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Posts tagged ‘Messiah’

Hold On to Your Promise From God.


woman reading bible

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David…” (Lk. 1:31-32).

Mary was given a wonderful promise from God. At first, it seemed to be fulfilled fairly quickly. She conceived and birthed a son before she and Joseph consummated their marriage.

We love it when that happens, don’t we? God speaks and then, Boom!,here’s the proof.

But that wasn’t the whole promise. Mary was told her son would be the long-awaited Messiah. Yet what she held in her arms was an infant.

The promise didn’t look like she expected.

So what’s the next step? She had a promise. She had an angelic visitation. She had confirmation from shepherds, the anointed man Simeonand the prophetess Anna.

But she was still holding a baby.

What do you do when the word you’ve been given doesn’t play out like you think it will? It was 30 years before Mary saw her Son step into the destiny spoken to her. She had to have more than the initial euphoria of the spiritual experience to carry her through those decades.

“All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often” (Lk. 2:18-19).

The Greek word used for “kept” means Mary preserved these things to keep them from perishing; keeping them in mind lest they be forgotten. And the word used for “thought about them” means she was conversing with herself about them, bringing them together in her mind.

And 12 years later, when she had to go back to bring her Son home from the Temple, she still “treasured all these things in her heart” (v.52).

Mary kept the promise alive inside of her. She deliberately, purposefully rehearsed and remembered what had been said.

As the years passed, rather than let go, she chose to hold tightly to what she’d been told.

Do you have unfulfilled promises in your life? Learn from Mary. Take time, as you head towards a new year, to dust off those promises. Remember them, think about them. Refuse to be discouraged or distracted. Remind yourself of the faithfulness of the One who gave them, and let this be the refrain of your heart this year:

Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!”(Lk. 1:45).



Karen Ramsey is a special education teacher in Kansas City and a contributing blogger to A Modern Voice.

3 Proofs Christmas Is a Jewish Story.


Nativity scene
Messiah‘s Mandate’s Ron Cantor says the Christmas story is really a Jewish story.

Luke gives us a beautiful glimpse of the entrance of the God-man, Yeshua, into earthly life. It was a glorious moment, no matter when it took place:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:8-12, NIV).

Every now and then I come across a passage and I think to myself, “Oh, how I wish I was there!” Acts 2, the road to Emmaus, the Exodus and this one. Jewish shepherds are watching over their sheep at night when suddenly an angel appears to them, announcing the birth of the Messiah.

But notice the angel’s words. This is a Jewish story.

1. He says this will “cause great joy for all the people.” What people? The people of Israel, of course. And we see this great joy manifested in Jerusalem in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, and we will see it again in the end-time revival that is sure to touch Israel (Rom. 11:26).

2. He says the baby has been born not in Rome nor in Antioch but in Bethlehem, presently a PLO-controlled city next to Jerusalem (as an Israeli, I can’t even visit the city if I wanted to) but once a completely Jewish town, home to the young shepherd David. David was a type of the Messiah, and the prophets foretold that while the Messiah would minister in Galilee (Is. 9:1-2), He would be born in the Bethlehem:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2).

3. Next, the angel does not announce the coming of a new religion called Christianity that will one day be based in Rome but simply says that the One the Hebrew prophets spoke of has come, the Messiah. For Jews, to believe in this prophesied Messiah certainly did not mean changing religions. In fact, when Gentiles began to believe in the Jewish Messiah, the Jews’ first reaction was, “OK, let’s get you guys circumcised and converted to Judaism.” They did not understand that Gentiles could come to the Jewish Messiah without first becoming a convert to Judaism. It was a revelation to Simon Peter in Acts 10 that ultimately became doctrine in Acts 15. Now, as the one new man (Eph. 2:15) made up of Jew and Gentile, together we worship the Messiah of Israel.

Yes, Christmas, or Messiahmas, is a Jewish story indeed.


Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

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Praise of Angels.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord-.-.-.-And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11,13-14

The angel that appeared to the shepherds that glorious night made an astounding statement. The shepherds knew Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.” But now, an angel declares that a baby in a manger in Bethlehem is to be called “Savior.” He is not “Christ your Lord” but “Christ the Lord,” sovereign Lord of all creation.

The angel was suddenly accompanied by “a great heavenly host.” Together they began to praise the One they served perpetually in heaven, the One who had now entered time wrapped in human flesh. The Messiah had come, and the heavens resounded with the praise of angels.

Should we not do the same? Do your lips constantly praise Him? Do you always bless and never curse His name. How will you give Jesus praise today? We have been brought from death to life, from darkness into light. Let the heavens resound with our praise!

Jesus, my lips resound with the unending praise
of Your salvation. You are the only One who
could bring peace on earth and good
will toward men. Amen.


“This Is Serious”.

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Luke 2:15

Recommended Reading
Luke 1:26-38 ( )

If a stranger announced that you were the winner of a giant sweepstakes, would you believe him? It is doubtful. But if the Publishers Clearance House team arrived at your home with an official van, balloons, video cameras, and a huge check, would your reaction be different? Yes, it would — but why? Because when important things happen, there is a need for verification, authenticity, and believability.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

Now think about the first Christmas. If a friend told Mary she would give birth to the Messiah … if a stranger told Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit … if one of the shepherds said to the others, “I think the Messiah was just born in Bethlehem” … if Joseph woke Mary up in the middle of the night and said, “I think we need to go to Egypt” — how believable would any of these scenarios seem? Not very! Instead, in all four instances (and throughout biblical history) God sent angels to declare the message, “This is serious.”

Thank God for “ministering spirits” this Christmas.

Hebrews 11-13

By David Jeremiah.

Christmas Relief.

[ Simeon ] took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.”
Luke 2:28-29

Recommended Reading
Revelation 5:9-10 ( )

The American Heritage Dictionary says  relief  is “a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.” Relief is what Simeon felt when he first saw the eight-day-old baby Jesus. What was the “anxiety or distress” Simeon felt? It was the stress of waiting and watching for God’s Messiah to appear (Luke 2:25). Simeon was apparently an aged man. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Messiah (Luke 2:26), and now he said to the Lord: “You are letting Your servant depart in peace.”

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

Simeon was like Abraham. God had promised Abraham a son through whom a great nation would grow, but Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety (Genesis 17:17-18) — they waited and God answered. God had promised Simeon he would see the Messiah but … and then it happened! He didn’t need to wait to see the Messiah’s kingdom — he only needed to know that the Messiah had come. He could depart this world “in peace.”

For the same reason, we can celebrate Christmas in peace. The Messiah has come. God has fulfilled His Word. All will soon be right with the world when the Messiah establishes His kingdom on earth.

Hebrews 9-10

By David Jeremiah.

Jesse’s stump…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
-Deuteronomy 31:6

There is a passage in the Bible from the prophecy of Isaiah that talks about this tree stump, Jesse‘s stump. Imagine you see this gigantic tree stump, and it’s dead. You imagine how big this tree used to be. You think, wow, it went way up into the sky and had these huge branches. All you see now is a stump and this massive root system, and you think that what used to be so alive and so awesome is now dead. Then you look closely and you see that there is a green shoot coming from the top of the stump and that’s what Isaiah says he sees.

He says, “From Jesse’s stump is coming a green shoot; a green shoot and this will be my servant. And he will be filled with the spirit of the Lord, which is a spirit of wisdom and council and might and knowledge, and he’s going to set things right in the world.” Everything will be set right by this one that God is sending. This is the hope that Israel had for years and years – this idea that someday the Messiah was going to come and rescue everyone.

This hope is that, even in exile in Babylon, someday God’s going to rescue the people with a Messiah. Jesse’s stump. And someday that little green shoot will turn into an even bigger, better tree that will bear tremendous fruit. And we can praise God that a green shoot did come and his name is Jesus. Jesus is our hope.

