ourselves against other people all the time. The natural human heart revolts against this acts of mercy. It cannot comprehend how the death of Jesus could pay, once for all, the sins, the transgressions, the debts of mankind.

Perhaps you will say now, Oh, but I am a nice person. I don’t get angry. I just keep track of what they have done to me and don’t let it happen again.

Are you any better? Has not hatred overtaken your heart? You love those who love you and ignore the rest. Is this nothing more than a polite ISIS? Do not even the pagans do this much?

What makes Jesus so offensive is that he commands us to look for ways to risk our comfort. He could have just said, Meet once a week and remember the good times we had. Encourage each other and get better.

Instead, he said, Go, make disciples of all nations! Preach the Good News to all creation! Repentance and forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem, wait in the city … WAIT!!

The disciples were instructed to hang out in the very city where their Lord was murdered in cold blood in the cruelest manner possible. Wait? Wouldn’t it have been wiser to run? Why not go where there were receptive crowds? Why not preach about Moses preparing the way for the Messiah and hinting at the coming kingdom? No, they were commanded by the Holy Spirit to rebuke their own people for rejecting their own King and then to invite them to follow that King in being immersed as a pledge of a good conscience towards God. They did not manipulate or maneuver, they just said it like it was in a way that the people could understand.

That is boldness. Some admire and replicate that boldness. Some shy away and become ashamed of the Good News. Some attack such witnesses. Boldness comes at a price: love. Boldness that does not love is mere cruel boasting.

We have a choice before us: follow the humble way of peace or strive in violence. One is marked with 666 the mark of the beast; the other is marked with the stigma of Jesus.

Choose whom you will serve.

I worship Jesus.

Lord, have mercy on me and all who hate me.

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Loving Isn’t Love until You Love Those who Hate You

I used to think that I was a good guy.

I got all A’s in school.

I was healthy.

I was voted most likely to succeed.

I excelled in all that I set my hands to.

Then, there came a point at which I really got to know Jesus.

Now I know what a wretched sinner I am!

Oh, I had already called on the Lord and was saved, but this was different. I committed to follow Jesus by identifying with his death, burial, and resurrection. He who knew no sin, became sin for us so that we might become the integrity & virtue of God.

I do not follow the traditional teaching of the church on this verse. The traditional teaching of the church is that Jesus became a sin offering, thus inserting the word offering. I go behind the traditional teaching to look at Jesus Himself. He did not come to offer sin. He offered His Holiness. The Father came close in Christ.

Let us take this at face value though. What is this verse actually saying:

1. Jesus knew no sin.

2. Jesus became sin for us.

3. 1 & 2 are so that we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus became what he did not know so we could become what we are not. Jesus allowed himself to be humiliated so that we might become honored. Jesus was shamed so that we would be saved.

Jesus was indeed a sin offering. But that is not necessarily what this says explicitly. It says he became sin.

Ask any Muslim what the greatest sin is and they will say it is “Shirk.” to ascribe partners to God. I.e. to identify Jesus as divine.

Jesus was sinless. All are agreed on that except for a few people who claim that there is no absolute morality, which is self contradictory, so we will kindly ignore those proud souls for now who exalt themselves over God in their own mind (particularly since their own morality often is less than that of Jesus.)

Jesus also asserted that he is God. When he claimed to be the Son of Man, he was claiming not merely to be human, but to be made in the exact image of God and to be exalted as the one like a Son of Man who reigns in glory before the Ancient of Days as described in Daniel.

For a man who appeared to have been born of an illicit union, though he was not, to have claimed what appeared impossible, that he is God, resulted in the predictable condemnation at the courts of the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities. This was indeed a most preposterous claim for mere flesh to make.

But Jesus was no mere mortal. He was also immortal. He laid down His life freely (that is, he chose to make that claim, when he could have kept it to himself). He also took up his life again (that is, he happily and triumphantly rose from the grave and left the grave clothes behind. He was victorious over death. He submitted to what appeared to be the defilement of the grave that he might sanctify the grave yard as a rest area for the saints, a mere passing through place which leads to a much better place.) Jesus is fully alive and well today.

So what? What difference if Jesus rose? I haven’t seen him, the atheist will say.

