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Every Christmas season we sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

But is this correct? Did the angels sing? Let’s look.

Luke 2:13-14

“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” 

Next please read this fine article from Guarding His Flock

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The Night of Nights

by Pastor Larry for Christmas

As reenacted in nativity scenes and Christmas pageants down through the history of western civilization, in various ways this story, whether in part or whole, is told:

God promised Israel a coming Messiah. God chose a teenage virgin to be the mother of Israel’s promised Messiah. The virgin was engaged to a young and moral carpenter. A crisis pregnancy occurred. An angel of the Lord alerted Joseph that Mary’s child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Angels announced Messiah’s birth to shepherds on a night vigil near a little Judean town of Bethlehem. Magi from the East visited the infant. To preserve the rights of his royal family to reign, paranoid King Herod ordered infanticide.

On the very night of our Savior’s birth, Luke, a physician turned historian, records that, “there were some shepherds out in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). Possessing gnarled and scared hands and countenancing weather-beaten faces, these ordinary men worked the grave-yard shift protecting their sheep, some of which were probably marked to be eventually sacrificed at the temple six miles distant. With slings, crooked staffs, and studded clubs, these men risked their lives to protect their sheep from predatory animals and criminal rustlers. Unbeknownst to them, one particular night was a holy night. The sheep were resting comfortably. The only sound that penetrated the quiet night was an occasional “baaaa!” of a sheep. Whether standing or sitting, these nameless shepherds breathed in the crisp night air as they fought off sleep’s beckoning call. It was a night like many others until . . . .

The night sky suddenly exploded with the light of God’s glory, a bright light that revealed the menacing form of an angel standing nearby. The sight of the angel terrorized these veteran guardians of the night. Had the angel of death come for them? This season, Hallmark will design, print, distribute and sell millions of Christmas cards. Many of these cards will bear images of cuddly, winged, and romantic looking angels. I doubt that any will bear the intimidating visage of “an angel from the Lord” who frightened to death those veteran shepherd-warriors, and who therefore uttered to them, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:9-10).

In contrast to the warm and fuzzy feelings people experience during this time of year, it might strike a disconcerting note to even the casual reader of the gospels that fear was a pervasive emotion of the first Christmas. Matthew records that, “[A]n angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife’” (Matthew 1:20). When he saw an angel of the Lord, Luke records that, “And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias’” (Luke 1:12-13). The angel also told Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). Contact with the supernatural angel from the Lord was unnerving. Maybe we have come to feel too cozy with the Christmas story. Perhaps we ought to be a bit more unnerved when we hear the recounting of when God visited this planet in the form of an infant who upon reaching mature manhood, would be crucified for the sins of His people.

The shepherds were ordinary men God allowed to experience an extraordinary visitation that night. James S. Stewart asks, “And is there not a world of meaning in the fact that it was very ordinary people, busy about ordinary tasks, whose eyes first saw the coming of the Lord?” Then he answers,

It means, first, that the place of duty, however humble, is the place of vision. And it means, second, that it is men who have kept to the deep, simple pieties of life and have not lost the child heart to whom the gates of the Kingdom most readily open.

To these herdsmen, God first entrusted the Good News that a baby had been born nearby during their night vigil, an infant “Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). That Baby lying in an animal feeding trough signaled to them the birth of God’s only Messiah (See Romans 10:9-10.).

To these shepherds God first entrusted the gospel message, and it was their vocation that would provide the intimate and pastoral illustration of Jesus’ relationship with His followers. He is the Good Shepherd who calls and cares for those sheep who “hear his voice” (John 10:1-14). And for reason of His care for us, we need not fear either.

source

http://guardinghisflock.com/?p=657

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Okay….does it really say in the Bible that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?

 

               

LUTHERANS SPLITTING FROM LIBERAL DENOMINATION

(Friday Church News Notes, December 4, 2009, http://www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) –

The liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is splitting over the issue of the ordination of homosexuals. On November 18 a group of Lutherans called CORE (Coalition for Renewal) voted to form a new Lutheran denomination in response to the decision this summer by the ELCA to allow “openly practicing homosexuals” to serve as pastors (“Lutherans Splitting,” Baptist Press, Nov. 25, 2009).

It is not yet certain how many churches will join the new group, as it takes a two-thirds vote for a congregation to leave the ELCA. Some 1,200 supporters of CORE met in late September to show their support for the split.

Eight years ago me and my husband began looking for a church in our area. While sitting in the back row of a Lutheran church as a visitor, I felt the Lord tug at my heart to be a “reader”. This is someone who reads scripture up front during the service. Okay…I thought, I have to be a member to do this.  We joined.

You know how it goes once you join a church, you are asked to be part of the many activities and functions which was fine, but the interaction also revealed how many did not believe scripture. There are members  who do not believe the verse John 14:6. The revelation was shocking to me. I wondered….why did the Lord lead me here?

Over two years ago we were blessed with a new pastor. I went to him asking to please…please preach the gospel and the truth from the scriptures.  He did. When the ELCA voted in the new resolution he resigned from the ELCA risking his salary and pension, trusting in the Lord for provision.

I would like to add that there are some wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who remain in the ELCA, and who do not agree with the resolution. To those I pray that you make a difference and remain true to the Word of God. Speak boldly and like Paul be not ashamed of the Gospel.

Our congregation does not officially have a two-thirds vote, so some of us have found a new location, and with the guidelines set out by CORE and the LCMC we intend to have a confessional Lutheran church.

Of course, the issue of homosexuality, is really just the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface of the water lies the true foundation of what is sinking all churches, all denominations, across the nations. We find in the murky water, the denial of creation, destruction of marriage and family by divorce and sexual immorality, the blending of false religions with Christianity,  lack of knowledge of scripture and its authority, denial of Christ’s deity, inclusion instead of separation, and then… a weak and compromised Gospel.

Many who study prophecy might agree with me on this next thought. I believe the Lord is testing to see who really belongs to Him because the day of the Lord is near.

Joshua 24:14-15

Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

CORE

http://www.lutherancore.org/com_conf.shtml

And the LCMC

http://www.lcmc.net/

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