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To again quote Charles Spurgeon:
"It is joy to all nations that Christ is born, the Prince of Peace, the King who rules in righteousness...Beloved, the greatest joy is to those who know Christ as a Saviour...The further you submit yourself to Christ the Lord, the more completely you know Him, the fuller will your happiness become. Surface joy is to those who live where the Saviour is preached; but the great deeps, the great fathomless deeps of solemn joy which glisten and sparkle with delight, are for such as know the Saviour, obey the Anointed One, and have communion with the Lord Himself...you will never know the fullness of the joy which Jesus brings to the soul, unless under the power of the Holy Spirit you take the Lord your Master to be your All in all, and make Him the fountain of your intensest delight."
(From a sermon by Todd Leupold "Joy To The World" 12/21/2008)
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"I recently read a moving story that David Jeremiah wrote about the founder of World Vision, the international Christian relief agency. Bob Pierce had advanced leukemia, but he went to visit a colleague in Indonesia before he died. As they were walking through a small village, they came upon a young girl lying on a bamboo mat next to a river. She was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.
Bob was indignant. He demanded to know why she wasnít in a clinic. But his friend explained that she was from the jungle and wished to spend her last days next to the river, where it was cool and familiar.
As Bob gazed at her, he felt such compassion that he got down on his knees in the mud, took her hand, and began stroking it. Although she didnít understand him, he prayed for her. Afterward she looked up and said something. "What did she say?" Bob asked his friend.
His friend relied, "She said, íIf I could only sleep again, if I could only sleep again.í" It seemed that her pain was too great to allow her the relief of rest.
Bob began to weep. Then he reached into his pocket and took out his own sleeping pills, the ones his doctor had given him because the pain from his leukemia was too great for him to sleep at night.
He handed the bottle to his friend. :You make sure this young lady gets a good nightís sleep," he said, "as long as these pills last."
Bob was ten days away from where he could get his prescription refilled. That meant ten painful and restless nights. That day his servanthood cost him greatly. But even in the midst of his suffering, God had infused a supernatural sense of satisfaction that he had done the right thing.
Lee Strobel, Godís Outrageous Claims, 95
Illus.: “When Blind Eyes Were Opened”
D.L. Moody, the famed evangelist, told this story at one of his meetings: One evening just before Christmas, a man was walking through the streets of an Eastern city. The store windows were all beautifully decorated, and he observed three little girls intensely interested in one of them. He discovered that the girl in the center was blind, and the others were trying to describe the beautiful things in the window. “Why,” they said, “can’t you see that Teddy bear and that doll? Just look at that pretty pink bow!”
But the poor little girl stood with a blank expression on her face and could not appreciate the beautiful things before her. “Now,” said Moody, “this is an illustration of the effort we Christians are making to arouse the unconverted to an interest and delight in spiritual things. The reason we can’t do so is because the sinner is spiritually blind.” Moody had scarcely concluded when a reporter was on the platform asking him where he had heard that story. “Oh,” said Moody, “I read it in one of those daily papers. I have forgotten which one.” Then the reporter said, “I’m the one who wrote the story because I was there and saw the whole thing. I see now that I’m just like that little girl, spiritually blind.” That man was converted then and there.
C. S. Lewis suggests, ďIf we have never had the experience of taking our casual, religious shoes off our casual, religious feet Ė getting rid of all the excessive informality with which we approach Go...
[A Christmas Poem]
The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords
Came to earth for you and me.
The salvation I could not afford
He paid for on Calvary.
What could I ever give Him
That would thank Him for His Son?
Iíll confess, and turn from my sin
And live in the victory won!
I often lose sight of Jesus,
Because of Santa and Christmas trees.
Jesus Christ is more than enough
To grant me eternity.
Heís the Wonderful Counselor,
The Mighty God, Prince of Peace,
Heís the Everlasting Father,
And to think Ė He came for me!
He deserves no less than my all,
Though itís easy to give Him less.
Though born in a humble stall,
God sent me His very best.
- Aaron Hand, 2007
Sermon Central Staff
MESSIAH SIGHTING IN BROOKLYN
In 1993 I saw a news report on T.V. it was about a "Messiah sighting" in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York. Twenty thousand Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews live in Crown Heights, and many of them believed the Messiah was dwelling among them in the person of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
Word of the rabbiís public appearance spread like a flash fire through the streets of Crown Heights, and Lubavitchers in their black coats and curly sidelocks were soon dashing toward the synagogue where the rabbi customarily prayed. The lucky ones connected to a network of beepers got a head start, sprinting toward the synagogue the instant they felt a slight vibration. They jammed by the hundreds into a main hall, elbowing each other and even climbing the pillars to create more room. The hall filled with an air of anticipation and frenzy normally found at a championship sporting event, not a religious service.
The rabbi was 91 years old. He had suffered a stroke the year before and had not been able to speak since. When the curtain finally pulled back, those who had crowded into the synagogue saw a frail old man with a long beard who could do little but wave, tilt his head, and move his eyebrows. No one in the audience seemed to mind, though. "Long live our master, our teacher, and our rabbi, King, Messiah, forever and ever!" they sang in unison, over and over, building in volume until the rabbi made a small gesture with his hand and the curtain closed. They departed slowly, savoring the moment, in a state of ecstasy. (Rabbi Schneerson died in June 1994. Now Lubavitchers are awaiting his bodily resurrection.)
When I was watching this, I thought to myself, how can they believe such a thing. Who are these people trying to kid-óa 91 year old mute Messiah in Brooklyn? And then it struck me: I was reacting to Rabbi Schneerson exactly as people in the first century had reacted to Jesus. A Messiah from Galilee? A carpenterís kid, no less?
The disbelief I felt when I heard about the rabbi and his fanatical followers gave me a small glimpse of the kind of responses Jesus faced throughout his life. His neighbors asked, "Isnít his motherís name Mary, and arenít his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" Other countrymen scoffed, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" His own family tried to put him away, believing he was out of his mind. The religious experts sought to kill him. As for the common people, one moment they judged him demon-possessed and raving mad, the next they forcibly tried to crown him king.
This is the glory and the wonder of Christmas, that God could plant not only into the womb of this woman the Son of God, but He could plant in her heart the faith to believe the message that she received from the angel. Her response has always overwhelmed me with a sense of absolute submission that ought to be in the heart of every child of God. Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."
(From a sermon by Mark Roper, Jesus the Wondrous Gift of God, 12/16/2009)
Sermon Central Staff
THIS BABY IS FOR YOU
Pastor and author Richard Foster writes about genuine, joyous giving. "Giving with a glad and generous heart has a way of rooting out the tough old miser within us. Just the very act of letting go of money or some other treasure does something great within us."1 Such genuine, joyous giving awakens us to the true message of Christmas and reminds us of God's free, unconditional gift of Jesus to us. God generosity toward us in Christ opens us up to new possibilities of being generous with others.
It was like a beautiful tale from a storybook. The young couple had found each other and began their marriage together full of hope and anticipation. It all seemed so perfect. They were happy, with good jobs, a nice home, and a loving relationship. In time, they celebrated the incredible joy of the birth of their first and only child. They were loving, caring, and devoted parents. Life seemed rich and complete. They were a family.
Then the unthinkable happened. The beautiful little baby who had filled their lives with so much joy died suddenly. Their lives turned from hope and joyful anticipation to numbing emptiness and pain. They were devastated and agonized over their loss and wondered what they could have done to prevent such a senseless tragedy. Life no longer seemed complete. Instead of the excitement of new beginnings they were consumed by endings, darkness instead of light, as they struggled to hold their fragile love together.
It all seemed hopeless until a simple knock on their door changed their lives forever. There at the door, stood a Native man holding a small baby. He reached forward, handing the child to the couple. "Here, this baby is for you," he said and then he left.
I still feel my tears as I think about the young Native mother who gave her own baby to fill the lives of the grieving couple. Native people call it custom adoption. For me, it is much more. It is the ultimate gift of love.
