Tag Archives: christmas

Gift Giving

Christmas is the season for gifts. Our Great God gave us the greatest and most precious gift in His Son! You may think that it is a bit eagerly to be talking about gifts and Christmas, however, Christmas always comes on December 25th of every year. I also know that many people procrastinate about doing their Christmas shopping. There are many excuses for delaying the gift buying and shopping for loved ones. The crowds are always brutal. This is especially true if the gift you want is the same gift everybody else wants and the gift is in limited supply. Remember the movie “Jingle All The Way? I have heard of crazy stories of gifts that were bought at the last minute, literally at the last minute on the way home from work on Christmas Eve. A friend of mine waited so late to get a gift for his wife [which was the only gift he had to shop for] and stopped by a convenience store and brought her an Ironing Board cover! Can you say Doghouse!

Now, I have been known to blow it as well on the gift purchasing department. I won’t bore you with the details of how many gifts were returned because on the spur of the moment I bought something I thought was wonderful! Let’s us think about this gift giving and buying exercise for a bit. When you and I buy gifts, we probably should have the person or receiver in mind when we purchase the gift. I think sometimes we think of what we would like to have and then buy that gift for the person instead.

When we reflect on our gift buying and compare it to Our Father in Heaven, we really fail in comparison. God “bought” the greatest gift for us in His Son. No amount of money could purchase this Gift of Jesus. When we buy gifts, we most always think of the price. The Father Gave All in Jesus! Instead of buying a gift that we would want or like to have; God bought us the Gift we NEEDED most. All of us are bankrupt and without life itself if we don’t have Jesus, for He is the GIVER of LIFE and LIGHT.

Sometimes we give gifts based on how good or bad someone has been through the year. Lump of Coal and the “Good and Naughty List” ring any bells! We deserved nothing, but God gave us everything. The giving of the gift was based on the Character of God, not on our behavior performance.

Our Heavenly Father was/is not a procrastinator. He had planned from the foundation of the world this plan of giving the GIFT of REDEMPTION. Galatians 4:4 – in the fullness of time, God sent forth Jesus. So, this gift of Jesus was no last-minute decision. Jesus came into the world He created to be the gift of Salvation to all who would believe. Jesus was wrapped up and placed in a manger on the original Christmas day.

We play a game at Christmas call “White Elephant Exchange.” Sometimes the gifts are just something we no longer wanted and chose to dump it on someone else. God brought a Gift to Exchange with us. If we would receive His gift by faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, then there were other gifts coming. Look up Ephesians 4:7-11. God our Heavenly Father has US in mind completely when He sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world.

Now this gift from God – Jesus, is available for all people and all nations. You do not have to wait until December 25th to “OPEN” the gift! Your Name is on this wonderful gift – open you heart and receive the GREATEST GIFT IN THE WORLD FROM THE GREATEST GIFT GIVER EVER!

Do not wait, Christmas comes every year at the same time, yet people will delay or ignore the time is getting so close. Jesus will one day come for His people. Some are ready, some are waiting, and some will never accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Imagine if you will what it would be like if you bought the most expensive gift, then the person you bought it for rejected it?

DO NOT DELAY – Christ is coming, He is closer than you think!

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc posts

No Christmas

I recently read an article by Tucker Carlson [The Christmas Lock down are here at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tucker-carlson-coronavirius-lockdowns%5D After reading his article I began to think about what if Christmas were not just canceled, but never happened? I mean we have movies about the Grinch stealing Christmas and seemingly some dastardly henchman trying to thwart Christmas. SO what would it be like in our world if Christmas really was canceled or never happened? I think of the Back tot he Future series of movies with Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown. They always are alerted not to change the past because the unknown effects on the future. Well let’s look at what our world would look like of Christmas never happened. [I know that Herod and Satan tried to prevent it]

If Christmas never happened – that means Jesus didn’t go to Calvary, he wasn’t born of a virgin named Mary. I guess the main thought about Christmas is the definition of the word Christmas – Christ Mass. It means worshiping the Christ. There is no celebration of Christmas because Jesus was never born. For Christmas to be, Jesus had to be born. This means if Jesus never came, then God’s promises of a Savior were lies.

Just as the Apostle Paul talked about Jesus and his resurrection, if Jesus is not raised, [1 Corinthians 15:14] then preaching is in vain. There is no forgiveness of sin and no eternal life. This means we are still in our sins and men most miserable.

