Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Best Christmas Ever

The family I grew up in had a lot of love, but not much money. Because of that, our Christmas celebration revolved more around family gatherings and large meals than it did the giving and receiving of gifts. As children we tried our best to accept what we did receive with joy, but it was not always easy, especially when our friends got all the latest, coolest, new gadgets and toys.

I remember one Christmas when I was in elementary school in which my mother set out to make all our presents. She would lock herself in her room and sew away. We did not know what was going on back there, but we knew enough to suspect it had to do with Christmas. We would try to sneak a peek when we could, but my mother was a force to be reckoned with when she wanted to be.

When Christmas morning came the tree was overflowing with more presents than we had ever seen in our lives. My mother, who has a number of physical difficulties, including epilepsy, had somehow managed to create every conceivable type of toy, blanket, scarf, ball and game that could possibly be made for a child. My mother's health issues would never again allow her to put so much energy into making our Christmas special. But that one year, somehow she made it happen. What she gave us did not cost a lot of money, but it did take an incredible amount of time and energy on her part. It still goes down in our family history as our best Christmas ever.

I am reminded of Luke 2:17-19 “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Mary, the mother of Jesus, pondered what she could do to make the best situation possible for her family. Moms have a way of making Christmas special. That's just what they do. Thank God for moms.

Creator God, thank you for our mothers who love us. Help us to be good parents to our own children. Help us show our children that there is more to Christmas than just presents and gifts. May we show them the depth of Your love. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Angels

As Christmas approaches, I've been thinking about the role angels played in the Christmas story. Angels have always served as God’s messengers. They still exist today and continue to serve as God’s messengers. Though angels are very real, we should never pray to angels, or worship them, because only God deserves that honor. But we can learn some important truths about life by looking at how angels impacted the Christmas story.

First Angel - The Message to Zechariah
Luke 1:11-13 - An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and overcome with fear. But the angel said to him: Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.


               Zechariah was a priest at the Temple and was offering incense at the altar when he saw an angel.
               Because of the large number of priests and limited number of times incense was offered, this was probably a once in a life time experience for Zechariah.
               Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth had not been able to have any children and now were too old for it to happen naturally.
               As Zechariah prayed, he asked God to do a miracle and give him a son.
               There are moments in our lives that are so special, they will never happen again. We should learn to cherish such moments.
               Likewise, we all have supernatural experiences that are once in a life time moments with God. We should not take them for granted because they cannot be recreated.
               Other times God puts a desire in our hearts that just will not go away. We should keep on praying, even if it seems impossible for it to happen.
               An angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah while he was praying, which startled him and he was overcome with fear.
               Zechariah was so shocked that he did not believe the message the angel told him.
               It is ironic that Zechariah was praying for something important to him but when God answered, he was startled and afraid.
               But if we are honest, we would have to admit that the same thing sometimes happens to us. We pray and then are surprised when God answers.

The First Message of the Christmas Angels for us today is: We should pray in faith believing that God hears and responds.

Second Angel - The Message to Mary
Luke 1:26-29 - In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, "Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you." But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.

               Mary was Zechariah’s wife’s cousin.
               In the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the same angel came to Mary and gave her the same message, which was that she would also have a son.
               The angel calls Mary “highly favored.”
               Some churches teach that Mary was sinless or had some other special spiritual quality that made her “worthy” to bear the Christ child.
               Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Mary was extraordinary, as a matter of fact the Bible is actually silent about the background and life of Mary.
               The Bible is silent about Mary because the focus should be Jesus, not on Mary.
               If any of the visitations of Mary that people claim to have are real, Mary’s first message to them would be to stop praying to her and worshipping her, because Jesus alone is worthy of worship.
               Mary was an ordinary person whom God chose to help accomplish His extraordinary plan.
               God still uses ordinary people to do remarkable things.
         
Luke 1:38 - I am the Lord's slave, said Mary. May it be done to me according to your word. Then the angel left her.

               Mary’s response to the angel was that she was willing to submit to God’s plan for her life even though it made no sense at all.
               She got to see God do some amazing things and her life was blessed because of her willingness to obey God’s plan.

The Second Message of the Christmas Angels for us today is: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things if we are willing to be obedient to His plan.

Third Angel - The Message to the Shepherds
Luke 2:8-11 - In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.

               The angel proclaimed good news to the shepherds and the same good news is proclaimed to us today.
               The good news is that we no longer have to endure lives of emptiness but we can have hope and purpose.
               The good news is that we no longer have to bear the guilt of our sins, or fear hell, for our sins can be forgiven.
               This good news is for all people. How have we responded to it?

