Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CHRISTMAS ALL THE NEW YEAR

PSALM 118:24                                   

Pastor Rick Jackson

 

A week ago it was Christmas eve and now here it is New Year’s eve. There probably is not the anticipation for tomorrow as there was last week but why isn’t there? You say, Brother Rick, that was Christmas, this is just New Years day- a good day perhaps, but certainly not Christmas. Perhaps not but every day for the Christian ought be considered a gift from God. What are some of the things we associate with Christmas and how can we have the Christmas spirit all the year?

 

1. Happy Holidays- Hallowed Holy Days [Ps. 118:24, Rm. 14:5-8]

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

2. Christmas Gifts- the Gifts of God [Acts 2:38, 10:45, Romans 11:29, 1 Corinthians 12:28]

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

1 Corinthians 12:28 And  God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

 

3. Christmas Presents- Christ’s Presence [Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5]

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor ° forsake thee.

 

4. Christmas Songs- Christian songs [Ephesians 5:19,  Colossians 3:16]

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

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.

 

5. Christmas Proclamation – Christian Proclamations [Is. 61:1-2]

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

 

6. Christmas Lights- Christian Lights [John 8:12]

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

 

7. Christmas Celebration- Christian Rejoicing [Acts 5:41]

And they departed  from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Galatians 6:4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

Philippians 1:18, 26; 2:16-18, 28; 3:1, 3; 4:4

 

Outside of the true Biblical Christmas account- my favorite Christmas story is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In the story,  the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, at the time of his conversion says, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” This worthy thought is obviously a Scriptural one. May it be Christmas in our hearts every day in 2015.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quotes of the Week

No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. -- James K. Polk

Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do too little. -- Warren G. Harding

The invention of basketball was not an accident.  It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play "Drop the Handkerchief." -- James Naismith

Assassination can be no more guarded against than death by lightning; and it is best not to worry about either. -- James A. Garfield

Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion. -- Franklin Pierce

"Stay" is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary. -- Louisa May Alcott

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. -- Mark Twain

As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it. -- Martin Van Buren
It's kind of fun to do the impossible. -- Walt Disney
I can make just such ones if I had tools, and I could make tools if I had tools to make them with. -- Eli Whitney

Everything I do is for my people. -- Sacajawea

I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow. -- Woodrow Wilson

Monday, December 29, 2014

WHY ISRAEL’S FUTURE IS ASSURED [AND SO IS OURS]


JEREMIAH 33

 

1 Corinthians 10:11                                                                                         Pastor Rick Jackson

 

I. IT IS GOD’S WAY [v. 1]

 

1. The Way of the True God, Creator of All [v. 2]

 

2. The way of Prayer to the Omnipotent God [v. 3]

 

3. The Way of a Right Relationship with the Holy God [v. 4-5]

 

II. IT IS GOD’S WILL

 

1. It is God’s Will to Restore Israel in Righteousness [v. 6-8]

 

2. It is God’s Will to Be Glorified in Israel’s Restoration [v. 9]

 

3. It is God’s Will to Keep His Promises to Israel (and to us) [v. 10-14]

 

III. IT IS GOD’S WORD

 

1. No Worries [v. 15-16]

 

2. No Want [v. 17-18, Ps. 23:1ff]

 

3. No Wavering [v. 19-26, Hebrews 10:23, James 1:6]

Sunday, December 28, 2014

FACING THE NEW WITH THE OLD


                                                         GENESIS 12:1-4, JUDE

 

Pastor Rick Jackson

 

Whether it be the New year, a new day, a new job, new challenges or new problems the child of God can face them with a certainty, a peace, a comfort, an assurance with the Lord on his side, at his side and inside!

 

I. FACE THE NEW YEAR WITH THE OLD FAITH (older than Abram) [Gn. 12:1, 2:4, Jude 3]

 

1. Face the New Year with Christ the Saviour [Jude 3-4, 25]

 

2. Face the New Year with Christ the Keeper [Jude 1, 24; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 2 Tm. 1:12]

 

3. Face the New Year with Christ the Coming One [Jude 14, 24]

 

II. FACE THE NEW YEAR WITH THE OLD BOOK, THE WORD OF GOD [Gn. 12:1, 4]

 

1. Read it Faithfully [Jude 3-5, Isaiah 34:16, Job 23:12]

 