Christmas is our celebration of God's ultimate gift of love. God saw our pain, our devastation, our hopelessness, our brokenness, and our fragile love and he loved us so much that "...he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Jesus is God's ultimate gift. "Here, this baby is for you."2
"For a child has been born for us, a son given to us." Jesus, the greatest gift of Christmas--for you, for me, for everyone. Amen.
(1 Cited from: Clergy Talk, December 1998 (Sequim, WA), p. 11. 2 Cited from: Lee Barry, "This Baby is For You," in: Come Let Us Adore Him: LAMP 1995 Advent Devotions, p. 30.
From a sermon by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson, Christ is the Greatest Gift, 12/20/2010 )
We live in an incredible world that has been wonderfully designed and marvelously created by God.
When the last tubes of the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River for the Pennsylvania Railroad were about to be joined in 1927, a young civil engineer named Richardson was chosen for the task because of his remarkable ability to make an accurate survey that would bring the tube ends perfectly together. So accurate was his work that when the tubes were joined the two ends were less than one-eighth of an inch off-center
But with God the accuracy is so complete that planets, for example, can travel not the few thousand feet of the length of a tunnel, but through a universe so vast as to be almost beyond human comprehension and at such speed as virtually defies description. For example, consider the fact that the earth is 25,000 miles in circumference, weighs 6 septillion, 588 sextillion tons, and hangs unsupported in space. It spins at 1,000 miles per hour with absolute precision and flies through space around the sun at the speed of 1,000 miles per minute in an exact orbit 580 million miles long
Now, except to a mind willfully closed to the obvious, it is inconceivable that such accuracy, intricacy and harmony could have developed by any means but by that of a Master Designer who rules the universe. It would be far more reasonable to think that the separate pieces of a watch could be shaken in a bag and eventually become a dependable timepiece than to think that the world could have evolved into its present state by blind chance.
Henry Ward Beecher, the pre-C...
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
It was two weeks before Christmas and it began to start. Everyone was scrambling and rushing to get to Wal-Mart. Their credit cards were in the orange and checking account in the red in hopes that their rich uncle would soon be dead.
Old Saint Nick sitting high on a mountain top watching, waiting with a smile because, he knows the sales will bring shivers and grins to the rich folks in just a little while.
Mommies and Daddies go to cocktail parties and Daddy drinks away the pain. While their teenage kids take drugs to do the same.
A homeless man is cold and holding up a sign, "I lost my job would you kindly spare a dime. I've got a wife and little boy who always depended on me but, all seems hopeless so we had to turn to charity."
Our leaders gave our jobs to the foreign lands to make the economy strong so we could still stand but, we depended on God in the past for wrongs and what's right but, now it seems God gets farther from our site.
It seems it's going to take more than just knock some buildings down and take over three thousand lives to turn to a Saviour who can turn our lives and country around.
It was little baby Jesus who was born over two thousand years ago the one wrapped in rags in a stable the free gift of life not with a fancy bow.
It was God in the flesh who grew into a man to die for all who would believe in His plan.
Salvation is paid for by way of the cross by a man name Jesus its God's love for the lost.
So stop and think when in the Christmas rush, what really matters to all of us. It's not Old Saint Nick or the man in the suit of red, its Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead.
We wish each one of you a Christ filled Christmas
Poem was written by Ronnie Miller year 2004 www.themillersbiblestudy.com
Ever-flowing Stream Of Grace
Isaiah 40:28-31 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Surely I Am With You Always: When despondency comes upon the Body of Christ and when we have the tendency to bring God down to our level, we need to let the Holy Spirit bring the truths found in today's text to life within our minds and hearts. When things happen that cause you to question your ministry's worth, to become weary and want to give up, God has a promise that will meet you at whatever condition you find yourself in. When Christians grasp the truths Isaiah wrote they overcome all circumstances that can cause them to doubt the Lord's love for them. They find themselves walking in the power of Almighty God, thus hearing, understanding and achieving God's perfect will for them.
The results in trusting in God are far beyond outward observance and far beyond the onlooker's perspective. These results grow out of our relationship with God the Father, Christ our Lord and our ability to walk in step...