Luke 2:15 - When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

               The shepherds may have been uneducated and poor, but they were smart enough to go check it out, accept what they found!
               Are we smart enough to check out the Gospel and accept it?

The Third Message of the Christmas Angels for us today is: The Gospel is the Good News about Jesus and we have no hope without it.

Fourth Angel - The Message to Joseph
Matthew 2:13-15 - After they were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him. So he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod's death.

               These verses happen sometime after the actual birth of Jesus, probably about two years later.
               The traditional Christmas story as we know it is over by the time these verses happen.
               King Herod had been alerted that a new “king” had been born and he was afraid of the competition.
               Not wanting competition for the title “King,” Herod ordered the murder of all the baby boys two years old and younger in the area where Jesus had been born.
               That was an incredibly cruel act, but when people in power feel threatened, they often use their power in terrible ways.
               Regretfully, our lives are often filled with pain because the people around us feel threatened, especially those with power over us.
               An angel warned Joseph and told him to flee to Egypt.
               There was a large Jewish population in Alexandria, Egypt. Joseph would have been able to find work and friends among the Jewish community there.
               Joseph took his family and moved to Egypt even though it was disruptive to his life. Joseph was not able to return to Israel until after King Herod died. Even then he moved to Nazareth, instead of his home town.
               Having to move a couple of times and settle in a different town than he may have wanted to was probably very frustrating, but imagine the consequences for his family if Joseph had not had God’s help in this terrible situation.
               The reality is that trouble is going to come to each of our lives at some point, why not have God’s help when that trouble finally comes?

The Fourth Message of the Christmas Angels for us today is: Following God does not mean we will never face problems in life, but it does mean that God will help us in those times of trouble.

Conclusion:
God has given us Four Christmas Messages from Angels:
1.      We should pray in faith believing that God hears and responds.
2.      God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things if we are willing to be obedient to His plan.
3.      The Gospel is the Good News about Jesus and we have no hope without it.
4.      Following God does not mean that we will never face problems in life, but it does mean that God will help us in times of trouble.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bringing the Peace of Christmas Into the World Around Us

We live in an culture where many people do not want to hear the word "Christmas." Yet that same culture so desperately needs the peace that Christmas brings. How can those of us who are Christians bring the peace of Christmas to the world around us? I believe Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25 shows us how.

Verse 18 - The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
• Mary and Joseph were engaged and she comes up pregnant before the wedding.
• That may be acceptable in our modern era, but in those days it was a terrible shame to be pregnant before marriage.
• Joseph knew the baby was NOT his, so imagine how he must have felt.
• This was a very tense situation that had the potential to destroy both Mary and Joseph’s lives.
• We often tell the Christmas story in a way that makes the whole experience seem calm and peaceful, but it was far from it.
• If we think about it, our own Christmas experiences are sometimes more stressful than we wish they were.
• At this time of the year, when we should be celebrating and enjoying the season, instead we are often burdened down with extra stress and anxiety.
• We are anxious about how we will pay for all the gifts our families want.
• We are anxious about how we will relate to the in-laws, ex-relatives and office parties with people we only talk to once or twice a year.
• Sometimes painful memories from our past dampen the Christmas peace we had hoped to feel.
• For many people, Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year to get through.
• Though the world may struggle with finding the peace of Christmas, we Christians should be the ones setting the example.
• What can we do to make sure our own Christmas is filled with peace?

Verse 19 - So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.
• At first Joseph thought Mary had been with someone else and gotten pregnant.
• We could have easily understood if Joseph had been angry and exposed Mary to public ridicule, which was the common response to unmarried pregnant women in that time period.
• In those days, engaged couples were legally bound to be married therefore if one party decided not to go through with the marriage, they had to file for divorce.
• Joseph wants out and plans to file for divorce in order to end the engagement.
• Imagine being divorced before we were even married!
• Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the word “peace” seldom comes up before, during or after a painful divorce! Divorce hurts. Divorce impacts Christmas peace more than we think.
• Joseph decided to keep the divorce private because he was a righteous man.
• This would have caused some people to suspect that Joseph really was the father and just did not want to admit it.
• Joseph was in essence willing to take some of the blame, which was clearly NOT his to take, simply because of his deep faith.
• Joseph was more interested in DOING right than in BEING right.
• Christians must focus on doing what is right even if we “lose” in the process.
• How much stress would we remove from our own lives if we took this approach to dealing with difficult situations in our lives?

Verse 20 - But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream . . . .
• Note that Joseph did consider all his options, but did not take action until AFTER he had heard from the Lord.
• Far too often we allow our emotions to control us and we take action before we have sought direction from the Lord.
• When we allow our emotions to guide us instead of the Holy Spirit, it will always create a bigger mess.
• Waiting on God ALWAYS leads to peace.

