POINT OF INSPIRATION
Luke says as these shepherds watched their flocks during the night, the glory of God shined all around them. Now can you imagine that? It’s pitch black and then, suddenly, everything around them is illuminated! Then an angel appears and announces that the awaited Savior of the world has been born and is lying in swaddling clothes in a manger in Bethlehem. But it’s still not over. Besides this angelic messenger and the glory of God that is all around them, a vast, multitude of angels appears praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (2:13).
Scripture uses death to identify man’s greatest enemy and there’s nothing man fears more. When a person expires, losing all vital signs, doctors, medicine, and science stand powerless in its presence. Only God can resurrect. But this sermon doesn’t deal with the physical cessation of life, it deals with death of a different nature. The death of God’s divinely inspired promises and visions. I’m persuaded that many Christians are in the gestation stage of a specific promise God has given them. Perhaps years ago He planted a dream and you’re still awaiting its fruition. Maybe even hope has begged you to admit that promise is dead. But the God that resurrected Christ from the dead can resurrect your promise.
In Psalm 32, David proclaims the blessedness of the one whose sins are forgiven. And he does this in a unique way. He uses three expressions for sin and then employs three expressions of God’s pardon for sin. Here’s what I mean: David called one category of sins transgressions, which indicates “rebellion against God”; another he simply called sin, which describes “knowingly missing the mark”; and the third category he called iniquity, which speaks of a “vile perversion.” Those terms cover the entire gamut of our sinfulness—major and minor. But then after showing us three categories of sin he uses three expressions to show how God pardons our sins:
Moses had completed his 40-year mission of guiding the Israelites through the wilderness, now the Promised Land was but a few steps away. Canaan was 60% desert, with approximately two-million Jews ready to inherit it, but what good would this land be without water? So before the Israelites took one step into their inheritance, Moses combined God’s promise to grant them land with his promise to grant them water: “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills” (Dt.8:7). I have a question: How could God possibly fulfill this promise when Canaan was 60% desert? Where were these “brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out”? God answered this question in Isaiah. . . .
What makes the Last Days unique? As the Prophets and Apostles described them, they included dark sayings, foreboding warnings, and coded messages. Did you know that the dispensation known as the Last Days has a definite starting point? But equally important, Jesus and the Apostles embedded a dynamic “Call to Action” to Christians for these days that must not be ignored! Additionally, there is a primary message, along with an overriding objective, for all people to recognize. Finally, the Bible includes a preset day of termination for the Last Days.
Let’s journey back several thousand years to Jerusalem during Passover week. This was the holiest of the seven Hebrew festivals that attracted thousands of worshipers. Some traveled hundreds of miles to attend this celebration in the religious capital of the world—Jerusalem. What a sight it must have been! For seven days the Priests appeared in their royal apparel, led the people in worship, offered sacrifices, and blew shofars (2 Chronicles 30:21). Everything was leading to the Day of Atonement when the High Priest would present the blood of a Passover lamb for the people’s sins. Not only was Jerusalem sightly its aroma was pungent.
Of all experiences that exhilarate people, chief among them is when God speaks directly to the human soul. One inspired word to a thirsty, hungry traveler can refresh and sustain more than a thousand meals. It was Elijah who heard God’s instruction to “rise and eat” that received nourishment to navigate 285 miles for the following forty days
The Disciplines of Champions