Participants: John Bradshaw
Series Code: IIW
Program Code: IIW001349
00:06 It has stood the test of time.
00:12 God's book, the Bible.
00:16 Still relevant in today's complex world.
00:21 It Is Written, sharing hope around the globe.
00:51 [voice of child reading Bible text]
00:52 "And it came to pass in those days,
00:53 that there went out a decree from Cesar Augustus, that all
00:56 the world should be taxed.
00:58 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was
01:01 governor of Syria).
01:03 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.""
01:06 (Luke 2:1-3) I'm John Bradshaw.
01:08 Thanks for joining me today.
01:10 It's that time of year.
01:12 The Christmas music has been playing in stores for weeks,
01:16 Christmas meals have been planned down to the last
01:19 mince pie, the trees are up - real ones and artificial
01:23 ones, family gatherings have been anticipated for ages
01:27 and people have traveled, often many miles, to be with
01:30 relatives, the kids are going to see Grandma and Grandpa
01:34 again, retailers are either breathing easy or licking
01:37 their wounds, Christmas lights are twinkling,
01:41 carolers have gone out spreading Christmas joy, work
01:44 parties have been attended, bonus checks have been
01:47 gratefully received, Christmas cards have been
01:50 sent and received from long-ago friends and distant
01:54 relatives, catalogs from companies you didn't even
01:58 know existed have arrived in your mailbox, people are
02:02 planning to enjoy one last splurge before starting their
02:05 diet in the new year, cantatas have been enjoyed
02:09 and the Hallelujah Chorus has moved hearts, nativity scenes
02:14 grace front yards, some people are enjoying a white
02:17 Christmas, and where I grew up people are heading to the
02:21 beach and trying to avoid sunburn. Christmas. Andy
02:26 Williams sang that it's"The Most Wonderful Time of the
02:28 Year". And it's hard to argue with that. At Chrismas time,
02:31 people tend to be HAPPY. Life slows down for a day or two,
02:37 long enough for people to connect with loved ones and
02:39 friends. And in this culture of ours, a major Christmas
02:44 tradition is gift giving. In fact, you could say that
02:47 maybe its the overriding Christmas tradition. We know
02:50 that Christmas is a religious tradition - a Biblical
02:53 tradition it's a Christian tradition. Yet even atheists
02:57 participate in celebrating Christmas and in giving a
03:00 receiving gifts. In fact, if you went to any shopping area
03:04 at all, you'd get the impression that Christmas is
03:07 all about the gifts. Every Christmas season, all across
03:11 the fruited plain, children sit on Santa's knee and tell
03:15 him they want bicycles and Lego sets and scooters and
03:19 dolls and video games and a whole lot more beside. Adults
03:24 will be wanting clothes and golf clubs and iPods and
03:28 camera gear - and video games and a whole lot more besides.
03:33 What do you want for Christmas? Some years ago I
03:37 asked several people to tell me about the best gift they
03:40 had ever received. Their response didn't really surprise
03:42 me. I know for a fact that some of them had over the years
03:46 been given some pretty impressive and expensive gifts,
03:49 but not one of them told me the best gift they'd ever
03:53 received was a new car or a vacation in Hawaii
03:57 or a new flat-screen TV set. Each of them told me
04:01 a similar story. It was in every case something like,
04:04 "I remember years ago - it was my birthday, and my daughter
04:09 - she was just little then - she went and made me
04:12 a beautiful card, and she decorated it, and she wrote
04:14 the sweetest things on there... And, you know,
04:16 I still have that card. Nothing I've ever been given means
04:19 as much to me as that card does." It wasn't the diamond
04:23 ring, it wasn't the fur coat, it wasn't a Rolex... but
04:26 something from the heart, something simple, something
04:29 pure - something that represents true, genuine
04:33 love. And doesn't that sound like Christmas? Really, when
04:38 you stop and think about it, overeating, overspending and
04:43 overindulging don't have a whole lot to do with the
04:46 birth of Jesus. So what really matters most at
04:51 Christmas time? How would the sentence end if you were to
04:55 say,"All I Want for Christmas is..." What would
05:01 make Christmas truly special for you? What's the essence
05:07 of the Christmas story? I'm sure you might be able
05:10 to answer that question in a number of ways, but there's
05:13 a Bible verse that for me brings us back to the very
05:17 heart of it all. John 3:16 says,"For God so loved the
05:23 word that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
05:27 believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
05:31 life." The reason Christmas is observed at all, is that
05:37 long ago the decision was made that Jesus would be
05:40 given to the human family.
