Devotional: Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth ~ Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ~ Second Advent Sunday

Billy Graham’s Advent Devotion, Week 2: Responding to God’s Call

By   •   November 2, 2016   •   Topics:

Are you seeking to follow God’s call on your life? Billy Graham’s second Advent devotion focuses on how we can follow the lead of Mary and Joseph in responding to God.

Week Two: December 4-10

Read Matthew 1:19-21—Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Meditation
We’re given just a little glimpse of Mary and Joseph before Jesus was born. They lived in the hill country of Galilee. Joseph was a religious man. Mary gives every evidence of having a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, even though she was a teenager. The Bible teaches that God was so pleased with her that He chose her to be the mother of Jesus. Mary and Joseph weren’t married, and yet Mary became pregnant.

I’ve often put myself in Joseph’s place—imagined his thoughts, his aspirations about the girl to whom he was engaged. But Joseph decided to break the engagement privately.

While he was thinking about these things, God’s angel appeared to him in a dream to give Joseph an explanation of the situation. All Joseph’s suspicions were put away. He accepted what God had said through the angel, and he was immediately married to Mary.

Both Joseph and Mary followed the call and plan of God, and through their obedience the way was prepared for Christ to come and bless us.

Are you seeking to follow God’s call on your life? Are you actively responding to Him?

>> Read Week 1 of the Advent devotion

How will you respond to God?

 

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37 Comments

  1. Barbara Mooresays:

    Pray for my family that they will come to Jesus.

  2. Rachel Platiausays:

    Thank you for including me. God bless you.

  3. Debra Woodsays:

    I am so glad that I am able through my phone to follow your teaching thank you

  4. Adepeju Robert Jamessays:

    Father Lord Jesus Christ help me by your grace to follow your plan and purpose for my life

  5. safdar mughal.says:

    hi God be with you and your family

Rick Warren Challenges Christians That They Are Not Fit For The Kingdom If They Study Bible Prophecy

I have no idea what additional proof one would need in order to discern that Rick Warren is a false prophet, pure and simple.  He has the audacity to believe that the Purpose Driven movement is bringing in a New Reformation, hence as we follow this track, his thinking is that he is a modern day Martin Luther.  To Rick, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millenium are small potatoes, because like Ford, he has a better idea.

Related image

Perhaps he envisions himself as a Protestant Pope of some sort, and when he speaks “ex cathedra,” his words supersede Holy Writ.  Rick’s time is spent hobnobbing with Muslim clerics, the Pope, various United Nations affiliates, involvement with a plethora of social concerns, meeting the leaders from all religions, and spending time with an additional assortment of political VIP’s throughout the world.  (This sounds like a purely social “gospel” to me.  It rings of one who, instead of pointing people to Christ, is attempting to bring in the New World Order).  Many of my fellow Southern Baptists drink his KoolAid, only because he is a Southern Baptist.  I have learned long ago, however, that the Bible and its’ precious truth therein, takes priority over the philosophies of men.  
(New American Standard Bible
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”  Colossians 2:8).  Do you believe whatever “big name” leaders say, simply because they sell a lot of books?  Or are you a noble Berean, always searching the scriptures to see if these things are so?  (Acts 17:11).  Rick Warren is severely criticized at every Prophecy Conference that I have ever attended.  Why?  Because he scoffs at prophecy and Christians who cherish end times events.  Sorry Rick, my Bible says there is a crown for those who look forward to His soon return.  Rick is a litmus test and an indictment of the Biblical illiteracy of today’s Christian Church.  Rick has other ideas.  He has a whole inventory of false teachings, here is yet another…

Maranatha, Pastor Steve  <><

From Lighthouse Trails Website…

Highlighted in red are statements that clarify Warren’s false teachings:

Rick Warren Says Those Who Focus on Bible Prophecy “Not fit for the kingdom of God”

By Roger Oakland

Many who were once looking for the return of Jesus have fallen asleep. We now live in a period of time where numerous prominent Christian leaders are telling the Christian masses that paying attention to the signs of our times in light of the Bible is a waste of time. And many of them take it a step further and accuse those who believe what Bible prophecy says about the end of the age of being negative and self-centered.

