“WISE PEOPLE STILL SEEK HIM"

 

Text -- MATTHEW 2:1--12

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR … JESUS THE CHRIST.

In Old Testament times, the rulers of Assyria had a dream – the creation of a one world order that was a paradise produced by people without God’s help.  To make that dream a reality required them to destroy monotheistic religions, loyalties, allegiances, and customs and make all people subject to the human wisdom of Assyria. They did conquer the world and they did destroy the beliefs and loyalties of a large share of the world’s population - but they obviously didn’t create their human paradise and in time the foundations of their society fell into decay and their empire toppled.

The rulers of Babylon had the same dream. In their attempt to succeed where the Assyrians had failed, they created the magi. That word has entered our language as "magician" - but the original magi were not magicians. They were extremely talented people selected as a brain trust of people deemed capable of creating Babylon's godless paradise.  The hierarchy sought out boys barely in their teens who displayed great intelligence and various aptitudes and placed them in a palace college where they would be trained to be experts in their respective fields with the tools to produce that human paradise. The prophet Daniel was a member of this group and the one voice proclaiming God’s Word in it.

“HIS FATHER NAMED HIM JESUS”

Text - LUKE 2:21

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR — JESUS THE CHRIST — EMMANUEL ... “GOD WITH US”

Today, as the world celebrates the beginning of 2017,  on the church year calendar January 1 is listed as “THE NAME OF JESUS”.  What is important enough about any name – even Jesus’ Name – to make it the name, the theme and the focus of this last Sunday of the Christmas Season. 

Someone once asked, “What is the most powerful word in the English language?  What spoken word most forcefully grabs your attention when you hear it?”   He wisely responded to his own question in this manner: “The answer is your name!  Shouted out in the midst of a crowd, the sound of your name is bound to make your head turn and your ears perk up.  Few words elicit a prompter response than the sound of a person’s own name.  It is the way we are identified, the way we are addressed, the way we are summoned, and the word used when someone wants to say something – good or bad about us.” Our name is the label on our reputation.

In Biblical times, a person’s name actually told you something about the person and people believed that knowing a person’s name gave access to the inner self of that human being because in Biblical times, a name described something about the person’s character or appearance or beliefs.  

THE FAITH OF MARY AND JOSEPH

 Text - MATTHEW 1:18—25

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

Now the birth of Jesus took place in this way.  When His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with Child of The Holy Spirit.

A week and a half ago during our midweek BIBLE Study, we focused on  Nazareth and the angel Gabriel’s visit to a betrothed young girl named Mary telling her she was to be the human mother of The Son of God. It was a Divine Calling that would require every ounce of God-given Faith Mary could muster.     

     

When we looked at the betrothal, Mary and Joseph and their parents appeared before the elders in the city gate where contract agreements were made and the couple said their vows. That betrothal would last a year and could only be ended by death or divorce.  During that year – like all betrothed couples – they remained with their parents – Joseph building his new home and Mary fulfilling her final responsibilities to her parents and preparing for her new home with Joseph.  

“A GIFT TO REMEMBER”

 

Text – LUKE 2:11

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

The other day – as we were moving – our granddaughter Zoey asked what I planned to use one of the electric outlets for.  Trying to relate to our five year old, I said I’m going to plug in a machine that makes copies of what I write on my computer.  She shook her head and said, “They call that a printer.”

There are some things so difficult to understand it takes a nuclear scientist to figure them out – some are so simple the smallest child can figure them out.  God Who loves us so perfectly proclaimed history’s most important and blessed announcement to us in language even the smallest child can understand and yet so filled it with Truth a genius could study God’s Word an entire temporal lifetime and barely skim the surface.

First proclaimed by angels, God’s most precious message has burst forth in song, been proclaimed in the most powerful and beautiful paintings, and been the focus of classic literature.  

“For there is born to you

this day in the city of David

A Savior

Who is Christ the Lord.”

“Our Incarnate Savior”

 

Text – Philippians 2:5-8 & 4:4-7

 

GRACE BE UNTO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND FROM OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR – JESUS THE CHRIST.

Two weeks ago as this Season of Advent began, we talked together about the puppy trapped on the roof of Guenther Tharp’s home and Guenther’s frustrated desire to become a dog to lead his puppy off that roof. Several of you wanted to know the rest of the story. Well, as Guenther’s neighbor’s curious cat came to see what was happening, Guenther’s puppy followed her down the roof and back into the attic.

Today we continue our Advent theme of God lovingly coming among us as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ. Though Jesus was and is God, He 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.

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE!!!

Bible Verse of the Day

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