What Does Christmas Mean to the Christ from Whom It’s Named?

WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS REALLY MEAN TO JESUS???
Everyone has different opinions and different feelings concerning the meaning of Christmas. What were Jesus’ feelings about coming from the throne into a tiny body that was laid in a manger at Bethlehem? That’s the focus of my most recent upload to Radical About Jesus YouTube channel: “Let’s Not Get Stuck At The Manger”

Make listening to and sharing this message part of your Advent Celebration this year.




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Christmas Light

People all over the word are celebrating “Christmas.”  But many of them don’t even know the person whose name makes up the title of the season: CHRIST JESUS. Without Him and His sacrifice to pay for our sin and rebellion, there would be NO  Christmas season at all. He really is the light of the world. And He really is the reason for the season. Let’s continue to pray and preach the Gospel fervently and with great love, so that this year, more people will come to recognize the Christ who gives us Christmas.

WHITE-CHRISTMAS-TREE-MODERN-LIGHTS-2-Ana_J-PX

Oh Christmas tree, oh geometric Christmas tree,
Updated decoration of this century,
Combining old tradition with technology —
Eye-catching combination set for all to see.

I wonder if the architect has realized
That though his modern concept is a structural prize,
The Light that gives it meaning appeared to Moses’ eyes.
From burning bush to modern tree, it’s Jesus Christ.

 


photo courtesy of Ana_J @ pixabay

 

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We Have Our Own ‘Homing Device’

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
San Juan Capistrano Mission Photo by Jon at pdphoto.com

In the early morning of October 23 — just 11 days from today — thousands of swallows will lift off the grounds of the San Juan Capistrano mission, circle the mission once, and begin their pre-scheduled 7500-mile flight back to their home city of Goya, Argentina. They will have spent 7 months at the mission, enjoying the warm climate and excellent food — and offering their share of the work to keep the eco-system in its proper balance — particularly by destroying about a billion insects. But it will be time to go home, and those swallows will not fail to leave at exactly the appointed moment.

Their visit to the centuries-old California mission began in Goya at dawn on February 18 — as it has every February 18 for at least the past 200 years.  They arrived at Capistrano on March 19 — as they have for at least 200 years — and, yes, all the mission bells did ring, just as Leon Rene’s 1940’s song says.  There is a great celebration at the mission every year, and thousands of people turn out to welcome the birds to their summer home.  All events are planned well ahead of time because there is absolutely no doubt that these lovely swallows will be right on time.

Argentinian magazine correspondent Enrique Bermudez, who writes for Para Todos Magazine, has made a thorough study of the swallows. He says they fly most of their 7500 mile journey at an altitude of 6600 feet and fly at a speed of 18 miles per hour. His research shows that swallows are masters at following a flight plan that takes advantage of every favorable wind. And somehow, in spite of all kinds of unpredictable natural events, they arrive exactly at the appointed time on March 19, year after year after year. How awe-inspiring is that?

Well, it must be pretty inspiring for the majority of people because the event has been immortalized in word and song for decades now. Unfortunately most people any distance away cannot be present to celebrate the event, but most all of us have the privilege of witnessing a similar miracle right in our own back yards if we care to take notice. Most of us have “closer-to-home” birds that migrate north and south at exactly the right time every year — returning at the same appointed time when the seasons change.  In my neck of the woods, the most prominent migratory birds are the geese, and their v-shaped flight patterns make designs across our skies for several weeks each fall as they follow their God-given homing devices to their places of winter refuge.

And so it is in every little burg and hamlet across the planet. Then when spring pops out from under winter’s blanket, ducks, geese, and birds of various sorts find themselves on the move again, and without fail, all the members of each species of bird know exactly where they are going. Just like the Capistrano swallows, they all have this built-in guidance system that we call “instinct.”  It’s an internal radar, given to them by their Creator, that doesn’t fail to take them exactly where they need to go: south in the winter, north in the summer, and even to the highest rafters of the crumbling mission at San Juan Capistrano.

But what about us?  People.  Do we have our built-in homing device turned on?  Is it keeping us focused on our perfect destination? No matter what the season in our lives, our perfect place of safety and fulfillment is always the same place: The Almighty, Eternal, Living God.

What time is it in your life? Is it time to migrate to a new place in your spiritual walk? Do you find yourself feeling the need to live on a higher plane? Or is it getting a little dark and cold where you are now, causing you to long for more warmth and light and nourishment?

Well, the Word of God makes it clear that we each have a built-in homing device with its own internal radar. That Word tells us that we do not have to “anxiously look about us,” trying to find our path. (Isaiah 41:10). All we have to do is set our hearts on the one who created that homing device. (Prov. 3:6).  And even more directly, we are told that we will find Him through Jesus Christ, who is “the way” into the heart of that Creator. (John 14:6).

