Fourth Monday of Advent – Christmas Eve – Follow

December 24, 2018

Luke 2:10-14

Luke 2:10-11, “The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.”

Follow:

• to go, proceed, or come after

• to engage in as a calling or way of life

• to walk or proceed along

• to be or act in accordance with

• to accept as authority

• to pursue in an effort to overtake

• to seek to attain

• to come into existence or take place as a result or consequence of

• to come or take place after in time, sequence, or order

• to copy after

• to watch steadily

• to keep the mind on

• to attend closely

• to keep abreast of

• to understand the sense or logic of (something, such as a line of thought)

• to subscribe to the feed of (someone or something) especially on social media

• to go or come after a person or thing in place, time, or sequence

• to result or occur as a consequence, effect, or inference

• as comes next

• to go in a straight or obvious course

• to follow an example set

Don’t be afraid! This phrase appears in the Bible approximately 365 times per my “Google” search!

Welcome Christmas Eve, this is a time of waiting, preparing and hoping. It’s a time of uncertainty, a time of trusting. Just as the shepherds were told by the angels to not be afraid, Jesus is telling us not to be afraid. Jesus is calling us to follow Him, Jesus has overcome all obstacles this life has to offer and He was triumphant and victorious! The writer of the pamphlet reminds us that change is frightening. It’s also been said that change is hard and difficult, I find change to be very challenging, it’s making a deliberate action to do something we would normally not do. That indeed is scary! I struggle when life throws me a curveball, when my routine changes, I get comfortable and even develop some stubbornness. Now, with that being said, I have found surprising results when I have relented and moved with changes. Changes are happening all the time, we only really notice them when they have a direct impact or effect upon our lives. Change is good, I have found out. We get to see life through a different lens, experience life in a new way. It can be freeing to let go of things no longer needed or even of value. Following Jesus is a surrender of self to Jesus and to seek His will for our lives.

The birth of Jesus changed the world and it sent the world into a tilt-a-whirl! I know that Jesus was born over two thousand years ago, yet I am excited about His birth today, filled with anticipation just like the wise men and the shepherds. We still seek Jesus, the child at this season. We recognize the sacrifice of leaving heaven, being born into less than perfect conditions and lived a challenging life. He led by example and loves all creation.

Fear is a liar, it keeps you from being the person you were created to be. Let your light shine, follow Jesus to great expectations. Do Not Be Afraid!

Prayer: Lord, may I fear not and live in joy! Amen.

Thank you for you support, your prayers and for sharing this Advent journey with me, it has been a blessing.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

Additional Reading:

 

Fourth Sunday of Advent – Redemption

December 23, 2018

Luke 2:21-38

Luke 2:34b-35a, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed…”

Redemption:

• the act, process, or an instance of redeeming

Redeeming:

• serving to offset or compensate for a defect

Biblical Definition of Redemption:

• the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the payment of a ransom *The Greek word so rendered is apolutrosis , a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and always with the idea of a ransom or price paid

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and we light a candle representing “love.” We have read, heard, seen and learned of love because God loved us. Today, we ask for God’s guidance to enact that love within us. We seek to live out that love, the world needs more love now than ever before. We need to remember God’s love for each of us and that we are called to share the love of Jesus with everyone.

Our pamphlet reading today tells us of the day Jesus was taken to the Temple to be presented, forty days after his birth. Mary and Joseph were following the Leviticus decrees and the Laws of Moses. The writer, Sue Mink has again opened my eyes to parts of Jesus’ birth story that I have missed in the telling of the story year after year. In Luke 2:25, we are introduced to a righteous man by the name of Simeon, in whom the Holy Spirit rested upon. Simeon had been told that he would see the Lord’s Messiah before his death. Simeon revealed things to Mary and Joseph and to those witnessing this event, things that would happen to Jesus and because of Jesus. Also, in Luke 2:36, we are introduced to yet another person witnessing all these things, Luke tells us her name is Anna and she was a prophet/prophetess. Anna praises God and spoke about Jesus and the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke does not provide any additional information about Anna but being curious I did find some additional information about her and will post it under reference for you to look at if you are interested.

