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December 23, 2020 7:05 am
December 20 is far more than a date on the calendar.
Yes, it's true that Christmas allows us to measure our lifespan in increments sentimentally recall the peaceful mornings of yesteryear today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll invites us to elevate our nostalgic memories of Christmas to a higher plane he's teaching from Luke chapter 2. Find the undisputed record of Jesus.
It was on this epic day God vacated his throne in heaven. In order to take on the human condition before the message begins. Chuck leads us how grateful we are our father, that you are never limited time or space ever becomes a hurdle for you. You span the extremes and have done so since eternity past Street to us today. A father and as we returned to the ancient scene that is in some ways familiar but other ways completely unfamiliar to us.
May we find ourselves in that animal shelter for two nervous teenagers were with one another for the birth of her firstborn and you brought him to this earth giving us your one and only son. How good of you to do that and how grateful we are that you did give us a special sense of gratitude this day as we remember your gift which is just too wonderful for words and use our gifts. Now father as we give them. May the wing their way to places will never go touching the lives of people will never meet who speak languages will never speak. We pray that you will use these funds in a beautiful way to lift and encourage hearts far beyond these walls we commit this ministry to you this mornings word from your book in the season will result in your son Jesus, our Savior we give our gifts and we ask this prayer in his in all God's people said you're listening to it for living to search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindoll. Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight world.org/studies. Today's message is titled let's hear God's voice and a babies cry. Now what about the most surprising gift of all. And what a privilege it is to do it.
This is my 56 Christmas message and is excited about was about first round was really nervous. I'm not nervous now. I'm just excited to tell you about God's special gift to all of us is love gift from heaven he could have given us anything and he gave us his best gift John tells us God so loved the world, put your name there.so love you, that he gave you his only begotten son that if you believe in him, you will never perish, but you will have everlasting life. God save his very best gift a sacrificial gift and gave them to us.
When Paul wrote about that gift. Years later he use these words. Thank God for his gift to wonderful for words.
Listen to the way others have paraphrased or translated. Second Corinthians 915 thanks be to God. JB Phillips paraphrases for his indescribable generosity James Moffitt for his unspeakable gift. The good news Bible for his priceless gift. Chrysostom uses the rare term and affable is an old word and affable, this word prompted another man to write what God bestows is in affable, what must the gift be himself. I noticed is the tendency of artists to portray this gift to wonderful for words in an overstated manner. By that I mean they will add to the little infant a halo or they'll put in our glowing aura about the child and make it look angelic. It was none of that in appearance he just looked like any other Jewish baby. The truth is talk about surprises God who came to earth to live among us did not come as a raging world when you're in a devouring fire commanding the world to bow down and worship. No, what stands out is a term that no great king ever used what stands out is the humility of it all. The obscurity of it because we know most people will never go to Israel. You have to imagine a place like Bethlehem or even shelter behind the place of lodging which they found where they would stay one-man rights, I'm imaginatively the maker of all things shrank down down down so small as to be common ovum, a single fertilized egg, barely visible to the naked eye and a that would divide and re-divide until Ephesians took shape, enlarging cell by cell inside a nervous teenager another road immensity cloistered in thy dear womb the way the poet John Donne put it, he made himself nothing, or you remember Paul's words, he humbled himself and became a servant. Those who lived in that day and many even today. Remember the words of the prophet which didn't sound very humble when you read him go back to Isaiah chapter 9 verse six turn their or the prophet, writing, get this, seven, 800 years before the birth of the Messiah, 7 to 800 years before then. Isaiah wrote nine verse six a child was born to us a son is given to us. Look at those two phrases the child is born. That's the earthly point of view for a woman has a child, a son is given, that's the heavenly point of view were God gave his son. So both are covered here and then immediately the prophet races to the time when he will reign as King of Kings and Lord of lords and look at visiting these exalted words, the government will rest on his shoulders. The word will moves us to the future future, even to our day. The government will rest on his shoulders.
He will be called literally a wonder of a counselor, mighty God, father of eternity literally. Peace prints those words wonderful mighty eternal prints his government and its peace will never end and on and on it goes. When you read that you you anticipate the arrival of of of royalty, but that's not how we came the first time. That's how we will come the second time, but the first time, which is what we observe every Christmas season is arrival is anything but a royal arrival every year. I sort of dust all Philip Yancey's book the Jesus I never knew wonderful book that covers the birth of Jesus and his life in a very unusual way. He writes in the way that you don't normally read in a from a Christian author, as he writes of of a Jesus that he came to realize and was never taught when he was growing up about him. I quote from his work in London looking toward the auditorium royal box for the Queen and her family set. I caught glimpses of the more typical way rulers stride through the world with bodyguards in a trumpet player in a flourish of bright clothing and flashing jewelry. Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited these United States and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved. Listen to these logistics. Her 4000 pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion a morning outfit in case someone died while visiting the states 40 pints of plasma and white kid leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser to valets, a driver for her vehicle, and a host of other attendance.
A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost $20 million. Yancey continues in meek contrast God's visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendance present and nowhere to lay the newborn King. But a feed trough the event the divided history and even our calendars into two parts may have had more animals than human witnesses a mule could have stepped on how silently, how silently this wondrous gift is given in the flaring flourish of our Christmas season. Plus, we still return to the realism of the original scene, don't dress it up. Don't make it look good or smell good. It was a rough place even though we read the familiar account in Luke chapter 2 every year.
