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Showing posts from December, 2014

Joy to the world... a sign that is opposed has come.

It wouldn't make a very good Christmas carol, but the words of a guy named Simeon, who saw Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus are just as true as the more jingly, "Joy to the world, the Lord has come!"
"Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." - Luke 2:34b-35
Have you sat down this Christmastime and just read through the book of Luke in the Bible?  You should do it.  There's a lot of choruses and jingles and ditties and lines floating around this time of year, but when you open the Bible, it really cuts through all those bells and whistles and pierces heart-thoughts and you trip and get up and look at what your tripping over there in the text and you wrestle with it and you come away with a very real blessing.  A blessing much better than anything wrapped under your tree right now.  Guaran…

Advent meditation: Joy

(That was a sunrise a week or so ago.)
Well, it's 10 O'clock, and everyone is in bed and it's finally quiet so I can think. I'm trying to stave off some bug that's decided to give me a dizzy-headache and sore throat in the last hour. Hot tea and lots of vitamin C I'm hoping will do the trick.

Today, joy.  The third Sunday in Advent the preacher preached on joy.  And I'm glad he did it the way he did.  Cause it's not that easy.  It's not a health and wealth gospel the joy of advent speaks of.  It's not, "Jesus will make you happy." Or, "Jesus will give you what will make you happy."  It's, "Jesus, Man of Sorrows, he knows.  He knows you.  He knows what caused things to not be the way their supposed to be: sin.  And He came to take care of that problem.  And believing that about Him brings something much more real than circumstantial happiness, something you can bank on, something warm and hopeful in you even when …

Advent meditation: It's for freedom that he set us free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ...For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. - Galatians 5:1,13


I've been thinking about this a lot today.  I used to read these verses and sort of feel lost.  "It's for freedom Christ has set us free"???  Ok.  What does that mean?  I mean, yeah, I'd agree that Christ set us free from the condemnation coming against us, but free?  Free from what?  Doesn't God restrict, not free?  If Christ has set us free are we "free" to do whatever we want?  And if we're not, is that really freedom?  

If I'm honest those questions have gone through my head many times over the years.  But today, after pouring my heart out to one that I love, I heard those verses in my head and it made total sense!  Sin is slavery.  Christ's blood bought freedom.  Freedom …

Jesse Tree: Celebrating the God of promises. The God who makes life when all seems as good as dead.

I think it was five years ago now that I started doing a Jesse Tree with my sons. Each year we've done it a little differently. This year I gathered some branches my goats had stripped bare of all leaves, stuck them in a large vase and put some lights on them. In years past we've pulled an ornament out for each day and placed them on the tree after that day's reading.  But this year I decided to put all the ornaments on the tree from the start and focus more on the reading for each day.  Up until this year we've used Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree readings.  But this year, I decided to the family readings from the Reformed Church of America website.  They're short and to the point (which my highly distracted 11 and 9 year need right now) and they set our minds each day on the hope of Christmas.

The Jesse Tree comes from reference to, "the Root of Jesse" in Isaiah 11.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots sha…

Advent meditation: Hope

I'm doing a Bible study through 1 Peter with a neighbor and the verse that has really grabbed me, which I am trying to memorize, is 1 Peter 1:13:

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We've been getting together for quite a few weeks and I never once thought of this verse in regards to Advent.  But during the preaching on Sunday it came to mind. It's the perfect verse for Advent!

Our Pastor talked about hope and how we as Christians look back during Advent to the birth of Christ, but we should really look forward with the birth of Christ in mind.  The Advent Israel waited for was Christ's birth.  It is the Advent I look back to and rejoice in, but for me, the real Advent I wait for is Christ's second coming.  He will come again.  And I will see him as he is!  And oh what grace!  What amazing grace that will be brought to me when I see him fa…