Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Gift to You

Merry Christmas! I love this time of year. What an amazing opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Some may not know who Jesus is, though. Some may not understand He is the Promised Messiah, born so that we might live! Prophets throughout the Old Testament foretold of His coming, giving hope and peace to those who were looking forward to Him and giving proof to those of us who would come after His appearance.

This year, as a gift to you, I wanted to share a list of 44 prophecies that Jesus Christ fulfilled. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, as He actually fulfilled over 300 prophecies given in the Old Testament. The chances of Him fulfilling even one or two as exact as He did would be slim. Actually, according to researchers, the odds of even just eight prophecies being fulfilled exactly as they happened have been shown to be similar to the odds of filling the state of Texas with silver dollars, about 2 feet tall and having a blind-folded person go in and pick out a single, pre-marked silver dollar correctly! But when God is the One giving the prophecy, He can fulfill each one exactly as He says. And He did!

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth; peace and good will toward all men!" 

44 Prophecies Jesus Christ Fulfilled

1. Messiah would be born of a woman.
Genesis 3:15 - Prophecy
Matthew 1:20 - Fulfillment
Galatians 4:4 - Fulfillment

2. Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 - Prophecy
Matthew 2:1 - Fulfillment
Luke 2:4-6 - Fulfillment

3. Messiah would be born of a virgin.
Isaiah 7:14 - Prophecy
Matthew 1:22-23 - Fulfillment
Luke 1:26-31 - Fulfillment

4. Messiah would come from the line of Abraham.
Genesis 12:3 - Prophecy
Genesis 22:18 - Prophecy
Matthew 1:1 - Fulfillment
Romans 9:5 - Fulfillment

5. Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac.
Genesis 17:19 - Prophecy
Genesis 21:12 - Prophecy
Luke 3:34 - Fulfillment

6. Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob.
Numbers 24:17 - Prophecy
Matthew 1:2 - Fulfillment

7. Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.
Genesis 49:10 - Prophecy
Luke 3:33 - Fulfillment
Hebrews 7:14 - Fulfillment

8. Messiah would be heir to King David's throne.
2 Samuel 7:12-13 - Prophecy
Isaiah 9:7 - Prophecy
Luke 1:32-33 - Fulfillment
Romans 1:3 - Fulfillment

9. Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal.
Psalm 45:6-7 - Prophecy
Daniel 2:44 - Prophecy
Luke 1:33 - Fulfillment
Hebrews 1:8-12 - Fulfillment

10. Messiah would be called Immanuel (God with us).
Isaiah 7:14 - Prophecy
Matthew 1:23 - Fulfillment

11. Messiah would spend a season in Egypt.
Hosea 11:1 - Prophecy
Matthew 2:14-15 - Fulfillment

12. A massacre of children would happen at Messiah's birthplace.
Jeremiah 31:15 - Prophecy
Matthew 2:16-18 - Fulfillment

13. A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah
Isaiah 40:3-5 - Prophecy
Luke 3:3-6 - Fulfillment

14. Messiah would be rejected by his own people.
Psalm 69:8 - Prophecy
Isaiah 53:3 - Prophecy
John 1:11 - Fulfillment
John 7:5 - Fulfillment

15. Messiah would be a prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:15 - Prophecy
Acts 3:20-22 - Fulfillment

16. Messiah would be preceded by Elijah.
Malachi 4:5-6 - Prophecy
Matthew 11:13-14 - Fulfillment

17. Messiah would be declared the Son of God.
Psalm 2:7 - Prophecy
Matthew 3:16-17 - Fulfillment

18. Messiah would be called a Nazarene.
Isaiah 11:1 - Prophecy
Matthew 2:23 - Fulfillment

19. Messiah would bring light to Galilee.
Isaiah 9:1-2 - Prophecy
Matthew 4:13-16 - Fulfillment

20. Messiah would speak in parables.
Psalm 78:2-4 - Prophecy
Isaiah 6:9-10 - Prophecy
Matthew 13:10-15,34-35 - Fulfillment

21. Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted.
Isaiah 61:1-2 - Prophecy
Luke 4:18-19 - Fulfillment

22. Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Psalm 110:4 - Prophecy
Hebrews 5:5-6 - Fulfillment

23. Messiah would be called King.
Psalm 2:6 - Prophecy
Zechariah 9:9 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:37 - Fulfillment
Mark 11:7-11 - Fulfillment

24. Messiah would be praised by little children.
Psalm 8:2 - Prophecy
Matthew 21:16 - Fulfillment

25. Messiah would be betrayed.
Psalm 41:9 - Prophecy
Zechariah 11:12-13 - Prophecy
Luke 22:47-48 - Fulfillment
Matthew 26:14-16 - Fulfillment

26. Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter's field.
Zechariah 11:12-13 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:9-10 - Fulfillment

27. Messiah would be falsely accused.
Psalm 35:11 - Prophecy
Mark 14:57-58 - Fulfillment

28. Messiah would be silent before his accusers.
Isaiah 53:7 - Prophecy
Mark 15:4-5 - Fulfillment

29. Messiah would be spat upon and struck.
Isaiah 50:6 - Prophecy
Matthew 26:67 - Fulfillment

30. Messiah would be hated without cause.
Psalm 35:19 - Prophecy
Psalm 69:4 - Prophecy
John 15:24-25 - Fulfillment

31. Messiah would be crucified with criminals.
Isaiah 53:12 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:38 - Fulfillment 
Mark 15:27-28 - Fulfillment

32. Messiah would be given vinegar to drink.
Psalm 69:21 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:34 - Fulfillment
John 19:28-30 - Fulfillment

33. Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced.
Psalm 22:16 - Prophecy
Zechariah 12:10 - Prophecy
John 20:25-27 - Fulfillment

34. Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed.
Psalm 22:7-8 - Prophecy
Luke 23:35 - Fulfillment

35. Soldiers would gamble for Messiah's garments.
Psalm 22:18 - Prophecy
Luke 23:34 - Fulfillment
Matthew 27:35-36 - Fulfillment

36. Messiah’s bones would not be broken.
Exodus 12:46 - Prophecy
Psalm 34:20 - Prophecy
John 19:33-36 - Fulfillment

37. Messiah would be forsaken by God.
Psalm 22:1 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:46 - Fulfillment

38. Messiah would pray for his enemies.
Psalm 109:4 - Prophecy
Luke 23:34 - Fulfillment

39. Soldiers would pierce Messiah's side.
Zechariah 12:10 - Prophecy
John 19:34 - Fulfillment

40. Messiah would be buried with the rich.
Isaiah 53:9 - Prophecy
Matthew 27:57-60 - Fulfillment

41. Messiah would resurrect from the dead.
Psalm 16:10 - Prophecy
Psalm 49:15 - Fulfillment
Matthew 28:2-7 - Fulfillment
Acts 2:22-32 - Fulfillment

42. Messiah would ascend to heaven.
Psalm 24:7-10 - Prophecy
Mark 16:19 - Fulfillment
Luke 24:51 - Fulfillment

43. Messiah would be seated at God's right hand.
Psalm 68:18 - Prophecy
Psalm 110:1 - Prophecy
Mark 16:19 - Fulfillment
Matthew 22:44 - Fulfillment

44. Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin.
Isaiah 53:5-12 - Prophecy

Romans 5:6-8 - Fulfillment

This Christmas, please consider the baby born in Bethlehem who spent His first night on earth in a manger. What if He truly was the Messiah? What if He truly did come to earth to live a sinless life and die a sinner's death so you and I can have an opportunity to have a restored relationship with God through His sacrifice? My friend, this could be the best Christmas you've ever had! I pray you will know Him this Christmas and that you will trust Him with your life. He loves you so much.

Knowing Jesus is a matter of reaching out to Him in faith. He is right here with you, in this moment. Speak to Him in prayer, from your heart. Here's an example of a prayer you can speak, but please know that your salvation does not come from a prayer - but from your heart. If you speak these words, but don't have conviction in your heart about what they are actually saying, it's just words. Your commitment comes from a true belief - a firm conviction, a full surrender. Your life will reflect that commitment! 

