Glory to God

Glory to God

By Pat Knight

“He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government there will be no end…The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Our society is enthralled with current electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones, tablets, and digital cameras, as we impatiently await the discovery of the newest gadget. A university professor who researches such things, sent an e-mail from his home to the college where he works, a mere two miles away. Before the e-mail registered on his work PC, he followed the route of the message with his home computer. As it traveled through several states, it bounced off twenty-one cell towers before reaching its intended final destination two hours later.  As amazed as we are with the latest and greatest electronic devices, they all have their limits.

When you pray, your words are heard instantly in heaven. No bouncing off earthly or heavenly cell towers is necessary. God knows our thoughts even before we utter them.  He listens intently when we approach Him verbally. Have you told God lately how wondrous He is? If we exclaim about the latest electronic development, surely we must express to our Lord His superior and miraculous nature. God is the heavenly Father who promised, and then faithfully orchestrated, the incarnation of Jesus on the starlit night in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

God performed the only virgin birth ever in the history of mankind. He kept Mary well without prenatal medical care and assured a healthy birth in an age when infant mortality was extremely high. He sent a great choir of angels to earth, specifically to the lowly shepherds tending their flocks in the fields at night, to sing the first Christmas carol, announcing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). God directed the shepherds to the humble location in Bethlehem to witness the baby Jesus, so they could repeat what they had seen, worshipping God for the greatest miracle of the ages.

God planted a prominent star in the sky, alerting astrologists from the east of the birth of the King. The star eventually led the Magi to the royal family several months after Jesus’ birth, when they presented the family with gold and other gifts, providing financially for them. Once the wise men left, an angel of the Lord forewarned Joseph in a dream that he must move quickly to avoid King Herod’s jealousy for his crown, made apparent by his recent order for his henchmen to kill all the newborn baby boys around Bethlehem. Joseph took his family during the night to Egypt, away from King Herod’s legal jurisdiction.

Christians the world over recognize these historical, supernatural events as part of the Christmas story; a series of miracles surrounding Jesus’ birth, choreographed by the heavenly Father, with every detail fulfilled exactly just as He had promised over the centuries and recorded in His Word.

If ever there were anyone worthy of our awesome, incredible reactions, it is the Lord of Hosts and King of Kings! Let us offer the splendor of our worship to the Messiah this Christmas, as the divine power; the enduring, compassionate provider and protector of His people. The God without limits merits our shouts of joy and adoration for sending the babe of Bethlehem, who joyously offered himself as our Redeemer on the cross of Calvary!

The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy

Shared from the Grace Thru Faith site.

The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. The virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

There is perhaps no prophecy in the Old Testament more controversial than this one. Many liberal theologians reject the notion of the virgin birth of Jesus as being simply legend, Jews flatly deny its validity and non-believers scoff at it as the best example of the mindless belief necessary for Christianity to flourish.

Yet a careful study of the history of Israel, the laws of inheritance, and the promises by God to King David lead even the most skeptical student to conclude that Jesus had to be supernaturally conceived to be both God and human, and therefore qualified to redeem mankind, and have a legitimate claim to the Throne of Israel.

The God Man

Jesus had to be God to forgive our sins. No mere human can do that. One of the charges levied against Him was that He committed blasphemy by claiming the authority to forgive us, a power reserved for God alone (Mark 2:1-7). To prove He had that authority, Jesus healed a paralytic (Mark 2:8-12) right before His accusers’ eyes.  The immediate healing was incontrovertible evidence of His authority, derived as a direct descendant of God.

But He had to be human to redeem us. The laws of redemption required that a next of kin redeem that which was lost. (Lev. 25:24-25) This so-called kinsman redeemer had to be qualified, able and willing to perform the act of redemption. When Adam lost dominion over planet Earth and plunged all his progeny into sin, only his next of kin could redeem the Earth and its inhabitants. Since Adam was a human whose Father was God (Luke 3:23-38), only another direct Son of God could qualify. This is why Paul referred to Jesus as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). Since the Laws of sacrifice required the shedding of innocent blood as the coin of redemption, only a sinless man was able (John 1:29-34). Since the kinsman redeemer’s life was required, only someone who loves us the way God does would be willing (John 3:16). This is the real test of the kinsman redeemer. Seeing Jesus as qualified and able to redeem us isn’t a great problem. After all He’s the Son of God. But recognizing that He was also willing to step down from His Heavenly Throne to trade His perfect life for ours should really humble us. What kind of love did it take to voluntarily suffer the pain and humiliation required to redeem us?

Read the rest here.

Son of God #Immanuel

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son,
and she will call His name Immanuel.
—Isaiah 7:14

 

If you couldn’t view the video for whatever reason, go here to read the lyrics.

Joseph’s Lullaby

Merry Christmas, Beloved!

After all the busy-ness of this Christmas season, please take some quiet time to enjoy this beautiful song by Mercy Me titled “Joseph’s Lullaby.”

If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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The Birth of Jesus Christ

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The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:

His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
but before they came together,

she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man
and did not want to expose her to public disgrace,

he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this,
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”

24 When Joseph woke up,
he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took Mary home as his wife.

25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.
And he gave him the name Jesus.
-Matthew 1:18-25

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Sunday Praise and Worship: Mary, Did You Know? (Pentatonix)

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I love the Pentatonix version of one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Mary, Did You Know?” It often plays through my mind this time of year. 

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.

 Please excuse any ads that may appear before the video begins
If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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Sovereign Technology

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Sovereign Technology

By Patricia Knight

For the past sixty years, obstetric sonography has provided a valuable diagnostic tool used to verify a developing human life.  The test reveals the age, gender, and expected weight of an unborn child. A fetus might even be caught on computer sucking his thumb. Birth defects can occasionally be detected early enough to allow for limited reparative surgery prior to birth.

More than two thousand years ago, an angel of the Lord appeared on earth five separate times to announce Jesus’ birth and to give important directions to each of His parents. Near the first century A. D., the Lord sent His emissaries, the angels, to supply all pertinent information. Mary and Joseph knew they would be blessed with a son and that they were to name Him Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Long ago Jesus’ multiple adult roles were prophesied, much more complex disclosure than we will ever know about our children in advance of their birth. The prophet Isaiah announced the Messiah’s birth centuries before it occurred. Though Mary was only a teenager, it is likely she would have been familiar with the Old Testament prophecy:

“To us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

We rejoice as our newborn baby grows from an infant to a toddler, amazed by developing personality traits and physical characteristics that identify our child as a unique individual. Prior to Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph had access to their son’s adult characteristics and functions delivered directly from their heavenly Father by the angels. To Mary, the angel attested, “You will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31).

We know precious little about Jesus’ childhood excluding an isolated incident at age twelve, when He traveled with His parents to observe a holy day in Jerusalem. We learn from that account that Jesus began listening to and teaching educated men in the temple and that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). At that pre-teen age, Jesus wasn’t yet aware of His unique relationship to His heavenly Father.  Although on earth Jesus was God, there is no indication that He possessed all knowledge and wisdom from birth. He appeared to have matured right along with other boys His age.

From then until He approached adulthood there is only silence in Scripture regarding Jesus’ life. During that interim He was likely apprenticing in His father’s carpentry shop, helping to support His family, and living a human life in a sinful world, though He was the completely sinless and righteous Messiah. Then at age thirty, Jesus burst on the scene  as the Son of God. For the next three years a prolific history is recorded of Jesus’ life; His ministry of teaching and healing; His obedience to His heavenly Father; His emphasis of praying to God for guidance and strength for His tasks; and His priority of giving God glory for everything He accomplished.

Jesus originally came to earth a pure sacrifice to save sinners. His heinous crucifixion and His glorious resurrection climaxed His purpose here. The characteristics the angels announced to His parents were highlighted during Jesus’ short life, even though much of the populace didn’t accept His Messianic roles. Jesus ascended to heaven to reclaim His rightful throne and there He currently remains at His Father’s right hand, interceding for all those who believe. At His second coming to earth, Jesus will reign as the supreme King who will rule in righteousness forever.

As we grasp the magnificence of Jesus’ birth, let us pause to offer praise for the Messiah who lived on earth, who experienced challenges and victories similar to the ones we confront daily, and who knows best how to respond to our needs. Let us marvel at the sovereign plans for His earthly humanity, established centuries before. Ponder the five angel appearances that supplied a wealth of information to Jesus’ parents. Today, medical tests provide us exciting details about a growing fetus only a few weeks old, but in Jesus’ case, angels eclipsed technology, so typical of our omniscient God, who knows all things throughout the ages. Only our heavenly Father could orchestrate Jesus’ incarnation from God to man and create His sovereign purpose on earth. Give glory to the Father, just as Jesus constantly deferred to God’s majesty when He lived on earth.

You can read more of Pat’s writing here.

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Mary Treasured All These Things

Please enjoy this special Christmas devotional by Pat Knight.

Thank you, Pat, for blessing us with this wonderful rendition of Mary’s viewpoint in being the one to give birth to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and watch Him as He grew up.

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“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Mary was an ordinary person who accomplished the extraordinary. As a young teenager, a mere twelve to fourteen years of age, Mary possessed a quiet faith, one that conveyed submission, humility, and inner strength of character. The angel assured her, Do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 2:32).

Mary was initially overwhelmed and perplexed by the announcement, but she asked only one question of the angel Gabriel: “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 2:34). Once Gabriel responded that the Holy Spirit would overcome her to create her pregnancy, Mary replied, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Her next response was to compose and sing a song of praise and glory to God, rejoicing in His mercy lavished upon her. Mary’s song ends with conviction that God will be true to all of His promises. She felt honored that she had been chosen to participate in a miracle that would fulfill God’s promise made centuries ago to bring the prophesied Savior to the world.

