"UNTO YOU IS BORN A SAVIOUR!"
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." And, 10, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, 1 bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
"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 2:8-14). Let us look at this picture. We see shepherds, very insignificant people. They are in a field, far away from the comforts of home. It is night, when wild beasts and thieves can roam about and do harm. To such a people, at such a place, and at such a time, the angel of the Lord appeared; and the glory of the Lord shone round about them!
Dear Reader, here is good news for you also. "The angel of the Lord said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, 1 bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (verse 10). The words of the angel "all people" include you as well. Are you burdened with care due to lack of a job, or lack of money, or lack of health, or lack of friends? Are you troubled by fear of enemies, fear of the future, or fear of death? Are you weary, or are you sad? The loving God Who created you, and Who loves you more than your own mother, has sent His angel to give you good tidings of great joy!
What is this good news? It is this: "Unto you is born this day...a Saviour". This Saviour was born two thousand years ago. The word "Saviour" means "One who saves". Perhaps you have been thinking that no one can save you from your fears, your sorrows, your cares, and your misery; and that no one can give you real peace and joy. Perhaps you have been thinking that you can never enjoy real happiness in your life. Here is wonderful news for you. There is a Saviour Who has the remedy for all your troubles; Who can satisfy all your needs; Who can open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings upon you in such abundance that you will hardly have place to receive them. He will fill your cup until it overflows. He will give you such joy that it will be impossible to describe it in human words, and so wonderful as to be full of glory. Isn't that good news? But perhaps you think that this is too good to be true. God says, "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?" (Jer.32: 27). Let us reply, "Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee"(Jer.32: 17). The message of the angels was for all people.
The Saviour was born to bring salvation for all men, in every part of the world. He was born in the city of David, that is Bethlehem, in Palestine, which is the junction of the three great continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. Two thousand years ago Palestine was the meeting place of the great Eastern and Western civilizations: a fitting place for the Saviour of all mankind to be born in. The Saviour was born among the Jews, but He belongs as much to them as to you and me, or anyone else in any country of the world.
Notice the words of the angel, "a Saviour who is CHRIST THE LORD". That Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One without sin. He went about doing good; He opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, and delivered the devil-possessed. He brought joy to all who went to Him. He preached the greatest sermons the world has ever heard. He died as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. He predicted that He would die and rise again on the third day. His enemies heard this; so, after He had been crucified and buried in a tomb, they sealed it, and set watchmen to guard the tomb and see that no one came near it. In spite of all this on the third day, the Lord Jesus rose again in a glorious resurrection. Today all who confess their sins and accept Him as their own Saviour, are forgiven and transformed and filled with heavenly peace and joy. Even today, no one who goes to the Lord Jesus will ever be cast out; no one who puts his trust in Him will ever be disappointed. He is really "the fairest among ten thousand", and He is "altogether lovely". He is indeed worthy to be called "Saviour".
The message of the angels brought blessing to the shepherds in the fields. They believed the angels and went to see the Holy Babe. God led them and they found the Babe lying in a manger, wrapped in simple peasant clothes, so small, so humble yet so beautiful in the beauty of holiness. If you also seek the Saviour you shall surely find Him. God says, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer.29: 13). Will you not also come to the Saviour today? The Lord Jesus came into the world because He loved you. Will you not love Him and go to Him to give Him your heart, your life, your worship and devotion?
People all over the world are celebrating the Birth of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Don't you think that the best way for you would be to put your trust in His love and power, and accept His salvation, which He offers to you so lovingly and freely? If you do this today, it will be the. happiest day of your life, and the coming New Year will be full of wonderful new blessings for you.
LETTER FOR PRAISE AND PRAYER
Hyderabad -500 020
December 12, 2005
Dear Fellow-Believers in Christ,
Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, put to death in the flesh, the Just for the unjust, but quickened by the Spirit, that He might bring us to God. May His Name be praised and adored, Who was made a little lower than angels for the suffering of death, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, and deliver us from the fear of death and its bondage (1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 2:14,15).
The season ahead, spoken of as Christmas in Christendom, is marked with song and festivities across the world, in remembrance of the Saviour, born in Bethlehem, taking the Name Jesus to save His people from their sins. We read concerning this in Matt. 1: 21. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" -as spoken by the angel of the Lord to Joseph, concerning Mary espoused to him. This was the fulfillment of the prophetic word through Isaiah the prophet, nearly 700 years before the Incarnation of God's Son, a supernatural event; "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt. 1: 23; Isa. 7:14).
Though the Scripture is silent concerning the date of the Saviour's birth, we should rejoice that He came when the fullness of the time was come - "...God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, ...that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal. 4:4,5). So let us pray that through song and Scripture, the Saviour's birth be heralded and made known to men and women in all lands. The glory of the Lord, let us pray, may shine round about those who are sitting in darkness as unto the shepherds in that memorable night, so that they may respond with haste to meet the Saviour and enter into life and peace through faith (Luke 2:9-11).
