VIDEO Christmas Knight?

From the beginning were eyewitnesses…an orderly account… the certainty of those things. Luke 1:2-4

The Gospel of Luke begins with a powerful preface in which Luke states his purpose—he aimed to “set in order a narrative” of the historical events related to the Gospel. He interviewed the “eyewitnesses” and gained a factual history, writing an “orderly account” so that we would know “the certainty of those things” we believe (Luke 1:1-4). Scholars rate Luke among history’s greatest historians.

Jesus Christ isn’t like King Arthur. Most modern historians doubt Arthur ever existed in the late fifth to early sixth centuries in England. The story is made up of folktales with little historical certainty. Arthur appears as a great warrior defending England from human and supernatural enemies, along with his Knights of the Round Table. But is any of it true? Probably not. Probably fiction.

On the other hand, almost no reputable historian denies the existence and impact of Jesus of Nazareth, and the details of His life were recorded four times in the Gospel, down to the events of His remarkable birth in Bethlehem. We have a Book we can trust and a story we can believe!

Jesus isn’t a knight in shining armor. He’s the risen King of the Ages.

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Luke 1:1-4 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

God’s Guidance

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers. Psalm 1:1

When their bank accidentally deposited $120,000 into their account, a couple went on a shopping spree. They purchased an SUV, a camper, and two four-wheelers in addition to paying off bills. Discovering the deposit error, the bank told the couple to return the money. Unfortunately, the husband and wife had already spent it. They were then charged with felony theft. When the couple arrived at the local court, the husband said to a reporter, “We took some bad legal advice.” The two learned that following bad advice (and spending what wasn’t theirs) could lead to making a mess of their lives.

In contrast, the psalmist shared wise advice that can help us avoid messing up in life. He wrote that those who find genuine fulfillment—who are “blessed”—refuse to be influenced by the advice of those who don’t serve God (Psalm 1:1). They know that unwise, ungodly counsel can lead to unseen dangers and costly consequences. Also, they’re motivated by (find “delight” in) and preoccupied with (“meditate on”) the timeless and unshakable truths of Scripture (v. 2). They’ve found that submitting to God’s guidance leads to stability and fruitfulness (v. 3).  

When we’re making decisions, big or small, about our careers, money, relationships, and more, may we seek God’s wisdom found in the Bible, godly counsel, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. His guidance is essential and trustworthy for living a fulfilling life and not creating messes.  

By:  Marvin Williams

Reflect & Pray

Why do you believe Scripture is essential in making godly decisions? Who are your counselors that help you with wise advice? 

God, before I seek Your advice about things I don’t know, help me to practice obedience in the areas I do know, and in loving You and others. 

Working in God’s Kingdom

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Though we may gather at church every week, Christians shouldn’t remain within its four walls. God has chosen to work through His body of believers to accomplish His gospel mission on earth. To borrow a biblical metaphor, we are the workers sent out to cultivate and harvest His fields (Matt. 9:36-38). No one is a bystander in God’s kingdom.

The Lord has given every single believer a spiritual gift to aid in the work of His kingdom. These aren’t natural abilities but instead are the Holy Spirit’s power manifested through us—a special enablement that helps us serve according to His plan.

Paul reminds us that we are the Lord’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). We should always remember that God’s power works through our gifts so there is no reason to shy away from the opportunities He opens up for us, even if they seem daunting.

Don’t spend your life just sitting in a pew! Experience the joy of participating in God’s kingdom work. The Holy Spirit will empower you to obey the Lord in whatever He calls you to do.

Loving His Word

“O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

This emotional stanza in Psalm 119 bursts with passion for the Word of God. “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103).

Previously, David’s 19th Psalm opened with praise for the “speech” and “knowledge” available in “the heavens” (Psalm 19:1-6) and gave his most open praise for the “perfect” laws (Psalm 19:7) of God that are “more to be desired…than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).

The focus of this particular stanza (Psalm 119:97-104) is on the practical effect that knowledge of the Word of God has had on the psalmist’s ability to give a powerful witness.

  • “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me” (v. 98).
  • “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation” (v. 99).
  • “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (v. 100).

The excitement that comes with the “love” and the “sweet” taste of God’s Word in a believer’s life produces an assurance that results in a readiness to “give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Indeed, since it is clear that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Corinthians 10:4), we should be all the more committed (as is the psalmist) to refrain “from every evil way” (Psalm 119:101), being sure that we do not depart from the “judgments” (v. 102), and that our understanding of the precepts ensures that we “hate every false way” (v. 104). HMM III

It Does Work!

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. —2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Ten thousand enemies cannot stop a Christian, cannot even slow him down, if he meets them in an attitude of complete trust in God. They will become to him like the atmosphere that resists the airplane, but which because the plane’s designer knew how to take advantage of that resistance, actually lifts the plane aloft and holds it there for a journey of 2,000 miles. What would have been an enemy to the plane becomes a helpful servant to aid it on its way….

If this should seem like a bit of theorizing, remember that always the greatest Christians have come out of hard times and tough situations. Tribulations actually worked for their spiritual perfection in that they taught them to trust not in themselves but in the Lord who raised the dead. They learned that the enemy could not block their progress unless they surrendered to the urgings of the flesh and began to complain. And slowly, they learned to stop complaining and start praising. It is that simple—and it works!   WTA032-033

Lord, I pray for Your grace to work within me that I might allow the trials to lift me aloft rather than press me down. Amen.

Then the Spirit Came

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit…before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. —Joel 2:28, 31

There is a great modern error which I want to mention: it is that the coming of the Spirit happened once for all, that the individual Christian is not affected by it….This error asserts that the coming of the Holy Spirit is an historic thing, an advance in the dispensational workings of God; but that it is all settled now and we need give no further thought to it. It is all here and we have it all, and if we believe in Christ that is it, and there isn’t anything more….

Listen, brother. Our Lord Jesus Christ advertised that He was going away to the Father and He was going to send back for His people a wonderful gift….

Then the Spirit came. Was He equal to the advertising? Did they say, “Is this all He meant! Oh, it is disappointing!” No. The Scripture says they wondered. The word “wonder” is in their mouths and hearts. He gave so much more than He promised, because words were the promise and the Holy Ghost was the fulfillment. HTB032, 035-036

The Holy Spirit is always within reach, if we are in condition to receive and absorb Him. HS504

O Boundless Salvation

Hebrews 7:25

O Boundless salvation! Deep ocean of love,

O fullness of mercy, Christ brought from above,

The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,

Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!

My sins they are many, their stains are so deep,

And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;

But useless is weeping; Thou great crimson sea,

Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!

My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,

They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;

Beneath Thy blest billows deliverance I see,

O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!

Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,

My life has been joyless and useless for years;

I feel something better most surely would be

If once Thy pure waters would roll over me.

O ocean of mercy, oft longing I stood

On the brink of Thy wonderful, life-giving flood!

Once more I have reached this soul-cleansing sea,

I will not go back till it rolls over me.

The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,

I hear the loud call of the Mighty to save;

My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;

I plunge ‘neath the waters, they roll over me.

And now, hallelujah! The rest of my days

Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise

Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea

Of boundless salvation for you and for me.

William Booth, The Salvation Army Song Book