Church Calendar

Eighth Day of Christmas

ROMANS 9:33

As it is written:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,

And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

According to our calendars, we stand at the beginning of another new year. What should we be thinking? Almost unavoidably we pause to think about what has transpired since last January and begin to craft and hone new resolutions for the months ahead. And yet, if we’re really honest, all of the years past have never really gone according to our plans. We aim to put in at Phoenix for the winter and instead we get shipwrecked on Malta. Today we forever swear off second helpings of fudge and cookies only to be named honorary “Keebler elf” by the twelfth day of Christmas. The fact that resolutions even exist simply points back to a long record of our failures. Happy New Year indeed! More

Seventh Day of Christmas

GALATIANS 4:4-5

4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

So often, we look at the law of God as something bad, something to be juxtaposed with grace. The problem is that the law is presented as something good in the Scriptures. We are the problem. Mankind, indeed the whole of creation, was groaning and still groans because of the Fall. The apostle Paul refers to the “futility” that the entire world was subjected to because of the Fall of the human race in Adam. But God’s law is holy and gives a pattern for how a perfect man should live. No one had lived the law perfectly until the promised deliverer, born of a woman, had come in the fullness of time. Jesus lived perfectly to the law’s standards and fulfilled the law in His life and death. And now, in Him, the perfect Son, we also stand like perfect law abiders, because of Him who came in the fullness of time. In Him, we have been adopted as sons of the living God.  More

Sixth Day of Christmas

2 CORINTHIANS 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

During Advent we read through Christ’s birth narrative in Luke. In the King James translation, it is some of the most beautiful writing in the world. It has a little bit of almost everything: surprise…faithful obedience…pathos… suspense…sheep. And it’s got glory. Full throttle, wide-eyed, Oh Wow!-type GLORY!!!!Those who would usually be in heaven singing “Holy…Holy…Holy!” were down below singing “Glory be to God in the Highest, and on earth Peace, goodwill toward men.” The text tells us that a multitude of the heavenly host joined the first angel, praising God. They were down here celebrating Christ’s…humiliation. More

Fifth Day of Christmas

JOHN 3:16-17:

16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

Without a doubt John 3:16 is the most famous verse of the Bible. Placarded in all sorts of interesting places for the sake of witness and evangelism, this verse is used to declare the message of the Gospel in a single sentence. You can probably recite this verse from memory without hesitation, but what is John 3:16 really about?  More

Fourth Day of Christmas

1 PETER 1:10-12

10Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,11searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

Imagine yourself reading through a great story, and you sense that the climax is approaching. But before you have a chance to finish it you lose the book, or your dog uses it as a chew toy. Old Testament prophets didn’t know the whole story they were writing either. The Spirit had given them much, but there were still many unanswered questions. They did know that the Christ would come and that He would suffer. And Peter tells us that this is because Christ Himself (“the Spirit of Christ”) was in them, predicting His own sufferings through them. But there were many unanswered questions. How would the Christ come and accomplish all these things. How will he defeat sin and death? And what about the glories which would follow? What would that be like? And when will all this happen? When they weren’t writing down or delivering God’s message, Peter tells us that they were searching and sifting it…looking for clues or unnoticed details that might tell them more about the Christ. But we have the completed story. That which prophets and angels longed for has been delivered to us. And what is better, we are included in it. It is the story of what our Savior did for us in His sufferings and the glories we now share with him. That which prophets and angels long for is ours. It is the good news that we have believed and that the nations now must hear. More

Third Day of Christmas

JOHN 8:56-58

56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

In today’s reading, Jesus was responding to the accusations of the Jews that He was possessed by a demon. In this response, He declares to them that He is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham in the book of Genesis. How did Abraham rejoice to see His day? He rejoiced when he believed God. He laughed with joy when the promises of God were declared to him. He rejoiced when a barren womb delivered the promised heir. He rejoiced when God provided for Himself the sacrificial ram in the place of Isaac. He saw, played out right before his eyes, what was actually far off; Jehovah-Jireh (the God-who-provides) providing the sacrificial Lamb for His people in the Incarnate Christ. More

Second Day of Christmas

JOHN 1:9-10

9That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

In the verses before this, the Gospel-writing John has been describing that other John. The camel-hair wearing, brood-of-vipers preaching, wilderness baptizing John. But that John wasn’t the light; he only pointed us to the true light, who has now come into the world that He made. But, wonder of wonders, the world He made didn’t recognize Him when He came to them. More

First Day of Christmas

1 TIMOTHY 1:15-17

15This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

Too often the Christmas season is just all a hustle and a bustle. People are rushing around; shopping, cooking, and traveling. So much so, that the real meaning of Christmas is almost forgotten. Imagine what would happen if all the traffic on the way to the local mall was delayed while a man with his pregnant wife riding on a donkey crossed the road! Everyone would be honking their horns and yelling, “Hurry up! We are trying to get ready for Christmas!” More

Twenty-Seventh Day of Advent

Isaiah 9:4-7

4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden

And the staff of his shoulder,

The rod of his oppressor,

As in the day of Midian.

5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,

And garments rolled in blood,

Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

6 For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Ultimate Victory

What this child inaugurates in a seemingly small beginning will have within it potentialities of unbelievable growth. His rule and the peace He achieves will develop endlessly. By the time Isaiah appeared on the scene the great promise to David about the continuance of his line was very well known and accepted in Israel. Because of the permanent reign of this king, our joy too will be progressive, permanent, and perpetual. More

Twenty-Sixth Day of Advent

Isaiah 9:1-3

1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,

As when at first He lightly esteemed

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,

And afterward more heavily oppressed her,

By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,

In Galilee of the Gentiles.

2 The people who walked in darkness

Have seen a great light;

Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,

Upon them a light has shined.

3 You have multiplied the nation

And increased its joy;

They rejoice before You

According to the joy of harvest,

As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

The Government of the Promised Son

Though very difficult days were in the offing, the conclusion of chapter 8 indicates that the gloom might break. In particular, the one through whom this significant change is to come to pass is identified and described as a child. Verse one is a transition verse to what follows in the next six verses. The picture of total gloom which closed the preceding chapter gives way to a picture of brilliant light. The words of the Christmas carol, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” were taken right from this text in Isaiah:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

More