Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

I have been reading today, on how controversial the Christmas season has become in our nation. But as a Christian who studies the Word of God that does not surprise me. Christmas has always been a controversial subject. The very first Christmas was during a time of political upheaval. New taxes were being levied on the people of the country.

There was a census taking place.Sound familiar? Everyone had been ordered to travel to the town they were born in, to take part in a census. It was in this way that everyone would be sure to be counted and then added to the new tax rolls.

It was during this time of uncertainty about the future that God chose to come into this world in the form of a human child born of a virgin. Keeping a promise that had been made hundreds of years ago, to Adam and Eve.
In the New Testament of the Bible, in the book of Luke, chapter 2, you can read just how God made that promise happen. He could have chosen to fulfill that promise in so many ways--but he chose the best way.

He began by visiting a priest named Zacharias first, letting him know that he and his aged wife would have a son. He was met with unbelief that this could happen. Because of that, Zacharias was told that he would not be able to speak until the babe was born, as a sign that what was told him was true and also as a punishment for his unbelief: being a priest and a scholar of the Old Testament, he should have understood and believed.

God was not only fulfilling scripture through this child he had given Elizabeth, (John was the one who would be that “voice in the wilderness") but he was also providing emotional support for Mary so that when the time came she would have a family member who would understand her situation and would be a strong ally and prayer partner at one of many times when ,if you will stop to think about it, Mary needed it most.

He sent ahead (by angels) to make his plan clear to those directly involved. At this time, he didn't proclaim to the world what he was doing; the world didn't need to know --yet. Only Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth, The four people directly involved. Even then he didn't tell Elizabeth and Zacharias who would be the mother of the Messiah. Why? Because he hadn't asked Mary yet.

After He had sent the angel to visit with Mary's Uncle who was a priest, to tell them of the baby and what the baby's name was to be, then he sent the angel to talk to Mary. The angel explained to her the plan and the honor that had been given to her to be the mother of the Messiah.

All the Jewish women knew the prophesy of the Messiah and how he would come. And I can imagine that all of them prayed and hoped that perhaps God would choose them or their virgin daughter to be that one that would be chosen to carry the son of God.

Just as you, when God unmistakably answers your prayers and you are surprised by it; Mary was surprised and confused as to just how this was to happen. The angel explained just what Mary needed to know at the time, the rest she would have to trust God with. That was the first test of her faith. Mary passed with flying colors when she surrendered.

Stop for a minute and think about what Mary surrendered to God that day.
Mary was engaged to be married. She was a virgin, a woman who had never had sexual contact with any man or woman. She was still living at home with her parents. The penalty for premarital sex was death. Would her parents believe her? Would her fiancé believe her? Would God really take care of all the details?

That day Mary, the future mother of Jesus, the Messiah, looked at what was being asked of her by God, she looked at what it may cost her, and made a conscious decision to trust God with her life.

She didn't have a telephone to call up Aunt Elizabeth and run this by her, or even run in the house and check this out with Mom. Just as God comes to each of you today and lays before you a his plan for your life, he came to Mary and said this is my plan for you. And although it isn't written down, Mary did have the option of turning it down; just as he still gives you the option of turning him down in his plan for your life.
What did Mary surrender that day into God’s capable hands?

• Mary surrendered her future marriage
• Mary surrendered her reputation
• Mary surrendered her relationship with her family
• Mary surrendered her physical safety
• Mary surrendered her life

Mary surrendered everything in her life as she knew it at the time, and also her hopes and dreams for her future. She trusted God to give her a new one that would be even better, and He did.

And God will do it again for you, if you will surrender to him. His plan is always the best.

What did Mary gain?

• A wonderful understanding husband
• A stronger marriage as a result of letting God handle the details
• A reputation of submission to the will of God that has been studied by women for centuries.
• A family relationship that grew stronger
• Protection by the Most High God, for not just this earthly life, but for all eternity.
• By surrendering her life unconditionally, Mary gained her life, and so much more. She became that vessel that God used to bring millions of others to the saving knowledge of his Son, Jesus Christ.

May God richly bless you this Christmas Season, and throughout your life as you consider what you have to gain by surrender.

