One of the most fascinating stories in the New Testament comes right after a spotlight moment for Jesus. In the early days of His ministry, Jesus traveled from Galilee to be baptised by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, the Heavens opened, God’s spirit descended like a dove, and a voice proclaimed, “This is my one dear Son; in Him I take delight.” Can you imagine? Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there? Talk about a Kodak moment! Then the very next verse says,
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Talk about a downer!
The enemy works that way. If he goes after Jesus, he sure goes after you and me. At some of the highest spiritual points in my life, the enemy has attacked. It seems like when I am doing so well with God that I let my guard down a little and then boom – he attacks! The enemy sneaks in and I don’t even know it. It may be an old sin that I thought I conquered long ago and there it is calling to me again. It could be something as simple as God giving me a chance to serve Him by helping someone out, but I let the moment pass. Maybe it’s letting an opportunity to pray with Lou-Hette go, convincing myself that missing one evening praying together is no big deal. He will hit us at our biggest vulnerabilities and convince us that this one time it won’t matter, but it does. It always matters. And if he keeps sneaking in, stealing from you, your spiritual journey will suffer.
The enemy hit Jesus with three temptations. Jesus was at the end of forty days in the wilderness and was famished. The enemy told Him to turn stones into bread. Then the enemy takes Jesus to the highest point of the temple and tells Him to jump and have the angels catch Him. Finally, the enemy, who is the prince of this earth, offers Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus will simply bow down and worship him. What would you do? If you were famished and could turn stones into bread, would you? If you knew angels would catch you, would you jump from someplace high? If you could have all the kingdoms of this world, would you fall at the feet of the enemy?
My answers are no, no, and no, but have I been deceived by the enemy before. Have I given in to temptations and justified my actions? Have I passed up opportunities to be there for others so I could do something just for me? Have I bowed before the things of this world and put God on the back burner? My answers are yes, yes, and yes.
What about you?
The enemy is out to destroy you and me and every believer in Christ. Don’t fall for his deceitful ways and lies. Do what Jesus did.
Just say no.
Turn to Jesus and embrace His power. Don’t forget that even though we are in the battle every day, Jesus has already won the war!
We have the armour of God at our disposal. If we wear it we are always prepared for the enemies attacks on us.
The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lordand in his mighty power.11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powersof this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spiriton all occasionswith all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prayingfor all the Lord’s people.
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The birth of Christ is the fulfilment of promises foretold throughout the prophecies of the Old Testament. The aim of this blog post is to encourage you in your faith as you read about some of God’s promises which are a glimpse into the events related to Jesus’ birth, which we remember and celebrate at Christmas.
God made a promise a long time ago, a promise revealed through the prophets and dating back to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. God promises the enemy, the serpent in the garden, that one of Eve’s heirs would crush his skull (Genesis 3:15, Habakkuk 3:13).
A Saviour, our Saviour would be born. He’d be born to repair the damage that mankind inflicted on himself because of the sin that entered into the world through Adam and Eve. He’d be born to be the only way of salvation! The Prophets foretold that His name would be Immanuel “God With Us” (Isaiah 7:14), and He’d be born in a small almost obscure town named Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
The Messiah, Jesus Christ, of the world was to come to us, born of a virgin, to save mankind from its sin and separation from God. The Messiah, God’s own son, would b solely responsible to teach us, guide us, leave us a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit, to reconcile us back to God. Long before all these things would take place God promised that they would happen; revealed to us and all creation that our God would be with us. God shows Himself faithful as His Word is true and comes to life in a very real fashion. Just as He spoke light into the darkness and it happened, He spoke to the hearts of the prophets through His Holy Word to begin to reveal the plan He had in place.
We know that approximately two thousand years ago, God’s One and Only Son was sent to us fulfilling the promises that the prophecy of the Old Testament stated would take place. He was born in Bethlehem of a virgin named Mary.
Our God is with us!
As we celebrate Christmas, we should stand in awe and reverence in how God fulfilled everything according to His Word. He always keeps His Word!
My Prayer is that we’ll continue to be in awe of these incredible truths and that we’ll instill the truths of God’s revelation to our family, friends, or whomever God so chooses to place in our path. Not just at Christmas time, but as often as God presents opportunity for us to do so!
