05 December 2014

This 'n' That

Photo: UglyChristmasLights.com
We can't avoid it. We can't escape it. It's Christmas. The neighbors have been saving their pennies all year to pay for this month's electric bill. Your coworkers are tense and stressed as deadlines loom larger with the promise of much-needed vacation days. Everyone is overworked, overwhelmed and frazzled. It must be that Christmas spirit I've been hearing so much about.

Instead of its usual 'Jesus-is-my-boyfriend' type tunes, the 'Christian' radio station is blaring 'Little Saint Nick' by The Beach Boys. Fake bells and baubles bigger than a person's head are dangling from front porches and from the trees in the aisles of Macy's. Candy and cookies are everywhere. Tis the season.

In spite of the world's feeble attempts at celebration, I still love Christmas. I love the music (the Christ-honoring music, that is). I love the colors. I love the scents and the sounds. But it may behoove us to honestly ask ourselves—and honestly answer—without these things, without your grandmother's sugar cookie recipe and without 'Silent Night' and without your 'Baby's First Christmas' ornament hanging from the tree, would you still love Christmas? If you believe the following verses, then you ought to be answering with an unhesitating 'yes!':
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:2–4)
So often we read Micah 5:2 and see the prophecy of our Lord's birth. This is great indeed, but when we read further, we cannot help but rejoice even more, for these verses speak not only of Christ's first advent, but of His second. He is coming again. Soon, we hope, though we know that His timing will be perfect. The eternal Son who came humbly and was rejected will return one day to rule, to reign and to judge. So as we find ourselves remembering the great gift of His first coming, let us also look forward with eager anticipation to His second. And let us not be found lazy or lackadaisical when He comes, but let us be found by Him going about His business, calling those who are lost to repent and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

But since I know that right now, as you read this, you are sipping hot cocoa and humming along to 'Last Christmas' (what is it about that stupid song?), take a few moments at the end of this fleeting week to enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • Doctrine matters. Otherwise, you end up doing something like this.
  • Tis the season for the "Christmas is a pagan holiday" people to come out of the woodwork. So, is Christmas Day rooted in paganism?
  • Can someone please explain to me why singles need their own devotional? I just don't get it.
  • If you're a high school or college student, or if you know one (or two or three…), why not head out to Tennessee for the New Year and take advantage of the free Contend 2015 conference? It's a nice alternative to the ever-sketchy (i.e., less-than-biblically-sound) Passion conference that will be taking place around the same time.
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Pastor Voddie Baucham was on Fox News to discuss Ferguson. Well done, sir. It is indeed unfortunate that Fox decided to cut you short as you began to proclaim the Gospel. It is so pathetically obvious that even the 'conservative' media cannot tolerate the cross. 
  • Katie Couric learned the word 'eschatology.' We're still waiting to hear if she learned anything about eschatology. Maybe she should take some time to listen through S. Lewis Johnson's messages on the doctrine of eschatology.
  • If you have this in your front yard, I'm going to have to ask you to stop reading the blog. Actually, if you have anything inflatable in your front yard, just step away from the computer, repent, deflate your decorations, and then come back. 
  • Looking at who Mary was, and who she was not.
  • There's a fascinating article published at The Guardian about 'selling' God and the concept of hell. It's fascinating not in an 'I agree with everything in this article' way, but in an 'I think you should read this and be prepared to engage its content' way.
  • We've known for awhile now that the 10th anniversary edition of Jesus Calling has scrubbed away some of its most controversial New Age references.
  • Biblical apostolic succession:

7 comments:

  1. I enjoy reading your blog, and don't think I've ever disagreed with anything I've read here before. That being said, is there anything wrong with a singles' devotional? I agree that we don't need Bibles for different demographics, but there are a lot of devotional books for couples out there. Why not mention them as well? I just don't see anything wrong with a devotional guide that uses Scripture to minister to people in different life situations. Thank you for your posts.

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    1. Hi Ariel,
      Thanks for your comment! Obviously, my commentary on this particular point is pure opinion. Perhaps it was the presentation of this particular devotional, but it seems to me that if we focus too heavily on our social situation (I'm married! I'm single! I'm a blue-collar worker! I'm a white-collar worker!), we run the risk of approaching the truth of God's word in a narcissistic manner. Perhaps I see things a bit more black and white than most people. Were it applicable, I would not recommend a devotional book geared toward couples either. The truths of Scripture that speak very specifically to those who are married are still important for those who are not, and vice versa. Truth is truth. It does not change from man to woman, married to single, baker to business executive. I'd be less opposed to Christian books that speak to these issues, but when it comes to resources that are specifically designed to aid a person in studying Scripture, it seems a bit precarious to pick and choose our truth based upon our fleeting position in life. Just study God's Word - the whole counsel of God's Word, and God will use it to transform your life. The application may vary a bit based on demographic and current situations, but we must be careful not to presume that the truth changes based upon those things as well.

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    2. Well said.

      - Deborah

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    3. So true EBenz,
      I just gone through sample pages on amazon. The devotional is pure narcissistic eisegesis (reading oneself into scripture than reading out the meaning of scripture). The result would be to approach scripture in a narcissistic manner.

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  2. Ebenz, thanks for the clarification.

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  3. "Can someone please explain to me why singles need their own devotional? I just don't get it"

    Have you ever as I been in a situation, circumstance or season where you searched for some direction from The Word to address,direct and help discern what to do and how to know Gods will and reason for it?

    Could this be that for them?

    Richard L.

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  4. Yes, I love this passage as well:

    " But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlastinga. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand and feedb in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. " ( Micah 5:2-4 )

    Incidentally, "devotionals" aren't something I do...I just thank my Father for His wonderful gift of mercy on the part of His Son, and read where He leads me. I also do not celebrate "Christmas", but instead I thank Him for His many gifts to me on a daily basis.

    May God bless you.

    ReplyDelete

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