Recent Blog Entries

  • 7 hours ago
    Posted by Dion Todd
    In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?' Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Most assuredly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom...
  • Fri at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Come now, and let us reason together, says Yahweh: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land Isaiah 1:18 WEBAs I looked out over the fresh snow that now ...
  • Thu at 3:01 AM
    Posted by Dion Todd
    Behold, today I am going the way of all the earth. You know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which Yahweh your God spoke concerning you. All have happened to you. Not one thing has failed of it. Joshua 23:14 WEBJoshua had served God his wh...
View All

The First Christmas

  • The First Christmas from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Today I want to talk about the first Christmas. What was it like to be on the Earth the night that Jesus was born? What was the world like then? What do we know about it? Well, things were complicated. It was a difficult time.

    Under Julius Caesar, Rome had expanded to a vast empire that spanned from Egypt to England, which was called Britannia then. Then came Caesar Augustus. He was born with the name Octavian, named after his father. Octavian was the grandson of Julius Caesar’s sister Julia. He was a talented young man and his great uncle Julius eventually adopted him as his official heir about 45 B.C. Octavian was just seventeen years old, and within the year, Julius Caesar was murdered. The young Octavian divided Rome with two others—Mark Antony and Lepidus.

    For decades, the whole Mediterranean world had been filled with war and violence. Now that it was split into three pieces, it became far worse. These were years of bloody, brutal fighting for power and money in Rome and its divided provinces. Octavian and Antony pushed out Lepidus, then Octavian defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s combined forces, and he took the title “Caesar Augustus” as ruler over all of Rome about 31 B.C.

    Augustus means “exalted and sacred”. Before Augustus, Rome had been a republic which prided itself on being a nation governed by laws, and not by any man. No man was above the law in Rome. Augustus changed all that of. Rome became an empire, with him at the top. The first emperor of Rome was Caesar Augustus, and the month of August was named after him. For decades, the world Augustus lived in, and that Jesus would be born into, the world of the Mediterranean basin, was wrecked by war, destruction, brutality, and immorality.

    The historian Will Durant captured it so beautifully: “The lusty peninsula (of Rome) was worn out with twenty years of civil war. Its farms had been neglected, its towns had been sacked or besieged, much of its wealth had been stolen or destroyed. Administration and protection had broken down; robbers made every street unsafe at night; highwaymen roamed the roads, kidnapped travelers, and sold them into slavery. Trade diminished, investment stood still, interest rates soared, property values fell. Morals, which had been loosened by riches and luxury, had not been improved by destitution and chaos, for few conditions are more demoralizing than poverty that comes after wealth. Rome was full of men who had lost their economic footing and then their moral stability: soldiers who had tasted adventure and had learned to kill; citizens who had seen their savings consumed in the taxes and inflation of war and waited vacuously for some returning tide to life them back to affluence; women dizzy with freedom, multiplying divorces, abortions, and adulteries.”

    This was the world that Jesus was born into. This was the time of the first Christmas. Caesar Augustus called for a census to be taken, to register and count all the people. Everyone had to return to their hometown to register and be counted. It was not for record keeping, but so they could more effectively tax everyone in the Roman empire. This was known as the “first” census, for there were more to follow. One man in the ivory palaces of Rome gave a command, and the whole known world had to travel back to their hometowns to be counted. In Micah 5:2, he prophesied that Jesus would be born in the town of Bethlehem. The census helped make that happen.

    Joseph was from Bethlehem, so he and Mary had to travel between 80 to 100 miles, from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for this census. It was a long trip that cost them time and money, and it would have taken them 8 to 10 days when walking. That would have been very difficult on a pregnant woman.

    While they were in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor and she gave birth to Jesus. One of the greatest events in history is merely stated as: “She gave birth to her firstborn Son.” Because the inns were filled with traveling people, Jesus was born in a stable, and laid in a feeding trough. As far as we know, Mary was completely separated from all her family and supporting friends, who lived back in Nazareth. Being that she wrapped Jesus in cloth herself, and laid Him in the manger, she was quite possibly alone.

    About 150 A.D. Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist, wrote that Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem. The church of the nativity is built over the cave now, but at that time, it was just a cold cave they used to shelter livestock. This was the place of the first Christmas.