We would like to consider five characters, highlighted in the Scriptures, associated with the birth of the Saviour into this world. Firstly the shepherds, -simple people abiding in the field watching over their flock. God sovereignly chose them to be the first witnesses of this supernatural event of God incarnate in the person of His Son taking the name Jesus. The shepherds moved with "haste" to Bethlehem to see the "thing, which is come to pass". For them the message was a reality without doubt and they moved with haste, made known the saying which was told them concerning this child, and returned glorifying God, having seen the fulfilment of what the Lord spoke. Human tendency is one of doubt and delay, and hence we are slow to run in the way of His commandments (Psa. 119:32). We can be preoccupied with our present affairs, our flock, fields and friends, and fail to render ready obedience to the heavenly revelation or directions.1hus we remain straitened in ourselves and not attain to spiritual enlargement.
The second character we consider is Simeon, a man just and devout, who had revelation by the Holy Ghost that he would see the Lord's Christ before death. He came by the Spirit into the temple where the child Jesus was brought to be presented to the Lord. Then he took the child Jesus in his arms and blessed God. "...now let test thou thy servant depart in peace, ...For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. ..light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel" (Luke 2:25-32). What the priest in the temple could not discern, Simeon did, and his hope was fulfilled as the Lord had spoken. God would have us to be 'Holy Ghost taught and led' men in His temple, to expect Him with the lively hope of seeing the Son of His love and be like Him at His coming.
The third character is Anna the prophetess, spending time in serving God in prayer and supplication; in happiness in speaking of the Babe with thanksgiving, to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. We must be those who look for the blessed appearance of our great God and Saviour, redeemed from iniquity, a peculiar people, purified and zealous of good works, as we read in Titus 2:13-15.
The fourth company is that of the wise men who journeyed for several months, over mountains and moor. They were guided by the star and reached Jerusalem with the enquiry before Herod the king, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him" (Matt. 2:2). Troubled Herod called for the priests and scribes. They found from the Scriptures that He was born in Bethlehem. They reached the house, saw the young child with the mother, fell down and worshipped "HIM" -not the mother. They presented gifts. Gold speaks of the divinity of the Saviour. Frankincense speaks of His holy humanity and myrrh speaks of the body being wound for burial. Myrrh was also a component in the anointing of Aaron for priesthood (John 19:39,40; Matt. 2:11,12; Exo. 30:23-25, 30). The wise men were the first worshippers of Him, Who was born to be the King of kings and Lord of lords. The gifts they gave spoke of His holy, sinless life and sacrificial death, burial, and the anointing Jesus received to enter in to His priesthood upon His resurrection and exaltation. They went another way, lest they be a cause of injury to the Person to Whom they rendered homage in love and loyalty.
Finally, we see the hatred of Herod in having schemes to kill the child Jesus, by slaying all the children in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16). The world and its rulers still hate our Lord and His true worshippers. In such a world, may we be found as those who make haste, like the shepherds, to divine directions and instructions. May we live in the earnest enjoyment of our lively hope -like Simeon abounded in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, of seeing Him and being like Him. May we be taught to acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of the Lord's Person and work, expressing the same in audible worship and praise. May the happiness of Anna be ours, unto us who look for Him, may He soon appear the second time as we read in Heb. 9:28. Amidst all harm and hatred, pain and persecution, which Satanic powers are stirring up against His Church and saints in these end times, the Spirit of God may strengthen us to love and labour in the good of spiritual traits and features as seen in the individuals mentioned above and continue in our calling, not only for this Christmas but through the years He may grant us.
Please pray for God's servant Bro. Ambrose of Rajahmundry, for full recovery after his hospital- ization a month ago for prostate surgery.
Kindly pray for God's servant Bro. Habakkuk, as he also was hosoitalized for sometime and had to undergo a minor operation two weeks ago.
Pray for the ministry fulfilled by Bro. T. E. Koshy in Pakistan from 24th November till 12th December.
The Lord has been blessing the convocation at Bethany, Tera, from 6th December, following the dedication of the New Prayer House Canaan, at Jallandhar, on 4th December. Bros. Eddy Williams, J.C. Rao and myself, with others, are sharing the ministry of the Word in the gathering of nearly 400 on an average, drawn from various States.
Please pray for the comfort of Dr. Prakash, (One of the responsible brothers in the Church at Raikal), and his children as his wife Sis. Leela (the youngest daughter of late Dr. Dutt of Guntur) was suddenly called Home in a road accident on the 26th of November.
