Monday, December 26, 2011


And the angel said to the shepherds, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

How is it that the world didn’t get that message? They think that what came in Jesus was a religion or a philosophy or a teacher or a role model, but the world already had plenty of religions, too many philosophies and all sorts of role models.

What the world needed -- and what every soul in it needs – is not a religion or a role model but a SAVIOR…

Here is the good tidings -- the gospel – which shall be to all people…

“Unto you is born EXACTLY what you need.”

“Unto you is born PRECISELY what you yearn for.”

“Unto you is born what you cannot get from anyone else but God.”

“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR.”

-- Rev. David J. Kalas in his Christmas Eve 2011 message


Saturday, December 24, 2011


"But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart.

-- Author Unknown


Friday, December 23, 2011


One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity.

-- Billy Graham


Thursday, December 22, 2011


For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is "hurry". And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries -- twenty of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.

-- Burton Hills


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


What self denial! What self abasement! What self emptying! He, whom no infinitudes can hold, is contained within infant’s age, and infant’s form. Can it be, that the great ‘I AM THAT I AM’ shrinks into our flesh?"

-- Henry Law


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes... and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Monday, December 19, 2011


Many times those of us in the church forget that Jesus was not born in a church or cathedral; He was born "off-site" in the dirt and dung of a stable for animals. He was born in the midst of the reality of life, not as in some stained-glass portrayal of a royal birth. This was a real God, for real people, in real life. That's what Emmanuel, "God with us," means.

The true miracle of Christmas is not found in the pageantry of a great Christmas Eve service. The true miracle of Christmas is the truth that God is with us in the dirt and dailyness and in the reality and imperfection of our lives.

-- J. Mack Strange


Friday, December 16, 2011


The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine Person. That makes all the difference in the world.

-- Stuart Briscoe


Thursday, December 15, 2011


"To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:11 NRSV)

At the heart of the nativity narratives in both Matthew and Luke, is a simple fact: amid the struggle of a people who had longed for 500 years for God to act in the world in new ways, God came to be with them in a way that totally identified Himself with us, as human beings. Amid the most unlikely of circumstances, to the most unlikely of people, God became man for the salvation of all people.

-- Dennis Bratcher, The Christian Resource Institute


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)

Commercialization has obscured the meaning of Christmas. The commercial has become more important than the carol. The sales pitch more important than the Good News. What man has to sell more important than what God has given.

-- Author Unknown


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As we prepare for our traditional celebrations, let us remember those who will not be looking forward to this festival. Let us remember too how Jesus identified with the oppressed and the homeless. Let the joy of the festival touch more of the people of our world this year than ever before. May God be glorified and may people of good will once again experience His peace.

-- Denzil John


Monday, December 12, 2011


I’m no longer a fan of the Green Bay Packers.

I’m a shareholder. There is a big difference between those two things. On Tuesday I purchased a share of stock that is only worth the paper it’s printed on, but it feels different. I have now invested in the Packers. I’m a part-owner.

I think Jesus has lots of fans, but God demands more than that. We’ve got to own it. How? By allowing Him to own us. The game changes when you start investing in the kingdom of God.

Are you a fan? Or a shareholder?

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)

-- Mark Batterson, from his blog


Friday, December 9, 2011


[God] works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, He works on us through each other. [We] are mirrors, or "carriers" of Christ to others… Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the Church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objectives -- education, building, missions, holding services…The Church exists for no other purpose than to draw [people] into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason. It says in the Bible that the whole universe was made for Christ and that everything is to be gathered together in Him.

-- C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity


Thursday, December 8, 2011


In the same manner in which we clean and prepare our homes in the anticipation of welcomed guests and family members this Christmas season, let us also prepare our hearts in anticipation of the Lord's coming. Christ, our most honored and eagerly anticipated guest, desires to meet with us in a heart prepared for His arrival. So eager is He to meet with us that He offers to help us with our spiritual housecleaning, working with us; creating a resting place for Himself within our hearts.

