Digging  The  Word


"I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure."


Productive And Useful

My greatest goal should be to become a productive and useful follower of Jesus.



2 Peter 1:8-12  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  9  But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10  So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.  11  Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

12  Therefore, I will always remind you about these things--even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.

Who doesn't want to feel like they are needed? We all want to feel like we are useful and that our life matters to someone but what if you could be sure that your life mattered to God and that you are needed as a part of the work that he is doing.

So far in the second letter that Peter wrote he has given us some lessons that are important for disciples of Jesus to remember. He has told us that we are all equal, he has reminded us of our strength and the great promises that have been made to us.

Because of all of these benefits I have the power and the responsibility to live up to a higher moral code, We can be more like him as we grow into a deeper awareness of who Christ is, that knowledge will cause us to feel compelled to look and act as much like him as we possibly can.

Peter spends a lot of time making sure that we understand that our lives should be different as a disciple. The first chapter of 2 Peter reminds me a lot of the first chapter of 1 Peter:

1 Peter 1:13-15  So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.

You didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

A holy life makes our election sure and gives us confidence in the fact that we are saved. My good works and my desire to live above the morality that I see around me do not get me in the gates of heaven but what I believe about my sin and my Savior compel me to live a different lifestyle. If I agree with God about the ugliness of my sin then I will want to live a life that pleases him and then my life will be useful and productive for his work.

Without these traits in my life I will not be very useful for kingdom work and I will put myself in a dangerous situation. Failure to develop in Christian character is the reason many people fall and it is a sign that they never understood the gospel that they say they believe.

Change is essential

John 15:3-4  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.
The word of God is a cleansing agent which purifies us, it condemns our sin, it inspires holiness, and it encourages growth. Since a true believer has been "pruned and purified" he will be productive for the advancement of the kingdom here on earth and his life will be useful in bringing glory to God.

To be productive and useful I must pursue God as my top priority in life or else it will get pushed aside and I will become distracted by the cares of this world. (Matthew 13:22, Colossians 3:2)

Thank you Lord for choosing to use me. I want my life to be useful and productive for your purposes.

Standing On The Promises

God's promises compel me to pursue living up to a higher standard.

 

2 Peter 1:4-7  And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.

5  In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,  6  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,  7  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

God has given me everything I need to live in this world that is corrupt and full of uncontrolled passions. As a child of God I have his nature within me to help me live drastically different than the rest of the world. So much has been given to me that I didn't do anything to deserve and I am responsible for my response to God's promises.

I love how the New Living translation says that I must "escape the world's corruption." As Jesus disciple, I am saved through faith without any effort on my part but now that I am saved I am compelled to discipline myself and make every attempt to live for him. This doesn't come naturally and I will need to resolve to work at the change that God wants to see in me.

True Christians will want to increase in their understanding of God and take on his character. Some of the qualities that I must grow in include:

✔  Virtue (moral excellence)
✔  Knowledge
✔  Self control
✔  Patience
✔  Godliness
✔  Brotherly kindness
✔  Love

My life should honor God in every way, all that I am and in everything that I do, in my worship and in my relationships. It is so easy to do things that dishonor him, we think more about pleasing our friends than we do about pleasing the greatest friend that we could possibly have.

Spiritual Training

1 Timothy 4:7-9  Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.

"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come."  This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it.
The world wants us to focus on physical training which doesn't do anything for us when we step into eternity. Paul told Timothy that training for godliness comes with a promise of benefits for this life and in the life to come.

Putting my faith in the work of Jesus on the cross is the starting point on a long journey. I need to respond to God's promises by training myself spiritually to become more like him.

Thank you Lord for your promises, thank you for showing us a better way to live, I want to honor you by becoming more like you.

Everything I Need

There is only one source of strength that I need to live for God.

 
2 Peter 1:3-4  By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Checkout the unlimited power that we have in our lives to live the way that God wants. I did not do anything to deserve it, he is offering this power to all of his children, he has done this because of his glory and excellence.

God promises that we can live above the evil worldly sin nature because we have his nature in us. God's children are enabled to share in his nature and moral excellence which is far greater than the code of ethics that our world lives by.

