What I Believe
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Conscience is something, in a sense, apart from man. It has been put in him by God; it is a reminder of the voice of God within him, an inward monitor, and a man cannot really manipulate his conscience. He can go against it, but that is not manipulating it. It is possible, as this Apostle says again in writing to Timothy, for the conscience to be seared “with a hot iron”. But nevertheless it is true to say that the conscience is an independent witness.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (God’s Sovereign Purpose)

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Saturday
Dec232006

Keeping Christmas Well


The Christmas Season is one of shared experiences. From the Christmas carols, to the decorations, to favorite Christmas movies, and special Christmas dinners; school plays, Christmas concerts, Candlelight Services--it seems as though many of us share common experiences. We look forward to all the activities and hustle and bustle of Christmas. And yet, too often we go through all the motions of celebrating Christmas without a thought about what Christmas signifies. This can be true of those who observe a religious celebration as well as those who consciously celebrate Christmas in a purely secular way.

I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks. No where in scripture are we commanded to observe Christ's birth, only His resurrection. So, is it wrong to celebrate Christmas? Is there a right way and a wrong way to celebrate the Saviour's birth? How do we, "keep Christmas well," as Charles Dickens put it in A Christmas Carol . I certainly don't have all the answers and I am still thinking this through, but this morning I came across a blog post on Reformation Theology that I'd like to share with you. An Uncomfortable Christmas Card for Unbelievers Comfortable at Christmas. It begins:

Dear Friend or Loved One Who Loves Me, but Does Not Love Jesus Christ:

This Christmas, I eagerly and affectionately desire to write to you a different kind of Christmas message. I long to send you good tidings of great joy, and high hopes that your Christmas and New Year will be cheerful and full of good things, but I also want to write to make you as uncomfortable with the Christmas message as possible.

The Christmas Message is nothing more or less than the Gospel Message. We frequently say that the Gospel is the "good news" and it is. But to those who have never embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ by grace through faith, it is not good news. It is the worst possible news one could ever receive.

But God. . .

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
There is a gift, given by God, that I wish for all. And that is the gift of faith in Christ, Who was given of the Father and Who gave His life so that we could live eternally. Only then can we "keep Christmas well, if any man alive possess the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"

Saturday
Dec232006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt:  Lines

I have always been fascinated with writing. The fact that lines on a paper can communicate not only words but thoughts and ideas and emotions and most importantly, truth is amazing to me. These lines I have chosen communicate the rich resources available to us in God's Word.

Psalm 119:89-90 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations.



Theme: Lines

Next week's theme: NEW

Check out the new images for the Photo Hunt for 2007!

Saturday
Dec232006

Quote of the Week

Luke 2:8-14 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

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Saturday
Dec232006

God's Minute

December 23

They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.--Psalm 125:1-4

OUR gracious Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the light this morning. Endue our hearts with gratitude and love for the blessings of the past week, and direct our converstation and daily walk through the coming week. May all we do be acceptable in Thy sight. Grant that we may render Thee service that will not only give us joy and comfort, but that our example and influence will lead others to love and serve Thee. God grant that we may realize and appreciate every day of our lives that we own all to Thee and that all the good things of life come from Thy mercy and gracious kindness. All this we ask for Christ's sake.

Amen.

George T. Jester,
Corsicana, Texas

Friday
Dec222006

God's Minute

December 22

I have loved thee with an everlasting love.--Jeremiah 31:3

OUR Father in Heaven, we would praise and magnify Thy Holy Name. Thy love watches over us, protecting us from every kind of danger, and provides for our every need. Thou dost never fail us. We trust in Thee.

We have sinned against Thee in thought and word and deed, but we come with contrite hearts, confessing our unworthiness, and pleading for Thy forgiveness, through the merits of the shed blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We thank Thee for all Thy good gifts to us, and we pray Thee to accept us and to use us as Thou canst. Bless each of us as we need Thy blessing. And, with us, bless all the ill, the sorrowing, the discouraged, the sinning, and all Thy needy ones. We would pray also for all those engaged in lowly or great tasks for the extension of Thy Kingdom in the hearts of men everywhere.

And now do Thou be with us in our daily task of hand or mind. May we be workmen in things material and spiritual of whom Thou needest not to be ashamed. Gather us home after while, without one missing. We ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen.

Rev. Stewart Winfield Herman,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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