When we celebrate His birth, we must share the true meaning behind what the world considers as just another holiday. May the truth revealed in prophecy be communicated and known through us and to all.
Praise God for revealing Himself and that we can have the true honour and privilege of worshiping Jesus and celebrate His coming into the world. Let us all have a true celebration for our Saviour, for the Lord our God fulfilled His promise through His Son Jesus Christ.
A Heavenly Announcement
This time of year brings into focus a story that we’ve heard many times. The angel Gabriel, sent by God, comes to Mary to make an announcement that would change her life (and the world’s) forever! (Luke 1:26-38).
She was a virgin betrothed to marry a righteous man named Joseph. She was troubled by what the angel Gabriel told her. She had a lot of questions I’m sure. The angel comforted and reassured her to not be afraid then laid out everything for her, even what she should name the child. Once she was put at ease she stated, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
What a powerful and Faith filled statement she made. I wonder if she knew how incredible her statement was and if she was familiar or not with the prophecy she would play a part in fulfilling? Here again we witness God’s Word in action. Real people fulfilling what God really said and recorded for us in the scriptures! Everything is fulfilled according to God’s Word.
Miraculously, Mary would remain a Virgin until after the baby was born. She also would have most likely faced some ridicule in the process because she was pregnant before she and Joseph were married. She persevered and treasured all the angel revealed to her. Even if she didn’t understand all the implications of having this child meant, she showed great faith and courage, as she was willing to do what God wanted her to do.
In comes Joseph, He was the one betrothed to Mary. He has a dilemma on his hands because he finds out that she’s pregnant with who know whose child. “What should I do? He asks himself.” Should I put her away (divorce her), because by this time they were joined together according to scripture? He was rightly troubled because he desired to do what was pleasing to God. He showed that he was very honorable because he did not want to ruin Mary’s reputation either. He had a real dilemma on his hands. But, here again, God sends an angel to intervene and set things in place so the promise of God may be fulfilled through the birth of the Christ Child. In a dream, the Angel makes everything clear to Joseph as he explains what the situation with Mary was. The angel explained what the prophecy said and that Mary was the one who would bear the Messiah conceived by the Holy Spirit. He went on to tell him that it was okay for him to take Mary as his wife. Joseph awakens and goes to take Mary as his wife as the angel of the Lord commanded (Matthew 1:18-25).
God sent the angel to talk with Mary and Joseph, announcing The Promised One from God was coming and whether they fully understood it or not, God would be using them to fulfill the prophecy and to bring His one and only Son into the world.
This is an amazing thing God chose to do for mankind! The stage was now set for the entrance of the King of Kings as promised by God. It’s truly incredible how God works out all of the details, isn’t it?! God continues to show Himself faithful to reveal and fulfill the promises in His Son.
The Messiah would be born of the Virgin Mary according to His Word!
God’s Triumph Through Christ!
When we celebrate Christmas there is a sense of wonder we should have in how God fulfilled the Promise of Jesus Christ.
First we remember the prophecies He revealed through the Prophets of Old. Then there was all that the angel spoke to Mary and Joseph. Now we come to see everything that God said would be has come true.
What we celebrate is really to us the culmination of the truth of God’s word. That God would send His one and only Son into humanity in the human form of a baby! Everything that God promised and foretold would happen have come true! Praise God that it is so!
We first see the reality of it all in the town of Bethlehem. In the very town that the prophets foretold- Mary gave birth to the Son of God and named Him Jesus. (Just as the Angel told her to.) He was really born in a manger because due to the census they all traveled to Bethlehem to partake in; there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7). God still provided for their needs still keeping with the fulfillment of the promise.
Next we see real witnesses of the actual time and places surrounding the Messiah’s birth. Besides Mary and Joseph themselves, God sent the angel once again to announce the birth of Christ. He came to the Shepherds telling them that a Saviour was born for them who is Christ the Lord. He gave them a sign telling them where the Messiah would be and what He would be dressed in. After the angel left, they left their sheep and went straight to the very place where the angel told them He’d be. They witnessed the Christ child, Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:8-15). They left there worshiping and praising God because what they saw confirmed what the angel had told them. Can you imagine being a part of what they experienced? What a humbling experience it would have been!
