PASTOR’S BLOG

 
GOD’S WORD SPEAKS TO OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

Seeking Jesus

To moderns, the report of the Magi coming from the east to find out where the Jewish Messiah was born seems like some mythical story thrown into the account of Jesus’ birth. Most people probably think it is just there to make for more characters in our modern day nativity scenes. 

You can’t understand the reality behind the record, unless you look into the Old Testament Prophetic books. The book of Daniel actually gives a time-line for the appearance of Israel’s Messiah. Daniel Chapter 9:24-26 speaks of a seventy-week period of years for that occurrence.

An angel told Daniel specifically in verses 25-26 that there would be periods of 7 weeks and 62 weeks of years before Messiah would be, “cut off,” or executed, “but not for Himself.” Although after 70 years of captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland in 539 B.C., it wasn’t until 89 years later the Persian King Ahaseurus allowed Nehemiah to go back to rebuild the city, as Daniel 9:25 describes.

7 weeks of years later would coincide with right around 400 B.C., when Malachai spoke the last prophetic words of the Old Testament. There would be 400 years of prophetic  silence before God spoke again, through the preaching of John the Baptist. That was shortly before Jesus began His ministry.

Some three years later, Jesus publicly presented Himself to the nation of Israel at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It all happened in the early years of the third decade of the first century A.D. As we now know, Jesus was crucified and shed His sinless blood for our redemption, that very same week.

While you might be wondering how all of this would make the wise men of the East search for a star announcing the birth of Israel’s Messiah, look no further than Daniel Chapter 1:17-20, where it says:

“As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.”

The wise men from the East were members of the people known as the “Chaldeans.” Others regard their ethnicity as descendants of the Medes. Either is possible, since Daniel was revered for his wisdom in both Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient realm of Babylon, and the Medo-Persian Empire that superseded it.  In any case, these people preserved Daniel’s writings long after both of those empires had disappeared into history.

They had to have made their calculations based on the passage in Daniel Chapter 9! As a result, they would surmise that someone of such political importance, then marked for execution, would have to be a man at the time He was, “cut off.” Therefore, an unusual phenomenon in the night skies would be seen as an omen that something of divine purpose was occurring. That would have inspired them to seek out the object of such cosmic importance.

So what about you? Will you seek Him out this season?

Blessings & Peace,

Brother Dan

 

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.'”

                                                                                                                               

Matthew 2:1-2, NKJV

Read more...

Thanksgiving Gives Perspective

Life is fleeting. Relationships are gifts. Love is of God. Peace holds people together (within themselves as well as with others). Having the privilege of experiencing any one of these is cause for thanksgiving. Being part of a Church, where it all is taking place, simultaneously, ought to be cause for an overflow of thanksgiving and praise!

When people are in the process of giving thanks to God for the things they do have and enjoy, it leaves no room for the muttering, grumbling and complaining that discourages both the one doing the grumbling and the ones who have to listen to it! Unfortunately, while there are some people who get into the habit of doing the complaining, some others are all too happy to man the tables at the complaint department! When that happens, everybody loses, because the momentary joys of life listed above are lost.

As a young man, I had the distinct privilege of working in a long-term care facility in Nashville, Tennessee. I took a job there right out of seminary, so I literally went from an ivory tower into the valley of the shadow! I say that, not because it was an unpleasant place to work, but because it was a long-term care facility, so there were many residents who were at the end of life’s road.

But since I was a young male, along with my work with the regular population, I was also tasked with the responsibility of doing groups with young men who had been incapacitated in some way or another. This group included those who had been relegated to life in wheel chairs, either because of drug deals gone wrong, bar fights that ended badly, reactions from drug overdoses, botched suicide attempts, and even one case of a man, blind and lame from birth defects.

The interesting thing is that among them I also found friends. I found a wealth of information. I got an education from some of these men that I would never have received in my otherwise sheltered life. From them I learned to be joyful, simply for walking out of that facility on my own two feet, if nothing else.

Beyond that, I learned that life doesn’t always stop just because we want to get off the bus. Sometimes it goes on; even through the very worst case scenarios that young people never see coming. These men taught me that a smile and an encouraging word goes a long way. In fact, it goes a lot farther for some people than you would ever imagine.

I learned that simple acts of human compassion are not so simple, after all. I learned that attitudes are everything. From them, I learned that God is good all the time; even when some people aren’t.

So, as we have the opportunity to approach another season of thanksgiving, let’s start enjoying the life that God has given us, individually, and especially as a Church; a group of people who have the privilege to enjoy some of this fleeting time called life; to relish more deeply our on-going relationships with others;  and to savor the love and peace that come from God. Let’s do it with an attitude of thanksgiving for it all, in Christ!

Blessings & Peace,

Brother Dan
 
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”                                                                               – 
Colossians 3:12-15, NKJV

Read more...