Charles Spurgeon on the prophecy of the virgin birth: “And, first, we see here, in speaking of this birth of Christ, a miraculous conception. The text says expressly, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” This expression is unparalleled even in Sacred Writ! Of no other woman could it be said beside the Virgin Mary, and of no other man could it be written that his mother was a virgin.“
“There is the finite and the Infinite, there is the mortal and the Immortal, corruption and Incorruption, the manhood and the Godhead, time married to eternity! There is God linked with a creature, the Infinity of the august Maker come to tabernacle on this speck of earth—the vast unbounded One whom earth could not hold and the heavens cannot contain—lying in His mother’s arms! He who fastened the pillars of the universe and riveted the nails of creation, hanging on a mortal breast, depending on a creature for nourishment! Oh, marvelous birth! Oh, miraculous conception! We stand and gaze and admire. Verily, angels may wish to look into a subject too dark for us to speak of! There we leave it, a virgin has conceived and borne a Son“. A sermon, The Birth of Christ
Charles Spurgeon on Christmas: “Though creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle—Incarnation! There is more in that than in creation, more melody in Jesus in the manger, than there is in worlds on worlds rolling their grandeur round the throne of the Most High.” Sermon “The First Christmas Carol“, A sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Dec 20, 1857
We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a special time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.
I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them to publish every day, and for Advent, the theme is Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos of God’s creation that reflect His life and ministry.
I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture Advent photos that I believe will flow.
PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.
In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ.
Then the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn.
The third sub-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.
PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 15 verses
The Son 5 verses over 5 days
Beginning with verses that declare the Son, are verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the earthly subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.
Works & Ministry, 10 verses
This section, published over ten days, will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.
RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN
This last section Christ is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. Of the John 3:13 verse, says that only He is qualified to speak of heaven, being the only One who has been intimately involved with all its doings, and only he has seen the Father and come down from there and returned.
Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is in heaven now.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Yesterday I wrote about how my Bible study ended with me coming to a settled conviction that though some of the smaller details seemed to vary, the incidents recorded in Mark 14 & Matthew 26, and the incident recorded in John, are speaking of the same incident.
I explained how I’d come to that conclusion after for a time initially believing the opposite.
After I finished sorting out the incident itself, there is the theological point to consider. I got to thinking about Mary and her vial of nard, worth 300 denarii. Her letting down her hair to dry Jesus’ feet. There is much to consider here.
I have so much to be thankful for. The list is so long even the internet can’t contain it.
I love my apartment. It is important to me to like where I live, and my inside surroundings are beautiful, comfortable, and easy to take care of.
I love Pandora Thumbprint radio. Pandora is a streaming music station. Thumbprint radio is a collection of all the songs I’ve given a ‘thumbs up’ to across all my various music channels. So the song automatically played might be at one moment a Chopin concerto, then Mozart, then Patsy Cline southern gospel, then a Paul Simon, then a Gospel quartet, and so on. Since they are all songs I’ve given a thumbs up to, it means I like them all. So the mix of genres doesn’t bother me, I like the surprise.
In my nice kitchen, in the wee hours, I put on the music and read my Bible or write or eat oatmeal, and feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s important to like where you live, and I’m glad that the Lord gave me a place where I can do that. He didn’t have to.
I’m grateful for my church and the people who comprise my church. They are wise, diligent, eager, service oriented, Jesus-loving devoted people. They truly are a family.
I’m grateful for my work family. I am privileged to call the people I work with family, too. They are not just people I pass in the hall. When I was down with the flu, they prayed for me, emailed to check on me, some brought food, others brought medicines and necessities. They covered my duties without a murmur, and they were genuinely glad when I got well. I praise God for giving me satisfying employment, and I praise Him more for the good people at my job.
I’m grateful for digital cameras. No more waiting 2 weeks for the Kodak kiosk to develop them!
I’m grateful for the internet, one of the best inventions ever. And with that, streaming music, TV, and movies. Also for this introvert, for social media and email.
I’m grateful for birds, seasons, my years of pet ownership, the beautiful things I’ve seen in the world- the Andes with llamas running across the tops; rolling blue waves of the bright Caribbean sea; the northern lights, full moon over the desert cactus; northern pine forests; fall foliage; and so much more of God’s creation that I was privileged to view in my travels.
I am most grateful that even though a sinner, God loved me first, plucked me from my miry pit of sin, washed me with His blood, and stood me upright in HIS righteousness. He saved me from the wrath I was justly due. Even as the former things fade away, I will always have the eternal gratitude in my heart to Jesus for His salvation. It is the BEST gift and the first and the last thing to be grateful for.
I usually write about the word, or encouragement, or prophecy. But today I’m going to give a peek into and share an anecdote about my Bible study.
As I was reading Mark 14 and I got to the part when Judas went out to betray Jesus. (Mark 14:10), I began wondering, why now? What was the precipitating event that finalized Judas’ apostasy and treachery?
(What works for me is asking questions of the text. Why this? Why now? What is that about? How does that work? Where are they? What is that plant/tree/animal like?)
I suspected the catalyzing moment for Judas was the alabaster vial incident, AKA the anointing of Jesus, recorded just prior to Judas’ departure. But the more I read the parallel accounts, the more confused I got. I could not sort them out. I didn’t know why.
No matter how crazy the world gets, chaotic, illogical, or unsafe, yet in Christ there are three words:
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. … ll this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:5, 11, 18-19).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 2:12).
Scripture is comforting. If you are stressed this week because of upcoming family reunions, worried about what’s happening in the world, sad, or even joyous in thanksgiving for the life Jesus has given us, seek Him in His word. Seek comfort there. Look unto Him in His word, and enjoy the peace that the Spirit will give through His word.
How often we see in the Bible warnings about greed or attachment to money, and how it corrupts. After all, we read in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
The prime example mentioned in the verse of ‘those who have wandered away from the faith’ is Judas.
Judas was “the epitome of failure,” said John MacArthur. “With the same opportunity that the others had, he failed.“
When I make dogmatic comments on various social media about this or that person being a false teacher, invariably I receive push-back. It usually consists of one of two opinions- either they use ad hominem to accuse me of being critical, judgmental, or otherwise something negative. Or, they say they had a positive experience following the teacher and due to the experience they had, it proves the teacher is true. A sort of ‘I know s/he isn’t false, because s/he helped me!’
Either type of comment displaying zeal without wisdom also usually include some old chestnuts recycled from undiscerning person to undiscerning person. They include, Judge not, don’t touch God’s anointed, did you go to her … and so on.
I say zeal without wisdom and undiscerning, because these commenters know just enough of what is in the Bible but not at all what it means.