05:43 God"gave" - and He gave the greatest and most expensive
05:47 gift that could possibly be given. Remember how the
05:51 prophet Isaiah put it in chapter 9 and verse 6:
05:56 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;
06:01 and the government shall be upon His shoulder." (Isaiah 9:6).
06:04 Notice -"unto us a... Son is given." Beyond the Christmas
06:10 lights on the houses, beyond the Christmas trees, beyond
06:13 the mountains and mountains of wrapping paper, beyond the
06:16 last-minute Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve
06:19 (men, you know what I mean ...) Beyond everything,
06:23 Christmas as a Christian tradition stems from the fact
06:26 that God sent Jesus into the world. And what did He do
06:30 that for? As John 3:17 says, For God sent not his Son into
06:37 the world to condemn the world; but that the world
06:41 through him might be saved.
06:45 God was so committed to giving you and me every
06:48 opportunity to experience character transformation,
06:52 He was so committed to you and me being forgiven
06:54 and cleansed, and freed from guilt, God was so committed
06:58 to us having everlasting life, that He gave the
07:02 greatest gift given ever by anyone to anyone ever. He
07:09 gave Jesus. He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
07:13 believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting
07:17 life. You know, there have been some pretty remarkable
07:20 gifts given over the years.
07:22 Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovitch bought his
07:25 girlfriend a fourteen million dollar sculpture. English
07:29 soccer player David Beckham is said to have spent eighty
07:31 thousand pounds on a bag for his wife. An American movie
07:36 star evidently bought a 200-year-old Olive Tree
07:39 for her movie star husband, for $18,000. For a tree!
07:44 A musician bought his son a car for his 16th birthday -
07:48 a $360,000 car. Too bad the boy didn't yet have his driver's
07:55 license yet. An Indian businessman bought his wife
07:57 a sixty million dollar luxury jet for her 44th birthday.
08:02 His brother obviously felt the heat and so he brought
08:05 HIS wife a luxury yacht shortly afterwards worth more
08:09 than eighty million.
08:12 Of course, there's India's Taj Mahal. That was a gift given
08:14 by an Indian emperor to his deceased wife. Impressive
08:19 gifts. But are they the gifts that really matter most?
08:24 In a moment, What really does matter most at Christmas?
08:30 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city
08:33 of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which
08:37 is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage
08:40 of David). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being
08:44 great with child. And so it was, that while they were
08:48 there, the days were accomplished that she should
08:51 be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son,
08:55 and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him
08:59 in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
09:02 Luke 2:4-7
09:32 Today is a bible question What is a good way
09:35 for me to share my faith?
09:38 A lot of people I work with don't believe the way I
09:41 do, but I'm really concerned about their eternal destiny.
09:44 How do I keep from sounding like a religious nut and yet
09:48 show my interest in their salvation? The fact that
09:51 you're concerned with the salvation of others is a
09:53 really good sign. And I'm glad you're sensitive to how
09:56 you'll be perceived - that you want to reach out without
09:59 bringing your faith into a type of disrepute. But don't
10:02 worry about that TOO much. If you worry too much about that
10:05 you'll never share your faith with anyone. The best advice
10:08 I can give you is to encourage you to pray. Pray
10:11 and ask God to give you opportunities. And as He
10:14 does, act on them. Try to figure out what a person
10:17 might best respond to. If you know someone likes to read,
10:20 share with them a book that you can recommend as having
10:22 been a blessing to you.
10:24 You'll find a lot of books, good books, on our website,
10:26 itiswritten.com. Look for opportunities in
10:29 conversations. When you sense a person is open to talking
10:32 about spiritual things, gently introduce that sort of
10:36 topic. Ask questions. That way you're not coming across
10:39 as an authority but you're showing a genuine interest in
10:42 what others think. Also, look for opportunities to serve
10:46 people, to do good to others.
10:47 Help people here or there and this will open up an openness
10:52 to you and to what you believe. If someone you are
10:55 connecting with enjoys watching television,
10:57 recommend a religious TV program they might watch.
