We have all seen the pictures of greed that come out every Black Friday, a day that is meant to launch the Christmas season where we celebrate our saviour’s birth. Even for most Christians today, if we truly look at the way we celebrate that wondrous day back in 4004 BC. When the Word became flesh, we have to admit, that we too put more time and effort into the commercialism of Christmas than into the purpose of its real celebration.
How many have really, honestly thought about why Christ gave up everything to become the Son of Man. When asked, a large percentage would answer with, to die for our sins. Where this is true, it barely covers the real reason.
The Bible tells us that “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world”. (1 John 2:1-2 ESV)
An advocate is one who pleads the cause of another, who represents another, and acts in his name; one who uses his influence in behalf of another by his request. To secure justice, in case any question involving justice is to be tried, to defend the accused. If one has been accused of committing a crime, an advocate may be employed to conduct his trial on his behalf; to defend him against the charge, and prevent his conviction if possible.
Christ now serves as our court-appointed Advocate before the Father, defending us against the accusations of Satan. He also defends His own right to grant us salvation and to give us eternal life.
One may ask here, why does Christ have to defend His own right to save us? The answer is that not only did He die for our sins; He lived as a man and experienced all that we face in life.
For it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:10-13 ESV)
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” (Matthew 4:5-10 ESV)
We have this image of Jesus being tested by Lucifer for forty days and overcoming and never being tested again, protected by heavenly angels.
When we look at Jesus birth, Mary His mother was a virgin claiming to be with child. Seeing that Mary and Joseph were not yet married, but only engaged and Joseph was not the father, it was fully within his rights and even expected for him to call for her death by stoning. Adultery in engagement was punishable by death; however, Joseph did not want this or even to disgrace Mary, so he planned to divorce her in private. This only needed two witnesses rather than going through the Jewish courts and no formal grounds needed to be given for the divorce.
But Joseph in a dream had an angel appear to him which told him to trust Mary. This angel told Joseph that the child would be named Jesus. Having a vision in a dream from God was a sign of God's approval, so this would have made Joseph pay attention and he does what the angel says.
Now for Joseph to except Mary and the baby he in effect was telling the world that he had broken the law with Mary and would have been shunned along with her by both their families. We read that in Bethlehem they could not find a room and were forced to stay in a stable. This is partly true due to the amount of people there to take the censuses. However when we understand the law and customs of that time we can figure that the whole family had turned their backs on them to avert any shame from coming also upon themselves.
Not one relative would open their door to the Messiah who would be born that very night.
How many of us use the excuse of family, the way we were raised to condone are actions? Christ, as many of us are, was from what was considered a dysfunctional family.
We read that when they came to arrest Jesus, Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (John 18:10 ESV)
Jesus walked some of the most dangerous roads of that time as He presented His message, so dangerous in fact that His disciples had to be armed with swords for protection.
When we strip away the Sunday school image that so many of us have of Jesus life, we find that in some form, He first faced the very challenges that we today face. He knows what we feel inside, for He too felt the same way. He knows what it is like to be scorned and hated.
The trials that we face are the memories that He knows too well.
So why was Jesus born in human form? It was not just to become the perfect sacrifice for our sin, but to become our perfect Advocate. An advocate that truly understands our inner most hurts and feelings.
So as we go out and spend an average of eight hundred to a thousand dollars each, adding up to well over five hundred billion dollars in trinkets, as we fight over which day Christ was truly born on, as we argue over Christmas or Hanukkah, please remember, Jesus Christ our living Saviour and advocate gave up everything to be born as a babe in Bethlehem and we have chosen this day of December 25th in remembrance of that glorious day.
May this Christmas be Christ centered and not centered on a Christmas tree and what lies beneath it. Brother Chris and all our members at Prophecy Times wish you a Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah.
Psalm 119:1-88 …Monday November 28th, 2011
GOD’S WORD IS TRUE and WONDERFUL
STAY TRUE TO GOD and HIS WORD NO MATTER HOW BAD THE WORLD BECOMES
OBEDIENCE TO GOD IS THE ONLY WAY TO ACHIEVE REAL HAPPINESS
Blessed are they whose ways are blameless who walk…and seek him with all their heart
I seek you with all my heart; I have hidden your word in my heart
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways
I delight in your decrees I will not neglect your word
Preserve my life according to your word
Teach me…Let me understand…then I will meditate on your wonders
Strengthen me according to your word, Keep me…be gracious to me
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws
I hold fast…for you have set my heart free
Direct me…preserve my life
You are my portion O Lord
I have sought your face with all my heart and turned my steps to your statutes
I have put my hope in your word
Preserve my life according to your love
This Psalm was written by Ezra after the temple was rebuilt
With meditation on the beauty of God’s Word and how it helps us stay pure and grow in faith
Psalm 199 has 22 carefully constructed sections and each corresponding to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet and each verse beginning with the letter of its section
God’s Word is the only sure guide for living a pure life
We are drowning in a sea of sexual images and sinful attractions. Everywhere we look we find temptation to fill our minds with thoughts of sexual relationships that God wouldn’t approve of. How do we stay pure in a contaminating environment? Where can we find strength and wisdom? Let us so digest the truths of God’s Word and thus appropriate its truths to affect every aspect of our inner most being
Hiding or keeping God’s Word in our heart is a deterrent to sin. This alone should inspire us to memorize Scripture thereby putting God’s Word into practice affecting our every day life and God’s Word being a vital guide to everything we do
God’s Word is given to free us to be all He wants us to be thereby avoiding paths that lead to destruction
The Bible should be our road map revealing obstacles to avoid that we will subsequently be aware of the goal He sets forth and thus we will walk in the light that He so reveals and unfolds
Amidst the clutter of life He comes to us personally each day to strengthen us as we so relate to Him inviting Him to be an ongoing part of our life and thus responding to His direction.
Ask God to turn your heart to so connect with Him and not to the carnal lusts of this world for it is in your best interest in the long run to so respond and enter in and appropriate the benefits thereof available only in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ believing and so acknowledging that Jesus is both Savior and Lord
The truths of God’s Word are extended to free us to be what God designed us to be. By seeking God’s salvation and forgiveness we have freedom from sin and the resulting oppressive guilt.
By living God’s way, we have freedom to fulfill God’s plan for our life.
We choose to keep ourselves undefiled from the ways of the world and so delight in His Word thus seeking after Him with all our heart refusing to allow sin to taint our life and rob us of God’s blessing.
I choose how I respond and in the manner I so respond to the truths of God
TO STORE HIS WORD IN OUR HEART AND SO MEDITATE THEREON UNFOLDS THE POWER OF GOD’S PRESENCE TO BRING RESTORATION AFFECTING US IN MANY WAYS
WHAT DO WE ULTIMATELY DELIGHT IN?
Let us hold fast and be committed to all that the Father so unfolds thereby turning to be a partaker thereof
TAKE TIME TO READ PSALM 119
The depth of treasures in this Psalm is beyond our human comprehension and available to all who will partake and enter in
Study by Charlotte…November 2011