Pt. 16 – The Christmas Story (A Voice Was Heard in Ramah)

A Voice Was Heard in Ramah

King Herod, when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him and were not returning, was exceedingly angry.

He sent soldiers to Bethlehem, and all its surrounding districts, to slaughter all the male children two years old and younger, for the wise men had told him that the star first appeared two years before.

This brutal massacre fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah, who said: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15).

Rachel is used figuratively to represent the city of Bethlehem. She was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, the wife of Jacob, who was buried near Bethlehem. Ramah was a small farming community about 10 miles away from Bethlehem.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead” (Matthew 2:20). So he arose and took the young child and Mary to the land of Israel.

However, when he heard that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was now reigning over Judea, he was afraid to go there. Being warned by God in a dream, he took Mary and the young child to the region of Galilee and dwelt in the town of Nazareth. This is where Jesus grew up, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:23).

The Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40).

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Pt. 15 – The Christmas Story (Wise Men From the East)

Wise Men From the East

When Jesus was born, there were wise men (also called magi or astrologers) in the East who saw His star and they journeyed to Jerusalem to find the One who was born King of the Jews so they could worship Him (Matthew 2:1-2).

The wise men inquired of the leaders in Jerusalem as to where the newborn King of the Jews was located. When King Herod heard about this, he was troubled, as was also all Jerusalem (Matthew 2:3). Herod was the king of the Jews and felt threatened by the idea of someone else being born to replace him as king of the Jews.

Herod gathered the chief priests and the scribes (religious lawyers) together, inquiring where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4-6). So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet ‘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’” (Micah 5:2 NKJV).

Herod secretly summoned the wise men to his palace to question them, to determine when the star first appeared (Matthew 2:7-8). Then Herod sent the wise men to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when you have found him, bring word back to me—that I may come and worship Him also.”

In his evil heart, Herod had no plans of worshipping the Christ Child, but of murdering Him.

The wise men departed from King Herod’s presence, and the star that they had seen in the East went before them leading them to the place where Jesus and His parents resided. The star stood over a house where the young child was (Matthew 2:9-10). When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy!

From the time that the wise men first saw the star, they didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until two years later. By the time they left for their journey and traveled hundreds of miles to Jerusalem and were detained there, when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, Jesus was around two years old. Joseph, Mary and the toddler Jesus were living in a house and remained in Bethlehem until Jesus was about two years old.

Although the wise men are depicted today as being three in number because they presented Jesus with three gifts, it was probably a whole caravan of magi that came. In those days travelers journeyed in caravans for safety purposes, as there were robbers along the side of the roads.

When the wise men came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother. The wise men fell down and worshipped Jesus. They had brought costly gifts for Him that are suited for a king. When they had opened their treasures, they presented Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

Gold symbolizes Divinity and Eternity. The gold is representative of the fact that Jesus is God, who was in Heaven with His Father and sent to earth to take on human flesh to ransom mankind. Gold also represents the wealth of a King.

Frankincense is a sweet perfume, symbolizing the sweet fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). Song of Solomon 1:3-4 (NIV) says, “How pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfume; Your Name is like perfume poured out … let the King bring me into His chambers.” Frankincense speaks of Jesus being our bridegroom and king. Frankincense also speaks of worship and prayers that are offered up to God ascending to the Throne as a sweet-smelling aroma that is accepted by the Father. Frankincense symbolizes the Shekinah Glory of God.

Myrrh is a sweet smelling, but bitter resin, used for cleansing and burial of the dead. Myrrh symbolizes Christ’s sufferings and His death on the Cross. Myrrh also represents the sufferings we go through, and dying to the fleshly nature (Galations 2:20, 5:16-25).

The wise men were divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod. So they departed for their own country another way.

When the wise men had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Arise, take the young child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13 NKJV).

When Joseph arose, he took the young child and Mary by night and departed for Egypt. They remained in Egypt until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Hosea 11:1).

Pt. 11 – The Christmas Story (Mary’s Dilemma)

Mary’s Dilemma

The time came when Mary had to tell her fiancé Joseph that she was with child. She tried to explain to him how the conception occurred: The archangel Gabriel appeared to her in person, he announced that she was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived, and the child she is carrying in her womb is the Son of God.

Of course, how could Joseph believe such a preposterous story? It sounded ludicrous. How could a mature, logical and sensible man like himself buy such a story? After all, every young woman dreamed of being chosen to give birth to the Messiah.

Just imagine all of the tumultuous emotions that Joseph was feeling. He was betrothed to Mary and in love with her. He had dreams and plans of spending his entire life with her, but now his dreams of the two of them having a future together was dashed on the ground into a thousand pieces. He must have felt betrayal, anger, confusion, hurt, rejection, deep pain, disappointment and grief. He felt jilted. He had been cheated on, or so he thought. He was brokenhearted.

He must have felt rage in his heart, wondering which man it was that took advantage of Mary who was a young teenager, using her for his own selfish desires. If he found out who the man was, he was probably ready to kill him.

Song of Solomon 8:6 (NKJV) says, “Love is as strong as death; jealousy as cruel as the grave.” Proverbs 6:32-35 (TLB) states: “But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul. Wounds and constant disgrace are his lot, for the woman’s husband will be furious in his jealousy, and he will have no mercy on you in his day of vengeance. You won’t be able to buy him off no matter what you offer.”

In that culture, the betrothal period was just as legally binding as the marriage itself, and it appeared that Mary had committed adultery.

