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R1564 O Little Town of Bethlehem

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2021 8:00 am

R1564 O Little Town of Bethlehem

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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December 8, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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Merry Christmas! I know we're just on December the 12th, but oh, we are so excited to celebrate the Christ of Christmas through God's encouraging word. Yes, this is The Encouraging Word, featuring the Bible-based teaching of Dr. Don Wilton, well-known author, evangelist, seminary professor, and pastor. As a matter of fact, possibly most known by the fact that he was the pastor of Dr. Billy Graham for the last 25 years, he even has a wonderful book that was written right after the death of Billy Graham and the time that he spent at the funeral ministering to the family.

It's called Saturdays with Billy, and it's available on our website, Now that's who you're listening to, but what you're listening to, Dr. Don is quick to say it's not him, it's God's Word personified as we study. The more we dig, the more we will receive with God's blessing as we open God's encouraging Word together today.

Let's do that now. The Encouraging Word You know, we go through these things in life. All of us do, don't we? Every one of us. And it's a wonderful thing to know Jesus.

Where would we be? My mother sang her way across this world. She taught me and my brothers to live life to the fullest, because that's who Jesus is. I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. The Christian life is an abundant life. I stand here today because Jesus is alive. Because my mother is with Jesus.

Because I shall be too one day, and you will be, we all will be, all of those of us. That's what Christmas is all about. Christmas in my family was a fun time. My mother taught us that. She turned everything into a stage.

Everything. She had a song for everything. It was all about Jesus. She had little sayings.

And she brought such joy. That's one of the reasons I so look forward to the Christmas Eve service. I want to invite you to come if you're in town, if you're able to. Our eight little people, grandchildren are going to be with us. Karen and I plan to bring them to the glow stick Christmas in the hangar at four o'clock on Tuesday evening.

It is going to be incredible. That's why we're going to do that. Not just because I'm the pastor of the church. Because I want to teach my grandchildren what my mother and father have passed on to me. It is about joy. And that's the reason I can stand here today and sing and celebrate the Christ of Christmas and tell you how much I love you and thank God for you today. And I tell you that with all of my heart.

You are a precious people. And this Jesus business is very serious business. It's life and death. You cannot afford to die without Jesus. You will be left only with a building in your name or an accolade or the things that you've done, all of which are wonderful.

Thank you. The greatest thing you can leave is a legacy of knowing Jesus. Leave your sons and daughters with absolute hope and joy and confidence and a priority when it comes to the things of God. My father told me years ago, he said, son, as a pastor, you will come across people who will be affected worshipping Jesus by one drop of rain will stop them worshipping Jesus.

One drop of rain, they'll stay home. Don't you ever let that become your life. You preach, teach, tell people about Jesus and worship him in season and out of season. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all these other things will be added unto you. So I want to begin today by showing you a video that many of you have seen. I think this is the way my mother would want me to see Christmas today, and it's through children's eyes. Let's see how children view Christmas.

Watch this with me. And the angel came to see Mary. She was doing laundry and then the angel just appeared and she was really scared. So Gabriel was like, Mary, you're going to have, I can't say it good. Mary, you're going to have a baby. You're going to have a baby. You will call him Jesus. And then Mary was like, I'm not going to have a baby yet. I'm only a teenager.

I'm not married. Then the angel Gabriel told Joseph that Mary is not lying. You are having a new baby. And so they met up, they went to Bethlehem, which was Joseph's old town. They ride a donkey. A camel. Oh yeah, a camel.

She said, this donkey's fast. They tried to go to a hotel. They asked the keeper for a place to stay. The keeper said, we have no rooms.

Literally no rooms. So Mary and Joseph walked away sadly. But then he said, the only place here in Bethlehem that you can stay is a staple. And then he just pointed the way and they followed. When the shepherds were taking care of the sheep, then they saw angels. The angels said, a new baby is getting born who is king of the Jews. The angel were singing.

Gloria. And then the shepherds said, I think we should go there and meet him. The second, I think, said, yeah, I agree with you. And the others said, yeah, me too. They had to walk through a bunch of grass and bushes.

Maybe have to camp out at night. Then the wise men heard about it and then a star appeared. We should probably follow that star. It's pointing down to the barn. So maybe we should follow it.

Maybe. So the wise men went to Jesus. They gave them gifts. A stuffed animal, like a hippo one. They have at home. Some diapers and some wipes and some milk, some shoes, some Jordans.

A gold ring and an animal. And I don't know how it would survive in that barn. Too stinky, too crowded, and ugh.

I think he probably pooped because the room was very smelly. Thank you for coming. He's adorable. He's going to be our best friend. I love you and you're the best baby I ever seen.

