THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF LOVE that one can receive–one that’s a sham and one that’s for real. One of these loves is just a facade while the other has limitless dimensions from God. As you read on may you see what is true and embrace all the love that God has for you.
As we know and receive God’s true love, we can move forward in it with others. (Eph. 5:1-2, Col. 3:12-14, 1 John 4:7, 9, 5:2-3). Laura
New years come and old years pass, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the Alpha and Omega–the beginning and ending Which is, was and is to come… (Revelations 1:8).
May you experience the Joy of the Lord in this coming year no matter what your circumstances.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Luke 4:23).
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
It’s in these times of uncertainty, where invisible viruses change our lives in tangible, physical ways, that one can become more susceptible to acknowledge one’s internal condition.
One may look at him or herself in the mirror and appear fine, but outer appearances can be deceptive. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time appeared ‘clean’ and righteous outwardly, but their insides were defiled (Matt. 23:25, 28). The prophet Isaiah said in 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
Each member of the human race has been infected with the SIN virus. It’s been passed from generation to generation ever since the first man contracted it in the Garden of Eden. No one is immune from the devastation and lethalness of it on their own (Gen. 3, Rom. 5:12, 18, 3:23, 6:23).
God did not leave mankind helpless. He had a remedy. He sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to become the Suffering Servant and the Wounded Healer (Ex. 15:26, Isaiah 52:14, 53:5, Phil. 2:7, 3:10, Heb. 2:9, 9:14, 12:2). The panacea for the SIN virus comes in a serum of love. Jesus Christ’s precious blood was poured out on the cross to cleanse and save from sin all who believe and receive it (John 3:16, 10:9, 14:6, Rom. 5:8-9, Eph. 1:7, 2:4-5, Col. 1:14, 20, 2:14, 1 Tim. 2:3-5, Titus 3:4-7, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Once the transaction is complete, the believer’s eternal salvation is secure. Their citizenship is now in heaven, where their Savior is and their life is “hid in Christ with God”. When Christ, Who is their life, shall appear, then they will appear with Him in glory— in glorious bodies that are like His—sin-free” (Eph. 1: 13-14, Phil. 3:20-21, Col. 3:3). But in the meantime (in this fallen life), the SIN virus still lies dormant in the believer. In order to keep it inoperative and perform the good works that God wills the redeemed to fulfill, the sinful nature needs to be put to death (Col. 3:5, Rom. 13:12-14, Eph. 2:10, 2 Tim. 1:9-10, Titus 2:11-14, 3:8). Protective gear is a necessity and has been provided for the believer to wear in order to stand against all unseen attacks (Eph. 6:11-17). Experiences of pain and suffering in this world (as Jesus endured) will not be for nothing. The tribulations will work out patience and produce character that will lead to hope (Rom. 5:3-5) One can endure being hard-pressed on every side, without being crushed; perplexed, without falling into despair; persecuted, without being forsaken; struck down, without being destroyed– all for the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:7-10).
The prognosis is promising as one seeks the things above, where Christ is at the right hand of God, not on things on the earth. No need to get discouraged even though the outward body is perishing, because the inward self is being renewed day by day. For light afflictions, are but for a moment, and are working a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (Col. 3:1-3, 2 Cor. 4:16-18). Endurance in this life is possible when one looks (as Moses did) to Him Who is invisible (Heb. 11:27). Live life elevated in the risen hope He’s given us. Laura
people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the
land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shone” (Isa. 9:2, Matt.
The opposite of light is
dark. Darkness is associated with
ignorance, folly (or acting the fool), evil, and death (Ps. 82:5, 107:14, Eccl.
2:13-14, John 3:19, Prov. 2:13-15). There’s nothing scarier than trying to find
your way around in pitch darkness. I get
a feeling of unease when I’m alone at night in a dark, unlit area. I usually
try to make my way as quickly as I can to get into an area of light. With light there’s protection. One is more apt to be mugged in a dark alley
or unlit parking lot at night than in an open, lit area. My husband John also recommends that I carry
a flashlight with me. He has a collection, or rather a ‘family’, of
flashlights. Mind you, these aren’t cute, fun flashlights—they’re bright,
high-lumen, powerful flashlights. I know
that I’ll never (physically) be in the dark when John’s around.
