Odds & Ends: December 2017
Thoughts on true humility
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.”
—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away… To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.”
FINDING PLEASURE IN GOD | the marrow of life
Normally when we think of our Lord’s commands, we think of the 10 commandments . . . You shall not steal . . . Honor your father and your mother. Or we think of commands like . . . Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength . . . Love your neighbor as yourself. But there is a command, repeated in the Scriptures, which we don’t normally think of when we think of God’s commands. By way of command God says, “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Psa 37:4) . . . “Be glad in the LORD” (Psa 32:11) . . . “Rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 3:1; 4:6). These verbs are all imperatives.
Joe Teisan: November 2017
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING IN THE BIRTH-STORY OF JESUS?
1-4: Luke the beloved Greek physician, companion of Paul and writer of Acts, carefully investigated the life of Jesus in 60 A.D., so that we may know for certain that the claims of Christ, in whom we believe, are absolutely true. Luke’s elegant and formal introduction, unique in Scripture, is a literary gem in polished Greek. Luke interviewed eyewitnesses, and Mary could have given him this most complete account of Christ’s birth in chapters 1-2, because “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (2:9). Under Holy Spirit inspiration, Luke, with the diagnostic eye of a physician, writes the world’s most beautiful book, the longest and most accurate life of Christ ever written by a Gentile.
Odds & Ends: November 2017
Prayers of thanks
The Bible’s close connection between prayer and praise caused 19th-century preacher J.C. Ryle to proclaim, “I dare not call that true prayer in which thankfulness has no part.” He points, for example, to Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 (“By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”) and Colossians 4:2 (“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful”), both NIV.
Whenever we speak to God, Ryle adds, thoughts of his mercy and the hope of heaven should be at the forefront of our minds. “Surely,” he writes, “we should never open our lips in prayer without blessing God for that free grace by which we live, and for that lovingkindness which endures forever.”
Thank you, veterans!
On Veterans Day, we honor men and women who’ve served and sacrificed in one of America’s armed services.
On November 11, 1918, America and her allies signed a truce with German leaders, ending World War I. In 1919, President Wilson decided the United States should remember with gratitude the end of that war and honor military members by marking Armistice Day, or “truce” day. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day, honoring veterans of every era.
Veterans Day highlights our country’s quest for peace, justice and freedom throughout the world. Followers of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, pray for unity among all nations and for the day when “nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4, NIV).
The Sun of Righteousness
Meditations on the glory of Christ
The New Testament has a lot to say about the glory of Jesus Christ and we freely talk about the glory of Christ. But when the Bible uses the word ‘glory’, what is being made reference to? Just what is the ‘glory’ of Christ? When we speak of glory, we speak of honor, splendor, worthiness, reputation, position, wealth. It may be helpful to consider human glory to give us some idea, though inadequate, of divine glory.
Joseph spoke of his position and wealth in Egypt and said to his brothers, ". . . tell my father of my glory" (Gen 45:13). God promised to Solomon, ". . . riches and glory so that there will not be any like you all the days of your life" (1 Kgs 3:13). When Job lost his children, wealth, and health, he lamented, “He [God] has stripped me of my glory" (Job 19:9).
In our world, a display of glory would be the president presenting someone with the congressional medal of honor or someone receiving a gold medal after winning the mile run against the best runners in the world, while a band plays his national anthem. With respect to Christ, His glory is His intrinsic worth and majestic splendor . . . His power, His authority, His sinless perfection, His unchangeable nature, His love, His sovereign rule over all creation.