December 16

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 18
     Revelation 7
     Zechariah 3
     John 6
''Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH." (Zechariah 3:8)
            On one occasion, I read the story of a woman who hurriedly purchased 50 Christmas cards a few days before Christmas without looking at the message inside. She quickly signed and addressed all but one, and then dropped them in the mailbox. Just imagine her dismay when, later, she glanced inside the one un-mailed card, and read the message she had sent to 49 friends: Thiscardisjusttosayalittlegiftisontheway.
            No doubt, there were 49 people wondering what happened to their gift. How different was God's promise to us. Many years before the Savior was born, the Lord spoke through the prophets, and told us that the gift was on the way. More than 100 times in the Old Testament, we have prophecies of the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we have over 300 prophecies of His Second Coming in the Old Testament.
            Hoseashows us the love of Christ that will not let us go. Isaiahrevealed the Suffering Savior, and described His passion in great detail. Isaiah also announced His Second Advent and His glorious millennial Kingdom. Micaheven named the place of His birth. Jeremiahcarried the compassionate characteristics of Messiah in his own life. Ezekieland Zechariahpoint us ahead to the time when Jesus will come again to establish His Kingdom. Zechariah's picture of the coming Messiah stirs the soul. This great King is to come as the Prince of Peace. Isaiah said, ''Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7: 14) In Isaiah 6:9 we read, ''For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given.
            Did God keep His word? Indeed He did. Galatians 4:4 said, ''When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son." Now, we come to an obscure verse in the prophecy of Zechariah. This great prophet said, ''I am sending My Servant, theBRANCH." The Lord Jesus Christ was, of course, the Branch of God Himself that reached out and changed the world. That is what Christmas and the season is all about. We do not have to depend upon the silly notions of our culture.
          In the day of illusionsand other confusions, and upon our delusions, we base our conclusions.
            As believers, we have a certainty that the Christmas story is not a pleasant little fairy tale. It is not about Santa Claus, Frosty, and Christmas trees. His birth was not even like some of the fantasies projected in our Christmas carols.                 The mighty Ancient of Days came into the world of delusions, illusions, and confusions as a helpless, homeless baby, and became the Savior who shed His blood for all mankind. It was indeed a mighty King in that manger in Bethlehem's barn. The Old Testament writers had been telling us for generations that He was coming, and exactly what He would be like. His coming was precisely on time and a gift that will never disappoint.  Hallelujah!
            All the people of Mauritania are unreached. There is no group of people here that has any established church of indigenous leadership. There are only a handful of believers, and they have an awesome assignment. Pray for those who are seeking to know the truth and that God may speak to them despite the lack of opportunities.
''Unless we perform divine service with every willing act of our life, we never perform it at all."
John Ruskin