LET’S GO TO BETHLEHEM

LET’S GO TO BETHLEHEM

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
Lk.2:8-10

This is a Christmas poem from December 2005. Have you ever realized your life is not accidental, that there is a plan unfolding for you. Every detail of your life is orchestrated by the master composer. He is unfolding His glorious symphony in your life. Enjoy this poem, maybe you will turn from a casual observer to a witness of the Glory of the Lord.

LET’S GO TO BETHLEHEM

Let’s go to Bethlehem
I heard a shepherd say
He was rambling about some angels
He supposed he saw that day

Something about the throne of David
His words were strange to me
A virgin and a baby boy
A song about God’s mystery

God’s Glory shone from heaven
I heard him clearly say
A King born in a manger
God’s love came near today

I turned and followed closely
My heart thumped in reply
Could this be why I’m living
A king just born to die

Then something burned inside me
This Glory from on high
God’s mystery from heaven
The King who was born to die

I’ve never seen such kindness
Such power and such grace
This King revealed from Glory
He died to take my place

While others are distracted from what is truly valuable, you can stand with eyes wide open gazing into the glory of God’s revelation in Christ. Have you been given “eyes to see?” If so, Christmas is more than cards, shopping, and parties, it is truly the season to be jolly. Like the shepherd’s of old, let’s go to Bethlehem to see this thing that the Lord has done.
Merry Christmas to you as we celebrate the glorious appearing of our Savior 2000 years ago. You never know, this could be the time of His second appearing.

THE LIGHT HAS COME

THE LIGHT HAS COME

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.
Matt.4:16

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Lk.2:8,9

The shining out of the Glory of God the night the angels sang was the beginning of a brand new day on earth. The darkness on earth that reigned from the earliest of time was giving way to the outbreak of the marvelous Glory of the Lord. The people who sat in darkness had seen a great light, the time of the gospel of Christ was beginning.
When Jesus began His ministry some 33 years later, He began by announcing the effect of the light of the Glory of God as it began to penetrate human lives. He announced that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him to bring good news to the poor. Poverty was more than not having provision for our lives, poverty was part of the vain and worthless lives people live without Christ. His light brings value and purpose to our lives, He preaches good news to the poor. He also came to heal the broken hearted, all of us have tasted the frustration that comes from sinful behavior that always leads to broken lives and dreams. Jesus came to heal and restore the broken lives, those lives who had been all but destroyed by our lifestyles rooted in darkness. Jesus also announced deliverance to the captives, sin leads to destructive habits and practices. The Lord breaks the chains of addiction and sets the captives free. Everywhere He went, He fulfilled the scripture that spoke of “healing in His wings”. Today Christ has not changed, He still brings His healing power to the sick, recovery from the blindness in our souls. Jesus also brings forgiveness and restoration to those whose lives have been crushed or bruised by the problems in this world. He set at liberty those that are bruised.
Today, we live in the season of revelation, the light has come and has penetrated our hearts. As we celebrate this Christmas, our hearts are filled with gratitude, we remember the darkness that imprisoned our souls and we are thankful to be alive in the glorious liberty of sons and daughters of God.

RIVER KING JOY

RIVER KING JOY

Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him. “After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

Matt.2:7-10

One of the most beloved Christmas stories of all is the one about the wise men who came from the east. They came in search of the promised messiah who would come from the house of David to become the king of the jews. These men, who were probably some sort of astrologers, observed something in the heavens that caused them to leave everything in search of the greatest of all treasures. Have you ever had an interruption in your life that caused you to drop everything! These men did. They traveled hundreds of miles on foot (or on camels) in search of this promised king. When they found Him they were not disappointed. They rejoiced with exceeding great joy at the treasure they had found.
All of us know about joy, after all its what we are all looking for. When you find it, you discover your purpose in life. What kind of joy are you looking for this Christmas. Some are looking for joy found in winning the lottery (good luck with that), others are counting on a bonus at work to boost their Christmas cheer, or maybe you are looking for mistletoe joy, or just the pleasure in some time off from work or school. But that joy is not the same as the joy experienced by the wise men. They tasted the spiritual joy found only in the Presence of the King of Kings. Others may be satisfied with parties or momentary sensual diversions, but not you. You know there is more! When was the last time your joy overflowed. This joy is not determined by your financial state, our political status, or by that special Christmas gift. This is spiritual joy and it always seems to catch us by surprise. These wise men would have been satisfied with the birth of a great king or emperor, or so they thought, but when they found Jesus they knew they had found more than they expected. They were surprised by joy in the presence of the Lord. Most people sell themselves short in life, as C.S. Lewis says, “we are far too easily pleased”. Don’t be satisfied with just another holiday this year, like wise men of old, only settle for the real thing. Only settle for RIVER KING JOY.