Spiritually we require just one
doesn’t just emanate light, He is light. In Him there is no
darkness at all (1 John 1:5). His light
is pure, absolute, genuine, and true. It’s underived, meaning it doesn’t come
from some other power source—it is the source. It doesn’t rely on batteries or electrical
power and it’s the highest lumen of brightness. “Every good and perfect gift
is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no
variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God, Who is light,
commanded light to shine out of darkness to give the light of the knowledge of
the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Jesus is the express
image of God and the brightness of His glory (Heb. 1:3, Col. 1:15). As the spoken word reveals the invisible
thought, the living Word reveals the invisible God. Because of the Father’s
great love for the world, He sent His only begotten son into it so that through
His Son, the world might be saved (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I am the light
of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light
of life (John 8:12, 12:46).
“And this is the
condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness
rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). It’s sinful
man’s natural response to hide from God rather than come to Him (Gen. 3:8, Ps.
14:1-3, Rom. 3:10-18, 23). Things hide
in the dark—light exposes. Once they’re exposed to the light they can be seen
(Eph. 5:13). I never think my house is as dirty as it is until my vacuum light
exposes dust (and dog hair) where I didn’t see it hiding. Just like dust that’s
exposed and sucked up in a vacuum, darkness and evil will be completely exposed
and dealt with (1 Cor. 4:5, 1 John 3:8).
the god of this age (the devil) who has blinded the minds of those who
don’t believe so that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (who is
the image of God) will not shine on them (2 Cor. 4:4). For believers, the
struggle is against rulers of darkness, who masquerade as angels of light (Eph.
6:12, 2 Cor. 11:14). The believer doesn’t need to be fearful or try to withstand these dark forces on
their own because they have two powerful sources on their side: (1) the
all-powerful Armor of Light (that darkness cannot overcome), and (2) the
Word of God (that guides their feet & illuminates their path (Eph. 6:13,
Rom. 13:12-14, John 1:5, Ps. 119:105).
So come out of the darkness,
into the Light. Give thanks to
the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the
saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and brought
us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through
His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:12-14).
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand; measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?” –Isaiah 40:12-
Design is the purposeful arrangement of parts. It’s the ordering of individual components to accomplish a purpose or achieve some end. Everything that exists has its origin in God. Its form and order rest upon God’s precise and complex design. From mathematics to music, to the laws of nature, etc.—all reveals God’s divine handiwork, which is the undergirding of every aspect of the created order. One only has to examine and consider (carefully as to learn from) what’s in natural creation to realize that an intelligent designer, a divine deity, a being with eternal power is behind it (Gen. 1-2, Jn. 1:1-3, Rom. 1:20, Col. 1:16-18, Heb. 1:3).
Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most widely recognized and influential scientists of all time, suggested that the stability of the planetary system depended not only upon the regular action of universal gravitation, but also on the very precise initial positioning of the planets and comets in relation to the sun, concluding “…this most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.” He also challenged, asking, “How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in optics, and the ear without knowledge of sounds? …And these things being rightly dispatched, does it not appear from phenomena that there is a being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent? …”
Intelligent design is an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s
origins that challenge strictly materialistic views of evolution. It’s not
based on the Bible or deducted from religious authority. It’s an empirical way
of observing nature and what’s known about the cause and effect structure of
the world along with the patterns that generally indicate intelligent causes
(In a sense what Romans 1:19-20, & Ps. 19 in the Bible, says). Even many
atheistic scientists admit that there’s evidence of intelligent design in the
DNA molecule. When digital information encoded along the spine of the DNA
molecule was discovered by scientists, they concluded that the
information-bearing properties of DNA provided strong evidence of a prior but
unspecified designing intelligence.
Microsoft founder, Bill Gates even noted that, “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more
advanced than any software ever created.”
technological devices have advanced, the molecular foundation of life is
getting exponentially more complex. As it does, the case for intelligent
design, as well as the God of the Bible and His written word, are only further
good friend of mine, Ken (who’s no longer gracing this earth) had a wonderful
way of seeing things and often wrote down many of his observations. Here is one
of my favorites: (I can almost hear him reading it with his expressive voice,
pauses and inflections):
They have no life, no purpose, no meaning
without the blood that feeds them.