In the Purpose Driven Life, Rick  Warren was actually laying ground work for the emerging church’s new reformation, a reformation that rejects thinking about the return of Christ and works more at convincing the multitudes that Christ is already in them as a global christ-consciousness. As you will see in the following documentation, Warren has a low regard for Bible prophecy. Perhaps this helps explain why so many who once were anticipating the return of the Lord have become occupied with worldly ambitions. Warren writes:

When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!” (PDL, p. 285)

I find it simply astounding that a statement of this sort would be in a New York Times best-seller in the present-day Christian book market. Jesus was telling the disciples they could not know the day or the hour, but nowhere does Jesus ever indicate that “the details of my return are none of your business.” Rather than quickly changing the subject, we find in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 two of the longest passages in Scripture quoting Jesus’ own words, and what’s more, where He details the signs of His coming. In essence, Jesus was saying, because you cannot know the day and hour of my return, you need to educate yourself in Bible prophecy and take heed of my words about the end times. Later on, one of those disciples, John, was given an entire book to write on the details of Jesus’ coming. Jesus continually said to be alert and ready for when He returns. In both parables and straightforward talk, he spoke of this. In Luke 12:35-40, Jesus emphasized that it is essential to be prepared for His return:

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:… And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

And Jesus frequently referred to the Old Testament prophecies. Those prophecies became the evidence that Jesus Christ was indeed whom He said He was–“Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

But Rick Warren tells readers to think about something other than Bible prophecy: “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.”

Warren ends this section of his book by stating that Satan would have you “sidetracked from your mission” and by quoting Jesus out of context, saying, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted [by studying Bible prophecy] from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Living Bible). But Jesus was not referring to His return when He made that statement, which in the King James Version says: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). The Purpose Driven kingdom of God leaves no room for Bible prophecy, and in fact, condemns those who study it. The apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had a different view. He writes:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

Christians are called to witness and be watchmen. No Scripture exists that tells us to ignore the events that have been pointed out as signposts indicating the return of Jesus. If we do, we might be like the foolish virgins who fell asleep waiting for the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).

In light of Rick Warren’s end-time views [and his steady embracing of contemplative authors], what does he think of the emerging church? This statement he made in the foreword of Dan Kimball’s book, The Emerging Church, answers that question. Warren notes:

Today seekers are hungry for symbols and metaphors and experiences and stories that reveal the greatness of God. Because seekers are constantly changing, we must be sensitive to them like Jesus was; we must be willing to meet them on their own turf and speak to them in ways they understand. (p. 8)

Rick Warren is enthusiastic about the emerging church because he believes it is the church of the future. And … the emerging church is equally fond of Warren’s view of Bible prophecy, or the omission thereof, and of his plan to usher in the kingdom of God. (From Faith Undone, Roger Oakland, pp. 154-157)


The following quotes are by those who promote contemplative and/or emerging spirituality and share similar views on the return of Christ:

If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy. (Rick Warren, PDL, pp. 285-286)

Tony Campolo says that Christians who “make a big thing of their claim that we are now living in the final stage of church history prior to the second coming of Christ” have been the cause of “extremely detrimental” consequences. They “discount the Sermon on the Mount,” they don’t care about the needy, and they have had such a negative “impact on geopolitics,” which Campolo says “can lead only to war.” Basically, according to Campolo they are the reason the world is in such a mess, and they are holding back progress of a more emerging spirituality. (Faith Undone, p. 160, quoting Campolo, Speaking My Mind)

It is time that the church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now…. People are no longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell. They need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth … The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ trod. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world, and the service of humanity …(Occultist, Alice Bailey)

Robert Schuller’s advice to young church leaders would seem to apply to new apostolic Christians: “Don’t let eschatology stifle your long-term thinking.” (C. P. Wagner, quoted in False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?

We are not eschatological Theonomists or Classic Dispensationalists (e.g. Scofield) and believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation, because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us. (Mark Driscoll, Acts 29 Network

Former New Age follower, Warren Smith explains what happened to him and how he came to understand the significance of Bible prophecy in light of Christ’s return:

Coming out of New Age teachings, I had learned in a very personal way that the details of Jesus’ return are definitely our business. Understanding the events surrounding His return was critical to understanding how badly I had been deceived by my New Age teachings. I had learned from reading the Bible that there is a false Christ on the horizon and that for a number of years I had unknowingly been one of his followers. Because the Bible’s clear authoritative teachings about the real Jesus and His true return had been brought to my attention, I was able to see how deceived I was. By understanding that there is a false Christ trying to counterfeit the true Christ’s return, I was able to renounce the false Christ I had been following and commit my life to the true Jesus Christ. (from Deceived on Purpose, p. 147)

In the Bible in the Book of Revelation, it says that Satan will deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9). The emerging church movement has three essential elements that are consistent throughout the movement that may help this great deception to occur:

1. The embracing of mysticism
2. The belief that the kingdom of God will be established on earth BEFORE Christ returns.
3. The rejection of eschatology (the study of the end-times and Bible prophecy relating to it).

