Big words

Day 5:

I John 4:10

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I first heard the word “propitiation” when I started listening to John Piper and Mark Driscoll sermons.  I still have to look it up from time to time because it isn’t a word burned into my brain yet.  From wikipedia:

In Christianity, propitiation is a theological term denoting that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., that ‘satisfaction’ or ‘appeasement’ by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless sinners. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; rather, it renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners.

It is God’s wrath being satisfied and because it is, we are reconciled to Him.

It is the ultimate gift.

The other scripture for day 5 was Acts 20:35:

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

God is a giver.  He gives us life in the first place.  All good things come from Him.  His ultimate gift was that of Jesus, being our atonement for our sins.

How can you and I express this generosity to others – not just in the Christmas season but every day?

Let Me Shine

I didn’t have anything stand out to me about Day 3’s readings.  Moving on to Day 4:

Matthew 5:14-16

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Pastor Pete preached on this Sunday as a part of the new sermon series, Light.

Last year, he encouraged us that whenever we saw Christmas lights, to think ‘Let me shine.’  He modified that for this year:

Jesus is the light of the world.  Now let that light shine through me.

So, today, let’s go be light in a dark world.

Treasure

Day 3
Luke 2: 1-20

Two things stood out to me today:

10 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.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

and

19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

How often do we let the miracles and wonders of God slide right by us without taking the time to ponder them?  To let them sink into our hearts and minds so that we may refer to them always when we need that extra boost of faith to keep going?

Pondering the distance our sin puts us from God and yet how he reaches out to hold us close to him.

And with the first quote, do you hear Linus reading that?  His beautiful sweet voice so directly telling us the meaning of the season (which I tend to think Jesus was born around the time of Yom Kippur – it would be like God to send His son as the atonement for our sins on or around the Day of Atonement… but that’s for another post).

I imagine the shepherds were terrified beyond words.  The magnificent angels delivering this message to them… country bumpkin rednecks of ancient Israel.  Maybe they felt like it was a mistake – the angels went to the wrong field, the wrong part of town.  God doesn’t say or do those kinds of things for people like that.  Have you thought that?  I have.  God won’t do that for me… He won’t answer my prayers… He doesn’t love me.

All those lies are from the pit and smell like smoke.

Pastor Pete said this today “‘2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!””

The shepherds weren’t new creations yet… but we don’t have to believe the lies that tell us we aren’t worthy of hearing and bearing the Good News that Christ has come.  He will come again.  That good news is for ALL people.  Not just Jews.  Not just Baptists or the Church of Christ or Catholics.  It is for everyone!

It is a gift — a treasure — that everyone can have.  What a gift to get a Christmas!

Rediscovering Christmas

Pastor Pete wrote a post yesterday on that subject.  He linked to the 25 day reading plan from YouVersion.  I decided to post my thoughts about the readings and associated exercises here.

Day 1

Luke 2:21-40

What moved me were the following verses spoken by Simeon:

27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, that they might do concerning him after the custom of the law, 28 then he received him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, According to thy word, in peace; 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; 32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.

I keep thinking back to this week’s message where Pastor Pete quoted Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:6-7:

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Have I?  Am I? From the time of Jesus’ birth, he was our offering in our place.  Born to bear our sins.  What kind of legacy will I leave?  What can I do now to leave one that will show God’s love for generations and to this current generation?  Have you thought about that recently?

What is your legacy?

Day 2

Matthew 1

I think what stands out to me in this chapter is that

  1. Jesus’ family tree is messed up.
  2. Jesus’ family tree is full of people that God redeemed.  Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth are named and if you are familiar with their stories, God redeemed their lives in different ways.  He gave them new opportunities to serve Him and leave a legacy.
  3. I don’t know if I had the faith of Joseph.

I don’t know if that will be a theme of this… legacy but it has stood out to me in the first two readings.

Joseph trusted the angel with his family name, his reputation.  He put all of that in the Lord’s hands.  Everything.  The fact that Mary was pregnant before they were wed I’m sure made life more difficult for them in terms of dealing with their neighbors.  Did Joseph lose business as a carpenter?  We know so very little about him.  Do you ever wonder what he thought?  How he felt?  Did he believe Jesus would be his and everyone’s Savior?