There, I said it. This new baby is going to change the world. If you didn't need that, I needed that this morning. That's the way my mother would encourage us to celebrate. And if you want to celebrate Christmas, just think through the eyes of our little ones. That sweet little Jesus boy, born in Bethlehem. I want to read to you just seven verses from Luke chapter 2.

Luke chapter 2. The Bible says in Luke chapter 2, in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. Because he was of the house and the lineage of David. To be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son.

She wrapped him in swaddle cloths and she laid him in a manger because there was found no place for them in the inn. Just a week or so ago, together with many of you, we stood in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is an amazing place because of Jesus. I want to show you just a few clips of Bethlehem.

So let's take a look at the first. This is just a slide picture, just in case you haven't been there lately, of what Bethlehem looks like today. The main street sits up near that tower that you can see at the top of the picture. In fact, that tower would be a general area where the tower of the flock would have been, that Micah talks about. Which was designed by King David and by the Levitical priesthood to protect the lambs and the sheep. And would have been, in all likelihood, the location where Jesus would have been born. We know that because the angels said, let's go up to Bethlehem. They were in the fields.

Take a look at this next picture here. Bethlehem today is a city, a town that is surrounded by war. Notwithstanding all the politics of today, the Israeli situation today and the Palestinian situation, most of us understand this is part of the West Bank and Bethlehem is a Palestinian town. There are no Jews there, none. And it is mostly, the Palestinians mostly are Christian people. Now when you speak to people over there, one needs to always remember the difference between being a Christian by culture, by heritage and being a Christian by virtue of the fact that you've accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and into your life. And there are many born again Christian Palestinians who live in Bethlehem and I'm privileged to call many of them my personal friends. And so you will see the wall that is built that separates out these two states, these two nations and with good reason.

Because of the activities that have gone on and this was designed to minimize acts of terrorism and violence and it has succeeded to a large portion. Go to the next slide there, an incredible part of that wall that if you drive in that area, it's always interesting to me that this gentleman is holding in his hand a bouquet of flowers and the message here is not unlike the next slide, which is a message of peace and this word peace is very prominent even in Bethlehem today. Forgive the interruption but oh how we would love to be an instrument of God's peace. If you need to talk with someone or pray with someone any time, day or night, Dr. Don says we need 2 a.m. friends and we'd be happy to be one of yours at the other end of 866-899-WORD.

Jot the number down, put it in your cell 866-899-9673 for prayer or to connect with wonderful resources that will help you grow in your faith. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. You'll hear that spoken of on the city streets and the sidewalks and with the people. There is a deep heart longing for peace and as we know the angels came and joined together the multitude of the heavenly host and they brought this good news of great joy, peace to all men. Let's go to the next slide. This is right there near the church that is built right where Jesus was born and you can go in there today, which we do, which we did last week and go down to the actual place where Jesus was born and this is where it took place, right there in in Manger Square in Bethlehem.

The next slide. So in the shepherd's fields, this is some of our group a week ago. In the shepherd's fields there are many caves. This is a literal cave and we met in there and sang carols and you must remember that the Levitical priests would take the newborn lambs and they would place them in these caves and bring them up unblemished so that they could satisfy the full requirement of the law to be sacrificed in the temple in relation to the law of God and these caves are all over the shepherd's field. The neck picture, Miss Kathy and my wife standing there and over their heads you're looking down into the ship, very rocky, hilly, you can only imagine during the time of Jesus how treacherous it was out there and if you were to look right over their heads and just to the left you are looking at the temple mound in Jerusalem about two miles from that point as the crow flies.

So if you were to look right over their heads that would be how far the Levitical priests would have to carry these unblemished lambs to the temple mound which is right over that building on the left hand side there to offer them as an unblemished sacrifice, making sacrifice for the atonement of the people of God. Next slide. I just met this fellow over there and his name is Yasser, I beg your pardon, David Dennis.

He happens to be our church administrator and I just wanted to bring this as a little bit of evidence there. Let's go to the next slide and this one is in Manges Square and it's amazing how you can get photobombed even in Manges Square. That's Kaz McCaslin by the way, my good friend and brother and if you look right over the top of my head, right over the top, you're looking at the church in which that spot was where Jesus was born. Every year in Bethlehem they light the Christmas tree in Manges Square this is called and on your television set when you see the celebration of Christmas, prominent religious people, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and others, they all come in, the crowds over Christmas and Easter are phenomenal. That's the spot where it all takes place.

Let's go to the next one and I love this one. I just have always loved this because there's a war, separation, hatred, violence, war, conflict and all everything and written on that wall, Merry Christmas from Bethlehem on the side of a ghetto because they consider themselves locked in, many of them are unable to go anywhere. What about Bethlehem? Right there in the heart of Bethlehem, the Bible says Jesus was born and when Jesus was born, he was born in the middle of humanity. I want you to think about that, in the middle of humanity, people like you and me, he was born to take down every barrier, every single barrier, everything that gets in front of us, the insurmountable obstacles of our life, the greatest of which is the barrier of our sin.

