O Come, All Ye Faithful

Who is GodPastor Tom Kaastra continued our series The Carols Of Christmas by looking at the well-known Christmas hymn O Come, All Ye Faithful. The line he especially highlighted comes from the third stanza—Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

It is so vital that we keep both of those aspects of Jesus Christ in mind: He is both the Word of the Father and the Word become flesh. As Tom pointed out, this fact helps us answer the two most vital questions that humans have:

  • Who is God?
  • Who am I?

I can learn more about who I am when I know more clearly Who God is. And when I know this, I can more fully—as the song says—come and adore Christ the Lord.

Jesus is fully God:

Jesus revealed to us the Father’s love; after all, God is love (1 John 4:16). Jesus came to show us the love of God.

Jesus is fully Man:

  • He got tired and hungry (John 4:6)
  • He limited Himself to do only what the Father told Him to do (John 5:19-20)
  • He limited Himself to say only what the Father told Him to say (John 12:49)
  • He felt anguish and pain (Luke 22:44)

As C.S. Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” And as sons of God, we have access to the Heavenly Father—

Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Abba! My Father! (Romans 8:14-15)

Word of the Father now in flesh appearing is cause for adoration because Jesus has made it possible for us to become sons and daughters of God!

O come let us adore Him!!

10 Quotes From “Inspire To Be Great”

Inspire To Be GreatThe news show 60 Minutes described Zig Ziglar as “a legend in the industry—the Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison of enthusiasm.” Truer words were never spoken! Zig is a fabulous motivator (you can read my review of Inspire To Be Great by clicking here). Here are some of my favorite quotes from this book.

“People often tell me that motivation doesn’t last, and I tell them that bathing doesn’t either. That’s why I recommend it daily.”

“To avoid procrastination, write your schedule out the night before, including precisely when you are going to start.”

“People with integrity are more successful, because with integrity you do the right thing, and there is no guilt attached to you. With integrity, you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide.”

“The greatest good we can do for anyone is not to share our wealth with them, but rather to reveal their own wealth to them.”

“It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

“Never say anything negative about yourself. If we don’t see ourselves as ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ [Psalm 139:14], who will?”

“When your goals are clearly defined and intelligently set, you have, in essence, taken a major step toward programming your left brain. That frees your right brain to be its creative best.”

“Among the things you can give and still keep are: your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”

“Failure is an event, not a person. So regardless of what happens to you along the way, you must keep on going and doing the right thing in the right way. Then the event becomes a reality of a changed life.”

“Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.”

The Carols Of Christmas

Carols Of ChristmasI heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

 

How many “old familiar carols” have you heard Christmas after Christmas, until the words have almost lost their meaning? If we’re not careful, any song repeated too often can lose the richness of its original intent.

There are some amazing messages in many of our old familiar Christmas carols, because many of those messages are saturated with the old familiar story of Redemption that the Bible tells over and over again.

Please join me this Sunday as we take a new look at the old familiar messages in our Christmas carols. These messages will bring a new appreciation of God’s love that was sung at Christ’s Advent, and reawaken the sweetness of meaning for this Christmas Day.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading & watching from today…

“[God] will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.” —C.S. Lewis

“To live well is the way to die well. Death is not our first foe but the last; let us then fight our adversaries in order, and overcome them each in its turn, trusting that He Who has been with us even until now will be with us until the end.” —Charles Spurgeon

“It  is sin in the heart that makes one say, ‘This is far too hard for me!’ The yielded heart, on the other hand, becomes free, and obedience is no longer a burden. For the surrendered heart, it is all joy.” —David Wilkerson

Membership in your local church is one of the most important things about you.” Read more from Jonathan Parnell on the local church.

Warning: Essure birth control is deadly for women!

Amazing new insights into how God designed plants to manage their hours of sunlight in the photosynthesis process.

Rick Warren on homosexual “marriage”: The church must not cave-in.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the importance of making good decisions…

“Some people don’t lead their lives, they accept their lives.” —John Kotter

Martin Luther On Prayer

Martin LutherSome powerful quotes from Martin Luther on prayer—

“Behold, Lord, and empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust You altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in You.”

“Almighty God, grant us grace to hear Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bread, preached throughout the world and truly to understand Him. May all evil, heretical and human doctrines be cut off, while Your Word as the Living Bread be distributed.”

“Lord God, You have placed me in Your church. You know how unsuitable I am. Were not for Your guidance I would long since have brought everything to destruction. I wish to give my heart and mouth to Your service. I desire to teach your people, and long to be taught Your work. Use me as Your work man, dear Lord. Do not for sake me; for if I am alone I show bring all to naught.”

“I have to hurry all day to get time to pray.”

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Go to bed seasonably, and rise early. Redeem your precious time… that not one moment of it may be lost. Be much in secret prayer. Converse less with man, and more with God.” —George Whitefield 

“Lord, let me not live to be useless.” —John Wesley

Jon Bloom looks at narcissism in a different way: Beware The Mirror.

“To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.” —A.W. Tozer

“Confession isn’t a punishment for sin; it’s an isolation of sin so it can be exposed and extracted.” —Max Lucado

We must learn to tell ourselves the truth on the basis of God’s Word.” —Oswald Chambers

During the cold & flu season, here is a great reason to kiss your sweetie: Kissing helps boost your immune system.

Blessing Or Burden?

Blessing or burdenGod’s commandments aren’t a bunch of Don’ts. If we look at them through the perspective of a loving Lawgiver, they are really Dos that will keep us in a place that God can bless.

Take the 9th Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20). This is the first of two commandments that emphasize the damage that can be done to our neighbor if we violate the law. Speaking falsely against someone does real harm to our neighbor, so in a sense God says, “Don’t do it!

But God also tells us what to Do so that He can bless us—

  • How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! … For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore (Psalm 133:1, 3).
  • Psalm 15 says that he who will live in God’s presence is the one who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman (vv. 1-3).

The word for false in this commandment can mean: (1) an untruth; (2) insincere or deceptive words (e.g. flattery); (3) being purposely vague; or (4) speaking words that are true but harmful. So we Don’t want to do those, but what should we Do?

Jesus said that the way we speak is an indication of what has been going on in our heart and mind (Luke 6:45), so the way to fulfill the Do part of the commandment starts inside. A good guide is Paul’s list in Philippians 4:8—are my thoughts about my neighbor focused on what’s true? noble? right? pure? lovely? admirable? excellent? and praiseworthy?

In the New Testament, the word “blessing” is a compound word that literally means good words. So here’s the question I’m asking myself: Are my words to and about my neighbor a burden to them or a blessing?

If you are in the Cedar Springs area, please join me next week as we wrap up this series called The Love In The Law.

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