Some musings I uncovered (thanks to the Holy Spirit) in my study of 1st John:
John – “the Beloved Apostle” (John 13:23, 19:26, etc.) DID NOT START THAT WAY….
John started out like this:
- Jesus called him and his brother Boanerges (Mark 3:17 – Sons of Thunder, tumult, commotion)
- John told others to stop casting out demons in Jesus’ name, weren’t “one of us” – Luke 9:49
- He suggested they call fire down on the Samaritans when they snubbed Jesus – Luke 9:51-53
- He and his brother asked Jesus to give them top positions in His kingdom – Mark 10:35-45
What happened to him?
JESUS! JESUS happened to him! Matt. 4:13 – “they took knowledge that they had been with Jesus.”
If we haven’t changed since meeting Him, something is wrong!
To quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “May we all learn the lesson of this old incident. Let us meet with this Jesus and listen to Him, and soon we, too, will become phenomena. We will become men and women who are enigmas to everybody else.”
In the book of Nehemiah, as His people were turning back to God, they did not seek inspiring messages, entertaining events, cutting edge marketing techniques, insightful homilies, or clever speeches. They wanted one thing and one thing only:
“BRING OUT THE BOOK!”
And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. – Neh. 8:1
Any worship service that does not “BRING OUT THE BOOK” is not true to its name.
In your worship, corporate as well as personal, be sure you BRING OUT THE BOOK!
“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.” – John 17:17
As we look again to the year 2017, let’s remember the words of the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 7:12: Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer*, saying, “Hitherto has the LORD helped us.”
*Ebenezer – “a stone of help.”
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Robert Robinson, 1758
In seeking to describe God’s extraordinary gift of His son to a sin-sick world, the brilliant and learned apostle Paul’s vocabulary came up short:
” Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable* gift.” 2 Cor. 9:15
- ἀνεκδιήγητος -anekdiēgētos- not expounded in full, that is, indescribable
The Prince of Preacher’s thoughts on this Special Season:
“Tell me that God is born, that God Himself has espoused our nature, and taken it into union with Himself, then the bells of my heart ring merry peals, for now may I come to God since God has come to me.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
…who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil. 2:6-11
As this Special Season approaches, some powerful thoughts from the pen of C.S. Lewis…
For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares to approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly. Here the rich come to nothing, because God is with the poor and hungry, but the rich and satisfied he sends away empty. Before Mary, the maid, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught; they have no right, no hope; they are judged.
– From God Is In the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Phil. 2:10, 11
“If understanding our dependence on God is our goal, then our weakness is an advantage.”– Alistair Begg
As God responded to Paul’s request (which he made 3 times!) for the removal of his affliction, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.“
Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired response was staggering: “Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me. Therefore I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am powerful.” (2 Cor. 12:9,10 MKJV)