Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How The Church Is Judged

A noted business leader once said, "An institution may spread itself over the entire world and may employ a hundred thousand people, but the average person will form his judgment of it through his contact with one individual."

This is nowhere more true than in the church. Large sums may be expended to build the church's image through radio, television, and newspaper ads. But family and friends will form their views of the church by what they see in you. They see the church as cold, friendless, disagreeable, or warm, friendly, helpful, as they see these qualities in you. Here is a type of personal evangelism which all can do; be sure that the church reflected in our lives is the church as God would have it. May each of us so live that we can say as the song suggests, "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A husband and wife reached a milestone in their marriage. They had been married for over 50 years. Their family and friends hosted a reception in their honor. The place was full to overflowing with well-wishers. Among this number were many people who were curious about their secrets to successful marriage.

Before the entire group of guests, the wife responded, "On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband's faults that, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook."

Everyone thought about the wisdom of those words. Most of the guests had to admit that they had been unwilling to do that on their own. Like most people, they had been guilty of holding the faults of their spouse against them for some time.

One young lady was very curious about what the other woman had said. She and her husband had been having some difficulties recently and she wanted to do all she could to keep their marriage together. On the way out of the door at the conclusion of the event, she asked the older woman for some of the faults that she had decided to overlook.

"To tell you the truth, my dear, I never did get around to listing them. But, whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, 'Lucky for him that's one of the ten!'" This wife was really saying that no matter what her husband did, she was not willing to give up on the relationship. Marriage is for life!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


A few weeks ago someone asked me the question "If Jesus wasn't born in December, then when was He born and give me a bible answer?" I have to admit, I didn't have the answer to this question. During my search for an answer to the question, I discovered there is an answer to the question in the Bible although an exact month can't be found, we can determine that it wasn't December. Get your Bible and check this out.

In 1 Chronicles 24:10 we read where the priests were divided into 24 courses, These courses were for the purpose of fulfilling the responsibilities of the priests in the temple. Each course would serve for one week, twice each year, and then all of the priests would serve during the feasts weeks during the year. In Luke 1:5, we see that Zecharias was a priest who descended from Abia (Abijah). According to 1 Chronicles 24:10, the descendants of Abijah would serve as the 8th course in the order of the priests. Now if we check the Jewish calendar, we would learn that the Jewish year began with the month Abib, which corresponds with our calendar at the end of March and through most of April. Now count the weeks at this particular point, adding a week for the feast of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6), we learn that the first course of which Zecharias served each year happened during the first week of Sivan (which corresponds with the end of May on our calendars). There were 24 courses of weeks for the priests to serve, which meant that Zecharias had to serve a second week, and that second week in his course would be about the third week of Chisleu (which corresponds with the early to mid part of December on our calendars).

Now observe the text in Luke 1, where Zecharias was told that he would have a son named John, he was fulfilling one of the normal weeks of his priestly course, which means he was either serving in the first week of Sivan (late May or early June), or the third week of Chisleu (early to middle December).

After the angel appeared to him, and his duties were fulfilled, he went home and his wife conceived (Luke 1:23,24). Six months later another individual received a visit from a heavenly messenger telling her that she would also bear a son: her name was Mary (Luke 1:26-27, 36). Now if Zecharias was fulfilling his first course of the priestly responsibilities when the angel appeared to him, then he was working during the first week of Sivan (end of May to early June). Counting 9 months from his return home after this week, one finds that John the Immerser, cousin of Jesus, would have been born during our month of March: continue counting six months for the birth of Christ, he would have been born in September.

But if Zecharias were to be fulfilling the second course of his priestly responsibilities he was serving during the third week of Chisleu (early to middle December). Now, counting 9 months from his return home after this week, one finds that John the Immerser would have been born during our month of September: adding 6 months for the birth of Christ you would find him being born in March. Obviously the text would lead us to believe that Jesus was not born on December 25, but rather that he would most likely have been born either in March or September.

We should be thankful that Jesus was born into this world, but the center of our focus should not be His birth, but rather the death that He died for you and me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Have you ever notice how some people who would ordinarily be difficult to get along with suddenly become quite joyous this time of the year? Then there are others who are ordinarily very cordial and likeable who seem to become almost "scrooge-like" during this particular time of the year. During this particular time of the year it seems that almost all of our society tries to become somewhat religious, even to the extent that many will decorate their houses in a religious way. Why so? Why is it that most all the world well attend some type of religious service during the week of December 25, but never go back any other time except maybe Easter? Don't get me wrong, I think it is a good thing that many in our society recognizes the fact that the Messiah did come into this world, but I think that this semblance of spirituality falls short of what God would want from us.

There are some serious misconceptions about the birth of Christ. It comes as no surprise, as there is a great amount of misconceptions about all "religious" subjects. Over the next few days we hope to examine some of the misconceptions aboul the birth of Christ.

How many wise men do you see when you think of the wise men that came to worship Jesus? Almost always the answer will be 3, and the reason for this response is that the Bible tells us that these wise men delivered three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, the Bible never mentions how many wise men came to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:1). It could have been 3, or it could have been as few as 2, or it could have been as many as you care to imagine. Since the Bible doesn't tell us, we just don't know, and to be dogmatic with a particular number would be to go beyond what God has said.

And what about these wise men? Where did they go when they left Herod? As I just mentioned, most view the wise men as coming to Bethlehem to worship the newborn Jesus, and offering their gifts to Him, but once again this is not what Scripture reveals. When the wise men left Herod and found Jesus, he was no longer an infant, but was now a "child" who was living in a "house" (Matthew 2:11). And it is at this point that they offer the gifts of worship to Him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And it is likely that by this time Jesus was getting close to 2 years old. You see, the wise men didn't return to Herod after their visit with Jesus, as Herod had requested. As a result of this, Herod calculated the time of the birth to the time it was then, and then had all the male children in the area from 2 years old and down put to death (Matthew 2:16). Jesus would have been in this range.

And what about the star? What do you picture when thinking of the star? Most will picture the newborn Jesus lying in his mother's arms in a manger while the wise men bow down to him, and the star is shining brightly above the manger. But, none of this is accurate according to the Bible. The star didn't tell Herod or the wise men the whereabouts of Christ's birth, but simply told them that he had been born, and then later led them to his "house", not the "manger" (Matthew 2:9-11). The truth of the matter is that the Scriptures revealed the place of the birth of Christ, and this is what these men had followed (Matthew 2:5; Micah 5:2).

Obviously it is not difficult to see that there are some discrepancies in how man relates the birth of Christ and how the Bible reveals His birth to us. Join in with us tomorrow and we well examine what the Bible has to say about the date, the time of year of the birth of Christ.