Archive | December, 2011

Verse for Today – John 16:33 (click to read devotional)

31 Dec

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of John 16

What a remarkable verse to both end and begin the year with.  Jesus was the omniscient, eternal God and could speak from a moment in time words that would exceed all time.  He told us words that we would need to remember.  He gives us a peace that is greater than suffering, life and death.  With these words He turns our faith toward Him.  He is Lord and Master of all and is both able and willing of help us no matter what trials we face.  He promised (and as the text above says,
“But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”
Isn’t it interesting that in the Christian faith we have the assurance of both eternal joy and peace and of present hardship and strife.  We were created to know, love and serve Almighty God.  While He is knowable from the vastness and intricacy of creation, he is most fully known in His Incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And how has He revealed himself to us?  Most faithfully though the written word, the Holy Bible… and of course the ministry of Gospel preaching (Romans 10:14-17).

Read it to know Him.


Verse for Today – John 14:1-3 (click to read blog)

29 Dec

John 14:1-3

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

 Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of John 14

 A few more favorite verses of mine.  In these verses Jesus clearly reveals that he understands his disciples and us.  How often don’t we let worry and doubts wash over us?  Jesus says, “Don’t.”  “You believe in God… believe also in me.”  Jesus addresses our weakness with his strength.  He is not only desirous of our rescue and care, but able also, being Almighty God.
In the verses that follow, He reveals his future plans and promises that we will be a part of them.  I’m going away to prepare things for your arrival.  This wouldn’t make any sense, unless I was going to come back and bring you to be with me.
The wonder of God’s grace is before us. 
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

Verse for Today – Luke 2:11-14 (click to read blog)

26 Dec


Luke 2:11-14


“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.””


 Read at Bible Gateway


Read all of Luke 2


 I thought I should finish the daily verses from Luke 2.  I have always been drawn to the Angel proclamation of these verses.  I’m reminded of Gabriel who replied to Zacharius’ doubt, I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.”  Their proclamations come with heaven’s endorsement and are exactly what they’re supposed to be.  I suppose the same can be said of all Scripture, but there’s something impressive about hearing heaven’s commentary or a “Thus says the LORD.”  I think such words remind us of our creaturely-ness.


 The Angel’s announcement is that Christ has been born… and that they can go and see him.  Then the heavens open up and a multitude of heavenly hosts (angels, warriors, creatures, etc.) proclaim the gracious work of redemption in Christ:


“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Verse for Today – Luke 2:8-11 (click to read blog)

23 Dec


Luke 2:8-11


“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”


Read at Bible Gateway


Read all of Luke 2


 The simple yet profound account of Christ’s birth continues in today’s verses.  Verse 7 had just informed us that the time for Mary to give birth had come.  “She brought forth her first born Son, and laid Him in an manger.”  


Verse 8 then begins by telling us of some of the subsequent events.  An angel appears to some shepherds who were out in the fields.  We’re not told far they were from the city, but we are told what message was given to them.   


“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”


How beautifully and simply put is that?  Great joy for all the people, because the Messiah, the Savior has been born.  That great joy has and will echo to every generation to the end of the world.  Reminds me of Acts 1:8 


“…and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Verse for Today – Luke 2:6-7 (click to read blog)

22 Dec


Luke 2:6-7


“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. “


 Read at Bible Gateway


Read all of Luke 2


 The previous verses told us that Mary and Joseph had traveled to Bethlehem because of the census.  While there, she gave birth to the incarnate (in the flesh) Son of God… the second person of the Trinity.  That a man could be a real God, we could never believe.  That Almighty God could enter humanity through the gestation process, that we can and must believe… as the Angel Gabriel had said to Mary in Luke 1, “For with God all things are possible.”


Verse 7 then identifies the place in which Jesus was born and why.  Jesus was likely born in a stable and feeding trough ( manger ) was used as a bed, as there was on room for them in the inn.  Simple reality…there were lots of people in Bethlehem for the census, but typological or representative as well.  Listen to how John speaks of this reality in John 1: 


10 “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

Verse for Today Blog – Luke 2:1, 4-5 (click to read more)

21 Dec


Luke 2:1, 4-5


“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”


 Read at Bible Gateway


Read all of Luke 2


 While for years the prophetic timetable seemed to make little headway, as we read the opening passages of the Gospels everything is moving along quickly. The details surrounding the birth of Christ are interesting and contextualizing.  They provide a witness and record of the events to show that what we’re dealing with in the Christian faith, took place in real time and space (history).  In Mark 1 these preliminary events are overlooked and goes right to the meat of the matter, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” 


For a time liberal scholars castigated the Scriptures as being unreliable and inaccurate.  One of their straw men was that there was no extant evidence of Quirinius or the census mentioned in verse 2.  We should not be surprised that sometime later archaeological evidence validated them both.


Today’s verses provide just a little bit more of the circumstances and setting for the birth of Christ Jesus.  A couple of things are clear.  1. Another witness to Joseph’s obedience to the Angel’s directions to take Mary as his wife.  2. Their trip to Bethlehem was approximately 6 months from the angel’s visit.  Mary has visited Elizabeth for three months… returned home and was found to be with child.  3. The time for her to give birth was approaching.


All this is part of the Gospel.  Well does the QA 22 of the Heidelberg Catechism say that true faith consists, not only with the conviction that all that God has revealed to us in his Word is true, but it does begin with this.  Do you really believe what Scriptures says?  It is the great discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Confidence in God’s written Word isn’t enough to save you, but it is the foundation on which true faith stands.


True faith also includes a hearty trust that not only to others, but to ourselves individually, God has freely granted the forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and salvation, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. 

Verse for Today Blog – Luke 1:76-78 (click to read)

20 Dec
Luke 1:76-78

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven….

Read at Bible Gateway

Read all of Luke 1

 Today’s Verse is the conclusion of the Zechariah’s prophetic song.  Zechariah is John the Baptist’s father.  He had previously sung about the One greater than his Son, but is now speaking now of the work and ministry of John the Baptist.  He will be “a prophet of the Most High.”  This reference to God is generally used to refer to God the Father, but here it’s not necessarily exclusive.    As Christ is God Incarnate it may well refer to Him also.

John’s ministry was preparatory.  He was calling the nation of Israel to repent…  to get real about their faith… to view themselves and their sin more accurately.  It’s important to realize that the summary of John’s ministry was, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  Formality and traditions had been substituted to true and sincere religion.  John was preparing them to humbly receive the Christ.

The final phrase is most beautiful. “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun (Dayspring) will come to us from heaven.”  In other words, God has shown us his compassion and let the light of His grace in Christ shine upon us.  How wonderful is that?  The song then concludes with these words,
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”