Above All Remember These Things

Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friend,

Today is Christmas day, so remember this:  Yes, we live in a world of explosive insecurity.  Yes, we live in a time where disaster comes without warning and destroys lives instantly.

America has finally become the generation with nothing to look forward to.  This is a time where people are melting down because of a crushing sense of helplessness and despair.  Some react with mindless panic and rage. They shoot and kill their loved ones and then turn the gun on themselves rather than face their losses.  Others are too frozen by fear and uncertainty to do anything.  Still others frantically try to numb their despair by plunging into addictions and perversions that prior generations never imagined.

How deep and widespread is this panic?  It is so pervasive that it has seeped into the hearts of God’s people.  Many in the church, including leaders, admit that they have developed destructive addictions trying to cope with anxiety.

This Christmas threatens to be a time of very little comfort and joy.  Many who love the Lord passionately will not even celebrate it this year!  If you are under attack, if you feel the devastating sense of helplessness, then it is time for you to remember one thing about this Christmas.

Christmas is not just the story of the most important birth in history; it is the proof that an invisible force guards the children of God with unstoppable, irresistible, compassionate protection. Christmas unfolds the masterstroke of God our Father against evil.  Let me explain!

He was the most anticipated person in history and yet His arrival fooled everyone. It requires skill from beyond our planet to sneak the Desire of all nations into our world unobserved with only a handful taking notice. God can fool anyone and He cannot be fooled by anyone.

 

How deep and widespread is this panic?  It is so pervasive that it has seeped into the hearts of God’s people.  Many in the church, including leaders, admit that they have developed destructive addictions trying to cope with anxiety.

This Christmas threatens to be a time of very little comfort and joy.  Many who love the Lord passionately will not even celebrate it this year!  If you are under attack, if you feel this devastating sense of helplessness, then it is time for you to remember one thing about this Christmas.

Christmas is not just the story of the most important birth in history; it is the proof that an invisible force guards the children of God with unstoppable, irresistible, compassionate protection. Christmas unfolds the masterstroke of God our Father against evil.  Let me explain!

He was the most anticipated person in history and yet His arrival fooled everyone. It requires skill from beyond our planet to sneak the Desire of all nations into our world unobserved with only a handful taking notice. God can fool anyone and He cannot be fooled by anyone.

The Jews believed that the arrival of the long awaited Messiah, the Son of God, would be with all the pomp and ceremony possible.  They expected to immediately lay crowns and scepters at his feet, and that the high and mighty princes of the world should have been his humble servants.  He came into the world, and the world knew Him not.  Hcame to his own, and His own received him not.

It was not as if his arrival was without fireworks. The first burst of wonder came to the shepherds in Luke chapter 2.  They saw and heard glorious things concerning Him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of everyone (v. 17-18).  After this, in Luke 2:38, Simeon and Anna by the Holy Spirit spoke of Him to all who were willing to listen.

You would think that this would have shaken the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem, so that they would have finally risen up as one and embrace the long-looked-for Messiah; but no.  He continued to live for nearly two more years at Bethlehem, and no further notice was taken of him until the arrival of the Magi, the Wise Men from the East.

Trouble!  Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  These were no singing angels. They were mere men; notable men to be sure, but still mere men. The Magi were the Persian’s philosophers and their priests.  No one could become a Persian king who had not first been enrolled among the Magi. It was their royalty that caused the ruckus.  When kings arrive and ask the local king, “Where is the real KING?” Something has to give!

 

What are we to have in this time of great darkness?  Look again at the command from Hebrews: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

“Where is He who is born King of the Jews?”  Their question made it clear that a new power was now freely working in the earth.  Moreover, this power operated as no other power had previously operated.  This power came and went as it pleased.  It raised the humble to be a force against the proud.  Love had taken on muscle and showed that a gentle but irresistible change was coming.  A new kingdom had come and it would expand through means that nullified human force.

