Wednesday, December 30, 2009


John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. A WORD OF WARNING “In the world ye shall have tribulation”

1. Against Entanglement [2 Peter 2:20]

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

2. Against Enemies [Matthew 13:28]

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

3. Against Enamorment [1 John 2:15]

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

II. A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT “be of good cheer”

1. For the Forgiveness of Sins [Matthew 9:2]

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

2. For the Person of the Saviour [Mark 6:50]

For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

3. For the Victory of Christ [Acts 27:25]

Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

III. A WORD OF REASON “I have overcome the world”

1. The Reason is a Person [John 14:1-6]
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

2. The Reason is a Promise [1 John 5:4-5]

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

3. The Reason is a Product [Romans 8:37]

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


CEO Christians. (Christmas and Easter Only) - unknown

The economic turmoil that has resulted from living off resources we didn't have and borrowing that which we could not repay is a consequence of our moral indulgence: We have made moral decisions based on a worldview that has no foundation and that is demanding repayment. We are facing bankruptcy of a different kind. - Ravi Zacharias

Arctic River Christians. (Frozen at the mouth)

Pastors tend to be very easy targets of criticism, but over the years I have worked closely enough with a number of them to appreciate the demands their calling places upon their lives on a daily basis. - J.M. Njoroge

Another aspect of despair is hopelessness, the kind that can spring from a feeling of failure or a feeling that things will never improve or maybe even from from physical and mental/emotional exhaustion. The cure may be as simple as a good night's rest or a weekend getaway to the need to recognize God's daily graciousness and goodness to us. With that renewed perspective we ought to be able to do our work "heartily, as to the lord, and not unto men " (Col. 3:23. -Dr. Royce Short

Finish the job. - Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

Monday, December 28, 2009


GAL. 2:18-21

Adapted from Dr. Lee Roberson by Pastor Rick Jackson

Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
Ezekiel 3:9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

What does the future hold? These last days of 2009? 2010? Beyond? Our lives may be dangerous. Our lives may be busy. Our lives may be uncertain… afflicted…challenging.
We may not know what the future holds but the Christian knows Who holds the future.

Gal. 2:20 gives us a 3-fold plan to face the uncertain future. First, we must:


1. Know Christ- Receive Him as Saviour [Jn. 1:12, Gal. 1:11-16]

2. Study Christ- Know Him Intimately [Phil. 3:10, II Pet. 3:18]

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

3. Obey Christ- Yield to Him as Lord [Gal. 1:10, Luke 6:46]

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

How much we miss by not doing this. A king took a bag and went out to a busy intersection… dug a hole & put the bag therein and covered it with a large stone. Many were bothered by the stone and complained but none moved it. Eventually the king called a meeting at the intersection, removed the stone and the bag which was revealed to be filled with much gold and a note that simply read, “For him who moves the stone”

Secondly, we must:


What did Paul mean? Die to self! A boy asked an older Christian what does that mean. He was told to go to a grave and say bad things about the person buried there. When he came back he was asked what was the response.
“Nothing, he’s dead.” He was told to go back and say nice things. When he came back he was again asked about the response.
“Nothing, he’s dead.”
“You are beginning to understand what it means to die to self then.”
If we fail to die to self what will happen? We will:

1. Fail to Bear Fruit [John 12:24]

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

2. Forfeit Peace of Heart [John 12:25]

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

3. Fail to Glorify the Lord [John 12:If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.]

And the thirdly, we must:


1. Live Dually- there is the Power of Two [Gal. 2:20, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12]

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

2. Live Fully- there is the Presence of Christ [John 10:10]

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

3. Live Richly- there are the Precepts of Christ [Colossians 3:16]

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Luke 2:21-24, 36-38

Pastor Rick Jackson

It doesn’t matter if you got what you wanted for Christmas or not. It doesn’t matter if your relatives came or didn’t come. It doesn’t matter if you got to eat what you wanted. Really, all of that doesn’t matter because Christmas 2009 is over, gone, finished, ended. The question is -what do you have after Christmas? The Bible answers that by telling us the situation of a woman just 8 days after the first Christmas. And what she had- in the broad sense- we all have.