My eternal life starts now, I shouldn't sit back and wait to be changed when I get to heaven, I should already be making progress toward being like my Savior. So many of God's children don't look much different than the rest of the world, they have not made any steps forward in becoming who God wants them to be, Jesus doesn't want us to wait. (Luke 6:40)

Ephesian 1:19-20  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

My strength to start my eternal life comes from the enormous power from God. My old sin nature is nothing in comparison but it is still a stronghold that I will have to work to overcome. I can break the power of the hurts, habits and hang-ups that Satan wants to use to keep me from reaching my potential in Jesus but it cannot be defeated by my own efforts.

Jesus love for me and all of these great promises and power motivate me to live for him. When you see yourself through the eyes of God without Jesus sacrifice and then you look at yourself with Jesus you will begin to realize how much he has done for you that you didn't deserve. How could I not live for him? (2 Corinthians 5:14, Colossians 1:13-14)

You are an awesome God, full of glory and power! Thank you for choosing me and making your power available to me.

Equality In The Body

We are all the same in the body of Christ.

 

2 Peter 1:1-2  This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.  May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Despite what the Catholic church says about Peter and the glory and praise that they have erroneously given to him, Peter refers to himself as a slave and an apostle.

Faith is a gift from God and the gift has been given to us the same as it was given to the first disciples. Since we are all slaves without Christ we are all the same before him and none of us deserves to be treated differently.

The apostle Peter is a servant and so am I, it is amazing that the believers in the New Testament are seen as filthy rags, servants without any status or rights and "Saint" Peter never had the attitude that he was any different than the other believers.

The Roman Catholic Church still holds to the lies of Papal headship and Papal infallibility. Their lies state that: "The Pope possesses full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church and not merely in matters of faith and morals but also in Church discipline and in the government of the Church."

Christ is the head of the church and everyone of us is not worthy to have anyone look at us as having any authority or power. The levels of power and authority that the Catholic church tries to tell us that the chain of command from the Pope all the way down to the local priest is wrong. (Ephesians 1:19-23, Colossians 1:18, 2:10)

Mark 10:43-45  But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.

A slave is subordinate, his service to his master is out of obligation, he has to serve he has no concern about the cost of serving or the inconvenience. It is too bad that the church is so full of volunteers today. The volunteer gets to decide if the time is right or if they like the job that they are being asked to do. If it is convenient then they will signup.

I am just a slave for Jesus, I need to remember that I am not any better than the next guy, we are all nothing without Jesus. I need to be ready to serve without reservation or excessive rules about when, where or how.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him. (1 Timothy 1:12) Thank you Lord for loving me despite who I am. What an incredible privilege to loose my bondage to sin and become your servant.

Choose Life

Jesus warns us to choose wisely in order to avoid disaster.

 

Matthew 7:13-14  "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  14  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Matthew 7:24-27  “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus made it clear that we have to choose wisely in order to avoid disaster. We have to choose between two gates, two roads, two destinations, and be sure that we are with the right group of people. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The gate that leads to life is very narrow, there are plenty of alternative routes but they are all going to the wrong place, Jesus tells us that he is the only path to God. (Matthew 7:15-16)

There are false teachers that will try and tell you that the path to God isn't narrow, it is cruel for them to say things that are not true, the consequences for accepting their teaching is so severe. The fruit that they produce is the best and most obvious way to discern who to listen to.

Once you know which teacher to listen to you need to be diligent in applying the truth to your life. It would be foolish to know that your teacher is not a false teacher and then ignore their instructions. The wise student will apply God's word to their life so that they can survive the storms that will certainly come their way. (Matthew 7:24-27)

I need to make the choices that lead to life with Jesus for eternity. There are very important choices to make everyday, the world is full of lies, the voices of the false teachers are constantly speaking to us. I need to discern which teacher I listen to so that I will not leave the straight and narrow because of their terrible advice.

Jeremiah 6:16-19  This is what the LORD says: "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, 'No, that's not the road we want!'   

17  I posted watchmen over you who said, 'Listen for the sound of the alarm.' But you replied, 'No! We won't pay attention!'  18  "Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of My people's situation.  19  Listen, all the earth!

I will bring disaster on My people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to Me. They have rejected My word.

I need to put apply God's word to my life so that I can avoid ruin and I should be a voice that speaks the truth to the people around me. I should help them to see the narrow road and the amazing destination that it will take them to.

Thank you Lord for your warning to your children to avoid Satan and his people that want to deceive us. Help me to always look to truth and wisdom to direct my paths.

Hunger For The Eternal

Do you spend too much time on the stuff that won't last?

 

Deuteronomy 8:1-3  "Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors. 

Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey His commands.  Yes, He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Matthew 4:1-4  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.  For forty days and forty nights He fasted and became very hungry.  During that time the devil came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread."  But Jesus told Him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

God's people traveled through the wilderness on a trip that took them a lot longer than it did for most people. Moses told the nation that God took them the long way home so that the would learn some difficult lessons, they needed to learn to be humble, to be obedient and to trust God.

God allowed them to go through difficulty to prove their character. Through it all God became their source of life, fed them each day, he gave them water to drink and he taught them how to live to please him.

Jesus was in a similar situation, he was tired and hot, he didn't have any food or water, but his reaction was nothing like Israel's. Satan got the people of Israel to doubt that God is good and he is dependable but that trick didn't work on Jesus.

Jesus response to Satan shows us that God's word is more important than physical food.

The eternal is way more important that the temporary but we get stuck with our focus on the things that won't last. I can get stuck in the wilderness and think that it is so terrible but there may be some eternal good that God is working in my life. Maybe he put me there so that I can grow stronger spiritually.

Our spiritual condition is a lot more important that our physical condition. I need to have a spiritual hunger and I need to actively feed that hunger.

I need to be "digging the word" daily, I need the power of God's word in my life to help me recall his goodness and know that he is trustworthy.

Thank you Lord for loving me and wanting me to be a better man. Help me to react to Satan the way that Jesus. I want to long for the things that are important to you.

Break Every Chain

Despite all of our struggles overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus.

 

Romans 8:31-39 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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Noel! Come And See What God Has Done

This is the story of amazing love which brought us amazing grace.

 


Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel. Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel, The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us, Noel

Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Noel, Noel, Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel, The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us, Noel

God With Us

John 1:14  So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

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Giving Your Best Gift

Since God gave his best gift to us we should give the best gift that we have to offer.

 
Genesis 4:1-5  Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, "With the LORD's help, I have produced a man!"  2  Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.

3  When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.  4  Abel also brought a gift--the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift,  5  but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

The opportunity to live in paradise is gone, Adam and Eve had to explain to their boys that life wasn't always full of hard work and sweat, Cain and Abel never experienced the life that their parents once knew. Since they weren't living in paradise the boys had to work, Cain had to fight the weeds in order to protect his crops and Abel had to protect his livestock from wild animals.

The boys learned from their parents that God required an animal sacrifice for their sin, death had entered this world and God sacrificed animals to make clothes for the first couple. (Genesis 3:21) Imagine the cry that went out all over the world, the shock, everything that they knew was suddenly changed as paradise was lost.

When it was time to worship God and bring an offering, Abel knew the right thing to do was to bring an animal sacrifice, he knew that God should receive the best from the first born of his flock. The condition of Abel's heart and his attitude toward God was reflected in his decision to bring God the best gift.

Cain didn't bring the proper gift, he gathered up some of the produce that he had grown and presented it to God, this is the first clue that Cain's heart wasn't right toward God. Cain's gift showed that be wasn't concerned with bringing the best gift to God. (Proverbs 3:9-10)

Genesis 4:6-7  "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master."

God let him know that he needed to change his attitude and he gave him the opportunity to do so but Cain ignored God advice. Imagine bringing a gift to God and he tells you that you didn't do it right, maybe it is the right gift but your heart is not right, maybe the gift is wrong but your heart is right, if you get a chance to fix what is wrong then just do it.

