On Christmas

On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world.

Every Christmas is still a “turning of the page” until Jesus returns. Every December 25th marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to…home.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you long for peace in the world this Christmas?
  2. Do you long for home?

Resources

Joni Eareckson Tada, A Christmas Longing, 137 via Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie

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On Isaiah 9:6 & Jesus’ Incarnation

The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross.

This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it.

Question for Reflection

  1. What should our response be to Jesus’ incarnation?

Resources

Martin Luther on Isaiah 9:6 via Stephen J. Nichols, Peace: Classic Readings for Christmas, 56-57.

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On Church Discipline

Discipline is not the “final straw” where judgment is pronounced.

Biblical church discipline is a culture of accountability, growth, forgiveness, and grace that should permeate our churches.

Each member of the church has a responsibility to help others as they struggle with sin – not through judgment and criticism, but rather with gentleness and an eye toward restoration, knowing that he too is subject to temptation (Gal. 6:1).

Matthew 18 does not describe some kind of alternative to litigation; it is a primer on how we lovingly engage one another, patiently exhausting lesser steps (for example, going in person) before moving to greater ones (for example, taking it to the church).

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you think of Church Discipline? Does it have a negative connotation to you?
  2. Do you have a culture of accountability, growth, forgiveness, and grace in your church?

Resources

Table Talk Magazine, August 2013, pg 25.

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On Forgiveness

All sin breaches our relationship with God, but we must never think that the Lord will refuse us if we humble ourselves and return to Him with true contrition.

He longs to take us back, and His willingness to forgive His children is infinite.

No matter where we are or what we have done, we can be confident that God will pardon us if we forsake our sin and turn to Christ alone for our pardon. That is the magnitude of His grace. That is the mercy of the God whom we serve in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you think of God’s grace and mercy alongside His justice?
  2. What is the key to the Lord taking us back?

Resources

Table Talk Magazine, Devotional from July 4th

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On Man’s Ego

Never in the history of the race has man been so busily occupied with the study of himself as he is today.

The behavioral scientists and the religionists are turning out tons of material for us to read as we search for new knowledge about ourselves. Most of us are surprisingly eager to do our assigned reading because, quite frankly, we are enthralled and fascinated with our subject. We are unreservedly devoted to this baffling, unmanageable creature called man.

No one interests us more than ourselves.

One large reason for this is that we are all egoists at heart. And that’s a problem, the world’s biggest. God has shown us how this problem is solved. God is Himself the solution.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you enthralled with yourself?
  2. Do you realize you have an ego problem?
  3. Do you know that God is the solution?

Resources

Earl Jabay, The god-players, preface.

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iOS 7 and the Glory of God

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Yesterday I updated my phone to iOS 7. Apple’s newest operating system for mobile devices. It is stunning! A remarkable work of design. It boasts a simple, elegant, and clean interface.

While Apple’s purpose is not to bring glory to God through their newest OS, that is what it does.

How?

God is a Creator, a Designer. He designed and created this world. Through His hands a stunning and beautiful world was made. Its beauty, its majesty, its amazing scenes, and breath taking settings bring glory to God.

Through His hands we were made as well. In His image we were made, which means He endowed us with His abilities of design and creation.

When we create or design, we use what God has given us and we bring Him glory. Christians are not the only one’s who bring Him glory when they create, everyone does, even Apple.

Conclusion

So the next time you pull your iPhone out of your pocket and slide it open, think about God’s design and creation, and give Him glory – praise Him, worship Him, and thank Him.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you believe things we design bring glory to God?