Prayer: Lord, I have felt exiled in my own life at times, but you have always rescued me from that which was holding me captive. Sometimes it was anger, or depression, or grief. But through Jesus, I found hope to live fully and, once again, find my joy. Thank you. Amen.

Reflection: When have you felt exiled in your own life? How did hope in Jesus bring you through?

The arrival…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
-Romans 12:12

As we think about the characters from the Christmas story, think about how dark and difficult the Christmas story really is. The magi traveled years from the east on dangerous roads, following a star to find the new Messiah. Shepherds out in the hills, shivering, cold, traveled into town to see the new Messiah. And, especially Joseph and his beloved Mary, a 15-yr-old Jewish Middle Eastern girl having her first baby, and it’s cold. Nobody will give her shelter because all the inns are filled. So, she is allowed, finally, to go literally into a barn, give birth, and put her baby in a feeding trough. Now, that’s tough.

When we, as Christians, celebrate the advent season leading up to Christmas, the word “advent” means “the arrival” or “the coming of the Messiah,” and it’s really the coming of a promise. So the season of advent, is a season for all of us who are journeying through the dark night of the soul, going through difficult times in life. Advent is the season of prayer and waiting that the Christ child would be born in the midst of our darkness. So, many of us are like pilgrims, walking a dangerous, dark road to find Jesus.

Let’s keep Christ before our minds as we travel on this road of life. That will set things right. We keep Christ before our minds so that we can have hope.

Prayer: Lord, as we wait the arrival of Christmas, celebrating the arrival of our Savior, may we keep Christ before our minds so that our hope is renewed every day. Amen.

Reflection: How does keeping your mind on Christ give you hope?

{ Day 339 }.

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ—Galatians 1:11-12

One of the characteristics of prophetic revelation is that it is sometimes allegorical or symbolic, and it is fully understood only after future events have taken place. From the Old Testament perspective, it was not altogether clear what the Messiah would look like. The prophets foretold the coming of both a kingly Messiah and a suffering servant, but no one even remotely considered that both were the same person. Obviously, kingly messiahs aren’t servants, and they don’t suffer. Even the disciples had a hard time with it. The Gospels, especially the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), show how baffled the disciples were. The messianic secret is a theme that runs throughout all the synoptic Gospels. They had a very difficult time figuring out who Jesus was and the nature of His eternal kingdom. We have to be careful about locking in on our interpretation of prophetic revelation lest we miss what God is trying to say to us and do with us.


Father, I love when You speak through Your Spirit to me with revelation that helps me to understand the allegorical and symbolic examples You have placed in Your Word to reveal Yourself to Your people. Help me to clearly understand Your revelation through these methods.

Carelessly interpreted prophetic revelation
can cause chaos in someone’s life.


The power of positive words…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
-Proverbs 18:21

In Luke, we read how the angel appears to Mary telling her that she’s going to become the mother of the coming Messiah. Probably 15 years old or so, Mary’s just recently become engaged to Joseph. They have not consummated their relationship, and yet the angel says that she’s going to be pregnant before they’re married. To Mary, this should come as very bad news.

Think about the repercussions socially for Mary, an unwed, teenage virgin. Joseph is going to think that she has cheated on him and she will become an outcast to her community. The outcome could be life threatening because, in those days, to have a child out of wedlock meant that you and your child were probably going to sit on the street and beg.

This is terrible, terrible, terrible news for Mary socially. However, because the news comes from God through an angel, she somehow knows that it’s not terrible news. Something great is going to happen.

And how does Mary respond? Does she respond with doubt? No, she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.” She receives God’s blessing, speaks her own positive words of blessing over it, and then she begins to sing.

Remember, there’s power in our every word.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for the example of Mary, who had such deep and abiding faith in you that she was willing to embrace a life change that almost anyone else would have rejected. I pray that I will be as open to your every blessing as was Mary was on that very important day. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever experienced a radical life change that you could have faced with fear but instead, because of your faith in God, faced positively?

Advent: More Is Yet to Come.