Cain didn't offer God a satisfactory gift and he didn't appreciate the undeserved gift that God gave to him. God could have killed Cain but instead of enjoying forgiveness, mercy and grace, Cain decided that he loved his sin more than God. Cain should have learned from his parents that the consequences of disobedience were severe and that God could have been a lot more harsh. (Genesis 4:13)

The Bible is full of examples of God giving and man rejecting, over and over again God gives his best and we don't appreciate it. Adam and Eve didn't appreciate it and now Cain has followed in their footsteps and the process just keeps on going through all of history. (Proverbs 15:8, 21:27)

God Deserves My Best

Romans 12:1-2  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 
Have you ever received a gift so great that you just had to give your best in return? If you are a child of God you have! God cared enough to send his very best so we should feel compelled to follow his example. I should be willing to follow God's example in giving up my rights and privileges in order to give like God. (Philippians 2:5-11)


What kind of gift do I give? Too often it isn't my best gift.

Sometimes I give him my time after everything else and I am too tired. Sometimes I give him my spare change instead of giving generously and sacrificially.

Sometimes I want to impose my own rules about worship or I want to decide what my worship looks like. (Isaiah 58, Amos 5, Malachi 1)

How deliberate are you in showing how much God means to you by what you give back to him?

A Hallelujah Christmas

So in a manger filled with hay, God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah!

 

I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You'll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah

He Came To Rescue Me

Galatians 4:4-5  But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.



God Sent His Son

Consider the evidence and you will see that it isn't hard to believe that God is with us.


God's Son

John 3:16-17  "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  17  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.

Think about the phrase "God with us." Is it an amazing thought? Probably not. The story of Christ birth is so familiar to us that we don't find any of it to be exciting or magnificent. This is only life changing and amazing if you really believe that "God is with us," if you say the phrase without any excitement in your voice then perhaps you aren't getting it. The celebration is nothing more that a good reason to have a party and get some stuff that you probably don't need.

There is no one in history that has been described with more titles than Jesus Christ. He is called "Bright morning star, Wonderful Counselor, the Root of Jesse, the Alpha and the Omega, or the Lamb of God, he is the gate and the good shepherd" each of these titles is rich with meaning.

They all say something significant about who Jesus is however there is no name more significant than "Immanuel." If it is true that Jesus is "God with us" then our tepid response to him is completely inappropriate. If it is true then the implications for us are tremendous.

Some people think that the birth of Jesus is just another birth and that there isn't any reason to think that the Bible is accurate when it tells us that a virgin gave birth to someone special.

Is the birth of our Savior anything less than a miracle or could this baby be just an ordinary child? If you only look at the virgin birth claim from Mary and look at nothing else then you will find it easy to dismiss her assertion but let's look at the other evidence that proves that God sent us his son.

The prophets said that God will be with us.


Isaiah 7:14 All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a Child! She will give birth to a Son and will call Him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us').

The prophets that spoke about Jesus birth seven hundred years before he arrived help prove Mary's assertion that she was still a virgin. These men told us that Jesus would be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem and that his earthly parents would be descendants of King David. (Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:7) The prophets even told us that Jesus family would leave Bethlehem to hide in Egypt until Herod was out of the picture. (Hosea 11:1).

It would be impossible for someone to decide before they were born that they would fulfill a bunch of prophecies in order to trick us. The predictions about Jesus birth help us believe that he is God's son and he was born without an earthly father.

Messengers from heaven announce his birth.


Luke 2:8-11 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

If the prophets are not enough to verify that the child in Mary's womb was a miracle birth then take a look at the next supernatural event connected to Jesus arrival. The shepherds story gives us insight into the identity of this child.

The shepherds were in the fields outside of Bethlehem when they became terrified by a visit from a lot of angels that announced the birth of Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. They were told that this was good news of great joy for everybody and soon the shepherds were joining in with the angels in celebration.

A special sign in the sky


Matthew 2:1-2 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

A spectacular light in the sky gave additional credibility to Mary's story. A star that showed a group of Gentile seekers that the event that they had been waiting for had finally taken place. This group of wise men knew about the prophecies of the Old Testament and they knew what the sign in the sky meant.