Verse 20 - . . . . Joseph, son of David, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. 
• An angel shows up and tells Joseph that Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
• Let’s be honest, if our fiancĂ©’ came up pregnant and an angel said God did it, would we believe that?
• The Christmas angel gave Joseph a message that must have been hard to believe.
• The Christmas angel said that the Holy Spirit had somehow suspended the natural laws of the universe and caused Mary to become pregnant without a man involved.
• We must remember that God created the universe and can alter its laws at any time.
• Nothing is too hard for God to do.
• Christmas miracles are always impossible, and yet they happen all the time.
• When we look at situations in our lives and think that they are impossible to fix, we must remember the miracle power of God can change impossible situations.
• When the Lord begins to tell us how to handle stress in life, His answers do not always make sense to us at first.

Verse 21 - She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.
• The Christmas angel goes on to say that the child Mary carried will not be an ordinary child.
• He will be the long awaited Messiah who would save the people from their sins.
• Jesus would be the answer that generations of people had looked for.
• Jesus is still the answer to our problems.
• Our marriages would be better if we would treat our spouse as Jesus taught us.
• Our children would be happier if we were the kind of parents Jesus told us to be.
• Our finances would be more balanced if we would handle our money as Jesus said.
• Our workplaces would be more enjoyable if we had Jesus-like integrity.
• Our politicians would be more effective if they acted more like Jesus & less like Satan!
• Jesus has always been the answer, Jesus is the answer now and Jesus will always be the answer!

Verse 24 - When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord's angel had commanded him. He married her.
• Joseph chose to obey the message from the Christmas angel and married Mary.
• Deciding to continue the relationship with Mary may have cost him some pride and maybe even some social standing in his community, but once Joseph knew it was God’s plan, he embraced it.
• Once Joseph got a clear word from God on how he was to proceed in this difficult situation, he immediately did what God told him to do.
• Imagine the great peace that Joseph must have felt knowing he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do.
• We often fail to find the peace we need in life because we keep trying to do things our way instead of doing it God’s way.
• Too many of us try to convince God that He really does not know what He is doing and that our plan will work better than His.
• Doing it our way instead of God’s, always leads to more pain and less peace.
• At some point we must stop thinking that we are smarter than God and start living our lives the way God wants us to.
• It may cost us something socially. It may strip away some of our prideful thinking. But it will give us the peace that we need in this anxiety ridden world.

Conclusion:
• Christmas should be a time of peace but too often it simply adds to our stress.
• Christians should set an example of peace in our stress filled world.
• One way to rediscover peace is to focus more on DOING right than BEING right.
• Another way to rediscover peace is to wait for the Lord to guide us in difficult situations.
• Once we know what God wants us to do in difficult situations, then we must obey immediately in order to find peace.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Monday, December 18, 2017

Finding Christmas Peace that Lasts Beyond Christmas



We all have our favorite movies that we have watched so many times that there are no surprises left. We know all the characters, all the plot twists and subtle details that make the movie so great. Because such movies are our favorites, we want to keep watching them, but because we know them so well, some of the excitement we used to feel about them has faded. Then, along comes one of those “documentaries” about how our favorite movies were made. They reveal the behind the scenes details about the movie and we fall in love with it all over again because now we know the background of the movie as well as the movie itself.

For those of us who grew up in a Christian environment, Christmas can sometimes feel like one of our favorite movies. We love the story of Mary and Joseph, the baby in a manger, the angels singing, the shepherds watching their fields at night, and the wise men following the star. We have read the story. We have watched it on television specials. We have heard countless Sunday School lessons and sermons about it. We have sung in, and watched our children sing in, so many Christmas pageants that they all begin to run together after a while. We have lit candles representing various aspects of the story and reflected on the story so often that sometimes it begins to lose the wonder it once had in our souls. But what if we could take a look behind the scenes? What if we looked at how the stage was set for some of the parts of the story long before the actual events took place?

The prophet Isaiah does exactly that in several passages of scripture. One of them is Isaiah 9:1-7.

Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when He humbled the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali. But in the future He will bring honor to the Way of the Sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before You as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. For You have shattered their burdensome yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as You did on the day of Midian. For the trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war will be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this. 

Though the first section of this passage may not sound very Christmas-like, most of us are familiar with the last two verses, which we often hear in Christmas services during the Advent season. Let’s take a look at the whole passage and see if it shows us a behind the scenes look at one aspect of the Christmas story.

