John 14:1-3 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Happy New Year. I am sure, like me, you are glad 2020 is in the rearview mirror. For many of us it was the hardest year of our lives. We are looking forward to better things in 2021. As we turn our attention to the future, I want us also to be sure to keep our focus in the right place. Maybe it would be better to say not “in the place” but on the right person, on our Lord Jesus Christ and on His return. His coming is called the Blessed Hope for His Bride, His church, us. Frankly, the return of Christ is the only hope for mankind as well.
To help us with this focus we will be exploring the theme “The King is Coming” throughout the first month of the new year. I have included a daily Scripture reading for everyday in January centered on this topic. Please make the time to avail yourselves of these readings. They will provide you with a Biblical overview of this glorious doctrine. Please right down any questions you may have about these verses and send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will do my best to answer them.
I am looking forward to seeing you in the coming days. Please pray this year the short and simple prayer of the Apostle Paul found in 1 Corinthians 16:22. He prays “Maranthana” – Come Our Lord
Pastor Dave Watson
The King is Coming – January Readings
January 1, 2021 – John 14:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58
January 2, 2021 – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11
January 3, 2021 – Revelation 1:1-20
January 4, 2021 – Revelation 2:1-3:22
January 5, 2021 – Revelation 4:1-5:14
January 6, 2021 – Psalm 2:1-12
January 7, 2021 – Matthew 24:1-51
January 8, 2021 – Revelation 6:1-7:17
January 9, 2021 – Matthew 25:1-46
January 10, 2021 – Revelation 8:1- 11:19
January 11, 2021 – Revelation 12:1-14:20
January 12, 2021 – Daniel 7:1-28, Daniel 9:20-27
January 13, 2021 – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
January 14, 2021 – Revelation 15:1 – 16:21
January 15, 2021 – Revelation 17:1-18:24
January 16, 2021 – Ezekiel 36:22-37:1-28
January 17, 2021 – Ezekiel 38:1-23
January 18, 2021 – Ezekiel 39:1-29
January 19, 2021 – Revelation 19:1-21
January 20, 2021 – Zechariah 14:1-21
January 21, 2021 – 2 Peter 3:1-13
January 22, 2021 – Revelation 20:1-15
January 23, 2021 – Revelation 21:1-27
January 25, 2021 – Revelation 22:1-21
January 26, 2021 – Acts 1:1-11
January 27, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
January 28, 2021 – Philippians 3:20-21 and Colossians 3:1-4
January 29, 2021 – 2 Timothy 4:6-8 and Titus 2:11-14
January 30, 2021 – Hebrews 9:24-28 and James 5:7-12
January 31, 2021 – 1 John 2:28-3:3
“Hard to See Through the Wrapping Paper”
Christmas images are quite vivid in most people’s minds. You have probably heard about the boy who, when asked about the Christmas story, could only remember the three maggots who brought gold, frankincense and smurfs to baby Jesus.
In addition to this distorted image of Christmas there are many other ways people view this holiday. Some see it as a time of giving and thus, shopping. Some think of family. Others think of Christmas plays, candy and presents. It is, as one writer has said, “….harder and harder to see Christmas through the wrapping paper of our culture.”
In 1989 actor Charles Durning made a film titled “It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas.” The film portrays Santa as very unhappy. He is so bothered by the greed and selfishness of the world that he has threatened to cancel the holiday, thus causing everyone to miss Christmas. Sadly, each year many of us miss Christmas. Covid19 and the pandemic probably make it more rather than less likely that many will miss Christmas this year.
How is it that we miss Christmas? We miss Christmas when we don’t personally receive the gifts that the Lord Jesus Christ came to give us. Jesus came as a Savior to save us from our sins and to give us a new life, as well as eternal life. We miss Christmas when we either don’t receive His free gift of salvation or when we don’t live out the new life He has given to us.
We also miss Christmas when we fail to give personally the gift of ourselves to Jesus Christ in worship and thanksgiving. We almost always give gifts to those whom we love this time of year. Why do we forget our Lord during the season we celebrate His birth?
The “how” of missing Christmas is simple but the “why” of missing Christmas is somewhat more complex. Let me suggest some reasons why it is that we miss Christmas. These reasons are taken right from the Biblical account of the very first Christmas.
First of all, it is very possible to miss Christmas because we are preoccupied. Like the innkeeper who had no room in his inn (Luke 2:7) for Joseph and the very pregnant Mary, we are not hostile or unsympathetic. We are just very very busy and unfocoused. The shopping, the wrapping of gifts, the living of life etc., make it so very easy for us to miss Christmas. It takes a real effort to focus on the important, real reason for the season.
Secondly, we can miss Christmas if we are perplexed about the Christ child. This was the case with those who heard the shepherds’ first announcement of the Savior’s birth (Luke 2:18). They marveled at the good news but did not personally go to check things out for themselves. They missed Christmas. If Jesus is a mystery to you how can you help but miss Christmas.
Sadly, who Jesus really is and what He came to do is somewhat of a blur to most people. Growing up in church I had a vague idea about the identity of the baby Jesus, but I understood very little of the implications of His coming to earth. I made very little effort to check out his claims. Frankly, I was comfortable in my ignorance. The result was that for many years I missed Christmas.
Thirdly, we can miss Christmas because of our own fears regarding Jesus Christ. I’ll call it paranoia. When Herod and the Jewish leaders were approached by the Magi from the East they were troubled (Matt. 2:1-3). The Magi sought a newborn king. King Herod feared that the new king might take away his throne. He fancied himself king of the Jews. Jesus comes not only to us as a Savior, but also as King. We miss Christmas when we are afraid of His rule in our lives and of the changes He most certainly will bring. Thus, because of our fear we miss Christmas.
We can also miss Christmas because of our pride. The chief priest and scribes were experts in the law. They even quoted Micah 5:2 to Herod about the whereabouts of Christ’s birth (Matt. 2:4-6). Yet, they failed to seek out the Christ child. They were content in their religious traditions. They had a concept of a Messiah that they were comfortable with. Evidently, the Jesus that the Magi sought was not what they were looking for. We must never forget that it is not the religious traditions that make Christmas. It is Jesus. Let’s be sure not to replace him with a celebration of His birth.
In a few short days, Christmas will have come and gone. Don’t miss it this year. Put aside your preoccupation with the presents and the pandemic and focus on the person of Christ. Deal sincerely with the questions you have about Jesus. Search the Scriptures to find the answers. Bow down before him as King. Humble yourself in His presence and worship Him. It is then that you will experience Christmas as it is meant to be experienced.
Regretfully, this year many will once again miss Christmas. Please don’t be in that number. Jesus Christ extends an invitation for us to experience Him and His salvation all year round. Receive His free gift of eternal life today and experience new life everyday. Give to Him this holiday season the gift of your heart.
Blessings and Merry Christmas
Pastor Dave Watson
Date – Monday, December 7, 2020 – Focus on Joseph
Bible Reading – Matthew 1:18-25 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
1. What kind of man is Joseph described as?
2. What did he intend to about he and Mary’s situation?
3. What was his response to the angelic visit?
1. Are there any commands to obey?
2. Are there any sins to avoid or confess?
3. Are there any examples to follow?
4. Are there any promises to claim?
Quote of the Day – “God made no mistake in choosing him (Joseph) either. A hotheaded man would immediately have had her stoned to death or would have made her a public example by exposing her. But Joseph was not that kind of man. He was a gentle person. He was in love with her, and he did not want to hurt her in any way, although he felt that she had been unfaithful to him.” – Dr. J Vernon Mc Gee in Thru the Bible