Archive for December, 2015

Caesar Augustus

December 21, 2015

All those even vaguely familiar with Luke’s Christmas story have heard of Caesar Augustus and his famous decree. It was this decree that sent Mary in the ninth month of her pregnancy 80 miles south to Bethlehem, along with husband Joseph.Caesar Augustus reigned as emperor of the Roman empire from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. 41 years in all. His decree had two purposes, for an accurate census and to determine taxation.

Caesar Augustus’s reign was marked by peace and security.

Augustus was very interested in the number of citizens in his empire; he was especially interested in whether that number was growing.

Augustus was so concerned about the declining marriage and birth rate in his empire, that he passed legislation that made promiscuity a crime, which penalized bachelors in their right to inherit, and which bestowed political advantages on fathers of three or more children. Because of his demonstrated concern about marriage and birth rate in his empire, it is likely that one of the reasons that Augustus authorized the censuses was to see whether his legislation was working, or, at the very least, to see if the birth rates increased.

Each Citizen had to return to the place of their birth fulfilling God’s prophecy that The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

The Best Gift

December 20, 2015

  
Many people are hustling to finish shopping for gifts, running at a fast pace to get the right present, get them wrapped and ready to see the happiness on the face of the recipient.

In all the preparation one thing is not even thought about. The most important Person, the Lord Jesus.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but let us not leave out the reason for the season, Jesus. God gave us the most precious gift. We don’t have to shop for it or pay for it. All we have to do is accept it.

Jesus paid the price. If you have not received God’s Gift do it now. Ask Him to forgive your sins, believe He died for you and rose again, and call upon Him to save you. Your new life can begin today!
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Joseph, Husband of Mary

December 19, 2015

Joseph was a good man. Engaged to Mary and most likely looking forward to taking her for his wife, when an angle came to him and told him to not fear to take Mary as his wife as the Child she was carrying was conceived by the Holy Ghost.He was a brave and righteous man to believe God and take on that great responsibility. He was an obedient person, Joseph took care of Mary and Jesus and we know from scripture that he was still living when JESUS went to the temple at twelve years old.

That is the last mention Joseph in the Bible and he must have died before Jesus started His public ministry.
Matthew 1:24-25 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son:and he called his name Jesus.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

December 18, 2015

Mary, a young virgin, was engaged to Joseph. God chose her to be the mother of the Lord Jesus. When Gabriel came to her she was frightened at first, listened to his message and then was humble and honored. In those days being pregnant without marriage was a great disgrace but Mary was willing to obey.When the angel told her of Elisabeth’s pregnancy, Mary, went to stay with her. Elisabeth confirmed what the angel had told her because the baby leaped in her womb.

If you have not read and thought about the people in the unfolding Christmas story it would be good to read it again. We learn much about obedience and love of God as we realize that every person was human and had the same emotions, fears, joys and problems we do. Mary is a great example to us and she surely was blessed among women.

Luke 1:30-31 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary:for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

Elizabeth 

December 17, 2015

Elizabeth was well beyond child bearing age but God gave her a child in answer to many years of sadness and grief because she was barren. He used miracle baby to be the forerunner of Jesus.Elizabeth and her husband had dearly longed for a child. They had prayed for one and the culture of the day had demanded they needed one. Yet no child came.

The miracle eventually happened and a pregnant and rather embarrassed Elizabeth hid herself for 5 months.
Luke 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

Zacharias

December 16, 2015

Zacharias, husband of Elisabeth, was a righteous and blameless person was childless!Zacharias was also a priest. One day as he was serving in the temple the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that his wife would have a child.

Although Zacharias was moved by the awesome presence of the angel, he could not accept that his aged wife could still give birth. In order to stop him confessing his unbelief he was unable to speak and remained speechless until the day that the baby should be given a name.

The custom was to name the baby after his father but Zacharias asked for a tablet and wrote, his name is John as instructed by the angel. Then he was able to speak.
Luke 1:63-64 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.

Jesus Birth-Billy Graham

December 15, 2015

“An angel announced His conception and gave Him His name. The heavenly host sang a glorious anthem at His birth. By the extraordinary star, the very heavens indicated His coming.

In Himself He was the most illustrious child ever born-the holy child of Mary, the Devine Son of God.”    Billy Graham

Mathew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

December 14, 2015

“Hark the Herald Angels Sing” was written in the 1700’s by Charles Wesley. He and his brother John were dynamic preachers in that time and were responsible for revival in both England and America.They founded the Methodist Church.

Charles wrote hundreds of hymns, first published in the Methodist Hymnal.

He was saved under the preaching of George Whitfield, who also had a part in the lyrics of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” as he changed some of the words to the hymn as we know it today.

The influence of these great men of the faith are still being felt today. If only we would see men today of such dedication to the preaching of the Gospel.

Unfortunately a lot of the churches have started singing “new” Christmas songs and the old familiar hymns are being tossed aside, along with the power of the Holy Spirit. Programs have replaced power in many churches today. If you hear or sing this great hymn this Christmas stop for a minute or two and pray for revival. Our churches need revival, our homes need revival and our nation needs revival.
1. Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations, rise;

Join the triumph of the skies;

With th’angelic host proclaim

Christ is born in Bethlehem!

(Chorus)

Hark! the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King!

2. Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and life to all he brings,

Ris’n with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,

Born that man no more may die;

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth.
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sunday Morning Christian?

December 13, 2015

Are you a Sunday Morning Christian? Or worse yet a twice a year Christian, (Christmas and Easter) you only go to church on those times or maybe to a wedding or funeral. 

Today may be the day you will go. God doesn’t want your outward show. He wants all of you, everyday 24 hours a day. 

If you are truly born again then worship Him with your life and action 24/7. If you are not saved, go to church today and if the Pastor gives the gospel and an opportunity to invite Jesus into your heart and forgive your sins then do that today. Maybe you are not planning go to church today, you can be saved as you read this. Admit to God you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus died on the cross as payment for your sins, and Call on Him to save you. 

Pray this simple prayer but mean it with your heart: Lord Jesus, I admit I am a sinner. I believe you died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins. I ask that you forgive my sins, come into my heart and make my life new. I receive you as my Savior. Thank you Jesus. Amen

This can be the happiest Christmas you have ever had. Give Jesus the best gift you have, YOURSELF.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Santa

December 12, 2015

What do you do with Santa?You can’t ignore him because he is pictured everywhere. Your children will see and hear about him. Other children will be excited and talk about him.

Do you really want your children to find out you did not tell them the truth?

In our home, having a large family, we did talk about Santa this way.

Santa is pretend. A fairy tale like Cinderella or Snow White. Fun to think about but he is not real.

Our children were allowed to sit on Santa’s lap and have their picture taken but they knew that he was just a man pretending to be Santa.

The gifts they receive come from Daddy and Mommy because God gives blessings of being able to work.

We had fun with our children and played make believe with them about Santa but always told them the real meaning of Christmas.  It is Jesus birthday.

The manger scene was always in a prominent place in our home. (Still is)

We celebrated His birthday with a cake. Also, taught the true joy is in giving not receiving.

Did this hurt our children? No. They really enjoyed Christmas but never had the pain of finding out that Santa is not real and that their parents had not told the truth.

We always told them not to tell their friends because their Mom or Dad must tell them when it is time for them to know.

Have fun with your children this Christmas. Make some memories that are uniquely yours.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

(This post and some others this season is a repost from the archives. Some things are worth repeating.)