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Do You Remember When Easter Focused on The Resurrection?

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When you think of Easter, what images immediately come to mind?

Church?

Jesus?

Candy Basket?

A New Outfit?

A Bunny?

An Empty Tomb?

White Lilly’s?

Colorful Eggs?

As with most things, the passage of time has clouded the meaning of the day we call Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. What was once a most sacred holiday, reserved for the remembrance and celebration of Jesus being raised back to life, now has become a convoluted mixture of the holy and the secular, with the lines distinguishing the two becoming more blurred with each passing year.

All that aside, this post is simply a reminder of the reason we celebrate Easter, which is that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and rose to life victorious over death, Hell, and the grave. Easter without the Resurrection would not be Easter. It would be just another day. The Crucifixion without the Resurrection would be just one more of a thousand deaths at the hands of the Roman executioners. The Resurrection, however, makes all the difference.

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:1-6 NKJV

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said“. Here, in this simple sentence comprised of just eleven words, is what I believe to be the most important announcement ever heard by mortal ears. Jesus, the slain carpenter from Galilee, is no longer among the dead but has risen in power and victory over no less than Satan himself. Contained in His resurrection is complete, eternal freedom from the shackles of sin that had bound mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15 KJV

The fear of death has always held men in bondage. The grave, and what is beyond, has always been the great unknown, a place where no one has returned from to tell the rest of us what awaits us when our time here is finished. Jesus Christ however used death to destroy the one who had the power over death, that being Satan.

 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. Romans 6:8-10 ESV

We who know Him as Lord have died to this world, raised in Spirit to live with Him. Death no longer has the hold on us that it once did. Yes, we will die physically, but the same power of Resurrection that brought Jesus out of the tomb will also bring us from the grave when the trumpet of God sounds.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1st Thessalonians 4:16 NKJV

The Resurrection may mean different things to each of us, but one thing we share in common is that it brings hope to the hopeless. I was once hopelessly lost in sin, as were you. As the old song says “I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe”. None of us could overcome death by ourselves, we needed a death conqueror to fight this battle for us and to win back the relationship that man once enjoyed with God.

This Easter, among the hustle and bustle, among the activities and family dinners, won’t you take a few moments to reflect upon this incredible thing we call the Resurrection?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Ron

How do you know that you know Him?

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Did you know that there is a fool proof test in the Bible for proving whether or not we know God? Yes, there really is and it’s found in 1st John 2:3.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

Wait, surely it can’t be that simple, can it? Just keeping His commandments means I know God? Yes, that’s exactly what it means and it really is that simple. If we know Him, we will keep his commandments. John goes on to explain this in a bit more detail in verses 5 and 6.

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

So if we keep His word (commandments), God’s love is perfected in us and we have full assurance that we are His. Furthermore, as God’s love is perfected in us those things that are not pleasing to Him fall off of us, enabling us to walk in the Spirit just as our Lord did.

Pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree? If we love God, we will do what he said to do. Easy Peasy!

Now, if you’re following along you may have noticed that I skipped verse 4. That was because verse 4 proves something entirely different than verse 3 does. In fact, verse four is often skipped entirely by those who are responsible for proclaiming the whole counsel of God. The reasons for that are many, but suffice it to say that in the ears of many today, verse 4 is considered harsh and unloving. See if you agree.

He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Ummm….can someone say “OUCH”!

How about we do a comparison, OK? Verse 3 tells us that if we keep His commandments, we are one of God’s children and know Him. Verse 4 says that if we say we know Him but do NOT keep his commandments, we do not know Him because we are a liar.

I’m certain that a great many people would find it offensive to be called out in such a manner. After all, isn’t the common response something along the lines of “you don’t know my heart, so how can you say such a horrible thing” when we are challenged?

But you, see, that’s just it. None of us can see inside another’s heart. None of us can judge the motives of others. Besides, that really isn’t what God has told any of us to do, despite what some may think. Yet God’s word bypasses all of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘how do you knows’ by simply breaking it down to whether or not we are keeping God’s word and living accordingly.

I don’t know how you feel about it, but it seems to me that in this day when what used to be wrong is now right and what used to be right is now wrong, something as simple as ” Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” is pretty refreshing.

Actually, the reason I’m writing this post is because of a personal desire to reconnect with a common, simple faith. A faith void of superlatives, outlandish claims, unreasonable (and unbiblical) expectations, and a host of man-made requirements. In short, the farther down the down-grade (to quote Spurgeon) the church appears to be headed, the more inclined I am to hold fast to the basic, simple truths of scripture.

