Inspiration and Encouragement – December 2021
(1) “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (2) (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (3) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. (4) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) (5) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (6) And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (7) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (8) And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (9) And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (10) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (13) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, (14) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
A Merry Heart
The Boy Who Wanted a Reward
A lady lost her handbag in the bustle of Christmas shopping. It was found by an honest little boy and returned to her. Looking in her purse, she commented, “Hmmm…. That’s funny. When I lost my bag there was a $20 bill in it. Now there are twenty $1 bills.” The boy quickly replied, “That’s right, lady. The last time I found a lady’s purse, she didn’t have any change for a reward.”
Shopping too early
It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the prisoner, “What are you charged with?” “Doing my Christmas shopping early”, replied the defendant. “That’s no offense”, said the judge. “How early were you doing this shopping?” “Before the store opened.”
John R Rice: “You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.”
Corrie Ten Boom: “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.”
Vance Havner: “Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts, the gift of God to man – His unspeakable gift of His Son, and the gift of man to God – when we present our bodies a living sacrifice.”
The Virgin Birth
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The virgin birth of Jesus was foretold by the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before it took place. This prophecy was fulfilled just as God said and he used Mary for that purpose. Matthew 1:22-23 (22) “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, (23) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
When Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation all was well. Genesis 2:7 “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 soul.” They lived in the Garden of Eden which was a perfect paradise and there was no sin in the world at that time. God made man to fellowship with him in perfect harmony. Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden until the day that they listened to the lie of the devil and sinned against God.
The love of God was so great that he would not give up on his prized creation. He knew mankind would need a savior and the only one who could fulfill that role was Jesus. Romans 8:3 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” In order for this to be a reality Jesus would have to be born of a virgin. If he was born with a sin nature like anyone else then he would need a savior himself. 1 Peter 1:19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” The virgin birth is an essential element of the Christian faith.
This was the only virgin birth ever to take place on this earth and there will never be another one. Luke 1:34-35 (34) “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Because Jesus was born of a virgin he could be our perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus has the power to forgive us and cleanse us from all our sins when we put our faith in him. If you have not put your trust in him make this the best Christmas ever and receive God’s gift of eternal life today. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
More than Conquerors
The Shepherds and the Lamb of God
Text: John 1:36 – “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”
The Sign of the Lamb: Bethlehem was the place where the priestly shepherds raised the lambs used for the sacrifices in Jerusalem. Micah 4:8 “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” The shepherds had a two-story tower. On the top level of the tower one of the shepherds would watch the flock in the field. On the lower level the shepherds would aid the new birth of the lambs. They would take them and put them in swaddling clothes and lay them in a manger. Once the little lamb calmed down then they could go to their mother.
Bethlehem is where the lambs were born and Jerusalem is where they would die. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and he was crucified in Jerusalem. The shepherds were very familiar that these lambs would be sacrificed until the messiah would come. The lambs were an object lesson of an innocent lamb paying for someone else’s sin. This is what the messiah would one day come to do and would be the sacrifice for the sin of all mankind. The lambs had to be without blemish and Jesus was without sin. The angels came to the priestly shepherds who would have been the only ones out there on a cold winter night. Luke 2:11-12 (11) “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (12) And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The shepherds had the witness of the angels and a sign of the baby being wrapped in swaddling clothes which they knew exactly what it signified. They were so excited about this truth they left immediately to find him. Luke 2:16 “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” They came to Jesus the night of his birth.
The Sacrifice of the Lamb: This sacrifice was pictured and prophesized in the Old Testament. Exodus 12:13 “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” It was fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus. 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Jesus died for our sins. Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” He was brutally beaten and suffered greatly in his crucifixion.
The Submission of the Lamb: Jesus did not speak in his own defense nor complain about his sacrifice. Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” He willing gave his life, it was not taken from him as no man has the power to take it from him. John 10:18 “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
The Salvation by the Lamb: Jesus washes away all of our sin when we trust him as our savior by faith. Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Jesus paid our sin debt in full. John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” There is nothing left that needs to be done on God’s end and we only need to receive the gift of eternal life that is offered to us. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.” He rose from the dead and now we can have eternal life in Jesus because he conquered death. Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” If you have not asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be your savoir then please call on him today and make this the best Christmas ever.