And even with blood, without the heart
that sends the blood to each, all die and rot away.
But even with the heart, what does it beat
for and does it have a brain to tell it when to beat?
Did we tell ourselves when to be born?
Did we have anything to do with our being
Who told us when to cry?
We burst forth with the announcement:
“I’m here. I’m alive. I’m a
resident—unique, unlike any other that ever lived.”
It is truly an awesome thing in which I
played no part.
Only a fool would think differently.
If you are a fool, explain it all to me”
The human body is
truly unique, and the only living being created in the image of God (Gen.
1:26-27, 2:7, 18-25, Ps. 139:13-16, Isa. 45:12, Eph. 2:10). Sadly, due to the
fall, not all runs as smoothly as God originally intended. Especially when
man/woman pervert God’s original design by not ‘using as directed’,
resulting in the crazy, chaotic examples we see in our world today. So it’s important
to view and observe our world through a spiritual lens, realizing that the God
who spoke the world into being and created things in such a way that are beyond
our comprehension can be trusted in all things (Isaiah 42:5, 45:12, 51:12-13,
When we renew our mind with the knowledge of Him who spoke the world into existence and sustains it with the power of His word, we can consider the lilies and know that He cares for us even more than we can grasp (Col. 3:10, Eph. 3:19, Matt. 6:28-30, 10:29-31). “Lift up your eyes on high and see Who has created these things…” -Isaiah 40:26-
“I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works.”-Ps. 9:1- Laura
•Even though He had connections He didn’t use them to gain
special advantage or privilege to become socially mobile or to impress the
ruling class, but chose to make Himself of no reputation (Phil. 2:5-7).
bed was a manger and His earthly family ordinary (Luke 2:12, Matt. 13:54-57).
people did not receive Him (John 1:10-11, 5:43).
ministry was heralded in by a scruff, wild man who wore animal skins. (Mark
1:6, John 1:29-34).
disciples weren’t gathered from the most prestigious schools or curated from
those who had the best resumes, but from the shores of Galilee, where there
were fishermen (Matt. 4:18-22).
basically homeless as He traveled about (Matt. 8:20).
allow polls, ’fake news’, ‘what was trending’, or man’s opinions to affect the
mission He was set out to accomplish. He didn’t give in to false praise,
worldly temptations and taunting snares meant to entrap Him (John 2:24-25,
9:16, 10:20, Luke 4:1-12, 23, 11:53-54, 16:15).
•He made his triumphant entry, not on a noble steed, but on a
donkey—a mark of lowliness (John 12:13-15, Matt. 21:1-22—prophesied in Zech.
likened as a worm and not a man; a reproach of men, and despised of the
People (Psalm 22:6).
I guess one could
say that Jesus Christ was a PR nightmare.
The only begotten Son of God humbled
Himself, having no set agenda of His own, but obeyed only what His heavenly Father
told Him to say and do, even to the point of death on a cross (John 5:30,
6:38-40, 8:28-29, 12:49, 14:10, 24, 17:8, 14, 19:30, Phil. 2:8). Some have said of Mel Gibson’s film, “The
Passion of the Christ” that it was excessive and went ‘over the top’—exaggerating
Christ’s humiliation. The Scriptures say otherwise:
visage was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men…” (Isaiah 52:14)
of the Messiah in Isaiah 53:
• (vs 3) Despised
and rejected by men…a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
• (vs 5) Wounded
for our transgressions—bruised for our iniquities—chastised for our peace
Matthew records its
fulfillment, showing Christ was: seized
(26:57), falsely accused (26:59-60),
spit on, cuffed, slapped (vs 26:67), scourged, surrounded by a cohort of 600
men, while He was stripped &
redressed in a scarlet robe with a crown of thorns on His head and a reed
placed in His right hand while they ’bowed before’ and mocked Him, spit on and then beat Him
on the head with the reed. After they were done mocking Him, they took off the
robe & put His other clothes back on and led Him away to be crucified (27:26-35).
