Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Staff Snowball Fight

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Logan and the Sky Angel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Conspiracy

The Christmas Conspiracy

It began as most conspiracies do with a high level official seeing an opportunity for a power grab. While the king was distracted with foreign affairs, he had been working hard at home. What began as a fanciful imagination had developed into a full blown plot to overthrow the king and establish his own throne. Lucifer knew he would only have one opportunity. He made his move, but the Almighty King knew his every plan He stood against him and proclaimed.

Isa. 14:12 - 15 (NKJV)
12“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13For you have said in your heart:

‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ 15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.

In that moment of defeat Lucifer and one third of heaven’s angels were banished from the realm. But left unbound he and his conspirators hatched an evil plot to break the righteousness of God, stripping him of his very character and making him like himself. Lucifer knew that where there is great love there is great passion, and where there is great passion there is the possibility of sin. That was the weak point, that was the place where he would stage his attack.

Since creation, the Almighty specifically crafted for himself two special creatures. They were placed over all creation and enjoyed a unique and loving relationship with God. Created as perfect beings, the conspiracy would begin by coaxing them to violate God’s command. God would be enraged, He would react in anger, and sin, and Lucifer would be victorious. As conspiracies go, this was simple, but it need not be complicated, to succeed, it just needed to surprise all the players.

Lucifer waited, he waited until it seemed he could wait no more. Eve was alone.

Gen. 3:1- 7 (NKJV)
1Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

4Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

The trap was set. That evening when God came down to walk with man, he would find him in sin, and enraged would violate his nature and forfeit his place as Almighty God. Lucifer, was so proud of his plan. Even if it failed to cause God to sin, this was a blow that would resonate for centuries as now God has to deal with a sinful man. It happened just as Lucifer expected. That evening God arrived but rather than lose his temper, his justice came through as he began to hand down punishments commiserate to the crime.

Gen. 3:14 - 15 (NKJV)
14So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go,

And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise His heel.”

And so the stage was set. On one side was Lucifer, and his legions of fallen angels, and on the other side was man, now separated from God but with the promise of a future seed that will be his end. At this moment Lucifer knew that everything must be done to stop the fulfillment of the prophecy, the birth of the Christ.

The first clue was that the redeemer would be the son of man. God would not redeem man himself, nor would he employ His angels. He would redeem man through the son of man, but not a fallen man, no it must be a perfect sinless man, a God-man. From that moment on Lucifer became a student of man. In order to win, he must be sure that every man is a sinner. It is by this that he became known as the father of lies.

Time does not permit us to tell the tales of the great battle for the souls of men that was waged throughout the course of time. Such as God’s promise to Abraham, and Lucifer’s near victory in Egypt, or God’s prophecy that the redeemer would be of the house and lineage of David.
Isa. 11:1 (NKJV)
1There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Like pieces of the puzzle, a picture was beginning to form. Lucifer laughed out loud when God kept giving away strategic ground. Like when he narrowed it down to the Children of Israel. Satan no longer had to stretch his troops thin he could focus his attention on Israel, Now the Tribe of Judah. It seemed too easy. A big break came when word got to Lucifer that the child would be virgin born.

It happened that Lucifer was victorious in dividing the tribes of Israel into two factions. One group of ten known by the name Ephriam, and the other two, the tribe of Benjamin and Judah, known simply as Judah.
Isa. 7:1-14 (NKJV)
1Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but could not prevail against it. 2And it was told to the house of David, saying, “Syria’s forces are deployed in Ephraim.” So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.

3Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4and say to him: ‘Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you, saying, 6“Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel”—7thus says the Lord GOD:

“It shall not stand, Nor shall it come to pass. 8For the head of Syria is Damascus,

And the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken,

So that it will not be a people. 9The head of Ephraim is Samaria, And the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you will not believe, Surely you shall not be established.”’” 10Moreover the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11“Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.”

12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!”

13Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Though Satan lost the battle to defeat Judah, he gained a great bit of intelligence. That the Son of Man, the redeemer would be born of a virgin and would be Immanuel - God with us! Now it made sense. God the Son would come to earth in the weakness of man, to redeem sinful man. But when, and more importantly where? Lucifer knew that if he was going to thwart the redemption of man that he must stop the incarnation of God.

The answer to where the great battle would take place came when the prophet Micah spoke.
Mic. 5:2 – 5a (NKJV)
2“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” 3Therefore He shall give them up,

Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5And this One shall be peace.

