Merry Christmas 

Zechariah 6:12-13
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out… And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

IMG_6306 2.JPG
The Bible speaks of the riches of the grace of God. Grace is a word that refers to God’s giving nature. James 1:17 puts it this way, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the father of lights in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Certainly, life is filled with gifts given from heaven to earth. When we gaze into the face of nature, or a new born child, we cannot help but think of the grace of God. Nevertheless, every other gift pales in comparison to the gift given on the first Christmas morning. God wrapped His Son in human flesh and gave Him to mankind to be Savior and Lord. The young Child who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger, would grow to become what the apostle John called, “the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2). As the years went by, He would move from a manger to a cross, where He would die, to pay the debt of sin, and reconcile man to God. As you give and receive gifts this Christmas, it is our prayer you would receive the greatest gift ever given, and put your trust in Christ, as Savior and Lord.

Merry Christmas, Pastor Jim

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Zechariah 6:12-13
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out… And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

GG-FR.jpg
The Bible speaks of the riches of the grace of God. Grace is a word that refers to God’s giving nature. James 1:17 puts it this way, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the father of lights in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Certainly, life is filled with gifts given from heaven to earth. When we gaze into the face of nature, or a new born child, we cannot help but think of the grace of God. Nevertheless, every other gift pales in comparison to the gift given on the first Christmas morning. God wrapped His Son in human flesh and gave Him to mankind to be Savior and Lord. The young child who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger, would grow to become what the apostle John called, “the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2). As the years went by, He would move from a manger to a cross, where He would die, to pay the debt of sin and reconcile man to God. As you give and receive gifts this Christmas, it is our prayer you would receive the greatest gift ever given and put your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord.

Merry Christmas, Pastor Jim

 

Problems And Solutions

Zechariah 2:10
“ Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord.

IMG_1244.JPGThings looked bleak for Israel. After their defeat in battle, Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish people were taken as prisoners to Babylon. An entire generation arose who had never set foot in the promised land, and who ignored the voice of God, when called upon to return and rebuild. For those who did return, morale was low, as the daunting task of rebuilding a nation amidst constant opposition bore down upon them. Zachariah records the words he spoke to the people, to encourage them to continue on in the work of the Lord. One of his greatest promises is recorded here,

Zechariah 2:10
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord.”

Heaven’s solution for what ailed mankind was a visit from God himself. Years later, this promise would be fulfilled, when, in a stable outside Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. This tiny Child, whose first bed was a cleaned feeding trough, would grow to become the Savior of humanity, and change the course of human history. No man can match the influence this tiny Child has had upon the world; and his work is not yet completed. He desires to continue to impact the world, one life at a time. No matter how dark things may seem in your life, you can break out in song knowing that Jesus Christ desires to dwell within you and change your world.

Pastor Jim

 

Peace On Earth

Micah 4:3
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

IMG_1225.JPGAs we approach Christmas day, we cannot help but be reminded of the great promise surrounding the birth of Christ. The prophet Isaiah declared the Messiah would be a prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) . The angels filled the skies with exuberant praise as they sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace toward men” (Luke 2:14). Later, we read that kings came from distant lands to crown the young Child, as heaven’s gift and earth’s highest king (Matthew 2:1-2, 11).

It seems quite striking to note, Christ’s life appeared to be marked by anything but peace. Hundreds of children were murdered on the day of his birth, his family was forced to flee to Egypt to escape the tyranny of King Herod (Matthew 2). By all accounts, it seems Jesus lost his father at an early age, and grew up in poverty. Once His ministry began, he faced constant conflict from spiritual forces, religious leaders, and even infighting among His own disciples. As much as his life was marked by turmoil, his death was more so. He was betrayed, arrested, beaten, condemned and killed. Even after his body lay lifeless in the tomb, people still fought over Him, and a band of soldiers guarded the burial site of Christ.

Over the last two thousand years, the world has known very little peace. The history of humanity is a history of war. Rome fought to keep the appearance of peace within the Empire, while leaders vied with one another for power, and external forces sought to overthrow the kingdom. Battles, conflicts, invasions and wars have been going on around the world ever since. Some of you are old enough to have lived through WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and a continual conflict we call the war on terror. Mixed in with all of this are, social conflicts, including school shootings, and constant occurrences of domestic violence. One has to wonder, “Where is the peace is that was promised?”

Let’s keep two vital things in mind when we considered the peace Jesus promised. First, it is an inner peace that is greater than any circumstance we will ever face. Jesus was a realist who declared, in this world we will face conflict, but He would give us a peace that, apart from Him, we could never find (John 16:33). Paul called it a peace that surpasses understanding and works as a guard on the heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). As long as men live in rebellion against God, the world will be marked by conflict, war, hate, corruption and violence, but in the midst of the chaos, the child of God is promised a heavenly peace.

Micah declared that one day, this peace will rule well beyond the heart of the child of God. The same Christ who was born in a barn outside of Bethlehem, will one day return in glory and reign in peace. When heaven’s King sits on earth’s throne, the world will finally experience the peace that God intends. Weapons of warfare will be discarded, and energies once spent on developing implements of war, will be given to agriculture.

Oh, how our hearts long for the day when Christ will come and reign. Demonstrations, taking place around the globe, remind us that God has created us for peace. Scripture tells us, this peace will only be found when we allow Christ to sit, first on the throne of our hearts, and finally upon earth’s throne, at His return.

Pastor Jim