10:59 Tell them about It Is Written. Refer people to a
11:02 website you think that they might like. One thing to keep
11:05 in mind is that God is working in the lives of those
11:09 with whom you work. Pray and ask God to help you see where
11:13 the openings are, the opportunities, and when you
11:16 see them take those opportunities and know that
11:19 God will bless you and your witness. Oh, and one more
11:23 thought. In that work setting, be sure that your
11:26 life speaks in favor of your faith. If your faith hasn't
11:30 made you a better, happier person, more likeable people
11:34 aren't going to want to your faith for themselves. If you
11:38 have a Bible question that you would like answered, go
11:40 to our website - www.ItIsWritten.com. Click on
11:43 the questions tab. Submit your question, and in a
11:49 future program we might answer your question.
11:59 [Music: Midnight Clear]"
12:21 And the angel said unto them, Fear
12:24 not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
12:27 which shall be to all people.
12:29 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a
12:33 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a
12:37 sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
12:41 clothes, lying in a manger.
12:44 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the
12:49 heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in
12:53 the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
12:58 Luke 2:10-14 Thanks for joining me today. Even though
13:00 Jesus was not born on December 25th, it has become
13:04 the day on which the Christian world remembers the
13:06 great event when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, when the
13:09 Messiah came into the world to be its Saviour of all the
13:12 world. Christmas in the Western World is
13:14 characterized by family gatherings, house decorating,
13:17 food consuming and gift giving - and sometimes it
13:21 seems as though we might just miss the point. As you look
13:26 around, would you really get the impression that Christmas
13:28 is actually about Jesus? Or does it look like it's more
13:32 about sales and stuff and possessions? I remember one
13:37 Christmas seeing a young boy who had forgotten all about
13:40 the gifts he was given, but he was having the time of his
13:42 life playing with the wrapping that the gifts had
13:45 come in. He was having more fun with a plastic bag than
13:48 he ever did have with the expensive toys that he'd been
13:51 given. I hope yours is a very Happy Christmas. So, let me
13:56 ask you, what would make this Christmas happy for you?
14:01 And what would you really like for Christmas?"
14:04 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph,
14:07 and the baby lying in a manger.
14:09 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad
14:13 the saying which was told them concerning this child.
14:19 And all they that heard it which were told them by the
14:22 shepherds." LUKE 2:16-18 This Christmas - while you're
14:24 enjoying your mashed potatoes at Grandma's annual Christmas
14:27 feast - there are some people who won't be getting very
14:31 much, or giving very much, because they simply don't
14:34 have very much. Someone just this week lost a job and
14:39 there's no money for extras.
14:40 Someone this week found out that insurance won't cover
14:43 that claim, and now they're in a jam. Someone yesterday,
14:48 perhaps, found out that the investments they'd made to
14:50 fund their retirement have collapsed, and now they're
14:53 not going to have nearly as much as they thought they
14:57 would. So at Christmas, what really matters? Is it the
15:02 'stuff'? Is it the gifts and the Christmas tree and the
15:04 lights on the outside of the house? What really matters
15:08 this Christmas? And let's think about this from God's
15:12 point of view. We think about what we want for Christmas,
15:15 that's one thing. But what would God want? If God had a
15:19 Christmas wish list, what do you think would be on it? If
15:22 God said, All I Want For Christmas Is... how do you
15:26 think He'd finish the sentence? World peace? Sure.
15:31 God would want that, wouldn't He? Full churches? In many
15:34 cases, no doubt. No more war, or violence in the streets?
15:39 Surely God would want to see an end to oppression and
15:42 racism and hate and violence of all kinds. But as
15:45 important as those things are, they're secondary. That
15:49 is, peace in the world can only come when there's truly
15:54 peace in the heart. In the Proverbs, God tells us what
16:00 He wants for Christmas. In Proverbs 23:26, God says,"My
16:06 son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my
16:12 ways." God asks for your heart this Christmas.
16:18 A simple request, but it is not always easy for people like
16:22 you and me to fulfill. Now, what do I mean by that,
16:25 by saying it isn't always easy for a person to give his
16:28 or her heart to God? As sinful human beings we wrestle with
16:34 our own will, our own desires and wants, and sometimes
16:39 giving God our heart seems like the toughest thing of
16:41 all. Now, not to give God our heart would be for us to make
16:45 the same mistake as was made by the people of Israel when
16:48 Jesus came the first time.
