God Became Man: Do You Believe This?

Infinite and yet an infant.

Eternal and yet born of a woman.

Almighty, and yet nursing at a woman’s breast.

Supporting a universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms.

Heir of all things, and yet the carpenter’s despised son.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

That man should be made in God’s image is a wonder,

but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder.

That the Ancient of Days would be born.

That He who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle?

—Thomas Watson

Man’s Maker was made man

that the Bread might be hungry,

the Fountain thirst,

the Light sleep,

the Way be tired from the journey;

that Strength might be made weak,

that Life might die.

—Augustine

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 1:14)

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/12/24/god-became-man-do-you-believe-this/

Adam Lanza’s Rampage Was Fueled by Satan

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  Satan is real….just like Jesus….and he would love to steal your soul, kill  your body, and while he is at it….destroy your entire being. Jesus gives  eternal life to those who belong to Him, including the 20 innocent children who  were transported by God‘s angels out of Connecticut as they went to be with the  Lord.

Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to  me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  (Luke 18:16) Satan hates children. Jesus loves children. Satan delights in  seeing children killed. Jesus found joy in dying on the cross for children to  earn eternal life for them.

Long before Adam Lanza appeared on the scene, the first Adam was causing even  greater damage. God gave Adam and Eve free will when He created them. That was  God’s choice. It was not God’s choice for the first Adam to sin. Eve’s husband  made that decision all on his own, with some encouragement from his wife and  from Satan who appeared as a serpent in the Garden of Eden. “Sin entered the  world through one man, and death through sin.” (Romans 5:12) The sin of the  original Adam opened the floodgates to all manner of evil upon the earth.

The first Adam helped to produce Adam Lanza, who for reasons unknown to us  went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Satan had a hand in the worst  decisions these “Adam’s” ever made. Satan tempted the first Adam….and Satan  was lurking in the shadows around Adam Lanza as well. How else could you explain  something as horrific as the Sandy Hook killings?

Everyone is a sinner….but some people get extra prodding from the evil one.  Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon on a December day 32 years ago. Chapman  claimed to hear a voice in his head telling him to “do it, do it, do it.” Satan  whispers to anyone who will listen to him.

We will never know what voices Adam Lanza heard in his head….or what they  were telling him. But whatever was going on at the time, Adam made the  decision….and acted on his wicked intentions….and decided to do it, do it,  do it. That degree of cold-blooded viciousness must in some way be connected to  the influence of Satan.

People want an answer for why this happened….and why Adam did it. It is a  natural desire to want such a thing. But we just don’t have sufficient answers.  What we do have are the fingerprints of Satan all over the weapon….and all  over the scene….and all over the brutal killing of innocent lives. It has his  trademark.

Satan may feel that he is glorified by such carnage….but nothing could be  further from the truth. Satan lost to Jesus when Christ died and rose again for  our salvation. All the glory goes to Jesus. He is the Creator….along with the  Father and the Holy Spirit. Satan is a created being….he is not the eternal  God. He deserves no glory….no matter how far he stoops to tempt people to do  evil things which in turn make them infamous.

When Adam entered the school, it was like Satan himself was entering. The  evil angel had a very willing vessel through whom to work. But even in the midst  of such terror and tragedy, Satan can never outsmart Jesus….on any level.

Satan cannot keep those children from entering heaven to live with Jesus  forever. Likewise, Satan cannot steal your joy in the Lord as long as you refuse  to hand it over to him. And Satan cannot do whatever he wants….because he is  not sovereign. Only God has that attribute.

Could God have stopped the horror at Sandy Hook? Of course. Could God have  stopped Osama bin Laden  before 9/11? Of course. Could God have stopped Hitler before his crusade against  the Jews? Of course. Could God have stopped Adam and Eve from sinning? Of  course. God could have made robots instead of people….which would have left  free will out of the equation….and no choice on any matter. But that is not  what God did. He loved man and He wanted man to love Him back….and to do so  from the heart.

Adam Lanza’s free will choice has been made, and cannot be taken back. Others  today are making choices in cities all over America to take the lives of  innocent people. There are many events in this world that we can’t seem to wrap  our minds around….as we try to figure out “Why?” God knows how we feel. He  also knows what it took on His part to redeem us from this broken, corrupt, and  sinful world.

Our prayers are with the families of those who lost a child at Sandy  Hook….as well as those who lost an adult family member. Adam Lanza has now  gone down the path of Satan into all eternity. I believe the 20 children have  joined Jesus in heaven. The Lord always welcomed little ones during His years on  earth. Why would He stop now?

http://www.christianpost.com/news/adam-lanzas-rampage-was-fueled-by-satan-86860/#YI51V6Hw7UiGjMsp.99

The Hope of Christmas

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

We talk a lot about hope.