Verse 1a - Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times . . .
          The focus of this entire passage is the birth of the Prince of PEACE, but it begins by talking about gloom. Wow, what a way to start a Christmas scripture! But let’s be realistic, many of us desire to experience peace, both with God and with those around us, but we are so focused on the gloom in our lives that peace often eludes us.
          When this scripture was written, the nation of Israel was at war, their economy was strained, their taxes were high and they had unpopular leaders. They were an entire nation of distressed people.
          Many people in our nation today are distressed for the very same reasons. We seem to always have a war to fight somewhere in the world. Extremists in the Middle East are beheading our citizens at will and foreign governments hack into our companies’ computers and we seem powerless to stop them. Our leaders have very low approval ratings, regardless of which political party they are in. On a national level, it seems that our culture is more pessimistic and skeptical than ever before. There sure seems to be a spirit of gloom in our nation.
          But it is not just on a macro level that we sense a spirit of gloom. Many of us feel it on a personal level as well. Some things that take away our sense of personal peace include: Past failures in marriage, jobs, education, friendships, or life goals. Unresolved grief from the loss of someone or something that was important to us. A sense of isolation and loneliness even though we are surrounded by people. The contrast we see between our lives and the lives of those around us who seem to have it all though we struggle to have even a small portion of it. Sometimes we cannot even put words to why we feel down about our lives, it is more of a general fear of the future and what might happen in our lives. Though we know that during this special time of the year we should be filled with joy, happiness and peace, instead we are sometimes overwhelmed with gloom, anxiety and distress. So it makes sense that Isaiah would begin our behind the scenes Christmas tour by talking about the gloom and distress we often feel on both national and personal levels. Thankfully, Isaiah does not end the tour there. Look at the rest of verse one.

Verse 1b -  . . . But in the future He will bring honor to the Way of the Sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations.
          Notice the verse moves our focus from the gloom the Israelites were currently facing to the honor they would have in the future. Isaiah did not want the Israelites to obsess on their current struggles, but to look to a future that God was creating for them.
          It is important to remember that the struggles and problems we are facing in our own lives right now will eventually pass. Just because it seems like we have always struggled does not mean that it always has to be that way. God can and does change people and situations. We must learn to focus on the future instead of being trapped in the past where we relive our struggles over and over again. But to finding lasting peace, we must focus on the RIGHT future, the future that God is creating. Let’s look at the scripture again.
          “Galilee of the nations” refers to a part of Israel which centuries later Jesus would spend a lot of time in. At the time this scripture was written, few would have guessed the great importance Galilee would have in the life of Jesus, the baby born in the manger. The Hebrew word for “nations” is “goyim” and refers to all the non-Jews who would one day believe in Jesus. When this scripture was written, it would have been hard for the people reading it to realize just how much Jesus would be a part of the lives of non-Jews in the future. It was just now how people thought at the time. But calling vast numbers of non-Jews to follow the Jewish Messiah who was born on Christmas was God’s plan all along. The future was very exciting, but so far out of the way the ancient Israelites viewed the world, that it was hard for them to grasp. In fact, many of them missed it when Christmas finally came. Sadly, many of them still miss it today. Many Jews today still do not recognize the baby born in the manger on Christmas was their long awaited Messiah who could change their lives.
          The reason some people are unable to move forward toward the future God wants them to have is because they continue to focus on their own plan for the future. This only leads to further anxiety and gloom. We have all experienced times in our lives when our carefully made plans fell apart. In those moments we have to decide if we will persist in our own fruitless plans or look for a new way to live by following God’s plan for our lives. A positive future is focused on God’s plan for our lives. That is the pathway to honor and it shines light into the gloom of life. Let’s look at verse two.

Verse 2 - The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned.
          All of us have walked in darkness at some point in our lives. Some of us are still stumbling around in the dark trying to figure life out. But we do not have to live our entire lives in a fog of confusion and darkness. Having a vibrant relationship with Jesus is the key to getting out of a life of stumbling in the darkness.
          Too many of us are trying to have a relationship with God in general terms, but the only way to relate to God the Father is through Jesus Christ, His Son. To find real peace in our lives we must first accept Jesus as not only our Savior, but our Lord (boss, ruler, or controller). Then we must focus on building a strong relationship with Him.
          As we strengthen our relationship with Jesus, we learn to let go of the past and are able to focus on the future that He wants us to have. His light slowly penetrates our darkness, helping us find new strength to put our future in His hands instead of trying to control the future ourselves. This is hard, but vital to discovering real peace. Do we really believe God has enough power for us to trust Him with our future?

