Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Story - by Unknown

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to wish you and yours a very Wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As a "gift" for you I decided to record a story I've seen floating around via e-mail the past few years.

It's a story essentially about "It's better to give than to receive" involving one family helping another and you can listen to it by clicking on the following link:

A Christmas Story

Hope you enjoy it! Feel free to share it with others if you like.

Looking forward to serving you in the new year!

God Bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Randolph Koch

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mary Did You Know?

The Word:

Read: Luke 1:26-38

"Mary Did You Know?" by Randolph Koch

I often wonder if we can fathom how Mary must have felt, or what was going through her mind as the angel came to explain what God had chosen her to do? Then he departed from her and she was left to take in all that she just heard. This angel, sent by God, came to tell Mary that she would bear a son, God's Son to be exact. He would be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Isn't it amazing that God chose to do such a thing for us so we would have an opportunity to be with Him for an eternity through His son? (see John 3:16)

I think it is safe to say that Mary didn't understand one hundred percent what having God's Son implied to herself and mankind. Just think about it for a moment, she was to have "God's" Son. The One and only true God's Son. This Son was and had been from all eternity. He was to humble Himself to become as man to enter this world as a lowly baby that Mary would give birth to and care for. He was the one whom the prophets foretold would come. She would have to change Him, feed Him, love Him, and keep Him warm. He would grow up not only in size and age but also in wisdom and knowledge. This child would one day perform many signs and miracles from feeding 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread to walking on water and calming the raging sea with His voice. He would heal many people and reach out to those who would normally be rejected and ignored. He would prove that He was the way the truth and the life. This was the Messiah, the One that everyone had been waiting for. He would be rejected, mistreated, ridiculed and finally killed at the hands of the people whom He came to save. He would die on behalf of Mary and all mankind because of the wages of our sin and separation from God. He was the one who had come to save all of mankind. I can’t help but wonder if Mary had any idea that this baby she gave birth to came to give her new life? He was her deliverer and yours and mine. He is the indescribable gift from God that the scripture spoke of.

No, I don't think that we can humanly comprehend all of what God has done and neither could Mary or Joseph for that matter. Even knowing this, look at what Mary said after the Angel was done speaking to her in verse 38. She may not have understood all of the implications but she was obedient to do what God wanted her to do. No matter if we completely understand or not, I pray that we would have the same willingness to serve Him. What a glorious time of year that we can give glory to God for what He has done for us as He entered the world as a lowly baby.

Questions To Get Started With:

No Questions. Instead I suggest spending time giving glory to God in your prayer times, re-reading this weeks passage, and read Luke 1:46-56 focusing on what Mary says in these verses.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Long Awaited One

The Word:

Luke 2:21-35
Additional Reading: Micah 5:2-4

“The Long Awaited One” by Randolph Koch

Imagine if you had to wait an entire lifetime to attain a goal. This would take patience and determination. Today, in the “I want it here and right now” world we live in, this might not go over too well. Personally speaking, even as I write this, many things come to mind that I've waited for and with some of these things I’ve honestly been waiting for many years for God to open the doors He’s clearly been preparing to lead me through. Let me say, this hasn’t been easy at times and has been very frustrating sometimes. Yet, I keep waiting and keeping my faith and trust in Him as I know He’s preparing the way. He keeps reminding me that it will happen in His will and in His timing- not mine. I look forward to the day when the door swings wide-open for me.

Now, place yourself in Simeon’s shoes for a minute. He was an older and very devout man that the Holy Spirit was working through. It was revealed to him through The Spirit that he would not die before he would see the Messiah. Simeon had literally been waiting his whole life to see Jesus Christ, the Son of God come to Bethlehem as the prophets of old foretold. Then after Jesus was born and circumcised and the days of purification were completed according to the Law, Mary and Joseph made their way to the temple to present Jesus to the Lord. Simeon saw the baby Jesus and took Him with joy into his arms, held Him and said the following words:

"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
-Luke 2:29-32

The long awaited One had arrived! Simeon’s wait was over! We can only imagine the sheer joy, wonder, and awe he must has experienced as he held in his very arms the One whom God had sent as Savior of the world!

Possibly you’ve been waiting your whole life for something that you just couldn’t place your finger on? Jesus is the One who you’ve been missing and honestly, He’s been waiting for you to realize your need for Him. Please seek Him now while you still have time to receive His gift.

Maybe you have Him now and have received Him but have forgotten what a gift He is? It’s not too late to enter back in re-committing yourself to live for Him, His purpose and plan. It’s never too late to turn away from complacency and bad habits. Even if you feel that you’ve forsaken and completely turned away from Him, it’s never too late to return to Him as His arms are wide open waiting for you to come to Him.

Whatever your situation is, run to him and cling to Him because the long awaited One, Jesus Christ, is waiting for you and came to earth on your behalf for your salvation!

Questions To Get Started With:

-Have you received His gift of salvation yourself?
-Have you been missing something in your life that you can’t quite place your finger on? Have you considered that Jesus Christ is who you’ve been missing?
-If you’re a Christian, have you become complacent in your faith and relationship with Him? If so, do you know what you need to do to get back what you once had with your Savior?
-This Christmas, will you celebrate the true meaning and reason for Christmas?