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40 ESV

Have a blessed day everyone!

Ron

Some days I just need a reminder

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I don’t know about you dear friend, but every one in a while I need to be reminded of Heaven. When the sin and evil that permeates this world seems to have taken center stage and few if any dare raise their voices in protest, I need to be reminded that it won’t always be this way.

When the government passes legislation that effectively places the Scripture in the category of hate speech while essentially redefining the definition of male and female, I need to be reminded that the very God who created them male and female will ultimately judge those who dare to corrupt His creation. [1] [2]

When I see and hear actors and actresses receive yet another award for their incredible “gifts” to humanity all while blaspheming the name of the Lord when they exercise their craft, I need a gentle reminder that these are the sons and daughters of darkness. They are not to be idolized or worshiped, they are to be looked upon with pity and compassion for they are lost and in danger of eternal damnation.

Sometimes, I just need to go back and read Revelation chapter four again. I need a reminder of the fact that there exists a throne in heaven, and the One that sits upon the throne is the Lord of all. I need to be reminded of what John saw when he looked beyond the open door, for what John saw is what all of God’s children will see.

I need a reminder that the way things are now will one day be no more. That there exists a place where Holiness and Righteousness aren’t just words, but reality. A place where worship comes from the heart, and praise is heard day and night for ever and ever.

The Throne Room of Heaven: Revelation chapter four.

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

“You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.”

This, my friends, is where I long to be. Heaven, the dwelling place of God, surrounded by an innumerable company of angels as well as the saints who have already gone before me.

Some days, I just need a reminder…

Have a blessed evening,

Ron

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5

[2] Genesis 1:27, 5:2

A Fresh Perspective

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Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Psalm 73 has to be one of my favorites because it points to the fact that as a child of God, it is normal to question, to wonder, and yes, to doubt. The writer of this Psalm, Asaph, struggled greatly over the fact that while he was doing his best to serve God, the wicked were seemingly enjoying a continuous state of prosperity. This caused him no small amount of doubt, dismay, and confusion, as I’m sure it does with you and I today when it appears as though the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

To better understand his perspective, it’s important to know a little bit about Asaph. He was was from the priestly tribe of the Levites, and was one of the three men that David had put in charge of the singing part of their worship. In today’s religious circles he would be called a worship leader or a song leader. [1]

Despite his position and his loving relationship with the Lord, it did not prevent him from feeling as though he was getting the short end of the stick. While he was doing his best for the Lord, it appeared to Asaph that the wicked were living better than he was. In other words, if the wicked were prospering while at the same time living life on their own terms, why should he continue to walk the straight and narrow if the wicked were also being rewarded?

Have you ever felt this way? Have you been the person at work who is known for always taking the high road, for example, only to see someone of questionable conduct or character get the promotion? It happens all the time, doesn’t it? It’s enough to make you question what in the world is going on here, or at least say along with Asaph ” Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain“. [2]

Just like Asaph, when we feel unfairly taken advantage of or somehow slighted, questions and doubts begin to formulate in our minds. Our flesh, being what it is, causes us to be envious of the wicked who appear to be rewarded for their deeds, leaving us to wonder about the injustice of it all. Asaph himself said that he was envious of the boastful when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. [3]

The reality is that we live in a fallen world, a world of hurt, pain, and injustice. A world where what is fair and just has been supplanted with undeserved accolades being heaped upon the enemies of those who desire to do good and to follow God. In essence, the world seems to have done a 180 when it comes to what it considers right and wrong, just and unjust. Evil, it would seem, is rewarded while Godliness is reviled in our world today.

All of this of course was spoken about in the Scriptures, so no one should be surprised that it is occurring now. The truth is, none of this is new. It’s been happening for as long as man has inhabited this earth. Even Jesus said that the rain fell upon the just and the unjust. [4]

Still, believers are no strangers to doubts and struggles. After all, we have very real emotions, emotions that can get the best of us at times. It’s important then to remember that we are not robots, programmed to act and feel according to a preset narrative. 

Who doesn’t have ups and downs in their walk with the Lord? Like many of you, I can attest to the fact that sometimes our faith is strong and sometimes it is weak. There are times when we look at the world and it has no attraction for us. Other times it seems that we can’t stop looking and admiring the things of the world. Our humanity dictates that there will be times of strength and times of weakness.

