WORD WATCH DAILY PERSPECTIVE
His Birth and Our New Birth - Oswald Chambers
’Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ’God with us’ —Matthew 1:23
His Birth in History. “. . . that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.
His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you . . .” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.
God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.
May the Son of the God of Israel bless you with His joy!
Samaria vineyards photo by Claudia Koenig
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White House News
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Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither
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Inspired by God
"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." - E. M. Bounds
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RAPTURE READY NEWS PERSPECTIVE
NEWS: Oklahoma Earthquakes
For the second day in a row, an earthquake shook people in central Oklahoma. A 2.7 magnitude quake rattled the area at 4:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. It was centered about five miles north of Spencer, and 11 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
French use Nazi-like salute with impunity
President Hollande indicates his government will do more to curb online displays of the anti-Semitic ‘quenelle’
Egypt arrests Mursi's ex-prime minister on his way to Sudan
Egyptian security forces on Tuesday arrested the former prime minister of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi who was sentenced to one year in jail for failing to implement a court ruling to renationalise a textile firm.
Kim urges N. Korea military to bolster combat readiness
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has urged the country's military to bolster its combat readiness, saying a war could break out "without any prior notice", state media reported Wednesday. The call comes at a time of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula following the execution of Kim's uncle and former mentor in an unusually public purge
Bill promising equal tax benefits for same-sex couples irks coalition
A controversial bill promising same-sex couples equal tax benefits that has been straining the coalition managed to pass a preliminary reading in the Knesset Tuesday. The bill, proposed by a Yesh Atid MK, outraged the Habayit Hayehudi factions, and prompted dissent among coalition ranks with political negotiations going on in the Knesset plenum until seconds before the vote.
UN sends more peacekeepers to South Sudan after thousands killed
The UN Security Council approved plans on Tuesday to almost double the number of peacekeepers in South Sudan in an effort to protect civilians as reports of...worsening of ethnic bloodletting in the world's newest state. The move came as the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country said the death toll from the past 10 days of violence was likely now in the thousands, rather than the hundreds the world body had previously estimated.
US Embassy in Kabul attacked on Christmas Day
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul was hit by indirect fire before dawn on Christmas Day but no Americans were hurt, as attacks elsewhere in Afghanistan killed at least six people Wednesday, officials said. Two rounds struck the sprawling embassy compound but it was not immediately clear which part of the complex, and a U.S. Embassy official said the incident was under investigation.
Christians targeted by Baghdad bombs
A car bomb near a church in Baghdad has killed at least 15 people and wounded 28 others, as Iraqi Christians celebrated Christmas, officials say. The device went off outside a Catholic church when worshippers were leaving a Christmas Day service. Another bomb at a nearby market in a mainly Christian area killed six more people and left 14 people hurt.
Thousands hit by floods and power cuts at Christmas
Flooding is causing difficulties for thousands of people in southern England after stormy weather lashed the UK. Three severe flood warnings are in place in Surrey and Dorset, with many people rescued from homes overnight. And some 50,000 homes across the UK are without electricity, the Energy Networks Association has said.
Pope Francis urges aid access to Syria in Christmas speech
Pope Francis has used his first Christmas Day address to urge access for humanitarian aid in Syria. He told thousands of pilgrims in St Peter's Square in the Vatican to pray for a peaceful end to violence in Syria and other conflict zones. The Argentine pope also said tragic incidents involving migrants trying to reach Europe should not be repeated.
Brazil president pledges aid after deadly floods
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has pledged millions of dollars in federal aid to two south-eastern states where floods have killed at least 30 people. After flying over the area, she said helicopters and army trucks would deliver food and medicine to the states of Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo. A number of homes, roads and bridges were destroyed and many cities were left without power and drinking water.
Abbas, Ashton ring in Christmas at midnight mass in Bethlehem
Hundreds of worshipers attended a midnight Christmas Eve mass in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in the late hours of Tuesday. Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, led the mass in the Church of the Nativity, believed by millions of Christians to be located at the exact spot of the birth of Jesus.
Police chief: Rise in terror anticipated after peace talks resumed
Police commissioner Yochanan Danino said on Wednesday that the security forces have noticed a disturbing uptick in “grassroots terrorism,” something which was predicted once peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority resumed. As a result of the increased tension on the security front, defense officials have beefed up army and police forces in so-called “sensitive areas,” according to Israel Radio.
RAPTURE READY Nearing midnight PERSPECTIVE
Dec 23, 2013
Duck Dynasty Star Roasted over Gay Comments
The TV show, Duck Dynasty has become a huge hit for the A&E Network. It is about a southern family that has an empire based on duck calls, used in hunting. The show regularly draws 9 million-plus viewers. Duck Dynasty’s fourth season premiere drew 11.8 million viewers, which is an all-time-record for any non-fiction cable telecast.
The greatest financial success of Duck Dynasty has been in its merchandizing; the show has T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, calendar, jewelry and dozens of other products. I was at Wal-Mart today and I saw more products with the Duck Dynasty name on them than I did during the Hanna Montana craze.
With so much money at stake, one would think there is almost nothing the cast could do to disrupt the show. Something has happened, and it demonstrates where we are as a nation. A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in an interview with GQmagazine.
During a discussion about repentance and God, Robertson was asked what he finds sinful. He replied by giving a practical explanation for why homosexual sex is wrong. He said a woman’s body should naturally be more attractive and desirable to a man. “She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” said Robertson.
He then paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
The Gay group, GLADD, climbed in on the controversy saying that Phil and his family were not true Christians because they didn’t show love for gay people. GLADD also said, “His [Bible] quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”
Robertson released a wonderful statement in response to the flap:
I myself am a product of the ‘60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about, why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.
