I sit here thinking about a new year…2014. Based on Scripture as it speaks of the “last days,” combined with what we’ve seen for the last few years, I’m anticipating even greater defection from God throughout our country. Who would have thought—gays in the Boy Scouts, atheist “churches,” same sex marriage now legal in sixteen States? We have an unprecedented number of “Christians” who have separated themselves from the church, even though the Scripture tells us to not forsake gathering together “and so much more as you see the Day approaching.” And… license plate covers like the one shown here represent the “in your face” mocking of our loving God and Savior.
Ok, I could go on and on here, but I won’t. The last days “defection” is happening before our eyes. Right becoming wrong and wrong becoming right is happening just as we were told. This will lead to us reaping what are sowing—sow to the flesh and reap destruction. Most authorities are not trusted, many kids are out of control, greed and selfishness seems to reign.
The asleep church needs to wake up, stand up, and speak up! Christians need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk! God’s judgment is upon us. His Word says that everything that can be shaken will be shaken, until only that which cannot be shaken will remain. Even though it doesn’t look like it right now, the foundation of Jesus Christ and the eternal Word of God will stand, and anything outside of God that we are trusting in, will be shaken—will become so unstable that we cannot put our trust in it. Prepare yourselves! Know God’s Word! Develop a closer/ stronger relationship with God! He and His Word will be what sustains you in the days ahead.
The birth of our first grandson a little over three months ago caused us to revisit the feelings of expectation. As we watched Cassi's pregnancy progression--as the time drew near, expectations began to rise. Likewise, when Jesus was born, He became the fulfillment of expectation for those who were looking for His coming. At Delphi First Assembly of God, this coming Sunday, December, 22nd, at our 9:30am service, we'll look at those who were "expecting," and how their dreams were fulfilled.
Lost hope in this life? Expectations of good things happening diminished? Future look dim to you? Come join the crowd who live with daily expectation--the true Church! Although negative things are all around, and we all deal with disappointments, there IS a God!!! Our experience at Christmas ought to remind us that God fulfills His promises! Come expecting!!!
When you think of Christmas, people's thoughts turn to Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the shepherds, the wise men, angelic announcements, etc. The person least thought of seems to be Joseph. People look at Mary, sometimes bringing her to almost God-like status, but don't think twice about Joseph. Did God hand-pick Mary, and...oh yes, Joseph's in only as a result of being the one pledged to be married to her? I contend that Joseph was as much a hand-picked choice of God as anyone in this story.
Here's a few thoughts. Soon after the wedding announcement Joseph finds that Mary is pregnant--and not with his baby. If he had a quick tempered response, he would have the Old Testament law applied to her and had her stoned--Mary dies...and so does the baby within her. But this righteous, self-controlled, godly man does not. Instead he has enough peace to go to sleep, and while asleep, an angel tells him what's going on...and to take Mary as his wife.
To submit his will to God, now his reputation is in shambles. Who really believes this is NOT his child--out of wedlock! Then he faces the frustration of the Romans making all descendants travel to the land of their ancestry to register for a census--and right when Mary is 9 months pregnant. And angry, rebellious man would not have taken this 70 mile trip...and the Scriptures that say the Savior would be born in Bethlehem would not have happened. You see, once again God had a plan. It brought frustration to those involved--but being Spirit-led rather than give in to emotional responses, allowed God's will to unfold.
How many of us delay or kill God's plan because we have to have it our way? There's so much more to this story (my Dec. 1st message, archived on our website).
Let's suffice to say that for God's plan to unfold as it had to, God needed a man who cared more about the will of God and his wife than relieving his own frustrations by taking matters into his own hands. Yes, Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, was just the kind of man God was looking for.
Pastor Brent Oliver grew up in Kokomo, Indiana and is an Ordained Minister through the Assemblies of God. Before embarking on God’s plan to establish a church in Delphi, Pastor Brent served in both Peru and Logansport, Indiana encompassing over 29 years of fulltime ministry. His vision and creativity has been the benchmark for the growing ministry at Delphi First and after 23 years, his passion and leadership could not be stronger.