The Power of Providence in Your Life

The first Christmas looked like a coincidence. From a human perspective, politics set the agenda: Caesar took a census of his people. Period. End of story.

The Power of Providence in Your Life

(Picture by Danka Peter)

But from the divine viewpoint? God orchestrated ordinary events for extraordinary outcomes.

Think about this past year in your life. Many ordinary events occurred. Most you don’t remember. But God has been working.

It isn’t just the Christmas story. It’s your story too. God uses the power of providence in your life as well.

Send a Thank-You Note Today

Think about one person who has inspired you, encouraged you, or helped you. Got that person in your mind?

Now, let me ask you a question: Have you ever sent a thank-you note to that person?

Send a thank you note today!

(Photo: Monkey Business Images, via Vivozoom)

Not long ago a client sent a thank-you note to the editors in our department, expressing appreciation for their excellent work. The client told me of the editors’ surprising reply: “No one has ever thanked us before.”

That tragic statement got me thinking.

Messianic Prophecies Change a Life

Why can’t I just pray to God without Jesus in the middle?” asked a Jewish friend of mine in Israel. The lady to whom he spoke answered, “Why don’t you just pray that God will reveal to you who Jesus is all about?”

(Photo: My friend Amir at Masada, Israel)

So for the first time, Amir sat down, wrote out a prayer, stuck it on the wall where he could see it—and prayed. “And I made sure I said every word,” he said.

The next day changed his life.

Headlines and End Times [Podcast]

2 Thessalonians 2-3

Seeing the devastation in the world and the political tensions in the Middle-East tempts many people into thinking the end of the world is near.

However, the Bible gives us a clear explanation of prophecy and (most importantly) its application for our lives: change idleness to productivity while we patiently wait for the coming of Christ.

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A Little Town—Bethlehem

When we listen to Christmas carols and look at Christmas cards, we often find them filled with sentimental terms such as “tidings,” “goodwill,” “noel,” “cheer” and “Merry Christmas.”

Scenes on the cards typically depict a newborn (who looks about two years old) with radiant beams from His holy face, oxen and donkeys bowing, with halos hovering above Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

A Little Town—Bethlehem

(Painting by Mattia Preti. Public domain.)

We call the baby’s bed a “manger,” not a feed trough. We label the scene a “nativity,” not a birth. We’ve even built a church over the cave where Christ was born!

We do all we can to take away the ignobility the Bible explicitly portrays. And what’s that? Christ’s birth represented humility in the truest sense of the word.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Micah prophesied that One coming from eternity would bring the Jews back to their land and rule Israel with worldwide fame in the strength of the Lord (Micah 5:2-5). This mighty Messiah would come from the ignoble, little town of Ruth and David: Bethlehem (see Ruth 4:11, 22).

Why such unadorned humility? Because Jesus came the first time to live the life we should have lived and to die the death we should have died for our sins. The second coming of Christ is the one everyone wanted first. While Micah blended both advents into one prophesy, we understand the necessity of their separation (see Heb. 9:28).

We needed a Savior before we needed a King.

The words Phillips Brooks penned in 1868 after a Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem remain so appropriate:

In thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light: the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2006), p. 24. Used by permission.

A Tale of Two Cities – Jerusalem and Babylon in Prophecy [Podcast]

Genesis 10-11, 14; Isaiah 13-14; Revelation 21-22

Two cities represent two kinds of people. Babylon corresponds to the rebellion of man against God; Jerusalem epitomizes faith in God. In a day that leans wholly on humanism, we would do well to trace the history and future of these two cities to see their outcome.

God has prophesied to utterly destroy Babylon and eternally bless Jerusalem—and all that both great cities represent. Which city holds your citizenship?

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The Seven-Year Ache – The Tribulation [Podcast]

Matthew 23:37-24:27; Revelation 13:1-10

Immediately following the Rapture of the church begins a seven-year period of extremes. Initially the time appears wonderful, as the Middle East finally will have peace. But halfway through the seven years, having developed a United States of Europe, the Beast will break his covenant with Israel, rule the world, and persecute both Jews and new believers. God also will unleash His wrath on the unbelieving world, so that they might repent and believe in response to a massive evangelistic campaign.

Never before in the history of the world has the stage been set so clearly preparing for the days of tribulation. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and be spared the wrath of God to come on the whole world.

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God’s Next Big Event – The Rapture [Podcast]

1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Contrary to Hollywood, the next prophetic event isn’t the Antichrist or Armageddon. Believers are not due to experience wrath, but instead, Rapture from wrath! The Rapture of the church is imminent, instantaneous, and immortal.

Having this certain hope, believers should serve diligently while waiting . . . for we know that such service will be evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

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Who Cares About Tomorrow? [Podcast]

John 14

In a culture that lives for the moment, a series on biblical prophecy may seem like a waste of time. But one-fourth of the Bible was prophetic when it was written, God must have critical lessons to teach us there.

We study prophecy because prophecy gives purpose and priority to life, peace amidst confusion, and a stronger faith once prophecy is fulfilled. Jesus challenged us to live not as if there’s no tomorrow, but obediently, and in light of the certainty of His coming.

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