Verses 3-4 - You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before You . . . For You have shattered their burdensome yoke
          The first part of this passage reminds us that God had enlarged the nation. Remember, this was written in a time of war, a war which was not going well, yet God had enlarged the nation anyway.
          God has a way of enlarging our lives even in the midst of difficulty and trials. We have to decide if we are going to learn from the times of difficulty or be beat down by them.
          The next part of the passages says that God shattered the yoke the enemies of God’s people had put on them. Likewise, God has the power to shatter the things that hold us back from finding peace. The very things that seem to be holding us back can become stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks once God gets involved. When that happens, we find lasting peace in the midst of challenging life circumstances.
          But for this to happen, we must live blessable lives. Though none of us are perfect, we must always strive for godliness because God seldom blesses us if we are living unblessable lives. Our efforts to live godly lives are intricately wrapped up in our understanding of and relationship with Jesus Christ, the baby born in the manger. Who was this baby?

Verse 6 - For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
          Over 700 years before the birth of Christ, He was already the PRINCE OF PEACE. Just the promise of this little child was enough to shift the focus of a whole nation from dwelling on a terrible war onto a expecting a bright future.
          The government is on His shoulders. Praise God the government is in God’s hands and we do not have to figure all the politics out in order to find lasting peace!
          He is a wonderful counselor. Praise God we do not have to sort out all our personal problems in order to find lasting peace!
          He is the Mighty God. Jesus is not just a man, but God in human flesh. That means He has all the power He needs to set things right in our lives and our nation. He can do this!
          He is the Eternal One, so His promises will last forever, He will not desert us!
          Because of all these things, Jesus really is the Prince of Peace. He can calm all the raging emotions and confusing anxieties in our lives.
          But in order to have lasting peace, we must let Him be the Prince of Peace in our lives instead of fighting against His rule and reign in our lives. Have we really opened up our hearts and minds to let Him rule us and give us lasting peace? Sometimes it seems that we can do this for a period of time, but then our peace begins to fade. Our own passion, our own excitement, our own zeal, will often fail us. We need to find a source of zeal outside of ourselves.

Verse 7 - . . . The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.
          Isaiah knows that our own zeal will fail us. Which is why he reminds us that all these things the baby in the manger would accomplish would not be done by a man’s power or by a denomination’s declaration or by a theological statement written in some book of prayer. It would be accomplished by God Himself and He would do it with His own zeal!
          Zeal means passion and power. Jesus has zeal for us. Will we let His zeal carry us out of gloom and darkness and into His glorious light? Will we let His zeal inspire us, carry us, challenge us, consume us, until it bubbles out of us and overflows into those around us? When this happens, we will find lasting Christmas peace, not just at Christmas, but all year long.

As we draw all of these ideas to a conclusion, we are reminded that the steps to finding lasting Christmas peace include:
1.     Accepting Jesus as both our Savior from sin and the Lord of our lives.
2.     Allowing His light to penetrate our darkness so we will be able to let go of the past and focus on the future God wants for us.
3.     Doing our best to live a life that is blessable, but resting in His grace when we fail to do so.

4.           Having the zeal of God in our lives, which is far greater than our own passion or excitement.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


Friday, December 15, 2017

A Christmas Prophecy

…. But in the future he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
                                               Isaiah 9:1b-2, 6

When this scripture was written the nation of Israel was in a time of war. It was a war that was not going well. In the midst of that time of anguish and despair Isaiah prophesied that one day a baby would be born. That baby would be the promised Jewish Messiah, the Prince of Peace. We know Him by the name of Jesus and the story of his birth is what makes the Christmas season so special to us all. But as is often true in Old Testaments prophecies, there is a second prophecy hidden within the first one.

The passage of scripture refers to the Galilee of the nations. The Hebrew word used for nations refers to everyone in the world who was not Jewish. Those non-Jews were lost in utter darkness. But Isaiah knew that one day they would have the same opportunity to accept the Jewish Messiah as the Jews did. They would be able to see the Light of Christ.

This prophecy has come true over and over again through the centuries and now the number of non-Jews who follow Christ is significantly greater than the number of Jews who do. The Gospel of Christ is being taken to remote corners of the world by all those non-Jewish believers in the Jewish Messiah. Only God could have brought such a miracle to pass.


While we rejoice in this centuries long miracle, the time has come for us to do our part to join God in fulfilling this prophecy for our generation. Each generation is responsible for taking the gospel to their peers both in their own nation and around the world. So now the stewardship of this prophecy has come to us. As we consider our Christmas activities, will it include opportunities to share our faith with those who are still in darkness? As we consider our Christmas giving, will it include donations to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and other gospel driven causes? Will we continue to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah and help spread the Prince of Peace to the nations?

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: