Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Bethlehem?

Why Bethlehem?

Image result for free pictures of bethlehem

Why did God choose for His Son, Jesus

(The Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Messiah)

to be born in the sleepy little city of Bethlehem?

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. Micah 5:2

There could be a few reasons.

Reason     Image result for free clipart of number 1

Isn’t one of Jesus’ names, The Lamb of God?

The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

Who were among the first to greet Jesus?

The shepherds.

Image result for the shepherds visit baby jesus

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”…Luke 1:8-12

Image result for the shepherds visit baby jesus

This is interesting,  the land surrounding the city of Bethlehem was the land that the Temple’s sacrificial lambs were raised and cared for by the shepherds.

So, those shepherds that the angels visited were out in pastures tending to lambs and sheep that would one day be sacrificed…just like the Lamb of God.

This was prophesied in the Old Testament.

 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, Isaiah 53:7 

Jesus fulfilled those same words in the New Testament.

 Phillip used that scripture to proclaim that Jesus was the man who fulfilled that prophecy and shared the Good News with an Ethiopian eunuch and baptized him in Acts 8.

And he (an Ethiopian eunuch) invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.

Image result for free pictures of sacrificial lamb in the bible

A sacrificial lamb without blemish.

but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:19

Jesus is your sacrificial lamb.

Offering you a gift bigger than life, for an eternity.

Reason Image result for Free picture of number 2

Jesus, our Shepherd.

A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
Psalm 23:1

Image result for free pictures of the Lord is my shepherd

Just as the shepherds of Bethlehem greeted the “Lamb”, they also greeted their “Shepherd”.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

Though some received Jesus as Messiah, most Jewish people  turned away from Jesus and for 2000 years they have been a scattered flock with no shepherd.

 “They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. “My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, Ezekiel 34:5-6

So he (Micah) said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd; And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'”

2 Chronicles 17-18

Image result for free pictures of the scattered sheep

Jesus is gathering His sheep.

The Jews.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.…Ezekiel 39:25-27

Ezekiel 16:63
Then, when I make atonement for you for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth because of your humiliation, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”

And the Gentiles.

…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25

He came that they (we) may have life, and have it abundantly.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.…John 10:10-12

Jesus seeks you.

Receive the free gift of peace and safety for your soul

from the Shepherd and rest.

Image result for free pictures of 23rd psalm

Reason # Image result for free clipart of number 3

Jesus is called “Bread of Life”.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. “I am the bread of life.  John 6:47-48

The word Bethlehem is made up of two Hebrew words:

Bet Leḥem:  [bet ˈleχem]

Those two words mean: “House of Bread”.

The “Bread of Life” was born in the “House of Bread”.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35

Image result for free pictures of bread of life

Taste and see that the LORD is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!   Psalm 34:8

Reason   Image result for free clipart of number 4

Jesus is King.

His (Jesus) ancestors, specifically King David,

had humble beginnings as a shepherd himself in Bethlehem.

Matthew 1:1-17 offers the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.

In verse 1 it starts out like this:

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David,

the son of Abraham:

When my daughter was younger, she learned a cute little song that helped her remember this.

It’s a snappy little tune.

Here it is if you are interested.

An angel (yes, an angel) explains it like this to Mary in Luke 1:32-33:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

The Old Testament prophesied it in several locations.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Jeremiah 23: 5-6 says it like this;

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

So, another reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem was so God could

give Jesus back the throne of His Father David to reign over Jacob’s

descendants forever with a kingdom that will never end.

Image result for free pictures of a crown of thorns

Amen!!!

Why Bethlehem?

There is one more reason…

Image result for free pictures of bethlehem

Look in the mirror.

You!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21

Image result for free pictures of baby jesus

God continues to reveal himself to us in so many ways.

His love, mercy, wonder and mysteries are without limit.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts, Isaiah 55:8-9

We will truly never understand all He is this side of heaven.

Safe

imagesCAH45VJ5How often do we play it safe?

How often do we take the familiar path rather than

venture into unknown territory?

How often do we settle with “average” when something

much greater is at our fingertips?

In Judges 5:17, Asher remained at the seashore and

stayed in the harbors.

The same verse in a Moffatt translation reads, “Asher sat

still by the seaboard clinging to his creeks.

The commentary to this scripture says, Reuben stayed in Gilead beyond the Jordan with his sheep, and Dan remained in his ships making money jointly with the Kenites in their trade and commerce, and they also didn’t come and help in the battle.

The tribe of Asher stayed in their little houses by the sea shore, and continued in the safety behind his brothers. While all these other tribes were out making their money they were also using their varied excuses to keep from facing the enemy.

Why?

Because of their fear.

The NIV version reads, Asher remained on the coast

and stayed in his coves.

Why was Asher sitting by the seaboard?

Staying in coves?

Clinging to the creeks?

Fear.

Why did Asher not launch into the ocean,

plunge into the deep

and experience a great adventure?

Fear.

It looks like in the midst of the BIG

imagesCASOUZ3B

Asher CHOSE to settle with the little.

Not letting go of the accustomed.