Asaph allowed the seeming prosperity of the wicked to nearly shipwreck his faith. He describes how that in trying to make sense of it all that it became too painful for him. [5] We’re like that too, aren’t we? We can become so fixated on what others have or are doing that it consumes our every thought, causing us to lose sight of the big picture. Focusing on the perceived wrongdoings of others blinds us to the reality that God is the only one qualified to make righteous judgements.

It wasn’t until Asaph went into the sanctuary that God gave him understanding in the matters that were so troubling to him.  It was then that he saw that the end of the wicked was certain destruction. Yes, the wicked certainly do prosper in this life, we see it every day, but what really matters concerning them is the same thing that matters to the righteous: where will eternity be spent?

You might say that when Asaph went to church, he received a fresh perspective on things!

Once God enlightened Asaph regarding the end of the wicked, his heart was grieved and his mind was vexed at how foolish he had been not to trust that the Lord had all of this under control. It wasn’t until after he had entered the sanctuary and enquired of God that he was able to speak the words at the top of this post.

So what’s the lesson in all of this? Well, I think there are many things we can take away from this Psalm, but I want to highlight just three of them:

  1. While it is perfectly normal for us to question the injustice of wicked people prospering while the righteous suffer lack, such things are not for us to judge. God alone is righteous, therefore it is He who determines the fate of us all. This, of course, requires much faith on our part, as well as the strength to focus on our own particular calling.
  2. Sometimes the simple truth is that we need to take things to God in prayer. All of our mental wrangling over things that are beyond our ability to comprehend are best given to God. We can lay awake at night, tormented by a thousand “why’s”, only to have the sun rise upon them the next morning with nothing having been resolved. As Asaph learned, God has a different and higher perspective than we are capable of, and we can save ourselves much anguish by simply letting go of things that are outside of our own lane.
  3. Because it is a normal thing to question and doubt at times, we should use the lesson of Asaph to encourage other Christians when they too have struggles and doubts. This is far better than for us to haphazardly judge them, especially as we see so many struggling today.

I hope that you will take a few minutes today and read the 73rd Psalm in its entirety. In it you will find the answer to one of life’s greatest mysteries. I don’t know about you, but from time to time I need to see things from a fresh perspective.

Have a blessed day,

Ron

[1] 1st Chronicles 15: 17 [2] Psalm 73:13 [3] Psalm 73:3 [4] Matthew 5:45 [5] Psalm 73:16

The Balm of Forgiveness

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I’m writing this blog for no one in particular, yet it seems appropriate to say I am writing it for everyone.  I am writing it for the person overwhelmed with the guilt of past mistakes. I am writing it for those who have known the depths of discouragement and defeat. I am writing it for those who stumble under the weight of “if only” or “why did I?”. 

Most especially I am writing it for me.

Living, as we do, in a broken world, it is next to impossible to pass through it without accumulating our share of battle scars. Innumerable regrets, a multitude of sorrows, and days of desperation and hopelessness mark the road we have traveled. It’s enough to cause the strongest among us to ask “why bother?”.

The answer is because we have a Father in heaven who loves us and cares for us, and he has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). To put it plainly, what we cannot do in and of ourselves, God can. He alone can forgive us and blot out every sin, leaving us to stand before him without guilt.

The Psalmist David experienced the forgiveness of God on several occasions, one of which he wrote about in Psalm 32. This is one of the most beautiful and encouraging Psalms for it speaks of the soul rejoicing in the wonders of God’s grace and mercy. In this Psalm, we see God’s forgiveness of sin, we see Him comforting the sorrowful, and we take from it the knowledge that God is merciful to those who turn to him. 

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah

5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.

7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. Psalm 32;1-7.  NKJV

As David found out on more than one occasion, unrepentant sin is like having a huge weight around your neck. It wears you down and will eventually destroy you. The “heavy hand” that David speaks of is the conviction of our heart, and it will not go away unless God takes it away. Oh, how I thank God that in his compassion he removes our sins and casts them into the depths of the sea! (Micah 7:19)

If you’re carrying a heavy load of guilt and shame, you don’t have to carry them any longer. Jesus Christ bore your guilt and shame on the Cross, releasing you to live in freedom. All you need to do is turn your heart towards the Lord and ask Him to forgive you.

Have a blessed day!