Praying that we may be granted abundant grace to worship and serve our King in His Kingdom, that cannot be removed, acceptably and in godly fear for His glory,
Phil. 3: 3,21 . I remain,
Micah 5: 2 Yours in His grace,
Zech. 9: 9, 17 K. PHILLIP
THE SECRET OF ENLARGEMENT
In Genesis 26 we have the record of the first time that God appeared to Isaac. At that time he was in a great depression because of the famine in the land. He was planning to go down into the land of Egypt, because in Gerar he could not get what he needed. It was a time of many difficulties, and he was about to disobey God. That is why at that time God appeared to him and said, "... Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of"(v.2).
The same applies to us also. Without finding God's will, we want to go to places where we will be able to get what we need. That is what many servants of God also are tempted to do. If they cannot get sufficient food or income in the place where they are staying, they want to go to places where their needs can be met. Thus, you find many have gone to Egypt, where they thought they could get more advantages rather than staying in the place, which God has ordained for them. Even though we have to go through hardships and sufferings, we should be in the place of God's will. Isaac obeyed God and stayed in the place where He told him to be. God reminded him that because of Abrah9ln"s obedience, He was going to bless him also.
In Genesis 26, Isaac obeyed God and so he was blessed because of Abraham's obedience. We see in verses 12 and 13 how God kept His Word and Isaac received in the same year a hundredfold. When we believe God's Word, even though things may be against us, what He has said will be fulfilled. In a short time, Isaac became very prosperous and wealthy, more than all the people in the land. We also will be rewarded abundantly if we obey, when God speaks to us through His Word. Though things may seem to be impossible to us, as we go on believing God and His Word, one day we will see God fulfill His Word. It does not mean we will not have any difficulties afterwards. By obeying God's Word we must have difficulties in our life, but what God has promised He will fulfill.
Because of the prosperity and divine favour Isaac enjoyed, the Philistines became envious and wanted to drive him away(Gen.26:14). Even so we shall find that as God helps and blesses us, we must be prepared for our enemies to become jealous of us. Jealousy may arise, for instance, when believers are shown favour by officers or given promotion in the office. They must seek to exercise patience and faith. Rather than involving himself in strife, Isaac moved away when the Philistines envied him. "And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after; the death of Abraham: and he called their names; after the names by which his father had called them (vs.17, 18).
The wells had been dug by Abraham but the Philistines had stopped them. Then Isaac began to dig because he wanted water, but the Philistines strove with him. Isaac had many servants and much wealth; he could easily have fought with those men; but he refused to be dragged into strife. He kept moving away. Even though he had suffering and loss, he refused to be dragged into strife and hatred. The name of the first well was 'Esek' that is, GONTENTION.
The name of the second well was 'Sitnah'; that is, HATRED. From there also he moved away. In the same way, people around us will try to drag us into strife and hatred by bringing false charges against us, and try to force us to quarrel. But as Isaac went away from contention and hatred we also must refuse to get involved in strife and hatred. Isaac left that well also and went away. He did not grieve God nor disobey Him.
Then the Lord took him to a place called 'Rehoboth', a large place. Because he moved away from hatred and contention, God gave him a better and a larger place. Then God appeared to him again(v.24), and showed him that because of His covenant with Abraham, he had the privilege of being a source of blessing to many people. God appeared to him again only after he had gone away from contention and hatred. So also when we keep our hearts free from hatred, enmity and jealousy, we find that we are automatically drawn closer to God. Other people, by insulting and abusing us, want to create in us hatred, jealousy and enmity. But if we are free from these things in our hearts, God will take our part and we will enjoy His presence much more.
Abimelech went with his friends to Isaac to ask forgiveness. Isaac said, "Wherefore come ye to me?" (v.27), and they replied, "We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee" (v.28). So also, if we go on trusting the Lord and keep our hearts free from hatred or jealousy, our enemies will one day apologize. They will recognize that they cannot do us any harm, because they have tried every possible means and have failed. In an unseen way, the Lord worked on Isaac's behalf (v.32). The enemy took away the two wells, Esek and Sitnah, which were dug by Abraham and then by the servants of Isaac. Abimelech and his men sought to make a quarrel, and took away the wells, but Isaac and his servants refused to quarrel and quietly went away. God gave them two better wells. One was called Rehoboth and the other Beersheba', meaning that, what God has promised will be fulfilled. Even though for a short time Isaac had suffered loss because of the first two wells, the Lord gave him a large heart and a large vision to go to a large place.
We too will have to go through many trials. The enemy wants us to have a small vision. We cannot see afar off. We find it difficult to forgive our enemies for very small things and we get hurt and wounded. God wants us to come to a large place as we read in Psa. 18:16-19. May the Lord bring us to a large place and give us a large heart and a large vision.