Reasons to Rejoice

Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote,

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:5-11)
 
Introduction: Listen to the lyrics of Good CHRISTian Men Rejoice.
 
1. First stanza:
 

Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ was born to-day:
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today.

Jesus Christ the Savior of the world was born! Reasons for Rejoicing! Are you?
 

2. Listen to the second stanza:

Good Christian men, rejoice,
With heart, and soul, and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He hath ope’d the heav’nly door,
And man is blessed evermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this! 
 
There’s Hope at CHRISTmas time! Jesus was born that we might be born again! Don’t forget He will come again!!
Rejoice. Are you?
 
Conclusion: Whether you are a Good CHRISTian man or woman, will you REJOICE! It’s contagious!!
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


Immanuel

Introduction: God with us….Immanuel. This was the message that the angel announced to Joseph. Matthew’s gospel confirms it. 

1. What did this mean to Joseph? (Matt 1:20-23)

“20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Of course this was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

Even though this was predicted over seven hundred years before the event, it was fulfilled during the New Testament times. No doubt Joseph was relieved to hear this! Are you?

2. What does this mean to us today? (Matt 1:20-23)

“20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

This means God is with us…
* in good times
* in bad times
* in sickness
* in health
* in trials
* in temptations
* in life
* in death

Conclusion: Having studied this subject, check out what Paul wrote:

“31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8:31-32)

Remember no matter what: Once we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, God has promised to be WITH us.
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


Migdal Eder

Introduction: Have you ever heard of this term? What does it mean? How does it fit into the CHRISTmas message. All of these questions will be answered in this devotion.

1. Where do we find this term? (Micah 4:8)

“8And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”

Micah the prophet uses this phrase “tower of the flock” to describe the building that was used by the shepherds.

מִגְדָּל: (mig-dawl’): a tower

עֵדֶר: (ay’-der), which means a flock, or a herd

2. Why did the shepherds use a tower?
They used the tower to watch over their flock by night. Besides watching for predators, they were looking for sheep who were ready to give birth. Once they found them, they would bring them into the tower. There the sheep would bring forth baby lambs.
 
3. How does it fit into the CHRISTmas story?
The baby lambs were inspected for any blemish. If no blemishes were found, the lamb would be raised as a SACRIFICIAL lamb. Their destination would be the temple which was only a few miles away to be offered as a sacrifice.
 
Conclusion: By the way, the shepherds would wrap the baby lamb after being born with swaddling clothes to keep them from damaging their bodies and disqualifying them as a sacrifice. Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and offered Himself as our SACRIFICE.
 
What a Savior!
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


When Things Don’t Make Sense

Introduction: What do you do when things don’t make sense? A man by the name of Joseph found himself in that predicament. After all, he knew in his heart that he had been faithful in his relationship with Mary. But had she been unfaithful to him? No doubt, all kind of thoughts were running through his head.
 
We pick up in Matthew’s gospel:
 

1. Joseph was a just man- his integrity was on the line! (Matt 1:18,19)

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.”

Joseph was considering his options. Put her away. Run away. Stay away. Far away. Or should he seek guidance from the God of the Bible.
 

2. Joseph needed some answers! (Matt 1:20)

“20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:”

This is exactly what he needed to hear. When we do not understand, it would be wise to wait for our Lord to reveal His will in the matter. Do you need to wait?
 

3. Joseph had to trust his God! (Matt 1:20-24)

“for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife.”

Like Joseph, at times we must just step out in FAITH. Where are you going? Have you got clarity from the Lord?
 
Conclusion: Sometimes we do not understand what all is going on at the time. It is then that we must trust in faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese

 



An On-Time Birth

Introduction: Paul writes,

“4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

But what did he mean? What was God wanting to communicate with those believers at that TIME and at our present TIME?

Let’s consider briefly the meaning.

1. Who? (Gal 1:2)

“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”

The Holy Spirit is targeting CHRISTians. Evidently, there were some misunderstandings. And the Lord is wanting to clear it up.

2. Why? (Gal 1:6)

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”

The Holy Spirit of God is leading Paul to address the false teaching that had invaded the Churches in that area.

(Gal 3:3)

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

LEGALISM was a BIG PROBLEM back then as it is today! There were those who were teaching that one could be JUSTIFIED (regenerated) through GOOD works.

“16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal 2:16)

Instead of being justified by good works, Paul explains it is by GRACE alone through FAITH alone. But after regeneration, the process of sanctification begins whereby a believer is justified (proven to be saved – see James 2) by his or hers works.

3. How? (Gal 4:4-7)

“4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Seeing the fact that the law could not save anyone, rather it exposes our sin and points us to Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. That is the point. We’ve been redeemed….Justified…….Sanctified thru Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead.

Conclusion: All of this was accomplished by Jesus Christ being born… “in the fulness of time” (at the proper time), after the 400 years of silence….God sent forth His Son to redeem us.
Praise the Lord!
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


The Son of God Became the Son of Man

Introduction: How? How did Jesus do it? How did He become the Godman? A quick glance at the tenth chapter of the book of Hebrews explains how it happened.

1. By taking on a human body! (Heb 10:5)

“5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.”

