Month: December 2010

Christmas

CHRISTMAS

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Maker of the sun, He is made under the sun.  In the Father he remains, From his mother he goes forth.

Creator of heaven and earth, He was born on earth under heaven.  Unspeakably wise, He is wisely speechless.

Filling the world, He lies in a manger.  Ruler of the stars, He nurses at his mother’s bosom.

He is both great in the nature of God, and small in the form of a servant.

_____

I am amazed  by Christ’s incarnation . . .

John Milton writes, “That glorious form, that light unsufferable, and that far-beaming blaze of majesty, wherewith he wont at Heaven’s high council-table to sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be, forsook the courts of everlasting day, and chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.”

But it had to be . . .

Desiderius Erasmus joins in, “By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.”

I know the Scriptures are true

I received in the mail the Deseret Book catalog of advertisements (Winter 2011).

May I inquire into three areas?

1. With Deseret Book’s 145 year old history, do you like this particular business?

2.  In the celebrating a century of Mormon Tabernacle recordings, what is your favorite?

3.  “I know the Scriptures are true” – Who originated this phrase?  And what does this phrase mean for you?

Monday Meditations (Christmas Aftermath)

1.  I listened to Kirk Baker of Calvary Baptist open with this question:  “What do you do with the King?” in his message, Overcoming Mortal Mentality.   Yesterday, our church family read Romans 8 for our Scripture reading.  Today, SBC Pastor Kirk took me to Romans 8:11.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (NIV)

Listen to the message to see how he connects this verse to Christmas.  Is the King alive within your heart?

2.  I joined Rick Brown of Calvary Chapel in Matthew 16:21-27:

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.  Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be if from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”  But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things for men.”  Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (NKJV)

Four main themes for Growing in Faith:  (1) Mistakes of Faith, (2) Disciples of Faith, (3) Wisdom of Faith, and (4) Reward of Faith.  Check out here how wonderfully, godly men can make big, fat mistakes and when God calls us to serve him, how well meaning people can try to get you off course.  Consider your daily cross and the denying of yourself.  And bask in the coming of the Lord of glory and His rewarding you for your faithfulness.

3.  Dan Smouse of Christ Community shares from Luke 2:25-38 and examines this question:  “What does looking lead to?” (Chuckling – we hope that Dan’s wife does not listen to his sermon online.  He reveals a secret about house cleaning that is every man’s secret.)

Right looking leads to . . .

  • Honorable living – “Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel” (NASB)
  • Peaceful living – “Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word;” (NASB)
  • Contented living – “She [Anna] was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four.  And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.  And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (NASB)

Dan talked about some of their vision for 2011 with an emphasis on prayer – to move inward and upward.  I enjoyed the music during communion, “Fairest Lord Jesus” and “Ruler of My Heart” (title?).

4.  Tony Maupin from Shiloh Foursquare brought me to the fourth part of his series, “Spirit of Excellence”.  He talked about the God Who Rewrites Futures.  His message is close to home for a verse that I recently memorized as part of Berean’s church memory plan – Daniel 4:35.  God’s Providence is universal and irresistible.

5.  On December 19, I attended the evening Christmas worship, “A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols” at the New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church.  The musical instruments were the organ, piano, guitar, harp, trumpet, and trombone.

  • Lesson 1:  Genesis 3:8-19, Carol – “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
  • Lesson 2:  Genesis 22:15-18, Carols – “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” & “The First Noel”
  • Lesson 3:  Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, Carols – “And the Glory”
  • Lesson 4:  Isaiah 11:1-9, Carols – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” & “Solfeggietto”
  • Lesson 5:  Luke 1:26-35, 38, Carols – “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” & “Magnificat”
  • Lesson 6:  Luke 2:1-7, Carols – “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” & “Cantata 142″
  • Lesson 7:  Luke 2:8-16, Carols – “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” & “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”
  • Lesson 8:  Matthew 2:1-12, Carols – “What Child Is This?” & “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”
  • Lesson 9:  John 1:1-14, Carol – “Joy to the World”

Dave Bass fixed our thoughts on the protoevangelium in his homily after his pastoral prayer.  I needed to leave after lesson 5, but I appreciated the singing of the Magnificat because of my own study in Luke 1.  Also, I loved the harp playing by Iassica Friedel.  Beautiful music to accompany our worship to the glorious Triune God of heaven.

6.  While my family was in Sun Valley, Idaho last week, Beau Floyd led our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at Berean.  A big thanks to Beau.  And a big thanks to our musicians.

7.  Jason Ehmann of Bethel Baptist Church in Rigby, Idaho ran a blogging Christmas series over at Idaho For God’s Glory.  I read through them all today and was blessed and thankful for our Three-Person’d God.

Christmas Greek Exegesis – Luke 2:14

Open your Bibles to Luke 2:14.

Verlyn Verbrugge writes,

“Peace on earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14, KJV).  You have probably all received Christmas cards containing this part of the angels’ song to the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem.  But most modern translations read differently: “on earth peace to men on whom his [God's] favor rests” (NIV); “and on earth peace among those whom he [God] favors” (NRSV). The difference between the KJV and the others is the difference between the nominative and the genitive.

The Greek manuscripts used to translate the KJV contain eudokia (nominative), whereas the older manuscripts used to translate the modern versions contain eudokias (genitive) – literally translated, “of good will” or “characterized by [God's] good pleasure.”  In other words, the peace that the angels sang that belonged to the earth as a result of the birth of Christ is not a generic, worldwide peace for all humankind, but a peace limited to those who obtain favor with God by believing in his Son Jesus (see Romans 5:1).  What a difference a single letter can make of the text!

What do you think about that?