Father, thank you for sending Your Son to the earth as a humble servant and for living a sinless life. Thank you for dying for me and for the strength you showed as you hung on the cross - taking on my sin and shame. I admit that I am a sinner. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short, and I am no exception. I admit that I have lived my life for me and for me alone. But I am tired of living my life for me. I want to live my life for You! I humbly ask you to forgive me for my sin and to take my life into your hands. I give you my heart. Please, give me Yours. Give me strength to live for You and help me to know when I am going my own way. I know You don't expect me to be perfect, but I also know You can give me strength to make the choices You want me to make by the power of your Spirit. I ask you to fill me with Your Spirit. I want to live for You alone and I trust You to help me do that. Thank you, Lord! You are so good to me. Merry Christmas.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

For more information or to speak to someone about who Jesus is and why knowing Him is so important, please visit

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Standing for Christ

I've always been so intrigued by the story of Stephen in Acts, chapter 7. He was a man so full of Jesus and so full of His love that the Pharisees (religious leaders) just hated him. They accused him of blasphemy and even stoned him to death as he preached to them out of the overflow of love he had for them. He desperately wanted them to know the truth about Jesus. He knew their eternity was at stake. He knew that without Jesus, they would be eternally separated from God. So he poured his heart out to them with one of the most beautiful sermons in the New Testament.

But they wouldn't listen. Instead, they stoned him.

A young man named Saul was there, cheering them on with every blow. Yes, the same Saul that later became Paul - the Apostle whom God used to pen about two thirds of the New Testament! Jesus can change even the hearts of those we think are beyond hope; the ones who are so against Him that they persecute and even kill Jesus' followers! Nobody is beyond His grip of grace.

It is very clear in the Bible that Jesus is seated at God's right hand, yet in this story Stephen sees Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. He mentions it twice. I've always believed it was because when we stand up for Jesus, we can be assured that He stands up for us. Our faith brings Him to His feet!

As I read this morning in Beth Moore's book Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith, tears fell down my face. I realized after I read it the third time that I wanted to share it with you because it perfectly describes what Jesus may have felt as He watched Stephen and Saul that day:
Remember, Christ was up on His feet at the time (see vs 56). Can you imagine the alloy of emotions He must have experienced as He looked on the two key players in the Kingdom that day? One FOR Him; one AGAINST Him. One covered in blood; the other covered in prayer shawls. One who could not save himself from men; the other who could not save himself from sin. One dead in body but alive in spirit; one alive in body but dead in spirit. One loved by God; the other loved by God. Grace, grace, God's grace. 
Just a day in the life of Stephen. A shooting star. He had one brief performance. One chance on stage. But it was absolutely unforgettable. As the curtain fell on his life, he received a standing ovation from the only One who really mattered. I have a feeling that seconds later the two of them hadn't changed positions much. Christ was still on His feet. Stephen was still crumpled to his knees. How sweet to imagine the first heavenly words that day: "Welcome, Stephan's, My joy and My crown."
I wonder if seeing Stephen die for his faith had an impact on the heart of Saul (who later becomes the Apostle Paul?) Right before Stephen passed away, he asked God to forgive those who were stoning him! My heart tells me you cannot watch something so powerful without having something happen in your heart. What an encouragement to know that even when we don't realize it, people are watching. Our stand for Christ could plant a seed in their heart that could eventually produce beautiful fruit!

May we all have courage to stand for Christ, even in the most difficult of circumstances. I believe our days here on earth are going to get harder and harder and it will take a lot more courage and faith for us to stand for what is right and for what we believe as Christians as the days grow darker. Our love for people and for Christ can compel us to do the right thing and this true story about Stephen can give us a glimpse of the grace that God will give us in those difficult moments.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Five Ways to Gain Confidence as a Parent

Of all the roles I play in life, I have to admit that mothering is probably the one area that I am the most insecure with at times. I want so desperately to be a good mom. And when someone belittles me as a mother, it hurts deeply. When I get into the comparison trap and begin to compare my mothering skills with the skills of other (more perfect!) mothers, I fall into insecurity - big time!

