"BUT WHEN THE RIGHT TIME CAME, GOD SENT HIS SON, BORN OF A WOMAN, [BORN UNDER] THE LAW…TO BUY FREEDOM FOR US WHO WERE SLAVES TO THE LAW, SO THAT HE COULD ADOPT US AS HIS VERY OWN SONS."
(Galatians 4:4, 5 NLT)
I want to tell you a story or two as I write my
Christmas letter to you, my angel Partners. Perhaps we will reminisce a little later about the many years we have shared—it seems we love to do this especially as we grow older.
I know one thing: these thirty Christmases have brought together one great big, beautiful family!
Yes, this TBN family now reaches around the world, and is still growing! So, do we not have MANY wonderful memories to recall?!
One of mine concerns our first grandson, Brandon Paul Crouch, III. This was at least fifteen years ago when Brandon was about three—he is now in Christian college (where, dear Lord, did those eighteen Christmases go?). Well, we all felt that this was about time for him to learn to say a prayer, so at one dinnertime we asked little Brandon to say the prayer over our meal. I wondered if he might be a little nervous—but NO! He bowed his little head and prayed a simple four word prayer that in our family is still legendary! He prayed:
“GOD IS JESUS – AMEN!”
As I observed, one time, this was one of the simplest and yet most theologically profound and correct prayers ever prayed! It also settled one of the biggest questions as to just WHO this Jesus really is! The Godhead of Jesus, indeed, the Trinity itself is one of the biggest problems for people of nonchristian faiths everywhere. Yes, Brandon’s simple prayer also confirmed one of the most precious and tender promises of the Holy Bible:
“Out of the mouth of babes has thou perfected praise”! Psalm 8:2
So, who is this Jesus whose birth we celebrate every December? How can He be God when even the Scriptures are clear:
“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4)? It is interesting to note here that the Hebrew word for “God” is actually the plural form of the name! So we could just as accurately say,
“The Lord our GODS is one Lord.”
But this is another whole study that is beyond my letter to you.
Recently, I was captivated by the testimony of Dan Baumann, a young missionary with YWAM, or “Youth With a Mission.” The story of how he happened to end up in an Iranian prison is his to tell in his book,
Imprisoned in Iran. What got my attention was a conversation between several of his prison guards which Dan overheard. One guard was especially kind to him, so Dan referred to him as his “Angel.” “Angel” spoke first:
He’s a Christian, and I know what Christians believe. ‘You do?’ asked one of the other guards, surprised. ‘Yes,’ said my Angel. ‘During the overthrow of the Shah, I knew some Christians who were imprisoned here. They told me about their religion.’ ‘Well?’ asked another voice. ‘Well, they believe that Jesus Christ was the only Son of God and that He came to earth to show mankind how much God loves them.’
Dan goes on to write—
I could hardly believe my ears. Listening to them discuss Christianity in the depths of the most notorious high-security prison in all of Iran was a miracle. I listened avidly as Angel went on to describe Jesus’ birth, the message of repentance He had preached, and even His death on the cross to save all mankind from their sins.
When Angel had finished a very accurate summary of the New Testament message, one of the other guards said, ‘You mean Christians think God is a God of love?’
‘Yes,’ Angel said, ‘they do.’
‘Well,’ replied the other guard, ‘how can that be? We don’t know anything about God being a God of love. We only know a God of force and control. That’s what we’ve experienced in Islam.’
The others murmured in agreement. And then one of them said, ‘As far as I see it, there is a problem. How can you believe God is one when Jesus is the Son of God and, [they say] He is also God? That makes two Gods, not one.’
I listened carefully to see how Angel, a Muslim himself, would answer the objection, since it is one of the key issues Muslims
stumble over when trying to understand Christianity.
There was silence for a moment, and then Angel started out in a confident voice. ‘These Christians truly believe that God is a God of love, but how can you be a God of love if you are just one? Love is a relationship, and it must exist between persons. They believe that before the beginning of time [and the world] there was God, but can you love and express love if you have no one to love? So God is in three parts so that He could demonstrate love.’
Again, “Out of the mouth of babes.” In all my years I have never heard such wisdom or reason concerning the Trinity and, of all people, from a Muslim prison guard!
Another illustration of the great truth of the Trinity came from a classic sermon from Dr. Robert Schuller. He pointed out that even man is a triune being—body, soul, and spirit. Even people of other faiths believe we are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). So is God different from man in that sense? He went on to compare Jesus as the body of God; the Father as the soul of God; and the Holy Spirit as the spirit of God. And, yet, just as man is three in one, so is God.
All of this surely confirms two of the great truths of the Holy Bible—
The prophet Micah predicted that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Every Christmas we love to read:
“BUT THOU BETHLEHEM EPHRATAH, THOUGH THOU BE LITTLE AMONG THE THOUSANDS OF JUDAH, YET OUT OF THEE SHALL COME FORTH UNTO ME THAT IS TO BE RULER IN ISRAEL….” Micah 5:2
But the last part of this verse confirms the godhead of Jesus:
“WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.”
The Hebrew phrase, “FROM EVERLASTING,” actually means “FROM THE DAYS OF ETERNITY.”
The second great truth comes from the New Testament. The Apostle John’s testimony is:
“IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD
AND THE WORD WAS GOD….” St. John 1:1
And lest there be any doubt about who he was referring to, he goes on to say:
“AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US, AND WE BEHELD HIS GLORY, THE GLORY OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH.” St. John 1:14
Yes, praise God, the Old Testament and the New Testament confirm and agree that:
“GOD IS JESUS – AMEN!”
And the best part is simply—this Jesus wants to be YOUR GOD! For John goes on to say:
“BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM [JESUS] TO THEM GAVE HE POWER
TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME.” St. John 1:12
Dear Partners, pray and agree with me that this letter that now goes to virtually every nation on earth, will bring many to true faith in Jesus Christ the only Savior of the world!
What greater gift could we bring to Jesus this Christmas?
He does not need gold, frankincense, and myrrh anymore—He wants you and me. He wants the precious souls of lost men and women, boys and girls—and we can bring them to HIM as treasures far more precious than gold!
Dearest Partners, I am so very weary of receiving Christmas gifts—oh, I have no problem with the children getting excited by bright boxes and ribbons under the Christmas tree. Even so, let’s use them as a type of God’s greatest gift to all of us.
No, I do not need or want any gifts this Christmas. I want to
a gift—will you help Jan and me by keeping this great Voice called TBN going to all the world?
Even as you read this letter—someone, somewhere in the world, is receiving God’s greatest gift—Jesus! Now, that’s a
Christmas present—say it with me:
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!”
Jan and I love you with all our hearts—thirty Christmases strong!