Bro. Mark's Encouraging Word of the Day
"In the early 1900s, William C. Poole, a Methodist pastor in Delaware, told preachers that a sermon should have enough humanity in it to get down on everyone’s level, to touch elbows and hearts and enough divinity in it to lift people up. That’s good advice for every Christian teacher or preacher. That’s the way the "Word" Himself was Jesus Christ. He took upon Himself humanity and came down here to touch elbows and hearts with us. But being God, He is also able to lift us up. Because Jesus is a man, He can sympathize with us. Because He is God, He can strengthen us. No matter what we’re experiencing in our life, we have a Savior who understands us completely."
"The chance and hope of winning the lottery is one in hundreds of millions. The possibility of finding real hope in Christ is one hundred percent. There is total hope in Him, hope for a confident life and hope for a continual future. It wasn’t random chance but divine design that sent us a Baby whose every heartbeat spells hope. Without the birth of Christ, we wouldn’t have salvation from sin and the certainty of eternity in heaven with our Heavenly Father. Thank God for the hope Christmas brings, for there’s not a chance of Jesus ever failing! It’s almost too limiting to say that we “celebrate" Christmas. We stare dumbstruck, lost in wonder, love, and praise God being born into our world."
"Those words, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you" startled Mary. She had no idea anyone was nearby. Whether she was at the village well, on a leisurely walk, or in her home, we don’t know. But she was definitely not alone! The angel Gabriel, who had appeared hundreds of years before to Daniel, appeared to her out of nowhere. His first word was a command, Rejoice! His next words were ones of grace: highly favored one. The next thing he said was a fact, the Lord is with you. On the basis of other Scriptures throughout the Word of God, we can claim those words for ourselves. We’re told in "to rejoice" We are told that God surrounds us with favor “as with a shield.” And dozens of Scriptures remind us of the Lord’s presence with us, “Fear not, for I am with you.” Just as the Lord was with Mary when she became Jesus’ mother, so He is with us, giving us the strength we need for the tasks we face and the burdens we bear."
"Parents long for the time when their children transition from asking, “Do I have to?” to completing a task before even being asked. It’s the difference between obligation and willingness. It’s one thing to do something because we are obligated to do it. It’s another thing to do it willingly without thought of reward or remuneration. Imagine if when the angel Gabriel approached the young Mary with the message of the conception of Jesus, she had said to Gabriel, “Do I have to?” Mary had already passed from obligation to willingness when it came to serving God. That’s why she described herself as the “maidservant of the Lord.” “Maidservant” is the Greek translation of doule or bondservant, a servant who had willingly placed himself or herself into submission to a master. Mary was ready and willing to serve God. Let Mary be an example for you this Christmas season, an example of willing service to God and others."
"Each of the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life were addressed to a unique audience, Matthew’s account being written for Jewish readers. Fifteen times in Matthew the author refers to Old Testament prophecies being “fulfilled” through the birth, life, and ministry of Jesus. This emphasis on fulfillment was to convince Jewish readers that Jesus was the promised Messiah .One of the plainest instances of Matthew’s purpose is found in Matthew 1:22&23: “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet." Matthew was referring to the prophecy that a virgin would bear a Son as a sign that God was with the people (Immanuel). And Matthew wrote that Mary was the virgin and Jesus was the Son who was “God with us.” Matthew wanted his readers to know not only that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah but also that God fulfills His promises. Just as God kept His promise two thousand years ago, so He will keep His promises today. He is still Immanuel, God with us, and we can trust His every promise."