We cannot get over the war of our sin, only Jesus can do that because he is the unblemished one. He's the Lamb of God slain from before the foundation of the world. He was born to provide the greatest message everywhere, anywhere. I just love that story of the angel appearing. Can you imagine that being in that field out in the dark with wild animals?

They didn't have lights and sounds and motor cars and vehicles. There they were right out in the middle of nowhere and all of a sudden this amazing, blazing, glorious light, the light of God, the angel of God appeared to them, said fear not, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be for all people. Why was Jesus born? When Jesus was born, he was born to bring the only way to peace. It's the only way. You and I cannot find peace.

America cannot find peace. We're embroiled in our humanity. We're embroiled in our conflict. We deal with our emotions. I've been dealing with emotions this morning, as one can imagine.

Our emotions, these things inside of us, we deal with grief and pain and separation and sickness. Jodine Hoyle, servant of the Lord in this church, was in this church last Sunday. He was here, we talked to him, serving, loving on people. And on Friday morning at seven o'clock, he went to be with Jesus. And yesterday at his funeral service, people gave their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. What a testimony.

What a testimony. He was born to bring the only way to peace. He was born to establish his church. It's Jesus, this one who said, upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. He was born to demonstrate what it means to follow him.

He gave us that pattern. Follow me, he said. Come to me. Lean on me. Give it all to me. Trust me. Just abdicate, surrender, turn it over.

You cannot do this on your own. He was born to be seen and to be witnessed. These shepherds went up and they found him.

And the Bible says that when they found him, they went out glorifying and praising God because of all they had seen and witnessed. I'm standing here today with a son's broken heart because my mama's not here anymore. And I loved her with such a deep, deep passion as I spoke to my brothers this morning. But I'm here today because I have seen Jesus.

I witnessed to him. I know what he did for my mother and father. I know what he's done for me, what he's done for my sons and for my daughter, for my grandchildren, for each and every one of us. Jesus was born to bring hope to all people.

All of us. Do you know the Lord Jesus? Have you given your heart to Jesus? Would you bow your heads with me this morning? Every head bowed.

Every eye closed. You know, yesterday is together with brother Sal, I was privileged to stand before people and thank God for the life of Joe Dean. This morning, when my brother called me and said, Don, mama's gone to be with Jesus. I thought, how amazing it is that Jesus loves us so much. Would you give your heart to Jesus today? Please do that. I invite you to give your life to Christ.

Please. Because Jesus left his throne and his kingly crown came to earth, born in Bethlehem. That's why I love that great carol joy to the world. Folks, that's why we laugh in this church. That's why we have fun together. That's why we fellowship even in the midst of our tears and hardships, suffering, separation, struggles.

That's why. Because Jesus left his throne and his kingly crown, he came down to this earth. Would you give your heart to Jesus today? And that's the question you'll hear from Dr. Wilton every time he opens God's powerful and encouraging word of God, the Bible itself. Perhaps you've heard more than Dr. Wilton today, but you've been hearing the voice of God calling you to himself, letting you know that he loves you. He has a plan to save you, a place for you in heaven and a purpose for living in this life. Boy, we'd love to speak with you at 866-899-WORD anytime.

That's 866-899-9673. And before we go, closing thoughts from Dr. Don. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin and by faith I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name, my friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.

This is exciting news. If you just gave your life to Christ, praying along with Dr. Wilton, or maybe rededicated your life, or perhaps you need some questions answered, we're here for you at 866-899-WORD. Call that number if you've made decisions for Christ. Dr. Wilton has resources, free resources he wants you to have if you'll just call. The number again is 866-899-9673. We're available 24 hours a day, 866-899-9673 and also online at

That's where you'll discover great resources like this. Are you looking for a great Christmas gift but don't want to brave the crowds? We have the perfect idea for you. Give the gift of Saturdays with Billy. This book explores the beautiful friendship between Dr. Billy Graham and his friend and pastor, Dr. Don Wilton. This beautiful hardback book will make a great gift. Please visit or call 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673 to order. That's just one of many great resources on our website I hope you'll visit our website Notice that we're in the middle of a remarkable challenge gift and every gift you give right now in the month of December will be magnified. So if the Lord is stirring your heart to give, consider giving now. You can call us at 866-899-9673 or meet us online at Again, your gift in January will be well appreciated but if you do it in the month of December, it could be transformative in the amount of people we'll be able to share the love of Jesus with. So consider visiting our website or calling 866-899-9673 and letting us know how God's leading you to give.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-11 20:16:46 / 2023-07-11 20:25:44 / 9

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