The difference between a good tree and a corrupt tree is the Holy Spirit. Those who are rooted in Christ have been given the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the fruit of the Spirit, the good fruit, can be manifested in their lives.
There is an innate assumption in the modern church that false prophets are hard to find. However… as easy as it is to know that grapes don’t come from thorns… so it is easy to see the absence of good fruit from the ministry of false prophets among us.
Your cross is not your sacrifice. Jesus was crucified ON a cross. Therefore, to take up your cross is to be ready for the world to crucify you for the sake of the gospel. Taking up my cross is the willingness to be rejected by the world.
Physically, a virgin birth was impossible, but spiritually it was possible: God isn’t limited by the laws of the physical universe. God is bigger than that. Mary, however, was limited and she needed God’s intervention to live out God’s will for her life.
For us to accept Jesus as Saviour we must first see Jesus as King, rightly having the authority to offer us salvation on His terms. Sin came about when man rejected God’s authority. Salvation comes about when man accepts God’s authority: when we see Jesus as our King.
Our problem is that we trust our senses more than we trust God. Our tendency is to walk by sight, i.e., to live by our senses and our own human logic. When our sensory experiences tell us that things are out of the norm, our minds conclude, based on that limited information, that we are in danger, that we should react in fear.
The priceless benefit of being “highly favored” by God is being able to have fellowship with Him, being blessed to live in His presence where there is fullness of joy.
At Christmas time, and all the time, Believers (“men and women of God”) are appointed to deliver God’s message, to announce God’s truth, to those whom we are sent; just like Gabriel did.
Bearing our sins on the Cross was such a burden that the Creator and Sustainer of the entire (physical AND spiritual) universe was almost overwhelmed.
Grace is NOT cheap.
The example set by the wise men who brought gifts to Jesus has made the giving of gifts an integral part of celebrating Christmas: Jesus’ birth. However, the gifts we give each other, today, bear very little spiritual resemblance to those originally bestowed by the wise men.