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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, December 20, 2010

**In This Issue**

  1. Increase Your Christmas Pleasure
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?
     

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.


Increase Your Christmas Pleasure

The Gap is still kicking out "Christmas" this year - like many other retailers have done - in favor of "holidays".  This means that no Gap employee will wish you a "Merry Christmas", nor will you find any mention of the word in Gap advertisements or displays.  Old Navy, Banana Republic, Forth & Towne and Piperlime will also be loudly "Christmas" free, because they are owned by Gap.  On the other hand, Wal-Mart has responded to pro-Christmas protests and boycotts and will permit its employees to be "Christmas" friendly.

Other stores like Target, Dillard's and J.C. Penny are warming back up to Christmas as well.  These have Christmas products and Christmas sales as opposed to generic "holiday" sales, and their employees may wish shoppers "Merry Christmas."  So the news this year is not all bad.

Christ Jesus warned us that He would cause controversy and division.  But, while retailers may or may not choose to celebrate the "Reason for the Season", you and I are still free to express our joy to the world.  There are a variety of things that we can do to make sure our Lord and Savior is not forgotten in the flurry of gift buying and cookie baking... Chocolate Chip are always my favorite, no matter the season.  So here are a few ideas to increase your Christmas pleasure

  1. Wish people a "Merry Christmas".  Whether you are in the cookie aisle or the checkout line, you can put Christmas back in stores where it has been censored.  It's simple, but it's friendly and cheerful, and is far less politically correct than "happy holidays."  Just because the employees cannot say "Merry Christmas", you certainly can say it.
  2. Be 'Christ' to people.  Is there a single mother on your street?  She could use help getting her children presents.  What about your neighbor who just got separated or divorced?  Bring her cookies or, better yet, ask her to come bake cookies with you.  Does your neighbor have a sidewalk that has not been shovelled?  You can cheerfully offer to do it for him or her.  Open your doors to people in unconditional love.  Let them know they have value.  Christmas is not the only time for demonstrating Christ's love, but people are often more open to it during Christmas than they are during other times of year.
  3. Invite people to church.  There are still scores of people in America who have no clue why Jesus came to earth.  They do not understand why we sing "Oh come let us adore Him", and Christmas might be the only time they are willing to enter the doors of a church.  Many churches put on pageants or have Christmas Eve services that minister to believers and unbelievers alike. 
  4. Be of good cheer.  Go out of your way to be kind and patient, even in hectic department stores ,or the mall parking lot.  Depression sets in for many people during the Christmas season, and the world has a great need to know the reality of Christ's love.  Simple things can bring cheer and hope to a discouraged person's otherwise unhappy day. 
  5. Go caroling.  Sing praises to God all throughout your neighborhood.  Not only is caroling a fun activity for your whole family, it is also a ministry.  Christmas is a time of year when singing songs about Christ Jesus can bring smiles to the faces of even nonbelievers.  In fact, you can invite non-Christians to go caroling with, especially if you and have hot cider at your house afterwards.  Bring song sheets if you need them
  6. Decorate your house to glorify Christ.   A very good friend of ours in Salt Lake City has set up a manger scene that takes up one side of her living room.  It is fantastic!  The stable itself stood only about six inches high, and she has the entire thing up on a table.  She also crafted the land of Judea around it, with shepherds and sheep on the hills.  She once created a trail of sand, lined with miniature trees and bushes, for the wise men to travel down.  The scene was creative and impressive in its attention to detail, and it told the Christmas story.  Something like that would be great for children to create, whether on a small scale inside or a large scale outside.  Families can start small, and every year add more to it. 
  7. Write a letter to a missionary.  Receiving a letter always feels like opening a priceless gift on Christmas morning.  Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them.  Write a special Christmas letter to a missionary of your choice, thanking them for giving their life in service to the Lord.  Believe me, it will mean more than you can imagine!"

Jesus may not have been born on December 25, but the Christmas season is the time of year when most Americans celebrate His birth.  Therefore, every December offers a great opportunity to minister to our neighbors and to introduce them to Christ Jesus himself.  He gave us the greatest Christmas gift of all... Himself.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302.1111.

The question for this issue is,  "I have heard that Christ was not really born in December.  If not, when was He actually born?"

The birth date of Christ Jesus is not pinpointed by the mention of any specific day or month.  However, there are some facts that we can glean from the Bible which enable us to establish an approximate time of the year in which this miracle occurred.

1. Luke Chapter 2 tells us that Jesus was born when His parents were obligated to go to their home town in order to register for taxation purposes.  It is very unlikely that the emperor, Augustus, would have called for a registration in the very cold of winter.  I can tell you from our recent trip to Israel, that it does snow in certain parts of Israel during the winter season.  Given the primitive travel conditions of those times, everyone's journey would have been slow, and some might not have made it to their destinations at all.

2. On the night of Jesus' birth, the shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields.  Because of the climatic conditions of Israel in the month of December, there would not likely be shepherds or sheep in open fields at that time of the year, at night.  From mid-October to mid-April is the rainy season.  During that time, the shepherds take their flocks into the shelter of the sheepfolds at night.  So, since the shepherds were not in the field on the night Christ Jesus was born, it is almost certain that it was not in December.

3. Most helpful in answering this question is a comparison of the time of the birth of John the Baptist with that of Jesus.  Luke Chapter 1 records that while Zacharias, a priest from the family of Abia, was ministering, and angel appeared and assured him that his barren wife was going to bear a son.  Each family line of priests was assigned a specific month to minister.  According to 1 Chronicles 24:10, the family line of Abia, or Abijah, was the eighth in order.  This means that Zacharias was ministering in the ninth week from the beginning of God's first month of Israel's religious calendar, as defined by God Himself in Exodus Chapter 12:1-2, was in the month of Nisan, which is usually April.  Transposing from the Roman calendar would make the date somewhere between June 1th to June 8th.  It is likely that Zacharias's wife conceived shortly after he went home from his ministering service.  Moving forward nine months in the calendar from June, would set the date for the birth of of John the Baptist in the early spring, in the month of March.

The Bible in Luke 1:36, says that Christ Jesus was six months younger than John the Baptist.  By adding six months to the birth of John the Baptist, we arrive at the month of September, which is the approximate time of Christ Jesus' birth.  The Bible, in John 13:1, also tells us that Jesus' ministry ceased at Passover time, which was in the spring of the year.  From the available Bible information, we know that His ministry began 3
years prior to that spring.  Working backward from that period would mean that His ministry began in the early autumn of the year.  Luke 3:23 indicates that Christ Jesus began His ministry as He was nearing the age of 30.  This was the proper age to begin priestly (rabbinical) service, according to Numbers 4:23.

 

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 
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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory