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God Is With Us

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10 Minute Preaching Series


Since 2005, I have been writing online in what I can now say as a series of knick-knacks that can only be described collectively as Ten Minute (more or less) Preaching Sermons.

These writings now number over 150 and is still growing.

I did not know it yet at that time, it just turned out that way I suppose by accident or by some grand design.

Now this article will very much be a part of that 10 Minute Preaching Series and this particular one was in fact “preached” (by yours truly) in front of a real live Sunday Worship Crowd at a local church in Southern California, December 26th 2010.

God is With Us

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…

[Who here thinks that when we go to church every week that we should learn something new? I do. Well hopefully we will get to learn something new this week]

Every year we celebrate the birth of the child named Emmanuel. Hebrew for the term “GOD is with us”.

And every year we listen to sermon upon sermon, telling and retelling the story of the child, who was born in a manger and who would later Share God’s Word, live a short life, suffer and then hang on a tree (pretty amazing now that many of us here now hang Christmas ornaments on a tree this time of year).

The Prophet Isaiah (who lived some 2,700 years ago) and the Prophet Micah (who lived around the same time) said this child will be born in a tiny village called Bethlehem.

Bethlehem is the traditional birthplace of King David (yes of David and Goliath fame).

In Arabic, Bethlehem means the House of Meat, in Hebrew it is the House of Bread, today we probably will call it IHOP or IN and OUT or my son would call it McDonalds.

Bethlehem today is inside Modern day Palestine and is mostly Muslim and Palestinian.

Back in the time of King Herod, according to Luke Chapter One, there was a priest named Zechariah (or Zacharias) who was married to Elizabeth (who along with her husband was also a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses). In those days, priests were people who came only from the line of Aaron.

One day as Zechariah was serving inside the Temple as the priest, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that their prayers have been heard, his wife Elizabeth will have a son and they will call him John (well at least it wasn’t Spartacus or something). And the angel told him many things about his son-to-be and that he will pretty much make ready the way and the people for the coming of the Messiah.

And indeed his wife Elizabeth who even though was advance in years became pregnant (yes so all you ladies who are more or less concerned about having a baby in your later years—yes Virginia, nothing is impossible with God. And yes… Zechariah was also well advanced in years (and there wasn’t any of those pills that we have nowadays which will instantly make old men, well real men).

Now Angela picked up the story from there. [Note: Angela preached first, then me, then there was one more after us both to tie it all up].

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Now I will continue that story according to the gospel writer Luke (who was a doctor by profession). And just a little background on him, he wrote the Book of Luke as thoroughly as you might expect any doctor of today would diagnose you. (Okay, there may have been a lot better doctors before… so trust me, the story he wrote down, he really investigated thoroughly and he talked to all the first-hand eyewitnesses and you can compare him to modern day journalists or even detectives.

So thus we continue with the story, Mary was visited by the same angel (the Angel Gabriel—yes sending another special delivery message from above, now that sounds like a good name for a delivery service).

Now Mary is now also on the family way and she went to visit Elizabeth who was said to be her relative (some say they were cousins).

Elizabeth was already six months on the way by this time. John her son should logically be born ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way for him (and indeed he was going to be born six months earlier). And yes, if you are still wondering who this John is, he will grow up to be… no other than John the Baptist, yes the man who wore camel's hair and a leather girdle, ate locusts and wild honey--a Man of the Wild Wild West [humming Wild Wild West tune]

NOW LET US READ THE VERSE FOR TODAY : Mary Visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56)

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! [or blessed is the fruit of your womb!] But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (For) As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

[Praise you Lord for your Word]

Three months,… and she probably stayed all the way until Elizabeth’s baby was born, all this time being on the family way herself. Who here knows that when you have gone through something painful or if you are going through something hard or some trial of some sort, it might be because you are to comfort someone else undergoing the same exact thing?

Now going back to the story and as I have said earlier this is not just an ordinary story.

THIS IS a story that can mend a broken heart… a lonely heart… a disappointed heart… a crushed heart.

It is a story that can heal an ailing heart… a sickly heart… a depressed heart… an unhappy heart.

It is a story that can break a hardened heart of stone… a prideful heart… an arrogant one.

This is a Story that can turn a life around.

This is history. This really happened.

And this is HIS story. Not mine, not her’s [Angela’s], his or anyone else’s. We just didn’t make this up.

In the 8th Century BC or some 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah, the Prophet wrote:

“unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” and at about the same time, the Prophet Micah foretold, “this king (this child) shall be born in Bethlehem.

And when King Herod asked the THREE WISE MEN where the Messiah would be born, they said that this is where they will be headed… to Bethlehem. (And we all know that Herod ordered all male children two years and younger to be executed in Bethlehem at that time, maybe hoping to kill the Messiah).

[Who here knows that if God is God and if he said it will happen, it will surely happen? Yes even if we believe it or not or even if we try to change it or not.]

And so this story has been preserved and past down generation to generation, down to us even, in our ultra-modern high-tech electronic-age.

It doesn’t matter if you have the Kindle Version, the Sony Reader Version, the Barnes and Noble Nook Version, the iPad, the talking bible or any electronic bible or if you still read it the old fashion way, King James, New King James, NIV, NLT, BLT, English, Spanish, German, Italian Sausage whatever version—what is important is that the Word has been past down to us, even in this day and age…

an Age of Science, and Age of an Explosion of Knowledge and Information Overload, an Age of Reason.

