Friday, September 29, 2017

What Will They Say About Us?

While it is honorable to pass on financial wealth and investments to the next generation, it is more valuable to pass on spiritual wisdom and eternal values and character. Our spiritual legacy is not only for our own family to charisma and embrace , but for folks we may never see nor even know. Pass on the wealth of spiritual values to the next generation . . . It's how God intended from Genesis on . . .
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.(Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
As a parent or grandparent, what are you leaving behind? Even as a youth, you are preparing a legacy. It is never too late nor too to think of your future and your legacy to come.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Get Off the Bench and In the Game

And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?”He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”(Genesis 32:22-28)
Jacob did not sit idly by and watch life go by. He was not simply a "fan" of God. In fact, he questioned God at times and as we read here, he STRUGGLED with God! Yet he never simply sat on the bench. Have you ever STRUGGLED with what God was challenging you to do or with how God was moving in your life? I have! There were times, and still are, that I think, "What if I simply sit back and watch from the bench?" Why STRUGGLE? So as a result I have a few scars and yes, limps from my struggles. But it has all been worth it. I know God much better for the struggles! If you're struggling, be sure to struggle WITH God and not AGAINST God!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Self-Examination Check-Up

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!(Matthew 6:19-23)
Just some questions today for self examination: *What or whom is our focus? *What are we allowing ourselves to see each day? *Are we focusing upon the things God would have for us or our own selfish pleasures? *What are we believing as truth? *Is there compromise slipping into our lives? What we allow into our hearts and souls will make us who we are, despite what we say or what others say about us. What will the Doctor's report reveal?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Therapy . . .

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.(John 17:20-23)
What a word for these days; that those who claim the name of Jesus would be so unified that the world may see Christ in us! Yet there are so many factions . . . so many opinions . . . so many points of views. However, Jesus, our Master and Savior, pleaded and prayed to the Father for us to be ONE even as He and the Father were One! This takes prayer, but also a concerted effort to UNDERSTAND one another. Real conversations must take place without FEELINGS getting in the way. True healing requires for scar tissue to be broken through and sore muscles to be stretched. Jesus was about to go through much pain for our healing . . . He must have envisioned these days in which we are living. May we be ONE . . . That's my prayer too!

Monday, September 25, 2017

I DARE You to GIVE!

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, ”Says the Lord of hosts;“And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.(Malachi 3:8-12)
God dares us to give what He asks. DARES us . . .TRY ME IN THIS . . .Basically, "I DARE you to give!" Then watch God . . . No one can EVER out-give God. No one! Now, I am not perfect. I too can be selfish. I would like a newer car, all the latest sports gear, tickets to sporting events, and the like. But I am constantly learning that is not about me first, but God first. I MUST take care of Him first. In order for His Church to be able to function in this world, it needs finances. When people do not give, the "high priest" (Undershepherds, Pastors, staff) cannot eat. If the Church staff cannot function "in the church" they must go outside of the church to earn a living and thus the work suffers. The tithe "feeds" the laborers, as it did the Levites, and thus the work of the Church! One reason (a main reason if not THE reason)the Church is not functioning as the Church is lack of funding. The pastors are out seeking secular jobs and cannot study, counsel, visit, prepare, and preach. Church staff cannot be employed full time and can only do part time work. Funds are not available for serving the Church Body or outreach. Missionaries cannot reach the "outside" world and many must work to fund their calling from God. When disasters occur, folks would rather call upon the government than the Church! Everyone suffers when we do not give properly. We simply do not TRUST God! Many have it twisted. They believe God only blesses in material things. "Blessed and highly favored". . . .You see, (John 10:10) God did not promise rose gardens, big homes, fancy cars, vacations, or even big mega churches with fancy programs. He promised us eternal life with Him. He promised the peace of God and peace with God. He promised, in fact, a peace beyond any human understanding! (Philippians 4:7) We put our time and resources into work, recreation, causes in society, THEN if there is anything left, we give to God.😥 It's time we got it right!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Giving is a Lifestyle

"Generosity" has to be modeled. The value of giving is not practiced as often as it should be. It should be a lifestyle, not simply something we do when disaster strikes! Generosity should be embraced as a calling, not an emergency. As believers, we have a model in Abraham. Time and time again, he trusted God to supply even as he was about to sacrifice his only son to the Lord!
So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”(Genesis 22:6-14)
Jehovah Jireh . . . The Lord WILL provide! Giving MUST take place, even in hard times! Just take the first step. Watch God show up!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Happy New Year! Embrace God's Grace. . . .

