There’s so much to think about this time of year. Maybe too much! There are gifts to be bought, cards to send out, decorations to hang, dinners and gatherings to prepare for, maybe vacations to plan. For students there were exams to take!

It’s easy for Jesus to become an afterthought. Who he is and what he has done might barely get any airtime at all in our minds and in our culture. And, sad to say, even when Jesus does get some airtime during this season, it’s often not the real Jesus that’s in focus at all. It’s often what I called “American Christmastime Jesus.” He’s lovable, perpetually a baby, and has little to no bearing on our real lives. He’s not much more than a cultural symbol of warmth, coziness, and fuzzy feels.

This past Sunday our aim was to catch a glimpse of the real Jesus — to have an encounter with the God-man himself. So we started by reading about his birth in Luke 2:1-7. Then we asked, “Who is this child?” For answers we turned to Colossians 1:15-20.  Read the rest of this entry »

In the opening chapter of Luke’s Gospel Mary, the mother of Christ, is so filled with joy and awe that she can’t keep from singing. Her song is an exuberant hymn of joy AND an epic anthem of praise to the Lord.

What makes this song all the more amazing is that Mary isn’t just inspired by her circumstances. She is inspired (in the truest sense of the word) by God himself. She is supernaturally filled and given a song to sing by her Creator. This means that while she is expressing own her heart, she is also singing the Holy Spirit’s lyrics. These are her words and His words — her song and the Spirit’s song. 

This inspired hymn of praise has been recorded for us, not only so that we would study it, but so that we would make it our own. So let’s study it. But more than that, let’s sing with Mary, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant!”  Read the rest of this entry »

Questions on Micah 5:1-4

December 14, 2017

The prophet Micah lived through a dark time in Israel’s history. The nation was filled with corruption and idolatry, it was divided, and it was partially under the control of an enemy state. But many false prophets in Micah’s day were telling Israel that all was fine and that their circumstances were normal.
The prophet Jeremiah described a similar situation around a century later:
    [13] “For from the least to the greatest of them,
        everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
    and from prophet to priest,
        everyone deals falsely.
    [14] They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
        saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
        when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:13–14)

Micah — a faithful prophet, much like Jeremiah — spoke God’s words accurately and honestly to God’s people. He told them their circumstances were not normal, nor were they ok. They were under judgment and in desperate need of rescue. But, praise be to God, that would not be the end of the story. Micah’s prophecies of judgment were followed by beautifully sweeping promises of deliverance and peace—deliverance and peace that would come through the Deliverer himself—the Prince of Peace—Jesus Christ.

Read the rest of this entry »

The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God” (Hebrews 1:3). In other words, to look at Jesus is to see the beauty, greatness, and infinite worth of God himself. 

But that’s not obvious to everyone, is it? The Apostle Paul tells us that Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers “to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 4:4) But praise be to God that he lifts that blindness. He can sovereignly turn the lights on. In fact, if you are a Christian, it’s because God has enabled you to see Jesus for who he is — the Son of God, beautiful, majestic, and deserving of all honor (2 Corinthians 4:6).

How do we respond to this reality? Well, here’s one simple way: Behold his glory! Look at it. Dwell on it. Be awed by it.  Read the rest of this entry »

1. On Sunday I mentioned just three ways that God displays his glory: 1) by creating everything, 2) by saving a people for himself, and 3) by judging those who reject him. What aspects of God’s glory alone (i.e., what glorious attributes of God) do you see in creation? In salvation? How about in judgment?

2. In what other ways does God display his glory? (For instance, think about how he has done this in your day-to-day life, in your family, in history.) Read the rest of this entry »