Not venturing off into the unaccustomed.

Regardless of the possibilities.

We could say that Asher is a “type” of today’s modern Christian.

The “type” of Christian who plays it safe and stays

securely in the rut. imagesCALBPPV3

Have we become a people who finish the race…

imagesCAS152HA

by doing nothing and getting nowhere?

As God’s children, shouldn’t we be ocean-minded

imagesCAVE1HB2

and not creek-minded?

Are we really fulfilled, victorious Christians while we try desperately to find inner security by clinging to those creek banks and staying in the coves (aka ruts) we have become so comfortable and familiar with?

Sometimes, God is waiting for us to step out in faith.

Stick a toe  into the River Jordan.

imagesCA53A551

Once we put our faith in Him into action…He graciously meets us where we are

and parts the waters for us to cross.

Joshua 3:7-17

Ever thought about how God created the turtle?

The turtle cannot go anywhere until he sticks his neck out.

imagesCALZYDPV

(Hmmm…maybe something that should be pondered?)

God created us for the BIG and we become restless with our littleness.

Try stepping away from the creek side and let your littleness sink into His “Big-ness”

imagesCAEWV6B5

Meditate

Ever realize that even though this generation is in the throws of increased knowledge and booming technological advances that we are also in the middle of an age of ever increasing uncertainty?

Uncertain economies,imagesCA3TET5Q

wars and rumors of wars (Mark 13:7, Matthew 24:6, Luke 21:9),

bizarre weather patterns imagesCA9L02V9

(that we have no control over),

illness, loss and

imagesCA0RR04Ugrowing division.

How can we ground ourselves securely, guard our thoughts,  imagesCARAK74Pand overcome the

fear of uncertainty?

 imagesCAWJOZBZ

How about meditation?

Now…before you get all “weirded-out”

imagesCAE49FPN

and want to leave this blog…

just hold tight for a second and let me explain.

For some reason many Christians associate the word “meditation” with something we just shouldn’t do.

imagesCAH2R2OS

While some meditation practices do promote clearing or emptying the mind…

“Scripture Meditation” in a Christian’s life is just the opposite.

“Scripture Meditation” encourages us to fill the mind and heart!

images (20)

(Fill them with God’s Word.)

Psalm 104:34 says, Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD. (NASB)

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

Yahweh has made himself known. He has executed judgment. The wicked is snared by the work of his own hands. Meditation. Selah. Psalm 9:16 (YLT)

King David practiced meditation and wrote about meditation. In Psalm 5:1 he pens, {To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David.} Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

(There are more scriptures that address meditation. It could be fun and informative to look them up.)

Ok…so, how to get started?imagesCA8U3MQD

How do we find a scripture to meditate on anyway?

During our daily quite time, perhaps a scripture resonates with you.  Pick it up – (and take it with you).imagesCALOC6PW

Walking through a crisis?

imagesCAUSQOP0

 Need clarity on a specific subject?

Look it up – (Find a scripture pertaining to the situation).

imagesCA2UP8F2

Take the chosen scripture and

imagesCAPW1EHJ on it.

Having a hard time remembering it?

Write it down. imagesCAWCJX3E

Hour after hour, it can roll off of our tongue

or be repeated in our mind

to offer us refreshment.untitled (67)

In spare moments, recalled scripture can adjust our attitude.

imagesCA2SG12U

Keeping the scripture with us all day allows us to experience the joy and power      untitled (30) God has placed in His Words.

Still not sure where to dive in?imagesCAA6MSM3

Here is a scripture that someone once shared with me.

Most people are familiar with,  “Be still and know that I am God.” however, I had really never paid attention this version in the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Stop your fighting – and know that I am God Psalm 46:10

Wow! Stop fighting…with our time, our job, our money, our boss, our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends, our thoughts, our fears, our uncertainty and ourself.

untitled (61)and know that He is God

and we are not.

That is certain!

No need to fight any longer.imagesCA8AZ4NE

Eyes

Where is the most effective place we can deal with sin?

The eyes.imagesCAZV0RUW

What in the world do we spend our time focusing on?

imagesCANSU7YR

They say the eye is the gateway to the soul.

untitled (55)

Can we see sin only with our physical eyes?

Or…can we see sin in our imagination with our mental eyes?

imagesCAO79HTU

What are our eyes allowing into our lives?

What spiritual doors do we open with our eyes…

imagesCAM6FXQV

which later floods our lives with sin, poor decisions and pain?

I remember a children’s book that later became a childhood cartoon that came on once a year on network television.

It was called Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Do you remember it?

imagesCARPZMY7

As a child, I would get so excited when I would see the television commercials promoting the next time this cartoon would come on.

imagesCAJ1307W

It’s about a family that lives in India. A wounded mongoose wonders into their lives and the children want to keep it as a pet. The mother is reluctant to have a mongoose for a pet. They do however adopt the mongoose and name him Rikki Tikki Tavi. The mongoose promptly earns his keep by protecting them from a variety of snakes and ultimately a nasty pair of king cobras who want the humans dead. Back then…it was scary!

untitled (54)

The cartoon quotes an old Indian proverb,

“The best place to kill a cobra is in its egg.”