2. Read it Fully [Jude 5, 7, 11, 17-18]

 

3. Read it to Feed [Job 23:12, Jude 20, Acts 20:32, Ephesians 2:20, Colossians 2:7]

 

III. FACE THE NEW YEAR WITH THE OLD WAYS [Jeremiah 6:16]

 

1. Be a Prayer Warrior [Jude 20, Lk 18:1, Eph. 6:10-18]

 

2. Be a Powerful Witness [Jude 3, 22-23]

 

3. Be a Persistent Worshipper [1 Tm. 3:15, Acts 14:27, 1 Corinthians 11:17-18, 20, 33-34, 14:23, 26]

 

Notice with all the problems they had Paul didn’t say stop coming- he merely worked to straighten out the problems.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK- Will the Real Unicorn Please Stand Up?

 
 
 
Will the Real Unicorn Please Stand Up? by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on June 15, 2011

Abstract

Recent publicity about the Ark Encounter project has unleashed a good deal of ridicule claiming that the ark will feature fanciful unicorns. But the unicorns mentioned in the Bible—not only in English King James Version but also in other languages—are not the fairy tale creatures many people think of nowadays, but real creatures familiar to the people living in those ancient times.
So what kind of creature was the Bible talking about? If there really was a historical unicorn, when did the word start referring to a creature of fantasy? And why did Bible translators use a word that could dredge up fantasy images in documents intended to reflect genuine history?

The Biblical Unicorn

If God had used an imaginary creature to make His point, Job would have learned nothing.
The biblical unicorn was a real animal, not an imaginary horse-like creature. The nine Old Testament verses1 which refer to unicorns do so in the context of familiar animals—peacocks and eagles, lambs and lions, bullocks and goats, donkeys and horses, dogs and calves. Furthermore, the biblical unicorns also behave like ordinary animals—skipping like calves (Psalm 29:6 (KJV)) and bleeding when they die (Isaiah 34:7 (KJV)). God reminded Job of the characteristics of a variety of impressive animals He had created, showing Job that God was far above man in power, strength, and understanding. Speaking of the unicorn, God told Job that the unicorn had great strength but could not be tamed for agricultural labor (Job 39:9–12 (KJV)). If God had used an imaginary creature to make His point, Job would have learned nothing.
 

The Historical Unicorn

The notion of a single-horned creature should not trouble us. Consider the modern Indian rhinoceros and narwhal. In fact, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (the very first edition) there is no mention of an imaginary animal or horse-like animal in its definition of unicorn. Instead, the word is defined as follows:
  1. An animal with one horn; the monoceros. The name is often applied to the rhinoceros.
  2. The sea unicorn is a fish of the whale kind, called narwal, remarkable for a horn growing out at his nose.
The biblical unicorn is consistently used as a symbol of strength, so we would expect it to be a powerful creature. The translators of the King James Version suggested this powerful creature could be a rhinoceros. They included a margin note by the unicorns of Isaiah 34:7 stating, “or rhinocerots.”
Unicorn-elasmotherium
An elasmotherium. Source: Dmitry Bogdanov, via Wikimedia Commons.
A possible candidate for the historical unicorn is the elasmotherium, an extinct giant rhinoceros, which may well be the single-horned creature depicted on an obelisk found at Nineveh in the company of two-horned bovine creatures. Both fossil evidence and archaeological reports by the respected Austen Henry Layard support this option.2
Marco Polo’s description of unicorns in Sumatra sounds like a rhinoceros:
They have wild elephants and plenty of unicorns, which are scarcely smaller than elephants. They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant’s. They have a single large black horn in the middle of the forehead . . . They are very ugly brutes to look at. They are not at all such as we describe them when we relate that they let themselves be captured by virgins, but clean contrary to our notions.3
Accounts of a real single-horned creature abound in ancient writings dealing with natural history. The earliest surviving record comes to us from the fourth century Greek physician/historian Ctesias. John Gill, an 18th century Hebrew scholar, agreeing that the biblical unicorn must be a real creature, in his commentary cites several ancient writers who described such an animal, which was, like the unicorn described in Job, not able to be domesticated. Ancient writers who described a realistic unicorn include Aelian, Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and Tertullian.
Because the Hebrew word re’em, translated unicorn in the KJV and wild ox in some other English translations, bears some similarity to the Assyrian word for wild ox, rimu, many have assumed the unicorn to be the two-horned aurochs. Julius Caesar described the phenomenal size, shape, and unique appearance of this powerful creature’s horns. The aurochs, extinct since 1627, had horns so symmetrical they could appear as one in profile. Assyrian obelisks and Indus River seals do depict apparent single-horned creatures, but some people interpret these as artistic symmetry. If an animal commonly known to have two impressive symmetrical horns were to be commonly known as a unicorn, there would be nothing deceptive or fanciful about referring to the animal by its common name.4
Nevertheless, there is ample support for the possibility that the creature in view here really did have just one horn (see “Linguistic Justification,” below).
 