-- Katherine Walden


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


As a result of the emotional distance they experienced as children, many people develop an image of God as unsympathetic and emotionally distant. God is seen as cold and unapproachable. He is seen as being interested only in facts and in performance. People who have experienced emotional distance in their families may ask: "How could God understand my problem? Does He even care about what I feel?"

The image of the emotionally distant God is dramatically different from the biblical image of Christ, who is called Immanuel which means "God with us." God came and lived with us, as one of us. He felt our temptations and struggles and feelings. He offers an intimacy with Himself which includes the emotional closeness for which we long.

-- Dale and Juanita Ryan in Recovery from Distorted Images of God


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


"Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of deer? Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time they give birth, when they crouch to give birth to their offspring, and are delivered of their young? Their young ones become strong, they grow up in the open; they go forth, and do not return to them." (Job 39:1-4)

This passage comes in the middle of God's long response to Job and his friends. In this response (which continues through the remainder of Chapter 39), God reminds Job that it is God who created each living thing, that it is God who watches over the earth and all that God made. But what's beautiful about this proclamation is the intimacy of God's knowledge. This isn't the voice of a distant overseer. Rather, the voice of the One who made each living thing. God speaks of the smallest details of these creatures' lives -- when they give birth, what they eat, where they sleep, their flying patterns. It is a reminder to Job that God is a God of details, of the smallest moments, that God pays attention to the first steps of a deer and to the nest of the eagle. The animals are not held up as superior to humans (Job 39:9-12 is all about the ox as an animal meant for work). Instead, they are examples of the fullness of God's care for all of creation -- human being and animal alike… [God is] not a removed Creator but one who is in and around every detail of creation.

-- from The Green Bible Devotional


Monday, December 5, 2011


"But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night." (Psalm 1:2)

People who are passionate about the writings and ideas of the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung are sometimes call Jungians. And the Jungians were pretty excited a few years ago. A huge journal he kept of his innermost thoughts and feelings was published after being hidden away and unavailable for nearly 100 years.

I'm not a Jungian; his teachings don't line up too well with Scripture, in my view. But I can understand why you'd be excited to read the long, lost insights of the person you've patterned your whole life after. The Jungians couldn't wait to get their hands on that book.

You know where I'm going. We tell everyone that we believe the Bible contains the very thoughts of God -- that the God of the universe went to the "trouble" of getting down in language His ideas for us. We say we believe that, but I'm not sure we're convinced.

If we were, it seems like we'd be a lot more delighted to dive into the thoughts of God every day. We'd be less likely to categorize studying the Book along with eating green vegetables, getting exercise, and flossing.

-- Christopher Lyon


Friday, December 2, 2011


Too often... we ignore the role that angels play. Many Christians are afraid that talk of angels will distract from the power and majesty of God. And many others have a hard time taking angels at all seriously. But as John Calvin has said, "The angels are the dispensers and administrators of the Divine beneficence toward us; they regard our safety, undertake our defense, direct our ways and exercise a constant solicitude that no evil befall us."

Like it or not, angels are important players in the drama of salvation. Isn't it time we paid a little more attention to these powerful and loving allies that God has given us?

-- Ann Spangler in An Angel a Day


Thursday, December 1, 2011


There is a nostalgia for religious faith, but not one that makes annoying demands; instead, the market calls for spiritual bonbons, little angel-fairies that grant wishes and look so reverent you just have to chuckle.

Christianity is declining in part because we can't, and shouldn't, pander to this current demand for sentimental spiritual delights. Our message is unfashionably tough: that the humanists are wrong, and we are not perfectable under our own power -- that we are more lost than even our panicky despair indicates...

But God has made a way. We can stop denying our sinfulness and stop fooling with ersatz gods. Jesus Christ alone paid the price, and He is the way -- the only way -- to make sense of our lives and make peace with God. There's nothing exclusive here. Salvation through Jesus is offered to all who will respond.

The worn words are overly familiar, but you don't get a new truth just because the old one got to looking old fashioned. Many are looking for this toughness; they're fed up with Cocoa Puffs and are searching for real food.

-- Frederica Mathewes-Green, excerpted from the Religious News Service, July 25, 1995. For the complete article click Looking for Religious Truth in All the Wrong Places