The reason I mention Simeon and Anna is that they both held a purpose in Jesus story, our Christmas Story. In fact, I am going to go as far as saying anyone reading this, you are a part of the Jesus Christmas Story. The birth of Jesus is still relevant and meaningful today. We are in need of saving, we need a Savior. Yes, it’s true that Jesus died for the whole entire world and if you, YES YOU THE PERSON READING THIS RIGHT NOW WERE THE ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD…Jesus died just for you! That’s how much Jesus loves us. There’s no magic number or quota to be met. God created each of us individually and loves us individually. How awesome is that(?)!

Following Jesus takes a commitment, but it is also filled with rewarding delight. I love the words of our writer as she states, “the dangerous grace” that Jesus offers. I would also add, “radical love!”

Thank you for your continued support of this blog space, more importantly I hope you know Jesus in a real and personal way.

Prayer: Lord, May I accept your dangerous salvation. Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/redemption/

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&hl=en-us&q=Anna+the+Prophetess&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAOOQUeLUz9U3MDayzDGJkk7My0tUyE3NK8nMz0tNUcjMUyjJSFVIykzKST3FiFAIZRsZZ5mVQNmmhUaW5lC2RUWVYTaUbVhkUFF1ipEDxM6KN0-HMjMqKsuhTJPKtAwY0zi3Aso0Kiis-MUoArZaoaAovyAjtaRYIS8xN7W4gYURANbY-j63AAAA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjum4jGqrXfAhUhh-AKHceuBvMQs9oBKAAwF3oECA4QBQ&biw=375&bih=626

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/mary-simeon-or-anna-who-first-recognized-jesus-as-messiah/

https://www.liturgylink.net/2014/11/11/advent-candles-hope-peace-joy-love

Third Saturday of Advent – Grace

December 22, 2018

Matthew 2:16-17

Matthew 2:16, “When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger…”

Grace:

• unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

• a virtue coming from God

• a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

• a special favor

• disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency

• a temporary exemption

• a charming or attractive traitor characteristic

• a pleasing appearance or effect

• ease and suppleness of movement or bearing

• a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks

• the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

When I hear the word “grace” it can produce more than one visual for me, the most obvious is God’s Grace! One of my favorite verses is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul is speaking to Jesus and he writes these words, “He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me.”

The word “grace” appears in the New Testament more than 100 times depending on the translation. This tells me it’s an important word and we should pay attention to it, know what is means and why it’s mentioned so often.

Grace cannot be bought or sold, it can’t really be earned. It is extended to people out of love and kindness. God extends grace to each of us and not one of us deserves it. We can extend grace to others, our family and our friends because we love them no matter what happens or doesn’t happen. As the dictionary definition puts it, Grace is a virtue coming from God!

In today’s, reading the writer of the pamphlet revealed something new to me that I had never before realized. She shows the similarities of Moses and Jesus’ stories. In both cases, child genocide occurs, in Moses story it was the Pharaoh who had all the male children born to Hebrew women killed, because the number of Israelites was outnumbering the Egyptians. The story is recorded in Exodus 1:15-22. In the story of Jesus, it’s Herod who orders the deaths of male children two years and young put to death in today’s scripture Matthew 2:16. In both of these stories, God’s plan prevailed. God used these horrific events to save His people. He provided salvation for His children. I had never thought of these two significant stories as similar but they are and they show the power of God and His keen sense of always providing for His children. God’s grace saved Moses, and Jesus when they were only infants. God is continuing His reconciliation with mankind still today, more than two thousand years after Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Salvation is still being extended and God’s Grace is sufficient for all. I am becoming more acutely aware that I need and desire to extend more grace to people in my life. In some cases the motivation isn’t that they deserve it but that I don’t deserve it either and we are all doing the best we can, my goal for 2019 is to be more loving, more kind, more forgiving and to share more grace. None of us are perfect and we all need grace.