While all this was going on He said nothing (as prophesied in
• (v 7) Oppressed
and afflicted (yet He opened not His mouth)——Led as a lamb to the slaughter
—Christ the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 4:7, John 1:29, 1 Pet. 1:18-19, Rev.
5:9). His innocence was affirmed by 6 witnesses: (1) Judas (Matt. 27:4), (2)
Pilate (Matt. 27:24), (3) Pilate’s wife (Matt. 27:19), (4) Herod (Luke 23:15),
(5) the malefactor (Luke 23:41), (6) the Roman centurion (Luke 23:47).
The true, pure,
unblemished Lamb of God remained silent and submitted to the Father’s
will and ultimate purpose (Phil. 2:8).
This all was part of God’s greater plan. It was necessary, not only that
the Scriptures be fulfilled (John 19:28, Luke 24:6-7, 44, Matt. 26:53, 56), but
of the long standing prophecy that God made in the garden of Eden after Adam
and Eve disobeyed His Word, which allowed sin and death to enter the world
(Gen. 3, Rom. 3:23, 5:12, 6:23). The 1st promise and prophecy of Genesis 3:15
foretold the temporary suffering of the Seed (Christ) and the complete
destruction of Satan and his works (Heb. 2:14, 1 John 3:8). Until the promised
Seed came andaccomplished God’s will on the
cross, the only way mankind could have peace with God was through the
substitutionary sacrifice of a male, unblemished lamb whotook their place to make atonement
for their sins—for the life of flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11, Heb. 9:22,
26, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22-23, 2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 3:24-25, 5:1, Eph. 2:13).
Re: Jesus’ burial, His enemies went
to the governor, Pilate to make sure the tomb was sealed tightly and guarded so
that Jesus’ disciples wouldn’t come in and steal His body and claim that He’d
risen from the dead as Jesus proclaimed earlier in His ministry (John 2:19-22,
Matt. 27:62-66, Luke 9:22).
The stone was rolled away and Christ Jesus had risen, just as He’d
foretold His disciples and it wasn’t by any trickery, but by the omnipotent
power of God. Only God’s almighty power
could be worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead and then seat Him at His
right hand in the heavenly places, far
above all principalityand
power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this
age but also in that which is to come (Matt. 16:21, 17:22-23, John 2:19-22,
The bedrock of the Christian faith (and what sets it apart from other religions) is tied up with Christ Jesus’ resurrection from
the dead. And there were many that were witnesses to it (1
Cor. 15:3-8). As Paul preached to the Corinthians in his first letter to them, ”And
if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then
also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only
we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But
now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who
have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall
be made alive (1 Cor. 15:17-22).
Jesus was made a little lower than the angels
for the suffering of death, but now crowned with glory and honor so that He, by
the grace of God, would taste death for everyone. “For it
was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in
bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect
through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10).
says this, “…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the
name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father.”
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not
send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through
Him might be saved. He who believes in
Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because
he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-19).
loves us so much that even when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive
together with Christ Jesus, and
raised us up to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in
ages to come He might display the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness
toward us in Christ Jesus.We are saved by grace through faith. There is
nothing that we can do to earn it on our own—it is the gift of God. It’s not
related to our works so that no one can boast. For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we
should walk in them (Ephesians 2:4-10).
“O Death, where is your sting?”
“O Grave, where is your victory?”
…thanks be to God, who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be
steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that
your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:55-58).
“For our citizenship is in heaven; from where also we
look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)
It’s been said that people can live for up to 70 days without food, 10 days without water, and 6 minutes without air. But they can’t live without hope.
In order to stay afloat through the changing ocean tides of life, one needs an anchor for the soul that’s both sure and steadfast (Heb. 6:19). That anchor for the Christian is hope.
The word hope defined by Noah Webster is: a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable.
Where or what one places his or her hope in can make all the difference. Is one’s hope placed in fallible, unpredictable man’s ways or in some realm of this fallen world? Or is one’s hope placed in (what the Scriptures testify to) an immutable (unchanging) God, Who doesn’t have in His nature to lie (Heb. 6:18, Tit. 1:2)?