Mary didn’t attempt to live in the future, avoiding futile “what if” questions. She relied upon her Lord to meet all of her needs on a daily basis. Whenever she was reminded of a new aspect of Jesus’ future predicted by a prophet or an angel, Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). God recognized Mary’s superlative heart value. He chose her as the mother of Jesus by examining her heart and found it overflowing with goodness. To hold the Son of God in her arms, to cuddle Him, to nurture and instruct Him, must have been a tremendous privilege and responsibility, not so different from the devotion and love all mothers feel toward their children. However, a sense of wonder must have constantly permeated Mary’s emotions.

As Jesus matured, He gradually developed an awareness of His unique relationship to God. He was also perfectly obedient to His earthly parents. Mary and Joseph must have yearned for their firstborn to experience every aspect of life, but Jesus was unable to fall in love, have a family, or experience any permanent status on earth. Jesus the Christ, was God in the flesh. He was focused on the work with eternal consequences He must perform during his brief time on earth.

Jesus’ parents had no forewarning that their adult son would walk on water, cure the blind, or heal the lame. But they believed unreservedly in His mission. At a wedding where the wine supply was exhausted much to early in the celebrations, Mary asked Jesus to help in some way to prevent embarrassment to the bridegroom. Then she instructed the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). Though Jesus had never performed a miracle up to that point, Mary trusted His abilities and judgment explicitly. She was likely as surprised as the servants that Jesus converted gallons of plain water into elegant wine.

Jesus was born on earth not to constantly perform fantastic miracles, as needed as they were, but to bring redemption of sin to the multitudes. Soon the prediction the prophet Simon uttered when Jesus was still an infant, was proving true; that Mary as well as Jesus would suffer deep anguish in the future. When Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, storm clouds of opposition and rejection gathered over His life. Mary must have felt personally attacked when she viewed mob hatred escalating toward her son. Jesus was the subject of intolerance and shame, scorn and disbelief. Mary paid a tremendous price to bring the Savior into the world; she paid an exorbitant price to stand beneath the cross, witnessing the torment of Jesus during his heinous crucifixion. Mary’s heart must have completely shattered, spilling forth all the treasures she’d pondered over the past thirty-three years of her son’s life.

As He hung from the cross, Jesus assigned His beloved disciple, John, to care for His mother for the rest of her life. Then Mary retreated into seclusion with Jesus’ committed followers, where they hid from the Roman authorities, praying for protection and guidance. Three days later, news arrived that Jesus had risen from the dead. How Mary rejoiced! Her son, the Son of God, was alive! Thanksgiving filled the air.

Are we willing to cling to our beliefs as Mary did, even when the rising tide of public opposition threatens to chip away at our spiritual commitment like granite eroding from the constant battering of surging tides? Just as the plans for the incarnation of our Savior were flawlessly choreographed in heaven, God loves us so much that His purposes for each of our lives are also perfect. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season, let us follow Mary’s example, learning to treasure all the Words of God and ponder them in our hearts.

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Please enjoy this beautiful rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix.

If for any reason you are unable to view the video, please CLICK HERE for the lyrics.

 

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Merry Christmas 2013 From Us

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Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. Joseph also went up from Galilee … to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.      —Luke 2:1, 4-7

As I contemplated this Christmas season and what it means to me, I found my thoughts focused on Mary and how she must have felt knowing she was carrying the Messiah Jesus—the Son of God. It must have seemed like a burden and a treasure at the same time. I mean, how can a person wrap their mind around such an amazing thing?

I have tried to put myself in Mary’s place. I would feel scared, humbled, awestruck, wondering… How would Joseph and I be able to raise the Son of God properly? Would He do the typical things that tax a parent’s patience? And if so, how could we properly discipline Him? It must surely be disrespectful to do so to the Son of God.

Still, there must have been moments of pure joy as I looked into that tiny little face and praised the God of the universe for choosing me, a small town girl. I would have wondered why God had singled me out for this honor. What could I have done (or not done) to deserve such a privilege?

And in spite of everything her mind and heart told her, Mary immediately said yes!

…..Luke1-38…..

The other day I heard one of my favorite Christmas songs on the radio as I drove home from a weekend of visiting with my children. The song, “Mary Did You Know,” is written by Mark Lowry. I felt the lyrics deep in my heart, so in case you have never heard this song you can hear and view it here:

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Here are the lyrics in case you have trouble viewing the video:

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little boy
You’ve kissed the face of God

Mary, did you know?
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the Great I Am

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Rick and I are so thankful for the many blessings God has given us: each other … family and friends … enough to be able to live comfortably … a roof over our heads …  sufficient food and clothing … a wonderful church family … God’s written Word within easy reach … the sure knowledge that we will live forever with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

As I shared with you last week, Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary this month. Daily we reflect on God’s blessings in our marriage as He knits our hearts together more every day.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. —Luke 2:11

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16

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Blessings and love during this Christmas season from Anna and Rick!

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The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.