Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Mary held her little baby boy and saw that God had come to man. The Second Person of the Trinity humbled Himself this way so that He would be like us, even though we were created in His image.
It is incomprehensible to us that the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient God could and would dwell in our own frail human form. And Jesus was frail. He knew hunger and thirst. He grew tired. He was angry. He knew the happiness of faithful friendship and the sorrow of backstabbing betrayal. In all things, like us, and yet without sin.
          It is He that saves us from our sins. His forgiveness cuts through the divide of our own betrayals to the Lord. All the sins of all of God’s people are paid for on the cross. There is no sinner that cannot be made a friend to Jesus. This meal tells us that we are His friends. We hold the bread and wine and know that God has come to man.
God, the Father, provides for us. He feeds us. He sent His Son to dwell with us. He gave Himself for us. The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us always, even to the end of the age. He is with us now, in our corporate body and in the hearts of each one of us.
          The Savior has come. He is our God and we are His people. Thanks be to God!

Exhortation- Our Savior has come

Hallelujah, Our Savior has arrived. The promised One has finally come. He is the one who saves His people from their sins. What does that mean? If sin is an enemy, then we do need to be saved from it. But if sin is a friend, what man would need to be saved from a friend?
          On this day, of all days, we take comfort in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. If we were dying in the darkness of evil, if we were defeated by the power of Adam’s first sin and drowning in our own prevailing sin, if we were desperate to be free from sin’s stranglehold but unable to accomplish our own escape, then let us take hold of God’s promises today in Jesus! The Savior has come.
          It is difficult to chide on this glorious day but there is one reason to fear. If sin has become a friend, then a wicked friend is a great danger. Open your eyes and see that sin is an enemy and must be crucified with Christ. Do not be self-deceived but confess your failures and sins to God and embrace God’s hope for you and for the world. The Savior has come.       

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Communion Meditation- Abba, Father

God is with us, this much is true. But we do not have to simply believe this truth. God promises to be with us in a way that is tangible. He has given us His Spirit, through which we cry out to God as our own Father. Thus, through the Holy Spirit, we have this sense of being God’s children. Being a child of God is more than simply being related to Him by some distant relation in the family tree.
          To that extent, the brotherhood of man is a true doctrine. All humans are related to God, the Father. But it is something quite different to say, Our Father, my Father, Abba. Only a true child can say this. When an adopted child, or an older stepchild, finally calls the parent, dad or mom, mother or father, mommy or daddy, both the parent and the child know that they are, accepted, of one blood and one mind, intimate beyond any other earthly relationship, except, perhaps, that of spouse.
          So, can we say this? God, my dear Father, Abba? Yes, we can and if you have trouble doing so, then take courage from this meal. Jesus is seated at the table with His Abba, His daddy. We are the bride of Christ, seated with Him. We are presented to His Father and are thus members of Jesus. And since Jesus is a perfect Son, Abba, Father, accepts His bride as the perfect bride. She is, in every way, God’s own child. 
         I know that it is the case that the Church is the bride of Christ, and not every individual. But in addition to this picture of bride, we also know that we are adopted children of God, that Jesus is our Elder Brother, that Jesus told EACH of us to pray, Our Father, who art in heaven. So, we have many witnesses that we are true children of Yahveh.
         So, when you come to Him and say in an overtly respectful voice, “Almighty God, Exalted Father, dear benevolent Sir, O High King”, do not be surprised when He says to you, “You are in my family now. Stop with all the formality and pretense. Call me Abba.”

Exhortation- Bothered by Sin?

In Jesus Christ, we have the promises of God, not just a future promise but a present promise. Jesus is with us. He came to Earth, as a little baby, born of a Virgin. Jesus identifies fully with us, as one who has emptied Himself of His power and might and humbled Himself, even to the death of the cross, in order to save His people from their sins.
          But He has also done more than that. When He ascended into heaven, He also promised that His Holy Spirit would dwell with His people forever. What happened at Pentecost revealed that God’s plan was nothing less than the Salvation of the World. He used ordinary men and women to accomplish this salvation but they did so by extraordinary means. They did so by indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit.
          Those extraordinary means, God’s Spirit, is still with us today. He abides with us, and greater than this, in us, so that we are enabled to do that which He has called us to do.
          This internal witness of the Holy Spirit is God with us continuing to draw us to Himself. Whereas, God’s people of old, chaffed against the law of God governing them, in the New Covenant, God’s people chaff against the power of remaining sin and death in the world in their own bodies.
          If it bothers you that you sin and you are striving to change and be more like Jesus, then take courage, the Holy Spirit is working in you that great salvation promised by God. One day, you will be rid of this intense struggle. For now, take courage. Confess those sins you still grapple with and receive the forgiveness of God through the shed blood of Christ.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exhortation- Waiting on Jesus

I guess nobody really likes waiting.  Waiting is really difficult. We can all wait for a short time. Sometimes that kind of waiting is actually pleasant. If we know the exact time something is going to happen, then we can endure for a time. But much of our lives are spent waiting for things in which the time frame is not sure; waiting to find a spouse, waiting to have children, waiting for a hoped for promotion, waiting for the joy of grandchildren, waiting for deliverance from health problems or financial struggles, waiting through trials and suffering.
          So, waiting for something that is sure can teach us that God’s promises are always sure. We know Christmas is coming and so we can wait with some degree of impatient anticipation but that only heightens the excitement of knowing that December 25 will surely arrive.
           But just as December 25 is sure to bring the celebration of the birth of Jesus, presents and food, so, too, will Jesus arrive in the midst of your troubles. He is the deliverer. He will come. But you may have to wait. I do not know how long. I wish I did then you could probably wait better. But you must wait upon the Lord. This means to trust in Him, having faith, knowing that the day of your deliverance draws near.
          We should confess our impatience and ask God to grant us patience to wait with a holy anticipation of His deliverance.

Communion Meditation- Emmanuel

God is with us. He is Emmanuel. He has answered our prayers, drawing near to us and then calling us to draw near to Him.  This table is prepared for that event. It is the consummation of God’s promises to us, that the body of Jesus, the Temple of God, should dwell with His people.
          And so Jesus is here with us, not just in bread and wine, symbols or promises but He is really here. His Holy Spirit is dwelling here in the blessed gathering of God’s people. He is also here in the hearts of all who are His.
          God inhabits the praises of His people, moving and dwelling and ministering in their midst. His promises to us are tangible as we have a witness in our hearts of the reality of God’s presence. We know that Jesus is here and we trust, by faith, that He will always dwell with us, that He will never leave us or forsake us.
          These symbols testify to us this truth. We eat and drink in faith, believing as Jesus said in John 17:21-23 That we are all one in Christ; as the Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father, that we are also one in God: that the world may believe that the Father has sent Jesus. And the glory which the Father gave Jesus, Jesus has given to us so that we may be one, even as the Father and the Son are one: Jesus in us, and the Father in Jesus, that we may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that the Father has sent Jesus, and has loved us, just as the Father has loved Jesus.