    The sheep raised in Bethlehem were the temple lambs, the only ones allowed to be used in the temple sacrifices at Jerusalem. They were the best of the best. As the Lamb of God without blemish, it was appropriate for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. An angel appeared to some of the shepherds of Bethlehem who were living out in the field, keeping watch on their flock and told them that Christ the Lord was born and they would find Him laying in a manger, a feeding trough.

    Later, wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then some wise woman probably brought diapers, towels, and blankets. The date of December 25th is unlikely but not impossible. That date became popular in the church about the 4th century, and being that we don’t know the exact day of Jesus’ birth, one day is as good as another.

    Such humble beginnings for the King of all kings. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God who came to Earth, began His life here in a cold livestock cave filled with other sheep. A baby laying in the feeding trough. The flawless Lamb of God, born in a Bethlehem stable, eventually sacrificed at passover, and when Pilate examined Jesus he said: “I find no fault in this man.”

    God could have arranged this grand entrance in any way that He chose. One example is that His parents could have been rich, or Mary could have given birth in a palace, or the temple. God chose a livestock cave for His Lamb to be born in.

    There is a simple down-to-earth humility and lack of pomp about God that is so admirable. He is the opposite of insecure and chooses to not impress anyone. When the pharisees would ask Jesus to show them a sign, He would ignore them. When James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven and burn up a village that rejected Him, He said “How about we just go to the next town?”

    Remember that Jesus is the reason for this season, and may God richly bless you!

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I adore You. I thank You so much for sending Your Son Jesus to redeem me. Please help me get in tune with what You are doing on Earth today. Speak to me in a way that I understand, fill me with Your Spirit, and don’t pass me by. I want more of You today, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Happy Birthday Jesus. Amen.

    Note: It's Christmas week and we are so grateful for having each of you with us through this season! May you all have a very merry, blessed and joyful time, as we celebrate the birth of our amazing Savior. Thank you all who bless us with your presence, your participation and your support - we could not do it without you! Also, for those who may have missed the email, here is our year-end newsletter, which talks about some of our plans for 2020. God bless, everyone!


Tip: You must be logged into the website to leave comments.

 

Social Sharing

17 comments
  • 0
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Thank you for all you have done for us all....... May all of us families and friends be ready for your return......Happy Birthday Jesus! ❤️
December 23, 2019
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Amen

December 23, 2019
  • 0
Kevin J. Eck
Kevin J. Eck Amen,
Jan 3
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardleedited: December 22, 2019

Amen and Amen! When Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh, the world was in total unrest! And here we are again in total unrest, even more so than before, like the worst of times, but not just here, but also globally, and we wonder how much worse can it get! All we can say and pray is: Lord, please come again and in all Thy might, and please come soon!!!!!!! Thank you Lord, we are waiting for your return!!

December 22, 2019
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen Father, Thank You for sending us Your Son Jesus

December 23, 2019
  • 2
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen.  Wonderful service yesterday Pastor Dion. May God help you and Sylvia in the coming year to continue RHM. It is a blessing to so many. Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday Jesus and Peace for all living things.  Amen

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Thank you Lord for your birth and I thank you for your coming again soon. May all my family and friends be ready for your return. Amen 

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen 

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Thank you Pastor Dion and Sylvia.You all are awesome.Gods blessings for RHM and its future. Amen 

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father I thank You for all You have done for us while we are on this earth, thank You also for giving us Your Son our Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. For this Ministry of faith well leaded by you Pastor and Sylvia for whom I ask the Lord many blessings. in Jesus name I pray, Amen. We thank You and need You oh Lord. 

Excellent video devotional Pastor and Sylvia, God bless you both. 

 

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

We adore you oh Lord my God!!!

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!  Happy Birthday Jesus!!

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!!

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembreza

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORD JESUS.  We praise you and adore you.  MERRY CHRISTMAS RHM FAMILY. 

CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS !!

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Thank u for your wonderful devotionals. They have helped me have faith In God and hope in Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We've gone through a lot in the last few years. Praise God. God help you Pastor Amen

December 23, 2019
  • 1
Sandra Colby
Sandra Colby

AMEN

Jan 3