Showing posts from 2018

The Voice of a Few Wise Men

Matthew 2:1-12 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” ( Matthew 2:1-2 NLT ) Allow me to once again speculate as to who these wise men were. I wrote about these wise men in 2015 in a message titled “Wise Men,” and then again in 2017 in a message titled “Truth Made Clear.” For those of you with exceptionally good memories, some of this material will be a repeat of those articles. Matthew tells us these men came from “eastern lands.” We have often heard these wise men called “magi.” This is because Matthew wrote in Greek, and the Greek word is “μάγοι” ( magoi ). This was the title used for the priests and sages of the Babylonians and the Persians. Since they brought gifts consistent with the region of Arabia, we assume they were from that area. We are certain

The Voice of a Teacher

Luke 2:25-35 In about 110 BC, in Babylon, a Jewish child was born. He was given the name Hillel. He became an important figure in Jewish history and is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Hillel established a school in Jerusalem for the study of the law. [1] Hillel had a grandson, Gamaliel. We learn in Acts 22:3 that Gamaliel was the teacher of the Apostle Paul. Gamaliel was also the one who counseled the Sanhedrin to exercise restraint in dealing with the Apostles in Acts 5. Among Jewish scholars only seven have been honored with the title “Rabban.” Gamaliel was one of these. [2] Between Hillel and his grandson, Gamaliel, was Gamaliel’s father, a man named Simeon. Simeon succeeded his father, Hillel, as president of the school Hillel founded and was also a member of the Sanhedrin. Simeon was actually the first teacher to be given the title “Rabban,” and according to Jewish tradition he was filled with a prophetic spirit. Tradition also has

The Voice of an Old Priest

Luke 1:67-80 Have you ever questioned if you have gone too far? Or, perhaps you question if a loved one has gone too far. Is anyone beyond reaching? When does God call off the chase and let a person go? In truth, He always lets every person go, but He never calls off the chase. Romans chapter 1 describes for us how God turns us over to the lust of our flesh and its associated consequences. The Garden of Eden demonstrates how this works. God could have prevented Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, He did not. Creating them in His image meant that He gave them the ability and power to make choices. At the same time, God has never given up and discarded the human race. He came close. At the time of Noah, God destroyed all the people on earth except eight persons. Before and after the flood, God has kept for Himself a witness and a testimony to His love and compassion for the people He created. He never stops pursuing, w

The Voice of a Young Woman

Luke 1:46-55 With the celebration of Christmas, we remember events that took place over 2,000 years ago. For us in the northern hemisphere, this celebration comes at the coldest time of year, when the days are at their shortest and the nights are at their longest. This gives a fitting picture of the world at the time. Spiritual darkness covered the globe. Darkness had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 9:2, it says: The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. (Isaiah 9:2 NLT) Into the darkness that covered the globe, God sent a light. This light is a light to the nations, salvation for the whole world. Isaiah 49:6 says of Him: You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6 NLT) The nation of Israel has not yet been restored to God. However, He is a l

Three Rules to Live By

Romans 14:13-23 Three rules to live by does not mean that we are adding laws. Rather, in Romans 14:13-23, Paul is trying to help us understand how we should live as brothers and sisters in the family of God. In Romans 12:1-2, he told us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, and from that point, he has been explaining how to live as living sacrifices. He discusses the Christian’s relationship to government, our unbelieving neighbors and our fellow believers. Romans 14:13-23 is a continuation of his discourse on how we are to relate to our fellow believers. Verses 1-12 explain that we each answer to God. They conclude this thought and transitions by saying: Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. ( Romans 14:13 ESV ) Paul is concluding his discourse or thoughts on judging by saying “therefore.” He has made his point that we should not judge one another. E

Another’s Servant

Romans 14:1-12 Certainly , we must be better than other churches. We teach the Bible. We are free to eat bacon. We can mow our lawns on Sunday. We go to movies, have televisions and have musical instruments in our worship services. I am picking on a narrow range of topics. Some churches teach that a Christian should not eat certain foods. I like bacon, so I chose bacon as a representative food. Some churches teach that a Christian should not work Sunday, so I chose mowing the lawn as a representative activity. All Christian churches should teach the Bible. This is taught in both the Old and New Testaments. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says: And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ( Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV ) And, 2 Timothy 3:16 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God