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Are You Satisfied with Christmas?
Many songs we sing at Christmas are reminders that Christmas time is supposed to be happy. Songs like, "It''s the Most Wonderful Time of the year," Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open fire, "Jingle Bells," and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland ', all communicate that Christmas is to be joyous, trouble-free season
But let me ask you honestly: Is that while we are experiencing this season? Probably not. For some of us, personal problems are keeping us from experiencing the joy of Christmas. For others, you feel like one crisis after another has run over you. With such an avalanche of problems it is hard to have a holy-jolly Christmas.
Some of us are so busy and working so hard there is not time sitting around a fire roasting chestnuts. Or, maybe there is nothing really wrong, but for some reason, you are not enjoying these Christmas. It is not providing the emotional life that you expected. In fact, it is almost depressing. The world does not look like a winter wonder land, it looks just like winter.
Disillusionment at Christmas time is not an unusual thing. We get so hyped up with expectations about what Christmas is supposed to be that often the real things doesn't measure up and we are disappointed. What can we do to avoid these disillusionment? How can we improve our level of joy this Christmas? The answer is found in the stroy of the magi in Matthew 2. Magi, wise men from the East, saw a star that indicated the birth of a new king of Israel. Wanting to honor Him with gifts, they set out ona journey following the star to find this newborn king. From the attitudes of these wise men and the events surrounded their journey, we see how we can raise our level of joy at Christmas.
Three are three lessons we can learn from this story. What do we seek? Your level of joy of this Christmas? is directly related to what it is you seek. Ask the question: What is it I want to get out of Christmas? What is it that would make your Christmas wonderful and satisfying? Snow? All the family together and happy? A feeling you define as the holiday spirit? Finding the right present to give? Getting the present you were hoping for? The problem with all these is that they can leave us disappointed. Have you ever have that kind of experience-when you were disappointed by Christmas because it did not deliver what you though it would? The problem is not Christmas. It is our expectations/ We are looking for the wrong thing.
The magi show us ho to increase our level of joy at Christmas by looking for the right thing. What were they looking for? Verse 2 tells us.They came to Jerusalem and said, Where is He who has been born the king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." They were looking for Jesus. Christmas for them was the opportunity to worship Jesus. That is what we need to be looking for and expecting this Christmas-an experience of worship, a fresh glimpse of He who was born king of the Jews. If our goal this Christmas is to worship Jesus, then I doubt very seriously we will be dissatisfied with our experience.
Where do you look? Your level of Joy at Christmas is directly related to where you look. We learn from the magi that there are wrong and right place to look for Christmas. They stared by looking in the wrong place. They look where there own human reasoning said they should look. The star indicated the birth of the new King in Israel. They magi went where kings should be born-to the palace of Herod the Great in the capital city of Jerusalem. But what a mistake that was! When Herod heard of the birth of the new king, he jealousy sought to destroy him. We, to are tempted to look for joy at Christmas in the worn place. We think by getting or giving the right gift we will be satisfied. We imagine that being with family will ne joyful. All these can easily disappoint us.You may be able to afford the right gift for a loved on. Family members may be missing form you holiday celebration. If you are looking for your joy, you may be left with a family of disillusionment.
The magi looked in the right place when they looked to God. The trip to Jerusalem was not a total lose. While there they discovered where they should have looked in the first place;the bible. The scribes in Jerusalem said that, according to the prophet Micah, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. With this news, they looked again at the star and followed it to Bethlehem until it stood over the house where the child Jesus lived. What do you give? Your level of joy at Christmas is directly related to what you give. The magi came to Jesus' house bearing gifts. The gifts that they gave were appropriate. They gave gold, gift for a king. By giving it they acknowledge that Jesus was and is the king. They gave frankincense, a gift for a priest.The incense the priests used in the temple. By giving it they acknowledge that Jesus was a priest-the One who would bring us to Go. They gave Myrrh, gift for the dead. This was the fragrant ointment used to anoint a body before burial. By giving it they acknowledge that Jesus had come to die for the sins of the world.