We hope the weather will be good for our family vacation. We hope that our favorite team will win the Super Bowl—or at least make it to the big game! We hope that we get just what we want for Christmas.

But for many of us, hope lacks a sense of certainty. It is more like a wish—something that we want to happen but have no way of knowing that it ultimately will. So we keep our fingers crossed and “hope” that everything will go the way we want it to.

The reality is that often life doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would. Hope is a fragile commodity. When life is disappointing, our optimism is replaced by feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. Before long we run the risk of becoming cynics who believe that there is nothing in which we can confidently hope.

This was the landscape of life when Jesus entered the world. The prevailing mood of Israel was anything but hope. The once proud nation was now a puppet state of the pagan Roman Empire. The common person lived under the defeating burden of the exaggerated requirements of the religious establishment. Centuries before, they had been promised a deliverer who would restore Israel to its former glory, but it had never happened.

Into this sense of cynical hopelessness, true Hope was born. But the tragedy of that first Christmas was that very few realized the hope that had been introduced. Hope for the forgiveness of sins. Hope for a bright future—forever. Hope for God’s presence and power in daily living. Hope that would enable us to forget the past and set our sights on stuff that doesn’t disappoint. A hope that, because of Jesus, is a certainty and not just another wish to be dashed on the rocks of reality.

I love the honesty of the psalmist who said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” We’ve all been there. But let’s not stop there. Keep reading! “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). Rejoice that Jesus came to give you something better than the disappointments of life on planet earth. And when by faith you embrace Him and all that He promised, you can have a hope that is no longer a fingers-crossed wish that you harbor in your heart, but rather a confident, courageous optimism that is rooted in the certainty of His Word.

Pin your hopes on Jesus this Christmas—you won’t be disappointed!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • What are you hoping for today? How about tomorrow? Are your hopes rooted in temporal things, or eternal?
  • In what way did Jesus bring hope to the world when He arrived?
  • In what way does Jesus bring you hope personally? Share the hope. Tell a friend about Him today!

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/the-hope-of-christmas/

The Hidden Life

. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God —Colossians 3:3

The Spirit of God testifies to and confirms the simple, but almighty, security of the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul continually brought this out in his New Testament letters. We talk as if living a sanctified life were the most uncertain and insecure thing we could do. Yet it is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God. For one who is born again, it is easier to live in a right-standing relationship with God than it is to go wrong, provided we heed God’s warnings and “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7).

When we think of being delivered from sin, being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and “walk[ing] in the light,” we picture the peak of a great mountain. We see it as very high and wonderful, but we say, “Oh, I could never live up there!” However, when we do get there through God’s grace, we find it is not a mountain peak at all, but a plateau with plenty of room to live and to grow. “You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:36).

When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.

http://utmost.org/the-hidden-life/

Family Matters

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.”—Genesis 47:28

This Torah portion for this week, Vayechi, is from Genesis 47:28–50:26 and 1 Kings 2:1–12.

The story of Jacob and his sons comes to a conclusion in this week’s Torah portion, and with that, the book of Genesis comes to an end. The Torah portion is called ‘Vayechi,’ which means ‘and he lived,’ from the opening verse which begins “Jacob lived . . .” Genesis begins with the creation of life; appropriately, it concludes with someone truly living life as it was meant to be lived.

The Sages, however, are troubled with the wording of the first verse. How, they ask, can Scripture say that Jacob lived in Egypt? Jacob’s home was Canaan. He lived in the Holy Land! Jacob went to Egypt with the intention of staying there temporarily — only until the famine in Canaan was over. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to say ‘Jacob sojourned . . .’ or ‘Jacob resided . . .?’

The Sages teach that the numerical value of the word ‘vayechi’ is 34. Jacob, who lived to be 147 years old, had only 34 years in which he really lived to the fullest. According to Jewish tradition, those were the 17 years before Joseph was sold into Egyptian slavery, and the 17 years after Jacob reunited with Joseph and lived together with his family in Egypt. It was only in those 34 years that Jacob truly lived.

This stunning commentary teaches us the importance of family unity. We’ve all had the experience of gathering around a holiday table with family and friends and feeling the joy and peace that comes with those annual gatherings. Sometimes, it seems as though those few hours or days together are the only ‘real’ days of the year! The rest of the year, we go about our lives and carry on with our routines, but when we come together as a family, our lives are significantly enriched and we feel truly alive.

