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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, December 8, 2014

FOLLOW THE STAR TO BETHLEHEM




"Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. . .We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."  Matthew 2: 1-2

 Once upon a time, over 2,000 years ago. . .I remember as a child how excited I'd get when I heard those words, "Once upon a time." I knew I'd be hearing a good story. The story of the birth of Jesus is a favorite because it is a true story of God coming to earth as a man. Scholars will pick apart the details, argue about the precise place and time, but down through the ages the story of Jesus remains with us, as true, intact and enticing as ever.

 I purchased this plaster image of Jesus many years ago. It hangs on our denim blue bedroom wall. I don't need an image to remind me that I am a child of God and that He sent Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. But I do love it and often smile when my eyes meet His. The Holy Spirit reminds me daily that I can have peace and experience joy, no matter what is happening in the world or circumstances that surround me. Jesus is my stabilizer in a rocky, uncertain world. The wall plaque reminds me of my good childhood friend, Lucy, and the day we found this artwork in a little store in Carlsbad, CA. She often visited us around Christmas time. Lucy has been in heaven with Jesus for many years now; one of my eternal friends.

At this time of year, you will often see photos of huge, beautifully decorated Christmas trees from all over the world. A little boy once asked me, "Why do all the trees have a star on top?" It was a great opportunity to tell him the story of Jesus and how three men from Persia followed a star that led them to Jesus so they could worship him. The 'Wise Men' were aware of the prophesy in Numbers 24:17. Moses wrote. . .

"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter (king) will rise out of Israel."

Moses was writing about Jesus who wasn't born until 1200 years later. In my book, Blogging God's Word, I wrote about prophesy and how important it is to have "the assurance that Biblical prophesy is accurate, has been validated and is worthy of our trust."

 * Micah 5:2 predicts that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem 500 years before his birth.

 * Malachi 3:1 wrote in the 5th century B.C. that a 'messenger' would come to prepare the way for Christ. This was John the Baptist and you can read about him in John 1.

 * Isaiah wrote 700 years before the birth of Christ in 7:14 a virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call him 'Immanuel' which means, 'God with us'.

 * Isaiah 9: 6-7 tells us that this son would have "the government on his shoulders" and he would be called "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." This verse so clearly shows that the Father and the Son are One God. The prophesy speaks to the second coming of Christ when the whole world will recognize Him as the King of Kings.

         "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

         "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2: 6 - 11.

This is why the world lights up with a magic seen at no other time of year. Some may say that His death and resurrection were much more important. If Jesus had not died for our sins and be resurrected to new life, we wouldn't have a Savior, and we'd need to pay for our own sins. That would be very uncomfortable to say the least. Heaven is eternal life in the presence of God (and all the others who believe - maybe even your pets) eternal death is separation from God and all that is good.

        In my book, I point out that there are over 300 prophesies detailing the coming of baby Jesus. Jesus actually fulfilled every one in detail. A Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, Peter W. Stoner, wrote in 'Science Speaks' that if you apply accurate principles of probability, the chances that one person in history could fulfill just 8 of these prophesies is 1 in 10 to the 28th power. The number would look like this. . .

1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

 This is very impressive, even for those who are not easily impressed! But who would think this could be less; Jesus is a very impressive Person!

I've travelled to many places in the world. One of the most fascinating spots on earth is Bethlehem, in fact, all of Israel. Where you are able to walk where Jesus walked; where you can see the place of His birth, a cave really, protected by the oldest surviving church in the Holy Land - Basilica of the Nativity built by order of the Roman Emperor, Constantine in A.D. 326. You can see two possible sites of the 'Shepherd's Field' where an angel appeared to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds and imagine his mother placing her baby in an animal feeding trough we call a manger. This 'first coming' of Jesus was as a humble servant of man. He cured people from disease and disabilities, fed, encouraged, washed the feet of His disciples and withstood a horrible death for those He loved. Along with the angel, a "heavenly host" suddenly appeared praising God and saying. . .

"Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on

whom his favor rests."  Luke 2:14

This verse doesn't say 'everybody', but to men (human beings) on whom His favor rests. Does His 'favor' rest on you? Not sure? Ask Him to rest His miraculous favor on you, personally. He never says 'NO' to those who ask.

I wish all my readers a very nice Christmas and pray that you will have great peace and joy in your life because you know the Savior. Jesus is the Light that takes away the darkness.

Thank you Lord for coming to our rescue. Help us to you that you are the Shepherd and we are your sheep. Light that star of Bethlehem in our hearts.