It never fails to to grip us with a sense of surprise when God made his entrance into this earth onto this earth. He came as an unknown and unexpected. One note trumpet player. No loud announcement from some king he chose a virtually unknown couple from up in Galilee Nazareth for a contemporary once said, can anything good come out of Nazareth, sort of a sort of military town were soldiers bivouacked Barrett this couple traveled on foot from Nazareth 90 miles down to Bethlehem in Judea while she was heavy with that child of hers, and when they reached their destination. Get this, no one was there to greet because no one no place had been reserved for their lodging all the places were filled because this was taxation time and everybody had returned to their distant County seat to register. There was no food original water brought to them only what they could scavenge or draw from a nearby well in a borrowed bucket. There were no bathroom facilities available. No wife was there to assist this this Julius.
This teenage girl this mother-to-be about to bear her firstborn. I pause here and ask you who are mothers to remember your firstborn. Remember, your feelings and most likely you had clean bedsheets, quite probably, you were in the hospital surrounded by a nursing staff that was competent and caring a position that was close and ready a specialist in obstetrics and there were others there in case of an emergency. There were instruments available to help you everything to make it as comfortable as it could be, but we read in Luke two and I want them to land hard in your mind while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She's never had a baby.
She's going to have it on the dirt floor of an animal shelter where she will squat Joseph will help as best he can. And by the way, husbands are art artfully that helpful and that's why they don't let us in their that that much at least they used to not when Cindy had for they would labor really got intense. They ushered us out was in our case for our first morning it was the Baylor Hospital.
I was was was a third-year student Adele seminarian and that Cynthia was in there. Having a baby and I'm out trying to look cool sitting among seasoned dance and what was called the dad's den and I'm reading a newspaper guy looks over at me sitting there, and overall diseases first baby Michael now now really said I figured the newspapers upside down that they know what they're doing this thing all religions looking at the nativity scene. There's no blood stuff all over everybody motioned me but it's really clean the cleaning about. She gave birth to her firstborn son is clean them up as best you can cut the cord and hold him close and like the song goes, that we love.
When she kissed her little baby. She kissed the face of these are the beautiful details that emerge from the amazing story of Jesus birth very first Christmas more than 2000 years ago. Your listening to Insight for living and the message from Chuck Swindoll titled let's hear God's voice and a babies cry in a moment will hear a moving illustration from Chuck about his early years of marriage. So please stay with us and then to learn more about this ministry. Visit us email@example.com it's important to remind you that these daily programs are available to a global audience because of the generous support that arrived during the month of December. To that end were calling on friends like you to join us in the all-out effort to bring God's message of Jesus. Miraculous birth to 195 countries of the world effect at this very moment you're enjoying this program in your own hometown checks. Teaching spans the globe not only in English but often translated into local languages as well through vision 195 and together with friends like you. We can implement the great commission of Jesus by making disciples through radio, our website, the mobile app, CDs, books, DVDs, the podcast our lifestream feed and more, while 2020 was filled with unwanted surprises were not deterred from this desire to pursue vision 195 a long time ago when our oldest children were still babies. Cynthia and I were living in the Northeast Cynthia whose father had been violently dysfunctional, was sinking into a pit of depression.
She had seen one counselor after another kid taken medications that doctors now know are in fact dangerous. They didn't know that then everything we tried made things worse. We felt so alone behind our home was an alley one night and Cynthia slept soundly and babies as well. I went out for a late night walk, all alone.
I got about halfway down the dark alley and I just stopped.
I looked up and cried out. Help me Lord, I don't know what to do please help me I'm running out of hope. Have you ever been there.
Are you there right now. If 20/20 is not you to your knees, you understand better than most. So listen to my next words closely. God is in that long dark alley. He's not oblivious he's not absent. He cares, and best of all, he is working in that alley. I couldn't fathom how we were going to make it through the next week to say nothing of the next year. How could the Lord sit Cynthia free from such depression. I had no idea I had no understanding that he would one day use her testimony to help others battling the same darkness many years ago Insight for living ministries wasn't even a dream wasn't even a blip on the on on the screen. I had no idea the Lord would take my calling to preach and build a wonderful ministry under the leadership of my wonderful wife who pulled out of that depression beautifully.
Having suffered through such dark days.
She became a woman of strength and grit with a heart set on reaching all the nations I had milk. We had no clue. But God did. Our God is the God of impossibilities believe that he's the one who brings light when everything around us is night when all hope is lost. He brings back hope Christmas demonstrates the truth so well because in that first Christmas. God sent his son as Emmanuelle. The word means, God with us.
God is still with us in this year of loss and violence division and pandemic. God is with us in our own long dark alleys in 2020, God is still grieving his sovereign tapestry to accomplish his divine will. Don't overlook him.
Whatever dark valley you're during Jesus is still Emmanuelle God is still suffering. He is able to carry out his plan. When we can't see it this Christmas, would you please join Insight for living ministries and proclaiming this calming reassurance worldwide. You can do so by sending your generous donation before December 31 would you do that your much-needed gift will bring the light to others who this very day, or stumbling through a dark alley of fear, disappointment, discouragement and depression they need to know as Moses said to the Israelites and their moments of terror. Do not be afraid to not panic for the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will either fail you nor abandon you.
I'm counting on you for your gift. Thanks very much. And here's how to respond to give a donation online. Go directly to Insight.org/donate. If you're using the convenient Insight for living mobile app, just click on the donate button and follow the simple instructions to get a contribution by phone. Call us if your listening in the US dial 1-800-772-8888. In a similar world feel all alone, afraid, uncertain about the future and yet with your help we can tell them the best news ever so please if you listening in the United States called 800-772-8888 or you can also give online insight.or let's hear God's voice and a babies cry Thursday on Insight for living. The preceding message. Let's hear God's voice.
Babies cry was copyrighted in 2019 2000 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2001 by Charles Marshall in the all rights are reserved the right material is strictly