VIDEO Early Traditions – The Human King

Early Traditions

When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt. Matthew 2:14

Many of our Christmas traditions are very old. We typically date nativity scenes from the time of Francis of Assisi; Christmas trees from the time of Martin Luther; and greeting cards from Victorian England. But a few traditions are as old as the Nativity itself. For example, the singing of Christmas carols was started by the angels, and the custom of gift-giving was begun by the Wise Men. Their gifts had spiritual significance—the gold pointed to Christ’s role as King; the frankincense to His role as Priest; and the myrrh pointed to His role as Savior and to His redeeming death. But these gifts were also practical, for they conveyed financial value. Some scholars believe it was God’s way of providing Joseph and Mary the funds needed to flee to Egypt and raise their baby in a foreign but safe environment.

How wonderful when our gifts can be both meaningful and practical!

But wait! There’s a mistake in today’s devotion—did you spot it? Christmas gift-giving didn’t start with the Wise Men, did it? No, its origin is even older.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son….


Matthew 2:1-12, The Human King

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New Christmas Trend Shows How Far America Has Fallen

When I was in school Christmas was a holiday that celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Even in the public schools, we sang Christian carols and discussed what the birth of Jesus meant for all of mankind. Our teachers taught us that Jesus was God the Son, a real person who was born of Mary, a virgin, for the purpose to live a perfect life and then make Himself a sacrifice for the sins of all who believed in Him, past, present and future. We were taught that without Jesus birth and death and on the cross, we would have no way to get to heaven when we died.

Then, thanks to a handful of atheists, the US Supreme Court ruled that any mention of God, Jesus and Bible in public schools was a violation of the so-called separation of church and state, something we know is not real. Prayer was also banned from public schools. The bans not only effected public schools, but any government building and organization.

Yet, they allowed their own court along with Congress to have their opening prayers. Congress was allowed to retain a congressional chaplain.

Banning everything biblical and Christian from the public schools started a domino effect that is still going today.

It doesn’t take that much research to track crime rates in America over the past century. Yes, there has always been crimes and they did steadily increase year after year, but after the banning of prayer, the Bible, God and Jesus from public schools and government buildings, the crime rates in America began to climb at a higher rate than before.

Within a generation, violent and personal crimes had skyrocketed compared to the few years before the bans. In fact, you can track a number of declines in the American culture back to the Supreme Court bans.

School kids should no longer sing many of the same Christmas carols, but were only allowed to celebrate a holiday season, but not what the holiday season was supposed to represent. Everything was required to be secular and meaningless.

Stores went wild with advertising the secular greed of Christmas. Many stores start setting up their Christmas displays in September. Promoting the greed of Christmas overshadowed the truly American celebration of Thanksgiving, a holiday that was transformed from thanking God to a celebration of gluttony and self.

Over the past decade, many nativity displays became the subjects of attacks. Secularist demanded equal rights and over the past few years, they have begun to set up atheistic nativity displays that center not on the baby Jesus, but on ghouls, goblins and bloody grotesque beings.

If that hideous and blasphemous nativity displays were not bad and repulsive enough, a new trend is catching on that further displays just how far America, as a nation, has turned from God as shown by this report from our local news:

“You better watch out! You better not cry! You better not pout and there’s a scary reason why! ‘Krampus’ is coming to town.”

“Krampus, Santa Claus’s counterpart, is responsible for punishing all the ‘naughty’ children during the Christmas season, and he will be at a local haunted house attraction for a special event.

The Dent Schoolhouse, which has won awards and has been critically acclaimed as ‘one of the best haunted houses in America’, will be hosting ‘A Christmas Nightmare’ on this Friday and Saturday (December 7th and 8th).”

“‘The Dent Schoolhouse is celebrating Christmas and you are invited to take part in this special 2 day haunted Christmas event! The classrooms and halls are decked out with lights and garland while Christmas trees and presents pepper the old fall festival area. New Christmas creatures inhabit the schoolhouse waiting for Santa’s judgment are you naughty or nice this year?’ says the Dent Schoolhouse on their website.”

“The event is meant for frights and scares, with a festive tinge. It features live actors dressed as everyone from classic Dent Schoolhouse creatures to Krampus to even the Grinch!”

When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was more than just punishing them for their open homosexuality, but for the total depravity of the people of those cities. They focused on satisfying their own personal carnal lusts and desires, which most likely went beyond their sexual perversions.

Friends, this describes what America is becoming today and Christmas displays like that at the Dent Schoolhouse are the visible displays of a deadly disease that is destroying our nation.

Someone asked if there is any hope for America and I responded that with God, there is always hope, but it calls for a national change on the part of the people, a change like that described in 2 Chronicles 7:14 –

“…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

by David Jolly

https://barbwire.com/new-christmas-trend-shows-how-far-america-has-fallen/

The Abiding Life

John 15:1-6

Who doesn’t love a beautiful bouquet of flowers? They are a delight to the eyes and fill the room with fragrance. But truthfully, they’re dead because they’ve been disconnected from the plant. Although they may look alive for a while, in time they wither away.