Do you have your radar zeroed in on the almighty God of the universe? If so, you have a fantastic journey ahead of you.  If not, maybe this changing season is a good time to make an adjustment.




 

Joyful Medicine

JOY PEOPLE - CREDITS - darker


There is healing in joy, and God’s Word tells us that He gives us His own joy to deliver us from heaviness, to strengthen us, and to work as a medicine in our bodies and souls:

 
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!”  (Philippians 4:4).

 
“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5).

 
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.”  (Psalm 30:11).

 
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted … to bind up the brokenhearted, to comfort all who mourn … giving them the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.”  (Isaiah 61:1-3).

 
“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10).

 
“A joyful heart is good medicine.”  (Proverbs 17:22).

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Living In The Miraculous

A guest post by Ted Pavloff

hands-reaching-gold-blurred1“And at the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number; to such an extent that they even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. And also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits; and they were all being healed.” Acts 5:12, 14-16 (NAS).

It should be impossible to read the Book of Acts without being in a state of awe and wonder. From the Day of Pentecost, when they were baptized and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the apostles lived and ministered in the reality of the miraculous every day. And all of that blessing and power and gifting was not reserved just for them, but even laymen like Philip and Stephen moved powerfully in the Holy Spirit, shaking entire cities.

Angels appeared to those who obeyed the directions of the Holy Spirit and unlocked their chains. The world even experienced the first automatic door as Peter walked out of prison, following the instructions of an angel. In our text, Peter was so anointed that even people touched by his passing shadow were instantly healed. Healed cripples were leaping and dancing through the Temple concourse. All the power that was vested in Jesus when He walked the earth was now poured out upon the believers, and as Jesus predicted, they now embarked on the road of doing even greater things than He did. The result — through the power of the Holy Spirit, wimps were turned into warriors; the sick, blind, and crippled were healed; restoration and deliverance were the order of the day wherever the believing apostles and lay believers went.

Well, what about today? The truth is, we need more of Jesus, more of His saving, healing, and miraculous power, more of the presence of the Holy Spirit than in any previous generation. But can we have it? The answer is a big Yes! But take a look at the early church. The believers of the Book of Acts knew the cost of miraculous living, and they joyfully paid the price. In the midst of their new-found infilling of power, they constantly sought the face of the Lord — that is, they were a praying people. From chapter 1 verse 1, to chapter 28 verse 31, it tells how prayer moved God; regardless of their circumstances.

Some people today get wonderfully saved, even baptized in the Holy Spirit, but somehow soon find themselves in a state of confusion. Notice the case of Paul: struck down on the Damascus Road, he was out of commission; in fact blinded and totally helpless. Nothing happened until he prayed. He prayed for three days, and during that time he got to know Jesus in a true, intimate way. Even though he was a new convert, he needed no counselor, no prophet, no word of knowledge; he never felt the need to run all over the Middle East looking for someone to give him a “word.” Why? Because he prayed, and prayed, and prayed. As a result, he heard the Lord say, “I will show you. Go; just keep in touch.”

God moved powerfully with Paul, Peter, and all of the believers in that day, to bring the message of salvation and Holy Spirit baptism to the Gentiles. All through the Book of Acts we see phrases like “God said to them.” “The Lord said,” “The Holy Ghost said.” “The angel of the Lord said.” Those praying saints got the clear and unmistakable Word of God with amazing clarity.

There is a teaching in the land today that says you pray only once, or even not at all — just believe. And if you pray more than once over the same issue, you are demonstrating unbelief. This is contrary to the teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures. Prayer is God’s idea; He invented it and expects — and in facts pleads for us to use it. When you pray, and bring alongside believing faith, obedience, studying and meditating on the Word, then you have the greatest power in the universe working for you. Under this kind of covering, prayer will be the switch that closes the circuit and allows the surge of power to perform the miraculous.

This truth is all through the Bible. Abraham’s faith was so strong it was counted to him as righteous. Yet he ran to the altar of God over and over again to pray. Moses had a one-on-one relationship with his Jehovah, yet he was a persistent pray-er. And Elijah: when he prayed for rain, he sent his servant seven times to look for a cloud. And they kept at it all the way to victory. You don’t give up. Then how about Daniel? It took 21 days of praying, along with some fasting and weeping, but did he ever get an answer!

God wants to talk to us, and He wants us to talk to Him. The promises in His Word are numerous and every one answered “yes and amen in Christ Jesus.”(2 Cor. 1:20). Beloved, He is calling to His Holy Remnant (that’s us) to be found faithful in prayer. And like He did the saints of old, He will lift us to that miraculous realm wherein we walk as prayer warriors. If we take the time to be closed in with Him, we will walk in that realm.

God’s will is His Word, and His Word is His will. The Scriptures say that faith comes by His Word. Then we activate that faith by our prayers — the pathway to having our needs met and living in the miraculous. Glory!



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