The possibility of almost 400 Old Testament prophesies coming to fulfillment in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, apart from God's sovereign control of history, staggers the imagination. The certainty that God planned the coming of His son into the world can offer stabilizing support to our faith in our Lord.
We are living in a day of apprehension which offers nothing certain for us to hang onto. Foundations are crumbling, absolutes are quivering, old truths are ignored. The Christian can turn to the pages of his Bible and discover that prophecy can steady the faith which is so easily shaken if we allow our spiritual vision to lower only to the uncertain things of this world.
The story of the birth of Jesus in the first two chapters of Matthew's Gospel is not all snowflakes and fuzzy little lambs and starlight and singing angels. Typical of God's working in man, human anguish is followed by divine promise.
Joseph was shocked when his fiancee told him she was pregnant. While he was in this state of consternation, an angel appeared to Joseph with the simple counsel to stop worrying. Joseph wasn't thinking objectively. He needed to look at his problem from God's perspective. The angel gave Joseph his bearings by reminding him of prophetic truth. As with Joseph, we can gain a new perspective on life and problems when we understand what God foretold to His people about the coming of His Son into the world.
No other person in all of history has had so many prophecies ascribed to Him as Jesus Christ. From Genesis to Malachi the pages carry details about Him that attest to the supernatural character of both Jesus and the Bible.
In this article we will comment briefly on only a few prophesies of His earthly sojourn.
A Sign for Ahaz
The angel's message to Joseph, recorded in Matthew 1:23, is a quotation the angel took from Isaiah 7:14--"'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel' (which means, God with us)."
The point of the quotation was that a virgin was to give birth to the Messiah. The word virgin is an unqualified term (parthenos). This is what allayed Joseph's fears--his fiancee was still a virgin!
The occasion for the miracle described by Isaiah was a threat to Judah's King Ahaz by an alliance between Israel and Syria. These two kingdoms wanted to replace Ahaz with another king.
In an earlier attack on Jerusalem Isaiah had tried to assure Ahaz that the invasion would fail and that he should rely on God to help Judah. Instead, Ahaz made what he thought was a master stroke of genius. He fashioned a diplomatic arrangement with Assyria to help him.
Isaiah tried to tell Ahaz to trust. "If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (7:9). In the Hebrew this is a play on words. The words "believe" and "established" are from the same root. The idea is that faith strengthens the reality of God's care for oneself.
In verse 11 Isaiah challenged Ahaz to go deep and let the sky be the limit in asking something unlimited and unrestricted from God: "Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven."
Ahaz refused to believe. Instead he let go with a pious platitude which he thought quite profound: "I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test" (7:12). Actually, this reply was a facade to cover his cowardly unbelief. Ahaz couldn't care less whether this pleased God or not. He was afraid to ask for a sign lest it not come to pass. He tried to hide his unbelief. Ahaz had already stripped the Temple treasury to bribe the king of Assyria.
God then countered with a sign of such a nature that men would not have thought it possible to come to pass: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (7:14). The sign was given to rebuke Ahaz in his continual unbelief.
Note the contrast between Joseph and Ahaz. Joseph accepted the promise, a source of comfort in his trial. Ahaz rejected the promise. The difference was their confidence (and lack of it) in God. Denial of God led to the ruin of Ahaz. Assyria responded with an invasion into Israel and Syria, and after defeating them, turned on Judah. Thirty-seven years of servitude followed.
The miraculous sign was not only a warning to Ahaz, but it was directed against the whole Davidic family (7:13). Ahaz and his family and nation would suffer extreme punishment from God. "The Lord will bring upon you and upon your house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah" (7:17).
The Message to Daniel
The prophet Daniel is another believer who found his bearings because of a prophetic announcement. Daniel lived in troubled times; his people were in exile in Babylon. After about 70 years of bondage in a foreign land, Daniel read the prophecy of Jeremiah. He was startled to find that Jeremiah had prophesied Israel's captivity (25:11-12; 29:10-14). Moreover, he discovered Israel would return to Palestine at the end of 70 years! Revival came into Daniel's life. He recorded his confession in the book that bears his name (9:3-19).
At the end of the chapter Daniel tells about his "seventy sevens" vision--a prediction of the time of the first coming of Christ. God had a comprehensive plan for Israel--"Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city" (9:24). These sevens are years. Seventy weeks are 490 years. Daniel received encouragement and certainty from this vision. After the privations of the captivity, God was bringing Israel home, and Daniel received hope.