The battle raged on for centuries. Lucifer’s victory when Israel was captured by Babylon in 605 BC. His greatest chance for victory lay in the fact that conquered nations cease to exist and are absorbed by the victors. All he had to do was to see that all the Children of Israel and namely the tribe of Judah were effectively anything other than purely Jewish.

In 444 BC however, Israel had remained a nation without a country, but intact as a race of people. Nehemiah appears on the scene and through the power of the king of Persia, returns to rebuild Jerusalem. No doubt Lucifer did all that he could to disrupt this but in the end he failed.

The Last words of the Old Testament teach us that prior to the 400 years of silence, like our modern day Patten. God spoke these words.

Mal. 4:1 - 2a (NKJV)
1“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings;

We know little if anything of what transpired during the 400 silent years between Testaments. As if the calm before the storm, both armies busy readying themselves for battle. Building up armies and beating plow shears into swords. Strategies were played out, when the first indication came. By calculating time from Daniel’s prophecy.

seven units of seven, and sixty-two units of seven” ; i.e., 49 years, and 434 years respectively. The time of the great battle was at hand. After having been silent for 400 years Israel once again was rejoicing with the news that God had spoken to a prophet. Could this be the one. Reports said

Luke 1:5 - 17 (NKJV)
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

This was definitely it. The forerunner prophesied by Malachi

Mal. 4:5 - 6 (NKJV)
5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Lucifer sprang into action. All eyes on Zacharias and Elizabeth. In the mean time the angel Gabriel had appeared to the virgin Mary and announced to her that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Messiah. Immediately she was to go to her relative Elizabeth’s house where she would receive confirmation in the miracle of Elizabeth being 6 months pregnant in her old age.

Luke 1:39 - 45 (NKJV)
39Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Mary was the one, the chosen vessel of God to bring forth Immanuel, Lucifer knew it. He did everything that he could to undermine God’s plan, but it was taking place faster than he could react. His only hope was to frustrate the prophecies. To somehow force God to change course and thus fail to keep his word. Joseph was option number 1. Perhaps as a just man, Joseph would take revenge on Mary, or would invoke his rights to have her put to death. But Lucifer underestimated Joseph’s love for and faith in Mary.

Matt. 1:18 - 21 (NKJV)
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Bethlehem was his final option. Every prophecy had been magnificently fulfilled to this point. Amazingly, Lucifer was down to his last best hope. If he could stop Mary and Joseph from traveling from Galilee in the North to the little town of Bethlehem in the South he would force a violation of the prophecy of Micah. Then the decree went out.

Luke 2:1 - 4 (NKJV)
1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David

Lucifer knew this area well. These were the same fields where David had grown up tending his father’s sheep. Not too far from here his Champion Goliath was beaten. He knew that the terrain was rough, a hard ride for an expectant mother. He knew the town was small, and that his best hopes were to crowd them out of the city. Perhaps, if all went according to plan that he could fill the city and force them to go 5 miles north to the next exit, the city of Jerusalem.

His plan was working perfectly. The town was teeming with people. During the day before Joseph and Mary’s arrival the small narrow streets of the city were wall to wall with people scrambling to find food, and a quiet place to rest while awaiting their turn to be registered.

Lucifer’s minions had failed to use the rocky terrain and the cold winter climate to keep them from arriving. It seemed that every crook and thief had left their place of ambush for the warmth of the city. Mary and Joseph would make it to Bethlehem but would they stay.

“It was time” Mary told Joseph. The time to be delivered was now. Joseph scrambled for a room, but there was none. Lucifer grinned with glee as he knew that Joseph would be forced to leave the city for the sake of the health of the child. Then it happened. The inn Keeper took pity on them, and made available the stable. Stable we call it, it was more akin to a cave. In truth it was a dark, damp hole in the side of the rocks where the animals could escape the bitter winter winds.

Luke 2:6 - 7 (NKJV)
6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


Luke 2:8 - 11 (NKJV)
8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Lucifer had been defeated. A battle that had raged since before the beginning of time. A battle that had seen much blood shed, that had seen the rise and fall of the nation of Israel, the Almighty had won, the Redeemer was born. Words escape me to describe the greatness of the victory of Christ’s birth. Without it, man would be forever dammed to eternity in hell and Satan would be victorious.
Luke 2:13 - 14 (NKJV)
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

What is the conspiracy of Christmas? I will tell you. The conspiracy of Christmas is that it was anything but a silent night. It was one of the most tumultuous battles of all time as Lucifer and all the demons of Hell fought the coming of the Redeemer, the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord.