A WOMAN SHALL COMPASS A MAN

A WOMAN SHALL COMPASS A MAN

How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.
Jer. 31:22

This is one of the Old Testament prophecies that historically, has been applied to the virgin birth of our Lord. In the 1599 edition of the Geneva Bible (actually this was the first Protestant Study Bible) the editors applied this verse in Jeremiah to the virgin birth of Christ and also to the future fruitfulness of the spiritual Jerusalem. Think about it, the Lord has created a new thing in the earth, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son. No one but the Lord would ever do such an unusual thing, actually the most impossible of all of the miracles in the Bible, the birth of Christ without a human Father. If Christianity was a man made religion, no one would have had the audacity to try to sell the virgin birth, man would have pitched something somewhat more believable. The Lord loves to shock the minds of man; born of a virgin, born in an animal stall, probably the feeding trough of a farm animal, talk about unprecedented.
What do you think Joseph’s family thought about the virgin birth, or Jesus’s brothers and sisters, or even the neighbors in Nazareth. No, the virgin birth has always been a hard sell.

Matthew Henry also taught that this “new thing” was referring to the birth of Christ. Here are his thoughts about this passage.
“Many good interpreters understand this new thing created in that land to be the incarnation of Christ, which God used with an eye on bringing them back to that land, and which had sometimes been given them for a sign. A woman, the virgin Mary, enclosed in her womb the Mighty One; for so Geber, the word here used, signifies; and God is called Gibbor, the Mighty God ( xxxii. 18), as also is Christ in Isa. ix. 6, where his incarnation is spoken of, as it is supposed to be here. He is El-Gibbor, the mighty God. Let this assure them that God would not cast off this people, for that blessing was to be among them.”

Our modern world, and many modern preachers and teachers have moved far away from the supernatural nature of Christ, His life, His ministry, His birth, and His death. Maybe it’s time to return again to the ancient paths and follow the Lord down the path of His amazing supernatural plan. Christmas, the virgin birth, this is unprecedented, only God could come up with something like this.

BORN IN ETERNITY

BORN IN ETERNITY

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14 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.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jn 1:1,14,18

In the gospel of Luke and in Matthew there is an emphasis on the human birth of Our Savior. John’s account is much different, John turns immediately to the eternal nature of Jesus Christ. John is focused on the blazing Glory of the Son of God. His account does not have the taste of a casual observer but the sense of someone entranced in the Glory of the eternal Son. His first words capture the essence of his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, And the Word was God”. In verse 14 you hear the evidence that settled everything for John, “we beheld His Glory”. That was it for John, he had seen the glory of the Lord. John had not been present at the manger scene and he had not been there with the shepherds, but John saw the empty tomb for himself. The power of death had been crushed, the eternal Son had defeated death on the cross, He was trully alive forever more.
For us today 2000 years have passed since the birth of Christ. The wise men have been gone for generations and the shepherds are just figures on a Christmas card today, but the eternal Son is still alive. The Word has taken on human flesh. I may not have been with John at the empty tomb, I never heard the angels sing, and I have never followed a star across the desert, but I too have seen His Glory. Christianity is alive and well today because of the testimony of people like you and me who have tasted the goodness of God for ourselves and have embraced the truth of the gospel. As John said, no one has seen God at any time, but the only begotten Son, He has declared Him. Today Jesus is still the Word who became flesh, He still tabernacles amongst us through our own personal testimony of Jesus. He is still “declaring Him” through your life and testimony. May the eternal Son declare His Glory in you and through you this Christmas.

BORN FROM THE EARTH

BORN FROM THE EARTH

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Gen 2:7
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Ps.85:11
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear* the image of the heavenly Man.
1 Cor.15:48,49

