THE CHRISTMAS STORY – A MESSY PLAN ABOUT THE MAN WHO MISSED CHRISTMAS

December 20, 2011

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, Micah 5:2 KJV

The Christmas Story about the man who missed Christmas starts here in the Bible. It doesn’t tell us the name of this man, but we can read his story in the Gospel According to Luke 2:7.  That verse tells us enough, and more than enough, about the innkeeper, the man who missed Christmas: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 KJV   Why was there no room for Mary and Joseph and their expected Baby, except in a stable? Bethlehem was a small town, and in those days most small towns perhaps had only one inn. The inn in Bethlehem was already filled. No other accommodation was available. He was too busy to notice a woman about to give birth to a Baby, to a Child who would grow up to become the most famous Man in all of history, and more than a Man, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

While they were there it was time for the baby to be born, she gave birth to the first-born, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the Inn. God had this messy plan, a plan to save the world, and to do that He was going to send His Son. Where does the God of the universe send His Son? Where does the king of kings and the Lord of lords come? To a barn, a stable, a manger. Of all places, certainly not a place fit for a King. Then again this was no ordinary King. When I say it was messy, I mean messy! It was a barn, a stable, so you got animals, animal stuff, manure, mud, a pitiful place for people. Much less a place for the King of Kings to be born. Why would God do that? Isaiah explains that here, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 53:6, 55:8 KJV   You see, Jesus came to this messy Place, a barn, a manger, it’s just a mess! So why did he come into this messy world? The Shepard was coming to take care of his sheep to prepare away for them to go home. That’s what a Shepard does. The Bible says, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11 KJV  He lives where the sheep are, He sleeps where they sleep, He eats where they eat. That got Jesus in trouble. Why did Jesus eat with sinners? Because that is what the Shepard does. And then an Angel appeared to the shepherds in the field and said, this will be a sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in clothes laying in a manger. The Bible says, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 KJV  Do you ever wonder why this was a sign? Being a servant is messy. Jesus set this incredible example for us. He got down on His knees and washed feet. God of the universe, deserved the best of everything, got down on His knees, He laid in a feeding trough. Why of all such places? Why such a messy place? He was following a messy plan. He came to this world not as royalty, but as a baby born in a stable full of muck and animals, to humble Himself to become one of us. Paul says it best here, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8 KJV  

Christmas represents a hope, a unique joy, felt only at Christmastime, because Christ the Savior is born. Are you lost today? What better time for you to be found than at this Christmas season? Don’t be like the man who missed Christmas. Do you have room for Jesus Christ? Or are you so busy and so occupied with the trimmings of Christmas that you miss its triumph, as the innkeeper did long ago? Have you crowded Jesus out so that there is no room for Him in the inn of your heart? Let the Christ of Christmas come in to your heart today.

That first Christmas was dirty, grimy, filthy, but thank God it was because without it,  what a mess we would be in!

God Bless, Jeff Ellinger

 

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MOTHER’S DAY: LORDSHIP AND MOTHERHOOD