I would like for us to go back even further than just the Christmas story, for the birth of Jesus started long before the angel Gabriel talked with Mary. We really have to go back to Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God – that statement includes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we look at that single verse we find that the “Trinity” godhead already existed. In Genesis 3 we read that mankind sinned and fell, being alienated from God who is holy and just. In Genesis 3:15 we have a prophecy that there would be a Savior that would defeat Satan and sin.

All through the bible we are reminded through the prophets that a Savior would come – Isaiah 61 for example. The Old Testament looked forward to the Messiah/Chrism coming. If Jesus never is born we can’t get to the Cross and Calvary, much less an empty tomb of the resurrection.

Now some may say that Jesus could be born, but maybe never go to the Cross – impossible, for that was the very reason Jesus came – to give his life as a ransom for many. Luke 19:10 tells us that Jesus came to seek and to save the Lost.

But let’s step away from the bible for a moment. Let’s take Jesus completely out of the equation. If all other religions were still in existence, then man would be compelled to try and live a good life – or not. When we look at humanity, when let to itself we are capable of the grosses deeds to ourselves and humanity. World history is replete with the henchmen of the world wreaking havoc on mankind. I guess we would look like the world in Back to the Future II where Biff does find the book with all the sports results of the future and how he manipulated that information to bring total depravity and darkness to the world. I would think without Christ, our world would be much like it.

If Jesus never was born, never lived a sinless life, never fulfilled the prophets prophecies, never went to Calvary, never died and rose again on the third day; then everything we know about life changes! God doesn’t love us, we are left to ourselves and all that is, is this worldly existence and there isn’t Eternal Life. We are still in our sins – and to be pitied!

For the past several decades, society has been trying to eliminate Christmas – calling it a holiday. Removing any “Merry Christmas” from our speech. Historians have been trying to remove BC and AD from our history narratives. BC – Before Christ and AD -In the Year of Our Lord, have been altered to BCE – Before Common Era and CE – Common Era. These to abbreviations eliminate Jesus!

But here is the Good News – Jesus has been born, no amount of rewriting history can destroy or deny that fact. Jesus did live a sinless life, He did go to the Cross at Calvary, he was buried in a borrow tomb and Yes – Virigina, Jesus did rise again the third day and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He is sitting on His throne, the throne of David! Yes, and one day Jesus is coming again for His people and to establish His kingdom! The good news, we have the Gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ – Yes CHristmas is here to stay, not matter how people try to eliminate it. Our God loves us and has sent His son, Jesus to be the sacrifce for our sins, that we may be restored back to our Heavenly Father! What a gift – Let’s Worship the Christ for that is the reason for CHRISTMAS!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2020 missed passages

Incarnation of Christ

We all know the various prophecies that tell of Jesus’ birth in the Old Testament. These predictions come to fulfillment in the New Testament. There are many questions of how Mary could conceive a child without a man; the conception being through the Holy Spirit. When we try to imagine God putting on flesh like the very creation He, himself fashioned – well that becomes mind blowing. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory as the Only Begotten Son, full of grace and Truth.” [John 1:14] In the beginning was the Word, The Word was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. The incarnation is the revelation to Mankind of the presence of God in visible form. Jesus told His disciples “if you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father; I and the Father are One.” [John 14]

When I think of the story line of scripture, from Genesis with God making man from the dust of the earth and breathing into him the “breath of life, and man becoming a living soul, I am overwhelmed. When I think of the Fall in the garden of Eden and the devastation as a resulted, that even Creation cries out for restoration and reconciliation – it again is overwhelming. The Law of Moses given to try and reveal to harden mankind the failure and inability to be holy and to restore ourselves to the Only God – our creator, the situation seems hopeless.

Thinking through the past four and half years of blogging, the scripture reinforces the fact that only God can restore mankind back to Jehovah. No matter how holy or righteous we are in our behavior and attitudes, we will always fall short. Even today in churches across North America the clarion call is for “disciple making” instead of sharing the Gospel through evangelism. Men must be saved, not instructed on how to live better lives.