Carrie Parker

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Will you hear the angels?

As the eve of Christ birth is fast coming once more, have you taken time to think about just what is being said in the story of Christ birth?(Luke 1:26-35

From the beginning revelation to the virgin Mary: those first two words spoken: "Fear not!"-- God has worked ceaselessly to encourage his children that he loves them and they have nothing to fear, he will be with them and he has a plan for their lives.

Then to Joseph he sent the angel to tell him first of all to "Fear Not!" to take Mary as his wife.(found in Matthew 1:19)

Later when the time came for the Saviour's birth and all of heaven was rejoicing, God sent the angel to tell the Shepards: "Fear not!" for the one had come that they had been praying for and looking to find for so many years. Who better than the shepards who took care of the sheep would understand the meaning of why the Saviour of the world had to enter the world in this way? He was born in a stable because he was the perfect lamb that would forever cleanse all who claimed his sacrifice.(found in Luke 2:10,11,12)

Over and over again God sends his messengers to tell his faithful children to "Fear not" this is my plan for you. The Christ is born! Don't be afraid of him listen to him.

Then as the child Jesus, this all man and all God child grew and began to do the work of his Father (John 5:17) He began to say the same thing, Fear not!(Luke 12:7; luke 8:50;Luke 5:10)It makes God happy to be able to give you the Kingdom.Fear not you are valuable in God's sight!

Then after his death he sent angels to comfort believers. In Mark 16 the angel was waiting on Mary at the tomb to reassure her: "Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazerath who was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where he lay."(Mark 16:6)then in Acts.27:24 again, it was Fear Not!--The Saviour himself explained to Paul why he was being taken prisoner to Rome.

As the Apostle John was prisoner on the island of Patmos, Jesus came in a vision and talked with him, again beginning the conversation with "Fear not"(Rev.1:17)
Today God speaks to you through his written word the Bible, and he is still telling you to "fear not". those promises in his word did not end with those who lived and died in the Bible.

They still hold true today.The God of the Bible is still able to keep you, and He calls to you through his word, telling you to "Fear not" he has a plan for your life!

Ask Him what it good for you before you jump into something that you think is good for you. You have the entire population of the children of God in his Word to testify that God wants to, and not only wants to but is able to give you the kingdom. Only obey!

:"For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1:7

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Walking through the Woods

I was sitting and thinking one day of stories I have known, and loved and read growing up. I thought of the fairy Tale "Little Red Riding Hood"
As I sat there I began to analize the story:

The wolf was searching the woods for a meal as usual.

He was thinking ahead when he went to grandma's house. He'd get one meal now there and then wait in disguise for Red Riding Hood, he knew she was on the path.She'd never suspect her Grandma of hurting her.

So the wolf changed the "goal"(grandma) that Red was trying to reach, and laid his trap with his fake "goal" (himself disguised as grandma).

At first glance, the goal looked the same to Red, then she looked closer. Red suspected something, but couldn't quite put her finger on what was wrong.She was smart enough to ask questions. When the wolf saw he was about to be discovered, he jumped for her!

Red called for the help she knew was close by and the woodsman came to her rescue.
Does that remind you of someone?

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about , seeking whom he may devour." 2 Peter 5:8

The Bible tells us that Satan(the devil) goes about like a lion looking for his next prey. Just like the wolf in Red's story,he is cunning. He knows you will run from him if you can recognise him so he disquises himself in a way that you may not recognise. When you feel the safest he plans ahead and lays a trap for you just as the wolf did for Red.

If you are thinking and watching you may notice a few things aren't quite what they should be, that's the Holy Spirit nudging you, warning you. Satan is counting on the fact that most Christians ignore those warning flags and that you will too.

When you are where you think you are safe,he makes his move --to get you to do what he wants, to overpower you again and try to make you think you must do what he wants.

But Remember--Help and deliverance are but a prayer away. Call out to Christ, he can come between you and Satan and deliver you from him.

"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

Remember this today as you travel through the woods of life. It always helps to be warned that the enemy is still out there. He cannot destroy your soul, it belongs to Christ now, but he can destroy your effectiveness for God to use you for his glory.