Friday, December 14, 2018

THE WORD SPOKE LOUD AND CLEAR

“The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw His true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From Him the complete gifts of undeserved grace and truth have come down to us.”  (John 1:14 CEV)

"As nurses commonly do with infants, God is wont in a measure to 'lisp' when speaking to us," said John Calvin.  In the Old Testament especially, God "lisped."  Speaking in a language that could be understood, God gradually edged His people toward a different way.  He took the side of the oppressed and promised a Suffering Servant who would redeem not as the perpetrator but as the victim of violence.  For a time He allowed behavior that He disapproved of, "because your hearts were hard."  Meanwhile, albeit sometimes in zigzag fashion, the long vectors of history pointed steadily toward His Son, Jesus, the final revelation of God in human form.  In Jesus, God no longer lisped; the Word spoke loud and clear. 

-- Philip Yancey in “The Bible Jesus Read”


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’"  (John 8:12)

Candles are always popular for giving a warm romantic glow and this time of year they are to be seen on many different occasions.  Of course a candle is easy to blow out!  So much so that its flickering light was chosen by Shakespeare as a picture of the transitory nature of life.  Out, out brief candle!

Darkness is a reminder of evil, for it is in the darkness that people get lost, stumble and fall.  It is in the darkness that power is misused, corruption reigns and evil is done.  It is easy to imagine that in the end evil will triumph and the light will disappear.  Situations change.  Familiar landmarks… disappear.  There is the unrelenting pressure of a vanity fair society.  The candle burns down and gives a thin wisp of smoke before going out.

But there are also the special party candles that keep bursting back into life.  They are a much better picture of the light of the gospel!  For though they have been numerous attempts down the centuries to extinguish the light, it has kept on bursting back into flame.

The light of Christ keeps on shining.  New ways of sharing the good news come along.  New believers are attracted to His light.  Sleepy Christians are re-awakened…

The light keeps on shining in the darkness.  It is a statement and a promise at the same time.  It is isn't that once the light shone, but rather, that in the present it shines, and it will do so in the future as well.  For the light comes from the One who is, as well as who was, and is also the One who is to come. 

-- David Bronnert 


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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

THE GREAT MANIFESTATION OF GOD

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen His glory, the glory as of a Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth."  (John 1:1-5,14 NRSV)

Christ is the Word of God. It is not in certain texts written in the New Testament, valuable as they are; it is not in certain words which Jesus spoke, vast as is their preciousness; it is in the Word, which Jesus is, that the great manifestation of God is made. 

-- Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) 


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY

“Do not be afraid” serves as the first word spoken by the angel to the shepherds in the field (Luke 2:10) and later by an angel to two women at the tomb (Mark 16:6). When angels appear on the scene, it would seem, fear is not far behind -- and for good reason. When angels appear, something of the divine breaks in on human history, something that exceeds our understanding, not to mention our control; something that pronounces there is more to life than meets the eye in the keeping of a flock or the maintaining of a career or the “business as usual” sign we hang on our relationships and commitments. When angels descend, fear of the new and the unknown shakes us with the announcement that God is up and about and on the move.

“I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Messiah, the Lord.” The angel who spoke to shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem seeks to disarm their fears with a word concerning the birth of good news. It is a word that has worldwide implications (“for all people”), yet a word that bears the most personal of implications (“to you”). The word speaks of Savior, Messiah, and Lord. 

-- John Indermark in “Setting the Christmas Stage” 


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Monday, December 10, 2018

THE GREATNESS OF GOD

“Praise the Lord, you heavenly beings; praise His glory and power. Praise the Lord's glorious name; bow down before the Holy One when He appears. The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas; the glorious God thunders, and His voice echoes over the ocean. The voice of the Lord is heard in all its might and majesty.”  (Psalm 29:1-4 GNT)

If you don’t see the greatness of God then all the things that money can buy become very exciting. If you can’t see the sun you will be impressed with a street light. If you’ve never felt thunder and lightning you’ll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God you’ll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures. 

-- John Piper


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