Merry Christmas! (2014 Christmas Letter from the Jordan Family)

Dear friends and family,

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It was seven and a half years ago years ago that Liza and I first moved our family halfway across the country from west coast Surrey, British Columbia, to the prairie province of Manitoba. It’s amazing how much can change in that amount of time! When we first moved here, Hannah was going into Kindergarten, Austin was in Grade 3, Tori was in Grade 4, and Caleb was in Grade 6. This year, Hannah is in Grade 7, Austin is in Grade 10, Tori is in Grade 11, and Caleb is in his first year of University.

Back to School 2007

back to school 2014

One of the highlights for our family this year was our road trip to BC in August for a wedding. It was the first time we had travelled back to British Columbia in over four years, and was a great opportunity to see many of our friends and family there. Our trip included many stops at Tim Horton’s along the way (Liza and I had to have our large double double coffees). And don’t get me started about the unscheduled four hour delay on the side of the highway because of an accident that blocked traffic (on the hottest day of the trip with no air conditioning in the van) outside of Revelstoke!

On our BC trip, we enjoyed several beach days at White Rock (where our daredevil children jumped off the pier into the water), fresh fish and chips by the ocean, a stop for ice cream with our friends Jen and Kareem at La Casa Gelato in Vancouver which boasts over 500 flavors of ice cream (including some interesting ones like chocolate bacon and wasabi), indoor swimming, a fun day at the Extreme Air Trampoline Park in Richmond with Angela and Ella, and many great family bonding moments.

After we returned home, we went on a camping trip in Minnedosa with my mom and sisters and their families. Although it was great to see everyone, unfortunately, the trip was cut short because we were rained out.

One of our family’s favourite weekly traditions has been hosting people (mostly youth friends of our children) at our house for lunch after church on Sundays. There’s always a full house, and never a dull (or quiet!) moment.

In the spring, I (Chris) auditioned for a role in our local theatre company Haystack’s performance of The Beverly Hillbillies playing detective Lieutenant Frank Richards. My activities this past year have included everything from pastoring our church and leading our church’s youth group, to blogging and writing a column for our local newspaper. In August, I led our church’s fourth mission trip to Costa Rica (with Tori and Austin joining me) and this summer I celebrated 25 years of walking with Jesus!

Christmas Letter 2014Caleb graduated from high school in June and began attending the University of Manitoba in the fall where he is currently taking kinesiology / sports medicine. He also played football for the Fort Garry Lions, a majors team in Winnipeg, where they won a championship over the Mustangs. He continues plays drums on Sundays once a month at church with our youth music team. He worked at the Co-op foot store until December when he quit his job there to start working at our local ESSO.

Tori was involved in a local theatre company’s production of Anne of Green Gables playing Rachel Lynde in the spring. She is currently rehearsing for their spring 2015 performance of Beauty and the Beast. In March, she got her learner’s license, and this January will be going for her road test. She has a great love of reading books and enjoys playing guitar on our church youth music team. She was awarded the MVP on her basketball team.

Austin got involved with our local branch of air cadets in the fall. This program develops attributes of citizenship, leadership and fitness in youth. He was involved in our youth theatre company’s production of Alice in Wonderland this month playing Humpty Dumpty. He too is an avid reader, and plays percussion in band at school. He helps out teaching one of our church children’s classes.

Hannah is currently taking Jazz dance lessons in Oakbank for the second year in a row. She plays the flute in school band, and enjoys taking photographs. She loves to craft.

Liza continues to work part-time at the church as our office administrator and book-keeper, and she also does a fabulous job of leading our children’s ministry. She did another Vacation Bible School for kids in the summer. She still plays the piano at home all the time, which I enjoy listening to. This coming March we will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!

One of our annual family Christmas traditions includes packing shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. We take the kids to the local dollar store to choose items to fill shoeboxes for needy children around the world. We want to teach them that the true spirit of Christmas isn’t about getting – it’s about giving.

This December I will be celebrating eight years of ministry as the lead pastor at Beausejour Community Church. This has definitely been one of the most challenging years for us, but one of the things we have learned is that no matter how dark a storm or a valley we go through, God will never leave us and His love never fails. God is good all the time, and His grace truly is amazing.

