Posts Tagged ‘ Birth of Jesus ’

Preparing Your Heart – Third Week of Advent

We are continuing the series originally posted three years ago!

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It is now the third week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

Preparing Your Heart – First Week of Advent

This originally posted three years ago, but sometimes it is good remembering some things!

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It is the first week of Advent!

Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”
Job 11:13-20, ESV

In the passage today, Job’s friend Zophar is offering his friendly advice. May we remember that the only way these words are true is if we turn to the Lord and let Him make us clean and righteous!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/05/2015

Find the source of wisdom, and begin at Proverbial Thought!

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

Yes, many call it Easter, but today we celebrate the anniversary of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.

As Paul said, “if Christ has not been raised . . . we are of all people to be most pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)

The poem today is actually based on the resurrection story found in John’s gospel:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
John, 20:1-7, ESV

If I may wax apologetic for a moment, think about this: if the burial cloths of Christ truly were found in the tomb without His body (they were!), why would (non-followers of Christ) thieves take the time take off the linens and neatly fold the face cloth? Rather, would this not show Jesus is saying in essence, “Oh. I do not need these any more. I will just place this neatly over here …”? (He just beat death, after all!)

He is risen!

risen

the curtain torn
the tomb now sealed
God watching as
His angels work
the lights flashing
thunder clapping
the joy surrounds
all in heaven
explosions cheers
lightning thunder
flashes novas

on earth Jesus
taking a breath
opening eyes
He sits straight up
removes the cloths
folds them neatly
rises and leaves

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 3

Continue preparing your heart for wisdom by reading the thoughts over at Proverbial Thought!

It is now the second week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

From Slaughter to Redemption

Redeem your mind and find some wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

I have a mental exercise for you. Please consider the following:

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birth stool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” . . . 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”
Exodus 1:15-16, 22, ESV

And then Moses, the one who led the Israelites to redemption out of Egypt, was coming.

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
Matthew 2:16

And all because Jesus, the One who would redeem Israel and all who would believe in Him from their sins, was coming.

Now consider this (from Number of Abortions and as of Monday, June 16, 2014):

  • The United States aborts between 3,000-4,000 babies every day.
  • This year (as of June 16) about 500,000 abortions have been performed in the US.
  • Since the ruling of Roe v. Wade in 1973, there have been almost 57 million abortions in the US.
  • There have been over 100,000 abortions today globally.
  • There have been nearly 19 million abortions this year (as of June 16) globally.
  • Since 1980, nearly 1.5 BILLION abortions have been performed globally. (That is 1/6 of our current population!)

Is something getting ready to happen?

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21

Comfort and Joy in the King – God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

Keep your joy strong with wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

It is Christmas Eve! Tomorrow we celebrate God stepping into the time to redeem His Creation. There is no better explanation of that act than today’s song.

It is at least 300 years old and may be older than that. I have not been able to find verifiable information, but I have heard that it was written by a priest who was concerned with how much of the gospel message the average person actually knew. Therefore, he put the lyrics to a tune that could be heard in many pubs.

The earliest publication of the song was in 1833 by William Sandys, and one of my favorite stories, from 1843, used it: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

God rest you merry, gentlemen.
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember, Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Savior
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Why I like this carol …

My first liking is that it tells the birth story of Jesus. It reminds us of the hope we have in His life and death, that He came “to save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray.”

My second liking comes from the title, which really means “God keep/make you joyful/content/hopeful/happy, people of God”. That is some paraphrasing on my part, but it is based on literal meanings of the words “rest” and “merry”.

This song is a reminder that God did not wait for us to achieve the impossible or seek Him out. He came to us, He redeemed us with His own life and blood, and He will return to redeem all of Creation. We should be joyful and hopeful knowing that our Lord wins and has won. He came and will come again!

Merry Christmas – Almost literally, “Joy comes from Christ’s suffering.”

Remember that is what “Merry Christmas” means, for the Christ-Mass, is the remembrance that Jesus Christ was born that He may die to bring us second birth … and He will come again!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Let Us Adore The King – O Come All Ye Faithful

Adore the Wisdom of God by finding some wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

We continue looking at some of my favorite Christmas Carols and why.

I have taken us through several songs and poems which have touched my life in some way, but honestly it is most Christmas carols and many Christmas songs that impact my life by simply being about Christmas and, specifically, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

That is why there is the ever-slightest shift this week.

The carol this week did not have a dramatic impact on my life, but it certainly begins to explain some of what I feel and believe.

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Why I Like This Carol …

… is that it is a call to celebration and worship.

There is something inherently joyous and celebratory about it, many times because the music is very upbeat and celebratory. Regardless of the music, those words just draw all focus to Jesus. They are a call to sing and celebrate the Savior of the world. They are a call to worship the Lord of all.

Join with me in celebrating and worshiping our God who saves us!