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar 600 years before this day that this kingdom would come.  Daniel 2: 44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”  

Break and consume: Here is the big picture!  The Kingdom of God is expanding. It grows by tactics and weapons that have no peer. It is breaking and consuming everything that opposes Christ.  The mustard seed that sprouted in the Bethlehem stable would grow until it absorbed every foe and fulfilled these words: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” -Revelation 11:15

Satan took the bait from Daniel’s prophecy!  Every other kingdom that Daniel referred to in his prophecy was set up by physical force. When he heard the words break and consume, the devil assumed that the Messiah would be a Jewish liberator like King David.  The devil never thought that a baby’s cry in a lowly manger was the real threat to his throne.

The regions of hell convulsed when it finally hit them that Messiah was now on earth. Evil now had an expiration date.  Intuitively, Herod felt this same dread.  As a puppet for Satan and Rome, what else could he feel?  Reason left him.  He knew he had no power over this, he knew that the Anointed One could not be stopped, yet he decided to commit a great atrocity by destroying the children of Bethlehem.

There it is! Great evil at work while at the same time the kingdom of God expands!  The Magi are led away from danger.  Joseph and Mary are warned to leave and use the treasure brought by the Magi to pay for their escape to Egypt.

You are receiving a Kingdom.  Never forget it!  Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

This is the one thing for you to remember.  God surgically injected the kingdom of God on earth; a kingdom which cannot be shaken by global warming or moral cooling!  You are inextricably connected to the story of Christmas.  It lives in you, it breathes in you, and it energizes, protects, and guides you.  It is the power of Christmas that exempts you from all of the tragic outcomes that you see around you.

Psalm 37:18-19, “The LORD knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

 

Today is Christmas Day so Remember This

NativityThere is one very important thing you need to remember this Christmas.

Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friend,

Today is Christmas day so remember this…  Yes, we live in a world of explosive insecurity.  Yes, we live in a time where disaster comes without warning and destroys lives instantly.

America has finally become the generation with nothing to look forward to.  This is a time where people are melting down because of a crushing sense of helplessness and despair.  Some react with mindless panic and rage. They shoot and kill their loved ones and then turn the gun on themselves rather than face their losses.  Others are too frozen in fear and uncertainty to do anything.  Still others frantically numb their despair by plunging into addictions and perversions that prior generations never imagined.

How deep and widespread is this panic?  It is so pervasive that it has seeped into the hearts of God’s people.  Many in the church, including leaders, admit that they have developed destructive addictions trying to cope with anxiety.

This Christmas threatens to be a time of very little comfort and joy.  Many who love the Lord passionately will not even celebrate it this year!  If you are under attack, if you feel the devastating sense of helplessness, then it is time for you to remember one thing about this Christmas.

Christmas is not just the story of the most important birth in history; it is the proof that an invisible force guards the children of God with unstoppable, irresistible, compassionate protection. Christmas unfolds the masterstroke of God our Father against evil.  Let me explain!

He was the most anticipated person in history and yet His arrival fooled everyone. It requires skill from beyond our planet to sneak the Desire of all nations into our world unobserved with only a handful taking notice. God can fool anyone and He cannot be fooled by anyone.

The Jews thought that when the Son of God arrived it would be with all the ceremony possible, that crowns and scepters should immediately have been laid at his feet, and that the high and mighty princes of the world should have been his humble servants.  He came into the world, and the world knew him not.  Hcame to his own, and his own received him not.

It was not as if his arrival was without fireworks. The first burst of wonder came to the shepherds in Luke Chapter 2.  They saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. (v. 17&18) After this in Luke 2:38, Simeon and Anna spoke of him, by the Spirit, to all who were willing to listen.

You would think that this would have shaken the inhabitants of Judah andJerusalem, so that finally they would rise up as one and embrace the long-looked-for Messiah; but no.  He continued nearly two years more at Bethlehem, and no further notice was taken of him till these wise men came.

