The night of Jesus’ birth was a very special night, perhaps the most special night that ever was. On what other night did an angel of the Lord appear to shepherds not while they were at worship but while they were at work, watching over their sheep? On what other night did an angel of the Lord herald the news of the actual birth of the Messiah – the eternal king of all creation – who could be found not in a palace clothed in purple silk and attended by maids and courtiers but in a stable swaddled in rough cloth and attended by cows? On what other night did those shepherds, half in fear and half in elation, hastily corral their flock and hurry into Bethlehem to see the newborn king?
No other night before or since has been as special as that one night when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and gave them the long-awaited good news. The birth of the Messiah was revolutionary enough in Roman-occupied Israel, but even more revolutionary was the directive that these “good tidings of great joy” should be for ALL PEOPLE, not just the children of Abraham.
God does nothing by half or without a purpose. Those shepherds were chosen for their faith and their profession. God knew each and every one of them and designated them to be both the witnesses and the messengers of his holy messenger’s message. What previously had been told only to Mary and Joseph (and known supernaturally by Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mom) was told to the shepherds on that very special night, and the shepherds then, after they had seen Jesus for themselves, told everyone who would listen.
Who are those shepherds, the ones very carefully chosen by God to bring the good news of the birth of the Messiah to all people? We never hear of them again in scripture, or do we?
Just before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus directed Peter, the fisherman, to feed his sheep and his lambs. We know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that we are to follow him in everything he does. Jesus was directing Peter to take on his role – that of a good shepherd. Not as one that is hired to look after sheep for a fee, but as one who owns the sheep and guards them with his life. The shepherds abiding in the field on that most special of all nights were such shepherds, just as Jesus was, spiritually, and just as Peter became, spiritually.
Who are those shepherds?
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS.
We have been carefully chosen by God, through Jesus, and have been told and seen for ourselves that Jesus is the Messiah. We are telling the world that the long-awaited savior has come and that his name is Jesus and that Jesus is King. And just like our spiritual brethren, the shepherds and Peter, we have been given the directive to watch over and feed our sheep and our lambs – that is, those who follow Jesus, as well as those who are learning to follow Jesus, and those who are going or have gone astray.
WE ARE THOSE SHEPHERDS. The message from God’s holy angel all those years ago was meant for us, just as Jesus’ directive to Peter was meant for us. Jesus is the Messiah and savior of ALL PEOPLE, and we are to feed his sheep and lambs with his Word and to guard their spiritual well-being with our lives.
Merry Christmas to you all!
HALLELUJAH, and PRAISE THE LORD!
One of the things I admire most about Jesus is that he’s real. I don’t mean “real” as in not fictional, but real as in genuine. He didn’t put on an act when he taught in the synagogues or explained scripture to his disciples in private. He was always the same Jesus, speaking from the heart. No BS. Not like the Pharisees and Sadducees who put on special airs along with their special robes and who were always trying to trip Jesus up. But Jesus never fell for their tricks because God informed his every word and move, and you can never trip up God. (more…)
On his last night as a human, Jesus spoke in depth to his followers who were gathered with him to celebrate the Passover meal. At some point during the proceedings, he gave us another Commandment – to love as he loved. This was the handing on of the torch from teacher to students, envisioning that they themselves would one day be handing on the torch to their own students, and they to theirs, and so on and so on, all the way down to us.
We now stand with that same torch in our hands, lit by Jesus. And just like those who were gathered around Jesus on his last night as a human, we too are commanded to love as he loved.
But how did Jesus love? (more…)
Angels are everywhere this time of year. That is to say – depictions of angels are everywhere. Where angels actually exist in our earthly realm is not generally known to us. I think if we did know, we’d be in awe at how many there are, and how much a part of our lives they are. (more…)
Jesus was a radical in the truest sense of the word. Once he started his ministry work, he lived only for his mission: nothing else mattered.
But being radical and being fanatical are two different things. (more…)
You know the old adage about how to know when a politician is lying (his lips are moving)? Well, there’s just as easy a way to know whether or not your preacher is a prophet sent from God or is a false prophet (that is, not sent from God).
If you spend any time at all in Christian circles, you’ll know that preachers are a dime a dozen and that more are popping up each day. People being enthusiastic about God and Jesus is not a bad thing, but if their enthusiasm is for other purposes than teaching and preaching God’s Word, then what you’re dealing with is likely a false prophet.
There are as many ways to discern whether a prophet is false as there are false prophets, but three of the easiest ways are listed below. If your preachers fail one or more of these “false prophet litmus tests”, it’s best to steer clear of them, even if you’ve grown to like or depend on them. (more…)
When we were little kids, we learned simple songs. The songs had at most a dozen notes in an easy-to-reach range, a simple and catchy tune, and lyrics that didn’t always make sense but were easy to remember. Think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. We sang these songs at daycare or at school or with our mother at home. Sometimes we’d sing them quietly to ourselves if we were sad or scared, as a way to recall happier times and comfort ourselves. They were as much a part of our lives as play time, snack time, and bedtime. They became part of us and still are part of us today.
I mention these childhood songs because, as born-again believers, we need to learn a new song. We’re old enough now to choose the notes ourselves, but the lyrics should go like this: (more…)
Jesus said: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus also said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Without a doubt, and from the evidence of Jesus’ own words, God’s prophesied Kingdom has come. It was heralded by Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, who is now ruling over the Kingdom from the right hand of the Father. God’s Kingdom – the Age of the Messiah – is here and now and has been for the past nearly 2000 years. Those of us who are born again are priests and prophets in the Kingdom. We are protected from our spiritual enemies. We live in profound peace that the world cannot match. The Kingdom cannot be taken away, as it is an eternal Kingdom and our enemies are under our feet. They must steer clear of us and have no jurisdiction over us. We truly are free in that we live free of fear within God’s perfect protection. These are promises made by God through his Old Testament prophets, and all these promises have come true in Jesus and through Jesus in the very present Messianic Age. (more…)
So where are we now, as Christians? Where is Christianity in the great continuum of belief systems?
I’ll tell you where it is – it’s exactly where Judaism was when Jesus showed up to destroy it for being a pile of hogwash that had no connection to God’s Word and was based on “doctrines of man” rather than God’s principles. That’s where Christianity is today – based on doctrines of man. And just like the Jews in Jesus’ day thought that being Jewish (that is, being children of Abraham) was enough to give them entrance to God’s Kingdom, most Christians today also think that being Christian and “having faith” is enough to win them a one-way all-expenses-paid forever holiday in Paradise. They believe this because that’s what they’ve been taught to believe, even though it’s not in the Bible.
I know most of you don’t want to hear this, but nearly everything you’ve been told in mainstream Christian churches is a lie. You’ve been lied to by people who are not born again, don’t know God as their Father, aren’t filled with God’s Holy Spirit, and don’t follow Jesus as their example. How can they possibly teach you God’s Truth if they don’t know God and don’t have God’s Spirit to guide them? (more…)
One of the most perplexing (to me) statements made by Christians is “God needs me”. They usually use it within the context of God needing them to do something for the Kingdom, such as street ministry work or going on an overseas mission or doing volunteer work at a local church. Yes, God invites us to help him with his ongoing work of saving souls, but he doesn’t need us. We need him. (more…)