The Bible is filled with rich nuggets of valuable truth, sometimes it seems that we are miners seeking the hidden riches of God as diligently as a prospector mines for gold, only our discoveries are far more precious. At first glance, the scriptures for today seem unrelated, but upon further examination we find the priceless thread of revelation that brings them all together. These verses declare to us the powerful truth of Christ’s identification with the human race. Just as Adam was a man of the earth, formed from the dust of God’s creation, Christ Himself became a Son of Man. He was born of a virgin, He took on human nature, He trully became one of us. This is the powerful message of Christmas, the Word became flesh and tabernacled amongst us, we have seen His Glory, the Glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Truth has sprung out from the earth as the scriptures have said, Christ has been born in a manger in Bethlehem. The wise men came from the east after seeing His star in the heavens, the temple shepherds came after the angelic visitation. We come today, observing His Glory in the written Word. Many people never saw the star in the sky, most casual observers never heard the angel’s song, and today, many Bibles lay unopened leaving the priceless treasures undiscovered. But to those who have been given eyes to see, we are following the star, we are singing with the angels, and we are mining for the hidden treasures of God’s Word longing to catch a glimpse of the Glory that is shining through the ages. Today, open up your Bible, it is your most precious earthly treasure, value its contents because it contains the hidden treasures of God. Like the wise men of old, we are searching for the hidden treasures of God. Maybe those all around you have shut their ears and closed their hearts, but your eyes are wide open, beholding the Glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ.

HIS GOINGS FORTH

HIS GOINGS FORTH

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
from everlasting.
Micah 5:2

What an incredible prophesy about the coming of our Lord. Micah prophesied the specific town, Bethlehem, and the specific region, Ephratah, where Our Savior would be born. He also spoke about the mysterious eternal nature of Jesus, the Word who became flesh. Micah spoke of “His goings forth” which some of our church fathers applied to the eternal generation of the Son of God. Mathew Henry expressed this eternal miracle as he described Christ as the rays of God’s Glory from eternity.
“It is he that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, from the days of eternity, as the word is. Here we have, His existence from eternity, as God: his goings forth, or emanations, as the going forth of the beams from the sun, were, or have been, of old, from everlasting, which is so signal a description of Christ’s eternal generation, or his going forth as the Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, that this prophecy must belong only to him, and could never be verified of any other. From everlasting to everlasting thou are God, and can be applied to no other than to him who was able to say, Before Abraham was, I am. Dr. Pocock observes that the going forth is used (Deut. viii. 3) for a word which proceeds out of the mouth, and is therefore very fitly used to signify the eternal generation of him who is called the Word of God, that was in the beginning with God, John 1.”

Wow! Great is the mystery of God. The eternal Word, the Father’s idea and expression of Himself born in Bethlehem. The Creator enters into His creation.
The Son of God, who has existed from eternity, born to a jewish teenager from Nazareth. God’s power cloaked in the weakness of infancy, Immanuel has come. Two generations, the Son of God begotten from eternity without a mother, the son of man, born of a virgin without a human father. This is the greatest of all mysteries, concealed in the Father’s heart until the fullness of time, revealed by the Spirit in the person of His Son birthing the greatest celebration of all time. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

RESTLESS

RESTLESS

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa. 9:6

Jesus came to bring peace to the earth, but not the kind of peace most people would think. Actually, His life brought anything but peace in the natural world. All but one of His twelve disciples died a martyr’s death. Christ Himself was hated more than any man who has ever lived. Families have been split up, wars have been fought, His life has brought anything but peace to this world. What kind of peace did Christ come to bring? He brought peace that comes from forgiveness of sins. He brought peace that comes from resigning to His sovereign plan. He brought peace that comes from deliverance from the foolish pleasures of this world. He is the Prince of Peace to those who have embraced His love. Here is another one of my Christmas poems, I hope you enjoy it.

HUNGRY HEART

Restless heart you struggle so
Searching for repose
Looking for that place of rest
That rest man seldom knows

Lonely heart-Your grieving so
When will the sadness end
You get back up- to face the world
To just fall back again

Anxious Heart-You worry so
Your trust seems far away
Who can you trust when things go wrong
Who will you trust today

Ambitious heart – it never ends
Will there ever be a time
When you can stop this torrid rush
And place your hand in mine

Hungry heart has found its food
To still this longing soul
To satisfy the heart of man
To make the sinner whole

In Bethlehem the house of bread
Not far from Calvary
I gave my life for you my son
That you could feast on me

Today, your search for peace can be over, we can find our rest in Him. Remember the famous words of Augustine, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee”. You can come to Bethlehem today and feast on the Bread that comes from heaven. This is the place of rest. In the world there is no peace, but there is an amazing peace found in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

