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Open Arms Podcast
Category: Spirituality
Location: Bradford, PA
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February 12, 2018 10:34 AM PST

Different - Making the most of our differences (Part 2)

Philippians 2:1-16 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Relationships, more than anything else are the refining fires that God uses to MATURE us to be more like Him.

SELFISHNESS (preferring self) is hurtful and divisive.

HUMILITY is the “making low” of one’s self.

God wants us to VALUE and be valued by one another.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

LOVE is demonstrated when we lay aside our own wants and interests and serve others.


Love is MORE than WORDS.

This is more about YOU than THEM.

This is a CHOICE to value and honor or not.

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When we humble ourselves, God EXALTS us.

You must decide who is in CHARGE of your relationship.

When Jesus is LORD over our relationships, we experience all the fullness and soundness that He brings.

February 05, 2018 10:31 AM PST

Different - Making the most of our differences (Part 1)

Genesis 1:26-27, 31 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Different is a part of our WORLD and RELATIONSHIPS.

Different is by God’s intentional DESIGN.

Different is very GOOD!

Sometimes our greatest STRENGTH is also our greatest WEAKNESS, but our differences balance each other out.

Different can be very BAD.

The area where difference will have the broadest and deepest negative impact is SPIRITUALITY.

Another name for the human “spirit” is “HEART”.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

Spirituality is the SOURCE of your values, worldview, and the attitudes, words, and behaviors that flow from them.

Spirituality defines your PARADIGM for life.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together except they be agreed? (GNV)
Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place? (MESSAGE)

Division - TWO visions.

2Corinthians 6:14-17 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

At best, spiritual division/difference will cultivate a SHALLOWNESS and a battle of INFLUENCE.

We value the differences except when they are a difference in VALUES.
That's what DIVIDES a team and DEFINES whether hero or bad guy.

February 05, 2018 10:30 AM PST

UNLEASHED - Living The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 4)

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

The difference maker is the HOLY SPIRIT.

John 14:15-18 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Luke 24:49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:4-5, 8 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit is our new PARACLETOS (Helper, Counselor, Comforter, etc.).

The Holy Spirit is both IN and ON us; He seals us INWARDLY and baptizes us OUTWARDLY.

The Holy Spirit’s presence, ministry, and power are a PROMISED GIFT.

The relationship and experience with the Holy Spirit is so serious that Jesus COMMANDED his followers to wait and not do anything until they received Him.

1Corinthians 12:31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

The relationship with the Holy Spirit is to be INTERACTIVE.

These texts give us insights to the BARRIERS to the MOVE of the Holy Spirit.

1. Do we LOVE the Lord?

2. Who’s WILL are we trying to achieve? Are we trying to USE the Holy Spirit or allowing Him to use US?

3. Are we intentional about OBEDIENCE? Do we walk in TRUTH?

You can GRIEVE the Spirit. (Ephesians 4).

4. Do we TRUST/BELIEVE God’s promise (aka: lack of FAITH)?

The opposite of love and trust is FEAR.

5. Are we willing to step into OTHERWORLDLINESS?

You can QUENCH or RESIST the Spirit. (Acts 7; 1Thessalonians 5)

6. Do we ACTIVELY WAIT on the Lord?

7. Are we intentional about GROWING?

8. Do we have a LIMITING doctrinal position?

9. Who are we trying to GLORIFY?

The gift and power of the Holy Spirit is to be a WITNESS.

Witness is the Greek word MARTYR (A person who dies to self and to the world for their faith).

For most, the biggest issues are not…
what they don’t KNOW, it is what they know, but don’t TRUST and therefore do not ACT on.
that they do not want more OF God, it’s just that they want something else more THAN God.

Isaiah 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

January 22, 2018 01:25 PM PST

UNLEASHED - Living The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 3)

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Many get stuck on the question of QUALITY or QUANTITY, but either way at a minimum we should be doing what Jesus did.

