LUKE 1:46-56, “And Mary said, my soul doth magnify (praise) the Lord.” (Verse 46) There are a number of places in Scripture that are actually songs or hymns of praise however; because of the literary structure of our Bible we do not often recognize them as songs. We might even say that this is our first “Christmas” carol. Our carols are intended to lead us in a spirit of attitude and praise for the coming of our Savior. We sing:
Angels We Have Heard on High—Go tell it on the Mountain—Hark the Herald Angels Sing
There’s a Song in the Air—Joy to the World—O Come, All Ye Faithful—The First Noel
It Came upon a Midnight Clear—O Little Town of Bethlehem—I Heard the Bells—Silent Night
Angels, from the Realms of Glory—Away in a Manger—O Holy Night
Of course, the world has chosen to take advantage of this special time of the year to satuate it with their songs as well. The “famous” unspiritual people also take the songs of Christmas to sing and record them for profit.
What are some of the marks of praise that come forth from these ten verses of rejoicing from the heart and lips of Mary who had been given the wonderful and startling news that she was to be the mother of our Savior.
First of all, this hymn exhibits the fact that Mary was very familiar with the Old Testament Scripture. Moved by the Holy Spirit to break forth into praise, she chose language which the Holy Ghost had already consecrated and spoken.
Next, in this hymn of praise, the Virgin Mary’s deep humility is profoundly exposed. Without question one can readily see the great contrast in this part of the hymn. First we see that this is an honor beyond measure yet Mary speaks of her “low estate” and acknowledges her need of a Savior. Amen.
In the third place, please notice the lively thankfulness of the Virgin Mary. Her “soul magnifies the Lord’. Her “spirit rejoices in God.” “All generations shall call her blessed.” “Great things have been done for her.”
Forth, we must not miss the fact that this young Jewess girl had observed the fact that God had dwelt with other. She speaks of God as One whose “mercy is on them that fear him”; as One who “scatters the proud, and puts down the mighty…and sends the rich away empty”; as one who “exalteth them of low degree, and filleth the hungry with good things.”
Last of all let us join Mary because of her firm grip on Bible promises. She ends her hymn of praise by declaring that God has blessed Israel in remembrance of his mercy and that He has done as he spake to our father, to Abraham and to his seed forever.
Come let us join Mary in her Carol of praise and thanksgiving for the promised Savior.
Parents, if your children will be particpating in the Children’s Christmas program this Thursday (12/12), please have them at the church’s Main Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. tonight (12/9) for a dress rehersal. Questions can be directed towards Pastor Jordan (461-5561 Ext 113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Join us Monday (12/9) through Wednesday (12/11) as we outreach into our community to invite our neighbors to our Christmas Cantata. We’ll meet in the lower parking lot at 6:30 p.m. where we will board buses and head out to pass out invitations.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:5-10a)
From the first two chapters of Genesis when we find God’s name as Elohim mentioned 35 time to the closing chapter of the Book of Revelation when Christ speaks and says, “…I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Between these names of God, we will find literally hundreds of different names for God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. At first this appears to be somewhat confusing until one begins to realize that God cannot be identified and described with a single name. Many times Scripture simply calls God by Name, the Name or My Name.
Many outstanding books have been written on this subject that is very, very enlightening. Therefore, but for lack of space we would endeavor to expound on this wonderful subject. However, as we approach the “season of our Savior” it is a good and proper time for us to be reminded of some of the names that are so tender to us. There are a number of names of the Savior that are at once brought to our minds as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
• Luke 2:12, “…Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in manger.” How amazing that God would come to earth as a Baby. God lay a Baby on the doorstep of the world, and please don’t forget where he lay. Yet an angelic chorus heralded His birth. For the birth of that Baby was the event of the ages.
• Matthew 1:21, “…And thou shalt call his name JESUS…” This name was told by God’s own messenger to Joseph that the Baby’s name would be JESUS. It is the name by which we know Him best. More than 900 times in the New Testament we find this lovely name that we sing about so often. Stop for a few moments and begin to think of all the great hymns that embrace the name of Jesus. John Newton gave us, “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds”; Edward Perronet exalts this name with, “All hail the power of Jesus’ name”. Bernard leads us with great devotion with his, “Jesus, the very thought of thee”; Baxter enjoins us, “Take the name of Jesus with you’; Whitfield further exclaims, “There is a name I live to hear.”
• 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.” God had this name written three times in His word: Isaiah 7:14; 8:8 and in this verse. Christ alone was great enough to be called Emmanuel. No one else could fill its meaning—God with us. The miracle and marvel of Emmanuel—God with us—defies description. Amen.
This week the church will have some unique outreach opportunities. On Friday (12/6) and Saturday (12/7), the Street Evangelism ministry will be heading to Balboa Park’s “December Nights” festival. We will meet Friday (12/6) at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday (12/7) at 10 a.m. Please see Chris Bailey or Steve Grell for more information.
Please pray for Pastor Fisher this week as he travels to East Baldwin, ME and preaches Tuesday (12/3) @ 4:00pm PST and Wednesday @ 4:00pm PST at the North Baldwin Baptist Church for Pastor Will Kindred. From there he will be driving up to St. Georges, Quebec and preaching Thursday @ 4:00pm PST and Friday @ 7:15am PST for Pastor Carl Bernard at the Eglise Baptiste De La Beuce.