We ought to give appropriate gifts this Christmas as well, Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about material gifts. I am talking about more important things. We ought to give our love and kindness to our friends and family. We ought to give the gift of our help to those who are hurting. We ought to give the gift of forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Giving these kinds gifts will result in a joyous and meaningful Christmas
What are you giving for Christmas this year? Why not consider giving yourself. Did you give your time to your family. Give your compassion to the hurting. Give you forgiveness to the isolated. And give your heart to Jesus? I promised you, when you look for the right thing, look in the right places, and give the right gift, you will have joy and wonderful Christmas
The Seven-Sealed Book And the One Worthy To Open It ( Nov 12 2014)
As we enter upon our study of chapter five, let us remember that it is a continuation of the third and the last main division of the book, the beginning of which we considered in our previously study of chapter 4. We saw the church rapture and will be usher in "the things which shall be hereafter. In other words, it will mark the end of the present age of grace: and then in rapid succession, the vents which shall be "after these things" will surely come to pass. Before we rake up chapter 5 in detail, let us remind ourselves once more of the fact that, from Rev. 4:1 to the end of the book, the church is no longer upon the earth in her present ministry: she ever in the presence of God. I cannot stress this truth too much-that John's translation as recorded in 4:1, is a picture of what will take place in when Thess. 4:16-17 is fulfilled. The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout." Only the Bride of Christ will hear that shout. Only the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." That is the rapture of the Church. To believers, it will be the greatest day the Church has ever known, and see has seen some great days. She saw a great day on the Day of Pentecost, but the greatest day of all is when the Church is rapture. Then we shall be reunited with those we have "loved long since, and lost awhile.In that day death will be swallowed up in victory for the church. We learned i a present study that when John was projected, as it were into the future, he saw in heaven a throne, and God sitting upon the throne. He saw the elders-symbolic of the redeemed church-sitting, "Clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads, crown of gold." And out of the throne he saw proceeding " lightnings and thundering and voices." because it was the throne of judgement which John saw, judgement soon to be poured out upon a God defying world. Before the throne age apostle beheld the seven lamps of fire burning," a symbol of the Holy Ghost. He saw the four living creatures, representing that attributes of God. And he heard the chorus of worship and praise "to him that sat on the throne." Next writing "The title Deed to the Earth."
The Chorus of Praise and Worship (Oct 15 2014)
:And when the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou are 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." (Rev. 4:9-11). Who is the creator? In John 1:1-3, we are told that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." In the same chapter, verse 10 reads: "He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not>" Again in Col. 1:16 Paul tells that "by him were all things created"; an in Heb 1:1-2, that God who as sundry times and in divers manner spake in time past unto the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto his Son, who he hath appointed heir to all things, by who also he made the worlds." The One who said, "Let there be light, was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh. Christ is here worshipped as the Creator. He is worshipped in respect to this fact because God is about to deal with the physical earth. John see the Son of god glorified. The multitudes represented by the twenty four elders, cast their crowns at His feet. They worship Him. If the church was were caught away tonight, the first thing we should see would be the Son of God in his glory. When that day comes, when the lightening and thunderings and voices" are proceeding forth from the throne. we shall not fear. Why? Because the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ will be our shield. We shall see the rainbow, which will remind us not only of the promises of god made to the patriarchs, but also the promises he has given us. (Next writing How to escape the Judgments
The Four Creatures (30 Sept)
Rev 4: 6-80 "and before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne were four beast full of eyes before and behind.And the first beast was like unto a lion, and the second beast unto a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beast had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying Holy,holy,holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." Who are these living creatures? One is like a lion; one, like an calf.one with the face of a man. one like a flying eagle.These living creatures are not created beings, because John says they are "in the midst of the throne." They are one with it, round about it, and seem to guard the throne of God, but they are also in the midst of it, and are a part of it. These four living creatures are none other than the attributes of the great God who sits upon the throne. The first living creature was like a lion, speaking of majesty, not only the throne of God, but the one who sits upon the throne.The calf (Ox) speaks of strength, and suggests to us our Lord as the faithful servant of Jehovah. The face of a man, Speaks to us of the fact that God is a person: He has personality: He lives, moves, and has His being. The fourth creature was a flying eagle.The eagle looks over the earth with its far-seeing eye: it makes heaven its home: it looks into the face of the blazing sun. The eagle is symbolic of the omniscience of God-God who see all, knows all, whose eyes, round to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose hearts is perfect toward him." ( 2 Chron 16:9)
Next writing :The chorus of Praise and worship
The Throne Of Judgement & The holy Ghost. 21 Sept 2014. "And out of throne proceeded lightening and thundering and voices; and there were 7 lamps of fire burning before the throne (Rev.4-5) John saw a throne. not of grace, but of judgement.The Lord is seated upon the throne of grace. Have you ever wondered why God allows things to go as there is in the world today? It is because He is seated on the throne of Grace. But one day when the last member has been added to the Bride of Christ, and the Church has been rapture, The Son of God will rise from His throne of grace and that His seat upon the throne of judgement. It is that throne which John saw from which proceed "lightening and thunderings and voices."