Most sin in our lives is produced due to failure to

kill it in the “egg”…the eye.

Matthew 6:22-23 refers to The Lamp of the Body.
“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Luke 11:34-35 says, Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness.  See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

Mark 9:47 (and Matthew 5:29), And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.

After killing the male cobra, Rikki Tikki Tavi had to go down into the cobra’s den…to destroy all the eggs.

untitled (57)

If he did not, guess what?

Many more SNAKES to battle in the future!

untitled (58)

Isn’t this similar to our lives?

We see something inappropriate.

(an egg is created)

We think, imagine, desire and fantasize about what we have seen.

(eggs are maturing and hatching)

We physically act upon/do/recreate what we have seen

 Welcome to:imagesCAL5HLBG

or

Guard your eyes.

imagesCA2823UL

They will guard your life.

Passover

Are God’s Moadim, His “Appointed Times” or “Festivals” of the Old Testament still to be observed in light of the New Testament?

 imagesCAG56RV0            untitled (34)

Should the New Testament Christians join the observation and celebration of these 7 Holy holidays with our Jewish brethren?

As we come into Passover season, beginning April 14th at sundown, let’s dig a little deeper into the word and the event, Passover.

imagesCAUV99EJ

Passover comes from the Hebrew root Pei-Samekh-Cheit  meaning to pass through, to pass over, to exempt or to spare. Pesach means “shelter”. Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan.  It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Shavu’ot and Sukkot. Maybe we can talk about them another time. )

Most Christians know the Biblical history and supernatural deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt.

untitled (36)

Want to know more? Read about it in Exodus chapters 1-15. Many of the Pesach observances are  instituted in chapters 12-15.

But, there is so much more to discover!

Did you know that the Passover story reveals the future deliverance to all mankind through Jesus Christ, the Messiah?

Paul shared in Colossians 2:17, “a shadow of the things to come”.

untitled (32)

A closer look at the history of the Exodus and Passover

and the Messiah Jesus (HIS-story)

Egypt is used in the history the Exodus of as a symbol of spiritual and physical bondage and slavery, as well as idol worshipping. Egypt also represented sin in the world.

Pharaoh represents the enemy (satan) in the Exodus story.

In Christianity, Pharaoh can be “anyone” (including satan) or “anything” (a bondage) that prevents us from being free in the purposes of God and completing His will for our life.

imagesCADKZPFW

What Pharaoh exists in our lives today that needs to be dethroned?

Moses is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ in his role as a law-giver, as a mediator between God and his people and as a prophet who declared the will of God. Jesus Christ brought to perfection the work begun through Moses.

The Aramaic word for Lamb is Talya which can mean either “lamb” or “Servant”. Jesus was noted as both in scripture.

imagesCASOGQ1C

Did you know that Jesus was referred to as the Lamb 34 times in the New Testament?

A lamb without blemish and in the prime of its life was required for sacrifices. (Exodus 12:5). Jesus was without sin and  in the prime of his life at the age of 33.

The lamb was to be slain in the evening (without broken bones), eaten and to have none to remain until morning…no leftovers (Exodus 12:10).

The plot to kill Jesus…Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.  “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” (Mark 14:1 -2,  Matthew 26:1-5, Luke 22:1-5, John 12:1-2)

Jesus and His disciples observed Passover (The Last Supper) (Matthew 26:20-30, Luke 22:14-30, John 13:21-30, Mark 14:17-26)

Jesus was placed on the cross…the sacrifice. (Matthew 27:35-44, Luke 23:32-43, John 19:18-27, Mark15:24-31)

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. (Matthew 27:45-56, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-37, Mark 15:33-41)

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. (John 19:31)

Jesus died as evening sacrifices were taking place. It is noted in the Bible that Jesus died before the guards had the opportunity to break the legs of those being crucified. This act would speed up the dying process of those being crucified. (John 19:32-37).

No broken bones! Prophecy fulfilled!

 (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:20)

Jesus’ body was removed from the cross because of the coming Sabbath and Passover.  (John 19:32-37)

imagesCA00UHZ5

During the first Passover, Moses told the Israelite community that every household needed a lamb to paint their door frame with it’s blood… if they wanted to redeem their lives from the coming death angel (Exodus 12: 3–13). This act of obedience saved the Israelites from the coming judgment upon all inhabitants of Egypt (Egyptians and Israelites alike). The angel of death looked for and passed over the doorposts with the blood on it.

God promised, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.

(Exodus 12:13, Exodus 12:23)

imagesCA5M6JI3

There it is…the very establishment of Passover.

The foreshadowing of Jesus.

Emmanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14)

The “Good News” shared within the pages of the New Testament! (Luke 3:18, Acts 10:36, Luke 4:43)

imagesCAS85MCD

The Blood of Jesus (our personal sacrificial lamb), is redemption, restores our relationship with God, saves us from eternal death and gives us everlasting life.

But with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:19)

Is Jesus’ blood applied to the doorpost of your heart?

imagesCAHKQFFH

Celebrate!

2014-04-09 09.27.44