Thank you for sharing this Advent journey with me, may the Lord bless you and keep you now and forevermore.

Prayer: Oh Savior, May your plan of salvation deliver me from evil. Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

The Holy Bible CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com

https://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_WordCount.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Exodus%201:15-22&version=C

Third Friday of Advent – Joy

December 21, 2018

Matthew 2:13-15Matthew 2:13, “When the magi had departed, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod will soon search for the child in order to kill him.”

image-41

Joy:

• the emotion evoked by well-being

• success

• good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires

• the expression or exhibition of such emotion

• a state of happiness or felicity

• a source or cause of delight

• to experience great pleasure or delight

What if I told you that true joy can only come from God. It is true, we can experience limited expressions of joy through our actions and accolades but lasting joy is found in knowing God as Lord and Savior. True joy is a state of security like no other, it’s knowing that God holds you within the palm of His hand. True joy is not the absence of bad things, it’s the strong foundation to withstand bad things. Joy is rising to meet each new day even while surrounded by uncertainty, joy is giving to someone in need, knowing that you have needs as well; trusting in God for deliverance. Joy is a righteous response to an uncertain world and mysterious future. We all have the opportunity to choose joy each new day. My hope and my prayer is that you experience “JOY” during this Christmas season and more importantly that you know Jesus as your personal Savior. He loves you, He created you and you most definitely have a plan and purpose! Let “joy” start with you! I’m letting “joy” start within me. ~Blessings to you~

Bible verses that speak of Joy:

“I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete.” -John 15:11

“Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy.” -John 17:13

“and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:2

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” -Romans 15:13

The Joy of Jesus’ Birth:

“The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.” -Luke 2:10

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

ring in your ears

may the hope it brings

rid you of your fears.

For unto this day,

a Child was born

a Savior to the world

one glorious morn.

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

fill you with cheer

may the peace it brings

last all throughout the year.

For unto us this day,

God sent us His Son

loved and begotten

to bring joy to everyone.