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.(Genesis 6:5-8)
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah actually means “Head of the Year.” Just like the head controls the body, our actions on Rosh Hashanah have a tremendous impact on the rest of the year. As we read in the Rosh Hashanah prayers, each year on this day “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die ... who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.” It is a day of prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe. The Kabbalists teach that the continued existence of the universe depends on G‑d’s desire for a world, a desire that is renewed when we accept His kingship anew each year on Rosh Hashanah. So HAPPY NEW YEAR to our Jewish friends. To believers, my challenge is to EMBRACE HIS GRACE! Would it not be great if we, who believe in the Risen Jewish Savior would honor God as well on this day and every day? Thank you Lord for another year, another day in fact that You have given us to bring You glory!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Invisible Influence

The biggest and most important things we do in life are never seen . . . at least not immediately. The stories folks tell, values learned, sweat and tears spent, long agonizing hours without sleep, unspoken pain and heartaches, memories of giggles and smiles, and yes, even the family squabbles, go on much longer than bank accounts and trust funds. Its the "Invisible Influence" of time spent with one another. In these times God has touched lives as well. How are we communicating "values" to the next generation?
Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.(Psalm 78:1-4)
Take time to spend time with the young people. They will be gone far too soon. Young people, cherish that time and seek that time. Don't run off with your friends so quickly! Keep God at the center. Its the little things every day that make memories, not so much the planned activities. Allow the "Invisible Influence" to take hold.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Answer the Call!

Blessed to be a blessing. We all have perhaps read this saying and heard it said. Yet what does it mean? Yes, we are called to help those in need; to give financially, to give of our time and to give of our talents. The giving needs to be sacrificial as well, from our very own needs rather than from our excess! Anyone can give away extras!!! Yet still, what does it mean to "be a blessing"?
Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country; from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(Genesis 12:1-3)
Most of us well know the Abrahamic Blessing. Because of Abraham's faith, a Nation was formed and became formidable until this day. God called a people to,Himself through Abram (Abraham) and has kept His covenant and will keep it until the Day of the Lord. So what does this to us, the Christ-follower? We have been "grafted in"(Romans 11:17-21)to the promises to Abraham through the blood sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. So now as we have been "blessed" we are to be a blessing. We are to be in obedience to the calling upon our lives in order to leave a legacy of blessing for those coming behind us. Many did not understand why Abram had to leave his land and family. Many may not understand the calling upon your life or mine; yet we must ANSWER THE CALL!

Monday, September 18, 2017

WHY?

What is the definition of "success"? At different stages in life "success" takes on different definitions. In middle school it may mean passing onto high school. In high school it may mean making the team, getting the prom date, and eventually the college scholarship to the school of your dreams. Then comes the ideal career, spouse, home, the best children ever and on and on. However, as we reach our grand parenting years, we begin to wonder if the effort was worth it and we ask more "why" questions than "what" and "who"questions. Why did I spend so much time here or there? Why did I not do this or that? You get the picture! As a believer, the "why" questions should be the most important. What are at reasons for doing what we do? Why?????
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."(Matthew 16:24-28)”
We should live to bring God glory, in EVERYTHING we do. He alone is our reason!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Happy to be BLESSED by God!

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.(Psalm 37:23-26)
Believers . . . Christ-followers . . . "disciples" of Jesus Christ do not do everything right. We only have to study the lives of those who walked step-by-step with Jesus. James and John were a bit arrogant. John was somewhat selfish. Thomas doubted. Peter . . . well Peter always had something to say! Isn't it good to know that though we are not perfect, God the Holy Spirit is at work perfecting our faith as we do our best to honor the Lord? Now that my beard is gray and my hair is, well, let's say it is not what it used to be, I have come to trust that God is at work in me despite my frailties and failings. I have come to understand a little bit about being after God's heart, because I KNOW mine is indeed wicked! This I KNOW . . . . God is faithful to keep His promises. My eternity is secure in Him. He will take care of those people who honor Him. If anyone wants to follow me as I crawl my way in the path He has set before me, than they too will be secure. They will be BLESSED, or HAPPY they chose Christ!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Care to LISTEN!

Sometimes people simply need us to "be there". We do not have to have any special talents or skills or be able to say any fancy words. We simply need to be in their presence and to share that we care and that they matter. Kids need to know this especially, but we adults also have a need to know this as well. Listen to David's words as he is troubled by his enemies and simply needs to know that someone cares to listen . . . that God cares:
Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. (Psalm 86:1-5)
Listen to someone today. No one, especially our youth, are so impressed with what we know as they are with how much we show we care!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

PEACE!

Freedom . . . to worry less about pleasing everyone and everything and to really LIVE . . . this is what true CHRISTianity is all about. Not the rules of the Pharisees or the rules of this club, that fraternity, or whatever other new cultural following. Being a CHRIST-follower is all about knowing and serving Him, not this world and all the disappointments it offers. Following CHRIST means He is always there, even when it all seems doomed (remember the crucufixion, the tomb?). He comes back to us and assures us it will all be o.k.
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”(Luke 24:36-39)
Trust God in these troubled times. Do not lean upon this world and all the explanations. Trust the Word Who spoke this world into existence. "PEACE!" Be still....He has this!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Justice . . . Mercy . . .Humility

With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?(Micah 6:6-8)
In the times of trouble, not simply in the U.S. but all around the world, the Body of Christ needs to be the Body of Christ! What is required of us? Not simply to give from our extras . . . not to donate a few dollars, but to SACRIFICE ourselves! God doesn't desire the "offerings" that we grudgingly give. He wants US to be like HIM! The world is crying out. In fact, the earth is crying out! Will we do JUSTLY . . . love MERCY . . . and walk HUMBLY before our God and others?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Too Late to Turn Back?