16:52 John wrote that"He came unto His own, and His own received
16:54 Him not."
16:55 Think of who the people were who WERE prepared to
16:59 meet Jesus: a few humble shepherds,
17:01 and some wise men from a foreign country. Then
17:05 there was Anna and there was Simeon, but in a country that
17:07 was built upon the hope of the coming of the Messiah,
17:11 that was precious few.
17:15 When Jesus came to the earth the first time, that first
17:17 Christmas his parents couldn't even find a place
17:20 for Jesus to dwell.
17:22 I sincerely hope it won't be that way this Christmas.
17:25 Christ is looking for a dwelling place this Christmas.
17:27 Not a stable, not an inn - He's looking for a heart.
17:31 "My son - my daughter - give me your heart," God
17:37 asks. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and discussed
17:40 the hope, in Ephesians 3:17 we read there, Ephesians 3:17
17:45 "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith..."
17:52 And in Revelation 3:20, the same Jesus is looking
17:55 for a place to rest.
17:57 And He says, Behold, I stand at the door and
18:02 knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I
18:06 will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
18:11 What's most important this Christmas? As important as
18:15 some of the trappings and even the traditions of
18:17 Christmas have become, surely the most important part of
18:21 Christmas is Christ - and not simply the historical Christ,
18:25 the baby in the manger.
18:27 But the present day Christ, looking for lodging, looking
18:30 to see if you'll give Him the best gift you could give Him
18:35 - the gift of your heart.
18:37 The gift of your life.
18:41 "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother,
18:43 Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising
18:48 again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be
18:52 spoken against.
18:53 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through they own soul also,)
18:57 that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
19:01 Luke 2:34, 35 [Music÷
19:13 In Matthew 4:4, the word of God says It is
19:16 written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
19:19 word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
19:22 Every Word is a one minute Bible-based daily devotional
19:26 presented by Pastor John Bradshaw and designed
19:29 especially for busy people like you.
19:32 Look for Every Word on selected networks or watch it on line
19:35 every day on our website.
19:39 Receive a daily spiritual boost.
19:39 Watch Every Word.
19:41 You'll be glad you did.
19:43 Here's a sample.
19:54 During the Christmas season there's a lot of rushing
19:57 in a lot of lives and a lot of plans being made and a lot
20:00 of gifts being given and a lot of food being consumed
20:02 and very often something gets lost.
20:08 Jesus and His parents were in a quiet place.
20:11 The shepherds were assembled on the silent hillsides.
20:15 The wise men traveled but not along busy freeways
20:18 and they didn't get stuck in traffic once.
20:20 But get this, "When Herod the king had heard these
20:23 things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him."
20:26 That's Matthew 2:3.
20:28 That first Christmas, the only one who was up tight
20:31 was Herod - and those he caused to be agitated.
20:33 If it's really about peace and goodwill and family
20:35 and Jesus - try to enjoy the peace of Jesus
20:38 this Christmas.
20:39 Merry Christmas.
20:40 I'm John Bradshaw for It Is Written.
20:43 Let's live today by Every Word.
20:55 Eyes for India is giving sight to the blind
20:58 and you can be a part of this amazing work
21:00 that God is doing.
21:02 Fifteen million blind people live in India, more than any
21:05 other country in the world.
21:07 And many of the blind in India could see again,
21:10 if only they could have simple cataract surgery.
21:13 It Is Written is making that happen.
21:16 Would you support Eyes for India?
21:19 For just $75 you'll be given the gift of sight to someone
21:23 who desperately wants to see.
21:26 Here's all you need to do.
21:27 Call 1.800.253.3000.
21:30 That's 1.800.253.3000 to donate and support Eyes
21:37 for India.
21:38 Or, you can write to It Is Written, Box O,
21:41 Thousand Oaks, California 91359.
21:45 You'll also find Eyes for India on-line at
21:48 It Is Written.com.
21:50 Every $75 you give gives someone the precious gift
21:53 of sight.
21:54 Eyes for India, doing the work of Jesus in opening
21:58 the eyes of the blind and opening hearts to the love
22:01 of God.