THE GREAT SPIRIT DANCE

THE GREAT SPIRIT DANCE

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”
Micah 5:2

In Isaiah’s prophesy (Isa 9:6), as well as this one from Micah, the Lord gives us a glimpse into the eternal nature of our God. This is a hidden, incomprehensible, part of our incredible God. What is eternity past like? What kind of relationship has the Father had with His Eternal Son in this mysterious, unknown time? Does that eternal nature of God have any relevance in my life today? This is what Christmas is all about. The relationship of love between Jesus and His Father is the foundation for our existence and our salvation. Their love resulted in an agreement where Jesus became the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world. As a result, the virgin conceived, and brought forth a Son, born in Bethlehem in Judea over 2000 years ago. This is a poem the Lord gave to me describing this eternal relationship, like C.S. Lewis says, the eternal dance.

The Christmas Dance

Before there was history
There lived a great mystery
A story of joy and romance
The Lord and His Son
They’ve always been One
Embrace in the great Spirit dance
An unspeakable delight
It burst through the night
A joy that’s stronger than wine
The Father and Son embracing as
One in the dance that’s long
Before time
This singing and dancing
This holy romancing
This joy to the world Angels say
It came to the earth at our dear
Saviour’s birth
This joy it begins
Christmas Day!

During this Christmas season maybe you will here the sound of the heavenly celebration and join in the festivities. Heaven is not a boring place, it is a celebration beyond any we have seen or have thought of on earth. Can you hear the singing? The Lord is rejoicing over you. Open your heart, let Him open up your ears. It is time for you to join the celebration, it’s time to sing, it’s time to join in the Father’s dance.

AUGUSTINE’S CHRISTMAS

AUGUSTINE’S TWO GENERATIONS

This is the last installment of the Christmas message of Augustine from the 400’s A.D. The message of Christ’s birth and eternal existence is timeless. May this be your best Christmas ever as Christ is formed in you. Enjoy the message and my comments throughout his teaching.

He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and yet He takes His own rise under the heavens, that’s to say from the earth.

Psalm 85:11
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Jesus, the truth, springs from the earth like Adam. The amazing diverse excellencies of Christ seen in His deity and His humanity.

As God He has more Wisdom than He can mouth, and yet as a babe he hasn’t enough mouth to utter the Wisdom He knows.

As God He is all knowing unlimited in His knowledge, as an infant unable to vocalize His eternal wisdom.

He fills the world with jots and tittles, and yet He Himself lies a tot in a manger.

He has created a masterful world full of intricate detail, yet he lies helpless and dependent as an infant in the manger.

He sets the stars in motion, and yet he sucks His mother’s breasts.

Genesis 1:3-5
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Augustine continues to explore the amazing contrast of deity and humanity. He reveals Himself in His wisdom and power in creation and His incredible humility as a man.

He’s so great as a God, yet so small as a slave.

Philippians 2:5-9
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

God’s greatness and Christ’s humility, He is truly the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

His divinity isn’t underwhelmed by His humanity, nor is His humanity overwhelmed by His divinity.

He is not threatened or decreased by His humanity. His humanity has not depleted His deity, only magnified His glory in our eyes.

He didn’t abandon His divine agenda when He picked up His carpenter’s tools.

Ephesians 1:11
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

His plan of the ages has never altered. God is never responding to circumstances. All things are ordered and developing according to His plan.

He didn’t stop holding His universe together with His mighty arms while He was trying to catch flies with His baby fingers.

Isaiah 9:6,7
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Augustine continues to be amazed at the irony of the power of God and the weakness displayed in the infant Christ.

He put on the clumsiness of the flesh when he entered the Virgin’s womb, and yet His movement throughout the universe wasn’t hampered by the baggy pants. He didn’t take away the food of Wisdom from the Angels while He was supplying us with the sweetness of the Lord.

Micah 5:2
“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

The bread of heaven, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem – the house of Bread. The Lord has displayed His beauty in the miracle birth of Christ. He came to make this heavenly bread available for us all. Today, we can all come to the Christmas feast and delight ourselves in the abundance of our Father’s house. Merry Christmas to you and your house.

OUTSIDE OF SPACE AND TIME

OUTSIDE OF SPACE AND TIME

Last year I read a Christmas message by Augustine preached at his church in northern Africa over 1500 years ago. This is the second installment of part of that message with my own comments included. Merry Christmas.

