Morning Musing: Micah 5:2

“Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Christmas morning is a time when kids all over the place are looking forward to waking up, going to wherever their tree happens to be, and laying their eyes on their big Christmas surprise. The bigger the better too. I remember a few Christmases when I was little where I had some big toy or another greeting me as I walked in the living room. As you start getting a little older, though, something happens. The toys tend to get a little smaller. Then they get a little smaller still. And the first few times you find something smaller – still exciting, but smaller – it hits a little like a slap in the face. Yet, as the old cliche goes, big things can come in small packages. This verse offers us a potent reminder of that truth. As we continue our Advent journey this morning, let’s talk about God’s tendency to work big things in unexpected ways.

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Morning Musing: Genesis 3:15

“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Jesus came to save sinners. That was His basic purpose in a nutshell. I mean, sure, there’s the whole thing about announcing the inauguration of the kingdom of God, but the growth of God’s kingdom happens as sinners are saved and enter into it. So, Jesus came to save sinners. What’s even better about this is that, as Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, He undertook this whole effort when we were still living in open rebellion against Him. That is, we weren’t particularly interested in being saved if it meant giving up our sin, but He came anyway because we didn’t really understand how bad off we were. His love for us was that great. This program of saving sinners, though, wasn’t something that came out of nowhere. It wasn’t like God finally got tired of our being separated from Him and suddenly threw a plan into action. It was the bringing to fruition of something He had been planning for a very long time. This morning, let’s take a quick look together at the first time that plan was announced.

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Morning Musing: John 1:1-3,14

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. . .The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This morning we are making a transition. For the next few weeks, we are going to use this time to focus our attention on the season of Advent. For most folks generally and even most followers of Jesus, what follows the celebration of Thanksgiving (at least in this country) is the Christmas season. But in the historical church calendar, what we enter into at the beginning of December is the season of Advent. Advent is from a Latin word that means arrival. In the season of Advent, we are focusing our attention on preparing to celebrate the arrival of Jesus into the world. Of course, we aren’t awaiting His first coming like our ancient forebears were. Rather, we are looking forward with hopeful expectation to His second coming when He will finally make all things right. This is something we should be living our lives toward all the time, but during the season of Advent, we give it special attention with Jesus’ first coming in mind. All this month we are going to do just that through the lens of several passages throughout the Scriptures that will help us prepare in heart and mind for His arrival in our lives and in our world, and to get us ready to celebrate Christmas when it finally comes with special joy and excitement.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 5:20

“…giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This is a day for giving thanks. It is Thanksgiving, after all. At least it is in the United States. If you are one of the many folks reading somewhere else in the world today is probably just Thursday where you are. A few other nations around the world have some sort of national day set aside for giving thanks, but not very many. There is a reason for this. As you pause for a moment in your busy preparations for food and family (and probably football) later today, let’s talk for just a moment about why we give thanks.

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 30:18-21

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The most common characterization of God people have from the prophets is that He is angry. He is filled with wrath and is waiting up in heaven to catch us in some wrongdoing so He can smite us. He’s like a kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day perched over an ant hill. The first time we show our head out of the pile, He’s going to smoke it off with a blast of lightning. And, there are some passages scattered throughout the prophets that would seem to justify such an image. But what you perhaps don’t realize is those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule throughout the prophets is something very different and entirely more New Testament-y in their flavor than you might expect. This morning as we finish up our short look at Isaiah 30, I want to set before a passage that is much more in line with the major picture of God we get from the prophets. Let’s talk about it.

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