22:02 Call 1.800.253.3000 or write to Box O, Thousand Oaks,
22:08 California, 91359.
22:10 Or visit itiswritten.com.
22:25 "And she was a widow of about fourscore and four
22:28 years, which departed not from the temple, but served
22:31 God with fastings and prayers night and day.
22:34 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise
22:38 unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked
22:42 for redemption in Jerusalem." Luke 2:37, 38
22:46 My Dad told me many years ago about the gift that meant
22:48 most to him.
22:49 The Christmas in question was many years before,
22:52 and a number of years before I was born.
22:55 One of my older brothers had wanted to buy Dad a gift,
22:57 so he scraped together what was then only a few cents
23:01 and went and bought Dad a little bar of shaving soap.
23:06 And that touched my father's heart - and was more special
23:09 to him than any other gift he had ever received.
23:11 And why do you think that was?
23:13 Because it came from the heart.
23:16 It was given with love - and a lot of it.
23:18 The innocent, giving, self-sacrificing love
23:21 of a little boy doing something sweet for his Daddy.
23:26 See - that's what's really important.
23:28 A gift that is given from the heart.
23:32 This year, I wonder what you'll give Jesus
23:35 for Christmas?
23:37 I'm sure I can safely say He doesn't really want or
23:39 need anything you can buy at a department store
23:42 or anything you can order online.
23:44 But Jesus wants something given from the heart.
23:48 In fact, He wants your heart.
23:52 Just a small thing - but it is what He wants from you.
23:55 Can you give Jesus your heart this Christmas?
24:00 "And when they had performed all things according to
24:04 the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee,
24:08 to their own city Nazareth.
24:10 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit,
24:14 filled with wisdom.
24:15 And the grace of God was upon Him..." Luke 2:39, 40
24:20 We wish for you a Christmas filled with the love
24:23 and presence of God.
24:24 Whatever your circumstances this year, we hope you'll
24:27 remember that God so loved the world that He gave.
24:30 The birth of Jesus represents the giving-ness
24:33 and the love of a great God.
24:34 A God who inspired the Bible writer to write, "He that
24:38 spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up freely
24:42 for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give
24:46 us all things?" I want to invite you to pray with us.
24:50 Christmas day, we have a lot to be thankful for and even
24:53 if your Christmas day is filled with, from your
24:55 perspective, even more challenges than blessings,
24:58 we still have so much to be thankful for as we pray to
25:01 the God who so loved this world that he gave the
25:05 greatest gift that could ever be given.
25:08 Let's all pray together.
25:10 Our Father in heaven.
25:12 Today we thank you and we thank you for Jesus who
25:16 was willing to give himself for the lost people
25:19 of this lost world.
25:21 And we thank you that in your goodness and in your
25:23 love, whatever our circumstances today, we can know
25:27 that there is a God of love who truly loves us and has
25:31 prepared for us a bright and a hopeful future.
25:35 How many more Christmas days there can be until Jesus
25:39 comes back to this world to take us home we do not know.
25:42 But until he returns, I pray that you will help us to be
25:46 faithful, to trust you, to believe in you
25:50 and to lean on you.
25:52 You who have given us so much, we say to you:
25:55 Thank you.
25:56 And we pray that you will continue to bless us,
25:58 not merely for our own sake but so that you
26:02 would be glorified.
26:04 You have truly given us the greatest blessings
26:07 and for that today, we say "Thank you"
26:09 and we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
26:52 Perhaps our program today has impressed you
26:54 with a personal need for deeper Bible study.
26:57 If you desire to listen to God and follow where
26:59 he leads, we've got a wonderful resource that can help you
27:03 to do that in a systematic way.
27:06 The Discover bible guides.
27:07 These Bible guides are easy to use and can be yours
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27:11 If you live in North America, we'll send you these
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27:21 Request the Discover Bible Guides by calling our
27:24 toll-free number, 1.800.253.3000.
27:26 You may also request today's offer by writing to
27:28 It Is Written, Box O, Thousand Oaks, California 91359.
27:35 From all of us at It Is Written, Merry Christmas
27:38 and a Happy New Year to you as well.
27:41 I hope you'll join us next time.
27:43 Until then, please remember: It is written: man shall
27:47 not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
27:52 from the mouth of God.