Month: December 2021

December 15th – Isaiah 61:1-3

Isaiah 61:1-3

When some people send out Christmas cards, they include a Christmas letter. They share the news of all that happened with their families throughout the year. Jesus also has a letter to share. And in it He proclaims God’s good news to all who are afflicted. Because of His great love, God sent His only begotten Son to bring healing, freedom, and comfort to a hurt and broken world. And to those He calls His own He gives great gifts. A garland instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. And the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. Calling us “oaks of righteousness”, Jesus says that with Him as our root, we can withstand anything. What a precious Christmas letter to receive! One filled with love from our Savior, Jesus Christ, proclaiming the favorable year of the Lord. A time characterized by God’s grace, redemption, and deliverance!

News of the Day – December 14th

United Nations Sculpture Resembles Daniel 7 Endtime Beast

Many believe we are living in the last days before Christ’s return. And now a new sculpture at the United Nations Plaza in New York City is sparking up controversy because of its striking resemblance to the end times beast described in the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation. called a guardian  for international peace and security, the statue was donated by the government of Oaxaca, Mexico. Some social media users have also pointed to 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 when criticizing the statue, noting that the scripture warns that unbelievers will call for “peace and safety” just before the rapture. Read more about the statue here.

 

2000 year Old Synagogue Discovered In Galilee

In yet another amazing discovery, Israeli archaeologists say they have found a 2,000-year-old synagogue in the Galilee region. It was found the synagogue in the town of Migdal, which is on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The town had a large Jewish community during the Second Temple Period and is the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. The synagogue is of basalt and chalk, and comprises a main hall and two side rooms. Current excavations are being carried out by private archaeologist Yehuda Govrin with scientific oversight by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. Read more about the discovery here.

 

Samaritan’s Purse Responds To Tornado Ravaged Areas

Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse deployed disaster response teams to Mayfield, Kentucky and Monette, Arkansas in response to the deadly tornadoes that spawned overnight. The storm system created widespread devastation across six states. Chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team are deploying alongside Samaritan’s Purse to provide emotional and spiritual encouragement to families impacted by the severe storms. The charity encourages those who want to help in the tornado relief efforts to sign up for volunteer opportunities. Read more about the charity’s efforts here.

 

Christmas Tree Planted 43 Years Ago By Elderly Couple Now 50 feet Tall

A couple who planted a 6-foot Christmas tree in 1978 now use a cherry-picker to decorate the 50-foot giant with 3,000 lights in an annual tradition. Avril and Christopher Rowlands welcomed 2,000 locals to the switch-on in Inkburrow, Worcestershire, England. The tree was six feet tall when they planted it after first moving in to their new home. The tree has become a big part of the community’s lives and the switching on of the lights has become quite a village tradition. The village where the tree shines, is one of the darkest places in the UK as one of the only towns without any street lights. Read more about the tree here.

 

December 14th – Isaiah 42:1-4

Isaiah 42:1-4

Our society loves celebrities. And we treat them like royalty. We follow them on social media, copy their every move and dream of having their lavish lifestyle. Yet the greatest celebrity of all didn’t come to be idolized or to walk red carpets. Jesus Christ, Lord of lords, and King of kings, came not with pomp and circumstance. He didn’t come in a blaze of glory. And He didn’t come carrying a rod of iron to crush His enemies. Instead the prophet Isaiah tells us that our great King came to be a Ruler who serves, who is so compassionate He won’t break a bruised reed, and who came to suffer. The greatest King of all was born in a insignificant town in great humility to unknown parents. He didn’t live in a palace or enjoy the comforts of celebrity. Jesus came as the humble Servant of God not for His benefit, but for ours. A mighty King who suffered to bring justice to all and set us free.

December 13th – Isaiah 40:9-11

Isaiah  40:9-11

Go, tell it on the mountain. Over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain. That Jesus Christ is born. The lyrics to that well known Christmas song could be written by Isaiah himself. For long before the divine birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied about the joyous event. And his message is one of such great joy and goodness, that it should be shouted from the mountain tops. “Behold!”, Isaiah declares, “Here is your God!” The great Shepherd has come to tend His flock. To gather His sheep in His arms, and carry them in His bosom. And even better, Christ didn’t come empty handed. For with Him He brought the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation. So as we celebrate this Christmas, may we be so overwhelmed with thankfulness, that we too shout the good message of our Savior’s birth for all to hear!

December 12th – Revelation 2:1-7

Revelation 2:1-7

I love “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. And one of my favorite parts is when frustrated by the commercialism, Charlie Brown cries out, “Isn’t there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?” With all of the pressures of getting ready for the holidays, it’s easy to forget the reason for the season, the birth of Christ. The church at Ephesus received a strong warning for getting caught up in their busyness and forgetting their first love, Jesus. And we should heed their warning. For Christmas isn’t about the decorations, food, parties, presents, and traditions. Instead it’s about God’s great love in that He sent His only begotten Son to save the world. So may we not get lost in the trappings of the season and remember our first love. The Lamb of God who came to adorn us with His mercy and grace.