Ah, but Jesus is alive and active in His Body. Wherever 2 or more gather in the name of Jesus, submitting to His authority as Lord, they experience and communicate the presence of Jesus. It is not merely in this ritual or ceremony. It is a moment by moment reality.

And so it comes to pass, that when the doubter, the bitter soul, the slanderer, the evil doer, or any other person with any bad intentions comes against a church (that is, such a gathering of saints who are submitted to Jesus) the presence of Jesus is assaulted. But so also, the power of the Messiah’s resurrection is present in His people. He comes back again and again to present the truth claims of God on man. Because Jesus demonstrated what it is to be 100% submitted to God, he can claim to be fully God without any duplicity. Not even the angels can claim to be God without lying. But Jesus not only claimed this power, he demonstrates it over and over again every time His people demonstrate patience with the wicked. Everytime the church witnesses to the truth in a world of falsehood. Everytime a believer confesses the deity of Jesus the Messiah to a Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Buddhist or atheist or tribal practitioner, he experiences the righteousness of God.

You say, then how come witnesses seem so care-free, so unworried of what the world says about them? Why is it that missionaries go about their mission as though ignorant of the plans and purposes of the world to destroy them and to undermine them?

We can laugh at adversity, not because adversity is inherently fun, but we know the One (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit), the Lord who is greater than all our troubles.

We know the provider. Even if we starve and are indebted, we know the One who will feed us daily bread and who will forgive all our debts. Even if we are slaughtered, as the Islamic State is trying to do in Mosul, we know the One who Saves from the grave through the power of the resurrection.

Jesus is Lord.

No government can stop Him.

No army can harm Him.

No bank can buy Him.

No store can sell Him.

No religion can restrain Him.

No human can exhume Him.

No hand can hurt Him.

No sickness can weaken Him.

No failure can flunk Him.

Jesus reigns supreme!

He took ALL our shame.

He took ALL our sin.

With His Holy Claim.

And He rose once again.

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Pure Love

Last week we looked at how human relationships should always have a measure of what might be called relative “hate” when compared to the Love we should have for the Lord Jesus. That is, our love for Jesus should be so strong that we are willing to strive with others for the truth. This is a loving thing to do, but some will interpret it as hateful.

There is no need to be contentious, but we should contend for the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So, then what about love, is there no such thing as love? Or, are all relationships marred by “hatred”?

Love is an attractive thing and forms when there is some kind of agreement. We should love God 100%.

This means we should always say God is right and sin is wrong. If we sin, we should love God more than our sin, and confess the truth about our sin. It is a high standard. We all fall short.

To Love God is to hate evil and to delight in wisdom that is pure. It is to do good and pursue peace.

So then, what does love look like in our human relations:

1. It is natural to agree with oneself. If we discover we have made a mistake, we should love ourselves enough to repent and turn from the evil of our hearts. It is assumed that those who are wise will love themselves in this sense. Those who are wise will not prefer themselves over all others. Indeed, the most loving thing is to put others ahead of oneself.

2. We should love our families. While family members may not always agree on everything, we should do the best we can to ensure their well-being. We should share the Good News with our families. To hide the Truth of Jesus from our families is an unloving thing. To let a family member do evil without seeking to speak to them directly about the wrong is to do them a great disservice. They may think you are hating on them when you kindly tell them that they have sinned. But in fact, correction and rebukes are signs of love. So is teaching your children to live godly lives. Training your children how to live in today’s world in a way that pleases the Lord God Almighty and yet is sustainable is a good thing. Providing for family members is a good thing and a sign of love. Those who do not love their family members are worse than unbelievers.

3. We should love one another. That is, we should love other Christians as Christ loved us. If someone identifies as belonging to Jesus, then we should come alongside them and support them and prioritize their wellbeing. In a day and age when the family of Jesus is growing rapidly as new believers are born again all around the globe every day, this could keep us busy all the time. If you find you are “witnessing” to a Christian, the goal must always be to build them up in the most holy faith and to help them draw closer to Jesus and not to be a stumbling block to any Christian unnecessarily. This is done mostly through getting acquainted with saints in your church/congregation or small group. But it should also extend to supporting the persecuted church or training believers in ministry around the world. We must not stop there though.

