December 24 – Christmas: The Promise Fulfilled – An Announcement from Heaven

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Christmas: The Promise Fulfilled

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Read Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7 and Micah 5:2 An Announcement From Heaven That Solves A Serious Dilemma.  We’re once again reminded of a story that we’ve heard many times. An angel, sent by God, comes to Mary to make an announcement that would change her life (and the world’s) forever! She was a virgin betrothed to marry a righteous man named Joseph. She was troubled by what the angel Gabriel told her. She had a lot of questions I’m sure. The angel comforted and reassured her to not be afraid then laid out everything for her, even what she should name the child. Once she was put at ease she stated, “Let it be done according to your word.”  What a powerful and Faith Filled statement she made. I wonder if she knew how incredible her statement was and if she was familiar or not with the prophecy she would play a part in fulfilling? Here again we witness God’s Word in action. Real people fulfilling what God really said and recorded for us in the scriptures! Everything is fulfilled according to God’s Word. Miraculously, Mary would remain a Virgin until after the baby was born. She also would have most likely faced some ridicule in the process because she was pregnant before she and Joseph were married. She persevered and treasured all the angel revealed to her. Even if she didn’t understand all the implications of having this child meant, she showed great faith and courage, as she was willing to do what God wanted her to do. In comes Joseph, He was the one betrothed to Mary.  He has a dilemma on his hands because he finds out that she’s pregnant with who know whose child. “What should I do? He asks himself.” Should I put her away (divorce her), because by this time they were joined together according to scripture? He was rightly troubled because he desired to do what was pleasing to God. He showed that he was very honorable because he did not want to ruin Mary’s reputation either. He had a real dilemma on his hands. But, here again, God sends an angel to intervene and set things in place so the promise of God may be fulfilled through the birth of the Christ Child. In a dream, the Angel makes everything clear to Joseph as he explains what the situation with Mary was. The angel explained what the prophecy said and that Mary was the one who would bear the Messiah conceived by the Holy Spirit. He went on to tell him that it was OK for him to take Mary as his wife. Joseph awakens and goes to take Mary as his wife as the angel of the Lord commanded. God sent the angel to talk with Mary and Joseph, announcing The Promised One from God was coming and whether they fully understood it or not, God would be using them to fulfill the prophecy and to bring His one and only Son into the world. This is an amazing thing God chose to do for mankind! The stage was now set for the entrance of the King of Kings as promised by God. It’s truly incredible how God works out all of the details, isn’t it?! God continues to show Himself faithful to reveal and fulfill the promises in His Son. The Messiah would be born of the Virgin Mary according to His Word! Questions To Get Started With:
  • What kind of faith was evident in Mary and Joseph?
  • How would you describe their faith by their actions?
  • What do you think was going on inside them as the Angel came to them with this news?
  • Do you think they completely understood what the announcement from the angel meant?
  • What do you think you would have done if you were in their shoes?
  • What do these announcements tell you about God’s Fulfilled Promise?

December 23 – Christmas: The Promise Fulfilled – Fulfilled Prophecy

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The Promise Fulfilled

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Read Genesis 3:15, Habakkuk 3:13, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, 11:1 and Micah 5:2

Fulfilled Prophecy 

A promise was made long ago, revealed through the prophets and dating back to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. 

A Savior would be born. He’d be born to repair the damage that mankind inflicted on himself because of the sin that entered into the world through Adam and Eve. He’d be born to be the only way of salvation!

The Prophets foretold that His name would be Emanuel “God With Us”, and He’d be born in a small almost obscure town named Bethlehem. The Messiah of the world was to come to us born of a virgin to save mankind from its sin and separation from God. The Messiah was God’s own Son. Long before all these things would take place God said they would happen; revealed to us and all creation that our God would be with us. God always shows Himself faithful as His Word is true and comes to life in a very real fashion. Just as He spoke light into the darkness and it happened, He spoke to the hearts of the prophets through His Holy Word to begin to reveal the plan He had in place. 

We know that roughly two thousand years ago God’s One and Only Son was sent to us fulfilling the promises that the prophecy of the Old Testament stated would take place. He was born in Bethlehem of a virgin named Mary. 

Our God is with us!

As we enter the Christmas season we should have a sense of awe and reverence in how God fulfilled everything according to His Word. He keeps His Word!

My Prayer is that we’ll continue to be in awe of these incredible truths and that we’ll instill the truths of God’s revelation to our family, friends, or whomever God so chooses to place in our path. Especially during Christmas time!

When we celebrate His birth may we all share the true meaning behind what the world considers as just another holiday. May the truth revealed in prophecy be communicated and known through us.

Praise God for revealing Himself and that we can have the true honor and privilege of worshiping Jesus and celebrate His entrance into the world during Christmas. Let us all have a true “Birthday” celebration for our Savior this year and every year for the Lord our God fulfilled His promise through His Son Jesus Christ. 

Questions To Get Started With: 

  • What do the scriptures I just read teach me regarding how Christ’s birth fulfilled the Old Testament Prophecies? 
  • How do God’s Fulfilled Promises build my faith in the trustworthiness of scripture?
  • How do these truths change my understanding and perspective on celebrating Christmas?
  • What can I do the share the true meaning of Christmas this year?

May 20: God’s Mercy in Justice

Read Micah 7:1-20

It’s bad. Turning away from God — it’s a terribly horrible way to live and it must be judged by the One True Judge. Because God is just and must deal with sin. He is true and will punish the rebellion of His people.

That’s what Micah the prophet has been saying to God’s people for seven chapters now. Israel had turned away from God, and He had plans to destroy their home and judge them as they deserved.

Then, inside their exile, they would find Him again with all His powerful mercy, ready to restore with a plan no one could have ever dreamed. No one but God Himself.

The name Micah literally means Who is like Yahweh? God had commissioned this man to point out that no one was like Him. Nobody was worthy to stand in His judgment and come out clean. Still, Micah himself knew his place. He knew his own not-like-God-ness.

That’s why He looked to God for his salvation. (See v7.)

Unlike his fellow Israelites who would endure God’s wrath, Micah let God provide the salvation he himself could not. The Israelites had convinced themselves that their ritual-following was their own righteousness. What they needed was to confess God’s righteousness.

Maybe you’re like me and have found the books of the prophets difficult to grasp. Maybe it’s because you and I have never had to face God’s wrath. We’ve never personally known a nation to face God’s destruction like the Israelites did.

Maybe we’ve forgotten the seriousness of what God did when He sent Jesus the Christ to take our place. Perhaps we’ve grown cold to the depth of the meaning of true mercy.

Every ounce of God’s promised justice is real. Rebellion cannot go unpunished. That’s why He took them through desolation and exile when Jerusalem was destroyed around 600 B.C. before rescuing them in their brokenness and saving them through His mercy.

And He will take the people of this world through its own destruction one day. He will call us to judgment and the only ones who will stand are those who have realized their own brokenness and need for the mercy He’s offered through Jesus Christ His Son.

So I come to the end of Micah’s prophecy convicted. And grateful. Because I know I will stand. Thanks to Jesus Christ the Son of God who took every ounce of God’s wrath for me. Are you with me? Will you be standing with me on that day?


May 19: What God Requires

Read Micah 6:1-16

God’s people had forgotten what God had really done for them. Not just forgotten, but turned away from Him as the Lord of their lives, the God of their nation. Sure, they offered sacrifices and followed the religious rituals He’d given them in Leviticus. But they did it as if to earn their own freedom, as if their slavery to the Law were their ticket to freedom.

But God knew the truth behind the duties they performed, and it was time to call them out.

He started with a question. “How have I wearied you” (v3)? As if He’d trapped them in slavery and drove them hard.

Then the truth came out as He reminded His people of the freedom He’d secured for them, the real life He’d offered when He rescued His children from the hands of the Egyptians and led them to His Promised Land. He’d given them the Law as a way to faithfully seek Him and trust Him for that freedom.

The Israelites had offered the five yearly sacrifices He’d laid out for them in Leviticus. But the truth was they were just going through the motions. As if their own actions would make them right before Almighty God. Sure, they performed the rituals, but God wanted their hearts.

He’d already made it clear what He required. Just three things.

“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the LORD requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God” (v6, Holman).

What God wanted was the whole of their being. Walking humbly with Him was more than just killing a lamb and setting it on an altar. It was — it is — sacrificing the whole self, the whole will of oneself for His. With every choice. Every next step.

God wants the same from you and me. He doesn’t want religious rituals that try to prove we’re worth His saving. He wants out wholehearted obedience that comes from hearts who trust His ways. He wants humble hands that serve out of faith more than He wants great pious platforms that scream “look how religious we are.”

This relationship with God is just that. A relationship. He set us free, just like He set those Israelites free, so you and I could know His freedom and live and serve and obey in that.


May 18: The Promise of Jesus

Read Micah 5:1-15

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

He’s been around since forever. From the very beginning of the very beginning, Jesus Christ has been. So it shouldn’t surprise us that God spoke of Him way back in the days of Micah.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah . . . from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (v2, ESV).