May the joy of CHRISTmas,

ring loud and clear

may the love that it brings

draw Jesus to you near!

~~~~~~

Luke 2:10

“And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold,

I bring you good tidings

of great joy,

which shall be to all people.”

King James Version

Public Domain

Copyright 2017

Deborah Ann Belka

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my heavenly King! May I be your faithful and loving servant! Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2015:11&version=CEB

https://poetrybydeborahan

Third Thursday of Advent – Star

December 20, 2018

Matthew 2:1-11

Matthew 2:11a, “They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him.”

Star:

• a natural luminous body visible in the sky especially at night

• a self-luminous gaseous spheroid celestial body of great mass which produces energy by means of nuclear fusion reactions

• a planet or a configuration of the planets thatis held in astrology to influence one’s destiny or fortune

• a waxing or waning fortune or fame

• a conventional figure with five or more points

Why do you suppose that the telling of Jesus’ birth is told so differently by the four gospels.

Matthew begins with explaining the lineage of Jesus, mentions King Herod of Jerusalem and the magic seeking the birth of the King of the Jews. And, then to the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the wise men/magi.

Mark’s Gospel starts out talking about “Good News” of Jesus Christ the Son of God referencing the prophet Isaiah telling of John the Baptist. John would prepare the way for Jesus. Mark skips the birth completely and goes right into Jesus being baptized and starting this ministry.

Luke thought it important to share the relationship of Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son John with that of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Luke also explains how and why Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem.

John, he takes a totally different approach towards Jesus’ existence. John places Jesus at/before the dawn of creation. Jesus has always been and will always be, He one with a God as the Holy Spirit is one with God, all 3 separate yet equal. John refers to Jesus as “the Word.” John then explains John the Baptist and his role in preparing the way for Jesus and the baptism of Jesus and His ministry.

Just as all Christians come to Christ for different reasons and cling to specific parts of His ministry, so did the writers of the four gospels. They each had a particular viewpoint of Jesus and because of these we are able to experience each of them. It is so wonderful to experience the birth of Jesus, the story is new each time we hear it and we are refreshed as we are able to continue to learn and recognize things that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.

As we search our hearts and minds during this season of Advent, let us also be mindful of the “Star” God is still reaching out to all individuals, the lost, the down hearted, the least of us…

May you find rest and peace in Jesus this Advent Season. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Prayer: Lord, may all the world worship the King of Heaven! Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.co

Third Wednesday of Advent – Faith

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Luke 2:15-20

Luke 2:15a, “When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened.”

Faith:

• allegiance to duty or a person

• fidelity to one’s promises

• sincerity of intentions

• belief and trust in and loyalty to God

• belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

• firm belief in something for which there is no proof

• complete trust

• something that is believed especially with strong conviction

• a system of religious beliefs

• without question

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, we are reading about faith and the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds. Of all the people who could have been notified of Jesus’ birth/arrival God chose shepherds. In the https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/shepherd/, we read this about shepherds:

“The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. “In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief.”

Have you ever wondered why God chose to share His “Good News” with shepherds? History tells us the shepherds were different from almost every one else, they basically lived with sheep, did not bathe often and rarely had conversations with anyone other than their sheep. Because of their shepherding responsibilities, religious practices were most likely not adhered to on a regular basis. God had a plan, a well thought out plan with much detail. He knew that to save mankind from themselves and sin, His only Son would have to pay the price. God chose the shepherds because they had no agenda, they were not fearful of a new king being born. Unlike the rich and powerful at the time, they were concerned for any changes within their towns and its people. They would feel threatened by this new king. The shepherds, although they may have been fearful of seeing and talking with an angel, they did believe in his words and being humble servants would have wanted to meet this person, Jesus who would save the world. The logical choice would be someone or some group who had no fear but saw meeting Jesus as a meaningful opportunity.

Just as God trusted shepherds so long ago, Jesus became a shepherd of people drawing them near to himself, to Father and the Spirit so that all might hear the message of “Good News” and live for Jesus!

John 10:11-18 (CEB) is a beautiful reminder of who Jesus was/is/always will be:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd. “This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

The Good Shepherd 1878 Bernhard Plockhorst Painting by Movie Poster Prints

The Good Shepherd is Nathan Greene’s second in a series of paintings featuring Christ with a little lamb.

The Good Shepherd

https://sma.ie/the-good-shepherd/

We must ask ourselves, do we have the faith that these shepherds had? Does you faith set you free to experience all that Jesus has stored up just for you? Let’s encourage one another this holiday season and trust God, have faith in His plan for our lives, “The Best is Yet to Come.” And to quote a very dear friend of mine, “Trust the Plan!”

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and my prayer is that you accept, feel, experience the Love of Jesus and that spread the Love of Jesus to all those around you!

Prayer: Lord, may I never fear to follow your angels. Amen.

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/shepherd/

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&channel=ipad_bm&tbm=isch&source=hp&ei=frwZXMulBJvvjwSC54LAAg&q=the+good+shepherd&oq=the+good+she&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.1.0.0l5.2376.6539..7554…0.0..0.69.723.12……0….1…….4..41.AIZGMz21tOI

Additional Readings:

https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2010/12/23/why-god-told-shepherds-first

https://billygraham.org/answer/why-do-you-think-the-angels-appeared-only-to-the-shepherds-when-jesus-was-born-and-not-to-a-vast-number-of-p

Third Tuesday of Advent – Good News

December 18, 2018

Luke 2:8-9

Luke 2:8, “Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night.”

Good News:

• Something or someone pleasant

• Fortunate or otherwise positive

• The message of Jesus concerning the salvation of the faithful

• something new that will be useful to someone

Isaiah 61:1

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;”

Good News! Good News! In today’s, message we read about the audiences that would have received “good news”during the time of Jesus’ birth, it would have been reserved for the upper class citizens and important members of government within a particular city. God, had a different plan for His good news. God reached out to the individuals that were mostly being ignored or simply forgotten by most people within the upper crest of population. But, God sent His angels to share the “Good News” of the birth of His son to shepherds living with their animals in the surrounding fields. Salvation was announced to the very lest of humanity. And, we find later in Jesus’ life during His ministry he said,

“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” -Matthew 18:11 and also in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Jesus is Savior for all, He loves all His children and He intentionally reaches out to those who often overlooked or cast aside by others and He lets them know that they are noticed, valued, and worthy!

Prayer: Lord, May I respect the dignity of all of your children. Amen.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://www.yourdictionary.com/good-new

Third Monday of Advent – Prepare

December 17, 2018

Luke 2:5-6

Luke 2:6, “ While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.”

Prepare:

• to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity

• to put in a proper state of mind

• to work out the details

• plan in advance

• to put together

• to put into written form

• to get ready

In this third week of Advent, we celebrate “JOY” and the word emphasized today is “prepare.” Is there joy in preparing or perhaps preparing is joyful! Our writer describes her experience of becoming a mother, I’m am quite sure that some of you know exactly what she is talking about and most likely experienced it for yourselves. I have not had any children and yet I can grasp the concept and imagine what it might be like. No matter our backgrounds, we have all experienced something that was not a priority in life that became a priority, something that is your “baby.” I’ve heard people make reference to their cars as their “baby,” they make it a priority to keep it clean, safe and running tip-top! The same is true for homes, boats, bikes, jobs, special activities or performances. The common denominator is we do all within our power to safeguard that one “thing!” No to diminish having nice things or doing well, my question is “Where is God? Where is Jesus? Where is the Holy Spirit?” The One who sacrificed everything for us, are we protecting and safeguarding the gift of salvation? Just as a woman prepares for having a baby, we must prepare for our life as children of God. We don’t learn everything all at once, it takes “baby steps.” Just as humans learn and grow and make advances in knowledge, so will a Christian in their walk with Jesus. Are we cultivating the kind of return that we want. Nothing compares to Jesus and His love for us. This Christmas season is about the birth of Jesus, it tells of Mary and Joseph preparing for their unborn son, and trusting in God’s plan and timing.

Prayer: Lord, my life echo your grace. Amen

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

Additional material – Thoughts of C.S.Lewis:

One Grand Miracle

http://www.cslewis.com/one-grand-miracle/

C. S. Lewis loved the story of the birth of Christ. In fact, he argued that the one Grand Miracle of Christianity is not the Crucifixion or the Resurrection, but Christ’s birth. He saw every other miracle of Scripture as preparing for, demonstrating, or resulting from, the Incarnation.

Obviously our Lord would not have suffered the cross or led humankind from the grave if he had not been born.

Lewis calls a miracle, “an interference with Nature by supernatural power.” Thank God, he does interfere in our world! Left to our own instincts, I we go our own way. God became one of us because he yearns to make us one with him. That’s why God has been miraculously interfering for millennia. Just for starters, think of Abraham and Sarah becoming parents late in life, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, or the rescue of Daniel from the lions. Perhaps you have experienced a miracle in your own life. But none of these, remarkable though they were, were as important as the Incarnation.

While we believe that God is near, Christ is in us, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on us, God remains hidden in these miracles. With the birth of Jesus, God becomes visible in a tiny body for a mother to hold, for shepherds to admire, for magi to worship. He Himself is the miracle! “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), Jesus said. The Word became flesh. He became one of us-his Grand Miracle! Let us-who recognize the Miracle-bow the knee.