 

The Legendary Unicorn

The incorporation of unicorns into fanciful legends, including unfortunately some with religious significance, paralleled the more realistic historical accounts of the unicorn. The fanciful unicorn is found in ancient Chinese creation mythology. The powerful beast which only gentle maidens can tame enters western literature in an anonymous work called the Physiologus. These writings are thought to have originated in North Africa around the second to fourth century AD. They include an allegory intertwining the biblical Incarnation of Christ and the Virgin Mary with a unicorn which cradles its head in Mary’s lap. (Those familiar with the history of the Christian church will note that the appearance of this allegory both temporally and geographically parallels the rise of the allegorical hermeneutic and a variety of heresies in the Christian church.) Thus, the unicorn not only entered religious art but also became the stuff of fairy tales. For instance, a popular German tale in the 16th century involves a unicorn rescuing a girl accused of witchcraft, and the unicorn can be seen in the religious artwork of the time. Many European countries had similar tales.
 

So why did they use a word like that anyway?

Since the King James translators surely knew of the fanciful unicorn tales as well as the iconic place the unicorn had assumed in religious artwork for centuries, why did they choose that word? Well, we need to remember that they also knew of the prominence of the unicorn in natural history.
Translators knew that honest intelligent readers of God’s Word would understand from context that the unicorn they wrote of was the real version of the animal.
By way of analogy, our literature abounds with information about both real rabbits and the Easter bunny, yet we never fear that when we write about real rabbits someone will think we are writing about an imaginary creature. We know from context whether our rabbits are real or made-up, and no serious Christian would think the Easter bunny had anything to do with our faith (“empty egg analogies” notwithstanding). Likewise, the King James translators knew that honest intelligent readers of God’s Word would understand from context that the unicorn they wrote of was the real version of the animal.

Linguistic Justification

The translators of the King James Version and of Bibles in other European languages had access not only to the Hebrew Old Testament but also to other translations and to the scholarly works of Hebrew rabbis. In consulting the Latin Vulgate and the Septuagint—a Greek translation of the Hebrew texts—they would have seen the Hebrew word in question translated as a one-horned animal. For example, in Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV), the Latin Vulgate uses the word rinocerotis (rhinoceros) and the Septuagint uses monokerĊtos (lit. “one horn”) for the word translated as unicorns in the KJV. The Dutch Bible (published soon after the King James), the Spanish Bible, Italian Bible, Luther’s German Bible (all of which predated the 1611 English version), and the earlier English Bibles (Wycliffe’s, Tyndale’s, Coverdale’s, Bishop’s, and Geneva) all reflected the “single-horned” understanding of the word.
Furthermore, and most importantly, the Hebrew itself guided the translators’ choices. From Tyndale forward, Protestant translators had knowledge of Hebrew and access to the Hebrew Old Testament, so they did not need to rely on the Vulgate or the Septuagint. They increasingly also had access to Hebrew lexicographers. The Geneva Bible (1560) translators were able to complete the Old Testament translation directly from the Hebrew. The Geneva Bible translators, like Luther (Luther’s German Bible–1534), relied heavily on Rabbi Kimchi’s Hebrew grammar. By the time the King James team gathered, additional Hebrew commentaries by Rashi and Ibn Ezra were available. Thus, although some claim that unicorn (or its equivalent in other European languages) is a corruption carried over from the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, English Bible translators had other sources. They were able to consult Jewish Hebrew language experts and to translate directly from the Hebrew.
While many scholars today simply point authoritatively to a modern Hebrew lexicon or Strong’s concordance and announce the unicorn-word (re’em) should be translated “wild ox,” Hebrew experts through the years have not been so unified in that opinion. Many, including the renowned thirteenth century scholar Rabbi David Kimchi, have held to the “single-horned” understanding of the word. It is from the rabbinical experts on Hebrew that the King James scholars (and other translators) got their understanding of this word. In short, they called it a unicorn because that’s what it was. And they trusted the context and good sense of their readers to know it was real.
 