The prophecy God gave Micah to deliver dealt with God’s plan for the hope of Israel, even after the judgment He was going to incur. But it speaks to future times, too. Things that, for you and me, have yet to happen.

“And (Jesus) shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace” (vv4-5).

It’s the now and the not yet. For us, Jesus has come. And for those who believe, He is already our peace, the Shepherd who rules our hearts in the strength of the LORD. You and I can dwell secure because of what Jesus did for us when He conquered the grave after dying in our place.

But still, we know wars and instability here on the earth, because the promise has yet to be fully fulfilled. As amazing as it is that you and I can know that our eternity has been secured when we have trusted Jesus Christ with our lives, we still face trouble here on this side of it.

But one day the suffering and the hardship will end. It will be tangible, livable eternity in the very physical presence of Almighty Lord Jesus Christ at the literal helm, ruling over earth in His power and might.


May 17: Prophetic Clarity

Read Micah 4:1-13

Communication without adequate context to understand it can be a frustrating experience. If you have ever been talking with someone who changed subjects without adequate warning, you know what I mean. Or perhaps the person seemed to run the description of events together. You concluded that the events all happened chronologically when in fact the other person was actually jumping back and forth in time. Those kinds of descriptions can lead to confusion and miscommunication.

I suppose the original recipients of these words from Micah 4 written about 700 b.c. may have experienced that kind of confusion. After all, the chapter begins on the heels of a pronouncement of judgment for the sins of God’s people. Clearly, the opening lines of the chapter (vv. 1-9), speak of the “last days.” It will be a time of universal peace and international honor of the Lord God. But verse 10 speaks of the suffering of God’s people in Babylon followed by their rescue. And verses 11-13 describe nations gathered in antagonism against the people of God.

So, which is it? International peace and worship or international turmoil? If all of these describe the future, in what order will they take place?

Thankfully, we, today, have the benefit of using the completed canon of Scriptures in order to understand what Micah describes here. We now know that:

God’s people would be punished for their sins by going into exile in Babylon around 600 b.c. (v. 10; cf. Jer. 25, Dan. 1). They were later rescued from there as God prompted the Persian king Cyrus to allow His people to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2-4).

There will come a day when godless people will gather against God’s people in the future battle of Armageddon (vv. 11-13; cf. Zech. 12). This great battle is yet future and will take place at the end of the tribulation period.

Jesus Christ will return and establish a kingdom on the earth for 1000 years. During His reign, the earth will be characterized by peace (vv. 1-9; cf. Rev. 19).

Aren’t you glad to know that, in spite of the terrorism and turmoil that defines life today, God will eventually bring peace through His Son?


May 16: Revere God’s Name

Read Micah 3:1-12

“For as long as they’re well paid and well fed, the prophets preach, ‘Isn’t life wonderful! Peace to all!’ But if you don’t pay up and jump on their bandwagon, their ‘God bless you’ turns into ‘God damn you.’ “(v11, MSG).

They thought they were the ones who ruled the world, as if Almighty God would bow to their prescription for how life should be. As if simply claiming His name were enough to make them true believers and their words as solid as action.

But Yahweh knew the truth. He knew their hearts. He saw their injustice. God had seen the heads of Israel devour the poor in their midst. He’d witnessed their oppression, demanding money for their blessings.

It was the epitome of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Claiming His name for their own convenience.

I used to think that third commandment spoke only to those who said God’s name as a filler in a sentence. You know, as if God were a mere exclamation. When God commanded through Moses, You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name, I thought He was only talking about verbage.

But misusing God’s name is more than just saying words. Because His name is to be feared, He demands that we take it seriously — in what we say as much as in how we act.

Claiming to be a God-follower is altogether different than actually following God.

The prophets of Israel in Micah’s time had this taking-the-Lord’s-name-in-vain thing down to a science. Using His name for their own gain. Acting as if they followed Him but sticking to their own ways. The truth was, these “prophets” were not bidding God’s ways at all. They hadn’t let Him be the Lord of their lives in any true sense.

We read Micah 3 today, and we see it plain as day. But what happens when we let God’s Word shine light on our own ways of living? Does He illuminate our own false claims about His name or does He find us true?

May He find us true to His name, the One that reigns above all others.


May 15: Israel’s Broken Promises, God’s Unfailing Plan

Read Micah 2:1-13

They shared a covenantal relationship, Israel and Almighty God. Each had a part to fill, a promise to keep. God would call them His own, provide for them, bless them abundantly. The people of Israel would remember Him. They would worship only Him and humbly follow His ways.