This is not the first time that Phil Robertson has had conflicts with the show’s producers. In 2012, he confronted them over the attempts to edit out the name of “Jesus” during their prayer at the end of each episode—by adding misleading “fake bleeps” to the program when there was no profanity spoken.
I imagine there is going to be pressure placed on Phil to get him to change his views. The worst thing he could do would be to release a statement that could be interpreted as an admission of guilt. (If you do that, the liberal media are trained to come in for the kill.)
When I heard Phil Robertson’s strong confession of faith several months ago, I knew it would eventually get him into trouble. The media has become so anti-Christian, you mention the Name of Jesus and you instantly become a target.
The same thing happened to Tim Tewbow earlier this year. Even though Tewbow was the most popular player in the NFL and has a proven draw for audiences, he was passed around from team to team because the management and sports reporters didn’t like his open-confession of faith.
The most troubling part of this controversy is the silence on the part of the church. Despite the fact that there are millions of Christians—who agree one-hundred-percent with Robertson’s view on homosexuality, few of them are willing to take a public stand to support him. The outcome I fear the most is a general rule expecting Christian celebrities to keep their faith to themselves.
Believers need to realize there is no peace with this world. The children of darkness are constantly looking for opportunities to attack those who call on the name of Jesus. Because the enemy’s hatred of us remains constant, we should never let our guard down.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But [this cometh to pass], that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, they hated me without a cause” (John 15:18-25).
Please indulge me just a bit in my using this week’s Nearing Midnight column as a cathartic exercise, at least in part. I believe you will find my ruminations relevant to our purpose in presenting these articles each week.
Sunday, December 15, I received a phone call. It was Brenda, wife of a life-long friend, and I do mean life-long. Her husband, Howard, and I were born one month apart--Howard in El Dorado, Arkansas, and me in Camden, Arkansas. Each city is about the same distance from Hampton, a very small town in the southern part of the state. El Dorado is thirty miles south and Camden thirty miles west. They had the hospitals; Hampton didn’t. Our parents both lived in Hampton when we were born–one block apart.
I knew the news wasn’t something I wanted to hear. Brenda and I, although friends, too, don’t talk very much.
“Howard passed away about 12:30 this morning,” she said.
Howard had, until about two years ago, been beating men in their forties in tennis, one of his passions in life. He wasn’t prideful about it; he just enjoyed quietly--with finesse, not power--beating the tennis shorts off those youngsters, as we viewed them from our lofty perch in our late sixties at the time.
Howard was on his roof one day about two years ago, sweeping pine needles to the ground, when he suddenly got weak and had trouble breathing. His weakness increased and the doctors told him he had heart arrhythmia. They put in a pacemaker, but the problems persisted and increased. Finally, he was diagnosed with a degenerative heart disease that had to be treated with chemotherapy, although, as I take it, it wasn’t cancer. The treatments were astronomical in cost and quite taxing on his body.
So, when I heard Brenda’s voice, I knew instantly, even before she said so, that my life-long pal had passed into that glorious realm he often talked about during his many, many years of teaching Sunday school at First Baptist Church.
It was a long, painful time of dying, and I was relieved for him, although I will miss him greatly.
I have related in these columns about Good Friday, April 22, 2011, when, following a brisk workout, I suffered a “widow-maker” heart attack. My heart stopped at least three times and they brought me back from clinical death with defibrillation shocks. Each time, I was in the heavenly presence of a throng of young, cheering people. The last time the heart stopped, I was among that group, and we were running as if in a victory lap–I have since come to believe—toward the very gate that was the entrance to God’s eternal abode.
I am totally blind, as many know, but could see perfectly well–even better than that—while with those young people. But then things grew dark again, and, each time, I returned to this earthly existence. On the final trip back, I returned to the catheterization lab, where they had removed the blockage to the affected artery. The interventional cardiologist who removed the blockage told my wife that I had been dead on arrival. He said that 95 percent of all who have this occurrence don’t live through it. The cardiologists were so impressed with my case that they made me the Arkansas "Cardiac Patient of the Year." This gave me opportunity to tell the cardiologists in their meetings at Little Rock about how, while I appreciated everything their profession had done for me, it was the Lord Jesus Christ who determined that I would return to fight another round or two.
My friend Howard and his wife Brenda were among the very first to show up in the cardiac ICU recovery room where I lay for the next several days. I was terribly disturbed because I didn’t have an opportunity to visit Howard, except by phone, during his time of dying. He just felt too sick to receive company, and needed constant medical assistance. Visitors would disrupt that care.
Each morning when I have awakened since that time of visitation to the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12:1-2, I see them in my mind’s eye. They are as clear in the deepest reaches of my spirit as if I were standing before them again.
Now, I constantly wonder if my friend Howard was met by this same group of cheering, jubilant youngsters. I’m a little envious, because I suspect he was escorted, in victory-lap fashion, through that gigantic gate of pearl and into the presence of Jesus Christ. I can see that scene, and I am blessed to have that picture as I cope with my wonderful friend’s absence.
I wish I could convey the comfort and even joy that I sense knowing that Howard is in that heavenly realm. I, of course, can only try to paint that scene in word pictures.My publisher of HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory has just informed me that they are going to offer a special 40-percent discount on the book. It is a little hardback that I believe will uplift every believer who reads it. My coauthor and editor of many years, Angie Peters, has shaped the book in inspired fashion, as I tell of my visit to somewhere in that heavenly realm. My prayer is that the reader will get at least a glimpse of what awaits those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
***HeavenVision, now –40% off!***
Icon Publishing has marked HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory down by 40 percent for those of our Rapture Ready visitors and family. I hope this generous offer puts the book in the reach of everyone who wants to get a biblical glimpse of what awaits those who love the Lord and wonders what God has prepared for us in that life that will never end...
To order, click here: HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory by Terry James with Angie Peters.