This Christmas season, we are praying that you and your family would experience the good tidings of great joy and peace that the birth of Jesus the Saviour is all about!

With love and prayers,

Chris, Liza, Caleb, Tori, Austin & Hannah 

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A Messy #Christmas – #Sermon of the Week

A MESSY CHRISTMAS

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

Christmas Church Service

(photo from our Christmas service today)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

OPENING: Christmas… is it really the most wonderful time of the year?

  • Christmas can be a stressful time for people.
  • Stress = a force or a pressure that strains or deforms.
  • One of the things is money – spend too much money on your credit cards, etc.
  • Another thing that can cause stress is family gatherings, or having no family, if you feel like you’re all alone. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one this year, that can put stress.
  • Despite the challenges, let’s not give up on the good thing that Christmas can be…

THE GENEOLOGY OF JESUS:

  • Do you have anyone in your family that you’re ashamed of?

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king.David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:1-17).

  • Look at the four women in this family tree: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba.
  • Tamar              – Gen. 38 – lost two husbands, prostitute, slept with her father-in-law
  • Rahab              – Josh. 6 – prostitute in Jericho
  • Ruth                 – Ruth 1-4 – foreigner / outsider, lost her husband
  • Bathsheba        – 2 Sam. 11-12 – victim, King David slept with her and killed her husband
  • God loves and cares for people whose family backgrounds are messed up and messy!

1.  LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS:

“Wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness.” (Isaiah 8:22, NLT).

  • Isn’t this a picture of the world we’re living in today? Darkness, depression, despair?

“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever… The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.” (Isaiah 9:1-2, NLT).

  • That light is talking about the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago!

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, NLT).

  • Jesus is wonderful, counselor (knows how to help us), mighty (has the ability to help us), father (cares for his children) and peace (in the midst of our storms and darkness!).

THE BIG IDEA: The Christmas story encourages us with the truth that even though our lives and homes may be ‘messy’, Jesus delights to visit us and bring us hope, joy and peace.

2.  THE CHRISTMAS STORY: Luke Chapter Two.

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

THE SHEPHERDS:

  • They were religious outcasts and considered unclean by the Jewish religious law.
  • Their jobs kept them from regularly attending church – like a truck driver or shift worker.
  • They were social outcasts, constantly on the move, regarded with suspicion.
  • They were accused of being thieves and didn’t have much contact with other people.
  • Their job was lonely, wearisome, often boring, tedious and dangerous.
  • They had hours with nothing to do but watch sheep eat grass (does that make you feel any better about your job?).

3. GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY:

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

  • It is surprising then that these are the people that God chose to send His angels to, to announce the birth of Jesus! They were nobodies, outcasts, and underdogs.
  • This is the Good News of the Christmas message – peace on earth, good will toward ALL men – underdogs, outcasts, and screw-ups.
  • God’s will for you: great joy, peace, and goodwill. To give you a future and a hope!

APPLICATION: SHARE THE GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS:

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:1-20).

  • The underdog shepherds were the first people to see Jesus the Saviour!
  • If you’ve encountered the Good News, then tell the world – share the Good News!

GOOD NEWS: GOD IS WITH US:

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23).

  • No matter what you’re going through – divorce, debt, depression – you’re not alone.
  • This is the good news of great joy that Christmas is all about – God came near to you.
  • God is with us, and He is for us, not against us.
  • “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).
  • Like the Shepherds, go to Jesus for yourself, then go to the world.
  • Let’s keep Christ in Christmas this year, and celebrate the reason for the season.
  • Let’s rejoice, celebrate, share God’s love with others, invite people into our homes, etc.

ALTAR CALL: FOR SALVATION.

Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca

Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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The Visitation of the Dayspring – #Christmas Booklet – Part Five

nativity

The Dayspring Banishes the Night:

If you want to get to know the Lord better, one of the best studies you can do in the Bible is a study in the names and titles of God. The prophet Isaiah taught us, “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6b). The Book of Revelation teaches us that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The disciple John tells us that Jesus is the good shepherd, the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the resurrection and the life, the true vine and the way, the truth and the life. Jesus means Saviour. Emmanuel means God with us. Each of the names and titles of Jesus teaches us something about who He is.

In this passage of Scripture, Luke reveals Jesus to us as the Dayspring. What does that mean? Perhaps the greatest explanation I have heard for this title comes from Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. He said:

“Jesus has come, moreover, not as a blaze which will soon die down, but as a light which will last our day, yea, last for ever. After the long dark and cold night of our misery, the Lord comes in the fittest and most effectual manner; neither as lightning, nor candle, nor flaming meteor, but as the sun which begins the day… The visits of God are like the dayspring, because they end our darkness. The dayspring banishes the night… Our night is ended once for all when we behold God visiting us in Jesus Christ. Our day may cloud over, but night will not return. O, you that are in the blackest midnight, if you can but get a view of Christ, morning will have come to you!” (Charles Spurgeon, The Tender Mercy of our God).

Jesus is the Dayspring! Every morning when you see the sun rise, as the day gets brighter and brighter and the day recedes, let that be a daily reminder to you that great is His faithfulness! His mercies are new every morning. Just as certain as it is that the sun will come up again tomorrow, our God is faithful to us. He will keep His promises. You can put your hope in Him. Romans 15:13 calls Him the “God of hope” and First Timothy 1:1 says Jesus is our hope. Put your hope in Him today!

The Thrill of Hope:

One of my favourite Christmas carols is O Holy Night. It says:

“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining; it is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining; till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices; for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Jesus has come, and with Him comes the thrill of hope. The world that was weary and burdened lay in sin and error pining. Do you know what that word pining means? Pining means: deep yearning, longing, waiting, desiring. More than anything else, we are longing for Jesus the Dayspring to appear to us. Our waiting for Him is not in vain: He is our Hope.

Maybe you’ve lost hope in your life. You had a dream, something you were hoping God would do for you, but because of a period of waiting, you gave up. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” When you hope for something but it doesn’t happen, your heart gets sick. Your heart is broken. But the second half of that verse says, “…but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” (NLT). It’s time for dreams to come true in your life!

Whatever challenging season you’re going through in your life right now, I want to encourage you to invite the Dayspring into your heart and your home. Let’s believe God for the miraculous to happen in our lives! Amen.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Pastor Chris Jordan

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The Weekend Funnies – The Santa Series #2 (#Christmas)

One of my favourite annual series of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips that Bill Waterson used to do was centered around six year old Calvin’s letters to Santa Claus. Because he was a ‘bad kid’, he always feared he wouldn’t be able to get good gifts from jolly old St. Nick, and therefore, he would always try to come up with creative loop holes to be able to be bad, but also avoid the naughty list. Here are a few such strips. Enjoy!

Calvin & Hobbes - Santa and morality

Calvin & Hobbes - Santa argue goodness 1

Calvin & Hobbes - Santa argue goodness

RELATED POST:

The Weekend Funnies – The Santa Series (#Christmas)

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2014 Bill Waterson.

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The Visitation of the Dayspring – #Christmas Booklet – Part Four

Christmas Nativity

Enter King Jesus:

“Now in the sixth month (after Elisabeth conceived) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33).

Here Gabriel tells Mary that she will be the mother of the Son of God, and that she is to name Him Jesus. Jesus is a name that means Saviour, and Jesus came to save His people from their sins. Jesus. The Son of the Highest. Descendant of King David. The Eternal King.

In the Old Testament, there was a man named Daniel who prophesied during Israel’s captivity. He declared that there were four kingdoms coming: a Lion (Babylon), a Bear (Medo-Persia), a Leopard (Greece) and a Beast (Rome). But after the fourth kingdom, Daniel prophesied that God was going to raise up a King whose Kingdom would have no end:

“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14). Who was that king? Jesus!

When Jesus came into the world, He came to set up the Kingdom of God on the Earth. Although his kingdom is not a natural, physical kingdom, Jesus is spiritually ruling and reigning as King today. But there is an aspect of the Kingdom of God that is “now/not yet.” The Kingdom of God is now on the Earth, but it is not yet all that it will be when Jesus returns to the Earth in His second coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are living in a time of transition in between the inauguration of the Kingdom and the consummation of that Kingdom on the Last Great Day.