11 Kings 5:15-27, “And Naaman said, shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? For thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.” (Verse 17)
Remember the first half of this story finds this great man Naaman discovering that he was a Leper. However, his little maid servant from Israel encouraged him to go to the land of Israel and seek help from the prophet of God. He decided to make the trip and seek help for he was now a leper. The wonderful results were that he was in fact healed. Now he and his entourage were ready to return to Syria.
As he was preparing to leave, we now here the special request that he makes in verse number 17. This is on the surface an unusual request. Naaman and his servants were carrying great wealth and he is now asking for “Two Mules’ burden (load) of dirt. Why this strange request? One must remember that in the culture of that day and time every country had its own god. If you lived in the country you were to worship that god.
Naaman had now come face-to-face with the God of Israel who had brought healing for his leprosy. One can only imagine the joy and relief that had come to him through this wonderful experience. He now realizes that the God he wants to serve is “in Israel”. (We would smile at this thought) Therefore, he was trying to work out a plan so he could worship the God of Israel in the land of Syria. His plan was to take the dirt of Israel where he found the God of Heaven and transfer it to Syria and make a booth of some type so he could go into it and while standing on the dirt of Israel he could worship the God of Israel.
Just a thought regarding this plan of man, many people with their idea of “religion” do almost the same thing in their attempt to find and serve God. In fact, many people believe that God is “shut-up” in the church building.
The sad part is that the story does not end here. Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, now decides to go and approach Naaman who wanted to give gifts to Elisha and indeed ask him for a gift. Of course, Naaman was pleased to give gifts. While Naaman wanted to “shut-up” God, now Gahazi was about to “shut-out” God from his life because of his choice to ask for these riches from Naaman. He took them, hid them and lied about them
Please read the closing verses of Chapter 5 and see the heart break of Elisha over the decision of his companion Gahazi. Verse one of this chapter tells us that Naaman was a leper, now we are told because of the decision of Gahazi that this leprosy of Naaman was now transferred to Gahazi and also his descendants forever. This chapter is not only exciting but it is a passage of exhortation for us.
Please continue to pray for Pastor Fisher as he finishes this week traveling to Des Moines, WA and preaches Thursday (11/21) and Friday (11/22) at the Open Door Baptist Church for Pastor Joel Byram.
Please pray for Pastor Fisher this week as he travels to Mesa, AZ and preaches Monday (11/18) and Tuesday (11/19) at the Gospel Light Baptist Church for Pastor Gary Schwer. Mrs. Fisher will also be traveling with him and speaking to the ladies Tuesday afternoon as well.
”BUT HE WAS A LEPER”…11 KINGS 5…Many would be willing to give this chapter the distinction of being one of the great chapters of the Old Testament. The thoughts of this short article is to help us see that the Scripture is filled with so many wonderful stories and lessons for us to read and gather great truths to help guide us in our daily walk and decision making process. One will notice as one reads and rereads this chapter the many facets of life and living portrayed in the characters found in this chapter. The setting of the story of course is noted that Naaman is a great man. He is the Chief Captain of the host of Syria’s king but he is a leper. In those days this was a pronouncement of a death sentence and usually a slow and painful death as well. May we look at several key facets of this chapter? We will be only touching on some of the key thoughts of this chapter to cause you to look more deeply to find some of the wonderful truths shared in this chapter. We will mainly only look at the first half of this chapter. However, it would be great if one would continue to see how this chapter finally affects the lives of others as well. When one reads the entire chapter of 27 verses and observes several characters in the chapter one will be amazed at the truths found.
THE GREAT MAN…As we have already noted one can immediately realize that Naaman was an outstanding person and professional man. However, when one is stricken no doubt in the prime of life it can turn one’s life completely around. The Bible says he was a great man. To determine this title perhaps one must finish the course.
THE GREVIOUS MALADY…”But he was a leper”, these words turns everything around in his life. Notice how it touched his home, his king and country and how it touched a great number of others. Of course we are aware that leprosy in Scripture denotes sin or a type of sin. Please read in Luke 4:27 where a special reference is made to this passage in 11 Kings 5.
THE GENTLE MAID…Verses 2 and 3 related the story of the “gentle maid” who was a captive from the nation of Israel serving in Naaman’s household. One can immediately begin to put ourselves in her place and feel the struggles that might be found in her life. But perhaps she may be the hero of this entire chapter. The plan was to be carried out with wonderful results.
THE GRAVE MISTAKE…Captain Naaman did make several mistakes and perhaps the first mistake was the fact that he would be able to see a “cure” by way of influence and finances. After all, he did have the power and influence of a world power and much wealth. We are familiar with this story that Elisha did not respond as was expected. In fact Naaman said, “I thought” in other words he had a plan himself but was not granted by Elisha. Naaman further displayed his displeasure when told to dip into the waters of Israel rather than the rivers of Damascus. Read on and see how he changed his mind to “now I know”.
THE GLORIOUS MIRACLE…We love a happy ending at least to the first part of this chapter. In his own way and culture, Naaman was willing to recognize the God of heaven, “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel…” What an amazing story of human nature and the revelation of God.
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