Daily Archives: December 24, 2019

December 24 A Personal Promise

Scripture Reading: John 14:1–4

Key Verse: John 14:2

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Jesus came to earth with the view of offering you salvation. He wanted you to have a restored relationship with the Father, a relationship that was so close, so intimate, that you would have your special place in the Father’s house (John 14:1–4). In John 14:2, Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

Christmas is the holiday that we celebrate God coming to make His home with us for a season, so that He could make our eternal home with Him in heaven. Charles Wesley describes the relationship Jesus came to establish:

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings.

Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King.”

Christ’s birth was God’s reaching out to you. Celebrate the season. Rejoice in the knowledge that God loves you so much that He left all the glories of heaven in order to build a loving relationship with you. Christmas means you have a home in heaven waiting for you. That should make more than the angels sing!

Lord, I am so grateful that through the death of Your Son, Jesus, my relationship is restored with You and I have a home in heaven waiting for me.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 375). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

How the Creator of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Got the Gospel Past CBS Execs | NewsBusters

Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a tradition for millions since it first aired on December 9, 1965. While many love the iconic Vince Guaraldi score, the humor and the animation, one part of the special has always stood out and made it unique: Linus’s recitation of the Gospel of Luke.

Explaining the true meaning of Christmas in a network television special broadcast to millions was a controversial move, even 54 years ago. In 2015, The Washington Post published a retrospective on A Charlie Brown Christmas. Michael Cavna explained Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s mission in making the special:

Charles Schulz insisted on one core purpose: A Charlie Brown Christmas had to be about something. Namely, the true meaning of Christmas. Otherwise, Schulz said, “Why bother doing it?”

To Coca-Cola’s credit, Mendelson says, the corporate sponsor never balked at the idea of including New Testament passages. The result — Linus’s reading from the Book of Luke about the meaning of the season — became “the most magical two minutes in all of TV animation,” the producer says.

Schulz stood strong, despite efforts to talk him out of quoting from the Bible. On December 5, 2005, USA Today recounted: 

[Executive producer Lee] Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez fretted about the insistence by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that his first-ever TV spinoff end with a reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke by a lisping little boy named Linus.

We told Schulz, ‘Look, you can’t read from the Bible on network television,’ ” Mendelson says. “When we finished the show and watched it, Melendez and I looked at each other and I said, ‘We’ve ruined Charlie Brown.’ “

According to a recounting on MentalFloss.com, CBS executives also told Schulz: “You can’t read from the Bible on network television.” 

Mental Floss writer Kara Kovalchik recounted what happened next:

But CBS had made a commitment to their sponsor, so they aired the special as scheduled on December 9, 1965. And, as often happens in the world of entertainment, the original gut reaction of the suits was completely wrong. A Charlie Brown Christmas drew in 15.4 million viewers, placing it second in the ratings that week after Bonanza. A few months later, Charles Schulz and Lee Mendelson found themselves onstage accepting an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program.

And so, the Charlie Brown creator persevered and created a Christmas classic that endures 54 years later.

In case you don’t remember the iconic moment, here it is:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace and goodwill towards men.’

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

[Note: This blog was originally published on Christmas Eve 2017 and is being reposted today.]

Source: How the Creator of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Got the Gospel Past CBS Execs

Christmas Eve Praise — Do Not Be Surprised…

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14-17)

The

via Christmas Eve Praise — Do Not Be Surprised…

December 24 Life Is an Adventure

Scripture Reading: Acts 8:26–40

Key Verse: Psalm 37:23

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.

Philip had no way of knowing what was about to happen. All he knew was that God told him to go down the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, and he obeyed without a single question. Imagine his amazement when he found an Ethiopian eunuch, riding in his chariot and reading a passage from the book of Isaiah. In the forefront of his mind was an unanswered question—who was the Lamb of whom the prophet spoke?

God put the two men on that path together for a special reason. Philip knew the gospel, and the Ethiopian was ready to receive it. Then the two experienced the wonders of God’s perfect plan.

It has been said that there is no such thing as coincidence, just God’s plan unfolding in unexpected ways. Certainly that is true in the lives of believers. Have you been a part of a miracle of God’s timing? Maybe you ran out of gas by the side of the road and someone came along with a gas can before you had to seek help. Maybe it was an unanticipated meeting with an old friend, who really needed your encouragement in the Lord.

When you understand that God’s ways are perfect and that He is continually working, you will begin to see your life as the adventure that it is. You may not know exactly what’s ahead or when change will occur, but you can know that every experience is from Him.

Dear Lord, Your way is perfect. Thank You for being continually at work in me. I may not know what is ahead or what changes will come, but I rejoice in the confidence that each experience is from You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 375). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

December 24 The Exalted Lord of Revelation

Scripture reading: Revelation 5:1–14

Key verse: John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold!

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Lambs were significant for the people of Israel. When they fled Egypt, they put the blood of lambs on their doorframes as a sign of belonging to God (Ex. 12). They had to kill a perfect lamb as a sacrifice for certain sins.

Sheep were stock animals, common, somewhat dirty, and not known for their intelligence. Many must have reacted with surprise when John the Baptist said to Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He did not look like a lamb, and few understood at that point that Jesus Himself would die as a sacrifice for sin.

Revelation 5 describes an even more amazing picture of the Lamb: “And I [the apostle John] looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (v. 6).