Things to know regarding the SUPERNATURAL works of God:

1. God worked supernaturally with signs, wonders, and spiritual gifts through His people throughout the entire OLD Testament.

2. God worked supernaturally with signs, wonders, and spiritual gifts through His people throughout the entire NEW Testament.

Through JESUS.
Through the 12 apostles. (Matthew 10; Luke 9)
Through the 72 disciples. (Luke 10)
Through the first church ministry WORKERS; Phillip & Stephen. (Acts 6 & 8)
Through other CHRISTIANS and Leaders; Paul, Barnabas, Agabus, Lucius, Manaen (Acts 11, 13, 14, 21)

3. God worked supernaturally with signs, wonders, and spiritual gifts through His people (individuals and groups) throughout church HISTORY; Justin Martyr, Tertullian, St. Francis of Assisi, Waldensian Community, Martin Luther, Quakers, John Wesley and the Methodists, Edward Irving, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, F.F. Bosworth, William Branham, A.A. Allen, Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, Gordon Lindsay, T.L. Osborne, Morris Cerullo, John Wimber, Reinhard Bonnke, Todd White, to name a few from each century.

Jesus taught that all believers were to live SUPERNATURAL lives.

Mark 16:15-18 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Note the CANDIDATES and the CONTEXT.

4. Signs, Wonders, and Spiritual Gifts are testimonies and CONFIRMATION of God’s truth and power.

1Corinthians 2:4-5 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

There’s always the potential of being argued out of an argument, but it’s hard to be argued out of an EXPERIENCE.

Hebrews 2:1-4 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Note: We don’t USE the Holy Spirit, He uses us; “as He wills” not as we will.

We do not exalt experience over TRUTH. Experience must always be filtered through and contextualized with God’s Word, otherwise it can be misleading.

We do not chase or worship WORKS or MESSENGERS, only the triune Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The point is never a gift or experience; it is JESUS!

5. God WARNS about the dangers and deception of chasing and exalting works or messengers, and that satan will do supernatural things to lead astray even the sincere.

Matthew 24:24-25 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

There are REAL and FALSE versions of everything God has made.

Don’t allow the false and abuse to DISCREDIT the true and real, but be on guard.

2Thessalonians 2:9-10 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

You can RECOGNIZE the false by:
1) Does it GLORIFY Jesus Christ as Lord or someone/something else?
2) Does it ALIGN with or against truth/God’s Word?
3) Does it SERVE [move people forward in] the truth?

Hebrews 12:3 ...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith...

At ALL times and circumstances, keep your FOCUS on JESUS.

January 18, 2018 07:32 AM PST

UNLEASHED - Living The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 2)
John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
John 3:3-8 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
1. There is a SPIRIT component to Christianity.
2. There is a new BIRTH into a new person.
3. There is a MYSTERY to it; an unknown, an unsafeness, a scariness, an adventure.
2Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
Leviticus 11:44 I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.
1Peter 1:14-15 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. ”
HOLY - different, abnormal, peculiar, separated, set apart, stands out, awesome (inciting awe), amazing, magnificent, mysterious, scary, feared, otherworldly || the word has no innate or inferred moral position.
As we’ve lost sight of who and what GOD is, we’ve lost sight of who and what WE are.
“Holy” is the new person/creature/life of the Christian IDENTITY.
Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household (NET)
The word “Saints” (AKA: God’s people/people of God) is literally the word HOLY.
We are to be DIFFERENT than everyone else. There is to be an OTHERWORLDLINESS to our life.
God is a “COME as you are” God, but not a “STAY as you are” God. He loves you too much to let you stay the SAME.
Jesus/God isn’t an ADDITIVE to your life, He is your life (Deuteronomy 30:20; Colossians 3:3).
Christian faith is a process of being CONFORMED to the likeness of God (Romans 12:1-2).
1Peter 2:2-11 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—
5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering
spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires,which wage war against your soul.
1. We are in a progression of MATURITY in conformity to being like JESUS as living stones.
2. We have a new IDENTITY to live out and live in, being in but not of the world.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Before we can walk in the POWER we must walk in the PERSON of the Holy Spirit.