Jesus took on human flesh. He did that of course to live a life we cannot live – without sin. In so doing, He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

2. Jesus came to do His Father’s will! (Heb 10:7)

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

Watch how the plan of God from eternity past unfolds.

God the Father thought it!
God the Son brought it!
The Holy Spirit wrought it!
The devil fought it!
Praise God I caught it!

3. Jesus’ sacrifice was all that would be forever needed! (Heb 10:10)

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

God the Holy Spirit explains that God the Son’s offering was absolutely ENOUGH! Forever.

Conclusion: Now that we’ve discussed how Jesus did it, the real question is have you received it….God’s UNSPEAKABLE GIFT! Trust you have! If so, then GIVE the GIFT that keeps on giving.
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


The Impossible Becomes Possible

Introduction: How well have you studied the CHRISTmas account in the Bible? Take a minute and see if you can answer these questions.
 

1.Who said the following?

“37For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

If you answered the angel Gabriel you are correct. (Luke 1:26f)

“26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

God dispatched one of His messengers to declare His redemption plan for sinful man.
 
2. Who was told this?
 
A virgin named Mary. (Luke 1:27)
 

27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

Why did God choose Mary? Although she was a sinner like everyone else, she found FAVOR with the Lord.
 
3. What was the response to this news?
 
“4Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:33f)
 
Needless to say, Mary was shocked. She knew enough to know that in order to have a baby something must happen in the joining of the reproductive system of a man and a woman, which she had never experienced. However, this was a SUPERNATURAL experience between her and the Holy Ghost! It never had happened before and it hasn’t happened since that occasion. It was a God thing!
 

4. What did the angel say in response to Mary’s surprise?

“37For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

The impossible becomes the possible because we serve a God of the impossibility.
 
4. Then after she was told how did she respond?
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38)
 

I love Mary’s FAITH response, “…be it unto me according to thy word.”

She believed and received! Remember. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).
 
Conclusion: Did you get all the answers right? If so very good. If not, now you know. Our Lord is true to His Word. He will fulfill it! We can trust Him.
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


Bethlehem and Beyond

Introduction: “Oh little town of Bethlehem” – This song was written by Phillips Brooks in 1868. Here is some background on him.

Brooks, Phillips, D.D., was born at Boston, Dec. 13, 1835, graduated at Harvard College 1855, and was ordained in 1859. He served the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia, and Trinity Church, Boston, and he became Bishop of Mass. in 1891, and died at Boston in Jan., 1893. His CHRISTmas carol, “O little town of Bethlehem,” was written for his Sunday School in 1868. He had spent Christmas, in 1866, at Bethlehem. From that experience came this famous song.
 

1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem! (Luke 2:11)

“11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Listen to the first stanza:

O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
 

2. Bethlehem was predicted to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ! (Micah 5:2)

“2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

The second stanza goes…

For Christ is born of Mary,
and, gathered all above
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and peace to all the earth.
 

3. The wise men went looking for the Savior and Redeemer of mankind as they followed the star! (Matt 2:1-6)

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”

The third stanza ….

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
 

4. Jesus Christ’s kingdom will extend Beyond Bethlehem! (Luke 1:31,32,33)

“31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Listen to the last stanza:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!

Did you notice? Cast out our sin and enter in!
 
Conclusion: Countless people have been blessed by this special CHRISTmas carol reminding us the REAL meaning of season. And yet, this same baby Jesus will come again in glory and power and establish His rule and reign on earth….and BEYOND! 
Oh little town of Bethlehem becomes a BIG town on the earth!!
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


The Best Gifts This CHRISTmas

Introduction: It’s CHRISTmas time! Time to think about giving. But what should we give? How about a gift that lasts all year and beyond?
 
Try this list:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23).

1. Love –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

2. Patience –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

3. Faith –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

4. Peace –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

5. Joy –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

6. Gentleness –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

7. Goodness –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

8. Meekness –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

9. Self-Control –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:”

Conclusion: These gifts of the “fruit of the Spirit” will be the BEST gifts to give this CHRISTmas! After giving or receiving these BEST GIFTS, see if you agree.
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese


What is Star and Sceptre?

Introduction: Balaam was a strange character. He was a prophet who knew the God of the Bible. But he also searched out omens and other heathen practices. Giving credit where credit is due, he stood strong against cursing Israel which the King of Moab, Balak, wanted him to do. Later however, Balaam did dishonor the Lord. Yet for our devotion, he makes an astounding statement about the coming of the Messiah.
 
Listen to his words:
 

“17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”

1. He saw (Num 24:17)

“17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”

Can you see truth? Jesus is truth. His Word is truth.

2. He saw a star (Num 24:17)

“17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob,”

The wise men followed the star. How did they know about it? Perhaps they read the prophecy of Balaam. There is good indication they did.
Are you following the LIGHT of the world Jesus?

3. He saw a star and a sceptre rising out of Israel who would be a ruler (Num 24:17)

“17I shall see him……and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Here Balaam prophesied that this King would be in control with Authority. That is the meaning of sceptre.

Conclusion: It would do us good to see the Star of Bethlehem who will rule and reign in this earth some day soon. Are you looking? Are you seeking? Are you ready? Keep looking; keep seeking; keep getting ready. Because the Christ of CHRISTmas will come again!
 
Love y’all,
Dr. Randy Reese