RIVER KING PROPHETS

RIVER KING PROPHETS

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
MATT. 2:11

These men had come prepared to worship, they had brought gifts worthy of a king. But these gifts, these prophetic gifts, spoke about the days to come in this special infant king’s life. The first gift was gold, this is the royal gift that spoke of the kingdom of this unusual king. “Are you a king?”, the words were strangely familiar, the words of Pilate 33 years later. Yes, He was a king but His kingdom was not of this world. Kings are not born in mangers, they are born in palaces, unless their kingdom is not of this world. This special gift spoke of the coming eternal kingdom of this infant king. He has made us kings and priests, but our kingdom, like His, is not of this world.
The second gift was opened, frankincense, this was another gift of prophesy speaking about the heavenly ministry of this precious Savior. Incense speaks of the work of priests, it talks of prayer and worship. Of course, this is the heavenly priesthood of Jesus. Today Jesus is our heavenly priest, He represents the human race before the Father in His priestly ministry of intercession.
Finally, the last gift was opened. Joseph looked at Mary as she hugged her child closer to her breast, in her heart she knew the secret meaning of this gift of myrrh. This was a gift of spices to anoint this child for His burial. From the day He was born, He was not far from the cross. As the wise men slipped away to head for home, mixed feelings filled their hearts. They returned home another way to avoid Herod, but everyone there that day knew what the future held. The Word had been given, the prophets had spoken. “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.”
Today, these gifts from the wise men are still speaking to us. Have you received Jesus and His heavenly kingdom or are you still stuck in the kingdom of this world? Have you tasted the fellowship that comes to you from the Father as you enjoy the intimacy this heavenly priest has made available to all of us. Finally, have you stood with these wise men, gazing at the child in Mary’s arms knowing He came to die, He came to die for you? Embrace His love today, after all, He has loved you from eternity.

THE RIVER KINGS

THE RIVER KINGS

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matt. 2:9-11

These wise men had travelled hundreds of miles in search of something or someone, they were not quite sure who or what they were looking for. There was something strangely attractive that had brought them across the desert, looking for life itself. When they came to Herod, they were not impressed, their desires could not be satisfied by political or economic powers. When the scribes and the religious leaders were called they were still not content, they knew in their hearts they had come for more than religion or politics. There must be more, we all know that there is. Our unrealized expectations and our unsatisfied desires tell us that we were made for far more than this. As the wise men left Herod’s palace they knew their search was not complete, their hearts were longing for the supernatural world promised by the star they had followed from so far away. And then they saw it and they rejoiced with exceeding great joy, the star had reappeared and was leading them to the source of all life, The Desire of all Nations had come and they would not be denied. And then, the moment that they were born for happened, when they saw Him they fell down and worshipped Him. Suddenly, unexpectedly, they were on their faces lost in the worship of this infant king. Now they knew why they had come, this was the hope of all mankind, the King of the Ages had been born in lowly Bethlehem in Judea.
In all of our hearts there is a knowing that our lives were made for something beyond the natural limitations of this natural world. Our hearts are crying out, like the wise men of old, there must be more. We were created to be satisfied with nothing less than the Glory found in the Presence of this King. We all know, earthly power, influence, wealth, or even religion cannot quench the longing of our souls. We will never be satisfied until we join wise men of all ages on our faces, lost in the Glory of the infant King.

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.