4. We are to love our neighbor. Jesus made it clear who our neighbor is: anyone we encounter in need, even if we do not know them or necessarily have any ethnic or national or political reason to agree with them. Loving our neighbor means breaking out of the mold and showing kindness to strangers. We must not only greet one another, we must also go to places where there are people who have yet to be greeted in the Lord’s Name. In today’s world where our neighbor may be discovered through a broadcast or website about tragedy in a distant land, the heart is called to expand to a greater degree. Whenever we learn of someone hurting, we should be sensitive enough to feel their pain. Wisdom teaches us not to focus on the problems of the world lest we become insensitized and numb in spirit. PRAY when you watch the news. Pray when you are in public, only in your heart and not for show. Pray wherever you walk. Pray while you study and read. Pray while you watch. God will lead you to your neighbors.

5. We are to love our enemies. You say, this is a tall order … HOW? Does someone offend you? Forgive them immediately and do not hold any grudge. If someone attacks you, pray for them. Do good to them. Show kindness to those who are cruel. May God’s kindness lead them to repentance. It is not enough to restrain from evil, we must bless. Do not return insult for insult. When cursed, blessed. When struck, shake hands. You do not have to invite ruin by aggravating an offended person, simply show kindness and be joyful. You cannot make everyone happy. Do not worry about that. Love anyways. If they hate you and seek to do you harm, that is their business. Bless and do not curse. Encourage them when they are down. This will not be easy. When people see you treat your enemies like this, they will call you a fool. They will say that you have lost your mind. They will say you are mindless. Keep loving. Love is foolish only to fools. Better to be an idiot in the world’s eyes and beloved of the Lord than to be rich in the world’s eyes and destitute of mercy on the last day.

Now you see why loving can seem like hating. If you love your enemies, you will seem to be hating yourself. You may end up dying as you proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the nations.

You may be rejected and poor as you apply the teachings of Jesus.

You will lose all and gain all if you follow Jesus.

In this world, you will count all as loss. In the world to come, you will lack nothing if you lack no love here. To have love, you must give love. God’s love is available to all. It is holy, pure, undefiled by sensual, sexual lust. It is innocent of evil. It is clean and enduring forever. It blazes away evil and shines in the night of wickedness. Stand, and shine the light of God’s love to the world, even the nations at the world’s ends.

For Americans, remember, to love not only America, love those who are assaulting her freedoms and love those who are attacking her people. Love your enemies and be perfect. Go to the nations. Preach the good news of the Lordship of Jesus. Stand against evil and for freedom, even if you must lose your life in the process, but there is no need to take their lives to share the sacrifice of Christ. Love is about giving life, not taking it. Celebrate the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus rather than the wars fought on domestic and foreign soil. Love your enemies.

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Short Shorts, Sin, and the Incarnation

Scott Mackintosh took on shame so that his daughters would live honorably.

Scott Mackintosh took on shame so that his daughters would live honorably.

Almost a year ago, the above foto of Scott Mackintosh went viral. He dressed down, way down, to communicate to his daughters, one in particular, that “modest is hottest.”

Scott was not above humbling himself in what many would regard as humiliating. He did not aim to humiliate his daughters, but humbled himself of his rights as a the “Best. Dad. Ever.” in order to help his daughters choose the path of honor.

There are some fathers in the world who will beat their children if they do not dress in a full burqa. There are some fathers and mothers who might make their kids wear a sign and stand on a busy intersection. But real men make their points in humility.

Indeed, this is a small picture of what Jesus did for us. He who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God. In Christ, God touched the unclean and became “contaminated” in the world’s eyes. He was humiliated in the world’s eyes. He was scorned by the world. But Jesus had a higher aim in view: the salvation of the world.

The Lord Jesus was instrumental in creating the world, and though the whole universe was formed at His command, the people He had redeemed from Egypt rejected their Savior. Jesus used this rejection to bring righteousness to the nations. Jesus became utterly sinful, a blasphemer in the eyes of the Jewish establishment, in order that all the peoples everywhere might join in praising the Holy Name of God and call God, “Our Father.”

Our Father in heaven did not remain austere and distant, but drew near. The Lord spoke severely against sin, but all the same he spent time with sinners. Jesus made it possible for the wretched rebel to reconcile: He revealed our sin and redeemed us from it. Jesus healed the defiled by touching us and telling us to clean up our act.

Jesus did not confirm us in our sin, or merely “tolerate” sinners. He called sinners to follow. To be holy. To be like Himself in mindset.