So, what do we all have after Christmas? WE ALL HAVE A:


This of course is completely out of your control. You cannot choose your heritage. You must live with it. You can take the good and use it for the glory of God, take the bad and learn from it and by God’s grace go beyond it. No-one’s past is perfect and no-one’s past need beat them.

Some complain because their future is set for them [Prince Charles, etc] Some complain because they’re future is so vague. My friend, that’s not the point is it?

1. Her Name Was Anna [same as Hannah=favored] -but we’ve all been favored haven’t we…

2. Her Father was Phanuel [OT “Peniel”] -surrender to God and win

Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Genesis 32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

3. Her Tribe was Aser [Happy]

Genesis 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

Leah’s daddy tricked her husband into marrying her. You can be like Leah and make lemonade out of lemons or you can be miserable!

Something else you can’t control and she couldn’t control is living in a:


The situation you find yourself living in is to a great extent out of your control. Now what little part you have control over you ought use to the best of your ability to the glory of Almighty God. But my friends, some things you just can’t control or stop.

1. Her Health was Not Good [v. 36b, 1:7, 18]

2. She was Widowed after 7 Years of Marriage [v. 36c]

3. She was Now 84 and apparently Childless [v. 37, barren or outlived her kids]

But wait, there’s something we all have, & all have a great deal of control over. We all have a:


Our country was actually founded on this premise. In our Declaration of Independence are these words, "We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." - Thomas Jefferson

Note that Jefferson didn’t say the promise of happiness- but the pursuit of it. Anna found it. With all her negative circumstances, she found her happiness. How did she do it?

1. Through Personal Service [v. 37b]

2. Through Personal Sacrifice [v. 37c]

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Philippians 2:17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

3. Through Personal Salvation [v. 38]

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas With Jesus

I'm Spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this Year

I see the countless Christmas trees,
Around the world below.
With tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
Reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away that tear.
For I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare,
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description,
To hear the angels sing.

I can't tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit,
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray one for another,
As I lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful,
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm Spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King.

~© Wanda Bencke ~

A friend shared this with me today in an email.

for all those who have suffered the "loss" of a loved one this year especially, our prayers are with you!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK- What was the top creation/evolution news of 2009?

Answers Weekly | newsletter archives | contact us
December 26, 2009

a weekly look at

top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: What was the top creation/evolution news of 2009?

A: As we stand at the close of one year and the beginning of another, it is clear that although the years may pass, the battle for truth does not. The ideas of Millions of years and evolution continue to pervade and dominate the media. More than ever, there is a need for the Church to properly interpret the world around us, by returning to the authority of Scripture as our guide.
For the fourth time, we're closing the year with a look back at some of the top news stories (see 2008, 2007, and 2006). Like last year, we're looking at some of the "recurring themes that made significant headlines in the debate over origins." This year the debate touched on our astral origins, the "Year of Darwin", the human kind, and the ongoing war of worldviews.

What made the headlines in 2009, and how should biblically-minded Christians respond? Read our answers in News to Note: 2009 in Review!

Impact Doubled!

Thanks to your faithful support, we came very close to our recent gift-matching goal of $450,000 by Christmas. But we still need your help. In 2010, our vision is to make an impact like never before on our culture, to restore the foundations. You'll learn much more about the exciting campaign we have planned in the days ahead, but it may be the boldest declaration of the dependability of God's Word we've ever made.
To help make this a reality, our end-of-the-year goal is to raise a total of $750,000. We're well over halfway there, and your support could be the difference. Consider a one-time or monthly gift today.
And may the Lord bless you in this new year.

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Friday, December 25, 2009



To All My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.  I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.  Not to imply that  America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the  Western Hemisphere .  Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.
To My Republican Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 2010.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wonderful Counsellor

Days of Praise
Wonderful Counsellor
December 24, 2009
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
This magnificent verse, used so often on Christmas cards, is a splendid prophecy of the divine/human nature of the coming Messiah. He would be born as a child, like every other human being, but He would also be given as a Son at the same time, with the giver clearly being God Himself. "He gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
The name of this God/man offers further testimony. At the introduction of this prophecy, God had named Him Immanuel, meaning "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14). Now He is given a series of names, all of which are needed to express His full identity. It is likely the first two names should be considered one name: He is our "Wonderful Counsellor" (the punctuation marks have been added to our translations, but the combined term is more in keeping with the structure of the other names).
This "child," amazingly, is also "The mighty God" and "The everlasting Father," stressing His absolute and eternal deity, as well as His omnipotence and the unity of the Father and the Son in the Triune Godhead. Finally, as "The Prince of Peace," it is only He that can unite the warring factions of mankind and bring true world peace. This stresses His humanity, but also His perfect and effective humanity.