The combination of these three things could help to bring about the great falling away of which the Bible speaks. We pray that every Bible-believing Christian will be able to comprehend these things and warn their families and loved ones.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (II Thessalonians 2:3)

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (I Timothy 4:1)

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Devotional: Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth ~ Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ~ First Advent Sunday

Quote Image 1

 

Devotional: Preparing to Celebrate Christ’s Birth
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PREPARING TO CELEBRATE CHRIST’S BIRTH
The word Advent means arrival, and it refers to the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. The “Advent season” usually starts four weeks before Christmas and concludes with the celebration of Christ’s birth. Some churches emphasize the Advent season more than others, but all Christians look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth during this season of the year.

Why was Jesus’ birth so important? The reason is because slightly over 2,000 years ago, God stooped down from Heaven and became a human being: Jesus Christ. As the Bible says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14, NIV).

Think of it: God became a man! He did it because He loves us—and that’s what we should celebrate as Christmas approaches. Take time between now and Christmas to reflect on this great truth.

WEEK ONE: NOVEMBER 27–DECEMBER 3
Read Isaiah 9:6. In this Scripture we find the message and meaning of Christmas. Isaiah the prophet gave five awe-inspiring names of our Lord that encourage us, thrill us and fill us with hope at this Christmas season.

1. Wonderful. When He did His many miracles, the Scripture says, “The people wondered.” (Luke 11:14, KJV)

2. Counselor. The officers said, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46, ESV)

3. The Mighty God. He is the God-Man. He said that He and the Father are one. (John 10:30)

4. The Everlasting Father. It was by Him, the living Word, that all things were created. He is the designer of the whole universe. (John 1:3; Hebrews 11:3)

5. The Prince of Peace. There will never be lasting peace on earth until He comes again to reign in righteousness. But He is also the Prince of Peace in other ways. None can have peace with God apart from Him and the peace that He made through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:20)

The full meaning of these words from Isaiah should give us enough strength, hope, and joy to face any crisis, endure any sorrow and meet any temptation. How has Jesus shown you recently that He is “Wonderful, Counselor … the Prince of Peace”?

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God With Us ~ The Promise Of Christmas ~ Alice Mathews ~ Discovery Series

Strike “God With Us” below in red.  Then strike View PDF.  A five part Christmas story will open up…

God With Us

A Rare Hollywood Celebrity With Conservative Political Values

Clint Eastwood throws PC to the wind, and laughs at the extremely liberal west (left coast) coast mindset. I will never forget his talk (it is on You Tube) to the empty chair (President Obama) at the RNC four years ago. He goes against the grain of the leftist Hollywood stereotype and is unconcerned about what his peers think of him.  Clint – I hope your last years are good ones. It would make me feel even better if I knew Jesus Christ was your Lord and Savior. God bless you.
    ***    According to Eastwood’s daughter, this was not his Twitter account.  Like many of us, he does not use this media.  This is, however, his attitude in general towards the elections because of his dismay over the direction our nation is going.  Clint Eastwood voted for Donald Trump but does not endorse him.  At any rate, it is mind boggling that praising the president elect is now confirmed as hate speech by Twitter, and promptly deleted.  And the liberals have the nerve to call conservatives Nazis…   ***
‘Clint Eastwood’ Twitter account suspended after praising Trump

 

‘Clint Eastwood’ Twitter account suspended after praising Trump

MORE ON:

CLINT EASTWOOD
Trump spent a week offending everyone — and supporters still love him
The good, the bad and the politically correct.

Twitter had Clint Eastwood fans up in arms on Thursday for suspending an account purportedly belonging to the actor following a pro-Trump tweet.

“Thank you America, I don’t have long left to live but now I know the last few years will be great, I can’t thank you enough #PresidentTrump,” tweeted @EastwoodUSA, just hours after the race was called for The Donald.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

The social media site apparently wasn’t a fan of the tweet, and chose to suspend the account a short time after — sparking cries of censorship throughout the night.

But it turns out that “the man with no name” is also the man with no Twitter — and it was never he who wrote the message.

“STOP POSING AS MY DAD EVERYONE KNOWS HE WOULD NOT KNOW HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA,” tweeted the actor’s daughter, Morgan Eastwood.

“Everyone knows this isn’t really his account. I would know.”

Still, the fact that an account was deleted immediately after sending a tweet praising the president-elect irked many users.

“It’s official — voicing support for ‘Our’ President elect is now ‘hate speech,’” wrote one user.

“Censorship and authoritarism [sic] show their claws on Twitter again,” added another.

Laying Down The Law

Federal Judge Makes Case For A United America  ~  Judge Primomo – Federal Magistrate Judge

New Citizens Get Judge’s Tough Talk On Trump

“If you are a citizen of the United States, he is your President, and he will be your President, and if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”

(This Texas Judge is a Hillary Clinton supporter)

President Obama’s Plans To Further Cement His Legacy

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Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2016/11/obama-fast-tracks-plan-to-take-muslim-migrants-rejected-by-australia/#lmLJ0BgxHyKJgx6Z.99

Two Thanksgiving Poems, Two Stories, One Quotation and Three Scripture Passages

An Attitude Of Gratitude

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered; Thanks for what Thou dost deny!