Trouble!  Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  These were no singing angels. They were mere men; notable men to be sure, but still just men. The Magi were the Persians philosophers and their priests.  No one could become a Persian king who had not first been enrolled among the Magi. It was their royalty that caused the entire ruckus.  When kings arrive and ask the local king, “Where is the real KING?” Something has to give!

Candles and Ribbon XL

“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?”  Their question made it clear that a new power was now freely working in the earth.  Moreover, this power operated as no other power had previously operated.  This power came and went as it pleased.  It raised the humble to be a force against the proud.  Love had taken on muscle and showed that a gentle but irresistible change was coming.  A new kingdom had come and it would expand through means that nullified human force.

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar 600 years before this day that this kingdom would come.  Daniel 2: 44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”  

Break and consume: Here is the big picture!  The Kingdom of God is expanding. It grows by tactics and weapons that have no peer. It is breaking and consuming everything that opposes Christ.  The mustard seed that sprouted in the Bethlehem stable would grow until it absorbs every foe and fulfills these words: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” -Revelation 11:15

Satan took the bait from Daniel’s prophecy!  Every other kingdom that Daniel referred to in his prophecy was set up by physical force. When he heard the words break and consume, the devil assumed that the Messiah would be a Jewish liberator like King David.  The devil never thought that a baby’s cry in a lowly manger was the real threat to his throne.

The regions of hell convulsed when it finally hit them that Messiah was now on earth. Evil now had an expiration date.  Intuitively, Herod felt this same dread.  As a puppet for Satan and Rome, what else could he feel?  Reason left him.  He knew he had no power over this, he knew that the Anointed One could not be stopped yet he went to commit a great atrocity on the children of Bethlehem.

There it is! Great evil at work while at the same time the Kingdom of God expands!  The Magi are led away from danger.  Joseph and Mary are warned to leave and use the treasure of the Magi to pay for their escape to Egypt.

You are receiving a Kingdom,,,never forget it!  Hebrews 12:28, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”  This is the one thing for you to remember.  God surgically injected the Kingdom of God on earth; a Kingdom which cannot be shaken by global warming or moral cooling!  You are inextricably connected to the story of Christmas.  It lives in you, it breathes in you, and it energizes, protects, and guides you.  It is the power of Christmas that exempts you from all of the tragic outcomes that you see around you.  Psalm 37:18,19, “The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

What are we to have in this time of great darkness?  Look again at the command from Hebrews: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Let your sense of wonder and gratitude shake you from fear and compromise!  You have received an unshakable Kingdom. You do dare not drown your sorrows in alcohol or compromised living!  You dare not have your senses dulled or your heart weighed down with carousing!  Clothe yourself in the wonder of God’s work.  Be a victorious and holy Child of God!

Serve God acceptably!  Self pity is not acceptable when you are on a mission from God.  Look at the way that every character in the Christmas story did their duty in the face of great danger and sacrifice.  Why?  They felt honored to be chosen, they were living a miracle.  The joy and wonder of Christmas carried them through every test!

Christmas introduced special weapons and a new breed of soldier! 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 says, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,   casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  Beloved, you are not supposed to lay there and take it!  You are supposed to rise up in the Name of Jesus and take the sword, take the shield, take all of the weapons of God and attack!

Today, thoughts alarm us and emotions assault us, but we are not helpless… we are not powerless!  Your heavenly Father is watching to see if you will rise up, take up these mighty weapons and attack!

You are the Christmas story continued in the last days!  What is the one thing you need to know this Christmas?  God is protecting you today as much as He protected Joseph and Mary back then!  God will guide you today every bit as accurately as he guided the Wise Men!  Since you have the same Jesus, the same angels, and the same power that carried the Christmas miracle to completion, God will also carry you across the finish line!  Hallelujah!

Mechelle and I pray that you and those you love will feel the power of the angels singing, the love from the manger, and the Glory of God overshadowing you this Christmas!