For More Information:

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 23:22 (KJV), Numbers 24:8 (KJV); Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV); Job 39:9–10 (KJV); Psalm 22:21 (KJV), Psalm 29:6 (KJV), Psalm 92:10 (KJV); Isaiah 34:7 (KJV)See all footnotes
  2. Layard wrote, “I was at one time inclined to think that the bull of the sculptures might represent the unicorn or raim so often alluded to in the Scriptures, as an animal renowned for its strength and ferocity, and typical of power and might. But the unicorn of the Scriptures is now, I believe, generally identified with a large and fierce antelope, or oryx, inhabiting Arabia and Egypt.” Layard, Austen Henry. 1850. Nineveh and Its Remains, Volume Two (reprint ed. 2001), p. 429. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias Press.See all footnotes
  3. Latham, Ronald, translator. 1958. Marco Polo: The Travels, p. 253. New York: Penguin.See all footnotes
  4. Some writers who hold to the two-horned identity think that the KJV translators substituted the plural unicorns for the singular an unicorn in Deuteronomy 33:17 because they were uncomfortable with the idea of a two-horned unicorn. However, the KJV translators themselves noted the literal translation an unicorn in their own margin note. They likely chose the plural rendering to fit the context of the verse. Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV) states, “His [Joseph’s] glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” The verse compares the tribal descendants of Joseph’s “horns,” meaning descendants of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, with the strong horns of unicorns. A possible interpretation is that horns is plural because there are two sons in view, and unicorn is referenced because the unicorn’s horn is so incredibly strong. As Rabbi David Kimchi noted in the 13th century, several horns belonging to several unicorns are in view here because the Hebrew word refers to a one-horned animal. Another possible interpretation is that the two-horned rhinoceros was in view here. This two-horned animal has one larger horn and one smaller horn, just like the number of descendants of Ephraim was larger than the number of Manasseh’s descendants.
    Incidentally, the translation of a singular noun as a plural is actually a common practice in all translation work when the context and linguistics so warrant, not only in secular translation but in the King James Version we have in view here. The idea that the King James translators were trying to do something sneaky with the language is wrong; they were simply using the context to make sure the meaning was clear and correct, and they even made note of what they were doing in their own margin notes.
The information in this post was kindly provided by the good folks at Answers In Genesis. Use this link to see their page on this subject and many more.

           https://answersingenesis.org/extinct-animals/will-the-real-unicorn-please-stand-up/?utm_source=facebook-aig&utm_medium=social&utm_content=willtherealunicornpleasestandup-6772&utm_campaign=20141226

Friday, December 26, 2014

JOHN R. RICE QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Psalm 119:63 says, "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." Let us analyze that. Let us say that I am a companion of all those who are saved and those who go by the Bible. God and the Bible. Let's put it a little further- Christ and the Bible. "I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts."
That verse is very sweet to me ...because on the authority of that verse I decided not to be just a Baptist evangelist, though I am a Baptist, but to be an evangelist to all God's people. I determined I would say what John Wesley said, "The world is my parish," and that I would be for the man who is for Christ and the Bible. So I work with all people of God who are born-again and live like it and believe the Bible and who are willing to work with other Christians.
"I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts." - John R. Rice
 
I am told that not long ago a man on the streetcar rose and offered his seat to a woman, and she was so surprised she fainted! When she recovered consciousness she said, "Thank you!" and then he fainted! I say, the honor, the deference, the courtesy, the protectiveness that practically all men, good and bad, once offered to good women, has almost disappeared. - John R. Rice
 
I do not think it is always God's will to heal the sick. Sometimes a Christian ought to die and go to Heaven. I know sins sometime bring trouble on us and we need to wait on God till we get things right, in order to be healed. And sometimes God wants people to be willing to suffer, to be poor, to be weak, to have sorrow for Jesus instead of having perfect healing now. But one of these days when th...e trumpet sounds and the rapture comes, then, thank God, all our sores will be healed! The limps will be gone! Our gray hair, decayed teeth will be no more. And the inside wickedness and shame and heartbreak that comes from our failures will be perfectly healed one day. But we can have daily healing now in many, many things. So Christians ought to pray.
James 5:13-15 says, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray....Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick." If God gives the faith, God will give the healing. If it is not God's will to heal, God will not give the faith. - John R. Rice
 