Lord, give us a new appreciation of the Grand Miracle, your coming to Earth, this Advent season. Amen.

Lewis wrote “…the Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left.” (“The Grand Miracle,” God in the Dock, 80)

Posted on December 1, 2014 by admin

This entry was posted in Joel Heck and tagged Christmas, God in the Dock, Miracles.

Third Sunday of Advent – Joy

December 16, 2018

John 1:1-5, 14, 17b

John 1:14a, “The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

Heart of God:

• The heart is the being or the person. That is; it is not to mean the literal heart but the spirit man. For without the heart or the spirit for that matter, one is not. For there can’t be the literal man without the spirit. Yet the spirit man can be without the literal man. With this then, it is not mistaken to conclude that when we mention the heart of God, it is in reference to God Himself. For God is His heart, just as everybody else is their heart. The heart of God though is clean, pure, loving, merciful, gracious. For God is only touched and moved by His own heart. God is not subject to or influenced by any external factor. God only listens to His heart. He says what He intends to say. When He loves, He intends to do so. God intends to do what He does. For it is all right from His heart. God unlike man is no pretender.

Logos:

Logos, (Greek: “word,” “reason,” or “plan”)plural logos, in Greek philosophy and, theology the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. Though the concept defined by the term logos is found in Greek, Indian, Egyptian, and Persian philosophical and theological systems, it became particularly significant in Christian writings and doctrines to describe or define the role of Jesus Christ as the principle of God active in the creation and the continuous structuring of the cosmos and in revealing the divine plan of salvation to man. It thus underlies the basic Christian doctrine of the pre-existence of Jesus.

I remember reading John 1:1-5, a few years ago and it totally changed my view and understanding of this passage as well as the “whole” of Jesus Christ. We celebrate the human existence/birth of Jesus in December; however, Jesus has always been and will always be. John’s first few verses are powerful words explaining the world being created through the human life of Jesus…in five verses.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” -John 1:1-5

Powerful and Passionate words!

It is because of Jesus, becoming flesh we are able to have a relationship with God. It is through our relationship with Jesus and most especially the documented relationships between Jesus and the disciples in the Bible that we are able to know the “Heart of God.” Jesus lived, traveled and encountered humans just as you and I do on a daily basis, he taught us how to live by example and through His words of teaching. Christmas is a time not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus but His act of grace, by becoming flesh and blood living among us. We often think of Christmas as the beginning of the Jesus story and it is in a way and as John tells us in John 1:1, it also began in the beginning Genesis 1:1. God loved us so much, He gave His only son. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” It is because of this, we can know the Heart of God!

Prayer: May I never stop being amazed by the grace and love of the Incarnation.

C.S.Lewis-

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

The C. S. Lewis Bible NRSV

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com

https://www.britannica.com/topic/logos

https://ebible.com/questions/12817-what-does-it-mean-to-have-a-heart-after-the-heart-o

Second Saturday of Advent – Hospitality

December 15, 2018

Luke 2:6-7

Luke 2:7, “She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.”

Hospitality:

• hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition

• the activity or business of providing services to guests

In today’s text, we read the familiar part of “no room in the inn” for Mary and Joseph. In fact, the writer of the pamphlet, Sue Mink explains in great detail the kind of place where Jesus was born. She also explains the great hospitality of a stranger taking them in. A complete stranger offer Mary and Joseph the only space they had available, an out building used for animals. Throughout Jesus’ ministry he often referred to hospitality and of the “welcoming” of people we don’t know. Acts of kindness, do not require us to know the person, their background or their circumstances…it costs nothing to smile and say hello, it costs nothing to listen to someone’s response to, “how are you?” Often taking the time to simply notice a person’s existence can turn a person’s life around. We all want to be noticed and not taken for granted. When was the last time you held a door open for someone or made eye contact? It’s easy to rush through a door,mm not thinking of the next person coming or going, it’s easy to look away when someone looks lost or confused, or simply out of place…these action speak to what kind of hearts and spirits we have. From the very beginning of Jesus’ life in the human form, He relied on the hospitality of strangers everywhere He traveled. And, jumping to the end of his life here on earth, a stranger offered a proper resting place. The greatest commandment is to “Love one another!” I believe hospitality it very near the top as well. Do you have room for Jesus in your life? Jesus has not only offered us a place to spend eternity, he’s designed a mansion specifically just for you!

“There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. -John 14:2 (CEV)

Friends, thank you for your continued support. I pray for you at this season of advent, share God’s love with others and open your hearts to hospitality, giving and receiving. Much love to you all!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, May I welcome others as you welcome me.

~Peace and Blessings~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.abingdonpress.com