Habits are hard to break. . .especially bad habits! Skipping breakfast, eating fast food daily, too much TV and other electronics, not making time for regular prayer and bible study, too much work, being too busy to hit the gym with regularity . . . all "habits" that can in one way or another lead to poor health and even poorer relationships. We cannot wait for the next disaster other shock to our lives to get us back on track. The next time just may be too late to turn back!
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.(1 Peter 2:9-12)
Now is the time to commit to a healthy diet. Now is the time to begin a regular exercise program. Now is the time to put priorities in order; God, family and work! It will bring mental, physical and spiritual challenges, but they are challenges can be met head-on and challenges that will bring about better health of mind, body AND spirit!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Strong Foundations

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”(Matthew 7:24-27)
We have seen recently what a severe storm can do to a house, a vehicle, even a sturdy bridge. Man is no match for the power of the wind and rushing waters. All the many rebuilding mission trips I have participated in have taught me one thing if anything: the only true foundation upon which we can stand is Christ! He alone will allow one to survive a storm! I have heard many testimonies of lost homes, evacuated towns, and even loss of family members' lives, but one thing has stood out from all the testimonies: God remains faithful! The ones who have faith in the promises of God and not the hopes of man make it through. Faith in the Creator will keep us through any storm. Knowing ones life is kept eternally secure in Christ is indeed a security beyond all understanding. Where is your faith today? Is it in your retirement plan, your investments, your home, or in Christ? Are your prepared for the waters to rise and for the winds to blow both literally and spiritually? Houses can be rebuilt. Vehicles can be replaced. A soul however has only one hope . . . make your choice today! He alone ensures our eternity!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

An Urgent Plea

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;(John 16:12-13)
Yes, there have been some troublesome times of late and there are more to come. I am not just talking about the weather either! There is tension between nations. There are families facing illnesses. For some there is threatened career changes or housing issues. This world is not easy and going at it alone only makes it worse. Yet we can know the One who knows all things! God made us . . . He loves us . . . and He thinks highly of us! He wants us to want Him. As we see throughout the Bible, not just stories, but real situations of real people who followed God, God indeed cares. Walking with the Lord is so much better than walking alone. Despite the challenges, things worked out pretty well. If you know God, you understand. If you do not, I URGE and PLEAD with you to make a commitment to ask God to become REAL to you today. You will never be the same!!!
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:31-39)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Everyone is to Serve....Yet Differently

“It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”(Acts 6:2-4)
When the need arose for more help in reaching the people with the Gospel and to properly serve the people, especially the Greek widows, those chosen were properly equipped. They were of Greek descent and they were Spirit-led. They were Godly men and well known for their good character among the society. The apostles job was to study and preach and teach. It was necessary since the Gospel was knew to many and there was no New Testament to share. Teaching came from the hearts and lips of those who walked with Jesus. Their role was crucial. Yet the people needed real needs to be met. More "servants" were needed but to "serve" in a different yet vital capacity. When we all are in tune with the Spirit and we do what we were called to do, the Body functions well. God is glorified. Folks are served. The Kingdom prospers. If we sit on our gifts, or do not allow those gifted to serve, we all suffer!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Glorify God Alone....Don't Worry About Endorsements From Man

Too young? Too inexperienced? Not enough "endorsements" or recommendations from folks in the know? Perhaps you don't have the pedigree or right people building you up. Maybe your resume is a bit short in some areas. However, whom God calls He also equips!
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is GOD who works in you both to will and to do for HIS good pleasure.(Philippians 2:12-13)
Many times others will not agree with God that you and I are called by God to do His work. They see our past, our failures and our shortcomings. We don't come from the proper "stock" or we do not fit the mold as one might say. But look back at the Bible: Dis Abraham fit the mold? How about Moses? Was David perfect? How "good" was Saul/Paul? If God would have gone by the standards of man rather than His choices, well, none of us would ever measure up. In fact, God has a HIStory of turning ashes into beauty, doesn't He? Simply be available to God. Young or old, inexperienced or a veteran of the faith, male or female, God has a role for us all. We must, however, be in tune to His voice and not the tickling, teasing voice of our culture! Glorify God alone!
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit,in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.(1 Timothy 4:12-16)

Friday, September 1, 2017

I AM Is and I AM NOT!

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:11-14)
Have you ever argued with God? Ever debated whether or not HE was right in His plans for you? Well, who knows better than God? Sometimes we need to tell ourselves, "Self, God said I could do it! I AM Said it, so I can do it!" I AM is God and I am NOT! God chooses whom and where and when . . . because HE IS GOD! It is not because you or I are any better than anyone else. It is simply because God chose us and chose to equip us to accomplish His will. He could do it all by Himself, yet He chose to allow us to participate. Why would we say "No" to the King?
Why?
Because . . .I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.(Philippians 4:13) I. . . we . . .can and will do it!

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear  a Son, and shall call His name  Immanuel. (Is...