Daniel prophesies the number of years that would pass before the Messiah would come. From the issuance of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah would be seven sevens (49 years) plus 62 sevens (434 years), or a total of 483 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem came in 445 B.C. Christ's crucifixion about 30 A.D. allows for the fulfillment of the prophecy in the prescribed time. Of all the outstanding religious teachers Judaism has had, Christ is the only One who could possibly fulfill Daniel's prophecy. (One seven-year period remains--the seven-year tribulation period yet to come.)
Thus in a time when Daniel and his people were harassed and troubled by their captives in a strange land, the prophet could find strength in God's promise of the coming Messiah.
Other passages give more details of the incarnation. Micah 5:2, for example, designates the place of the Messiah's birth. About 700 B.C. Micah specified that of the 12 provinces of the land of Israel, Jesus would be born in Judah. Micah even went so far as to say that the small village of Bethlehem would be the place of the birth of the Son of God. Micah used Hebrew terminology in this verse to make the strongest possible statement about His eternity: "Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (ASV).
With the many precise and unmistakable prophesies of Christ's coming, we wonder why He was not received more warmly. But "He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not" (John 1:11). The Jews couldn't believe in Christ and they couldn't accept the testimony of their own Scriptures. The two areas of unbelief go hand in hand.
What kind of God do you have? Can your God dispel anxiety and worry? Is your God worthy of your faith and trust? Can you believe His promises so thoroughly that you can trust him for the future? The God of incontrovertible prophetic declarations can be the God of your day-by-day life. And His personal promises to you focus in the central concern of those prophesies--Jesus Christ, His Son.
Anxiety and worry are essentially distrust in God. They are characteristics of the godless. We believers in Christ know what God is like--He provides for our needs.
Jesus said, "Tomorrow will be anxious for itself" (Matt. 6:34). Each day that passes nearly always proves that the anxiety of the previous day was unnecessary. Why ask for double trouble? Why worry about tomorrow? One day's trouble is heavy enough. If I add tomorrow's trouble on today's, I double my trouble.
To enter a state of apprehension and anxiety by anticipating the future's problems is to reject the idea that God has everything in control. We know God can give us bearings for today and tomorrow because He proved it with Ahaz and Daniel.
If you want to hitch your wagon to a star, make sure it's the Star of Bethlehem.
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African American Hiking for Spiritual Health
Hiking is gaining popularity within the African-American community. We're beginning to spend more time in nature in an effort to connect deeply with the spirit within. The alertness that is required to observe the natural beauty around us is calming, energizing and edifying. Noticing the colors on the trees, listening to the sounds of the birds, and overlooking scenic landscapes or wonderful bodies of water can heal the soul very profoundly.
Before Donna was born she took with her a dollar, Peter took with him a pen and Harry brought along a hammer. These were the only significant things that these people brought with them into their physical lives from birth.
My lady Lydia was a Hawkins of the ancestry of the great privateer 'Black Jack' just as thousands of miles away in Ottawa (We met in Las Vegas.) a cousin of my sister-in-law who was about to come work for my family's company was living. They looked like twins and that was a powerful co-incidence of synchronous energy in itself. When I saw him I asked him if he was related to the privateer and he was amazed that I knew this. Our meeting was a 'trip' of grandiose proportions that makes another book I have written seem so weird it would only be regarded as fiction (that book is called 'The Nos Feratu'). In this meeting with Lydia, I was able to exhibit some control that later was almost non-existent and nearly rendered my soul. Rendered has many meanings and when applied to the butcher and his trade, it is close to what kind of lard or jelly (fish) my heart was 'feeling' after a few months that were wild beyond my own vivid dreams. The setting of the story began at the 'Shark Club' in Las Vegas one night just before I turned forty, about eleven years ago. I was in the process of buying a home in Las Vegas after moving from Los Angeles where I had been involved with a basic and ordinary woman (totally honest, and without my having even talked about an 'US') who had another amazing 'gift'. Her special talent was total sensory recall of the physical body. Yes, my life has been a myriad maze of the paranormal and sexual interplay of what most people would call 'fantasy'. In the relationship with Lydia she was honest and totally in control with no reason for me to even grasp at the smallest of straws to think there could ever be an 'US'.