Also, in His human nature, He is our "Wonderful Counsellor," our perfect example and infallible teacher. He both shows and tells us what to believe and how to live, and He is never wrong, for in Him "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," and "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:3, 9). HMM

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Luke 2:21-24

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. Simeon was a Saved Man [v. 25] “just” Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

2. Simeon was a Spiritual Man [v. 25] “devout”

3. Simeon was a Satisfied Man [v. 25] “waiting” patiently Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.


1. The Holy Ghost had Influence “upon” Simeon [v. 25]

2:8 “over”, 2:14 “on”, 2:33 “at”, 2:40 “upon”, 2:47 “at”

2. The Holy Ghost Revealed Things to Simeon [v. 26, Heb. 8:5, 11:7, 12:25]

3. The Holy Spirit Led Simeon [v. 27a, Romans 8:14]

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


1. Simeon was Satisfied with the Will of God [v. 26-29a]

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

2. Simeon was Satisfied with the Word of God [v. 29b]

3. Simeon was Satisfied with the Way of God [v. 30-35, John 14:6]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Signs of Christmas

Days of Praise
Signs of Christmas
December 22, 2009
"Moreover the LORD spoke again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above." (Isaiah 7:10-11)
Although "the Jews require a sign" (1 Corinthians 1:22), and this attitude was rebuked by Christ when He said that "an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 12:39), God has given three specific signs with respect to the incarnation of Christ. There were other signs too, no doubt, such as the star of Bethlehem, but three events were specifically called signs.
First, to the unwilling King Ahaz, He said: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel means "God with us," and the sign of the virgin birth, biologically impossible without a mighty miracle of divine creation, assures us that the omnipotent God has entered the human family once for all.
That entrance was not made in an emperor's palace as a great conqueror, however, but in the very humblest of human circumstances, and this also was a sign. "And this shall be a sign unto you," said the leader of the angelic host; "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12).
And there was a third sign. When the infant Jesus was brought to the temple, the aged prophet Simeon said: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35).

That is, the God/man would Himself be God's great sign to Israel and the whole world. The attitude of men and women to God, in Christ, would reveal the state of their hearts and seal their eternal destiny, whether rising again to everlasting life or falling forever away from God. HMM

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Monday, December 21, 2009


by Henry Hodges

In the pages of history there was a time,
The joy-bells in Heaven did ring out a chime
They tell of the One that came to Earth,
The only One born of a virgin birth.
He came to Earth His life to give,
He came to Earth that we might live.
Thank You LORD for Your wonderful GIFT!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


LUKE 2:8-20

Pastor Rick Jackson


1. They Feared [v. 8-9, Ps. 111:10]

2. They Focused [v. 10-15]

Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
Jeremiah 31:10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
Ezekiel 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

3. They Followed Through [v. 15, James 1:22]

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.


1. Let’s Do It Now! [v. 15]

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith… behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2. Let’s Do It Quickly! [v. 15, Luke 19:5-6]

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
2 Peter 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

3. Let’s Do It Right! [v. 15-16, Revelation 3:11]

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.


1. They Testified of the Word of God [v. 17, 1 Thessalonians 1:8]

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

2. They Testified of the Grace of God [v. 17-18, Psalm 107:2]

Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

3. They Glorified the God of Heaven! [v. 20, 1 Corinthians 10:31]

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Question of the Week - Wintertime worship: Santa Claus or Jesus Christ?

Answers Weekly | newsletter archives | contact us
December 19, 2009

a weekly look at

top leftIn this issue . . .

Q: Wintertime worship: Santa Claus or Jesus Christ?