Imagine how Jacob’s last 17 years on earth must have felt to him. Even though he was in Egypt, out of the Holy Land, he was together with his children and grandchildren and their ever-growing families. Those precious years were full of peace, abundance, and godliness. Children, parents, and grandparents all studied the Word of God together. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob truly lives. And as part of life, he passed on his legacy to his descendants and died surrounded by his loved ones.

Friends, it’s great that the holidays are here and we can spend time with family and friends. But why wait for the holidays? It’s challenging to make time for family get-togethers in today’s busy world, but it’s worth the effort. Because in the end, family is what truly matters in life. Family, as Jacob knew, is life.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/family-matters-2

Women Who Saved A Nation

Later Sisera, who had nine hundred iron chariots, cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the prophetess Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, delivered Israel. She used to sit under the palm-tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the highlands of Ephraim; and the Israelites went to her to have her decide their disputes.

She sent and called Barak, the son of Abinoam, from Kadesh Naphtali and said to him, “Does not Jehovah the God of Israel command you: ‘Go, march to Mount Tabor and take with you ten thousand of the Naphtalites and of the Zebulunites? Then I will draw out to you at the brook Kishon Sisera with his chariots and his troops, and I will deliver him into your hands.'” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She replied, “I will certainly go with you, only you will not have the glory in this expedition on which you are going, for Jehovah will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.”

So Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kadesh. Barak called the Zebulunites and the Naphtalites together at Kadesh and ten thousand men followed him; and Deborah also went up with him.

Now Heber the Kenite had left the Kenites, the children of Jethro the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak which is near Kadesh.

When it was reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all his people from the heathen city Harosheth to the brook Kishon. Then Deborah said to Barak, “To the attack! for to-day Jehovah has delivered Sisera into your hands. Has not Jehovah gone out before you?”

So Barak went down from Mount Tabor followed by ten thousand men; and at the attack of Barak’s swordsmen Jehovah put to flight Sisera and his chariots and all his forces, and Sisera got down from his war-chariot and fled on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the forces to Harosheth; and all the army of Sisera was destroyed by the sword; not a single man was left.

On that day Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, sang this song:

“O Jehovah, when thou wentest from Seir,
Marching from the region of Edom,
Earth trembled, the heavens swayed,
The clouds also dripped water;
The hills quaked before Jehovah,
Yon Sinai, before Israel’s God.

“In the days of Anath’s son, Shamgar,
In Jael’s days the roads were unused,
And travellers walked through byways.
Leaders disappeared in Israel,
Until you, O Deborah, rose,
Till you rose as a mother in Israel.

“My heart is with the commanders of Israel,
Who volunteered among the people. Bless Jehovah!
You who ride on tawny asses,
Who sit upon rich saddle-cloths;
You who walk by the way, tell of it.
Far from sounds of dividing the spoil,
In the places where water is drawn,
Let them tell of Jehovah’s righteous acts,
And the righteous deeds of his leaders!

“Then the people of Jehovah
Went down to the gates, crying:
‘Awake, awake, O Deborah,
Awake, awake, sing a battle-song!
Rise up, rise up, O Barak,
Take your captives, O son of Abinoam!’

“So they went down against the powerful,
The Lord’s people against the mighty.
From Machir, commanders went down,
From Zebulun, standard-bearers,
Issachar’s princes with Deborah,
And with Barak, the men of Naphtali;
Into the valley they streamed after him.

“Zebulun risked its life,
Naphtali on the heights of the field.
Rulers came, they fought,
The rulers of Canaan fought
At Taanach by the waters of Megiddo.

“They took no booty of silver,
For from heaven the very stars fought,
From their courses they fought against Sisera.
The brook Kishon swept them away,
That ancient brook, the brook Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength!
Then did their horse hoofs pound
With the gallop, gallop of steeds.

“Blessed above women shall Jael be,
That wife of Heber, the Kenite,
More blessed than all nomad women!
Water he asked, milk she gave,
Curdled milk she brought him
In a bowl well fitted for lords!
She put her hand to the tent-pin,
Her right hand to the workman’s hammer.
She struck Sisera, crushing his head,
She shattered, she pierced his temples.
At her feet he sank down and lay still,
At her feet he sank, he fell;
There he fell, a victim slain!

“Through the window she peered and cried,
Through the lattice, the mother of Sisera:
‘Why so long his chariot in coming?
Why tarry the hoof-beats of steeds?’
Then the wisest of her ladies replied,
She herself also answered her question,
‘Are they not dividing the spoil?
A woman or two for each warrior,
For Sisera a spoil of dyed stuffs,
A spoil of dyed stuffs embroidered,
Some pieces of lace for his neck?’

“So perish thy foes, O Jehovah!
But may those who love him be as the sun,
Rising up in invincible splendor!”

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Women-Who-Saved-A-Nation.shtml