Sunday, December 13, 2015
It is not a time so much for us as Christians to reflect upon our faith and the birth of our Saviour, for that should be upon our hearts at all times. It is not so much a time even for us to enjoy our family and friends in our celebrations, even though we will from the shear nature of the events. It is certainly not a time for us to focus on our gift giving and receiving, which is mostly a distraction for all of us. But for all that it is not, it is a day of opportunity, for when that day arrives, for the most part this whole nation will cease it's activities, businesses will close, government will recess, and families will gather together. As much as society today is trying to distract their thoughts from the reason this occurs, they cannot escape the fact it points to an event in history when a child was born, a saviour was given, and a ransom was paid. They may to some great success be able to push that from their thoughts, but this day is a reminder there is something out there, thus they have to fight the more harder to put it out of their minds, and in this I do give thanks. If for nothing else, perhaps that is why God permits this celebration to continue among us.
And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men.
Then pealed the bells, more loud and deep,
God is not dead, nor does he sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.
May the Scripture bear weight upon the heart of our nation this day:
Isa 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Isa 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
Isa 52:15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our taransgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Content in Christ
How often have we pondered why we should have been born for such a time as this? Maybe this is only a question that a few of us have ever cared to consider, but the fact remains, there's nothing we can do pertaining to being a participant of a different era in history. We may flip through the cultural pages of this world and its nations as we read of the customs and uniqueness of the particular age, only to speculate at our existence during some "good ole day." For some natural cause within mankind, the "grass is always greener on the other side."
As believers in Christ, when we walk with Him in the light of His Word, we must surely come to see that He has reason for us in the very place He has brought us forth and at the very time of His choosing. This should bring us such contentment as we journey through a world of challenge each day.
Humor me for a moment as I imagine the woman posted here in the picture with an "i pod." lol Or, at best maybe she brings up a cell phone out of that apron while it ring tones with "Dixie Land." lol In all seriousness, this just doesn't process with the moment.
While it's entirely possible that we have run a few steps ahead of our own era and overwhelmed ourselves with more than we can wisely accommodate, there's a reason for the generation in which we are occupying. Yes, you haven't been told one thing in this context that you don't already know. If you're going to hear something from the keyboard under these fingers, you'll have to settle for no original thoughts.
Once again we find ourselves with the need of contentment in this life. But, in a world where change occurs at such rapid pace, the pitch is always there for more and better. The hindrance of course, is the lack of satisfaction that always remains in hand with the improvements of each day. Also, the grave danger of one's focus being on the cares of this life when we're commanded to keep our fixation on Christ and things eternal.
May we once again be reminded of the words written through the Apostle Paul just what it means for believers to have contentment in Christ. The Savior has come, and so He will come again as our King, in this we should have great contentment as we enjoy the time of our journey here in His Grace.
Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
I Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain."
I Timothy 6:8 "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Learning contentment in Christ,
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Christmas means many different things to many different people. Jesus once posed a question to His Disciples saying, "Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am"? It was obvious that Jesus "was," but what was important was who he "was." That question moves along with time, and reaches each generation as well as each individual who hears His name. We must then answer, whom do I say that Jesus is?
It matters not if we hold to Christmas or let it go if we do not know what it is. I would submit to you, if it is not the Gospel, it is not worth our consideration, must less our effort in the battle to retain it or disregard it.
If it is the Gospel, it is not only worth defending on December 25th, but on every other day of our life it must be proclaimed! If it is not Christ and Christ alone it is not worthy of the time expended for or against from any human being. If it is Christ alone then it will be fought against fiercely and must be defended and proclaimed vigorously and completely each and every day. Let us take a look at the Gospel, when we do, we are commanded to believe, repent and amend our lives.
1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
1Co 15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
1Co 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,1Co 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Saint Augustine would proclaim: "The Word of the Father, by whom all time was created, was made flesh and was born in time for us. He, without whose divine permission no day completes its course, selected one day for His human birth. . . .
The Maker of man became man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be weaned as an infant; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with whips; that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; . . . that He, the Life might die.
To endure these and similar indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who existed as the Son of God before all ages, without a beginning, chose to become the Son of Man in these recent years. He did this although He who was subjected to such great evils for our sake had done no evil and although we, who were the recipients of so much good at His hands, had done nothing to merit these benefits." ~ Saint Augustine.
Stephen Charnock would tell us: "The Gospel was of an eternal resolution, , , , It is an everlasting Gospel; it was promised before the world began. It was not a new invention, but only kept secret among the arcana, in the breast of the Almighty.
It was hidden from angels, for the depths of it are not yet fully made known to them; their desire to look into it, speaks yet a deficiency in their knowledge of it.
It was published in paradise, but in such words as Adam did not fully understand: it was both discovered and clouded in the smoke of sacrifices: it was wrapped up in a veil under the law, but not opened till the death of the Redeemer: it was then plainly said to the cities of Judah, 'Behold! Your God comes'.
The whole transaction of it between the Father and the Son, which is the spirit of the Gospel, was from eternity; the creation of the world was in order to the manifestation of it.
Let us not, then, regard the Gospel as a novelty; the consideration of it, as one of God's cabinet rarities, should enhance our estimation of it.
No traditions of men, no inventions of vain writs, that pretend to be wiser than God, should have the same credit with that which bears date from eternity.
That divine truth is mysterious, . . . The whole scheme of godliness is a mystery. No man or angel could imagine, how two natures so distant as Divine and human should be united; how the same person should be criminal and righteous; how a just God should have satisfaction, and sinful man justification; how the sin should be punished, and the sinner saved.
The study of the Gospel must not be with a yawning and careless frame. Trades, you call mysteries, are not learned sleeping and nodding; diligence is required; we must be disciples at the Lord's feet. As God for the author, so we must have God for the teacher of it; the contrivance was His, and the illumination of our minds must be from Him. As God only manifested the Gospel, so he only can open our eyes to see the mysteries of Christ". ~ Stephen Charnock
May the Grace of God be toward each of you this Season,
From the heart and the Home
After reading my husband's post "The Gospel," this prompted thinking in the direction of just how precious this Blessing is to the world. Realizing in some minute manner just what a privilege we've been given to bear such a message of Who Christ is and what He has accomplished to the glory of God the Father, should humble us more and more before Him.
This year has been a time of examination, repentance, and rethinking of long held traditions and understandings that have been a part of who we have been and what we have believed for so long. The celebration of Christmas was one area that gave personal struggle, and in all sincerity has done so for many years. Christ is worthy of celebration 24/7. But, the fact remains that the celebration of His birth (as chosen on this unlikely day) is turned into every other festive celebration imaginable. This causes me to wonder what He's interceding with the Father about concerning His children during this season.
Folks come up with cute slogans such as "Keep Christ In Christmas!" or "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." We may buy the bumper stickers or bold pins to place on our coats and sport about, but in all actuality this may be as far as it goes. The feasting, over done Christmas gift buying, financial hardships for many, and worn out moms and grandmothers, are a few small glitches to say the least.
These things said, traditions can be beautiful and have there place in the life of believers in Christ. But in this land many are over stuffed with affluence and high living whether one has such resources available or not. As a personal challenge this year, my wish is to simplify the traditional touches and exemplify the Gospel of Jesus Christ our LORD. Praise God, He came. Praise God, He bore our sin and died. Yet, Praise God, He rose! Praise to the One Who ever lives to make intercession for us as He's seated at the Father's right hand.
May our families and guests of our homes and gatherings this season have no reason to be confused as to Whom we are acknowledging as the Guest of Honor. It should be evident to all in our home Who is truly the love of our lives.
Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him! Christ the LORD!
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