Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas: Fulfilling the Promise!



Merry Christmas!
Long ago, God made a promise and a way of salvation for you and I and below you'll find a series of 3 Devotionals Starters on Christmas that were a part of a series I did a few years back titled "Fulfilling the Promise" that I hope will be a blessing to you this Christmas.

Here’s A Christmas Benediction:

MAY GOD GRANT YOU THE LIGHT OF CHRISTMAS, WHICH IS FAITH;
THE WARMTH OF CHRISTMAS, WHICH IS LOVE;
THE BELIEF IN CHRISTMAS, WHICH IS TRUTH;
THE ALL OF CHRISTMAS, WHICH IS CHRIST JESUS. –Unknown

I’m so grateful that He sent us a Savior and I pray that you’re enjoying the joy of your salvation. May the truth of Christmas be the center of your Celebration this year and every year as we celebrate the Birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Please check out the below devotions when you can and please feel free to send them on to others. 

Because He Is The Reason For The Season,
Your Brother and Servant,
rlk






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Devotional Starters-"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 1- “Prophecy”

The Word: Read:
Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 and Micah 5:2

"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 1- “Prophecy”
By Randolph Koch

A promise was made long ago, revealed through the prophets and dating back to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. A Savior would be born. He’d be born to repair the damage that mankind inflicted on himself because of sin that entered into the word through Adam and Eve. He’d be born to be the only way of salvation!

The Prophets foretold that His name would be Emanuel- "God With Us", and He'd be born in a small almost obscure town named Bethlehem. The Messiah of the world was to come to us born of a virgin to save mankind from its sin and separation from God. The Messiah was God's own Son. Long before all these things would take place God said they would happen; revealed to us and all creation that our God would be with us. God always 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 roughly 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 enter the Christmas season we should have a sense of awe and reverence in how God fulfilled everything according to His Word. He keeps His Word.

My Prayer is that we'll all 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. Especially during Christmas time!

When we celebrate His birth may we all 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.

Praise God for revealing Himself and that we can have the true honor and privilege of worshiping Jesus and celebrate His entrance into the world during Christmas. Let us all have a true "Birthday" celebration for our Savior this year and every year for the Lord our God fulfilled His promise through His Son Jesus Christ.

Questions to Get Started With:
-Is your Christmas celebration Christ centered?
-Do you understand that Christ's birth fulfilled the Old Testament Prophecies of God's Word?
-What can you do the share the true meaning of Christmas this year?
-What do the above scriptures speak to you about God's Promise?

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Devotional Starters-"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 2- Announcement from Heaven and Joseph's Dilemma.

The Word: Read
Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25

"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 2- Announcement from Heaven and Joseph's Dilemma.
By Randolph Koch

We're once again reminded of a story that we've heard many times. An angel, sent by God, comes to Mary to make an announcement that would change her life (and the world's) forever!

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, 

"Let it be done according to your word." 

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 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 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 ok 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.

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 amazing 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 God's Word. 

Questions to Get Started With:
-What kind of faith was evident in Mary and Joseph?
-How would you describe their faith by their actions?
-What do you think was going on inside them as the Angel came to them with this news?
-Do you think they completely understood what the announcement from the angel meant?
-What do you think you would have done if you were in their shoes?
-What do these announcements tell you about God's Promise?


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Devotional Starters-"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 3- The Triumph of Christmas

The Word: Read
Luke 2:6-7, Luke 2:8-15, Matthew 2:1-12

"Fulfilling the Promise." Part 3- The Triumph of Christmas
By Randolph Koch

As 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. 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 Sheppard's telling them that a Savior 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. 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. 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 their 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 all 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 year, may our Christmas become more worshipful and thankful as we celebrate the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ- the Fulfillment of God's Promise!
God keeps His promises!

Questions to Get Started With:
-How do the scriptures confirm all that God promised in order for us to have a Christmas to celebrate at all?
-What are some of the proofs of Christ's birth outside of the scriptures?
-Do you know the facts surrounding the Birth of the Lord?
-What does the Humanity of Christ refer to?
-What does Christmas mean to you? How does it impact your celebration and holiday festivities?
-If you don't know Him, then don't you think it's time that you receive His free gift- especially during Christmas?
-Maybe you do know Him but have taken a step away from your faith and relationship with Him? Don't you think it's time to recommit yourself to Him and truly celebrate Christ's birth? -How can you share the true meaning of Christmas with others at work, school, or anywhere you are? Is this a priority for you?

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