May 6, 2011

   “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

  Deuteronomy 32:11-12, Matthew 23:37 KJV


Mother’s Day. The day when women who aren’t mothers but wish they were feel the burden a bit more; the day when guilty husbands serve breakfast in bed and make a bigger mess than it’s worth; the day when mothers reflect again on the whole business and decide it’s worth it after all.Motherhood in a Mess,But motherhood has gotten bad press for the last couple of decades. We have been through some strange phases; perhaps not as neatly packaged chronologically as I will present them. We went through the time of embarrassed silence in society, when a woman, asked what she does, replied, “Oh, I stay at home and raise the kids. I’m a mother.”Then came the syndrome of the failed mother; the mother is responsible for all kinds of insecurities and failures in the child. Who hasn’t read some novel about the overbearing, domineering, perfectionist mother who irrevocably scarred her child’s psyche for life? Was that Norman’s problem in Hitchcock’s Psycho? — you remember, the guy who ran the hotel and had the hobby of stabbing folks in the shower. Perhaps that was the problem of whoever it is that’s always back in those terrible Friday the 13th movies. Anyway, we went through a phase of saying that if you can’t cope, you can always blame it on mother.Then came the women’s liberation movement, with some women not only rejecting motherhood, but womanhood, too; and trying to be like men. And from the mixed wisdom and foolishness of various women’s emphasis groups has come a time when many women are appreciating the fact that they are different from men, and they are celebrating the fact that they are specially created for the bearing of children. So that now we are seeing a fad, featuring your favorite movie star, in which she decides she wants a child — not marriage, perhaps not a husband — just a child. She wants the uniquely female experience of bearing a child, cuddling it, nursing it, possessing it.That is an odd, foolish, sad, and tragic trend. It is, among other things, using a child as a thing for the woman’s gratification. It is disregard for God’s intention for motherhood and society and His blueprint for the home. But this phenomenon of the deliberately incomplete family, this twisted view of motherhood, is instructive for our society — it says motherhood is accepted again, it emphasizes a sickness in our culture, and it can set us to thinking about motherhood as God intended. For there is motherhood; and there is motherhood.Motherhood and Lordship Let us think about motherhood as God intended, under the Lordship of Jesus. We have made it tough — we Christians — for the women in our homes, our churches, and our society to be effective mothers. Aside from blaming them for all the emotional quirks of their offspring, we have often set up an impossible emotional picture of the role of mothers, a mold into which we pour each woman. Yet no woman is perfect, no mother is perfect, any more than any man or any father is perfect. That which makes a woman a successful mother is not how comfortable she is with the Mother’s Day card image, but rather her own sense of personhood, of personal worth, of being loved, of being in God’s will in the matter of motherhood as in all other areas of life. The only way any woman can be the kind of fulfilled, fulfilling mother that God intends, is to let Jesus be Lord in her life.Now we easily speak of God the Father, and readily confess that most fathers are poor reflections of that fatherly nature of God. In the light of Jesus’ claim of Lordship in your life, I raise a question this morning to mothers: Are you an effective reflection of the motherly character of God? I see I have your attention now! No, I am not calling God she or Mother God or anything of the sort. I am calling your attention to motherly attributes of the character of God that we say little about.This was not always the case. The motherly attributes of God were a strong theme in the writings of the Church fathers and the medieval churchmen. We find it in the works of Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Anselm and others. One scholar, Richard Stauffer, has pointed out recently that Martin Luther’s favorite image of Christ was that of the mother hen protecting her chicks. But even more important than the way these great Christian thinkers saw the character of God is what the Bible teaches us of the motherly character of God.In Genesis 1:27 KJV  ” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  Which is simply saying that both men and women are made in the image of God, and that the unique positive qualities of women are qualities of the character of God as well as the manly qualities we readily attribute to God.What are some of the positive qualities of motherhood? I think immediately of security. The door slams as Junior charges in after school, and the echo of the door is his yell, “Mom!” He wouldn’t say, “I need to know you’re here for my security,” but that’s what’s going on. Did you lose any days out of your childhood because of the temporary absence of your mother? I still remember the week my mother was in the hospital for surgery; everything seemed strange and different and out of kilter; I felt lost. Mothers mean security.Mothers also bring healing to the family. One of my favorite images of my wife through the years is that of the way she was so often hugging our children and wiping the tears from a skinned knee and kissing it, saying, “That’s all right; it will get better before you get married.”Mothers not only bring security and healing to the family; they bring a sense of belief in the child. There is a book in my library, purchased thirty-five years ago, whose dedication has always reminded me of my mother; it is a little book by Frank Mead, and the inscription says: To Mother who, thru the hard years, smiled and stood fast while others smiled and turned away. Godly mothers are like that. Mothers almost