Free Christmas Devotionals

December 2, 2014

Nancy Guthrie’s Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent is free for Kindle. Nancy is a wonderful expositor. I don’t think you will be disappointed with this book.

This month’s free audio book is John Piper’s Christmas devotional The Dawning of Indestructible Joy.

The Rest of the Story

November 19, 2014

Believers celebrate Jesus in many ways. He is our Savior, Brother, and Friend. We can tend to emphasize his humanity, love and vulnerability. And, well we should.

On balance, he is the mighty God. We mustn’t forget this. If we do, we create an improper view, I might say, image of Jesus. We can refashion Jesus into a god who is more manageable. With manageability we lose our sense of worship and awe. We, to some degree, domesticate Him.

I don’t think we actually forget that He is the God-Man. I’m suggesting that we might unconsciously emphasize Jesus’ humanity over his deity.

As you know, the Apostle John lived and walked with Jesus for three years. He saw Jesus raise the dead; He witnessed the Transfiguration. He encountered the resurrected Jesus. Yet, how did John respond when he encountered Jesus in the book of Revelation (1:17)? “When I saw him, I fell at this feet as though dead.” John, in spite of his familiarity with Jesus, was overwhelmed when he encountered him. The veil was removed and John understood as never before who Jesus is. John, in spite of his history with Jesus, in spite of being the conduit of the Holy Spirit used to give us the gospel of John, three letters, and the book of Revelation, was stunned when he encountered Jesus.

If John was stunned by his encounter with Jesus, what will it be like for us? Indeed, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, that He is God. This awareness won’t be forced; like with John, it will be the reflex of stunned hearts and minds. It will be the only appropriate response to the glory of our precious Savior.

Let me conclude with several quotes from people whose articulation far surpasses mine. First, from Charles Wesley’s eloquent Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”:

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

I love songs that make me think. This song does this. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity.” We are often impressed with people, with their skills, gifts, wealth, and power. On that Day when we stand before Jesus the people who have impressed us in the past will be on their knees beside us. Those who impress us today will be long forgotten when confronted with the glory of Jesus. Those who impress us today will be like a candle when compared to the sun.

Finally, I love this quote from Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” It is a dialogue about meeting Aslan, the Christ figure:

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

‘Nuff said.

Treat Everyday Like Christmas

December 21, 2013

“This Gospel anticipates a world far different from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia, where it is “always winter, and never Christmas.” The promise of the Gospel is that it is “always Christmas.”  To be “in Christ” is to enjoy each morning as a Christmas morning with the family of God, celebrating the gift of God around the tree of life.” (emphasis mind) — Keith Vanhoozer

Pretty Fun …

December 18, 2013

I know my posts have been rather light (in number and content) this week. I could have discussed Harold Camping’s death, or repentance Ted Haggard style, or the problems with the updated NIV, or how to read the Bible in a more meaningful way. But, I’ve chosen the lower road and am satisfied with feel-good stories.

Christmas In Dark Places

December 16, 2013

Destinations

December 10, 2013

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Here are 9 Lies the Media Likes to Tell About Evangelical Christians. You knew you were intolerant, right?

Erik Raymond writes about the road to apostasy. It all starts with neglect. I couldn’t agree more.

Christian Audio’s semi-annual sale is going on right now. Most all their books, even huge books, are a mere $7.49 until December 20.

How to have a great Christmas:

Destinations

December 26, 2012

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_I’ve been largely AWOL for the past week or so. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, I’m a plodder at best; second, there has been the added load of getting through Christmas and its additional requirements. As you might know, today is my 57th birthday. Weather-wise, it’s a gloomy day in northern California. It is a perfect metaphor for a birthday. Yes, I’ve reached the age where the wish “happy birthday” is an oxymoron.

Here is Tullian’s Christmas meditation. As always, he encourages his readers with the gospel.

We still enjoy wonderful freedom in America. This article reminds us that many in other parts of the world pay a dreadful price for their faith in Jesus. The title, Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East, says it all. How we need to pray for our brothers and sister.

Finally, there is good and bad news on the Obamacare front:

An appeals courts has given a victory to Christian colleges suing over Obamacare’s requirement that they provide free contraceptives and morning-after pills.  But another appeals court has upheld the requirement for Christian-owned businesses.

Keep praying. This battle is far from over. Remember this issue here is that companies run by Christians are being required to provide abortion causing drugs. As believers most of us don’t have a problem with contraceptives for married couples; we do, however, believe it is wrong facilitate the termination of pregnancy.

The mandate requires businesses and organizations, with some exceptions, to provide access to contraception coverage — Hobby Lobby was most concerned about coverage for the morning-after pill, which some consider tantamount to an abortion-causing drug. Hobby Lobby has refused to comply, while saying the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day. . . .

Destinations

December 21, 2012

Well, we had a smattering of snow this morning. It wasn’t enough to build a snowman but it was enough to appreciate the beauty of the landscape as it settled to earth. In this sense, it was probably the perfect “snow storm.”

Barnabas Piper suggest that there is not a lesson in every tragedy. Here is a quote:

There are no answers to such an event, not ones that soothe the soul. The problem is not the guns or the mental illness—it is the human condition. All the theological analysis, no matter how true, offers nothing in the moment to lift the crushed heart.

How are we to think about Westboro Baptist Church?  To me they are an embarrassment. It is tragic that they call themselves a church. Josh Buice grapples with the question as to whether God hates Westboro Baptist Church. Here is a hint of the direction he heads in the piece:

Before Westboro Baptist Church shows up in Connecticut with signs that read “God hates you” – perhaps they should consider the possibility that God hates Westboro Baptist Church.  Before they go and preach for people to repent, perhaps they should practice what they preach … Self righteousness is a powerful trap – and one that entraps many people.

Trevin Wax suggests “5 Ways to Play With Your Kids This Christmas.” For some of us, playing with our kids can be a chore.

Jesus told us to pray to the Father in His name. But can we pray to Jesus? Graham Cole answers the question.

I love this song:

Destinations

December 14, 2012

B003D0TAM8.01._SX490_SCLZZZZZZZ_V190274968_Kevin DeYoung weighs in on St Nicholas. Turns out he was quite a guy who probably wouldn’t be happy with today’s Christmas celebration. DeYoung also argues for a balanced Christmas celebration.

Why is the virgin birth important? Doug Wilson tells why. It isn’t just a minor translation issue; our salvation depends on it.

Joe Thorne reminds that the church has a mission in his article “The Sin of NoMission.”  Great title and reminder.

Finally, Stephen Altrogge ably reminds us of The Incredible, Unfathomable, Steadfast Love of God. How we need this reminder.