December 11th – Luke 1:46-56

Luke 1:46-56

Many are the carols and songs we sing at Christmas, and we each have our favorites. But one of the greatest Christmas songs, and probably least known, is the song sung by Mary. The young mother blessed by God to birth the Savior of the world, sang the very first Christmas song. Called the Magnificat, Mary’s song resulted from a visit to her cousin Elizabeth in the Judean hill country. Elizabeth had blessed Mary greatly, causing the young pregnant mother to burst out in praise and thanks to God. The word “Magnificat”, means to glorify or magnify. And that’s what this humble, young servant of God did. Mary sang of the glory of God. Of His holiness, mercy, and great power. A song we too should sing not just at Christmas, but every day of the year!

 

December 10th – Luke 1:30-45

Luke 1:30-45

During the time of Jesus’ birth, the customary age for betrothal was 13 or 14. And Mary was probably around this young age when Joseph asked her to marry him. Think about that! And at her tender age not only did Mary get a proposal, she was also visited by the angel Gabriel. God’s angel came to the young girl to announce that Mary would give birth to the Savior of the world. Now Jewish tradition demanded harsh treatment for unmarried pregnant women. Religious leaders would have dealt with her severely. Yet Mary remained strong in her faith responding, “…may it be done according to your word.” (Luke 26:38. Mary was an ordinary girl with extraordinary faith. A faith tested constantly as she watched her beloved child suffer, and lay down His life for the whole world. A good and faithful servant, she is an model and inspiration to us all.

 

 

News Of the Day – December 9th

Pastor On Trial For Raping Two Teenage Girls Takes Own Life

A Florida pastor who was on trial this week for raping two teenage girls was found dead in a parking garage Thursday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, according to the Murfreesboro Police Department. David Rowan, 66, appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the preliminary investigation. Rowan was awaiting a jury’s verdict regarding his charges for multiple sex crimes involving two teenage girls in 2014. Read more about his arrest and suicide here.

 

Pastor Who Appeared In Drag For A Television Show Is Fired From Church

An Indiana pastor who dressed as a drag queen on a reality TV show last month has been “relieved of his duties” and will undergo a process of “renewal, reflection, and recovery.” Rev. Craig Duke had served at Newburgh United Methodist Church near Evansville until last week. Friends set up a GoFundMe last week to help the pastor and his family through the next few months, which already has raised more than $23,000 after his “drag mother” Eureka O’Hara, who helped him create his drag persona on “We’re Here,” tweeted about it Sunday (Dec. 5).  Read more about the firing here.

 

Former SBC President James Merritt Resigns After Sharing Sermon From Gay Son

Former Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt has resigned from his position as a visiting professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary amid controversy that followed his decision to share a short message by his son, who is gay. In response to criticisms from some Christians over his decision to promote his son’s message, Merritt defended his position saying, “Regardless of who preaches Jesus or speaks truth I rejoice when they do because I love Jesus and truth. I can approve a message even when I have disagreements with the messenger. I agree with Paul: love rejoices with the truth. And that is the truth.” Read more about his resignation here

 

New Study Shows Chewing Gum Could Reduce Spread Of Covid

Could specially-treated chewing gum help fight COVID-19? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say yes, and they’re submitting their findings to the FDA. Researchers at Penn have developed a new experimental chewing gum that could slow the transmission of COVID. It works on saliva, which is the main way the virus is spread. University of Pennsylvania scientist Henry Daniell is leading a study that uses specially treated lettuce to make a chewing gum that helps prevent the transmission of COVID. Researchers have taken everyday lettuce and infused it with a protein that can neutralize COVID. Read more about the research here.

 

December 9th – 2:1-7

Luke 2:1-7

Birth announcements are quite the thing these days. People hold lavish parties, do extravagant gender reveals, and decorate the nursery fit for a king. God could have made the birth of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, a party to end all party’s. But He didn’t. Instead He let the Savior of the world lie not in gold lined crib, but in a primitive animal trough. As King of the world, Christ could have come with great pomp and circumstance, and been born in a palace. Yet instead, in great humility, the Lamb of God was born with a stable for a nursery. Why? Because our Lord came to bring salvation to all, both great and small, rich and poor. God so loved the world that He sent His Son from His glorious throne in heaven, to share in our wretchedness. For our sakes He became poor so that through His poverty, we might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9) And that’s the greatest birth announcement of all!

December 8th – Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25

When we see the nativity scene, we are reminded of the precious gift of our Savior. But also found in that stable is a reminder of the faithfulness of a man named Joseph. A man who stands in the shadows, but whose obedience to God is a lesson for us all. Any other man after learning his fiancé was pregnant by another, would have walked away, or wanted her to be punished. But Joseph wanted neither. Instead when visited by an angel of Lord telling Joseph of Mary’s divine conception, he was willing to obey God. No matter the personal cost. For Joseph not only loved God, he loved Mary and the child she was carrying. So in that love and faithfulness, Joseph obeyed God and named the child Jesus. And that act of obedience accomplished two things. First, it gave the Son of God an earthly father. And second, gave Jesus his noble ancestry as a descendent of the house of David, fulfilling the prophecy of God.