 

 

Obama quotes nonexistent Bible verse

Obama quotes nonexistent Bible verse in immigration speech refers to Joseph and Mary as illegal immigrants

While there are plenty of Bible verses to mention while discussing immigration, President Obama on Tuesday quoted one which isn’t so great, mainly because it’s not real. “The good book says don’t throw stones at glass houses, or make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the moat in other folks eyes,” Obama said during a speech in Nashville. One problem, though: The Bible never mentions glass houses.

In addition to his biblical misquote, Obama also tied his immigration policy to the Christmas story, saying, “If we’re serious about the Christmas season, now is the time to reflect on those who are strangers in our midst and remember what it was like to be a stranger.” This analogy drew conservative ire as opponents of the president’s immigration reform noted that Mary and Joseph were actually visiting Joseph’s ancestral home. Watch Obama’s comments in the video below. —Bonnie Kristian

The only thing you need to remember this Christmas.

NativityThe only thing you need to remember this Christmas.

Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friend,

There is only one thing you need to remember this Christmas and you need to start remembering it right now.  Yes, we live in a world of explosive insecurity.  Yes, we live in a time where disaster comes without warning and destroys lives instantly.

America has finally become the generation with nothing to look forward to.  This is a time where people are melting down because of a crushing sense of helplessness and despair.  Some react with mindless panic and rage. They shoot and kill their loved ones and then turn the gun on themselves rather than face their losses.  Others are too frozen in fear and uncertainty to do anything.  Still others frantically numb their despair by plunging into addictions and perversions that prior generations never imagined.

How deep and widespread is this panic?  It is so pervasive that it has seeped into the hearts of God’s people.  Many in the church, including leaders, admit that they have developed destructive addictions trying to cope with anxiety.

This Christmas threatens to be a time of very little comfort and joy.  Many who love the Lord passionately will not even celebrate it this year!  If you are under attack, if you feel the devastating sense of helplessness, then it is time for you to remember one thing about this Christmas.

Christmas is not just the story of the most important birth in history; it is the proof that an invisible force guards the children of God with unstoppable, irresistible, compassionate protection. Christmas unfolds the masterstroke of God our Father against evil.  Let me explain!

He was the most anticipated person in history and yet His arrival fooled everyone. It requires skill from beyond our planet to sneak the Desire of all nations into our world unobserved with only a handful taking notice. God can fool anyone and He cannot be fooled by anyone.

The Jews thought that when the Son of God arrived it would be with all the ceremony possible, that crowns and scepters should immediately have been laid at his feet, and that the high and mighty princes of the world should have been his humble servants.  He came into the world, and the world knew him not.  Hcame to his own, and his own received him not.

It was not as if his arrival was without fireworks. The first burst of wonder came to the shepherds in Luke Chapter 2.  They saw and heard glorious things concerning him, and made them known abroad, to the amazement of all that heard them. (v. 17&18) After this in Luke 2:38, Simeon and Anna spoke of him, by the Spirit, to all who were willing to listen.

You would think that this would have shaken the inhabitants of Judah andJerusalem, so that finally they would rise up as one and embrace the long-looked-for Messiah; but no.  He continued nearly two years more at Bethlehem, and no further notice was taken of him till these wise men came.

Trouble!  Matthew 2:3, “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”  These were no singing angels. They were mere men; notable men to be sure, but still just men. The Magi were the Persians philosophers and their priests.  No one could become a Persian king who had not first been enrolled among the Magi. It was their royalty that caused the entire ruckus.  When kings arrive and ask the local king, “Where is the real KING?” Something has to give!

Candles and Ribbon XL

“Where is he who is born King of the Jews?”  Their question made it clear that a new power was now freely working in the earth.  Moreover, this power operated as no other power had previously operated.  This power came and went as it pleased.  It raised the humble to be a force against the proud.  Love had taken on muscle and showed that a gentle but irresistible change was coming.  A new kingdom had come and it would expand through means that nullified human force.

Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar 600 years before this day that this kingdom would come.  Daniel 2: 44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”  

Break and consume: Here is the big picture!  The Kingdom of God is expanding. It grows by tactics and weapons that have no peer. It is breaking and consuming everything that opposes Christ.  The mustard seed that sprouted in the Bethlehem stable would grow until it absorbs every foe and fulfills these words: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” -Revelation 11:15

Satan took the bait from Daniel’s prophecy!  Every other kingdom that Daniel referred to in his prophecy was set up by physical force. When he heard the words break and consume, the devil assumed that the Messiah would be a Jewish liberator like King David.  The devil never thought that a baby’s cry in a lowly manger was the real threat to his throne.

The regions of hell convulsed when it finally hit them that Messiah was now on earth. Evil now had an expiration date.  Intuitively, Herod felt this same dread.  As a puppet for Satan and Rome, what else could he feel?  Reason left him.  He knew he had no power over this, he knew that the Anointed One could not be stopped yet he went to commit a great atrocity on the children of Bethlehem.

There it is! Great evil at work while at the same time the Kingdom of God expands!  The Magi are led away from danger.  Joseph and Mary are warned to leave and use the treasure of the Magi to pay for their escape to Egypt.

You are receiving a Kingdom!  Hebrews 12:28, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”  This is the one thing for you to remember.  God surgically injected the Kingdom of God on earth; a Kingdom which cannot be shaken by global warming or moral cooling!  You are inextricably connected to the story of Christmas.  It lives in you, it breathes in you, and it energizes, protects, and guides you.  It is the power of Christmas that exempts you from all of the tragic outcomes that you see around you.  Psalm 37:18,19, “The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

What are we to have in this time of great darkness?  Look again at the command from Hebrews: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

Let your sense of wonder and gratitude shake you from fear and compromise!  You have received an unshakable Kingdom. You do dare not drown your sorrows in alcohol or compromised living!  You dare not have your senses dulled or your heart weighed down with carousing!  Clothe yourself in the wonder of God’s work.  Be a victorious and holy Child of God!

Serve God acceptably!  Self pity is not acceptable when you are on a mission from God.  Look at the way that every character in the Christmas story did their duty in the face of great danger and sacrifice.  Why?  They felt honored to be chosen, they were living a miracle.  The joy and wonder of Christmas carried them through every test!

Christmas introduced special weapons and a new breed of soldier! 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 says, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,   casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  Beloved, you are not supposed to lay there and take it!  You are supposed to rise up in the Name of Jesus and take the sword, take the shield, take all of the weapons of God and attack!

Today, thoughts alarm us and emotions assault us, but we are not helpless… we are not powerless!  Your heavenly Father is watching to see if you will rise up, take up these mighty weapons and attack!

You are the Christmas story continued in the last days!  What is the one thing you need to know this Christmas?  God is protecting you today as much as He protected Joseph and Mary back then!  God will guide you today every bit as accurately as he guided the Wise Men!  Since you have the same Jesus, the same angels, and the same power that carried the Christmas miracle to completion, God will also carry you across the finish line!  Hallelujah!

Mechelle and I pray that you and those you love will feel the power of the angels singing, the love from the manger, and the Glory of God overshadowing you this Christmas!

 

 

Part Two: Christmas was designed to destroy our fears.

Now we continue with the last two kinds of fear that Christmas is designed to destroy.

The fear that you are helpless: Luke 1:29-33 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.   He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.   And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary’s fear of the future was justified.  She seemed trapped in a cruel drama.  She felt the crushing blow of forces she could not control.  We can see ourselves in it right now. There are a million new ways for modern life to make us feel helpless.   Right now we face the specter of government out of control.  There are only two ways left to see life today. It is either a cruel joke or it is a plan that will bulldoze whatever boulders and fallen trees that try to block our path. Here is how we can relate to her fear.  The first is that we feel that our government has turned against us.  The obscene greed of CEO’s plundered Wall Street and our retirement accounts with it and our leaders turned a blind eye to it.

