Links & Quotes

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“Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why He came: not to be served but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). … Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death. Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones?” —John Piper

“The danger of all dangers would be to lose trust and confidence in the mercy of God. … To distrust Him would be a far more terrible thing than any physical evil which all the enemies of God put together could inflict on us, for without God’s permission neither the devils nor their human ministers could hinder us in the slightest degree.” —Francis Xavier

“Each instant of present labor is to be graciously repaid with a million ages of glory.” —J.W. Alexander

“If God did so much for us when enemies, what will He do, or rather, what will He not do, for us now that we are friends? … If Christ’s death did so much for us, what will not His life do?” —Horatius Bonar

“Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.” —Goethe

[VIDEO] Tim Dilena shares some practical keys for a consistent prayer life.

“I would exhort those who have entertained an hope of their being true converts, and yet since their supposed conversion have left off the duty of secret prayer, and do ordinarily allow themselves in the omission of it, to throw away their hope. If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.” —Jonathan Edwards

“For too many of us, Christian experience is episodic rather than continuous, with a few religious experiences interspersed throughout our lives, which are otherwise lived on our own terms. Such people can see little need or use for prayer.” —Ralph Lehman

Eric Metaxas helps us get ready for Religious Freedom Day on January 16.

[VIDEO] Not just at Christmas when you are receiving gifts, but all year long we should be people of appreciation. Check out John Maxwell’s short video—

4 Quotes From John Maxwell On The Wise Men

On This Holy NightOn This Holy Night is a great book to read during the countdown to Christmas. Check out my review by clicking here.

John Maxwell wrote a chapter in this book entitled “When you follow a star and find a stable.” Here’s a couple of thoughts he shared from that chapter.

“Strong Christians see God in both the good and the bad. The mature believer sees God not only in pleasures and palaces, but also in the barnyards and stables of life. … Weak Christians see God in only the good.”

“I believe that all wise men throughout the ages have done these three things when they come upon a stable—to a place or situation that isn’t exactly what they were expecting. (1) Wise men of every age, when handed a difficult situation, don’t panic about the problem, but hold steady and say, ‘God is somewhere in this stable of life. There’s something I can learn. I’ll hold steady because God is somewhere in this.’ (2) Wise men also give their best when they come to a stable. (3) Wise men allow God to change their direction.”

“The difference between the average and above average person lies in just three words: And Then Some. Great men of God, and great men of society, give their very best, and then some. They forgive people, and then some. They’re always walking the extra mile. They’re always taking the extra step. … Whether it’s in preaching, or working in a factory, or at your own business, or with in your own family, the mark of a Christian is that he will walk the second mile and turn the other cheek. A wise man or woman gives the extra effort, all for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“We fancy that God can only manage His world through the big battalions of life, when all the while He is doing it through the beautiful babies that are being born into the world.” — Anonymous

O Holy Night & O Holy Day

O Holy NightIn 1847 an unnamed parish priest sent an unusual request to Placide Cappeau, the commissioner of wines in a small French town: “You are well known for your poems. Would you consider writing a poem for our Christmas mass?” Cappeau was both intrigued and honored, and he soon penned an essay called Cantique de Noel.

Cappeau felt that his poem was more worthy of a song, than just merely a poem, so he turned to his friend Adolphe Adams. Adams was a classically trained musician, but he was also a Jew. Adams said to Cappeau, “You’re asking me to write a melody for a poem that celebrates a man I do not view as the Son of God, and a poem that celebrates a day I do not celebrate?” But because his friend Cappeau had requested it, he gave it his best effort. Three weeks later, Cantique de Noel was first heard for the first at the Christmas Eve midnight mass.

Cantique de Noel quickly became popular throughout France. But when it was discovered that the lyricist Cappeau had left the church to become a socialist, and the musical composer Adams was a Jew, the Catholic Church banned the song from being sung in any of its churches. Still the song grew in popularity.

During the build-up to the American Civil War, an abolitionist named John Dwight was especially moved by a line in Cantique de Noel: “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.” Dwight published his version of Cantique de Noel in his abolitionist magazine with the new title O Holy Night. The song quickly caught on in America.

The opening words of O Holy Night speak to our hearts today, as much as they did to those present at the First Advent—long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. To pine for something means to long painfully for something just out of our reach. It’s what the psalmist in ancient Israel capture too when he wrote, My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalm 84:2). There is a longing in all of us to know the Lord!

That’s why Christ’s First Advent is such a blessed, joyous event! In the second stanza we sing—In all our trials born to be our Friend; He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Indeed the writer of Hebrews tells us why Jesus was born as a human (Hebrews 2:14-18), and why we can approach him confidently (4:15-16).

Christ’s Incarnation allows us to put our faith in Him. When we do, we experience the Atonement. I like to remember this word by saying it at-onement. In other words, the Heavenly Father now sees us at-onement with His Son—when He looks at us, He sees Jesus. That’s why God forgets our forgiven sins (Hebrews 8:12)!

Then the third stanza of O Holy Night begins to tells us how we live out the at-onement every day by loving one another, enjoying His peace, living free and helping others get free too, singing joyfully to God day after night after day after night!

The First Advent was a holy night. But because Christ’s Atonement it makes us holy. So all our nights are O holy nights, and all our days O holy days, and all our work O holy work, and all our relationships O holy relationships!

Christ’s First Advent changes EVERYTHING for those who put their faith in Him. Is that you? Are you living in Christ’s at-onement? If not, you can be today by simply asking Him to come into your life.

You can check out some of the other Christmas carols we have looked at here. And check out the video of this message too—

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