Joseph could not believe such a bizarre story of how Mary supposedly conceived. He had the legal right to have her stoned to death in the town square before the religious leaders and the people. However, he was a just and righteous man, and he was in love with Mary. Although Joseph was hurting, he did not want to expose Mary’s shame or see her go through public humiliation and a brutal execution. So he had it in his mind to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:18-25).

While Joseph thought on these matters, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21 NIV).

The Lord defended Mary’s purity.

All of this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14 NKJV): “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (which translated means God with us).

Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. He took Mary as his wife, but had no intimate relations with her until she had given birth to her firstborn son (Matthew 1:24-25). Mary was not a virgin her entire lifetime.

After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had children together, for the Bible records that Jesus had younger brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3). Jesus was the eldest child because it was He who determined who was going to take care of His widowed mother Mary after He ascended to Heaven. He chose John the Apostle (His cousin), rather than one of His siblings, to take care of Mary for the rest of her life (John 19:26-27).

The Lord was faithful to fulfill what He said to Mary. Just as God promised, spoken through Gabriel, she was overshadowed with the Holy Spirit and conceived a son—being a virgin. For with God all things are possible (Luke 18:27).

Joseph is depicted as a man of honor and excellent character, a man who obeyed the voice of the Lord. What a great man that God chose to be Mary’s husband and Jesus’ adoptive father!

Dream – Jesus Absorbing Pain, Sin, Disease, Praises

This is a dream that my precious mom, June Riley, had on May 27, 2009.

June saw a large group of people calling out to Jesus with their own specific set of circumstances. Whether it was a need in their lives for forgiveness of sin, a healing request for an illness, salvation of loved ones souls or to give praises unto Jesus, June saw Jesus respond to each person’s cry individually. Jesus did not respond corporately.

After the individual had spoken their desire, Jesus would wrap a blanket around that person, cuddle him/her close to his chest and then absorb their need. Jesus repeated this process until all persons had been ministered to individually.

If the need was for healing, Jesus absorbed the disease. If it was for lost souls, Jesus absorbed the pain. If it was for forgiveness of sin, Jesus absorbed the sin. If a person called out praises to Jesus, Jesus absorbed their praises.

There were some people whom Jesus wrapped blankets with an attached cushion around them. The blanket/cushion fit snugly cradled between his arms and resting on his chest and He then cuddled them close to his chest absorbing their need.

(I wonder, could these be the bruised ones?)

Blanket – a warm covering, being wrapped in warmth

Cushion – something soft, comforting

Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the Cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse.” The Message Bible Translation

Dream: Seasons Are About To Change

Dream:  Seasons Are About To Change

I received this dream on the same night that Benny Hinn spoke on seasons changing.

In October of 2003, I attended a Benny Hinn crusade in Fresno, California. The Holy Spirit ministered to deep areas in my life.

The evening of October 16, 2003, after the service was over and I returned to my hotel, during the night the Lord gave me a prophetic dream concerning a change of seasons that’s coming. This spoke personally to situations in my life, and I believe that this dream was a word for many in the Corporate Body of Christ.

Perhaps this prophetic dream may speak to some situation in your life in which you are believing to see God bring about a breakthrough.

I shared this dream with a friend of mine, and it was a confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to my friend’s life.  Their situation was different, but God kept on saying to them: “New Season”.

Scene 1: Cloudy. Sky looks bleak. A storm has just passed. Clarity is impaired.

Scene 2: Clouds begin to dissipate as Sunshine peeks through. Eventually the clouds fade away, and there is full sunshine and clear blue skies.

Scene 3: Spring time. New blossoming takes place. Gentle rains.

You may be in a cloudy season right now in your life. Things may look bleak. But there is hope and assurance that this season will be short-lived, and the sun will come out.

You will not remain in your cloudy situation. God is bringing you out. Much sunshine is in store.

Where there was once confusion and difficulty in hearing God’s Voice and seeing in the Spirit with clarity, the clouds shall be parted and you will be able to see and hear clearly. The fog shall clear up.

Where there was sadness, mourning and depression—there shall be gladness and rejoicing. You shall again dance and play your tambourine with joy, like you did in your youth.

Where there was a heavy burden of stress and anxiety, the load will lift and lighten. The enemy of your soul tried to take you out, but God stepped in. The Lord breathed fresh life into those dry bones and gave the command, saying: “Hear the Word of the Lord, O dry bones, and live!”  And revivification came.

Great fruitfulness and productivity is in store. Those delayed promises you are believing God for shall be answered and fulfilled. Abundance and blessings shall be yours. You shall blossom out and flourish. Complete health and healing shall be yours. You shall be lush and green like the tree. The gentle rains of the Glory of God shall descend upon your life, and the Spirit of God will bring refreshment and rejuvenation. A greater anointing is coming.

Spring is coming to your life. A resurrection of old, and dead, dreams shall take place. New life, and double restoration is coming. You shall possess your promised land. You shall have tremendous joy.

God has been working in your life so that you would produce good fruit (the fruit of the Spirit). The Lord has been at work ripening good fruit in you so that one day you would be able to feed others, and be used of God to harvest lost souls. God turned the past pain around in your life so that the day would come when you would be able to help others and minister God’s healing.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). The Living Bible words it this way: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy.”

The season has shifted. You have come out of your winter season and have entered into a new season of Springtime, where there will be blossoming, fruitfulness and growth. The promises of the Lord are coming to pass in your life. You will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory! You will receive a double portion anointing, and double portion blessings and prosperity as your inheritance!

God bless you and keep you.

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