Epiphany (January 6, 2019)

 “O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now faith, to thy presence, where we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” —Book of Common Prayer

Epiphany symbolizes God’s manifestation to the Gentiles through his Son Jesus.  In Western Christianity, it is the celebration of the visit of the Maji (traditionally, “wise men”) to the Christ Child, thus marking Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles (see Matthew 2).

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An Urgent Appeal: Read the Bible in 2019

At our dinner table yesterday, as we went around the table, asking each other about goals for 2019, everyone said that they would like to read the Bible more (a smile was left on my face, because I know how important Bible reading is).

As much as I’m excited for my own family, I would love to see other families doing the same in 2019.

To be honest, I’m shocked at the biblical illiteracy that I continue to witness in the US.  This illiteracy is even more disappointing when we consider how readily available the Bible is for Americans–just an app away!

biblereadingSo I make this urgent appeal to my fellow Christ followers: resolve to read your Bibles in 2019.  There’s not a shortage of reading plans available for the one wishing to read their Bible.

As for me, my approach to Bible reading has always been thematic:

  • whether it’s the Pentateuch, the historical books of the Old Testament, the Wisdom books or the Prophets.
  • I’m always in the four Gospels and the Letters of Paul.

In your own Bible reading, I encourage you to do the following:

  • Set goals.  Perhaps you want to know more about Israel’s history.
  • Make it your own.  Then find a reading plan that will help you achieve this.
  • Be Patient.  But don’t be in a hurry. Take your time.
  • Be worshipful.  Remember, you are reading God’ word. God is speaking to you through the written word.
  • Seek guidance.  As you read, seek God’s guidance on how to respond to what you are discovering: perhaps truths about God that you need to stop and ponder, or commands to apply your own life.

Additionally, before I forget, have fun as you read.  Don’t make this burdensome.

How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way. –Psalm 119:103-104 ESV

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God Sent What We Needed

D. A. Carson:

If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, He would have sent an economist.

If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist.

If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician.

If he had perceived that our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor.

But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death, and he sent us a Savior.

—D. A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), 109.

Scripture Reading:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV, bold added

Merry Christmas!!!

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5 Reasons We Need to Remember the Reformation

As we celebrate the 16th century Protestant Reformation, here are five reasons why we need to remember and celebrate:

1. The Reformation reminds us that the church is built upon the gospel, not vice-versa.

2. The Reformation reminds us that the gospel can be lost.

3. The Reformation reminds us that confusion over the gospel will ultimately manifest itself in abusive practices.

4. The Reformation reminds us that the gospel is worth defending, even at great cost.

5. The Reformation reminds us of Christ’s faithfulness to preserve his church.

HT: Todd Miles

Happy Reformation Day!

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