"And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne which are the seven spirits of God." Again we have the reference of the Holy Ghost in the fulness of His person and power.. Seven is the complete number, and Isa. 11;2 describe the seven-fold attributes of the Third person of the Trinity..When John sees Him here. He is back in the presence of god. His task of calling out the church is finished. He has been in the world for at least two thousand years. He will never leave till the last member is added to the Bride of Christ and the church is rapture. But one day He will return to the presence of God. John is given a glimpse of that day, a view of what will take place in the future, when the church and the Holy Ghost shall be at the marriage supper of the Lamb.During the tribulation period. The Holy Ghost will empower the Jewish witnesses, but His relationship with the them will be a different relationship as He had with the rapture church. Next Writing The Four Living Creatures
The For & Twenty Elders 8 Sept 2014
"around about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crown of gold." (Rev 4:4)
The word seats seem to me as being thrones as they had gold crowns on their heads.. But who are these four and twenty elders/. When we come to the fifth chapter, we read that the four and twenty elders sang, "Thou was slain, hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred. 'Therefore, we know that they are not the holy angels, who have never sinned, but that they are those whom Christ had redeemed with His shed blood, In 1 Chronicles Hes is the appointing of twenty four elders: that is the division of the Levitical priesthood into twenty-four orders, so that each order could minister for two weeks at a time in the temple that was to be built. The priesthood numbered thousands. Of course all these priest could not go into the temple at one time: so priesthood was represented every two weeks by the order of twenty-four priest-twenty-four elders. When these twenty four were in the temple and were ministering, they were a representative body. What John saw, therefore was a representative body standing for the entire company of men and women who had been washed in the blood of Jesus. In the Old Testament days, there were twelve patriarchs; in the New Testament there were twelve apostles. Like wise, here we have representative body of the Old Testament and the saints of the New Testament, translated, washed, clothed in white raiment, and singing praises to God. "And they had on their heads crown of gold." Why did they have crowns on their head? Because John was projected into the future, and it was as though the judgement seat of Christ had already taken place, and the rewards for service had been giver. There are five crowns for service-the crown of righteousness-The crown of glory-The crown of life-The crown of rejoicing and the incorruptible crown. Jesus will not be unmindful of the work an labour of love of His faithful servants.Next writing " A throne of judgement and The Holy Ghost"
Rev 4-11 The Church Translated-"Round About the throne (Aug 22 2014) To study this chapter we need a bird eye view of the division of the book. To do this we need to read the section as a whole. First the door" opened in heaven."; and we hear a voice, saying "Come up hither," a remarkable prophecy of Christ's call for His church (bride) at the rapture. The description of His glory, His throne, and His redeemed one, "around the throne" creates within us an increased longing for His soon return. This is what we will be studying today.. But let's go on with the view of these remarkable chapters.. Chapter 5 & 6 have to do with the seven sealed book and the opening of the seven seals; Chapter 8, 9, and part of 11, with the seven trumpets; chapters 12 and 13, with the seven parsonage; chapter 15 & 16 with the seven vials of the wrath of God; while chapter seven, 10, and part of 11 and all of 14 have to do with the highly significant events, treated here in a parenthetical way.. Chapters 17 & 18 tells of the terrible doom of apostate Christendom during the tribulation period. Chapter 19 pictures the triumphant return of Christ in glory with His saints, to rule the upon the earth. Chapter 20 tells of the 1000 year reign of Christ, the doom of Satan, and the wicked dead. Chapter 21 and 22 give us the beautiful picture of the new heaven, and the new earth and the eternal sate of the redeemed. In short, these are "the things which shall be hereafter," following the rapture which is His bride.
