December 14, 2017

He Still Fulfills

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In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her,  and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed!

How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Luke 1:39-45

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I remember the months before each one of my children were born…and the excitement and fear all wrapped into one emotion.  And what made it even better?  If a few friends were pregnant at the same time, too.  There is something about sharing those times.  And Mary was no different.

Yes, she was carrying the Savior of the world but she was also just a girl, a simple one at that, excited about sharing this time with her cousin who was also with child.  The children would be cousins and friends.  I imagine their conversations went late into the night.  Talks of swollen feet and aching backs.  Maybe of how ready they were to meet each baby.  Yes, they were ready!

“How could this happen to me, the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  Elizabeth got to touch the belly where Jesus was.  And today, He lives inside of us.  We are the blessed ones.  We are the ones full of joy.  So what will we do with it—this excitement?  Who will we share the good news with?  There is a hurting world that has lost some of it’s hope.  And we know that Jesus is the answer  to it all.

Yes, He  came as a small little baby but grew into a man who would lead a group of disciples. They would love Him so much that they would leave it all behind, just to follow Him wherever He would go. He would give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  He would love the least of these, feeling more at home with them. He loved all people so much that He would ultimately die for each one. Even you!  He is coming again here to earth to take us to Heaven to live there forever. I get chills just thinking about it.

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But there are some who are still lost and hurting this Christmas season.  If this is you, and you don’t know Jesus, I urge you to pray this prayer with me.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I am so tired of doing this on my own. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He died to take away all sin, including mine. I will get to live with You forever. Please forgive me for my sins. I trust You now with my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God Has Come To Earth

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All praise to You, eternal Lord
Clothed in a garb of flesh and blood
You chose a manger for Your throne
While worlds on worlds are Yours alone

Once did the skies before You bow
A virgin’s arms cradle You now
And angels who in You rejoice
Now listen for Your infant voice
They sing

Glory in the highest
For there’s no other name by which we can be saved
Glory in the highest
Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim
God has come to Earth

O, little Child, You are our guest
That weary ones in You may rest
Forlorn and lowly is Your birth
That we may rise to Heaven from Earth
Singing

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him

And there’s no other name by which we can be saved
And Heaven and Earth forever will proclaim

God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth
God has come to Earth

Aaron Shust

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And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Luke 2:4-7

His first throne was a manger.  And now, He is seated at the right hand of His Father.  This baby, born to Joseph and Mary, would change the world forever!

Jesus was born to walk the earth.  He went through things—hard things—so that we could see that all would be OK.  He taught us how to love and how to serve.  He showed us that it is awesome to be friends with sinners…because there are no perfect people, except Him. He performed miracle after miracle, just to prove Who His Father is, so that all would believe and live eternally with Him.

He brought dead to life and restored sight to the blind.  He healed by just a touch.  And, oh how He loved!  Everyone He came in contact with went away better.  And then He died on a cross, broken and poured out for us. He crushed every sin we would ever commit so that we, too, could live with Him in heaven.

So let’s adore Him today as they did on that night so long ago…

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!
Luke 2:13-14

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Let us pray: Dearest God, oh how we love You!  Oh, how we worship You and bow down at Your feet.  We lay down all our burdens today and we ask that You take our worries.  Thank You that You are for us and that nothing that we have done can separate us from You.  Help us to remember what this season is about; and to not get so wrapped up in the gifts that we don’t have, but to remember the only Gift that we need…You, Jesus.  Remind us, too, that the same miracles that happened back then can happen today.  You are enough!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Born To Die

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Almost every day there are precious little babies born to families all over the world,  but one day,  there was one special baby that was born FOR the world…His name was Jesus.

This Baby came with a purpose!   And that purpose was “to die” for me and you. This is the ultimate gifts of gifts we have ever, or will ever, receive in our lives.

Think about His birth for a moment and the three gifts that were brought to Him.  One of those gifts was “myrrh.”    Have you ever studied about these gifts?  Well, check this out!

Myrrh was a gum-like substance that was sometimes used to embalm the dead.  (You are now saying, “WHAT????”    Yes, this is one of the gifts brought from the wise men to the little Baby Jesus.    They recognized that He was the little one that was “born to die” for us all.  Not sure if they truly knew the significance behind the gifts they were bringing; but oh, how fitting that they would bring this one gift that was a representation about why He came!!!   Listen to the beautiful words of this song and let it open your heart to the understanding of why God gave us this precious little baby!

Shepherds gaze in wonder while angel voices sing
This night of nights has come, and brought the world  the long-awaited King.
The earth is filled with gladness, and yet the heavens weep.
For heaven’s eyes can see  He was born to die for me.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, is that a tear in Your eye?
Jesus, sweet Baby Jesus, You must know that You were born to die.

It must have broken God’s heart, for the future He could see.
Yet He formed the hands and feet knowing one day, they’d be nailed to a tree.
So all the world could know Him—a gift came from above
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

Jesus, Baby Jesus, with a tear of love in Your eye.
Jesus, sweet Baby Jesus, You knew You were born to die.

So, Jesus, thank You, Jesus, for Your gift of eternal life.
My Jesus, Jesus, ‘cause for me You were born to die.

 From the day of His birth the reason was known!

Bethlehem happened so Calvary could happen!

O Holy Night

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For over 150 years, “O Holy Night” has been performed all over the world.  The history of this song began in the 1800’s in France, when a priest asked a poet named Placide Cappeau wrote a poem for a Christmas mass. He was an unlikely man to write these lyrics—he was a wine merchant who was known for his poetry (not his church attendance). Later he broke with the church all together and joined a socialist movement in France. In a carriage, on the way to mass, he went over the lyrics and fell in love with God all over again. The words, still today have that effect on all who listen. It begins with this:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviors birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.
O night, O Holy Night! O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light a star is sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from out of the Orient land,
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our Friend.

He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His Law is love and His Gospel is peace
Chains He shall break, for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease!
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name!

Christ is The Lord! O, praise His Name forever!
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim!
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim!

We see the birth of Jesus, from a heavenly point of view. His birth awakened the world that was dying. “But yonder breaks, a new a glorious morn…” all things new, regardless of what we have done or will do, we have a new morning, a new day with Jesus as our Savior. Hope beyond our wildest imagination was born that day, and a weary world has hope wrapped in swaddling clothes. As Mary embraced Him, we, too, embrace Him, and He comes close to us. Naturally, we fall to our knees as we worship the King. Can you even imagine being there on that night?

Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His Gospel is peace…” He calls us to love each other as He loves us; a truly impossible task if we aren’t staying in constant contact with Him. And because of this love, “chains He shall break…” and we will be free from any and all afflictions. Addictions, shame, guilt, anything that holds you will shatter at the sound of His Name. “Jesus,” love and freedom and because of the hope we have and freedom He gives, we will forever proclaim to all who will listen. “His power and glory ever more proclaim…” and “With all our hearts we praise His holy name…” and we cannot praise Him enough.

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Let this season be about Him and doing for others. His birth changed this dying world and we will never be the same. Merry Christmas and may He forever be praised!