Jesus came because the Father in Heaven so loved us. Jesus came because it was the Trinity’s plan to do so. At the end of the Law there was not the restoration of mankind. Sin had not been dealt with, and mankind had become institutionalized by religious performance. The Pharisees and Sadducees in particular revealed the hypocrisy of performance oriented religion that makes us feel good about ourselves; yet does nothing to reconcile us to God.

Jesus came to show us the Father; He came to make the invisible, visible – Col 1. Jesus is the second Adam, for the first Adam, although created holy and innocent, rebelled and believed the lie of Satan, that man could live without God. Jesus, as the second Adam, revealed what mankind “could have been” had they lived in obedience to the Father.

Jesus was subjected to temptation and sin like as we all are, yet without sin. He  [Jesus] came to be the vicarious atonement for all sin, the enmity that separated man from God would once and for all be dealt with, and the Accuser of the brethren – Father of lies would be dealt an eternal blow. Jesus came to deal with our sin, defeat Satan, and rose again for our justification – all by faith that the Father would be faithful to His own word. In the Birth of Jesus, a new era or day came. No longer would men be shackled by The Law requirements. Faith in Christ as the Anointed, Messiah to do for man, what man could never do for himself – to give life instead of death, to give hope in a hopeless situation. This Jesus born of a Virgin, lying in a cradle would change history forever, regardless of who sat on the thrones of kingdoms of earth. This Jesus would serve and be sacrificed as a Lamb before God, and God would be pleased – opening the pathway for all who would call upon Jesus as Savior and Lord to begin “New Life” being a “new Creation” having the Breath of Life breathed back into them. Oh, what a story of redemption!

Thank God for His amazing Love, Grace, Mercy and Hope – all because Yahweh acted on our behalf. The Plan of God is not complete, for this Jesus will return in like manner one day. Acts 1.  Until then let us rejoice and live out that which is now living in us – Christ in You the Hope of Glory [Col 1:27]

Merry Christmas!

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc. commentary

Character of Christmas

Christmas 2017 – The theme for my Christmas sermons is the Character of Christmas. I will be using Isaiah 9:6-7 as my text. In these two verses we find the descriptive nature of Jesus Christ. There is something about His name – Phil 2:5-11; we know that His name is the name above all names. He earned His name, through obedience to the Father in Heaven in all things. It was the plan of the God-head to send The Son into the world in the form of man. While Jesus is completely human in all aspects like us; he retrained His deity. The Son never ceased to be God. Some would hold that Jesus didn’t “get” his divinity until He was baptized; I  am not of that opinion. I would agree that His baptism – anointed Him for His Earthly ministry. Jesus is the earthly name given the Son of God; Christ is His title and Savior is His work.

In Isaiah 9:6-7 we find these names: Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God; Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. These names [titles] are descriptive of the work Christ will accomplish. When we look at the book of Isaiah itself we find a context of religion and society that is very similar to our own in 2017. There was great corruption both in the Church and in politics. The prophet Isaiah ministered during the reigns of four kings. The fifth king is to be believed to have sawed Isaiah in two pieces. There were both national and international worries. The great Assyrian armies to the North were gaining power, while Israel [Northern Kingdom] and Samaria were crumbling. Isaiah lived from 730BC – 660 BC approx. His ministry was to restore the nation back to God. In 722 BC Samaria already fallen, is joined by Israel. The Promise of a deliverer  – the Messiah had already been prophesied. Yet still there seemed to be no answer or relief. In fact the situation would get worse; much worse before it got better. In ever imaginable aspect the people and nation were in crisis. The same could be said for America. Just when I think I have heard the most absurd atrocity, someone exceeds my imagination. The people and prophets were looking for an answer, but the answer did not come as they hoped. The book of Isaiah is about the promise of hope in the midst of God’s judgment of His people. In our own land, I find that many Christians are hoping for some “relief” answer so they will not have to be subjected to the holiness and righteousness of God. News flash, if God did not spare His elect Israel from punishment and captivity, why would we think we should escape?

In our time, I find we are in much the same situation. The Church/Christians have failed – not all but as a whole from obeying God’s word. The church has sought comfort and ease when it should have been loudly objecting to the immorality of our land. There are 1000 churches that will close this year. They will close because the members would rather die that become repentant toward God for their apathetic living out of the gospel. Jeremiah preached to Judah, yet Judah refused to listen; ultimately they were led away into captivity. In our American churches we have turned a deaf ear to “what the Spirit speaks to the churches.”