always have the middle name of sacrifice. From the journey into the dark valley with the possibility of no return on behalf of a little one, to nursing in illnesses, to taking in washing to pay college costs; mothers sacrifice for their children, and do it gladly. It seems mothers are always giving; pouring their lives into the children. And we can see so transparently so many of these qualities in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she accepts, when only a young girl, the strange news of motherhood; as she makes the journey not just to Bethlehem, but into the dark valley, and not in a sterilized hospital but in a dirty stable. We see that motherly protection as she flees to Egypt; we see her standing by Him in humility at Cana, and in broken-hearted love standing beneath Him at the cross. Those qualities, the highest qualities of motherhood — security, protection, healing, belief in the child, sacrifice, and yes, discipline — are motherly qualities women have because they are created in the image of God. Look with me at some scriptures which show us these motherly qualities of God.Turn to Deuteronomy 32:11-12. Here Moses, in one of his farewell speeches to the children of Israel, reminds them that God has a special place in His heart for them (v. 9). He goes on to speak of how God led and taught “Jacob,” the children of Israel (v. 10). Then Moses changes his picture of God, and remembers how he watched, one day on the backside of Midian, a mother eagle teaching her young one to fly. She tried and tried to coax the young eaglet out of the nest and into the air, to no avail. Finally she swooped down from the sky, and with wings and talons she swept both nest and eaglet over the edge of the ledge and into the chasm. And as he fell, the young eagle began to flap his wings and fly in descending circles. As he tired, the mother eagle flew under him and caught him on her back, where he rested until he had strength to fly again. That, says Moses, is the way God works with His people. “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord did lead him …” God, like a mother, disciplines us, teaches us, pushes us out into the world to use our wings. Some call it tough love; I expect it was as tough on the mother eagle as on the eaglet; as hard on the mother as on the child, and not a joyful task for God, either. God as the mother eagle ….Now examine Matthew 23:37. The image of God as a mother eagle may seem severe; here the image of God as the mother hen is softer. Most of us who are adults have seen the mother hen clucking and the chicks running to gather under her wings for safety and protection. Jesus, approaching Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, fastens His eyes upon the Holy City, the footstool of God, and as He does His heart is broken as He thinks of how He would have spared them the destruction speedily coming upon them.”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Jesus is saying, “I have the kind of motherly love for you that a mother hen has for her chicks; I would have gathered you to me, under the protection of my wings; but you would not respond to my call!” Psalm 91:4 is one of our favorite verses: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Brothers and sisters, let us put this image of the mothering character of God into our hearts, and run to the shelter of His wings when our hearts are fearful, when the burden is heavy, and when He calls us to flee from dangers unknown to us.In Isaiah 66:13 we find a motherly promise of God: “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” It is the promise of our God; He will comfort us as our loving mother comforted us as children, when our hearts were fearful of many things. And so often she dispersed the dark fear with a word because she knew so much more than we, and knew there was nothing to be afraid about. So it is with God, who loves us with a mother’s love, weeps with us with a mother’s sorrow, comforts us as a mother, when all other helpers fail and comforts flee.So the lesson is that God is like a mother, is it? Well, in a sense. But more correctly, the godly mother is simply reflecting the character of God. The lesson is that every mother ought to be a mother who acts, as nearly as possible, toward her children like God acts toward us, because her finest motherly qualities are an extension of the character of God. Yet, no mother, in your own strength, can reflect the motherly qualities of God as you ought; no mother, in your own strength, can be the redeeming force in your child’s life that you ought to be, without a holy and sanctified relationship to God yourself.I close with one other image of motherhood, found in Revelation 12:1-5. It is a piteous and hideous scene: a woman is travailing in childbirth, and a dragon is waiting at her feet to destroy her child as soon as it is born. Now this scene is of the birth of Christ. How I wish I could convince you that this same dragon — the devil, that old serpent, Satan, the deceiver — waits to devour your child from the day it is born. And unless you live in the power and strength of the Lord Jesus, the dragon may get your child; devour him or her through abortion, through drugs, through the temptations of this world.So I ask all the mothers: Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Have you experienced the motherly love of God, strong, deep, sacrificial? Are you reflecting into the lives, the precious souls committed to your keeping, that your love and discipline and faith in them and sacrifice are all a reflection of a deeper love of God for each child? Is your life lived daily in the presence of God? Or is your life stuffed with soap operas and secular goals? Do you have the desire to pour your life and your faith into your children in such a way that they will know and love God?You can be a biological mother without Jesus as Lord; but you cannot be a channel of the highest blessings of this world without Him. Would you this day make Jesus Lord of your life?