The Gratitude Toll
I very often see rants, complaints, wishes and dreams that have a similar theme, and that theme goes something like this:
Who Has The Greatest Job In The World?
I have, in my opinion, the world's perfect job. Just look at the evidence. I love people and I love God. I love talking to people about God and I love talking to God about people.
The Spirituality of Pigeons!
I was walking down the street the other day, walking around the pigeons and saying "good morning" to them when it dawned on me just how precious they are to the lives of city slickers.
Are you Addicted to ?NO?? Locating the YES! of the Heart
It seems to me that our moment to moment relationship to Life can basically be reduced to a 'YES' or a 'NO'. Let me explain?
Getting the Feel of Your Faith
Whether we admit it or not, we operate by emotion. Our comfort level, attitude, and efficience are largely determined by how we feel. Getting the feel of your faith enables you to be confident and comfortable with your spiritual condition. It determines your influence, where and how often you attend church services, and what you do for the Lord.
Path to Healing
Some wounds are embedded so deeply that no amount of professional expertise can cure, much less heal. A famous Yale surgeon says that as a surgeon, he cuts into the body, but he can not order the wound to heal. Ultimately, it is through our efforts that healing can occur.The path to healing is a personal choice. It is a path where you choose to piece together the fragmentsand make it" whole" again. It paves the way to self-discovery, to open the door to your inner selfand experience inner harmony. And ultimately, come tomeet the child within that has longed for your love ,care and attention. The child within that is forgotten,pushed to the background, lurks in the shadows, but patiently waits to be acknowledged.WHAT NEEDS HEALING?Childhood trauma:The imprints of childhood experience is a powerfulforce. An expectant mother who lives through a stressful situation during pregnancy share the burden with the unborn child. Years ago,domestic matters were never discussed openly, especially issues about abuse, violence,neglect , abandonment and other related matters. Today, society is more aware of the potential or actual existence of abuse and violence in the home. Tragic that the innermost and safest sanctuary societydepends upon can be the most dangerous.These are issues that take its toll on the young victims. They growup with wounds, carry them around like a heavy load on their shoulders.Some never get over their trauma,it turns up at the most unexpected moment to haunt them;yet, there are those who are lucky enough to confrontit and use it to propel themselves to a healthier mind,body and spirit, successful relationships and life itself.When love is a venom:How many hearts have known pain all in the name of love. It invades lives from all walks of life, social status, add to that race or creed.No one wants to suffer pain, but it does happen. Healing a broken heart, picking upthe pieces of broken hopes and dreams, suffer the betrayal ,endure shattered self-image, re-live the haunting nightmares, the violation of one's innermost being,soul and spirit...it can take a lifetime to heal.The most traumatic of all is the violation that comes from those who are supposed to provide a nurturing environment to those who are entrusted to their care.All in the guise of love.GriefThe loss of a loved one can be most devastating. Sometimes one did not have a chance to bid their last farewell. It was all too sudden.Or one passes away after a lingering illness, with the relief that the suffering is over comes the grief of the loss. At one point and time in one's life, grief is a reality.GuiltWrong turns, wrong choices, wrong decisions-we all take wrong turns, make wrong decisions and choices.This is a human trait, even the saintliest of the saints has experienced this. We stumble, we fall, but many of us manage to get up and get on with life.The losses incurred at times may be life-threatening, or at the costof financial comfort and security or worst, relationshipsare threatened, lost ,sadly but innocently or unconsciously someone else has to bear consequences and the sacrifice.Wearing guilt on your sleeves, in your heart, in your beinginvites negative vibrations and digs you deeper into the mire.Take a look at those sad eyes,the window of the soul ,and you'll know. However,this is not a dead-end!Unfulfilled dreams and hopesLive your dream,ride on the wings of hope- this willnot always work out. One day you wake up and realize your dream never materialized and now you languish over the many years you spent trying to pursue that dream! All this while, time, opportunities and life passed you by .Hope can lead to disappointment- realize this. When all hopes are dashed , what have you got?PATH TO HEALING:Healing is a complex matter. Who has never felt the pains of suffering, be it physical, mental, emotional, material and spiritualEven our dear Mother Earth is in desperate need of healing from the abuse inflicted upon her through man's recklessness,negligence and lack of respect.There are avenues open to healing. One may choose to spend time with a professional, seek