January 08, 2018 10:10 AM PST

UNLEASHED - Living The Spirit-Filled Life (Part 1)

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” - C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Though God in the Flesh, everything Jesus did was done as a man empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT.

Matthew 3:16-17 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Luke 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to believers and taught He was the SOURCE of power, provision, wisdom, transformation, and life. (Zechariah 4:6; Luke 3:16; 24:49; John 14:15-18, 25-27; 16:7-15; Acts 1:1-8; Romans 8:9-16; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 1:13-14; 3:14-19; 4:30; 5:15-20)

There is a two-fold experience with the Holy Spirit for the Christian: 1) The TRANSFORMING infilling/deposit/sealing for the day of salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Galatians 5:16-25; Titus 3:4-6) and 2) the EMPOWERING baptism/clothing/coming on or upon. (Luke 3:16; 24:49; Acts 1:1-8)

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was so essential that in spite of them believing in Jesus, the early church sent Peter and John to make sure the new believers in Samaria RECEIVED it (Acts 8:14-17).

And the Apostle Paul CHALLENGED the profession of supposed disciples in Ephesus by asking if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. (Acts 19:1-2)

As Christians we are to walk in RELATIONSHIP with God the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18, 25-27; 16:7-15; Romans 8:9-16; 2Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:30)

MATURING will always challenge our comfort, ignorance, and prejudice.

Mark 12:24, 27b 24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 27 ...You are badly mistaken!”

Just the Word, you DRY up. Just the Spirit, you BLOW up. The Word and the Spirit, you GROW up.

The great ERRORS in life, come from ignorance, prejudice, and pride (selfish ambition).

January 02, 2018 02:02 PM PST

Fake News Special Edition - The Core Of Evolution

Chris Miller holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Penn State and an MBA from St. Bonaventure University. He gained extensive experience in oil and gas exploration with various oil companies, and is currently employed by New York State as a regulator of oil and gas wells. He was brought up in a Christian home, but became an agnostic, a firm believer in evolution, and was very avid in trying to persuade people that evolution was true. After several years of research he gave up on evolution and became a believer in creation. Since becoming a creationist he has given nearly 700 public lectures on creation and evolution in churches, on radio, and in schools (including twice at Harvard Medical School). Chris enjoys explaining the evidence that convinced him to switch his beliefs saying, “I like to say that evolution is man's version of what happened in the past, and the bible is God's version of what happened in the past. And since they contradict each other in so many ways, only one can be true.”

January 02, 2018 07:02 AM PST

Fake News Part 4 - Wisemen, King, & Massacre

Matthew 2:1-23 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Magi are seen and testify publicly to a celestial message they received about the birth of the King/Messiah.

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

The Magi showed great FAITH, the king and “all Jerusalem” were DISTURBED, the Sanhedrin were DISINTERESTED.

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The STAR that started their journey reappeared and “went ahead of them” to the Child.

Time had passed and Joseph and family were now in a HOUSE.

The Magi openly WORSHIPED and honored Jesus with treasure.

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.

“Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,15 where he stayed until the death of Herod.

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious,

and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

The Magi and Joseph’s family were both divinely warned to FLEE.

The TIMING of the visit is between Jesus’ first year and 3rd birthday.

Note the very public REACTION of Herod to the threat of a born king.

17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there.

Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,

23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

It is repeated through the Gospels how Jesus FULFILLED the prophesies about the Messiah.

Supernatural guidance is a REGULAR part of the story that others witnessed unfold.

Again, Jesus had an ADDRESS and it wasn’t considered a good one.

The rest of Jesus’ life, teaching, and works were done in this PUBLIC setting witnessed by thousands, both Jew and gentile.

The Questions:

What would compel people of a distant land to travel and engage PUBLICLY looking for a King?

What would compel the city to be disturbed?

Why would Herod order the murder of children 2 years old and under?

How do we respond to the many WITNESSES of all these events?