A: As I drive through my neighborhood in December, I am confronted with giants dancing on my neighbors' lawns. A 6-foot-tall Scooby-Doo sways in the breeze donning a red knit cap. An inflatable carousel that wouldn't fit in my living room spins a snowman, a reindeer, and an elf in an endless circuit. Santa can be seen in plastic light-up form, inflated fabric, plywood silhouette, and various other renditions—including catching a bass on a large fishing pole. Oh! Look! That yard has a manger scene surrounded by reindeer and candy canes and soldiers and snowmen and . . . you get the point.
If you brought someone from Russia to my neighborhood, what would they infer from the inflated and illuminated army? I sincerely doubt that it would convey the message of the Creator entering His creation to redeem it from the curse of sin. The manger scenes might raise a question, and the lit cross with the message "A Savior Is Born" would surely draw the visitor's attention (that's my yard). But these are certainly lost among the troop formations. So, is this season about celebrating dancing snowmen and blinking lights or a Savior and the hope He brings?
Sadly, our culture has shifted its focus to the dazzling lights and away from a dazzling Savior. Commercialism has swallowed whatever Christmas used to be before it was this. Battles are fought over the very name of the holiday, and Santa Claus is embraced more freely than the infant Jesus. Santa is an icon in modern culture, and his image is used to sell everything from soda to sports cars. How is a Christian to view Santa in light of the true meaning of Christmas?

Read more of this intriguing article, as Roger Patterson, AiG–U.S., addresses this question from a biblical perspective.

News to Note Quick Look

PhysOrg: "Evolution May Take Giant Leaps": Evolution is thought to progress slowly, step by step, the accumulation of hundreds of millions of years' worth of small changes. Or is it? Read more.

LiveScience: "Mammoths Were Alive More Recently than Thought": Mammoths didn't die out that long ago: a creationist conclusion or the latest evolutionary idea? Read more.

Also: "Super-Earths" Orbit Nearby Stars, Portions of Arctic Coastline Eroding: No End in Sight, Octopus Snatches Coconut and Runs, and don't miss . . . . Read more.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

True Wise Men

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Matthew 2:1-2 "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
What makes a man truly wise? At Christmastime, we often sing and hear about the wise men at the Lord Jesus' birth. Did you know that in Matthew chapter two, we read about other men who were supposedly wise? They were Herod's "wise men." Few people knew more than these men, but nobody did less.
The Bible tells us in verse one that wise men came "from the east to Jerusalem." This was no small journey! But these men knew something that gave them great confidence. They knew what the Old Testament said, and they came asking, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (verse 2) These men made quite a journey to see the One "born King of the Jews," all because they were wise enough to believe what God had said.
Herod, on the other hand, gathered the chief priest and the scribes-those who would know about Old Testament prophecy-to find out where Christ was to be born. It was not that they did not know enough, for they said, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem . . . for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." They knew plenty; they did not do anything with what they knew. They illustrate to us the difference between being religious and being wise.
It is interesting to look at the names the Lord Jesus is called in this passage: "Christ," "Governor," and "the child." It is ironic that Herod thought of him as a full-grown man ("Governor that shall rule my people"); but today in America, in our shopping and traditions, we only see Him as a child!
Do you know someone who believes something but does nothing about it? That is because there is a difference in being wise and being religious. This truth is never more evident than in the story of the Savior's birth in Matthew 2. Wise men came from afar with only God's Word and a star; religious men of the day knew more than most people but did less than everybody. They did not act on what they knew.
Often I pray, "Lord, give me the wisdom to know what is right, and then give me the courage to do it." May that prayer be the way we live today, and may God help us to be true wise men.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gift of Giving

