December 27, 2006

I too, forgot them at Christmas

A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
Matthew 2:18, NKJV

Last night in my class, Essentials of Business Communication, my professor taught us a lesson on listening skills and speaking using the Indian Council method and a talking stick. The object of this exercise was to learn patience when waiting to speak and only the person who held the stick could speak. Everyone else had to listen and wait for their turn. I had suggested this would be a great exercise for married couples even those who are engaged. I might have a hard time with this one and try to break the stick in half so I would not have to wait for my turn. Just kidding.

Our discussion topic for the Indian Council exercise was about Christmas and each person had an opportunity to express their feelings or opinions about Christmas. Some said it was their favorite holiday, some expressed how the meaning of Christmas has been lost by the intense commercialization of the holiday with sales, shopping, gatherings and other events. All of the students in my class agree that it is about celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

When it was my professors turn, she described how she, her husband and their son went to see The Nativity Story. After the movie was over, they discussed the movie and its significance since it was December and near to Christmas Day. Her son's comment about a particular scene really got me, one that I have missed every Christmas until now and one that I won't forget. He said to his mother that he was sad for the children that King Herod ordered to be killed because of Jesus.

I have no idea how many children were killed, but we are always so caught up in the busyness of Christmas, we miss this important biblical event too. These children were martyred because of Jesus because King Herod could not allow someone else to take his throne, let alone a child!

When he had heard the wise men say, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2). Herod knew there could not be two kings in a kingdom. He had asked the wise men to return to him and let him know where the King of the Jews was so he could go and worship also. (Matthew 2:8). I don't think he really wanted to go and worship Jesus. He probably wanted to kill the baby himself.

The Gospel of Matthew records that King Herod issued an order to have all children who were two years of age and younger to be killed (Matthew 2:16-18). He did this because the wise men were warned in a dream, not to return to Herod, which he became infuriated by this I'm sure and set out to find the child's location on his own. Innocent children were murdered, martyred really, because of the jealousy and envy in the heart of a man that drove him to choose the worst possible solution. King Herod's life could have been completely different had he allowed the love of God to enter his heart, rather than allow it to be poisoned by envy, jealousy and murder.

Here are a few questions to ask honestly, to find out what is the condition of your heart toward God?

  • Is my heart pure before God? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8).
  • Am I speaking flattery or telling the truth when I say that I know God, that I know what His Son has done for me, dying for me sins? "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8).
  • Am I really looking for God in His Word, to know who He really is to me? "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13).
  • How much do I love God? “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’" (Matthew 22:37).
  • Are the words that I speak, words that reflect God or Satan? "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:18-19).
  • Am I saved from God's judgment of my sins? "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10).

The truth lies within the heart of every man and woman. How well does God know your heart? What is the condition of your heart?

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Proverbs 27:19, NLT

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14, NKJV.

May God's gift of Christ the Savior, be treasured in your hearts and homes today and always. May the abundant life that Christ promises be yours throughout the new year.

God bless you and your families.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Kurt

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December 16, 2006

One in one hundred quadrillion

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Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14, NKJV

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

Little do many people know that in the book of Isaiah, the Lord had spoken to King Ahaz regarding a sign of the coming Messiah, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. This was foretold approximately 800 years before the birth even occurred. What are the chances that even something you or I say, as a prediction, would be exactly as we say it will happen even eight days from now? Who can predict the winner of the next presidential election? Well that might be easy when we are left with just two candidates, but how about predicting the exact number of votes that each candidate would receive on election day? We cannot and the odds are too great I am sure, to even calculate how accurate one would have to be.

Let’s look at the Powerball lottery for example. Everyone is familiar with it and most people have purchased a lottery ticket at some point in their lives and everyone hopes to be the sole winner too. If you say you have never purchased a lottery ticket, even a charity raffle is a lottery ticket. As of this writing the current jackpot is valued at $43 million. The odds of being the sole winner of the $43 million jackpot are 1 in 146,107,962. Pretty slim odds of winning too.

Think about it for a second. There is a 1 in 146,107,962 probability of having the exact and only set of numbers to win Powerball. Yet the birth of Christ was foretold by the prophet Isaiah 800 years exactly as it were to happen. What is the probability of being exactly right in predicting a virgin birth and that He is also the Son of God?

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. He states, “The chance that any man might have ...fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th power. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (one hundred quadrillion)

Stoner suggests if, “we take 10 to the 17th in silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly... Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar. What chance would he have of getting the right one?”

Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom. (Source unknown)

The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the birth of Jesus Christ is compelling, and the four Gospels offer numerous accounts of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ. Here are just a few that are listed in the Billy Graham Training Center Bible (p. 627):

  • Christ would be descended from King David’s family (Psalm 89:3, 4; see Mark 12:35-37; John 7:42)
  • He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; see Matthew 1:23)
  • He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; see John 7:42)
  • He would make a triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9; see Matthew 21:5)
  • The soldiers would cast lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; see Matthew 27:35)
  • His dying words were foretold (Psalm 22:1; see Matthew 27:46)
  • He would die with criminals (Isaiah 53:9, 12; see Luke 22:37)
  • His death would be for the salvation of all people (Isaiah 53:6; see 1 Corinthians 15:3)
  • He would rise from the dead the third day (Psalm 16:8-11; Hosea 6:1,2)
  • Jesus confirmed the resurrection referring to past Scriptures (Luke 24:46)
  • Peter confirmed it by quoting David’s prophecy (Acts 2:25-32)

There is not another book that has foretold the future more accurately, than the Bible. As the birth of Christ was foretold and fulfilled, so will His return be, as was witnessed by the apostles on the day He was "taken up into heaven." (Acts 1:11)

There is little doubt regarding the accuracy of the Bible, the fulfillment of its prophecies and of Jesus’ imminent return.

How certain could you feel about these words that Jesus said that were recorded by the apostle John, if everything else about Him is true too, “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3, NIV)

God does not want anyone to take any chances regarding their eternal life. He wants each person to have the absolute assurance of heaven when the time of death here on earth comes and life in eternity begins. You have the power of choice, the free will that God has given to choose the destination of eternal life. The choice of either heaven or hell and God says that we should choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19, NKJV)

Because of Adam’s sin against God in the Garden of Eden, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation (Romans 5:18), but through Jesus Christ we have been justified as righteous, or innocent from God's judgment of sin, by the gift of God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:18, Ephesians 2:8-9).

Sin is what separates us from God and He reconciled us to himself, by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3).

Don’t take a chance of leaving your eternal destiny in your own hands. Heaven and hell are absolute certainties. The choice is up to you and God is your greatest advocate for the most important decision in your life.

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15, NKJV

References:

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Probability of Prophecies Fulfilled

The Billy Graham Training Center Bible, Time-Tested Answers to Your Toughest Questions. (2004). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Links:

Prophecies that Jesus Christ Fulfilled

Prophecies of the Old Testament Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

December 11, 2006

25 Ideas for how YOU can spread the Word

  1. Send a Bible to servicemen and servicewomen overseas
  2. Give one to the server at a restaurant (along with a generous tip!)
  3. When you travel, leave one in your hotel room for the housekeeper - also leave a note of thanks for his/her service
  4. Give one to the teller at the bank drive-through window
  5. Challenge your child to find someone at school who doesn't own a Bible and give one to them
  6. Give one to the business traveler next to you on the plane or on the commuter train
  7. Donate a stack to the church staff to give to those they visit or to needy people who come in asking for help
  8. Donate a box or two to your local homeless shelter
  9. Give a Bible to each of the parents at your child’s daycare
  10. Deliver some to the waiting rooms at local doctor's offices and hospitals
  11. Give a Bible to each guest at your wedding or your child’s wedding
  12. Include one in each of your May Day baskets
  13. Give a Bible to each person who visits your yard sale
  14. Leave a Bible with a bow in your mailbox for your mailperson
  15. If you use eBay, send a Bible along with every purchase someone makes from you as a free gift
  16. Donate a case or two to your child’s summer camp
  17. Give Bibles to your local library to send home with each book borrower
  18. Send Bibles to prisoners
  19. Send Bibles to oversea ministries
  20. Supply a local Army unit’s Chaplin with Bibles for their unit
  21. Include a Bible in your new neighbor’s housewarming gift basket
  22. Give one to your apartment maintenance person
  23. Donate a case to a charity in the name of a friend for a birthday/graduation/Christmas gift
  24. Deliver some to your local retirement facility
  25. Offer a Bible along with a tip to your hair stylist

Additional resource links:

Nelson Bibles - 25 Ideas

The Pocket Testament League

December 4, 2006

Jesus, as an example

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

D. M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example.”

Stearns replied, “If I presented Christ in that way, would you be willing to follow Him?” “I certainly would,” said the stranger without hesitation. “All right then,” said the preacher, “let’s take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?”

The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin.”

Stearns replied, “Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!

Source Unknown

http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?topic=835

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