He’s the Day as the Angels count time; He’s the Clock as human beings tick off the day.

He inhabits eternity with the angels, outside of time and space. In time he is the sovereign ruler directing every detail of history.

He’s the Word of God before there were timepieces; He’s the Word made flesh who stopped the clock when He was made flesh.

John 1:14
14 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.

Jesus is the Father’s Word, idea or expression of Himself. When He became a man all history was permanently impacted.

He made the sun with His own hands, and yet He Himself was made under the light and heat of the sun.

John 1:3-5
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

He formed the stars of the universe including our star, the sun, yet as a man he lived under the light and heat of the sun.

He regulates human history from the bosom of His Father; and yet He consecrates this one particular day from the womb of His mother.

John 1:18
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus retained His sovereignty ruling in heaven even as he lived amongst us as a man. His supernatural birth made that day supernatural.

He remains with His Father, and yet He goes forth from His mother.

John 3:13
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

The mystery of the omnipresence and the humanity of Christ is the mystery of godliness. This mystery is life changing, actually it could be called life starting. Life begins for us in the reality of God’s presence. Until we come into living contact with Him we are wandering through life, when He bursts on the scene, we begin to experience harmony and unity with Him. Merry Christmas to you and your house.

TWICE BEGOTTEN

TWICE BEGOTTEN

Augustine was amazed at the two generations of Jesus Christ, how scripture reveals Christ as the eternal Son always in the state of being generated from the Father. He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory. He also was amazed at the miracle of the virgin birth. I wanted to give you an excerpt from one of Augustine’s Christmas sermons. I also included some of my thoughts and some scripture. Enjoy. You and your family have a blessed Christmas.

“Open my lips, O Lord, so that my voice may break out in praise!” So the Psalmist has sung (Ps.51:15). He was saluting his Lord with a chain of seemingly incompatible attributes. And so too I sing this morning.

Augustine is overwhelmed with joy as he reflected on the birth of Christ. His message seems to be delivered as a “song”.

Almighty God the Father I want to praise but, to my amazement, He’s the Infant Christ.

I Timothy 3:16 NKJ
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Augustine is astounded at the beauty and mystery of the incarnation. God Himself as an infant in a manger.

The Lord has made all things, and yet He takes His stand among the very things He’s made.

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

The creator God – Jesus Christ – enters into the very creation He has made. He became part of creation when he became a man.

He’s the Revealer of His Father, and at the same time He’s the Creator of His mother.

John 1:3, 18
3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Augustine explores the mystery of Jesus Christ, He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory but created His mother before He was conceived in her womb.

He’s the Son of God born of the Father without a mother; and He’s the son of man born of a mother without a father.

Micah 5:2
2 “ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

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

The two generations of Christ, begotten of the Father as the eternal Son yet born as a human from a virgin mother. And now, the greatest of all miracles, He is actually born in our hearts. Just as the Ethiopian asked Phillip, so many years ago, “Who shall declare His generation?” Today, we discover this Christmas miracle. Christ is born in our hearts! What an incredible God!!!

CHARLES WESLEY’S ANGELS

CHARLES WESLEY’S ANGELS

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Mal 4:2

You can tell a lot about what is going on in a culture by the songs they sing. We have been effected more than we know by the songs written in special times of God’s awakenings throughout history. One of the special times was the 1740’s. One of God’s instruments in those days was a song writer and preacher by the name of Charles Wesley. Our churches still sing many of his songs, but the whole world sings one of his Christmas songs known as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. This song is filled with worship and great theology about the unveiling of God’s love to man. One of my favorite parts of the song goes like this.

“Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun 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.”

What an incredible thing, today in malls, shopping centers, church services and Christmas programs around the world, this special message is being proclaimed. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who brings the revelation of God’s love and forgiveness to our hearts. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who is risen from the dead with healing for our bodies. Hail the Sun of Righteousness that has given us second birth that men no more may die. Today the angels are singing, “preach it again Charles” as his words are being sung amongst the nations. This Christmas, listen carefully to the old songs, you never know, you may hear the angels singing just like the shepherds from so long ago. As you do, your world will begin to change. Like the shepherds long ago, like Charles Wesley 250 years ago, the birth of Christ will become a living reality inside of you. When that happens, you will know what life is all about, you will know why you are alive, you will know for yourself why the angels are singing.