Perhaps their ancestors had learned about the prophecies through the prophet Daniel while the Jews were in captivity in Babylon. While in exile 400 years before Christ birth Daniel had a vision that he may have shared that allowed the wise men to know about the sign of the Jewish Messiah.

Jesus arrival was:


✔ Predicted with great detail long before it happened.
✔ Announced and celebrated with a lot of heavenly delight.
✔ Marked with a supernatural sign in the sky.

All of this was done to help us believe that Jesus is God's son that came to be with us, to serve us, to suffer with us and most of all he came to save us.

What sent the shepherds back to the fields rejoicing, what made the wise men fall down in wonder in the shadow of that babe, was the gripping realization that they were in the presence of their Creator.

Christmas is all about getting near him, look at what he did to get close to you, what are you doing to get close to him? What are you doing to be with him? What are you doing to be with him?

Thank you Lord for allowing us to get to know you, for loving us and for caring about our need. Thank you for making it obvious that you came to be Emmanuel (God with us).

Need more evidence?

The Forever Kingdom

God promises that a king greater than David will reign forever.

 

2 Samuel 7:8-17  "Now go and say to My servant David, 'This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of My people Israel.  9  I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes.

Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth!  10  And I will provide a homeland for My people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won't oppress them as they've done in the past,  11  starting from the time I appointed judges to rule My people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. "

'Furthermore, the LORD declares that He will make a house for you--a dynasty of kings!  12  For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong.  13  He is the one who will build a house--a temple--for My name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.

14  I will be his father, and He will be My son. If He sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.  15  But My favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight.  16  Your house and your kingdom will continue before Me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.'"

17  So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the LORD had said in this vision.

When God's people were in Egypt he made a lot of promises to them that were accomplished by the time of today's scripture. God used Moses to lead his people out of Egypt and successfully take them across the desert, he used Joshua to help take most of the promised land and now he has brought peace to the land through David.

God brought David up from nothing, he was from a small town, he was the least of his brothers and he was always out in the field with the smelly sheep, God took this small boy that nobody valued out of the field and blessed him as king and conquerer.

King David loved God and was thankful for the beautiful palace that he had but it didn't seem respectful to God that his palace was so much nicer than the old tent that had represented God's presence as they moved across the dessert. David wasn't living in a tent anymore and it didn't make sense to him that God's house was not a magnificent palace.

Nathan gave his consent, surely God would appreciate David's good intentions, but as he soon found out he was wrong. Many times man's good ideas are nothing compared to the best that God has in store for us. God told Nathan that what seemed wise to him wasn't really a word from the Lord. God could have sent another prophet to correct Nathan or he could have spoke directly to David but God allowed Nathan to correct himself so that the prophets honor was preserved.

God promised David an everlasting kingdom, a personal Father-son relationship that would include parental discipline, and that he would never turn his back on David as he had done with Saul. (2 Samuel 7:13-15)

Temples come and temples go but God was building a new house that cannot be destroyed. David's intention was to build a house for God but that building was only temporary. God was building a new house that will last forever.

Jesus Is King

Luke 1:31-33  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!"
Just as God used a little shepherd boy that was out in the field he also used a very young lady from nowhere special and without any social status to be a part of his eternal plan. The promise that God made to David was about to take a step forward with the birth of Jesus.

In Jesus we have an eternal king, no other ruler has ever reigned forever, this is the first king that will defeat every revolt against him. Since the king will rule forever we know that we will have a secure place to live for eternity. (Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 7:14)

In Jesus we have a new temple, the place where God and man can meet, the place where God's wrath is satisfied through the perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the corner stone that was rejected by man but God is using him to build a new temple.

Ephesians 2:20-22  Together, we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.

In Jesus I am the new temple in which God dwells. The temple is no longer a physical building like the old Jewish temple. God lives in me so I need to keep this temple purified and just as sacred as the physical temple was back when it was originally built.

The forever kingdom needs to start now, it needs to be allowed to happen everyday in my own life. I need to acknowledge him as king and allow him to rule.