Saturday, December 15, 2018

December 16, 2018

"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

The angel came bringing good news!

And not just good news - good news of great joy!

That announcement presupposes that there was some bad news going on. Uh, yeah! This proclamation came to a people whose politics were bad news. They lived under Roman oppression. And their economy was bad news. They earned very little and much of what they did earn went to the Romans. There was an ultra-wealthy ruling class and a lot of really poor folks and no welfare program. Even worse, their religion was a disaster! It was oppressive, demanding, impersonal and corrupt. This was the world the average Jew lived in! And there was no hope on the horizon!

But then in a remote pasture to some lonely shepherds, hope came! Good news was announced!

As a pastor, I live in a world of bad news. Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear some bad news about someone. I have my own bad news to deal with, too. How do I cope with all the bad news? What am I to do in an ever worsening economy, an ever expanding increasingly oppressive government, and a religion that is daily attacked and minimized?

What are you to do?

Well, I am a minister of "the Gospel". What is the "Gospel"? The "Gospel" means "good news"! In a world of bad news I believe the good news! The very same good news that the angel brought to the shepherds! The good news that Christ has come! A Savior is born! The Savior died for my sins to conquer sin and rose again to conquer death! For me! For you! For everyone who believes and receives the good news!

Am I to deny the bad news? Am I to ignore it? No! I speak good news to it! I deal with bad news in the power of the good news. I live in the knowledge the the good news is more powerful and longer lasting than the bad news! The good news is more real than the bad news! The good news means more and brings more joy in light of the bad news! My hope is in the good news!

As we move into this week before Christmas and as you celebrate Christmas at your church and with your family and in your quiet time with the Lord, rejoice at the reality of the "Gospel" the good news of salvation! God has conquered sin and death and through the power of the good news living in and through you and me He is conquering evil. Rejoice that the bad news will end but the good news is eternal - and only gets better!

That is your good news report for today!

December 15, 2018

"Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1:18-20

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month." Luke 1:34-36

Have you ever noticed how most people find it easier to believe bad news than to believe good news?

When Zachariah and Mary were presented with some of the best news ever shared, they questioned it. Understandable - but not acceptable
However, it is encouraging to notice how Gabriel responded in each case. He gave them evidence! And I believe he did so because he understood that they wanted to believe but they weren't used to such good news! so, he helped them!

In Zachariah's case, he struck him dumb, so he could not speak. At first glance it looked like a judgment, but I believe it was evidence. I think it was for Zachariah's benefit. How better to believe a supernatural report than to see something supernatural happen?

For Mary, the angel gave her two proofs, a longer-term proof - pregnancy; and a shorter term proof - her formerly barren cousin, Elizabeth's pregnancy.

Here's the good news I get from both of these examples, God not only asks to have faith, He gives it to us! When He knows we really want to believe He will give us evidence to believe. I like that! I need that!

Now on my part, I need to work on my faith until I find it easier to believe good news from God, from His Word, and by His Spirit. I must condition my faith to expect good things from the Hand of God and to know that He will also turn the bad news into good in His time! That is my part! But I can even count on His grace to help me there! And I can condition my heart and mind and spirit by saturating them in the Word of God.

So this is the good news of Christmas - for those who believe and those who are wanting to believe more - there really is only good news! There is immediate good news and there is ultimate good news! That is the God we serve! Christmas is the evidence!