So in Psalm 37:4 the Lord says, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Whatever your heart desires.
Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
Again John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done un...to you."
Oh, ask what you will. I know we should come to God with the heart attitude, "Lord, if this is wrong, You show me and I will change my prayer." I know we ought to come and say, "Lord, I am not trying to go against You, but I want this."
I have a little trade with God- I am going to tell Him whatever I want and I am going to tell him, "Lord, this is what I want, and I think it is all right, but if it is wrong, You fix my 'wanter,' and I will want the right thing." You see, I ought to ask for whatever I want from God. So should you. We are God's dear children and He is our dear Father. But we ought to come with a loving heart, willing to have whatever he gives. - John R. Rice
 
God promises everlasting life to the believer, and that everlasting life is a PRESENT POSSESSION of the believer. John 3:36 says: "He that believeth on the Son HATH EVERLASTING LIFE." In modern English it simply says: "He that believes [or trusts] on the Son HAS EVERLASTING LIFE." That is literally what the Bible says. I have trusted Him, so I HAVE IT. THANK GOD, I HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE! The Scripture does not say that the believer WILL HAVE everlasting life, but says the believer HAS IT NOW.
The same thing is repeated again and again in the Bible. - John R. Rice
 
And we may be sure that when the shepherds gazed into the baby face of Jesus they looked with awe. Doubtless they knelt and worshipped Him as did the wise men. For He is Immanuel, God with us, Christ the Lord. There is no real Christmas for anyone who does not admit that Jesus is God and who does not bow to Him as Lord.

I believe that the shepherds went away after perfect surrender of hearts to t...his message, this Christ, this Lord. They ignored their defenseless flocks in the field to tell the good news. I think their hearts had knelt to Jesus. I think their wills had surrendered to Him. I think they had taken Him into the throne room of their hearts to be Lord of their lives. And that is what I hope every reader will do this Christmastime. Let Jesus sit with you at the Christmas feast; yes, let Him be verily the head of the house. Let Jesus preside at the Christmas tree and make sure every gift and every carol and all the fellowship is subject to His approval and controlled by His will. I wish my knees could bow in that lowly stable before the manger today! I long to give myself anew to the Lord Christ who came that happy night. Let us not only trust Jesus as Saviour but let us surrender to Him and exalt Him as Lord and Master, as Christ and God. Have thy blessed way with our hearts, O Christ Jesus, this Christmastime and forever! - John R. Rice
 
Many Christians think this blessed teaching is too good to be true and some call it a dangerous doctrine to say a saved man cannot be lost. But one is never on dangerous ground when he takes the promises of God.
What, then, is the basis for this great salvation? It is all in the merits of Christ. - John R. Rice

Thursday, December 25, 2014

GOD HAS BLESSED US - EVERY ONE!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; ° (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being g...reat with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:1-19

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WHY IS THERE A CHRISTMAS?

GALATIANS 4:1-7

 

Pastor Rick Jackson

 

There is a Christmas because:

 

1. There is Sin [v. 1-3]

 

2. The Time was Right [v. 4a]

 

3. The God of the Bible is Real [v. 4b]

 

4. God Sent Jesus to be the Redeemer [v. 4c, Romans 8:3]

 

5. Salvation needed to be Provided [v. 5]

 

6. The Holy Spirit is Real [v. 6]

 

7. Man’s Relationship with God needed to be Restored [v. 6-7]

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Interpreting the Bible


Interpreting the Bible
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Click here to see  the web version of this Days of Praise
 
  December 2014
Interpreting the Bible
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:20-21)
 
One basic reason why so many people seem to have trouble understanding the Bible is that they try to "interpret" it to fit their private opinions. The Greek word for "private" (idios) is related to such English words as "idiom" and "idiosyncrasy," and this key passage warns us against any exposition of Scripture which is based on the teacher's pet doctrinal or behavioral prejudices. A reader or hearer of the Word of God whose "heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing" will be unable to "understand" (Matthew 13:15) because he comes with his mind and heart already bound to his own opinions.
 