This image is beyond our human understanding; it is full of awe-inspiring power and mystery and might. The Lamb who died is now glorified, reigning over all His creation as its true Master. Christ the Lamb is to be worshiped and revered. It is no wonder that hosts of angels praise Him saying,

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

To receive power and riches and wisdom,

And strength and honor and glory and blessing! (Rev. 5:12)

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing![1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 375). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This Christmas, We Celebrate the Birth of Our Savior — and So Much More | LifeZette

Despite decades of conditioning to the contrary, Americans know very well that the reason we celebrate Christmas is primarily not about a red-nosed reindeer or a jolly guy with a suit to match.

We celebrate and commemorate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth who many, including this writer, consider to be the Son of the Living God.

But the faith that holds that to be true is also tied up into the larger context of the history of Christianity in the Western world.

Without that Judeo-Christian faith, and the changes it wrought, we would be living far differently than we do today.

The faith started, at least as a major force in the world in the sense of far-reaching geopolitical and also everyday influence, with Rome and Roman Catholicism.

Sometimes we forget that the Catholics, not counting the Jewish faith of Jesus himself, started the big ball rolling when the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity as the state religion of Rome in the early 4th century.

Before that, the Christian faith had been covertly gaining adherents but was always under the threat of state-sponsored oppression.

That remains the case in many nations today.

In our own country, the oppression takes on a more legalistic and political nature, but it sadly still exists here as well.

After Constantine, bar none, the Christian faith as expressed by the universal Western Church — until the church split between East and West in 1054 — was the main driver of Western civilization until a relatively short time ago.

Though not alone of the major faiths, for at least up until the Protestant Reformation of the early 16th century the West and Roman Catholicism were primarily one and the same.

The faith crowned kings and set them aside.

It controlled the daily lives of the common man down to the time he awoke and went to bed. It was the main patron for the greatest works of art the world has ever known.

It, along with the Roman Empire, set the standard for the laws we still follow to this day.

The modern era has seen a lessening of that power, both in the religious and secular senses, and a vigorous debate continues on whether that is a good or bad thing.

However, there is one thing we should remember, as Christians or as members of the Western world.

In this season and on Christmas Day, many of us not only honor and celebrate the birth of the Son of God, we also honor and celebrate the birth of our own world — a world that has been shaped in major part by the influence and institution of Christianity.

Regardless of debate, its place as the fulcrum of our Western world is a historical fact.

And this writer and so many others believe there are good reasons, in again both the religious and secular senses, to be proud of it.

Source: This Christmas, We Celebrate the Birth of Our Savior — and So Much More

Messianic Prophecies and the Master Plan of God | Stand Up For The Truth

The Bible tells us that long before the world began, God orchestrated a masterful plan to reconcile sinners to a holy, loving God. Through history, He provided a road map as He foretold various signs and specific conditions by which the Messiah would arrive to save mankind. His prophets spoke of things to watch for so the Messiah would be recognized and believed.

Before the world began, He knew that Jesus would come to earth and give Himself as a holy and final offering for sin; once and for all. A baby born of a virgin in a manger would become the Lamb of God. To those who trust in Him and obey His commandments, God has promised a fulfillment to our hope in Christ: He is returning soon, and we will be in His presence for eternity.

According to scholars, there are 1,845 references to the return of Jesus Christ in the pages of the Bible. Jesus’ return is highlighted in seventeen Old Testament books, and within the New Testament, there are 321 mentions of the second coming.

When Christ returns, all of the promises in the Old Testament to Israel will be fulfilled as well as the New Testament promises to believers, and He will reign as King over the whole earth for one thousand years.

Jesus made many messianic claims. With all the bold declarations, with all the evidence, eye-witnesses, and Scriptures about the person and deity of Jesus Christ – many still refuse to believe. One reason for this is His birth and earthly life had one predetermined purpose, which was suffering and death. Then He arose to live. But His return will have a very different purpose – the final judgment of all mankind…

SCRIPTURES Referenced on this Podcast

The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting. Psalm 119:160

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Luke 21:33

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

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.” Micah 5:2-4

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16

Hebrews 2:14, 1 John 3:8, Daniel 9:24-27, John 5:39-40, John 5:45-46, Luke 24:44-47, Isaiah 7:13-14

ARTICLES

What are some of the credentials of the Messiah?

What does it mean that God sent Jesus in the “fullness of time”?

Biblical Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

Can We Trust the Bible is True?

Source: Messianic Prophecies and the Master Plan of God

US Ambassadors Host United Nations Event on Trump Admin Effort to Decriminalize Homosexuality Worldwide — Christian Research Network

“In its press release on Thursday, the United States Mission to the United Nations noted that Trump mentioned the effort to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide during his speech to the General Assembly in September.”

(Heather Clark – Christian News) Two U.S. ambassadors hosted an event at the United Nations on Wednesday entitled “Decriminalizing Homosexuality in Solidarity with LGBTQ People.” The United States Mission to the United Nations released a statement outlining the event and noting President Trump’s commitment to the effort to legalize homosexuality worldwide.

Kelly Craft, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, along with Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany and an open homosexual, hosted the meeting, during which time they — and a number of panelists — discussed the status of their mission to decriminalize homosexuality in at least 69 countries.

According to Fox News, nations on the list include Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Kenya, Senegal, Cameroon Antigua, Barbuda, Syria and Yemen. The outlet notes that 33 African countries recognized by the U.N. consider homosexual sex acts a crime. Punishments vary from nation to nation, from jail to time to the death penalty. View article →

Research

LGBTQ+ Agenda

via US Ambassadors Host United Nations Event on Trump Admin Effort to Decriminalize Homosexuality Worldwide — Christian Research Network