Gospel

340 posts

Joy to the World: A Biblical Worldview, Part 4

He Rules With Truth and Grace (Part 4 of 4) Verse four of “Joy to the World” completes the biblical worldview contained in this Christmas hymn. This last verse is a dynamic testimony to the power of the gospel. The King: who was anticipated in the first verse,  celebrated for his rule in the second verse,  and viewed as the Savior of this sin-cursed world in third,  now is praised for bringing a just judgment to the world. Life often appears to be unfair and unjust. Will evil people prevail? Will the hard things in your life ever be resolved?  Corruption and perversion are everywhere. The Holy Spirit says there is no need to despair at the apparent inequities of […]

The Story of the Manger to the Cross

Christ’s birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the supposed Bible-believing religious leaders who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His friends fled from him at his trial. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler. This is not exactly the story one would expect for the greatest life ever lived. If someone were to come to your church to speak and his bio read like Christ’s, you would be […]

Are You Santa’s Helper?

Your children know everything about you. They see when you are sleeping, they know when you have been good or bad, they know when you pout and when you shout. Your kids know all of this without you ever having to say a word. When you stumble and ask God for help — they learn. When you stumble and snap or make excuses — they learn from that, too. If you value your relationship with God above all else, your children will know that as well. What does this have to do with being Santa’s helper? Just this: in Psalm 72:18 we read that “God alone does marvelous things.” However, at Christmas time, for little children someone else is portrayed […]

Christmas for All

On a quiet night, the sky erupted with the praise of heaven to shepherds in a pasture with their sheep. In an age of global communication and media fanfare, it seems unsettling that the most important announcement ever made to humans was given to just a few shepherds. They had no political connections. They were not celebrities with social media connections. I don’t believe they even had a youtube channel. Yet the angels gave them the wondrous message of Christmas that was meant for all people.  Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! However, this message was broadcast in ways quite different from the internet and social media channels. It was proclaimed […]

A December Prayer

Dear Father, grant that I would be blown away by the gift of your son to me. Grant that this season of “gift-giving” would not blind the eyes of my heart from the one gift that matters. If not for the gospel, all gifts would be nothing more than bribes and tokens of appeasement. If not for the gospel, there would be no selflessness. If not for the gospel, I would only give to get. If not for the gospel, I would obsess on what I think I deserve and despair over what I do not have. Father, I ask that your church would love the gospel message so much that we would become salt and light to those around […]

Baby Pictures

Pictures of infants and toddlers are adorable. These pictures appear to represent everything good about life: joy, beauty, innocence, vulnerability, potential. They fill us with hope that this sweet, precious child will somehow not be scarred by the hard things in life. Yet, there is danger in these photos. These captivating images can blind us to the hidden reality of the natural darkness of the heart. The deceptive innocence of the pictures is one reason we are stunned by that first lie, that first blatant act of ugly selfishness. Where did that come from? The temptation is to say who did this to my baby?!? To be sure, outside influences are significant. But there is another, more significant source of […]

The Lion of Judah: Our Peace and Hope

If we are to live a life that is wise, it is imperative that we understand we have an Enemy who attempts to discredit the wonders of God with counterfeit musings. This discrediting can take the form of misinterpreting the good things that God does. For example, as magnificent as a sunset may be, it is not the ultimate that God does. That ultimate is reserved for heaven and the new earth. But the enemy wants you to think that what you see now is all there is. Also, we have grown accustomed to seeing breathtaking imagery on the big screen. But even these images pale in comparison to the reality of the world that remains unseen to us. Plus, […]

Excuses and Stress

Excuse making is one connection to stress and anxiety. Excuses keep us from trusting God, erode human relationships, and weaken character. The default mode for the excuse maker is to shift blame. This means the ability to trust God by exercising repentance is significantly reduced. Living a life of faith characterized by repentance brings hope and peace. Excuses result in frustration and blame-shifting. This is how the Holy Spirit describes the difference: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) Concealing sins—that is, making excuses—destroys trust in God. But repentance yields mercy and the blessing of God. Listen to yourself. Listen to your children. If you hear responses like these, […]

Fear and Forgiveness

Are fear and forgiveness opposing concepts? Forgiveness includes acceptance, freedom, love, and understanding. Fear involves dread, terror, and rejection; so how can fear and forgiveness be connected? There is another meaning associated with fear. The American Heritage Dictionary’s third listing for fear is this:  Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power. The third meaning is one of being overwhelmed by greatness. In the Bible, God is described as so good, so great, and so powerful that fear of Him is an automatic response. Isaiah experiences this when he encounters the living God: “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and […]

Idol Children

We live in the age of the Child. Children are accommodated. They are the center of family life. They are the focus of the educational process. Instead of training children to worship God in all of life, our modern world idolizes them. Education thus becomes a means to serve children rather than to teach them to sacrificially live their lives for God. So parents live for their children instead of God. Children then follow their parent’s example and also live for themselves. When this happens, nothing good is accomplished. Marriages are weakened because of this wrong-headed focus. Children can never meet the expectations of parents who worship them. Divorce and child abuse increase. In the end, all that is left […]