This is what Mary and Joseph felt when Caesar Augustus’ law forced them to return to Bethlehem to pay taxes. This was not favor this was tyranny!  Yet a closer look reveals that government edicts must surrender to divine providence.  Prophecy trumps policy!  This was not a case of Mary being forced to go to Bethlehem but of Caesar being manipulated into writing a law that would fulfill the words of Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me, The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

God holds the strings not government.  He sets one up and takes another down.  The favored ones live on a plane of protection that is not known to mortal man.  Everything that comes at you must come through divine permission…that is favor!  Favor is a sense of peace that God is in control, not in a distant passive way but in an aggressive and immediate way that works to our advantage and for our good.  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

 The fear of interrupting your schedule to celebrate: Luke 2: 8 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

The story of the shepherds is a story of men out on the job, taut with tension, facing the threats of poachers, Romans and wild animals. They were watching their flocks knowing at any moment they might lose their livelihood.  Many of you can feel the drain of the long hours you must work.  Money pressures the keep us running.  We dare not stop lest we fall hopelessly behind.   The very idea of taking time out to celebrate can strike fear in our heart.

But, you also know that there is a deeper voice calling.  Here is what you need to see: THIS IS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!  There is nothing that the enemy wants to steal more from you than celebration.  It is the goal of the devil to make stop rejoicing.  There is a critical difference between joy and rejoicing.  Joy is the emotion of victory, rejoicing is the victory party.  As we said at the beginning of this letter, Christmas is an interruption.  The message of the angel was simple: “you have to go and celebrate. Go! We will watch the sheep.”

Jesus Himself modeled this truth for us when He wanted to celebrate the last supper.  The disciples had no idea how to accommodate Him.  After all they were in hiding because of threats on Jesus.  They thought, “Can we risk such rejoicing in this dark time and even if we wanted to how can we do it?  The Lord simply said “go to this address and tell this man we need his upstairs banquet room and he will give it to you.”  Bingo!   They had a party hall.

If you take the time to rejoice this Christmas, God will not only provide the party, He will give you an abiding peace and joy you will throughout your life.  After Christmas you must reenter the theater of the absurd and see the rest of the play, but so what.  Now you know better.  Now you know what the caroler meant when he wrote: “Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies!”

 

 

How Christmas was designed to destroy fear.

Christmas is designed to destroy our fears.

 Imagine people gripped with panic and trembling at what might happen next.  Frantically, they seek ways to cope with the avalanche of terror.  Now there is the baleful knock of the wolf at the door!   The creature outside is the future, howling destruction!  Then just as suddenly, the house lights go up to reveal that this night terror is but a play.  Spontaneously, the audience and the cast retire to the grand lobby of the theater.  There they find a sumptuous feast awaiting them!   Celebration breaks out.   Laughter replaces weeping. Fond memories swallow fearful expectations.  The best music ever reawakens the innocence of childhood.  The delightful memory of simpler times overtakes them.  Aromas they have missed all year waft over them from the kitchen.  Silver bells ring out the call to rejoice; forget bills, aches, pains, threats and past hurts!  This is Christmas.  Everything is right with the world.

 No one wants to leave the grand lobby to face the second act, however, they all must.  The cast will return to the stage and the audience will resume its place in the hard demands of everyday life and the din of modern times.  This time however, they know better. They return with a deep sense that the life they once feared is a temporary reality.  They carry in their soul the great hope that one day soon the Lion is coming to finish off the wolf and the house lights will stay up and of His reign there will be no end.

 It is Christmas 2012 and not since October of 1929 have Americans felt this kind of fear.  This fear has spilled over to the Church as saint and sinner alike are cutting back on everything in anticipation of even more severe times ahead.  Many churches have let talented staff go and have halted vital services seeking to be wise with their dwindling resources.

