Why Christmas is so important.
by Ric and Mary Joyner
The new baby lay in the manger. Mary knew and Joseph knew that the King of the Universe, Maker of heaven and earth, and yes, Creator God was lying helpless as a baby, like all people born into the world. They named Him Y'Shua, aka Joshua. God is with us...Come to save us.
As the night grew colder in the Israel *winter, the hay grew warmer. The rumble of many feet hurrying toward Joseph and Mary caused some concern to the new mother and father. Just then shepherds burst into the stable and shouted and pointed all at once: "Just as the angel said there would be a baby, "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Their conversation shouts all blended into one loud joyful noise. As the shepherds marveled at the "sign" given by God, Mary also remembered her "sign." She reverently recalled what the angel told her, "The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason, the holy Child shall be called the Son of God."
As the shepherds continued to share what they saw to the new parents, Joseph thought back to discovering Mary being pregnant and the angel said to him, "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
The shepherds exploded into praise to God, singing psalms as they saw the presence of God in a baby. Mary and Joseph looked at each other with grateful worship toward God. God orchestrated confirmation of their angelic signs, which so many months before, led them to this stable, and their Messiah being born.
The Anointed one from God IS HERE. HE WAS FORETOLD, and now HE IS WITH US!
No one in the stable could fathom the future or the questions to ask. But in 2019, since we know the story ending, let's ask some questions. Why did the King of the Universe come in such a poor state? Answer: To show that we need nothing from this world expect dependence on God, and He will give us all we need if we seek His Kingdom rulership in our lives. Our home is not this world but with Him. Matthew 6:33
Lord, why did you make Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem? Answer: To fulfill prophecy. And to involve the whole world in His birth even though the world did not know. But today, the world does know. Our God is in control of everything. Micah 5:2
He was born in Bethlehem. Hebrew for "House of Bread." He is our bread from heaven. Just as Joseph saved the world with bread by God's power, Christ came to save us with Himself the true bread from heaven. John 6:35
He came to save us by conquering our real enemy, sin. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:2 The wages of sin is physical and eternal death. Romans 3:23
As He approached the cross, carrying our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ must have thought of each one of us. Our sins are piling up each day by what we say and do. Christ came to save us from this "sin debt." Our sin debt is why we need a savior. Let us take our sin and put it on the Savior and thank Him. Because He forgave us, so now let us generously forgive others. Now we can go and sin no more based on His power in us. How? He is the word of God come in the flesh for us. Let's study His word starting today as a grateful gift to Him with a thankful heart.
As Christmas Day dawns, remember the Angel visitations and the Glory of God singing into the night for the whole earth. Let us celebrate with the heavenly host our Savior's birth. God has come to save.
**We don't know exactly when Christ was born. It could have been fall or early spring or winter. Either way, it was when sheep could be in a field without crops and that includes the winter.See full post & comments
Revival comes when people in the Church decide sin is not more attractive than obedience to God’s word. (Repentance) Here is the problem in the church; many people that say they love God are going through the motions and not reading the bible to obey it. This then gives an opportunity to the enemy of our souls. Porn in the church is a horrible sin. Revivals that start don’t last if they are based on emotions, and “signs and wonders” seeking. Getting serious about sin and God's rule in our life is where our hearts and minds must focus. Not feeling it? Then ask for help. Honesty with God and face down in repentance will start a revival in our hearts. This then will encourage others to search for this “new heart” of revival. These are the revivals that last. Biblestudycompany.comSee full post & comments
Have you been subjected to these endless and unscriptural memes? Did you know that this is actually a lie? There is nowhere in scripture that God said any such thing. So, this is coming from man to inspire your sinful nature. Listen, folks, we at Biblestudycompany.com are dedicated to recognizing we are hopelessly lost sinners that are offending God by our actions, attitudes, and thoughts---unless we repent and ask for Jesus Christ to save us. If you prayed a sinner’s prayer and continue in a lifestyle that is unbiblical…no memes will help you at the judgment. Without Jesus Christ’s intervention into human history, to die a criminal’s horrible death we have no salvation. Shall we then live as we lived formerly? He is our Creator. This is His world and YOU ARE A GUEST. He made us a for a purpose and that was to serve Him and obey His word. But, we can’t in and of ourselves. We must turn to Him for help and change. Do that today. Your next breath is a gift from God. There may not be another. Please share this to spread the gospel. Let us know if you decided to join us in living a praiseworthy life to God.See full post & comments
The most weighty thing has me contemplating with the events recently of loss of family and friends. Mortality. We are finite. We all know it. But I am concerned that I don't act like I am. Meaning that as Mary and I continue studying Scripture together through these tumultuous times, sadness and fondness of remembering those we lost, we can begin to see the power and majesty of the God Who Created us. This is His world and His agenda. We are His creation and have a purpose. But He gave us a free choice to live our lives either for Him or not. Consequences arise from the perspective Mary and I choose because we will give an account to Him one day. Romans 14:10-12 “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." 12
Are you ready to give an account of yourself to God? You can be but how?
