VIDEO Who Is Jesus? – The Story of Christmas

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

The uniqueness of Christianity is based on the remarkable person of Christ and His dual nature—He is both the Son of God and Son of Man. He was, is, and always will be God. He is absolutely God. He is God in His essence, His nature, and His eternal person. He is fully God, and He is God in every way. But when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary, God entered into the human family. At His birth in Bethlehem, He was named Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

The sacrifice that was made for us in becoming a man is beyond our comprehension. To lay aside the wonders of glory to enter this world filled with sin and discord to redeem unworthy humanity from our sins—that kind of love is hard for us to fully grasp. This Jesus who became one of us so that He could understand our weaknesses and sorrows will forever be the God-Man.

We can never understand the inexpressible change that occurred through the virgin birth of Jesus, but we know this. If Christ would do that for us, He must love us very much. Because He is with us, we can boldly pray and ask for direction for every aspect of our lives.


The Story of Christmas Parts 1 and 2 – Dr Chuck Missler

A String of Yeses

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

One Christmas, my grandmother gave me a beautiful pearl necklace. The beautiful beads glowed about my neck until one day the string broke. Balls bounced in all directions off our home’s hardwood flooring. Crawling over the planks, I recovered each tiny orb. On their own, they were small. But oh, when strung together, those pearls made such an impression!

Sometimes my yeses to God seem so insignificant—like those individual pearls. I compare myself to Mary, the mother of Jesus who was so fantastically obedient. She said yes when she embraced God’s call for her to carry the Messiah. “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (Luke 1:38). Did she understand all that would be required of her? That an even bigger yes to relinquishing her Son on the cross loomed ahead?

After the visits of the angels and shepherds, Luke 2:19 tells us that Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Treasure means to “store up.” Ponder means to “thread together.” The phrase is repeated of Mary in Luke 2:51. She would respond with many yeses over her lifetime.

As with Mary, the key to our obedience might be a threading together of various yeses to our Father’s invitations, one at a time, until they string into the treasure of a surrendered life.

By: Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What yeses do you need to say to God? How can you learn to be more obedient?

Dear God, help us to respond, one yes at a time, to Your ongoing work in our lives.

Christmas Giving

Matthew 2:1-12

Why do we give gifts at Christmas? When we were children, presents were the highlight of the season, and for some of us, the joy of giving and receiving gifts has not waned. Some people wonder what all this has to do with the celebration of Christ’s birth. But there is a connection—although nothing came wrapped in paper, the occasion was marked by extravagant generosity.

God gave His only begotten Son. This was greatest gift ever given, because His precious Son was the only one who could die as a sacrifice for our sins.

Mary gave her body and reputation. When the angel told her she would bear the Son of God, Mary responded, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Although this was a glorious privilege, it also included the loss of her reputation. Her engagement to Joseph was as binding as marriage, and to be found pregnant before the actual ceremony would have been scandalous in the people’s eyes.

The shepherds gave a testimony. After hearing the birth announcement from the angel and seeing the newborn Messiah, they couldn’t keep the news to themselves. They told everyone what they had heard and seen (Luke 2:17-20).

The magi gave gifts and worship. Having traveled a long distance to find this new King of the Jews, they fell to the ground in worship and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11).

Although materialism and commercialism have hijacked the tradition of gift giving to some degree, we must also remember the true generosity that is at the heart of Christmas.

Praise from Creation

“Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.” (Psalm 69:34)

We may not yet understand the full purpose of God in creation, but at least one aspect of that purpose is that all things created should somehow praise their Creator. This theme occurs often in Scripture, especially in the psalms. For example, in addition to the exhortation in our text:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1).

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for he cometh” (Psalm 96:11-13).

“All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee” (Psalm 145:10).

“Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. . . . Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl” (Psalm 148:3-4, 7-10).

The Lord Jesus said that if men should refuse to praise Him and “should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Yet even though the whole creation—in its beauty, complexity, and providential orderliness—gives continual praise to its Creator, men perversely have “worshipped and served the creature [or more aptly stated, the creation] more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Romans 1:25).

How poignant, therefore, is the final verse of the book of Psalms: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). HMM

Happiness Is Not the end Goal

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

—Ephesians 5:15-16

That we are born to be happy is scarcely questioned by anyone. No one bothers to prove that fallen men have any moral right to happiness, or that they are in the long run any better off happy. The only question before the house is how to get the most happiness out of life. Almost all popular books and plays assume that personal happiness is the legitimate end of the dramatic human struggle.

Now I submit that the whole hectic scramble after happiness is an evil as certainly as is the scramble after money or fame or success….

This… will be discovered easily by the simple act of reading the New Testament through once with meditation. There the emphasis is not upon happiness but upon holiness. God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings. Undoubtedly the will of God brings final happiness to those who obey, but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy. The soldier does not seek to be happy in the field; he seeks rather to get the fighting over with, to win the war and get back home to his loved ones.   OGM048-049

Oh, Lord, redirect my focus. Help me today to be a “good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Amen.

 

Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord

Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.—2 Chronicles 29:9.

 

In little things of common life,

There lies the Christian’s noblest strife,

When he does conscience make

Of every thought and throb within,

And words and looks of self and sin

Crushes for Jesus’ sake.

J. B. S. Monsell.

 

Wheresoever we be, whatsoever we are doing, in all our work, in our busy daily life, in all schemes and undertakings, in public trusts, and in private retreats, He is with us, and all we do is spread before Him. Do it, then, as to the Lord. Let the thought of His eye unseen be the motive of your acts and words. Do nothing you would not have Him see. Say nothing which you would not have said before His visible presence. This is to do all in His name.

Henry Edward Manning.

 

If one sign surer than any other be chosen to mark the progress of the Divine life, it is when sanctity prevails even in the minutest points of character, and in ordinary ways. The look, the faintest expression, the casual act, may tell more of the secret power of Jesus in the soul, than world-famed acts of self-devotion.

T. T. Carter.

 

Most Precious Things

“And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath.” Deut. 33:13

We may be rich in such things as Joseph obtained, and we may have them in a higher sense. Oh, for “the precious things of heaven”! Power with God, and the manifestation of power from God, are most precious. We would enjoy the peace of God, the joy of the Lord, the glory of our God. The benediction of the three divine Persons in love, and grace, and fellowship we prize beyond the most fine gold. The things of earth are as nothing in preciousness compared with the things of Heaven.

“The dew.” How precious is this! How we pray and praise, when we have the dew! What refreshing, what growth, what perfume, what life there is in us when the dew is about! Above all things else, as plants of the Lord’s own right hand planting, we need the dew of His Holy Spirit.

“The deep that coucheth beneath.” Surely this refers to that unseen ocean underground which supplies all the fresh springs which make glad the earth. Oh to tap the eternal fountains! This is an unspeakable boon; let no believer rest till he possesses it. The all-sufficiency of Jehovah is ours for ever. Let us resort to it now.