The next witnesses were brought to the Christ child sometime after His birth. A star led them to the Christ Child. God used this star up in the heavens to lead the magi to Christ where they worshiped Him and gave Him gifts (Matthew 2:1-12).
Then on top of this, God protected Jesus, Mary, and Joseph from Herod’s jealousy, envy and wrath as He sent the angel once again to Joseph in a dream, warning him of Herod’s plan telling him to flee from there and go to Egypt. Here again God provided in His infinite wisdom a plan to protect His Son until the appointed time some thirty plus years later when He would die for all mankind’s sin. Joseph was obedient again and left in the night to Egypt where they would await the angel’s word, which would confirm that it was safe to return. It seems that God also provided protection to the magi, as I believe He gave them the wisdom to go home by a different route. A route by which they’d find safe passage home that would avoid contact with Herod and his pending wrath, as he aimed to kill the Christ Child.
All of God’s promises came to reality, with physical and written proof. God is faithful and we can celebrate the triumph of Christmas through our Savior’s birth!
My prayer for all of us is that the reality of all that God spoke, wrote, planned, and fulfilled, will keep us in awe of His power and majesty. Each day, may we become more worshipful and thankful as we celebrate the Birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ- the Fulfillment of God’s Promise!
What God promises, you can always trust will take place down to the very last detail!
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“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”—Galatians 3:29
God created a perfect universe. Then things went terribly wrong as Adam and Eve rebelled against God and brought sin and death into the world. But this was not the end of the story. God had a plan. You see, with the coming of death, our marvelous and merciful God also gave the promise of life.
In Genesis 3, God explained how it would all go down: women would experience pain and labour in order to bring new life into the world . . . but new life would come. And that new life would one day produce a Seed who would crush the head of the wicked serpent (Genesis 3:15). Regarding this reveal, John Gill wrote, “The Messiah, the eminent seed of the woman, (would) bruise the head of the old serpent the devil, that is, destroy him . . . break and confound all his schemes, and ruin all his works, crush his whole empire, strip him of his authority and sovereignty, and particularly of his power over death, and his tyranny over the bodies and souls of men; all which was done by Christ, when he became incarnate.”
Let’s explore the imperfect man of faith through whom God chose to enact His perfect plan of salvation and bring about the promised Seed and Saviour. His name was Abraham. Right about now, you may be asking yourself, “Why did God choose Abraham?” “What was so special about him?”
We’re first introduced to Abraham, a descendent of Shem, in Genesis 12. Here, God instructs him to pack up and leave his home and all his comforts behind, to uproot his family and travel to a foreign land. Interestingly, Abraham wasn’t even told which land. God told him to “go to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). But along with this call came a promise: “I will make you into a great nation . . . . All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2–3). And it’s in this moment where we see the reason God chose him.
It wasn’t because Abraham was special, talented, or righteous. He was flawed, he made mistakes, and he was far from perfect. But God chose him anyway. Why? Because He knew Abraham would obey. One Bible commentator wrote, “As soon as he understood what God was saying, he started packing. It was instant obedience. It may have taken several days, or even weeks or months, to make final preparation for the trip, but in his mind he was already on the way. From then on, everything he did revolved around obeying God’s call.”
James 2:23 tells us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.’ He was even called the friend of God.” At 75 years old, Abraham answered God’s call and headed out with his family. The interesting thing about God’s promise of making him a great nation and blessing the whole world through Abraham’s offspring was that Abraham and his wife Sarah had no offspring. How would God make a great nation out of a childless old man and his wife? Well, Abraham wondered the same thing! So, God revealed His plan and told Abraham that he would have a child, and that eventually his descendants would outnumber the stars! And guess what? Despite the odds, despite the logic and circumstances, Abraham believed God!
The story of Abraham teaches us our role in God’s plan of salvation. It’s not work, but faith and worship. In Genesis 12, Abraham received the promise by faith, and immediately after that he built an altar, a place of worship. Why? Because he understood very clearly that neither his right standing with God nor the promises God made to him were dependent on who he was or what he did, but on God’s faithfulness.
As you go through your day today, remember there is power in worshiping God for all He is and the strength He gives you. As we see with Abraham, it’s not about what we can do, but what He has done. So, believe in His promises and worship Him, because “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ . . . And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26–27, 29).
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