The sun shone brightly off the pond behind our apartment. Despite the summer heat, a pleasant breeze made the screened-in back porch comfortable. Nearby ducks searched the grass for food as squirrels chased each other between the trees. Everything seemed alive and fresh—the green grass, the clear water and the blue sky. Here, surrounded by nature I liked to read.
Suddenly I noticed four potted plants resting upon the window ledge. One was dead; another had been overrun by weeds. Just two were alive, but they needed water. Grabbing a nearby jug, I decided to water those plants. It was the least I could do.
Soon a tiny pond formed at the base of these pots. I stopped pouring for I did not want water to spill over the ledge. From behind the plants, a small lizard—an anole—popped out of hiding. At about two inches long, it could easily have hidden between the plant and the window screen.
I had to watch. Somehow I had the feeling that an event was about to occur. Slowly, cautiously the anole crept to the edge of the water. It extended its neck, and reaching down, began to drink, as ripples vibrated.
For that moment everything seemed to stop. This little creature was thirsty, and, for a brief time, let its guard down. The potted plants, the ledge, and the window screen created a little world of safety and serenity for the anole. For it, this was an oasis. After a few seconds it had its fill. The anole turned around and quickly slithered behind the plants, back to safety.
It was such a small and simple act—an ordinary ritual. Yet there was a beauty, as this made life seem in harmony. Ducks waddled, squirrels scampered to and fro, and this little lizard took a drink.
Once again small things provided glimpses of truth: life has a design. It has a purpose. Everything is interconnected—the water, the plant, the anole and myself. We all are but bit players in the cosmic play.
I felt connected, and at peace. I returned to my book.
Yeshua went into the wilderness to be tested by the devil for forty days and forty nights. Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread but Yeshua told him, that man cannot live on bread alone. Then the devil told him to jump down from a very high point of the Temple; again, Yeshua replied: " I will not put my God to the test." Finally the Satan showed Yeshua all the kingdoms of the world, which he would give him, if he would only worship him once. Yeshua said: " Be gone, Satan! You must worship God alone."
In our text today, Yeshua reveals to us the only way we can succeed against the temptations of Satan. Yeshua was in the desert for forty days and forty nights, no doubt he was hungry, thirsty and tired but he was not too exhausted to put the devil and his cheap tricks in his place. "Give into God, then resist the devil, and he will run away from you." (James: 4:7). Everyday of our life the devil lurks to see can he find a way to make us do something evil. Often we only realize it after he once again has succeeded. Sometimes we try to defeat him with good resolutions, many of them will be made tomorrow night. Those resolutions will only last until his next attack. Sooner or later we feel so tired and the worst will occur, we stop fighting him altogether. " Be strong, stand firm, have no fear of them, no terror, for Yahweh your God is going with you; he will not fail you nor desert you." ( Deut: 31:6). By now we should realize, that we cannot put the devil on the run with our own remedies. That is why this text is so important. It reveals to us, yes, the devil knows the scriptures; and that is why we need to know them as well. The devil is a liar and can only be fought with the truth of God. Yeshua revealed to us how the devil needs to be approached. Do not tell him how you feel or how terrible he is, he knows that. But remind him how God feels about him, fight him with Yahweh's truth, that is the only way we can penetrate him and he will leave. " Put God's armor on so as to be able to resist the devil's tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the sovereigneties and powers who orientate the darkness of the world..." ( Ephesians: 6: 11-12). So if we are still searching for a New Year's resolution, let's study and learn God's scriptures, so we can say: " Away with you, Satan!"
Prayer: Yeshua, give us a willing spirit , so we can learn your word. Let it become an armor of protection for us against evil and Satan's tactics. Write your word upon our hearts, so we can always stand firm! Amen
You Mary, you gave birth to God,
placed him in the poor manger,
probably your heart felt the pain
that like all other children, he
did not have his own crib,
you know, he loved the manger more,
so small and helpless,
but he was peaceful and secure,
because you and Joseph
have been watching over Him.
How you sung to him quietly,
how you hugged him,
when you would lift him on your knees,
and gently rocking him,
or when you would tell him those beautiful stories
about the old history, of Jewish,
and when you would hold him in your tender hands,
and kissed him, often you would shed a tear,
tear of happiness.
