Christmas Thought #3: Read Isaiah 7:14

According to scholars there are more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament related to Christ and His life. Each of those prophecies find fulfillment uniquely in Jesus. However, in our modern and postmodern eras, it is fashionable to question and dismiss those amazing testimonies to Jesus.

One teaching that has been challenged is the virgin birth of Jesus. To many people the birth of Jesus was nothing special. There was nothing different about it. Maybe Jesus was special in His adult life or perhaps in His death, but not in His brith. But you can’t have a special Jesus at His death without a special Jesus at His birth.

Besides the Biblical support for the virgin birth of Jesus, theologically to dismiss it leaves you in the worst place possible. Not only does it leave you with a worthless book, but if Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, than Jesus was a man like me–sinful, broken, separated from God. Titles like the Son of God would be meaningless. His death on the cross pointless for only one who was both man and God, who was innocent and sinless, could die for your sins.

If there was no virgin birth there is no salvation from sin.

Many have tried disprove the virgin birth on many grounds, but there is no need to do that. The question simply is this: do you want to beleive the words of a skeptic who lives over 2000 years after the event or the faithful eyewitness testimony of those who walked with Jesus, lived with Jesus, and knew Jesus (2 Peter 1:16).

Do you believe the rantings of those whose only mission is to disprove Christianity or the Word of God which has remained without error, proven to be accurate and true, supported by science to be reliable and trustworthy? If the Word of God is right on everything else, then why would we doubt its value on such an important point as this?

Don’t fear man whose words are empty and deceitful when you have the inspired word of God that makes you complete for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Read that Word of God today and praise Him that it will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8).



Christmas Thought #2: The Savior

Christmas Thought #2: Read Isaiah 42

This passage is a prophetic look at the mission of the Messiah whom God would send to redeem His people. in this passage God said that He would meet the greatest need that we had. Many today have a different perspective on that need. Some think that our greatest need today is money. If that was the case God would have sent us a economist. Some suggest that our greatest need is to be entertained (as indicated by the number of churches that seek to entertain people on Sundays rather than educate and equip). However, if God thought this He would have sent us a comedian. If our need was political stability or revolution He would have sent a politician. If it was health, He would have sent a doctor. If it was information He would have sent an educator.

No, our greatest need involves our sin, our separation from Him, freedom from the curse of the law, and deliverance from slavery. And so God sent His Son to be our Savior, Deliverer, and Redeemer. That is why John the Baptist announced in John 1:29 when he saw Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

When you look at your needs this Christmas it isn’t for a dishwasher, or new sweater or the latest gadget. Your greatest need will always be Jesus who takes away your sin.

Praise God today that He saw your real need and gave you the greatest gift to meet that need. Remember that the Gospel isn’t just for the unsaved. It is for all of us. We never out grow the need for Jesus.



Christmas Thought #1 — The Prophecy

Christmas Thought #1: In Genesis 3:15 we find the first prophecy in the Bible as well as the first evangelistic message. It is the first prophecy of the coming Messiah who would be born of a woman, not of a man, revealing that special birth, a divine birth that would bring us the Savior. He would crush the head of Satan destroying the power of sin and setting humanity free from the curse of the law.

When you receive Christ today in your heart, your receive not the baby born in the manager, but the victorious Christ, the risen Son of God who defeated Satan, Sin and Sorrow whe he died on the cross. In Christ you have a power in you that enables you to live your life for God and others.

We find the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 highlighted in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”

Pray for God to help you use the power of Christ to live the victorious life that is pleasing to Him.



How Now Shall I Think: Engaging the Culture

How Then Shall We Think November 6, 2013: Jude afforded us the opportunity to talk about, “How do we communicate God’s truth?” In a culture that is increasingly secular, we face a challenge of speaking truth where truth is no longer valued. Today there is an increasingly strong emphasis on individual rights. Despite younger generations saying they value community, they would rather blame the church for not doing enough than be a part of the community to fix it and older generations are mostly unaware of the real needs facing today’s people.

