What Christmas is All About

My favorite scene!  Since Linus is quoting the KJV, here’s a link to the text in KJV: Luke 2.

Have a wonderful Christmas, gentle reader; I pray that you soon learn the true meaning of Christmas if you do not already know Him!

Advertisements

Oh Give Thanks!

Psalm 118 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. 18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

‘Let Them Come Home’

For my regular readers (all two of you), who by now have become quite irregular through no fault of your own, I apologize… I’ve been spending most of my blogging time over on ConnorWatch.org (if you haven’t been there, please visit – and pray for Connor!)

I came across Abraham Piper’s testimony yesterday, and had to put up a pointer to it. Actually, only a small part of it is officially his testimony – the rest of it consists of his suggestions for parents who are struggling with a wayward child (though I suspect that he is also largely telling his own story, from the perspective of his parents, when he outlines his suggestions).  His suggestions are wise and loving counsel to any who might be going through similarly wrenching times with their own children.

Since I’m posting about Piper progeny, I should also point to this powerful poem by another of the Pipers’ sons, Karsten: Sometimes He Kills Us to Save Us.

Exodus 4:24-26 – a difficult passage

I was doing my “read through the Bible in a year” reading in the Dr’s office earlier today (turns out I have bronchitis and not the flu). I ended up reading two days’ worth of chapters, which included God calling Moses going to great lengths to persuade Moses that He would enable him to do the job He was calling him to do (chapters 3 and 4). Immediately after the narrative finally has Moses starting off in the direction of Egypt, we encounter these verses:

Ex 4:24 At a lodging place on the way(Y) the LORD met him and(Z) sought to put him to death. 25 Then(AA) Zipporah took a(AB) flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’[c] feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. (ESV)

Continue reading

Thoughts on Isaiah 29:9-24

I came across these incredible verses last week while doing my quiet time:

9 Astonish yourselves [2] and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).

Continue reading

Thanksgiving

If you haven’t ready Lamentations 3 recently, today would be a good day to do so (here).

(ESV) Lamentations 3:1 I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
2 he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
3 surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.

4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
5 he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
6 he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

[More of the same… but do read the whole chapter!] Continue reading

More observations on Ps. 144:2

Ps 144:2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my defense, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. (NKJV)

I woke up real early this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I started reviewing memory verses while lying in bed, not sleeping. I suddenly realized that though I had previously noticed what looks to me like the use of parallelism in Hebrew poetry, which Danny talked about here, I hadn’t taken that observation far enough. It’s easy to see the parallelism (I hope I’m correct here! Danny?) in the 2nd and 3rd parts of this verse, but it hadn’t yet sunk in that the first part also follows this formula: my X and my Y, where Y redefines, or is another way to look at X. (And then there’s the fact that each of the 4 parts reinforces the others – they all define and contrast different aspects of God as protector or refuge. Calvin helps in understanding how to fit “who subdues my people under me” in with the rest of the verse.)

It’s more evident that God, as my “high tower”, is my defense, and that I can take refuge in (behind) God who is my shield – but God my lovingkindness = my fortress? Somehow, I kept separate the fact that God being my lovingkindness (or goodness, or mercy) is a fortress! How could I not have seen that redefinition? I’ve even written about these verses a couple of times before – here and here – but I didn’t notice this connection: I can dwell securely in God’s lovingkindness in the midst of life’s trials because He is my fortress. God being my lovingkindness defines Him as a fortress.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

(It’s very possible that thoughts percolating in my head from the Perfect Storm men’s conference I attended this past weekend helped me connect the dots here. I’ll probably write about the conference soon.)