So Mary and I want to get this life right according to what God says on how we should live. This has been our discussion and growing passion. We will shed this body at some point... that is the weight. I am mortal. The next weight is standing before Him to give an account. That is the weightious of all. As we go through another loss (of a brother-in-law mother, friend with cancer and friend’s wife) I am reminded of this weight.
And then Christ said it too! Matthew 28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. 32“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Watching my dear friend Owen Pach with cancer at 65 and sitting by his bedside was heart-wrenching. But then asking him about his relationship with God, that we often talked about, and he confessed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He forgave his sins AND THEN a few days later he was gone and this has made this pressing for the two of us. I KNOW I will see him again! 😢😔😊
Thus, this is the clearest picture I can see of God whose world this is and how much He loves us because every hair is numbered! My friend’s hairs were numbered. The few that remained. 🙂
The final weight is this: These losses are spurring me (us) to faith in Jesus Christ who gives assurance of eternity (John 3) and to ask in faith for His help to obey His Word. For encouragement or comfort.
Musings for the daySee full post & comments
You may think this post will be about Saul of Tarsus who met Christ on the road as he was hunting down the followers of Christ. The Christians were fleeing Jerusalem for Damascus Syria from the “face of death” and the confiscation of their belongings because they loved Christ.
I posted the previous blog about worshipping in the face of fear. What do you do with fear and anxiety as a Christian? The kind of anxiety that causes your chest to squeeze and you lay awake staring at the ceiling thinking of all the possible scenarios that the media is telling you.
We went to bed Saturday night (10th) with the news telling us that we were a bullseye for unprecedented destruction. My friends who were staying to ride out Irma were now fleeing due to mandatory evacuations! The potential catastrophic scenarios were played out over and over on T.V. We chose to worship. We did not pray an agenda that the hurricane would go away. We prayed that we would know what to do afterward to rebuild our lives and how we could help others while we may need help. Should we stay or go from Florida, our home? We prayed for our friends. We prayed for those who had suffered already and those about to be hit. We were terrified. That word carries no feelings. The best way to describe terrified is a racing heartbeat, and our appetites fled like those running from the hurricane! Our joints ached from holding in the stress. We had to take long breaths and let them out slowly as we answered texts and Facebook posts from well-wishers. Sometimes we shook, and our hearts felt like rubber and that they would stop at any moment. And we worshipped by reading psalms back to the Lord.
Rewind a week to September 2. As Mary and I left Florida for Madison WI to spend time with our family, and friends until the end of September, we got word of Irma forming in the eastern Atlantic. It was winding up fast and headed toward the Caribbean. Lord, what should we do? Do we turn back around and make the house more “bullet” proof than what we had already prepared? Or should we let our family back in St. Petersburg finish up? We decided on the latter.
I sensed from the Lord that “you are not to worry about this hurricane.” Did I just really think that? Had I just said this to myself to feel better? So, I shared with Mary, and she had the same sense and an unusual calm about Irma. But the media was telling us we SHOULD WORRY. This storm was of monstrous proportions and ferocity. So was Saul of Tarsus. He had a small army chasing innocent people. Can I catch a glimpse of their fears with Irma? They had no control over Saul, and we had no control over Irma.
Fast forward “all Irma news week” to last Sunday (11th) morning at church. The night before I was beside myself with fear while watching the news coverage. I suffer from worry and anxiety caused by “what ifs” and “I should not have or should have done something different,” and “I wouldn’t be in this mess if I would have_____________”(fill in the blank).
Did I hear you correctly Lord, not to worry? I doubted myself. Why was He strangely silent all week because I pleaded with Him to give further confirmation that I heard correctly or not so what could be the reason He isn’t answering me? Now I worried that I sinned somehow and was letting the Lord down by not believing correctly? You can see my head was spinning. Storm, monster, fear, the news is predicting catastrophe, etc. I am writing honestly.
We went to a church in Madison WI. The worship team began singing uplifting worship songs. I was pulling my emotions along and trying to leave my fear aside, which wasn’t working well. I then saw the worship leader decide to change songs. The song she chose was going through the storms of life with the Lord! I was stunned by this song selection. I was appreciative of the lyrics and the quality of the worship team. As I sang, I had tears. Then a sense of love and care from God came pouring over me like cold fresh water. I thanked Him for being so supportive to our family and worshipped again for our safety. Our physical possessions a concern but our Florida family was safe.
After the worship concluded I asked to share that we were from Florida visiting and were in a state fear due to hurricane Irma. We brought Florida and H. Irma to this little church in Madison WI. The face of destruction was staring us down. The early Christians were running too from destruction. I held back tears as I tried to share. Someone came over to pray for us. The pastor shared a message about the name of God being a mighty Creator and that He is in control.
I had wanted to hear from the Lord, and it finally came through the worship and message of the pastor. But then I remember the disciples in the storm-tossed boat and Peter asked to leave the boat and go out to the Lord who was walking on water in the midst of the storm. And the thought came to me: “If you are going to step out of the boat in faith - don’t look at the storm, but instead keep your eyes focused on the Creator who controls the storm….”. The “storm” in this case was watching the media. So, the lesson was clear. I had heard from the Lord about not worrying about this storm a week earlier. I did take a step of faith but chose to focus on the storm. But through my mistake of not keeping my eye on Him, He taught me a great deal about my worry and fear that plagues my life. I have a new brick in my foundation and a deep heart healing over fear. But in a relationship with God, aren’t the purpose of trials and circumstances to change us? Don’t they show us what is “in” us so we can work with Him to receive healing? And secondly, He was loving and caring to help heal my fears by giving me a great life lesson.
