define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Pastor Ralph Diehl » 2009 » December

Archive for December, 2009

31
Dec

12 Days: DAY SEVEN

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Twelve Days

On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Seven Swans a Swimming“.

In the original thinking, the Seven Swans likely referred to the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, and another group believes it refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The problem with the first is that Protestants believe in only two sacraments: Baptism and Communion. The problem with the second is that the Bible identifies nine, not seven, gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul identifies these spiritual gifts as a Word of Wisdom, a Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Miraculous Powers, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, a Message in Tongues, and Interpretation of Tongues.

These are spiritual gifts, not natural abilities, that only those with the Holy Spirit have. It is these spiritual gifts that set us apart from other people on the planet. It is these spiritual gifts that allow us to swim in a world drowning in Sin. These are the Seven Swans a Swimming.

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30
Dec

12 Days: DAY SIX

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Twelve Days

On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Six Geese a Laying“.

The six Geese a Laying refers to the six days of creation recorded in Genesis 1. On the first day, God created light in the darkness. On the second day He created the atmosphere. On the third day He created the earth and water and vegetation capable of reproducing itself. On the fourth day God placed the moon to light the night and the sun to light the day; He fixed time. On the fifth day He created sea and air creatures, fish and birds of all kinds, that could reproduce themselves. On the sixth day, God created mammals and all living beings. Lastly, He created humans and God gave them the responsibility to take control over all the other forms of life He had created. That’s what the “Geese laid”.

On the seventh day God rested and admired His creation. All was good until Adam and Eve disobeyed and fell from that position. But, thank God, He also sent Jesus to redeem mankind so we can take back what sin stole away.

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29
Dec

12 Days: DAY FIVE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in God's Grace

On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Five Golden Rings.

In this ancient song the Five Golden Rings represent the first five books of the Bible, known as the Books of Moses or the “Pentateuch”. The Books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy record the beginnings of God’s dealings with man. They provide the history of man’s fall and paint a compelling visual story of what happens when man walks away from God.

Those Golden Rings also provide a descriptive example of God’s efforts to lead man back into a redeemed relationship with Him in the midst of a fallen world. God revealed His perfect will for man through the giving of the Mosaic Law. But He also provided the plan for redemption for sin through the model of the Passover Lamb. He also demonstrated His deliverance power when He delivered His people from the encroaching Egyptians by parting the Red Sea, then closed it on the enemy. Grace is also manifested in the account of the flood and His choosing Noah, the life story of Joseph and God’s provision, and His answer of the Israelite’s prayer by sending Moses.

The five Golden Rings, the Books of Moses, don’t conclude until we arrive at the Book of Revelation. Thanks to God for sending His word.

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28
Dec

12 Days: DAY FOUR

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Twelve Days

On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Four Calling Birds.

The four calling birds represent the four gospels communicating the grace-filled message of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Matthew was written to the Jewish culture and revealed Jesus as the King of Kings. The Gospel of Mark was written to the Romans and revealed Christ as the Greatest Servant. The Gospel of Luke was written to the Greek culture and revealed Jesus as a human. These are known as the synoptic gospels, meaning they tell stories that run side by side.

The Gospel of John was written much later to the universal church, as all cultures were blending together into one church. It has been called the Gospel of Belief because it reveals Christ as God’s Son and emphasizes His deity.

When these four perspectives are put together, they present a full view of the life of Christ on this planet and the clear message they proclaim, or call out. The Four Calling Birds.

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27
Dec

12 Days: DAY THREE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in God's Grace

On the third day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Three French Hens”.

The three French Hens represent the Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity (agape = love). These three key virtues are referred to often in the New Testament. They summarize all the other Christian virtues in a nutshell. Faith is trusting in the omniscience (all knowing) of God. It is resting in Him because we are assured in our hearts that He has a great plan for us.

Hope, however, is not passive trust. It is aggressive in desiring something. Some confuse faith, which is passive by nature, and hope, which is aggressive and takes action. But both have to do with belief. The Hebrew writer said that faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Charity is a better word than love because ‘Agape’ requires action, not feelings. ‘Agape’ actually kicks into gear when feelings are absent or negative.

Our True Love, God gave us these three gifts. PTL!

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26
Dec

12 Days: DAY TWO

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Twelve Days

On the second day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: Two Turtle Doves“.

To the authors, the two turtle doves represented the Word of God, in two divisions: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains God’s desire of His chosen people, Israel. It contains the Books of the Law, the Historical Books, the Poetic Books and the Prophetic Books. It reveals God’s perfect will for man on the earth, but leads to a hopelessness for man who has fallen from perfection.

The New Testament contains the Gospels, History of the Early Church, the Epistles (letters) and the Book of Revelation, which is prophecy. The New Testament leads hopeless man into hope. Through the New Testament we learn how to effectively live as God instructed in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. Two Turtle Doves nestled together.

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25
Dec

12 DAYS: DAY ONE

   Posted by: pastordiehl    in Twelve Days

Today is the first Day of Christmas! Actually, the early church recognized 12 days of the Christmas season from Christmas Day (December 25) to Epiphany (January 5). The Greek Orthodox church had slightly different dates, but the concept was the same. During the 16th century there were some ugly holy wars going on in England between the Roman Catholic Church and its rival, the Episcopal Church. During that time many Christians had to go underground with their faith.

The song we know today as The Twelve Days of Christmas was an attempt to get children to learn scriptural concepts without exposing their faith. Or, an underground song with hidden meaning. Each day we’ll examine another verse in this song.

Day One: “On the first day of Christmas my True Love sent to me: A Partridge in a Pear Tree“. God is our True Love. He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus was born on Christmas Day. He was like a valued partridge in a tree bearing fruit.

No greater gift has ever been given but one that sacrifices Himself for us. Let’s celebrate Jesus’ birth this Christmas.

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