When Jesus Comes for a Visit:

After the angel had appeared to Zacharias, he wasn’t able to speak until after his son was born. But after John’s birth, Zacharias’ tongue was loosed and he was filled with the Spirit and empowered to speak this beautiful song of praise about Jesus:

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David.” (Luke 1:68-69). Zecharias told the people who had been faithfully waiting for the promise of the Messiah that God was finally visiting His people.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79).

Then John began to prophesy the Word of the Lord over his son John. (That’s a good thing for parents to do – to speak God’s Word over their children!). The one phrase Zacharias uses here to describe Jesus has captured my heart. He said, “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us.” We are sinful people who have messed up big time. We have broken God’s holy law. We are sinful, rebellious and disobedient people, and we don’t deserve God’s love. But because God is tender and merciful, He visits and saves us.

The Son of God Himself stepped out of the glory and majesty of Heaven and took on human skin. “This is the God of the gospel of grace: A God who, out of love for us, sent the only Son he ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for his milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all.” (Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel).

Because Jesus was a human being, He knows what it’s like to be hungry, thirsty, tired, rejected by friends, abandoned and betrayed. Everything we go through in our lives, God Himself has experienced it. King David marveled at this truth when He wrote: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). Why would an all-powerful, pure and holy God want to visit weak, sinful human beings? Who are we that God would choose to visit us?

The visitation of God in the form of His Son Jesus wasn’t unique to the life of Jesus. Back in the Garden of Eden, the Lord visited the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:8 tells us that “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” From that time until today, God has always delighted to visit His people. God visits His people and saves them from their sins, forgives them, heals their sicknesses, brings peace and hope to their troubled hearts, and reveals Himself to them in many different ways. I’m thankful for the greatest visitation that took place 2,000 years ago when Jesus – Emmanuel – walked among us. But I’m more thankful for the fact that Jesus is still visiting His people today.

Continued tomorrow…

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The Visitation of the Dayspring – #Christmas Booklet – Part Three

bible picA Supernatural Event:

“So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias for your prayer is heard.” (Luke 1:8-13a).

It was a great privilege for one of the priests to be chosen to be the one who would go into the temple, to be just outside of the holy of holies, right before the very presence of God. Finally, Zacharias’ number came up, and he was able to serve the Lord in this special manner.

Now don’t miss the significance of this supernatural event here. Remember that for over four hundred years, there had been no prophecies, dreams, visions, angels, or heavenly experiences of any kind. They had no doubt heard stories, and knew that all throughout the Old Testament the Lord had manifested Himself in supernatural ways, but it had been many generations since anything like this had taken place. And then all of a sudden, a supernatural being appeared to Zacharias and gave him the standard angel greeting: “Do not be afraid!”

Whenever angels showed up in the Bible, they always said, “Fear not!” Why do you think they did that? Because there was something about the presence of these heavenly messengers that would cause you to freak out. Angels aren’t cute, fat little naked babies with wings on their backs, as is depicted in various art forms. Rather, angels are mighty messenger warriors from the Lord. When the Old Testament prophet Daniel saw this same angel, Gabriel, he described him this way: “His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” (Daniel 10:6).

Hope-Filled Words:

Not only did the angel tell Zacharias to not be afraid, he also spoke four of the most hope-filled words that Zacharias had ever heard in his life: “Your prayer is heard.” That surely meant a lot to Zacharias. Can you imagine how you would feel if an angel appeared to you one day and told you that God had heard your prayers? Sometimes when we pray and pour out our hearts to the Lord, we wonder if God is really listening. God wants you to know today that your prayers are heard, too. “But I’ve waited so long and nothing’s happened,” you might say. No. God’s Word promises you that your prayer is heard!

Look at the hope-filled words the angel spoke to Zacharias: “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” (Luke 1:13-16).

God sent an angel to Zacharias and said, “Your prayer is heard. You’ve been praying for a son, but you’re not just going to get a son – you’re going to get a prophet. And not just an ordinary prophet, but one who will be the greatest prophet in the history of the prophets. One who will turn the hearts of the children of Israel back to their God.” Now why is that significant? Because of the fact that over those four hundred years when God was silent, many of the children of Israel had wandered away and lost their faith in God. They had given up hope. So God sent this prophet named John to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord and restore their hope and faith. John proclaimed that message, “He is coming! Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.”

