Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28.

     At the time of Christ’s first advent the priests and scribes of the Holy City, to whom were entrusted the oracles of God, might have discerned the signs of the times and proclaimed the coming of the Promised One. The prophecy of Micah designated His birthplace; Daniel specified the time of His advent. God committed these prophecies to the Jewish leaders; they were without excuse if they did not know and declare to the people that the Messiah’s coming was at hand. Their ignorance was the result of sinful neglect….

     All the people should have been watching and waiting that they might be among the first to welcome the world’s Redeemer. But, lo, at Bethlehem two weary travelers from the hills of Nazareth traverse the whole length of the narrow street to the eastern extremity of the town, vainly seeking a place of rest and shelter for the night. No doors are open to receive them. In a wretched hovel prepared for cattle, they at last find refuge, and there the Saviour of the world is born….  

     There is no evidence that Christ is expected, and no preparation for the Prince of life. In amazement the celestial messenger is about to return to heaven with the shameful tidings, when he discovers a group of shepherds who are watching their flocks by night, and as they gaze into the starry heavens, are contemplating the prophecy of a Messiah to come to earth, and longing for the advent of the world’s Redeemer. Here is a company that is prepared to receive the heavenly message. And suddenly the angel of the Lord appears, declaring the good tidings of great joy….      

Oh, what a lesson is this wonderful story of Bethlehem! How it rebukes our unbelief, our pride and self-sufficiency. How it warns us to beware, lest by our criminal indifference we also fail to discern the signs of the times, and therefore know not the day of our visitation.

Maranatha p. 10


Prayer Requests

—–Update on dad – his cardiologist is being called in today. They are working on the water retention in his feet & legs. Again, thank you for the prayers. Kim

—– I need you to pray for Jessica she is having problems with . . . . endometriosis. Please pray she can get some money to get into a DR and pray that the LORD would help her understand that Grace Med would be perfect for her.  . . . Mary

—– Pray that I recover quickly and can get back to Church, as I really miss it, and my brothers and sisters in Christ…. Larry


Dear Friends,

When my grandfather retired at age 70, he decided that he had had enough of the cold climate of Michigan .  He decided that he and my grandmother would move to Florida .  This was not an easy task, as neither of them could drive a car.  They had to hire professional movers and take the train the 1200 miles to the small town he had chosen. 

It must have cost them a huge amount of money.  What a lot of stuff they had!  My grandmother saved everything—not just the important keepsakes, but buttons and thread, aluminum foil, scraps of material, string, etc.  She would not part with any of it.  In amazement I walked between tall barrels of completely worthless stuff that should have been thrown away years ago.  My grandmother had always ridiculed her brother-in-law for having a basement full of file cabinets of all of the letters he had ever received in his life. To our surprise, we found that for decades she had been doing the same thing. She saved different things than Uncle Lloyd had, but they were just as worthless.

How often we do the same. How many times we condemn others for the very thought, word, or action that we excuse in ourselves. Paul warns us, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. . . . And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”  Rom 2:1-3

Nathan the prophet visited King David with a message that illustrates this very point. “And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.  The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:  But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.  And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.  And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:  And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 2 Sam 12:1-6

How quick David was to condemn the rich man for his cruelty, yet David, who had a multitude of wives and concubines (in direct opposition to Deut 17:17) had intimate relation with Uriah’s only wife whom he loved and cherished, and when Bathsheba became pregnant, caused her husband to be killed in battle. There were four-fold consequnces to David’s sin, just as there are consequenses when we judge and condemn others.

Jesus commands, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Mt 7:1-5 Luke records it thus: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  Luke 6:37,38  Words fit to ponder.

May we be careful to “judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  John 7:24  May we, when we see another doing wrong and feel we must admonish him, remember Paul’s advice, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  Gal 6:1


The Lesson of Bethlehem
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