“Unto us a child is (was) born…"
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:
Those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2
The prophet foretold the great event; the change from darkness and the oppression of the shadows
of death… a child would be born, a son would be given. A great light would come,
Some seven hundred years later, in a small nondescript village a child is born. Unnoticed a new kingdom
enters the world of darkness; with this seemingly insignificant event the prophecy is fulfilled and the
world is forever changed.
No one knew what has just occurred, except for a few unsuspecting shepherds who witnesses a singular
moment of heaven’s praise;
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
He lived unknown for thirty years, before revealing His true lineage: the Messiah, the Son of God.
He invaded darkness and reclaimed the world He created.
The child, now a man, reflected the Father. John 14:9
The world had long decided what the Messiah would be like and therefore they did not look beyond
their expectations and missed the moment of monumental change They looked at him and dismissed him.
He did not fit their prejudged idea of God or how he would reveal himself.
Their understanding blinded them to the very one who would give them sight and hearing. John 1:10
But the few who saw the truth, those who were open to have their hearts changed and their beliefs
challenged, God bestowed the right to become 'children of God.’ John 1:12
We often see ourselves and the world through condemning eyes, eyes of darkness, but God saw and sees
the world through mercy and grace.
We see disqualification, He sees salvation (healing of spirit, soul and body).
We must learn to see ourselves and others through God's eyes, eyes of light or we will withdraw into
Whoever believes and reaches out to Him is guaranteed salvation.
But, whoever does not believe and therefore does not reach out to him, stays where they are: lost.
God will not leave us unaware of our need for a ‘savior,’ however, if we choose not to seek and search
for Him, but rely on our own abilities and understanding we are ‘lost.' John 3:18
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
His reward for your faith; a child in a manger.
He is the gift that gives us life, that life that keeps on living.
The light that keeps on lighting, the bread that keeps on feeding.
An embrace that never lets go.
Celebrate His joy in you who chose him as your gift from the Father.
The Gift of Love
He was sent by God.
He was seen by a great assembly of angels and a company of poor shepherds.
He was sought by wisemen to adore him and a king to kill to him.
He is God’s gift of light to a world that loves darkness.
He is the child who came into the world to:
Experience and overcome limitations.
Experience and overcome rejection.
Experience and overcome sorrow.
Experience and overcome betrayal.
Experience and overcome evil.
Experience and overcome suffering.
Experience and overcome death so that others may live.
He came to reveal the Father’s love and dedication.
This child in a manger will become the man who will offer a fallen hopeless world the way to the Father and fullness of life,
He is the one who out of love and obedience will choose to give his own life for the sake of those who will reject, wound and despise him.
He will do this so that there will be a light and a hope for those who are lost in darkness.
He is the one who will grow up to forgive and intercede for those who will kill him.
He is the promised one, the only one who can reach and save a fallen world.
This is the mystery we try to understand as we ponder the child in the manger.
He is the gift we can never fully grasp.
If we did, we would never cease to be astonished at The Father’s love and goodness.
May you be truly blessed in the gift of The Father.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Three phrases that are meant to sustain, comfort and encourage.
“Have peace in me.”
“On earth you will have trials, sorrows.” But,
“Take heart, I have overcome.”
Whatever confidence the disciples may have felt from Jesus’ assurance, the words were not enough to prepare or sustain them through the events that were about to unfold.
In the chaos of the arrest and crucifixion, their faith was shattered.
Traumatized and confused, they ran in fear, life was abruptly filled with chaos and despair.
They had invested their lives, hope and trust in this man and now all hope vanished.
The disciples in theirs lament, descent into misery.
Confused, dazed and grieving, all they could say was, “We thought that he was the one…”
While Jesus is declaring the greatest victory in the history of man, “It is finished!”, the disciples, in their hearts, were saying, “All is lost.”
You too will face times when your faith is not what you supposed it was.
In the moment of shock, confusion and fear, your trust will be shaken, and you will doubt whether your faith was ever true.
But when you finally pause and gather your thoughts, remember: that while you may falter, He never will.
He does not change.
He will always come to you in your brokenness and give you a new and even greater revelation of who He is and restore you into His peace.
While, “The events of life” may “scatter and confuse you,” He will not leave you.
“You are in HIm.”
“Will never leave nor forsake you.”
“He who has overcome the world.”
“They willfully put God to the test by demanding…” Psalm 78:18
“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7
When you test God, you are looking for:
A reason not to trust Him.
An excuse not to obey.
A way to do your own thing.
A way to be in control.
You question His faithfulness.
“If you love me…, “
“If you do …for me, I will…, “
“If you are you must…, “
As a result,
You will be the voice of doubt.
You will be isolated from the truth.
You will be a poor witness
You will not grow in faith.
You will always be the loser.
The moment you don’t like or understand what He is doing or what He is asking of you, you question Him and begin to doubt; soon He is no longer God in your life.
“Do not put the Lord your God to the test… Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you…” Deuteronomy 6:16-18
This testing is your drive to be in control, to have the true God submit to your whims. To be your own god.
At the core of this sin is the drive for control. It is the fuel of defiance.
The idea of submitting to someone you can’t control is seen as offensive and a justifiable reason for rebellion.
When you don’t trust Him, you stand to lose more than you can imagine.
“What have you done?” asked Samuel”… “…now your kingdom will not endure…” 1Samuel 13:11, 14
In God’s kingdom, you cannot grow when in you are in doubt.
You cannot win without submitting; you cannot live without dying.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:6-7
The Cleansing of the Word
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken…. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;…” John 15:3-6
Jesus and his words are inseparable, you can’t have one without the other.
When you receive Jesus, his word immediately begins to expose those things that are of no effect in you.