Ron

Attending church in Canada will cost you $880

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I’ve been saying for some time on this blog that the church in North America will not always be free from persecution. Since I became a Christian nearly 45 years ago, I have held to the belief that the days of Christians freely going to worship God at the church of their choice would one day come with a price tag.

Well, the wait is over. As of now, attending church in Ontario Canada will cost you $880. That is the cost of each fine handed out to the 47 worshipers at the Aylmer Church of God in Aylmer, Ontario Canada who attended services recently in spite of continued threats from the government not to assemble in Church.

Apparently Ontario Premier Doug Ford is no fan of the church, as he has declared it illegal for the citizens of Ontario to gather in groups of more than 10 people for “non-essential” activities like attending church. I guess that means that groups deemed “essential” can still gather in groups of more than 10 people??

What is most intriguing about all of this is that while Ontario has been on lockdown for almost a month and has had just over 6,000 Covid deaths over the past 11 months, all but 230 of those deaths occurred in ages 60 or greater, and nearly all of those in nursing homes. So with a population of 15 million they have had an average of 552 Covid deaths per month. Yes, of course even one death is too many. I doubt anyone would argue that. Yet these numbers pale in comparison to the number of innocent babies aborted in Ontario. Hmmm….no outrage about that in Ontario.

What’s the real issue here? There is something sinister going on in Ontario in regards to the Christian church when the police act like Gestapo agents working under the cover of darkness to issue fines to people. It is obvious that the church has been singled out for persecution, as fines were also issued to people who sat in their cars or were in the church parking lot.

I am of the firm belief that the enemies of God’s church have been handed the perfect excuse to enact this persecution in the form of Covid. In the United States we have seen numerous instances of governmental interference of the right to worship, with more occurring weekly. Could anyone forget the images of thousands of maskless demonstrators terrorizing our communities, of whom hardly any were prosecuted, yet states governors ordering the closing of churches under the guise of preventing the spread of the virus by assembling to worship?

We are entering a dark and dangerous time when the freedom to worship is so easily denied those who wish to gather to exercise their right to do so. We must understand that what just happened in Ontario is no mere ruling out of concern for the health and welfare of its citizenry. No, what we are now witnessing is the embodiment of Paul’s discourse on spiritual warfare.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12. KJV

My earnest prayer for the church is that she will open her eyes to the truth about what is currently happening and to that which is soon to happen to those who will remain faithful to Christ. We cannot afford to walk around with spiritual blinders over our eyes any longer.

The days are coming my friends when $880 will seem to be a paltry sum to pay for the privilege of worshiping our Lord. I leave you with a final thought about the high price we must be willing to pay as children of God.

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-27. KJV

Have a blessed day,

Ron

This says it all

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I came across this several weeks ago and thought it worth sharing with everyone.

.

And that, dear friends, sums it up nicely I think. It’s long past time to stop playing the blame game for all of society’s ills. It’s time that we own our own sinful choices and acknowledge that we need to repent.

It’s a place to start….

Which is Greater?

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The sins of the nation, or the sins of the Church?

Say what you will, but the Almighty never called the House, the Senate, or the White House to be the standard bearer of righteousness to a nation. That high calling rests solely upon the Church. It was the Church that Jesus Christ charged with transforming the world, one heart at a time.

It was to the Church that Jesus said “I know thy works”. It was to the Church that Jesus said “I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love”. It was to the Church that Jesus said “repent and do the first works or else I will come and remove your lampstand from its place”. It was to the Church that Jesus said “But I have a few things against you”. It was to the Church that Jesus said “I have not found your works perfect before God”. It was to the Church that Jesus said “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. (Scripture references taken from Revelation chapters 2 and 3.)

The sins of this nation, as great as they are, pale in comparison to the sins of a complacent, sin-abiding, and dead Church. A Church that has not demanded righteousness from within, but instead has found its niche in bed with politicians, power brokers, financiers, and purveyors of spiritual wickedness in high places. A Church content to look the other way as millions of innocent babies are torn apart in the womb. A Church so emaciated and complacent, so utterly powerless to stand against the forces of Satan that are raging against her, that one has to wonder if the church of Laodicea shouldn’t get a free pass for its sins. A Church without any fight left in it. A Church that frankly Jesus Christ must weep over continually.

A Church comprised of you and me.

You tell me: which is greater? The sins of the Church or the sins of the nation?

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1st Peter 4:17 NKJV

Ron

Who But God?