comfort from related groups,from family, but always, healing has to startwith oneself, from within that deep well of strength .It takes determination to face up to your dilemma,but, ultimately,it is most rewarding to regain your personalpower, self-confidence, learn to love yourself and enjoythat inner peace and calm.It is important to acknowledgethe pain, to recognize the cause, to be able to integrate the fragmented pieces and be willing to take it to the next step to be "whole"again.Then, you will be able to share love and peace with the world once again.Healing extends beyond the physical state- when the painis so deep, the spirit, the soul also bear the pain. It comes in hauntingly in the dark of the night , it fills a once loving heart with venom, it could ravage a once healthy mind and body. Beneath a once beautiful and graceful soul is the mask of vengeance.Venom for venom.BLOCKS TO HEALINGSometimes, the path to healing is full of potholes. Indeed, the path is covered with blocks, where healingcan not be accomplished,it's almost out of reach.Impediments on the path:denial, apathy, self-absorption and self-indulgence,addiction, putting up walls and barriers, busy-bee syndrome, compartmentalizing, isolation,withdrawal from society, cynicism, loss of faith, trust and compassion,self-pity, poor ?me syndrome, anger, fear of gettinghurt again, martyr complex, neurosis or psychosis, aggressive/ oppressive behaviour, confrontational attitudeguilt complex, resignation, loss of motivation.Sometimes, we hurt those we love most deeply, likewise, we bear the pain they cause. Time is a great healer, but don't take the painfully slow route and miss out on what the world holds for you.Let life flow for you and with you.E N D .
The Reality of Fairies
No, I have never seen a fairy, an angel, nor any other type of a spirit guide. But I swear there are times I think that if I spun around fast enough they'd be sitting there snickering at me. Today's one of those days. Quite often, I sit up late at night working too many nights in a row. I also have a two year old bouncing off the walls first thing every morning. The combination means I am pretty much doomed to episodes of sleep deprivation every time my inner workaholic takes over. Not a big deal in and of itself, because all things come into balance and I'll end up spending a day or two lounging around doing a whole lot of nothing. Today was supposed to be one of those days. I went to bed giving myself guiltless permission to sleep in as long as I like. My teenagers had already offered to hang out watching cartoons with the little one for me. But then those wee folk decided that I had something far more important to do today. Bright and early before anyone else was awake, I was woken up by a persistent little voice telling me to write about fairies today. "Okay great, but I'll do it later after I sleep in a couple more hours." No, you're going to do it now! And so the nagging began.
Communicationg Our Faith According to Internet
Following are 17 questions that can be used as a start-up by your answering the 5 most important questions on this questionnaire according to your estimation.
Conquer Your Fears
I cringed lower into the seat of my grey metal desk, yearning for the faded yellow floor to swallow me into oblivion. A crimson heat spread from my forehead to my neck; my legs trembled uncontrollably. I struggled to bring my lurching stomach under control - vomiting all over my classmates was about the only thing that could worsen this nightmare.
A Man Called Jesus
Picture This (Part One)
Picture this state of existence in your mind by closing your eyes after you have read the lines below.
Answering a Soul Call
Is life challenging you to take a bigger leap? Are you restless with the status quo of your daily routine? Do you feel you are flying blind with an invisible co-pilot?
I can truly say to this day of August, 2005, that if you call on Jesus, he will surely save your life. I'm thinking of a time when I know it for a fact that it was the Grace of God that saved me.
The Flow Of Money
The more we worry about money, and who's asking for it, and why their asking, and should they be asking, and should I be listening, and judging others, then judging their ideas and their work and their very existence....the more we condemn ourselves to a life of pain, worry and confusion. Most people do not realize they are doing this to themselves. Everyone on the planet, regardless of their calling is perfectly entitled to be paid for their time and expertise.
The Spiritually Dead Church
The spiritually dead church. Now, I am not talking about every church. There are alot of good churches out there. I am talking about, the churches who have christians, that gather only for the sole purpose to gossip, gather at social meetings, and feel important.
Heroes and Heroines - Contemplating Conscious Evolution
The myths of man have been with us throughout time. Since the earliest of cave drawings to modern books and film, the myths of man have been the creators of man, providing both meaning and symbolism to his / her life.
Christianity - Not a White Mans Religion
Christianity: White man's religion?
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