Being a mother for the past twenty-five years, I’ve learned some important and life-changing things that have really helped me to fight these common insecurities. There are actually five specific things that have really seemed to help not only gain confidence, but let them go, as they get older:

1. Teach Them About Jesus. Every day, I want to teach them about the only One who will never fail them. As long as the emphasis isn’t on me making their lives perfect or holding them together, they won’t hold me to that expectation. The only One who can live up to that expectation is Jesus Christ! So, I teach them about Him. I share how much He loves them. And I do my best to live a life that shows them that He is the only One I trust with my life. I teach them to love His Word and how important knowing His Word is in their lives. I ask them often, “Have you been in God’s Word lately? What is He teaching you?”

2. Pray for Them Daily. My mom heart wants to make it “all better” for my kids, but sometimes they have to learn things the hard way. This takes a lot of self-restraint on my part and the only way I make it through is by praying for my children. I know God hears. I know He loves them even more than I do! And when I pray for them, it makes it so much easier for me to trust Him with their lives – even when it seems like they are falling apart. When I pray, I realize things are really just falling into place for them.

3. Be Open and Authentic. I don’t mince words. I don’t avoid topics that are hard.  As a matter of fact, I often encourage my kids to talk to me about the hard stuff. And I try not to act surprised when I hear something a bit hard to hear. I want my kids to talk to me about things because I know that if they don’t talk to me, they will talk to someone! I want to give them eternal perspectives on their problems and their life issues. I try not to judge them, but try to help them make judgments for themselves, based on their values, morals and faith – not on how the world sees things.

4. Model Humility.  Your children do not expect you to be perfect. They need to see you as a real person with flaws, so it’s important to admit and apologize when you mess up. There are times when I’m very wrong in my judgments of things or sometimes I just blow it with a temper tantrum. Rather than be prideful and tell them, “It’s okay for me, I’m an adult!” I admit I was wrong, ask forgiveness and ask God to give me wisdom not to do it again. I am always surprised how quick they are to forgive. They have mentioned to me several times how much they appreciate that I do this. They see a pattern of how they are to live their lives, too. I remember the first time I did this, I was afraid it would make them respect me less. The opposite has happened. They respected me more for it. They never expected me to be perfect in the first place. It’s nice for them to hear me admit that and to model humility.

5. Allow Them to Make Choices and Mistakes.  This is by far the hardest lesson I’ve learned so far. I have to start trusting them at some point. As they get older, I allow them to make choices on their own and sometimes, unfortunately, they must learn the hard way that the choice may not have been the right one. Then, they have consequences. As a mom, I try to allow them to feel the sting of those consequences without cushioning it. I would rather they feel those consequences and learn than make those same choices again. At some point, our kids have to start taking ownership for their lives. I’ve learned that when they begin to get older and make those decisions for themselves, it’s easier if they begin to do that under our roof, rather than out of the house and without our guidance.

I truly want my children to make decisions from their heart, not because it’s what I want – but because it’s what they know is right and it’s what they want. How will I teach them anything if I’m constantly giving them no choice? I trust that the values, morals and faith that my husband and I have taught them will help guide them and give them the strength to do the right thing. And if they do not choose what is right, the consequences will be life’s teacher in their lives. So you see, this is the hard one. It requires trust – not only trusting my children, but also trusting the Holy Spirit to guide them and help them along life’s way. Only He is with them all the time! I cannot even come close to that.

One final note - just as I cannot take credit when my children make good choices, I cannot blame myself when they make wrong choices. At some point, they must grow up, choose for themselves and take responsibility for their own actions. Trust that no matter what they choices, the wisdom, guidance and love you've given over the years will win out at some point. Cling to that when you feel they are slipping away. God sees. God knows. God cares.
I won’t always get it right and there are times when I mess up royally, but I’m so thankful we serve a God who is gracious, loving and forgiving. My prayer is that my children will grow up not only knowing Him, but also showing His grace, love and forgiveness to others (including me!).

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

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