His words are always active and creative. They are much more than moral decrees, much more that principles; they are the living presence that fervently seeks to enlighten, bring revelation, and freedom to any part of you that is in darkness.
His words purge, refine and release you into newness and great freedom.
His words disinfect you from the defilement of the world in which you live.
They are the Father’s gift to change you!
Without his words you can do nothing and are soon detached from his truth and life.
Without his presence, you quickly drift into a place of shadows, inactivity and despondency.
You cannot be separated from the source of your life and expect to remain vibrant and fully alive.
Separated from the fountain of life, you will soon wither, and fall back into a lifeless, hopeless world, and fade from view.
When you remain In his presence, his touch is undeniable, and the power of his words in you will be evident.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13
The Messenger as a Message
“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one,” John 17:20
We live in a world that is desperately looking for a message, a word, a touch, a look, anything that will lead them into true life.
You are that messenger of hope.
Jesus called you, not only to declare his message, but to be his message.
You not only carry his message, you are the evidence of the message.
In a world looking for answers, for direction, you are the sign that points to the answer.
You are his validation, his affidavit!
You are the proof that points to the Truth.
You are the clue that brings clarity to a mystery.
You are the evidence that Jesus came into the world.
You are the sign that points to Jesus and the Father.
What evidence of Christ in you are you manifesting today?
What is the world seeing and finding in you as you go through your interaction with others?
Today, you are the message of Jesus.
What clues do you leave as you go through the daily routines of life?
Today you may be the only evidence of Jesus that someone will encounter.
What will they hear as they listen to you, or what will they see as they look at you in action?
You are blessed with ‘The Truth’. Make it evident!
The world needs the message you carry. The message you are.
Selling Out Jesus
“Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair.
The house was filled with the fragrance.” John 12:3
“That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” John 12:4-5
He was being practical, even mission minded.
Doing something beautiful for Jesus did not feed the hungry!
How easy it is to miss the significance of an action when you look at it from a worldly perspective.
Judas did not have the things of God in mind, and as a consequence could see no worth in Mary’s action towards Jesus.
What Jesus received as an act of kindness, Judas saw as waste of money. Something that could be used by the ministry, “Given to the poor.”
Whenever you see things from an earthly perspective you will always miss the “Big Picture,” and will easily accept that which has no lasting value.
Judas’ vision was limited to that which he understood; he saw no merit in Mary’s action.
Judas judged Jesus for not stopping the waste.
He found Jesus lacking.
As a result, selling Jesus for 30 pieces of silver was an acceptable bargain.
Whenever Jesus fails to live up to your expectations, betraying Him becomes easy.
When you are disappointed with the Son of God, you will sell him for a handful on beads, and believe you have the best part of the bargain.
How often, when He failed to meet your expectations, did you exchange your loyalty to Him for something of little or no value?
Yet, He waits to receive you back.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
When God Breaks the Rules
A stranger changes a man’s life with a simple question.
“Do you want to get well?”…
And then, “Pick up your mat and walk.”
There was no, “I am Jesus…”
There was no, “If you believe…”
There was no, “Repent!…”
There was no, “You are forgiven…”
There was only the question, “Do you want to get well?”
Suddenly the man is walking.
The Scripture does not say if he was born this way or if this was the result of a tragic event.
What we do know is that for the first time in thirty-eight years he is walking.
It was the Sabbath - a wonderful day to enter a new phase of life.
For the first time in decades his feet feel the ground, for the first time he can freely move from one place to another…He is healed!
Suddenly he is stopped. “It is the Sabbath!” He is told. “The law forbids you to carry your mat.”
We can only imagine his look of bewilderment.
How do you answer that in the middle of a miracle?
All he could think to say was, “...The man who made me well said to me, “Pick up your mat and walk.”
How could they tell him that he was breaking the law, when he has just been healed, walking and feeling fully alive-for the first time in decades.
Without breaking the “law,” he would still be lying by the pool.
When we put conditions on the work of God’s kingdom, we remain invalids, bound in our condition for a long time.
Later Jesus found him at the temple, an appropriate place for thanksgiving and praise.
Jesus speaks to him, “See, you are well! again.”
Then the warning, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14
Jesus’ declaration is crucially important, then and now.
If you fall into sin again, something worse than being an invalid may over-take you. Fulness of life ceases again.
When, where or how He chooses to heal you is up to Him. Walking out the healing is up to you.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Falling into sin is always an open door to bondage and death.
Jesus is always the fountain of freedom and life.
“…Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” John 4:6-9
The disciples left him by the well. It seems unusual that they should all leave him there.
After a long journey they may have been looking for a break, or they may not have felt safe, going into a Samaritan town.
Whatever the reason, Jesus was alone when she came to the well.
It is a strategic moment in God’s plan for this solitary Samaritan woman.
She must have felt uneasy when she saw him sitting there alone.
Not knowing what to expect, her approach may have been cautious.
“Will you give me a drink?” His request broke the tension and opened the door for a move of God.
He could have asked the Father for water; the angels would have brought it to him.
He chose to ask the woman.
His request gave her status; here was something she could say, "Yes," or "No," to.
For a brief moment she had authority.
Jesus waited for her decision.
Seizing the opportunity she began a conversation with him .
The conversation turned into revelation, and the revelation became the door to her redemption.
Here by a well, on a hot day, the last thing she expected was an encounter with the Messiah.
We do not know if she gave him water, but we do know that he gave her life.
Thinking Out Loud
In a counseling career spanning over 30 years, author and teacher Martin Frankena has shared the life-changing power of Christ’s redemption with individuals and churches in America, Canada, South America, and Europe. Martin's heart is to further the Lord’s mandate of releasing people into freedom from bondages to experience greater wholeness and fulfillment in life. A major focus of the ministry is healing from generational issues.
|Rushing Streams Ministries||
Thinking out loud