This was the point Jesus was making when He used a grapevine and its branches as an illustration of a believer’s life in Christ. Once we’re saved, we become branches of Christ—then fruit is produced as His life flows through us, in fulfillment of what Jesus prayed for us in John 17:21.

This abiding relationship is what the Bible elsewhere describes as the Spirit-filled life (Eph. 5:18). The word “abiding” emphasizes our position as branches remaining in the vine of Christ. And the apostle Paul underscores the Holy Spirit’s role and authority in our life: As we live in submission and obedience to God’s Spirit, He produces His fruit in us (Gal. 5:22-23).

The problem arises when we try to live apart from the vine and direct our own life. The end result is often frustrating or disappointing since we have relied on human ideas and energy instead of being Spirit-led. There is no way to live a spiritually fruitful life without obedience to the Holy Spirit.

Our heavenly Father has graciously given us this abiding relationship, but sometimes we act as if we’re the vine and Christ exists to do our bidding. In which areas of your life are you reluctant to relinquish control? We were designed to be the branches, and the only way we’ll be fruitful is by submissively abiding in the source of our life.

Seed, Water, and the Word

“So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:7) 

This verse is a salutary corrective to the common somewhat boastful claim of the evangelist or the personal “soul winner”—that “I won John to Christ,” or “I led Mary to the Lord.” On the other side of the coin is the similar man-pleasing testimony that “I was won to Christ by Pastor Brown’s sermons.” While it is commanded and is urgently important that each Christian be a faithful and earnest witness for Christ, it is needful to give God alone the credit for one’s salvation, since it is only He “that giveth the increase.” We can be grateful whenever God uses something we have preached or written or said to bring someone to Himself, but He is by no means limited to such human efforts, and it is the sin of pride to take credit for what only the Holy Spirit can accomplish.

The Christian’s ministry is necessarily limited to “planting” and “watering,” but these constitute a tremendous responsibility and a privilege of eternal value. And even these are productive only if centered around the Holy Scriptures, because both the seed which is planted and the water which enables it to grow are said to be the word of God. Even the great evangelist, the apostle Paul, must say: “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Nevertheless, we do have many gracious promises that, if we are faithful in planting and watering, God will give the increase, and we can share His joy. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6). “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). HMM

Beloved, now are we the sons of God

1 John 3

1 John 3:6

We understand by this not that believers are perfectly free from sinning, but that they do not sin habitually, wilfully, and openly as the unregenerate do. Their lives are holy, and when faults occur they grieve over them. The river of their lives runs towards righteousness, and though there are eddies in it these do not affect the main current.

1 John 3:7-9

He cannot sin with his whole heart, or continuously, or finally, or as the main act of his life. Sin is not his element, or his delight.

1 John 3:10, 11

The beloved John seems to breathe out only love. Like the harp of Anacreon his heart resoundeth “love alone.”

1 John 3:12, 13

That hatred has existed from the beginning. The very first man who died was martyred for the faith.

1 John 3:14-18

He whose whole religion lies in words is a hypocrite worthy of the scorn of all mankind. Above all things let us be real in all that we do.

 

Behold, what wondrous grace

The Father hath bestow’d

On sinners of a mortal race,

To call them sons of God!

 

Nor doth it yet appear

How great we must be made;

But when we see our Saviour here,

We shall be like our Head.

 

If in my Father’s love

I share a filial part,

Send down thy Spirit, like a dove,

To rest upon my heart.

 

Much More Than Just a Name

Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19)

There have always been professing Christians who argue and insist: “I am all right—I worship in the name of Jesus.” They seem to believe that worship of God is based on a formula. They seem to think there is a kind of magic in saying the name of Jesus!

Study the Bible carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and you will find that the name and the nature of Jesus are one. It is not enough to know how to spell Jesus’ name!

If we have come to be like Him in nature, if we have come to the place of being able to ask in accordance with His will, He will give us the good things we desire and need.

We worship God as the result of a new birth from above in which God has been pleased to give us more than a name.

He has given us a nature transformed, and Peter expresses that truth in this way:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

 

A Quiet Heart

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isa. 30:15

It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting. What can we do if we wear ourselves to skin and bone? Can we gain anything by fearing and fuming? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Why run from house to house to repeat the weary story which makes us more and more heart-sick as we tell it? Why even stay at home to cry out in agony because of wretched forebodings which may never be fulfilled? It would be well to keep a quiet tongue, but it would be far better if we had a quiet heart. Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God!

Oh, for grace to be confident in God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. He cannot run back from His solemn declarations. We may make sure that every word of His will stand though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in; and if we would display confidence and consequent quietness, we might be as happy as the spirits before the throne.

Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.