David’s hope (or expectation) was from God, “My soul, wait silently for God alone; For my expectation is from Him…Trust in Him at all times…Do not trust in oppression, nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them” (Psalm 62:5, 8, 10). David’s confident trust in the Lord is reflected also in Psalm 56:3-4, “Whenever I’m afraid I will trust in You. In God I will praise His word, In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me…” Notice his use of “In God I have put my trust”.
Not surprisingly as America has distanced itself away from “in God we trust” as a nation and toward dependence on the ever-changing & unreliable ways of man, there’s been a rise in anxiety, depression, and related disorders resulting in a reliance on an array of prescription drugs (which sadly many times, in the long run only worsen things). Not trying to negate or minimize the truly devastating effects of life in a fallen world, and the legitimate need for some to be dependent on medication/s, but stress, hardships andtroubles are a reality for all in this present life (albeit, some more than others). There’s a real need in society today for more encouragement toward its citizens to have a faith in a loving God, and our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, that transcends self. It’s only there that the believer will find an object of hope that’s glorious, eternal & will not disappoint (Titus 2:13, Rom. 5:5, Phil. 3:20).
FAITH IS THE NECESSARY LINK TO HAVING HOPE as it’s the outworking of trust in God and the proof of BELIEVING IN THINGS NOT SEEN. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…” (Hebrews 11:1); “…hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what it sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom. 8:24-25).
Faith is the crucial channel that leads to hope as one is saved through it (Eph. 2:8), and without it one cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Having faith may seem easy at first (especially when times are good and the living is easy). Sadly the moment whenchallenging circumstances arise, it’s in human nature to dwell on the seen trials rather than on an unseen God. Even the disciple Peter began to (literally) sink when he took his eyes off Jesus and was thus rebuked, “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:24-33).
Those who have faith (as those in chapter 11 of Hebrews) are prime examples of the Romans 5:25 chain that connects tribulations (afflictions) to perseverance (patience) and perseverance to character (experience) which leads to hope. Their hope made it possible to endure hardships as they focused and relied on the invisible God and His promises (Heb. 11:27). We too, today need to look for our blessed hope, not here on earth, but where it’s laid up for us in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1-4, Phil. 3:20-21, Titus 2:13).
Nothing worthwhile is easy, but one must suffer evil as a good soldier (2 Tim. 2:4), especially in a world with its allures of instant fixes and gratification.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
One of the earliest and most beloved Christmas carols, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” has appealed to many over the years due to its light, lively style and upbeat tempo. Not only does the music reflect the joy in the ‘good tidings’ (or good news) of the birth of Christ, but the lyrics as well. Christ’s birth, after all, is something to be celebrated and this enduring carol is a reminder of that. Interestingly the old English meaning of the word “rest” in the title of the song meant to “keep” or “make”, encouraging those of the time period it was written to allow God to “keep” or “make” them merry and then went on to tell the reasons why.
Even though the day we celebrate Christmas is not when Christ was actually born, it’s a day we set aside to celebrate God’s goodness & promises fulfilled of the coming Savior. God’s written prophecy is important. Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever things were written before was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Here are some of the prophecies fulfilled when Christ was born: •He would be born of the offspring of the woman (Gen. 3:15)—fulfilled: Luke 2:7, Gal. 4:4; •He would come from the tribe of Judah (Micah 5:2)—fulfilled: Matt. 1:1-3, Heb. 7:14, Rev. 5:5; •He would be born in the town of Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2-5) —fulfilled: Matt. 2:1-6; •He would be born a king of the line of David (Isaiah 9:6-7) —fulfilled: Matt. 1:1, Luke 1:32, Acts 13:22-23; •He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) —fulfilled: Matt. 1:18-23, Luke 1:26-35; •He would be a rod out of the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-2) —fulfilled: Matt. 1:6, Acts 13:22-23; •He would have an eternal existence, “Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2) —confirmed: John 1:1-2, 8:58, Col. 1:15-19.
Christmas is about God’s faithfulness now and the hope (for those that believe in Christ) for what God has promised in His Word. This is what brings one comfort & joy in the midst of loss, trying times, and the hardships of living in this present fallen world.