Advent: More Is Yet to Come

  • Peeking out from behind the orange pumpkins and overflowing cornucopias, you may have already begun to spot cinnamon red candles, thick green garlands and an array of ornaments.  TV commercials present snow-filled scenes, roaring fires and busy elves making toys in Santa’s workshop. The sights and sounds of the season are upon us.  They quietly whisper:  Christmas is coming.

In just a few days, my husband will climb into the attic and one by one boxes will be brought down and opened.   Each bin contains memories of our lifetime together as a family.  As the tree is trimmed, my children eagerly recall family vacations, preschool creations, and favorite childhood photos.  Christmas music fills the air, hot chocolate is served and new memories are added to the old.

As my children look back, they are also looking forward.  In the midst of remembering, they also wonder, “What special gifts are coming? Will I get that hoped for something under the tree?”  Old memories of past delights can be recalled, while future joys are cloaked, wrapped and waiting for that special day.   Looking back and looking forward – this is exactly what the season of Advent is all about.

The word Advent literally means “the coming or arrival”.  As Christmas approaches, we look back and remember that starry night in Bethlehem, when in an instant the entire world was changed.  Glory arrived, wrapped in the form of a baby.  His coming ushered in an entirely new reality for all to behold.  The darkness of waiting was replaced as the Light of the World came and made His dwelling among men.

As believers, we look back, but we also look forward.  Just as our children delight in the remembrance of past Christmas joys, they also look forward to what awaits them under the tree.  More is yet to come.  As His people, we look back and remember that Christ has come and redeemed the world.  We look forward and hope for that day when He will come again, making all things new.  More is yet to come.

In the midst of a busy season, how do we keep the true meaning of Advent alive and flourishing within our homes?  In the flurry of activities (from baking, to shopping, to celebrating with friends), how do we savor the Savior, reflect upon His coming, and wait with abiding hopefulness for His return?

For our family, each night in December, as we gather around the dinner table, we pull out ornaments from a special box.  Years ago, a friend of mine organized a Jesse Tree party.  The Advent Jesse Tree recounts the story of redemption using twenty-five ornaments as symbols to represent different Bible stories, all pointing to the coming Messiah.

My friend sent out a list of all of the different Jesse Tree ornaments.  Every woman chose one and made twenty-five of the same ornament (it required 25 women, each making one ornament).  During the party, each participant placed one of her ornaments in everyone else’s box.  At the end of the night, we all went home with a complete, homemade Advent Jesse Tree set.  For me, each of these ornaments is a special reminder – both of the story it represents, and the friend who fashioned it for me.

Starting on December 1st, my children excitedly pull out a miniature tree and the box that contains our Jesse Tree ornaments.  To guide our readings, we use an advent devotional entitled, “The Advent Jesse Tree” by Dean Lambert Smith.  It provides a devotional and Bible passages that correspond with the ornament for the day.  A new Jesse Tree devotional option this year is Ann Voskamp’s “The Greatest Gift.” She also provides printable ornaments on her website for an easy way to bring this tradition home (especially for non-crafty moms like myself!)

After reading the devotion for the day, my children eagerly take turns placing new ornaments on the tree.  Day after day, we remember the story of waiting, watching and hoping for the Messiah to come.  As we reflect upon the stories, our family learns the beauty of the Biblical narrative – how in the midst of many small stories, there is one larger story that all the others point to.   By December 25th, the tree that was once barren is bursting with fullness.

We began using the Jesse Tree when our oldest daughter was three years old.  She is now thirteen, her brother is ten and our youngest is seven.  For ten years we have pondered these stories, enjoyed time together as a family and been blessed to reflect upon the coming of Jesus.  These Advent meditations allow our family to look back and rejoice, “Christ has come!” They also encourage us to look forward in joyful expectation, “Christ will come again!”

Melissa Kruger, Author, Women’s Ministry Director

Melissa Kruger serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). Her husband Mike is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary, and they have three children. You can follow her on Twitter @MelissaBKruger.

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