Joy, Peace, Righteousness … all are available in the Holy Spirit.

What sin are you deceived by?
What rebellion are you clinging to?
What wrong have you not sought to right in your life?
Where is Jesus inviting you to repent?

Do it. He is worth it.

The Father’s embrace is waiting. The Fame of our King is worth you calling on the Name of Jesus. The Fullness of the Spirit is available to all who turn at His gentle rebuke.

Listen.

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Focus

Focus in ministry is often described as focusing on a particular group of people. And there is some truth in this: we should not be focusing all our ministry merely on those inside the church. Rather, the leaders of the church must focus on those outside the fold and looking for ways to bring them in. This is what Paul did, according to Romans 15.

However, there is a deeper, higher, further focus we must have. We must focus on Jesus. If we focus on Jesus, He will lead us to the lost. He will lead us to continue in service when the flesh would urge us to serve ourselves. Jesus will enable us to persevere at all costs.

Focus not so much on who has yet to be reached as Who is reaching out to find the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost sons.

Fix your eyes on Jesus. Do not look elsewhere. When Jesus fills your vision, you will see everyone in a different light. You will see the lonely in light of their need of the Friend of Sinners.

Look to the Healer, so that when poor health attacks you or those you serve, you will have authority to drive out sickness and be whole for the harvest. He will heal. He will help. He is your Hero.

Jesus does not stand far off, so focusing on him does not require a telescope.
Jesus is not insignificant, so focusing on him does not require a microscope to analyze.
Jesus is near you. He is in your heart and in your mouth. Jesus is waiting to burst forth as the one recognized by your soul as Lord
We focus on Jesus by confessing Him in every situation and every circumstance.

Perhaps you know a neighbor who does not attend a worship service. Will you be so full of worship that when you meet him, he will enter the presence of God?

Perhaps you know an immigrant who has traveled far to find a better life. Will you be so full of the Life of God that you can share the Best Life with them?

Perhaps you have an enemy who mistreats and abuses you. Will you draw so close to the wounds of Christ that when you suffer, you will suffer with Christ and will with Christ forgive the bitter soul?

Friend, fix your eyes on Jesus. Fix your heart on Jesus. Let Him fix you and let Him rearrange your life so that all is lived for the Kingdom of God.

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Christmas Love: A Sonnet and Studies.

A chorus of angels assigns a chore for us:
Run to see the Savior, Christ the Lord.
Young Mary’s heart, soon pierced by evil sword.
Yet magi come with royal gifts, implore us
Let us pray and worship Christ the King
of Whom the moving stars in heaven sing:
Your Jewish baby prince is bringing peace
His sacred suffering shall send forth release
from debt to sin. “You must be born again.”
We run abroad, afar to spread the news,
that God saves any He’d elect to use
while carried by the Comforter, our Friend.

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Below are links to various resources on Christmas: links to sites with historical information on Christmas.

CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM:
Christmas is an opportunity to share the news about the gift that God gave the world, Jesus, whom people can TRUST for their eternal lives! No other message can be GREATER THAN THIS GOOD NEWS! Unfortunately, many people in the world cannot or will not accept this gift of ?Light and life.In fact, there are a growing number of skeptics, atheists, some scholars and agnostics who are attempting to use ?evidencefrom science, archaeology and literature to show there is no God and the Bible does not contain truth! In 2009, a DVD supposedly on Biblical Archaeology was produced that is full of inaccurate information on the OT. The film
indicated that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were NOT father, son and grandson! The use of false accusations such as these cause doubt and confusion. The Bible stands on its own testimony, ?inspired of God2 Tim.3:16. There is a great need for Christians to be able to accurately communicate the truth of God?s Word!
This is especially important when it comes to the Birth of Jesus!