The Bible does not need to be "interpreted" at all. In every other New Testament reference to "interpretation," except the one in our text (which means "explanation" or "exposition"), the meaning is simply "translation." The Bible does, of course, need to be correctly translated from Greek and Hebrew into English and other national languages, but that is all. God is able to say what He means, and He wants to communicate His authoritative Word to men and women of obedient hearts, who are willing to devote diligent study to all the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:12-14), to obey them (James 1:22), and then teach them to others (2 Timothy 2:2, 24-26) carefully, and clearly, and graciously.
 
To such students of the Word, the promise is: "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:3-5). HMM
 

 
Institute for  Creation Research - 1806 Royal Lane, Dallas TX 75229
This post was provided by the highly recommended ICR.



Monday, December 22, 2014

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK


JEREMIAH 32

 
Pastor Rick Jackson

 

I. THE WRONG QUESTION [v. 1-5]

 

1. The King [v. 1]

 

2. The King’s Response [v. 2-3a]

 

3. The King’s Question [v. 3b-5]

 

II. THE PROPHET’S CONSIDERATION [v. 6-25]

 

1. The Answer is Obedience to God [v. 6-15]

 

2. The Accounting is the Worthiness of God [v. 16-23]

 

3. The Action is Asking God [v. 24-25]

 

III. THE ANSWER IS GOD HIMSELF [v. 26-44]

 

1. God’s Omnipotence [v. 26-29]

 

2. God’s Holiness [v. 30-36]

 

3. God’s Grace [v. 37-44]

Sunday, December 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS QUESTIONS GRINCHES ASK


                                          ROMANS 14:1-12                             Pastor Rick Jackson

 

I. WASN’T JESUS REALLY BORN SOME OTHER TIME OF YEAR?

There are several  reasons people say this. They try to say Christians borrowed the date from pagan observances but are they right? They try to say it’s too cold in December for shepherds to have sheep in the fields but are they right? They have heard someone say it’s wrong to celebrate Christmas but are they right?

-Bible fact # 1 In I Chr. 24:1-19 David organized the priests for the Temple. There were 24 orders for the 12 months, two orders per month (v. 18-19). Note in the fourth month, the latter part of the month is the order of Abijah (v. 10).

-Bible fact # 2 In Ex. 12:2, 13:4 God says the month Nisan is the first month of the Jewish calendar. Nisan falls in our Mar. /Apr. which puts the order of Abijah in our July.

-Bible Fact # 3 Zechariah was serving in July. (Lk. 1:5-7) Not yet 50 but advanced in years (people age differently, in US pioneer days the average lifespan was 35). Luke 1:8-23. He went home in August and John the Baptist was conceived in August or September (1:24). Her first month would be Sept. or Oct. Her 6th month would be Feb.-March. (1:26-36 Mary conceived in Elisabeth’s 6th month so her first month would be March-April. Count it out. April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., December.

-now about that weather- Dr. Mark Cambron, respected Bible scholar had heard the claim that it is too cold for the sheep in December. We must remember Israel is not North Dakota or even Ohio. Dr. Cambron was at the shepherds’ field in Bethlehem one Christmas eve and noticed there were shepherds present. He asked them, “Why are sheep here and not in folds. Isn’t it too cold?” They replied, “This is when the grass grows best, so we graze here!” Then he noticed the grass was indeed thick and over knee high. Hearsay destroyed by eyewitnesses! Late December is when the shepherds are out in their fields to watch their sheep by night. The night the angels came. Luke 2:8-15. The night, Christ was born. I for one am not going to let the Devil steal my Christmas. What should we do?

 

1. Worship in Spirit and truth [Jn. 4:24]

 

2. Be fully persuaded in your own mind. [Rm. 14:5-6]

 

3. Whatever ye do, do it unto the Lord [Col. 3:17-25]

 

II. AREN’T CHRISTMAS TREES FORBIDDEN IN JEREMIAH 10:1-4?

 

1. Jeremiah is not talking about Christmas trees [Jer. 10:5-15] He is referring to wooden idols, carved by men, overlaid with gold, etc.

 

2. Christmas trees are actually Christian In Origin Not Pagan

 

John R. Rice recounts the origin of the Christmas tree. - In the 8th century a missionary named Boniface went to Germany to preach Christ. The Germanic tribes worshipped the oak tree as a symbol of deity. Boniface told them it was a poor symbol for God since it sheds its leaves and appears dead in winter. He told them the tree that should remind them of God was the evergreen. Always green and thriving.