December 19, 2017 05:48 AM PST

Fake News Part 3 - Angels, Shepherds, & Temple

Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 2:1-40 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Note the consistent references to REAL people, places, times, and events.

There is debate regarding whether Joseph fully married Mary or went through some of the wedding ritual, but remained ENGAGED to Mary until after the birth of Jesus when the marriage could be consummated.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

The MASS witnessed event: Multiple shepherds ALL saw and heard the one and then the many angels proclaiming the birth of Jesus.

The significance of God revealing to the shepherds and not the RELIGIOUS is that this message is for all people.

Note the angel’s “good news” was the claim that Jesus is the Savior, Messiah, and LORD.

While they encountered Angels, the shepherds understood the message to be from GOD (aka: Lord).

Note the FAITH of the shepherds, “let us go see this thing that HAS happened.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The shepherds found and enthusiastically testified publicly exactly what they had HEARD and SEEN about this child.

People in the region were AMAZED at the testimony of these multiple WITNESSES.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Joseph and Mary STRICTLY adhered to the rules governing the process of purification and consecration.

Their offering gives insight to their dedication of Jesus as Messiah and their current FINANCIAL distress.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Two more SUPERNATURAL attestations of Jesus being the Messiah and Lord.

Simeon and Anna were both KNOWN people in Jerusalem and the temple and in no way connected or aware of the events approx 40days earlier in Bethlehem.

Simeon and Anna gave public testimony and declaration to what the Lord had shown them and that Jesus was the MESSIAH and SAVIOR.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had an address; a community that they were a part of and were KNOWN by.

Note: Galilee as a region would be considered similar in culture as HILLBILLIES. Nazareth did not have a GOOD reputation.

The Question: Why would any of these people make this up? What would compel unsolicited disconnected strangers to engage PUBLICLY and all say the same things about this couple and child?

December 11, 2017 12:57 PM PST

Fake News Part 2 - The Family & Angels

Luke 1:1-4 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1 continues to tell the story of two SEPARATE angelic encounters, prophetic declarations, and miraculous conceptions.

1. The parents of JOHN the Baptist.

Zechariah the priest is told he will have a son in his old age and the child will be the forerunner of the Messiah (SAVIOR of the world).

Zechariah is made SILENT by an angel until time to name the baby, at which point a crowd witnessed his healing and prophecy of John’s role.

Elizabeth stays SECLUDED up to her 6th month of pregnancy.

2. The parents of JESUS.

Mary, a betrothed virgin, is chosen to be the bearer of the incarnate GOD.

Mary is told about her cousins, NOT yet public pregnancy.

Elizabeth prophetically recognized Mary was pregnant with the LORD before Mary told her.

Joseph (Mary’s fiance) also had an ANGELIC encounter after Mary was found to be pregnant.

Matthew 1:18-25 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Things to make note of:

1. Zechariah’s disability was PUBLICLY verified from his angelic encounter in the temple to the day he named John.

2. The pregnancy of John was MIRACULOUS as both parents were “very old”.

3. Mary did NOT initially tell Joseph of her pregnancy and angelic encounter, but instead went to her cousin’s house for about 3 months.

4. John’s birth was celebrated by a CROWD of people who recognized and spread the news throughout the region regarding the miraculous birth and healing of Zechariah.

5. Zechariah PUBLICLY prophecies regarding his son and the Messiah to come.

6. Mary’s pregnancy while UNWED, became inconcealable and she was found out.

7. When Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, he planned to DIVORCE her.

8. Due to an angelic encounter Joseph took Mary to be his wife, but did not have intercourse with her until AFTER Jesus’ birth.

9. JOSEPH named Jesus, demonstrating his faith and ownership in God’s plan in spite of public opinion about his unfaithful wife and bastard son.

10. Zechariah, indirectly, and directly Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph all IDENTIFIED the unborn Jesus as the Lord, Messiah, God in the flesh.

The Question: Why would any of these people make this up and put themselves through the public humiliation and personal PAIN?

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