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

II Corinthians 9:15 "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."
There is no better feeling than getting the right gift for somebody. When you see the person's reaction, you know you have done well. Sometimes the perfect gift can leave a person completely speechless. This verse reminds us of a gift from God that leaves us speechless.
God's "unspeakable gift" has rightly been called "wonderful beyond description." To know what (or Who) this gift refers to, we can look back at II Corinthians 8:9: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." God's unspeakable gift was the Lord Jesus! God the Son made Himself poor so that you and I might be made rich.
The "poor" of verse 9 describes His great humility to both take on human flesh and to take the awful sin of the world. You are richer than the Lord Jesus was; no one is as poor today as was the Lord Jesus. The God of Heaven came to earth "for your sakes . . . that ye through his poverty might be rich."
When thinking about the fact that God's "unspeakable gift" was the Lord Jesus, I am reminded that it is a gift to be able to give. Anything that I have given was given to me first. You don't have to be rich in order to give. In fact, if you wait until you are rich to give, you will never know the truths of Bible giving.
Consider Proverbs 11:24-25 for a moment: "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." The words liberal and fat are good things in this case! Is there such a person that scatters what he has, but increases? Sure there is-think of a farmer who casts his seed. Is he "throwing away" his seed? No, he is expecting an abundant return on his "scattering"!
God is not looking for rich people; He is looking for givers for whom He can supply. Giving really is a gift. What can you give today? Will you take God at His Word about giving? You make a living by what you get . . . you make a life by what you give.
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FW: December 16 - The Incarnate Deity

Days of Praise
The Incarnate Deity
December 16, 2009
"Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:5-7)
The entire gospel message runs counter to the human mind. The Creator dying for the creation. The judge paying the penalty for the guilty. The immortal One dying. Sinless God substituting for human sinners. No human or devil ever could have thought of this scheme, and indeed, no such one did. This is evidenced by the works-oriented salvation offered by all cults and false religions, as conjured up by such sources.
But make no mistake! The babe in the manger was the Creator, holy and eternal! "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. . . . All things were created by him, and for him: . . . that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself" (Colossians 1:15-20).
In order to qualify as a sacrificial substitute, He had to be born as a child into humankind, but without the inherited sin nature of His human parents. A virgin birth was therefore necessary.
He had to live a sinless life. He had to be fully human, but also fully God, so that His substitutionary death could apply to the sins of more than one guilty sinner. He had to be "God with us," the meaning of the precious title Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23), as prophesied years before (Isaiah 7:14). JDM
Christ, by the highest Heav'n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in the time behold Him come, Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th'incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmamuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King!"
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Yet Without Sin

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Matthew 1:16 "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
The first chapter of Matthew records the genealogy of the Lord Jesus and the events of His birth. It is not what these twenty-five verses are about; it is Who they are about. So who is "Jesus, who is called Christ"?
First, we are reminded that He is Jewish-born. The genealogies recorded in verses 1-17 give us the earthly lineage of the Lord Jesus. The last genealogy you find after this passage is in Luke 3. You may be able to trace your ancestors back several generations, but the Bible records the Lord's lineage back to Abraham! This connection to Abraham is significant because we see that God keeps His promises. God made promises to Abraham and to Jacob, and God kept those promises when the Lord Jesus was born.
Not only are we encouraged that God keeps His promises, we also see the Lord's very human lineage. His genealogy is documented in God's unchanging Word. How many of us even know our family genealogy past a few generations? God the Son had a human ancestry. You can take courage in that fact because, as the Book of Hebrews says, He was "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) You see names of all kinds of people in the genealogy. In spite of their sinfulness and humanity, God was and is in control. God had come in human form and He was "yet without sin."
Second, we are reminded that the Lord Jesus is virgin-born. There is no way to miss the fact that the Lord Jesus did not have an earthly father-He was "conceived . . . of the Holy Ghost." Men today may dispute it; infidels may deny it; but God-in-flesh, Jesus Christ, was virgin-born. Notice how repeatedly and clearly God tells us this. Verse 18 says, "Before they [Mary and Joseph] came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." In verse 20, the angel of the Lord tells Joseph, "For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." The Old Testament prophet had foretold, and is quoted in verse 23, that "a virgin shall be with child. . . ." And in verse 25, God says that Joseph "knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son. . . ." There is no denying it-the Son of God was virgin-born.
We can see these two facts-Jewish-born and virgin-born-in verse 16: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary" (He was Jewish-born) "of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ" (He was virgin-born). Although He had an earthly lineage, Jesus Christ had no earthly father; He was God Incarnate in human flesh, and He was "yet without sin." During this Christmas holiday, remember that we celebrate the virgin birth of the Perfect One who understands and is "yet without sin."

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