Christmas trees became popular in England primarily through the influence of the German-born, Prince Albert, husband of England’s Queen Victoria. In America the trees were introduced by German immigrants in Pennsylvania.

 

3. The tree reminds me of Calvary [Gal. 6:14, I Pt. 2:24]

 

The light on top reminds me of Jesus. [Jn. 8:12, 9:5, I Jn. 1:5] The other lights remind me of Jesus’ word [Mt. 5:14]

 

III. HASN’T CHRISTMAS BECOME TOO COMMERCIALIZED?

 

It can be but need not be. If celebrated rightly Christmas is a good thing.

 

1. By Emphasizing Christ’s Birth [Is. 7:14, Micah 5:2, Mt. 1-2, Lk. 1-2]

Angels, Shepherds, prophets, just men & women, a special star, God Himself emphasizes it!

 

2. By Singing Christ Honoring Carols [Ps 47:6 Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.]

Psalm 7:17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

Psalm 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Psalm 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Psalm 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

 

3. By Special Meals, Gifts, and Days set Aside to Honor Him [Esther 9:15-32, Rm. 14:5-6]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Did Jesus Commit Blasphemy?


Days of Praise
Jesus and the Charge of Blasphemy
 
"Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death." (Mark 14:64)
 
There are today many liberal theologians who profess to be Christians, but who argue that Jesus was merely a great man, and that He never claimed deity for Himself. But the Sanhedrin and its high priest had no such doubts, for they had heard it from His own lips.
 
When the high priest asked him directly: "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus (who had been silent up to that point in His own defense) answered him plainly. "I am," He said: "and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:62).
 
The council immediately voted to condemn Him to death, since blasphemy was considered a capital crime. Two members of the body, Joseph and Nicodemus, had evidently already left, probably because of dismay at what the council was doing (note Luke 23:51; John 7:50-51), but the rest of that august body all agreed.
 
There is no question that Jesus had already claimed in various indirect ways to be uniquely the Son of God, but this assertion, made in front of all the elders and scribes, was unequivocal and completely clear, giving them the excuse they needed.
 
They did not believe His claim, of course, but they certainly knew He had made it, and that it constituted blatant blasphemy--a mere man claiming to be the omnipotent, eternal God. So they condemned Him to die.
 
But it was only blasphemy if it was untrue. He would demonstrate just three days later, once and for all, that His claim was absolute truth. Only the Creator of life could triumph over death, and He has been "declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). His tomb is empty and He has ascended back to the throne of God, "alive for evermore" (Revelation 1:18). HMM
               The information in this post was provided by the good folks at ICR. Highly recommended!
 

 
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Obey to Understand


Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals  

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

 

Obey to Understand


 
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Have you ever wondered who the first person was to doubt the virgin birth? I don't know the first person to doubt the virgin birth, but the first person to question it was the virgin Mary. The Bible says that when God sent the angel to tell Mary of God's plan, Mary asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" Now Mary was not asking for an argument, she was asking for an answer. She had an honest, logical question. God's answer is found in verse 37. He says, "For with God nothing shall be impossible."

 

Mary understood that God was sending a sinless Son to save a sinful people. How did Mary understand what so many people miss? Here's a very important truth that we can learn from Mary: when you have a heart to obey, you'll have a mind to understand.

 

Knowledge is more than intellect and education. Mary was young. She was not a theologian or a doctor of the law. As a class, those people had rejected Christ, and they did not know nearly as much about God's plan as Mary did. She didn't know God's plan because she was brilliant. She knew this because she was submissive.

 

Faith is more than a feeling. How did Mary feel? The Bible says that she was troubled. We also know that she was fearful because the angel's first words were "Fear not." She was puzzled. She had an honest question. "How can this be?" But when she heard God's answer, it was sufficient for her. Knowledge is more than intellect; faith is more than feeling, and obedience is the key to the fullness of God's favor. Mary said, "Here I am, be it unto me."

 

If you have questions today, please know that you can submit the questions of an honest, seeking heart to God Almighty. He is neither intimidated nor troubled by your questions. When you have a heart to obey, you'll have a mind to understand.  

 

Prayer Requests:
-Missions trip to Tanzania, Africa, Dec. 1-20


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