In the midst of all of that, we are presented with a need to present God’s truth and love in a real and meaningful way. On Sunday we were shown that to be effective at being Christ’s Ambassadors we must enter into the lives of those God has called to us love.

Proclaiming God’s message of salvation requires us to listen. It encourages us to ask questions. Let me share these four questions with you to ponder as you THINK about your actions in fulfilling God’s plan.

1. Am I engaged with God in a life of authentic worship? If you are inviting people to know Jesus is your life lived in such a way that others want to know Jesus? Is your love and passion for God and worship and living evident in your attitude and actions?

2. Am I engaged with God’s people? So many people come to churches today and then leave and won’t be seen again until the follow Sunday. But that isn’t the body. Perhaps people are frustrated with church because they are not engaging the church community. Is is much harder to invite someone to church if you are not first excited about the church family.

3. Am I engaged with my community through meaningful service? If our vision is to reach the Endless Mountains Region with the gospel of Christ then we need to be engaged in the community, not just as a church but as individuals. What does that look like? What can you do to build bridges with those whom we are seeking to serve? How can you use open doors with your connections to enter into the lives of others?

4. Am I engaged with the culture? I’m not suggesting that we embrace the moral depravity of our culture, but there is a need for us to be at least, aware of what people believe. How can we provide answers if we don’t know the questions that others are asking? How can we enter into their lives if we don’t know what they are doing, experiencing, and thinking? What can you do safely increase your awareness of the culture?

Action begins first with thinking. How we think about Christ and culture will greatly determine how we engage Christ and culture. Prayerfully consider and ask God to clearly lead you to somone who needs the Light of Christ shining in their lives and be ready to engage that person by listening, asking questions, and loving them.



Trust in The Lord

It’s simple. It’s short. Yet it’s incredibly powerful. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible–with good reason. It sets forth a life-changing truth that is worthy of our attention. Spend three minutes reading this article, and see if you agree.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Let’s break down this life-changing truth to make sure we understand it.

 

Trust in the Lord.

It starts with trust. Any real relationship has to start with some level of trust. It’s the only way a friendship will endure. It’s the only way a marriage will work out. It’s the simple reason why an employer hires workers, or why the workers stay employed. It’s all about trust. Trust in the Lord, however, takes on an entirely new dimension. This is our trust in an eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He is worthy of our trust. The trust is important, not just because of who God is, but because of the way in which we must trust him: with all your heart. It involves every fiber of your being. That’s the kind of trust we can have in God–a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.

If you are a Christian, you trusted God for salvation. You can trust Him with the rest of your life, too–every detail.

 

Read part 2, Don’t Lean On Your Understanding



Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

Read part 1 first, Trust In The Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

 

Don’t Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God.

Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.

 

Instead, Acknowledge God. In Everything.

The antidote to this self-reliance is found in the first command of the verse. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Which is developed in the next verse: “In all your ways acknowledge him.” The word “acknowledge” isn’t merely a polite tip of the hat to the Man Upstairs, or a few words of grace over your meal, or even perfunctory attendance at church to let Him know we’re still cool with what He’s doing. It’s way more. It’s allowing Him access, control, command, and involvement in all your ways.

What’s the result of this? Will God ruin your life? Will he be a Sovereign Killjoy? Will He rob you of fun? The verse ends on a promise. What is it?

 

He will make your paths straight.

The promise is put in the form of a metaphor. What does it mean to have straight paths? Several things. First, paths lead toward an end–a destination, a goal. Thus, trusting God wholeheartedly in every area of life gives your life a sense of purpose and priority. Second, it indicates that there will be a clear understanding of where you are going and what you are doing. It makes daily decision-making an easier and less painful task. You realize you are trusting Him. He, in turn, is making your paths straight. Thus, the way ahead is more apparent. Third, “straight paths” suggests moral purity. It suggests a life that has less of sinful compromise and more of wholesome attitudes, actions, and behavior.

That’s the kind of life that God promises. It’s the kind of life that you can have. It begins with trust. It involves acknowledging God in every way.