Now back to Chapter 4. We are no longer occupied with the Church of Jesus. either present pr past. The church age is over and the true church is no longer on the earth. The apostate church remains in judgement, but all true believers are caught away, That is why the word "church" disappears entirely from the 3rd chapter.Saints are mention. but they are Jewish saints, and not members of the Bride of Christ. (Next writing "The Door opened in Heaven
The Message to Ephesus-The Apostolic Church (Aug 4 2014)
To Ephesus, whose name means "desired," Jesus send His first message. And to this Church He addressed Him self as the One "that holdest the seven golden stars in his right hand., who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks . (Rev. 2:1). No wonder the apostolic church was pleasing to the Lord! Conscious of His keeping power and mighty presence, those first Christians received more commendation than rebuke from Christ. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience" (Rev 2;2) Similar words are found in verse 3" "Thou...hast borne and hast patience, and for my name's sake has laboured, and hast not fainted.". This was a working church,it was a church where every member was trying to make the gospel known. Consequently, Christ commended them. Again, He said to them, " I know...how thou canst not bear them which are evil' (Rev 2:2).. they not only have faith, they had discipline also. If a member was living a double life, he was not tolerated. If he professed the name of Christ,but conducted himself unbecomingly, the condemnation of the church came upon him. I think just maybe this church concerned in gaining membership as having holy members. It is a great pity that the church ever departed from this desire and began to place emphasis upon numbers rather than upon spiritual conditions of those belonging to it. We seldom hear of church discipline in today churches. In fact, it is sad but true tstate of affairs, that is difficult to get together a body of people who are really in a position to discipline others. As we read further. Jesus says, "Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not,and hast found them liars" (Rev 2:2) The members of the church were sound in faith. Evidently there had come among them some who had revealed themselves as "liars." They claimed to be apostles, but were not.. Therefore they are not received by the Ephesain church. Would it be great that all false teachers were refused by the church today! Jesus goes on saying, "Thou hatest the deeds of Nicolaitanes, which I also hate" ( Rev 2:6) Who are the Nicolaitanes? The two words "nikato," meaning to conquer," and "laos," means the people or the "laity," form the root of the name "nicolaitanes." The term was applied to those who originated the system which divided the church of Jesus Christ into two divisions- the clergy and the laity. When we come to the study of the situation existing in the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira we will find this systemin full operation, with Bishops, archbishops, and other religious dignitaries domineering over the people, and claiming a unique place in the body of Christ, to which they were not justly entitled.. God say He "hates" the deeds, and the doctrine of the nicolaitanes (Rev 2:6, 15) So also was the church as Ephesus-the apostolic church! Her we that Christ beheld many things in the church at Ephesus which were worthy of commendation, But those all-seeing -eyes which are "as a flame of fire", saw something that was wrong in the church. And in the mist of his commendation He paused to rebuke them. "Nevertheless,: He said. "I have somewhat against thee, because thous hast left thy first love." (Rev 2:4)Look like backsliding was happening here and soon to become more and more pronounced until it real the stage of apostasy. "Thou hast left thy first love," What is the first love?. Paul says it real plain as he wrote "For me to live in Christ." To seek His glory, not our own: to exalt Him, not ourselves; to please Him, not our own selfish desires-this is the "first love" of the child of God. To know Him, rather than to seek His gifts: to love Him, rather than fine delight first in His gracious providence-this is the "first love," of a born again Christian. A man need not to kill or drink to commit a crime in order to be a backslider. The man who allows his first fervent love of Christ to grow lukewarm is a backslider, as well as the man who grows colder still and goes farther away from God. Have you left your first love? Listen to Christ "Remeber theerfore from whence thous art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except those repent" (Rev2:5") The follow the words which run like a refrain through chapter two and three' He that hat an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." And last of all, to Ephesus there are these words of promise. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev 2:7) Heaven.eternal life,the presence of God forever-this is the goal of the sinner saved by grace. (Next writing The church at Smyrna)