Monday, December 24, 2012

Joy to You, from Jesus

The angel said to them, “ Do not be afraid; for behold, 
I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people."
Luke 2:10

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Beginning of Godliness with Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1546) commenting on the phrase, "Behold your king is coming to you", from Matthew 21:5 (citing Ze 9:9), writes:

"It is not by virtue of your power or your merit that the Gospel is preached and your king comes. God must send him out of pure grace. Hence not greater wrath of God exists than where he does not send the Gospel; there is only sin, error, and darkness, there man may do what he will. Again, there is no greater grace than where he sends his Gospel, for there must be grace and mercy in its train, even if not all, perhaps only a few, receive it. . .This is what is meant by 'Your king is coming to you.' You do not seek him, but he seeks you. You do not find him, he finds you. For the preachers come from him, not from you; for their sermons come from him, not from you; your faith comes from him, not from you; everything that faith works in you comes from him, not from you; and where he does not come, you remain outside; and where there is no Gospel there is no God, but only sin and damnation; free will may do, suffer, work, and live as it may and can. Therefore you should not ask, where to begin to be godly; there is no beginning, except where the king enters and is proclaimed."  -- From "Through the Year with Martin Luther", pages 15-16.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For Christmas, Give "The Story"

This morning I finished reading "The Jesus Storybook Bible"; not to my children, but to myself. Marian and I do read this particular Bible to our little ones, but I have recently been moving through it on my own in the mornings. I even bought my own copy, because I'm funny about my books.

Each time I would read to my children I found myself wanting to continue the reading, at my pace, not theirs, because I would get so caught up in "The Story"; and because this Bible better than most things I've read reveals "The Story" well; and because I'm not all that creative, and so can't see what the creative see. Let me summarize this way: If you want to know what God has been doing in the world for ever how long the world has been here; and if you want to grasp better the reason for creation and the subsequent giving and fulfilling of God's promises to Adam (Ge 3:15), and Abram (Ge 12:1-3); read this Bible. (By the way, history turns on these promises). If you want to feel the love of God for His sinners, read this Bible. If you want to go further into the meaning and effects of the death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ, read this Bible. If you want to get at the heart of what your sin is, read this Bible. And if you want to understand what Jesus meant when He said that all of the Scriptures are about Him, read this Bible. If you have read your Bible but struggled to gain from it or be changed by its contents, read this Book.

This Bible is a splendid and even transforming gift for adults, and then for children. If Dad and Mom could lay hold of the message of this Book, and pass it on to their children, how happy and beautiful and distinct and fit for heaven our families would be.

And if you have unbelievers in your life (I hope you do) for whom you pray and labor that they may come to faith, give them this Bible. You might want to explain that you do not insult them by giving them something written for children; that you have read it and benefited from it, and that it reveals remarkably well the ways and works of the Creator to get His people back. Besides, isn't it true that we all need to improve our understanding of and love for the foundations and extending basics of God's message in the Scriptures? This Book will do much for that. It gets to the heart of the matter by showing the gracious heart of God and the rebellious heart of people. It makes sense of so many of the smaller parts and pieces of the long story. And it does so in brief, hitting "highlights" from the Old and into the New Testament.

I finish with this: I've never enjoyed reading anything more. I learned from Sally Lloyd-Jones' insight (The Scripture texts are her paraphrases/interpretations). My view of God has been challenged, and changed, for good. And the "good" that flows from Him in the news of the gospel means more to me because of "The Jesus Storybook Bible."

Check it out here, along with related resources.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Post for Shepherds -- Preach the Cross of Christ

"For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
The Apostle Paul, 1 Co 1:22-25

"The cross of Christ reveals the love of God because it shows what that love is prepared to suffer for the beloved."
J.I. Packer, "Knowing Christianity" page 65

Friday, December 7, 2012

Money, Me, and My Government

Here is a helpful, enlightening, and succinct take on money and government, by our friend Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. We all, I believe, need to know and understand these basics, for our families, our nation, and Christ's kingdom. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Three Cheers for the Robertsons

I commend to you Duck Dynasty on A&E, on Wednesdays, from 10 to 11 PM (Two 30 minute episodes). Why? Because the list of things funnier than wealthy witty rednecks is quite short.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Post for Shepherds --The Faithful Gaze

For our times of ignorance and their fruit called distress:
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You."
Jehoshaphat to God, 2 Ch 20:12

"To you I lift up my eyes, 
O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
till he has mercy upon us."
The Psalmist, Ps 123:1-2

". . .looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. . ."
He 12:2