As we understand and embrace these good tidings of joy, we’re also encouraged to share them with those around us—shining God’s love and hope to our dark world (Rom. 15:5, 2 Cor. 1:3-4, Phil. 2:1-2).
God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, Remember, Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day. To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray,
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy.
From God our Heav’nly Father a blessed Angel came, And unto certain Shepherds brought tidings of the same: How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by Name,
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy.
“Fear not then, “said the Angel, “Let nothing you afright, This day is born a Savior a blessed holy sight, To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s pow’r and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy.
Now to the Lord sing praises, all you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; This Holy Child of Christmas shall fill our hearts with grace:
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy.
Have a Merry Christmas with Good Tidings of Comfort and Joy!
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God! –Romans 11:33—
One would be foolish to stay in the shallows–Deep calls unto deep.
I recently went to opening day at a large flea market in our area with one of my sons. The excitement of finding something unique, fun or valuable is something we both love. It’s not always easy as the best ‘finds’ usually require some searching and digging.
We live in very superficial times (concerned only with what is obvious or apparent: not thorough or complete)—from believing “fake” and “really, really fake” news to having Facebook ‘friends’ that we often only know on the surface. Much like fool’s gold—at a quick glance it looks like real gold due to its metallic luster & pale brass-yellow hue but on closer examination it’s only pyrite, an iron sulfide.
The artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her paintings of enlarged flowers said this, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time-like to have a friend takes time.”
Today’s society has little patience or desire to really listen, observe & ponder things beyond the exterior. Our Creator, God has made it apparent to those who’ll look & think past the surface regarding His invisible nature, eternal power & deity through the things that He’s made that arevisible in His creation (if we’d only notice) (Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19). It’s only the fool that says in his/her heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). This same fool wouldn’t say of their ‘smart’ phone (comprised of software, hardware, an ability to work with a cellular network, apps & other ’bells & whistles’) that behind it wasn’t a purposeful engineer, designer, maker or inventor, but rather ‘It just happened’. So then what should a person be called who is surrounded with much more evidence in the natural world like the sun, moon and stars to the intricacy of a beautiful flower or even the complex systems of cellular, mechanical, physical, bio-electrical & biochemical components that allow their own body to function?—perhaps a really, really fool indeed.
But this is exactly what has happened, “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds, animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie (really, really fake news) and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” The consequences of their choices led them down a dark path that leads to death (Romans 1:21-32; 2 Thess. 2:9-12). “But the folly of fools is deceit, fools mock at sin” (Prov. 14:9) so it’s no wonder that a fool also mocks at the “sacrifice” for sin, the Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom, ironically are hid all treasures of wisdom & knowledge (Col. 2:3).
God’s works are great & His thoughts very deep and yet He has revealed them to us though His Spirit, giving those who believe access to knowing the things that are freely given by God. The natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them because they’re spiritually discerned (Ps. 92:5; Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9-16). For whoever draws near to God must believe He exists & that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
For those seeking genuine treasure that can’t be destroyed or stolen (Matt. 6:19-21), Follow this Treasure Map:
– – –START @ Proverb coordinate: 2:2-6 & LISTEN: Be attentive to wisdom—INCLINE your heart to discernment—CALL out for insight—RAISE your voice for understanding—If you SEEK it like silver & SEARCH for it as hidden treasures, then you’ll understand the fear of the Lord & FIND the knowledge of God (for the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge & understanding).
– – – Always Refer to the KEY as it will be your compass to steer & guide you away from traps & pitfalls and towards the treasure: Memorize 2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 2:19-20; Psalm 119:105; Acts 17:11.
– – – BEWARE of False Signs, Guides & Distractions (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:3-6, 13, 6:20) & Stay on the plotted coordinate of Proverb 3:5-7.
– – – X marks the spot when you’ve accepted THE WAY (John 14:6) & found Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge–the key to life eternal (Col. 2:2-3, John 3:16, Eph. 1:3, 11-14)!
May you believe & receive the great treasure that awaits you in God, through Christ–the riches of His glorious inheritance & immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe (Eph. 1:17-21).