And even if we believe it or not, it does not diminish the Simple Story of the Greatest Gift in the World.

And it is not without reason that today we celebrate the year’s most joyous occasion and that we lavish each other with gifts and with love.

Because that night when God, the Creator of the Universe gave us His Son, born in a lowly manger, he came as humble as he can be.

He was born poor to make humankind rich.

He worked tirelessly to fulfill the prophecies of the Scriptures written down hundreds of years before He was even born, one which was laid out by a loving and sovereign God even before the earth was born.

That little child grew up and suffered and died so that we may live joy-filled and victorious lives.

He did that so that the Word of God, and the story written down before he was born can be fulfilled. You know, He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to do that for me.

He didn’t have to do that for you. Or for your family. Who am I, that God will be mindful of me?

But He did!

God gave us His gift, long before we even started thinking of giving each other gifts.

God gave us His love. Even if we were,… or if we are,… unlovable, even if there seemed to be no hope for us.

Jesus gave up his life for us, so that our own fickle mortal human minds can comprehend.

And generation upon generation, from the first eye witnesses and the early believers who also willingly gave up their lives, so that we can still hear and share this Simple Story today and do it every year.

And What Can We Take Out Of It This Year?

IT IS THIS… God has been working behind scenes for years, for centuries even.

And that God’s Kingdom here on earth has been on the move for thousands of years.

Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah all received this from on high and everything came to pass, even prophecies from hundreds of years before them came to pass.

They received the news with humble hearts and they believed.

Mary upon knowing, doubted a little (like Zechariah and Elizabeth and Joseph and just like you and me) but they moved, they acted on it. Mary did and it allayed her fears and her doubts.

She acted upon hearing it, she didn’t stay at home, to sulk, to mope, to be depressed. Instead she went a long way to the house of her cousin Elizabeth and she helped her with her own child-bearing labor pains and stayed with her three months.

She was tired, she was tried, she was shamed, humiliated, she was disgraced and she most probably became an outcast in her own town (and you know how small towns are, most especially in those days).

“Virgin Birth… Bah!” (Yes, the Scarlet Letter)

But she moved on, she endured, she obeyed. And in due season, she was rewarded, she was exalted and remembered by all of us, until this very day!

And so today, let not those sacrifices be forgotten.

Today, let us truly believe that Simple Story.

The story that have changed lives for the last two thousand years. And still is… if you are willing…

Let us believe that God really loves us.

Let us believe that Jesus was born and that He will come again.

And let us forget about the trivial things that worry us day in and day out.

Let us focus our eyes instead to What is Essential, What is Eternal and What is Everlasting.

Let us truly make this Christmas what God wanted it to be.

THIS IS is all about the Christ. I saw someone wrote down Christmas as CHRIST MUST (M-U-S-T) and I believe that’s the way it should be.

And on how He wants us to BE HUMBLE and to invite Him maybe for the first time (or even once again) into our hearts. And to make Him the Lord of our lives.

LET US PRAY (lets bow down and close our eyes and make this a solemn moment)

Father GOD, thank you for this day. It is not a coincidence that I am here with all these people, many of whom I do not even know, care to know or will ever meet again. But I have taken the first step and have come to the House of the Lord with them today.

And we are all here to celebrate and to remember the birth of your Son, the Christ Jesus.

Today, I look back in my life and I acknowledge that I could have done many things better, a lot better. Today I confess that I have fallen short, I have failed to believe in you God. Sometimes I even think that maybe there is no God and that there is no purpose in my life. I just do my own thing!

For a long time, I may be just running my own life without any thought of how I might be hurting the people I love or many other people that you bring my way. I may just be on auto-pilot or I might be free-falling downward into a never-ending spiral. Or I may have run away from you God because of all the troubles in my life. Whatever the reasons… today, FATHER GOD, I would want to really believe in the Christmas Story and put my trust in you.

TODAY I confess that you gave Jesus as My Redeemer. Today I receive Him and I acknowledge Him as my Savior.

I want to know more about Him and how you have plans even long before I was born, to prosper me and not to harm me in any way.

Please give me that excitement to learn all about it in your HOLY Word and to Share this Good News.

Today, take away my unbelief. Today, I put my trust in you. This I pray in the Name of my Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.


Ten Minute (more or less) Preaching

  • God Is With Us
    And every year we listen to sermon upon sermon, telling and retelling the story of the child, who was born in a manger and who would later Share Gods Word, live a short life, suffer and then hang on a tree (pretty amazing now that many of us here..
  • You Can Preach
    Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them,...


4x4 (author) from Los Angeles on March 20, 2011:

Hello Marliza.

So glad to find that out, thank you for letting me know. God bless you and yours too!

4x4 (author) from Los Angeles on March 20, 2011:

Thank you samsons!

So true, so true.

Marliza Gunter on January 06, 2011:

Wow!! Word for word you have touched my heart!! Many blessings to you and your family.. :)

Sam from Tennessee on January 06, 2011:

voted up and beautiful! Well written and inspiring. Confession is good for the soul and a true believe does it daily.


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