How wonderful are those early days for mothers,
how wonderful it is to have a baby,
those little hands that hug you
and big eyes that look at you,
let the universe pass, let the world end,
but mother does not see nothing but her child.
And there is something else
I would like to know,
Mother how is it up there among the stars,
how are you venerated by seraphims and cherubims
what is the Haven like when the angel's song arises,
and you shepherds tell me,
what kind of voice do angels have,
I would like to know that
and I would like to know how it is to be close to God,
how it is when you look at Him in the face,
how is it when His light illuminates you?
And a few more things I would like to know,
can I up there hear the song of the canary,
or happy swallows
as in the summer days in my homeland,
are up there as here
beautiful meadows and flowers,
are there any clear streams and high waterfalls,
I know I'm curious but I would like to know,
if I make it to you one day,
and you know I'll do my best to;
Will I ever see that joy of Bethlehem?
Will I be able to see little Christ?
And what was it like in the holy night?
You know, that's what I would like to know.
I know you hear me, Mother,
maybe your smile was elicited by
my child's desire,
but we were all childrens once,
we were all joys of our mothers,
although I'm not a kid anymore,
I would be sorry
to extinguish my childish dreams in me,
let it remain some of the joys of childhood,
let it remain some memory of smallness,
let it remain a bit of Christmas in me.
The best way to honor the celebration of Christmas is to contemplate the reality of the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. In the history of Gods people as recorded in the Old Testament, the focal point of prophets and dreamers, hopeful leaders and humble servants, was the promise. God spoke this promise to Adam and Eve in the garden as they realized the fruit of their rebellion was death and darkness and separation from the true source of love and life.
Jesus fulfilled this promise as the Messiah, in Hebrew Jeshua Hamashiach. We celebrate because the fulfillment brings us the affirmation of truth, hope, and life.
The prophecies given in the Old Testament are recorded as fulfilled in the New Testament. The Bible is like the two sides of a coin, one side part of the other. The Old Testament predicts the coming of the Messiah, the New Testament confirms the fulfillment of these predictions.
The odds of any one person fulfilling prophecy in this manner is described in a quote from the blog ” Y-Jesus.”
“Bible scholars tell us that nearly 300 references to 61 specific prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled by Jesus Christ. The odds against one person fulfilling that many prophecies would be beyond all mathematical possibility. It could never happen, no matter how much time was allotted.”
The following prophecies are but a few of the many given in scripture.
Jeshua Hamashiach would be;
The seed of a woman
Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Hebrews 2:14 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil”
The descendant of Abraham
Genesis 12: 1-3 “Then the Lord said to Abraham…..I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The descendant of David
2 Samuel 7: 12-16 “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
The star coming out of Jacob
Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth."
From the tribe of Judah
Genesis 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Luke 3:34 “the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,”
Luke 3:23-33 “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph…the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,”
The prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ
Born in Bethlehem
Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
Matthew 2:1 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.”
Born of a Virgin
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Matthew 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
Messiah would come
As Gods Son
Psalm 2:1-12 “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their …"
John 6:32 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Luke 4:16-19 “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
from Isaiah 61: 18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
John 6:37-38 “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me.”
As The Son of Man
Daniel 7:13-14 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples…"
Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As the Passover lamb
Exodus 12:1-51 “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb …"
John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
As the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,”
Matthew 1:23 “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.”
The Messiahs plan
He will bring a new covenant
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,"
Luke 22:20 “After supper, he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you”
The prophecies of the life of Jesus Christ
His miraculous power
Isaiah 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;"
Matthew 11: 4-6 “And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.”
The prophecies of the death of Jesus Christ
His suffering and death
Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 “Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind….”
Psalm 22:16 “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”
John 20:25-27 “But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Psalm 16: 8-11 “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”
Luke 24:4-6 “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen”
The Messiah returns
The second coming of Jesus Christ
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep …"
Waiting for Fulfillment
1 Thessalonians 4:16 -18 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Revelation 1:7 “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him–even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen.”
Revelation 21: "Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty, I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life."