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Have you ever thought about what it took for God to orchestrate the birth of Jesus Christ? I mean really thought about it? Well if you haven’t, pull up a chair and come along with me on a journey that tells the story of how God did the impossible time and time again, leaving us to wonder “Who But God”?

Shortly after the creation of man, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, thus bringing sin into the world. The stain of this original sin would be passed onto every person born. To rectify this, God tells us that a Savior would come from the seed of the woman, Eve.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15 NKJV

Though it seemed that Satan had the upper hand, God intervened immediately and said that this seed would be the one that would crush, or bruise the head of the serpent. This seed, of course, refers to Jesus Christ. Moses, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, wrote these words almost 1500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. All of which leaves us to ask “Who But God”?

Later on in the book of Genesis we find a man called Abraham. This man loved God more than anything or anyone. In fact, Abraham was willing to leave everything he knew just to obey God. He was even willing to sacrifice his son Isaac if that was what God wanted him to do. Sound familiar? It was through Abraham that God said He would bless all the people of the earth.

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 NKJV

God made a promise to Abraham that he would make of him a great nation, and that all people on earth would be blessed through him. This great blessing upon mankind points to the One who would redeem people from every tribe, tongue, and nation on the earth. One look at the genealogy of Jesus demands that once again we ask, “Who But God”?

Over 700 years before the birth of Jesus, a prophet by the name of Isaiah said that there would be a sign given to mankind to let them know that a Deliverer would one day come to Israel.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 KJV

This scripture points to the impossible, that a virgin would conceive a child. In all of human history, this is the only occasion where such a thing has happened, leaving us to marvel and ask, “Who But God”? This scripture reveals one of the many names associated with Jesus Christ: Immanuel. I love this name because it literally means God with us. This points to both His humanity as well as His divinity.

So precise was God’s plan that 800 years prior to Jesus being born, He told us the exact name of the town where His Son would be born.

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 NKJV

This might be a good time to interject a comment for those who may be reading this and are on the fence about whether or not you believe any of this. “Who But God” could speak through the prophet Micah to let the world know the exact name of the little town where the Savior would be born?

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in the dark street shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Finally, lets look at another Old Testament prophet who foretold the coming of the Savior. About the same time as Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would conceive, a prophet named Hosea wrote what could only be described as a reference to a future event about the Redeemer.

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt“.

This verse is very interesting because it looks back to Egypt, where Israel was held captive for over 400 years, but it also looks forward to a time when the Son of God would be called out of Egypt. Matthew recalled this prophecy as he recounted the events of Jesus earthly family fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod.

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called my son“. Matthew 2:14-15 KJV

“Who But God” could have decreed this event to such an extent? Think of the almost 2000 year history of man that led up to the birth of Christ. How many wars did Israel and Judah fight? How many times did God intervene on their behalf? How many kingdoms were subdued in order for the next in line of Judah’s kings take their place on the throne, all while knowing that there was yet to be a future King of Judah that would rule the world?

The story of Christ’s birth is miraculous on many fronts. From the beginning where God reminded Satan that there was coming a “seed” that would crush him, to all the Old Testament prophets who spoke of His coming, we are left to marvel at the awesome power of the only God who could bring all of this to pass.

This Christmas I am humbled by the sheer majesty of the Almighty. So much so that I am left without words, except to say “Who But God”?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ron

The Branch of Righteousness

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“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

These two verses (5-6) from Jeremiah chapter 23 were no doubt encouraging to a nation steeped in sin and suffering from deep corruption within the religious hierarchy of the day. Judah and Israel would soon fall into bondage, the promised punishment for their having abandoned the commands of God. Chaos was the order of the day, and lawlessness prevailed on an unparalleled scale. Yet even in the midst of their backsliding, God was looking to a new day.

I am reminded of these comforting verses as we approach the day in which we celebrate the coming of the promised Messiah. “Behold, the days are coming” remind us that the evil and injustice we see in our world today will not always be. Because of the Branch of Righteousness that came as the Redeemer of mankind, a better day is coming. And you and I are the beneficiaries.

This is why I have hope for the future. To be clear, my hope is not centered on this life, but the life which is to come. Because of God’s Branch, I have hope that one day Godly judgment will be the norm. I have hope that the day will come when the voice of crying will never be heard again. I have hope that one day there will never be another loved one leave us because of death.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord.

I’m ready. How about you?

Have a blessed day,

Ron

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