 Thanks for storms that I have weathered; Thanks for all Thou dost supply!

 Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure; Thanks for comfort in despair!

 Thanks for grace that none can measure; Thanks for love beyond compare.

**********

The Preacher Who Never Failed To Give Thanks

John Gray, a circuit-riding preacher, never failed to thank God for something, no matter how bad the times or how severe the trial.

One day when Gray had had to battle through wind and sleet to his preaching appointment at a distant village chapel, the small congregation waiting for him wondered what he could be thankful for in such weather.

When it came time for prayer, John prayed, “This is a wretched day, dear Lord, no doubt about it; but we thank Thee, Lord, that every day isn’t as bad as this one!”

When Matthew Henry Was Robbed

A man once stole Matthew Henry’s wallet. In reflecting on the incident, Henry said, “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” Matthew Henry knew how to make lemonade out of a lemon — how to be grateful despite a bad experience. That is how mature people react in tough times. They learn to be grateful even for small blessings. They realize that ingratitude toward God is the first step toward backsliding from God. We see this in Romans 1. The Apostle Paul described the path people take in departing from God. The first step is an attitude of ingratitude. Paul says, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.” Ingratitude leads to many bad choices. Even for believers, when we take God’s’ blessings for granted and neglect to give him thanks, we slowly have little time for God, little time for worship, and little time to help others. We become self-centered. Before we know it, we have wandered far away from God, and we wonder what happened to that glowing relationship we once enjoyed with God. That is why we must worship and give thanks to God. Gratitude toward God leads to peace, joy, and satisfaction.

**********

Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer, but richer for having made it.  -A.W. Tozer

**********

Habakkuk 3:17-19 King James Version (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Psalm 105:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

105 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 King James Version (KJV)

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

**********

…and one more for the road

Be Thankful!

You don’t need a bank full of cash to be thankful; Be thankful you have what you do.  Don’t envy your neighbors the fruits of their labors; Your fortune rests solely with you.  Here’s cause for thanksgiving: The fact that you’re living

Where freedom of enterprise reigns, Where all can aspire to what they desire, Each welcome to what he attains.  If you have what’s needed, you can’t be impeded  By limits on courage and skill.  No blessing is greater, so thank your Creator And ask His guidance and will.

-Sawdust Trail

 

A Magnanimous Politician

mag·nan·i·mous
maɡˈnanəməs/
adjective
  1. very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.
    synonyms: generous, charitable, benevolent, beneficent, big-hearted, handsome, princely, altruistic,philanthropic, unselfish, chivalrous, noble; More

    From the original Latin, the word is derived from magna and animous.  When placed together they literally mean large soul.

    ******************************

    A character in the Bible shouts out to us for being magnanimous.  That would be Barnabas, referred to often throughout the book of Acts.  He gave all of his possessions to the Church, hence he really gave them to the Lord, and he did it because he loved God, and not seeking man’s adulation.  He trusted the Apostle Paul when no one else would!  Hey, like the other apostles, I would have been the last to trust Paul, believing him to be a spy and attempting to infiltrate the church.  Praise the Lord for Barnabas and his large soul.  Unlike Paul later on, he was quick to forgive John Mark when he abandoned them on a mission trip.  What a Godly man.

    May I suggest to you that president elect Donald Trump often reveals the same traits.  He values loyalty and trust in professional relationships and is quick to forgive.  During the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze, Republican Texas senator, said that “No one called The Donald would ever be elected president.”  That is typical politics, but there is more to follow.  After Donald Trump won the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze spoke on the stage of the Republican National Convention and refused to endorse Trump!  He told people to “vote their conscience,” and was promptly booed off of the stage.  I thought his political career was over at that point.  So what do I learn this morning?  Ted Cruze met with Donald Trump for hours at the Trump Tower, and Cruze is being considered as a serious candidate for Attorney General!  Donald Trump looked beyond the petty bickering of politics and recognized that Ted Cruze was indeed a man qualified for the job.  …And he is.  I just learned today that Trump is going to meet another foe in Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney said that Donald Trump was in no way fit to become president, and lacked all of the qualifications.  He continued to vilify him further.  Mitt was vehemently against Trump’s nomination by the Republican National Convention (RNC), even threatening to challenge it.  Now Mitt will also be considered for a cabinet position with this administration.  What is truly amazing is that both Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney would claim that they are great moral agents themselves, but at the end of the day, who took the higher road?  It blesses my heart to occasionally observe Christian principles carried out in the political arena.  We should pray that it happens more often.


    New American Standard Bible
    “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”   Romans 12:20

    <><  Pastor Steve