One source of information is
http://www.bethlehem5bc.com/

It contains: The Prelude (Old Testament including Jesus?s Genealogy-how God used the Jewish people to be a witness to the world), The Town (Bethlehem) of Jesus Birth, The
Postlude and The Future (Jesus Ministry and the second coming of Jesus as told in Revelation). During this Christmas season the Mission Focus will present some facts found in these sections. We are starting with the Prelude. This gives a background about important historical and spiritual points from the Old Testament (and secular history) that prepared the way for Christ?s Birth. Included was prophecies such as Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." MAGI: ?From about 600 B.C. to 600 A.D., the MAGI were from the PRIESTLY TRIBE OF THE KINGDOM OF PARTHIA (IRAN). Daniel chapter 2:48 tells why King Nebuchadnezzar II
appointed Daniel to be the leader of the Magi after interpreting his dream! Chapter 2 of Daniel is important to read as it tells us so
much about the power of God! BIRTH OF CHRIST: ?We know now that that King Herod probably died in 4 B.C. The Magi came after the Birth of Jesus, but before the death of King Herod. They spoke with Herod. So Jesus was probably born in 5 or perhaps 4 B.C.

CHRISTMAS HAD ITS ORIGINS IN THE EARLY CHURCH, NOT PAGANISM
Credible evidence to support the traditional dating of Christmas on the 25th December. Not only so, he argues that "the Roman pagan festival was instituted after the Christians had already been celebrating the birth of Christ on that day for many decades. Their pagan festival was an attempt to create an alternative tradition, which already was associated with the birth of Christ"
http://www.christianaction.org.za/index.php/articles/biblical-worldview/212-was-jesus-born-on-25-december

Why did the early church institute December 25 as Christmas, a day for giving gifts? Because it was the day when Maji presented Jesus with their gifts. See the next link:

THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM & the DAY OF THE CROSS:
A look at the heavens during the time of Christ & an affirmation of the birth of Jesus. The basis for studying astronomy and not practicing astrology: The stars tell us about the God of heavens like a thermometer: They signify things are hot & cold but don't make things
hot or cold. Stars indicate what is going on but don't make things happen. ?This explanation of the Star is compelling…NASA's Chief Engineer for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station

http://www.bethlehemstar.net/

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No Barrier too Great for the Grace of God

It says in Isaiah and is quoted in part about John the Baptist:
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert[a]
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
(Isaiah 40:3-5; cf Luke 3:4-6)

In other words, a prophet would come who would go before the Messiah and prepare society to receive her king. Whenever a king comes, the earth must be prepared lest he have any trouble. Better he ride on a horse and bring deliverance than that he ride on a mule and His people suffer judgement. … at least that was the Jewish perspective of the time. Yet on a mule he had to ride in order to fulfill prophecy. Humble he came, over the rough roads of Galilee, Samaria, and Nazareth.

Jesus later called all of us who are saints to engage in the same work that John did: lowing mountains and raising up valleys. No longer should the valley of the shadow of death be as dreadful for those whose hearts are lifted up to the Lord. No longer should the mountain top experiences lead us to arrogate ourselves against the Lord. Instead, we will walk upon a smooth path. Each person who walks with Jesus should help ease the way by going before others who follow them in the way of Jesus.

Are you leading others to Jesus or away from Jesus? Are you choosing to follow Jesus are walk away from Him? When you see others follow Jesus, do you try to put a stumbling block in their path or do you seek to smooth their path by encouraging them? Hopefully you are among those who cultivate faith though love.

Jesus later said in his own ministry that faith does exactly this, it prepares the way for the faith of others. To quote Jesus:

Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:20-21)

Later we read this:

And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:20-22)

Friends, could Jesus have been any clearer? He wants no obstacle to our faith! Heaven has come to earth. This is what Christmas is about. Now earth must make way for the Kingdom of Heaven to spread through out the earth so that none should perish but all should come to repentance. While Scripture is clear that this all is not “all” without exception, but all without distinction should respond to the Lord. Poor & rich, Jew & Gentile, slave & free, male & female, civilized & barbarian, near & far … ALL will be represented before the King of Heaven.

What chasm lays between you and God? If you will but perpetually pray in Jesus name, that barrier can be overcome.

As Paul testified to the Ephesians:

Jesus Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (2:14-18)

If you need proof, look at how Nick Wallenda overcame fear and walked with the Lord across such a chasm on the path to victory:

If a chasm like the little grand canyon cannot interrupt him from worshipping the Lord God, why should the little troubles you face keep you from crying out continually to our Savior, “Lord, have mercy!” He is listening. Cry out to Him now! Jesus will save you. Jesus alone.

If you have chosen to follow Jesus today, feel free to email me at: mertaka (at) everybody-dot-org .

All Scripture Quotations from the New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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