This is how the Christmas story begins. Before Jesus, there was John the Baptist, sent to prepare the way. “And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

(Luke 1:18). I think that statement is so funny – he was very diplomatic when he said that: “I’m an old man, but my wife… is well advanced in years!” I don’t know if he was thinking, “I’m having an angel encounter here, and people might write down what I’m saying about my wife someday, so I better be careful what I say about her here.”

Zacharias is essentially saying here, “I’m glad you showed up, Mr. Angel, and I’m glad that God heard our prayers, but we’re old, and you’re a little bit too late!” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever said, “God, you’re too late! I needed you to show up five years ago.” May the truth of this story encourage you today: God is never late. He always arrives right on time, just as He did in this story.

“And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:19-20).

Gabriel responded by saying, “Are you kidding me? You’re standing here talking to an angel of the Lord, I tell you what God is going to do, and you doubt the promise?” The angel goes on to say, “My words… will be fulfilled in their own time.” That’s a key phrase! Our God is a promise-keeping God. Our God is a faithful God. And as you pray and stand on the promises of God’s Word, know that it will come to pass… in God’s timing. So as we’re praying for God to intervene in our lives with a miracle, we also need to pray, “Lord, give me patience.”

Now John the Baptist is just the warm-up act, setting the stage for the main event: Jesus.

Continued tomorrow…

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The Visitation of the Dayspring – #Christmas Booklet – Part Two

BOOKLET - The Visitation - Jesus is the Dayspring Cover

Hope is Gone:

During the time period between the end of the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus, many of the people in the nation of Israel began to lose hope. They began to give up. The waiting was too long. The people of Israel were carried away into captivity in foreign lands. They were no longer a people. They lost their identity. “Where are you God? You said you were going to send a Messiah to deliver us and set us free.” One hundred years. Two hundred years. Three hundred years. Four hundred years went by. No Messiah. No fulfillment of the promise. People began to lose their faith and walk away from the God who had promised all of these wonderful things. But not everyone.

In the Gospel of Luke chapter one, we encounter two people who were found faithfully waiting, even though there were no external signs that God’s promises would ever come to pass. Maybe there have been times in your life where you feel like God has been silent or inactive. It seems like He hasn’t been doing anything in your life, and you wonder, “God, what’s going on? Where are you? Why aren’t you answering my prayers? Why aren’t you fulfilling the things that you had promised to me?” If that’s you, then this story will offer you hope.

The Author: Luke:

Luke was a physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. After becoming a follower of Jesus, Luke began an investigation of the details surrounding the life of Jesus. He wrote, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled a among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Luke 1:1-4). The Gospel of Luke is the first part of a two-part volume (along with Acts) that was written by Luke.

The thing I love about the Gospel of Luke is how this intelligent and educated man included a lot of historical, political and geographical information in his story. Because of this, we can place the Bible alongside of secular history to make comparisons and see how it fits into the timeline of the world. We can see that there are no inconsistencies or errors with the history or geography of the Bible, and if we can trust what it says about the past, then we can also trust what it says about the future.

The Story of Zecharias and Elizabeth:

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.” (Luke 1:5-7).

Luke tells us here that both Zacharias and Elizabeth came from the priestly line. To put this in a contemporary setting, we would say that they were pastor’s kids. They had an amazing godly heritage in their family lines. We see also that they were walking in righteousness and serving the Lord faithfully, even though there was no visible manifestation of the hope and promise of the Messiah. And not only that, in their personal lives they had been praying for a child, but the Lord never answered that prayer. I’m sure all throughout their 20’s they were praying, “Lord, bless us with children. Please open Elizabeth’s womb so we can have a child of our own!” All throughout their thirties, and maybe even into their forties, they continued praying for a child. And even though God never answered their prayer, they never walked away from God and said, “Forget it, God! If you’re not going to do this for us, we’re not going to serve you.” They were faithful to their God.

Their story is important because many of us ask these questions too. “Why, God? Why didn’t you answer my prayer? Why didn’t you help me out in this situation where I was in trouble?” This story will offer encouragement to those who have had these kinds of struggles.

Continued tomorrow…

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