Just as there was an answer for Israel, albeit 700 years later; there will be an answer for our world also. There was hope of a Savior, yet when the Savior came, Israel rejected Him. It was through their rejection that the Gentiles [me] got access to the Gospel. Israel had the prophets, the prophecies and the Promise in their day and missed Jesus. We have history, archeological data and the preserved Word of God; yet we reject Jesus much like Israel did.

The last part of Isaiah 9:7 says “on the throne of David and over His kingdom; to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness.” Jesus came bringing salvation, for man was already in crisis of sin – doomed to eternity in Hell, separated from God. But Jesus came and is coming again – He is our Hope, the Light in the Darkness. The Answer – Jesus has come and is coming again!

Instead of looking for a Crisis Answer, let us look to Christ who is the Answer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Luke’s Legacy

We begin this week reading the Gospel of Luke. Luke is known as the companion of Paul on most of His missionary journeys. The capacity with which Luke traveled with Paul is often one of conjecture. Did Paul need a medical doctor with him because of his “thorn in the flesh” or because of the many beatings and physical injuries? Either way, the good doctor has left us with two exquisite books in the New Testament.  While Luke is a doctor, we also find that he is also an accomplished historian. The preamble of both is books tells the reader his purpose for writing; to explain and affirm what “most excellent Theophilus” has been taught. While we may not know if Theophilus is a real person or a pseudo character for Luke’s writings; we do find that Luke takes great pains in making sure of the factual information.

Luke is known as one of the synoptic gospels. Much of what is found in Luke is also contained in both Matthew and Mark; with Mark believed to be the source for much of the other two gospels.

Luke also begins his Gospel “at the beginning” – only Matthew gives us any other insight into the birth narratives of John the Baptist ans Jesus. The reason for Luke beginning at the birth, brings in specific dates and personalities of the time. One such question of Luke’s accuracy was the “first census” of Quirinius as governor. It was thought for centuries that Luke was mistaken, however, historical records show that Luke the historian is right.

The birth narratives provide Christianity with the humble beginning of our Savior. The point of the narratives, that God was at work in History bringing salvation to the world. The incarnation of Jesus, the Christ is essential to all that follows in His ministry and sacrificial death and resurrection. If Jesus is but a mere man, birth like anyone else, much of our Gospel becomes myth and folklore.

The Son of God became a man; He [the creator] “Put on humanity.” While the virgin conception is paramount for Jesus to be the incarnate Christ, it is also imperative that we know that Jesus is completely flesh and blood like you and I. Jesus was tempted in all points like you and I, but without sin. Jesus is more that a symbol, he the exact representation of the Father to us. Jesus could say – “he who has seen me has seen the Father; I and the Father are one.”

This may seem like a very boring subject; however the Church Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, met for settling the issue whether Jesus was God. The Council affirmed that Jesus was “of like substance” as the Father; co-equal with God.

Luke uses a transition word of “Now” all throughout his Gospel. It notes a change, or an event that occurs. His Gospel is a chronologically formatted writing, in other words sequenced on how things actually happened time wise.

Beginning with the Forerunner, John the Baptist; Luke gives us the background of how the birth of both the “one like Elijah” and the Messiah came to be. Jesus and John are cousins, which in itself is quite interesting; for we learn that John started his own ministry, as if He didn’t know that Jesus was the Messiah. Anyway – John the voice crying in the wilderness after 400 years of silence captures the notice of the people.

The nativity narratives bring angels, shepherds and ordinary – yet favored people to life. The prophecies of the Old Testament are included to bring coherence to the scriptures.  God is at work in time and people to bring about His salvation plan. The characters of the “Christmas story” are well-known. The story doesn’t end really until we get to the Temple scene where we meet Simeon and Anna; two godly people advanced in years waiting for the “consolation of Israel.”

The Christmas story of Luke is much more joy filled than that of Matthew with the cruel King Herod and the infanticide tragedy. The joy is captured for us by the songs of Mary and Zacharias and Simeon. The Angels sing, the people sing, the historical coming of Jesus in real-time and place cannot be denied and is readily confirmed by Luke for us. This baby, miraculous as His birth was clearly establishes that “God has visited earth is His beloved Son.” The promised Messiah, announced and affirmed by Luke establishes the “Now” ministry of Jesus.

Leave a comment

Filed under 15 in '15