But Israel had broken her part of the deal, and God was not happy. Those in powerful positions had taken advantage of the lower-standing. They’d overtaken areas of land which God had given them when He divided the land among His people.

They had forsaken God, proudly going about their lives as if nothing were wrong. But the truth betrayed their rebellion, and Almighty God would have none of it.

“Get up and leave, for this is not your place of rest, because defilement brings destruction — a grievous destruction” (v10)!

As if God had taken a nap and left the overseeing of life up to those with earthly power, the people of Israel did not keep their side of the covenant. They had forgotten that He is the God Who Sees. Almighty Yahweh God who loves to bless those who walk according to His ways. The Sovereign Lord whose plan it was to save those who would listen. A remnant of His people, whom He will lead.

Even as His people performed heinous acts of rebellion against the God who had saved them time and time again, God the Lord revealed His plan to break open the way to freedom and real life. Jesus Christ, their King and ours, would pass through the sin and the death and the dirt of all that shame, and He would lead His people.

“The Messiah will lead you out of exile . . . ” (v13).

You and I don’t live in that day. But Micah’s message resonates. Because our hearts tend to rebel against God’s ways too. We get lazy and forget who’s the Lord of our lives. We get prideful and think our way, just this once, is better than His.

And because of that rebellion, we need Jesus to step in. We need Jesus to lead us. The One who took the brunt of God’s wrath and conquered it by dying wants us to realize how much we need Him.


May 14: Micah’s Message

Read Micah 1:1-16

Israel had forgotten. They’d forgotten that Yahweh is the Sovereign Lord over all the earth. They’d forgotten the God whom they served, the One who had delivered them from slavery, rescued them for a Land of Promise. He was the God who had chosen them to be His very own people.

Yes, they’d forgotten, and it had led to this. Idol worship. Prostitution. The Israelites had gotten sloppy in their remembering and their worship of the One True God and it led to all-out rebellion in the eyes of God.

That’s why He sent Micah to them. He wanted their attention.

Almighty God would not tolerate half-hearted sacrifice. The covenant He had sealed with His very own people clearly stated this. He demanded their whole-hearted, meaningful sacrifice and worship. No idols or things that might sneak in and steal the devotion of His people.

But they had broken their side of the deal and it needed to be dealt with.

So God sent Micah to get their attention. He would punish His people for their turning away. He would destroy their land, and they would see that this is serious.

Because forsaking Almighty God is not just sin, it is a horrible way to live. The Almighty Provider, the One who created life itself and brought His people to a place of safety, wanted only the best for them.

And, even though His people had dropped their side of the covenant deal, faithful God would keep His. After He got their attention, He would save for Himself a remnant of people whose hearts were inclined to Him. By grace, He would lead them to real life. In Him.

That same God hasn’t changed. Still faithful and almighty, God is still God. He takes it seriously when even one of us fails to acknowledge His Kingship. When we fail to keep His commands. So seriously, in fact, He killed His own Son to take care of the punishment for our failing.

The same God who got the attention of His people through His prophet Micah, wants our attention today. He wants us to know: this is serious! He wants us to know He’s taken care of the punishment. He wants us to know He loves us so much that He went to all this trouble to make sure we know.


May 23: Who is like our God?

Read Micah 7:1-20

I trust you have recognized the cancerous nature of sin in the people of Israel at the time that Micah wrote these words.  It had infiltrated the very ranks of the people of God and had spread to the point that the prophet said, “The godly person has perished from the land, and there is no upright person among them.”  (v. 2)  Even the very best of them was described as a “briar” and the most upright as a “thorn hedge.” (v. 4)  No one could be trusted.  From neighbor to friend, from son to daughter, even one’s own spouse; everyone was suspicious.  Micah has made the sinfulness of Judah and Israel abundantly clear.

Opinions will certainly vary as to extent that we see that same degree of sinfulness reflected in the church, culture, nation, or world today.  Regardless of your thoughts, you would likely agree with the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 3:13:  “evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”  You have likely witnessed that in your own lifetime.

But you have to love the hope with which the prophet closes out the book.  The words merit repeating.

Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.  (Micah 7:18-20)

Pause for a moment and celebrate the uniqueness of our God!

  • He pardons rather than condemns.
  • He forgives instead of punishing.
  • He shows mercy in the place of executing justice.
  • He has compassion rather than demonstrating contempt.
  • He is faithful and not forgetful.
  • He shows love rather than wrath.

In Jesus Christ, all of that is true!