Back to the story. The rest of Sunday I had not watched any news of the storm and had a growing peace. It was more like joy. A quiet knowing joy that all would be well as I had originally heard a week earlier, but this time my mind focused on Him, and my fears were abating. As the storm unfolded towards midnight, what the news was reporting and what was happening on the ground were remarkably different, so different that I will not use the news media for information on storms. I will use radar and graphing models to watch the track.
My brother texted me that he was going outside as the eyewall had just passed near St. Petersburg and I looked on the radar, and it was true! Another friend texted and said that light wind and rain was happening. The news was not reporting this! Before the eyewall was passing, they had moderate rain, which is nothing unusual for a summer storm in Florida but which included 60 miles an hour winds which caused lots of damage. But not the damage that was T.V. predicted. Why Tampa/St. Pete was spared I will never know?
The two lessons are: We worship regardless of the outcome, and the second lesson is if you are going to step out of the boat in faith - keep an eye on Jesus our Creator - not the storm.
And this blog post is about the Damascus Road experience that was a major event in Paul’s life and the life of Christians. Paul met Christ on the road to Damascus. And we met Christ through the good people of Damascus Road Church in Madison WI.See full post & comments
Today is Saturday, a day before a monster hurricane explodes on Florida. It’s a storm the size of Texas that wants to devour our little state. You may be asking questions like, “What if my home gets destroyed? Where will we live? What if my friends and family don’t evacuate? What if they don’t survive? Why is this happening to me?”
We’re scared because we live in the storm’s path, but how do we handle the crippling anxiety?
When the storm was predicted to travel east, some of my dear friends decided to stay in Florida. Now they’re trapped in low areas, because the storm decided to move west – we can never predict the movement of monsters.
I’m a worrier to begin with, but my heart aches over the fear and terror. We’re all safe in Wisconsin, but I worry for my friends. God is helping me as my Father in Heaven to work through this anxiety. He is in control. I looked into the worried eyes of my son-in-law, who also lives in Florida, and saw the question form in his mind, “What will happen?” I have no answers, and that’s the definition of not being in control – that’s the root of our fears. Do you think this is how people live in war torn areas? Where do we turn? What do we do?
We should worship.
People are yelling on social media, “FLORIDA AND TEXAS DESERVE THIS! THEY VOTED FOR TRUMP!” or "THIS IS A JUDGEMENT FROM GOD". What they don’t know is that 50% of people didn’t vote for Trump – even in churches. Both concepts makes me so sad. The kind of sadness where tears well up. Who can crawl into the mind of God, and who would project devastation on people for not agreeing with their political views? What has happened to our country?
I love Christ, and I love people. Let’s walk through this together. Whoever you are, I will be by your side just like Christ would. Like Acts 2, we are in a situation where we need to share our resources to overcome this trial. And Hurricane Irma is certainly a trial.
Let’s get back to worship. Worship in Hebrew means to bow down to someone or some THING. When studying Exodus, Mary and I learned how the Children of Israel (us) reacted to God and situations by complaining. The Israelites panicked when an army of angry Egyptians was at their doorstep, and instead of looking to God they COMPLAINED to Moses and God.
Mary and I realized that this is what people do too – we complain about trivial things. So we decided to put ourselves in God’s hands, and even though it looks bleak or that we may die, we will worship. It’s OKAY to be fearful of a giant hurricane. Being worried about our homes and the people close to us is okay too. These aren’t trivial things in our lives.
As we know from Scripture, God made a way for the Israelites through the Red Sea and we will go through Hurricane Irma. He was showing the Hebrews that even going through tough times and impossible situations we can trust Him. He has proven this to us time and time again.
So, as I write this with fear in my heart of what could happen to my friends and my home, I get on the floor and bow my face to the One who will see us through. I worship Him because He is in control.
Does it relieve my fear? If I’m being honest, not really. But I do have peace in my heart that comes during times of fear and panic.
I don’t have a formula for how to be a Christian, because it doesn’t exist. Why? Because we should be in a relationship with God, not a religion. I love God, and I will show Him through worship in the face of fear, and praise Him in the face of panic and stress.
So I ask you to get on your knees with me and honor our God, whether He turns the storm or not. He is worthy of our lives, and worthy of our praise because He paid the price for us on the cross to redeem us from our sins.
My definition of worship is this: “praising and loving God in the midst of fear and stress before we know the outcomes.” I will grab a psalm and read it back to Him because sometimes I can’t find the words. I am scared of you…who read this…because I may sound like a crazy person. Yes, crazy because I love Jesus Christ and trust in Him for all the situations, even though scared half to death and HE WILL TAKE US THROUGH.
Worship God with me in this rare opportunity to praise Him before we know the outcome. Let’s love our brothers and sisters whatever comes our way.See full post & comments