By Earl C. Davis @preaching.com

Preaching.com is a proud member of the Salem Publishing family


GENEALOGY OF JESUS – “WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF DAVID ?”

March 19, 2011

“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1:17 KJV

Seventeen verses in the New Testament describe Jesus as the “son of David.” But the question arises, how could Jesus be the son of David if David lived approximately 1000 years before Jesus? The answer is that Christ (the Messiah) was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the seed of David. In the Bible it says, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” 2 Samuel 7:14-16 KJV  And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. Matthew 1 gives the genealogical proof that Jesus, in His humanity, was a direct descendant of Abraham and David through Joseph, Jesus’ legal father. The genealogy in Luke chapter 3 gives Jesus’ lineage through His mother, Mary. Jesus is a descendant of David, by adoption through Joseph, and by blood through Mary. Primarily though, when Christ was referred to as the Son of David, it was meant to refer to His Messianic title as the Old Testament prophesied concerning Him. For thousands of years, every human child has been born with an inherited sin nature and sinful flesh as it says in the Bible, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” Romans 8:3 KJV  There is only one exception in history. Although Jesus grew in the womb of Mary, in the same manner as any baby, he was different from all other babies. It appears that he was not genetically related to either Mary or Joseph, for both had an inherited sin nature. Jesus was sinless, and one may reasonably assume without genetic flaw, since he was to serve as the spotless and sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus was just as fully human as the first Adam. And just like the first Adam, he had no sin nature, no inherited sin, no sinful flesh, which has always been passed from one generation to the next since Adam and Eve’s sin. He was absolutely pure and without sin—from the day he was born, till the day he died. The genealogy of Jesus is described in two passages of the Gospels: Luke 3:23–38[1] and Matthew 1:117.[2] Luke’s genealogy goes back to Adam, through a minor son of David, Nathan and apparently again to Joseph. Matthew’s genealogy commences with Abraham and then from King David‘s son Solomon follows the legal line of the kings through Jeconiah, the king whose descendants were cursed, to Joseph, legal father of Jesus. Both gospels state that Jesus was begotten not by Joseph, but by God, being born to Mary through a virgin birth. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ radically from that point onward.


As I was reading through the Bible, especially in Samuel where it talks about The King of David, I always come across the saying “Jesus the Son of David.” So I thought it would be helpful to explain the reason behind this. It was pretty complicated, so it was easier to copy out of Wikipedia than trying to explaining in my own words, but it was something that had to be said and told. I am not going to quote to verses in Matthew and Luke, because if you are a Christian, you will read them or already have.The charts below explain the Genealogy of Jesus. Today, let’s take time to acknowledge God’s abundance instead of overlooking the overflow of His blessings. So to end this like King David said, once-wise king who had it all, lost it all, and pondered it all, with his final conclusion: “Fear God and keep His commandments.”  Through faith in God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit, listen as He leads you in His way. So why not open your heart up to Jesus Christ because He is the One that died on the cross and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have that free gift of eternal life. Amen

By: Jeff Ellinger

 


 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew


  1. Abraham
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Judah & Tamar
  5. Pharez
  6. Hezron
  7. Ram
  8. Amminadab
  9. Nahshon
  10. Salmon & Rahab
  11. Boaz & Ruth
  12. Obed
  13. Jesse
  14. David & Wife of Uriah
  1. Solomon
  2. Rehoboam
  3. Abijam
  4. Asa
  5. Jebahdiah
  6. Jehoram
  7. Uzziah
  8. Jotham
  9. Ahaz
  10. Hezekiah
  11. Manasseh
  12. Amon
  13. Josiah
  14. Jeconiah
  1. Shealtiel
  2. Zerubbabel
  3. Abiud
  4. Eliakim
  5. Azor
  6. Zadok
  7. Achim
  8. Eliud
  9. Eleazar
  10. Matthan
  11. Jacob
  12. Joseph & Mary *
  13. Jesus

 

 

 

Genealogy of Jesus according to Luke

  1. God
  2. Adam
  3. Seth
  4. Enosh
  5. Cainain
  6. Mahalalel
  7. Jared
  1. Enoch
  2. Methuselah
  3. Lamech
  4. Noah
  5. Shem
  6. Arphaxad
  7. Cainan
  8. Shelah
  9. Eber
  10. Peleg
  11. Reu
  12. Serug
  13. Nahor
  14. Terah
  1. Abraham
  2. Isaac
  3. Jacob
  4. Judah
  5. Pharez
  6. Hezron
  7. Ram
  8. Amminadab
  9. Nahshon
  10. Salmon
  11. Boaz
  12. Obed
  13. Jesse
  14. David
  1. Nathan
  2. Mattatha
  3. Menna
  4. Melea
  5. Eliakim
  6. Jonam
  7. Joseph
  8. Judah
  9. Simeon
  10. Levi
  11. Matthat
  12. Jorim
  13. Eliezer
  14. Joshua

 

 

 

  1. Er
  2. Elmadam
  3. Cosam
  4. Addi
  5. Melchi
  6. Neri
  7. Shealtiel
  8. Zerubbabel
  9. Rhesa
  10. Joanan
  11. Joda
  12. Josech
  13. Semein
  14. Mattathias
  1. Mahath
  2. Naggai
  3. Hesli
  4. Nahum
  5. Amos
  6. Mattathias
  7. Joseph
  8. Jannai
  9. Melchi
  10. Levi
  11. Matthat
  12. Heli
  13. Mary[6] & Joseph*
  14. Jesus


 

 

 

 


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