In the face of such setbacks how should we celebrate Christmas this year?  Is a subdued, cut rate celebration is in order?  NEVER!  That kind of Christmas is way out of order.  We are not saying that you should load up your credit card and deal with the shock next year.  Nor are we prescribing a Disneyland denial.   Instead, we want a revelation of Christmas to overwhelm all of your fears.

December 25th is by definition a defiant holiday, a divine interrupter of worry and dread.

From the moment that the star appeared, a glorious triumph of the skies ensued and it interrupts again each year at this time.  (Before we go on, we must let you know how much we owe to my father in Christ, Ralph Wilkerson for the revelation that you are about to read.  Thanks Dad, for showing us the power of the Christmas.)

The Nativity is too big a miracle to adequately cover in any letter.   Instead, we want to focus on four amazing encounters with angels that prove Christmas is designed to destroy fear!  In fact, the Angels greeted each of the four main characters in the Christmas story with the very same greeting: FEAR NOT!  There is no doubt that fear was their primary target. When these heavenly visitors found each chosen vessel they confronted that person’s specific anxiety.  Then they instructed them to act against the grain of their dread and worry.   There were four different kinds of fear that the angel of the Lord attacked.  These also happen to be the fears that we facing now.   So, sit with us now.  Find yourself in the Christmas story and let an Angel touch your spirit.

The fear that God does not answer prayer!  Luke 1:1114 “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

We are bombarded with images of dread.  So much of that we have taken for granted has vanished.  The things we counted on to help us climb out of debt are proving to be brittle handrails.  CEO’s have ravaged companies and destroyed the retirement of millions.  Politicians have lied and lied to cover their lies.  Both Republican and Democratic leaders look utterly incompetent to handle crisis at home and abroad.  Everywhere we look, we see another broken promise.  No wonder the devil tempts us to wonder if prayer itself will also fail!  We may ask “does God hear my cry? Has He forgotten the promises He made to me?  Will I find surpassing peace, tangible breakthroughs and victory over my threats if I keep on asking, seeking and knocking?”

If ever there was a poster child for this condition it was Zacharias the priest.  Luke chapter one shows us that he walked in integrity.   However, the cold, cruel world created by Roman occupation and the wicked compromise of his fellow ministers had hardened him with unbelief.  His acts of worship in the temple once drew deep reverence, expectation and wonder.  Now they were the perfunctory acts of a burned out man.  Even his prayer for the Messiah to come and deliver Israel was reduced to rote.  There is nothing more heart-rending to witness than a child of God mumbling catatonic prayers in quiet despair.

The warrior angel gloriously startled him to jolt him out of fear!  What an eloquent rebuke!  “Hey!  Wake up, God heard you, He never forgot!  I am here to set you back on course and to fulfill the deepest desire of your heart.  You are going to have great joy after all!”

The fear that you must put away your dream: Matthew 1:19-24 “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.

Joseph was an honorable man and he feared what society would do to the woman he loved.   Right now, Americans are afraid of what this crisis will do to the ones they love.  In a time when so many things seemed to have gone up in smoke it seems right to hunker down and brace ourselves for years of shortages.  Whether it is global warming or a moral cooling the logic of the moment seems to be to expect the worse.   He had night terrors voices that ran worst case scenarios in his mind.

Do you really want to prescribe a future of bleak limits to your children?   Everyone needs to know that their child will be safe on the way to school and on into their future.   However, children should not be warned to seek a career they can “fall back on.” They should be inspired to get a God given dream that they can throw their hearts into!   That kind of dream is so big that the facts don’t count and the flood of immorality will never stop it.

Not only this, but our children need to see us pursuing our dream.  We must remember that these hard times will not last but our dream will last.

It broke Joseph’s heart to think that he had to hide the woman he loved in order to save her.  While he was fretting over all of this the angel’s message loud and clear, “Do not fear current conditions. Why?  It was all summed up in this explosive statement: “what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  Since your dream is of the Holy Spirit nothing can stop it!  Paul said “He that began a good work in you will complete it to the day of Jesus Christ.”

 Check back for Part Two Later Today!