Archive for December 25th, 2007
So much interest swirls around angels these days. While some of that has to do with Christmas and the angels who welcomed Christ at His birth, a lot of has to do with interest in spiritual things. Angels are a “soft” way to talk about spiritual matters without having to lay your cards down on the table and confess that you believe that Jesus is THE answer. With angels, you can talk about the nether-world of spiritual matters, but never have to make the ultimate spiritual commitment about THE One spiritual guide to whom you will entrust your life. You can play “all religion is basically the same” card and keep from offending anyone.
The birth of Jesus Christ, however, challenges us to hear the claim of Scripture. Jesus is God, come to be with us in human flesh (John 1:14, 18). He Himself claims to be the only way to ultimate spiritual truth, the only genuine path to God, and the only One in whom is found lasting and authentic life (John 14:6).
My daily Bible reading today, Hebrews 1, makes the claim that Jesus is far superior to angels. He is God’s Son. He is God’s ultimate message, God’s great and authoritative Word to us for the last days. Jesus is the one angels worship!
//Inspiration: Hebrews 1:6
“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
//Incarnation: My take on this verse for me today
Angels are God’s blessing to us. They are sent to serve us as we seek to serve Christ. But, as fascinating they may be and as big a role as they play in the birth of Jesus, I must never, ever, lose my sense of the uniqueness and sufficiency and exclusive nature of Jesus.
O Father, thank you for speaking to us completely and fully in your Son. I join the angels in worshiping and honoring Him as Lord! Amen.
A love story full of sadness and despair that ends with faithfulness with a manly twist and deep river of gracious blessing from God’s people and the LORD himself — that’s how I would characterize the incredible story of Ruth. So many biblical themes percolate in this story — care for the poor, the widow, and the foreigner, God’s faithfulness, the faithfulness of a foreigner, the faithfulness of a godly man, the love between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law, the way God’s Law provided blessing for the disadvantaged, and how God kept his promise to use his people to be a blessing and how he used that blessing to keep his promise to his people.
Ruth’s loyalty is rewarded by God and Boaz. Boaz’s loyalty was rewarded by God and his choice of a lineage for the King. We are reminded, in the course of this story, of God’s great love for all peoples and his desire to bring them to himself.
//Inspiration: Ruth 2:12
[Boaz said to Ruth] May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.
//Incarnation: My take on the reading for me
I can’t help but notice all the “blessing” that goes on in such short book. Even in the middle of deep bitterness for her loss, Naomi can find a heart to bless her daughter-in-laws and look out for their best interests. This them of giving a blessing becomes the background music for this story. This is a story of God’s faithfulness to bring His blessing. But the greatest blessing of all was to be an outsider — a foreign widow — who was brought into the covenant family of the Lord. Ruth was brought into the family. I’ve got to find ways to help those who are widows and orphans and poor find their way into the protection of God’s wings of protection. Maybe it begins to start with Africa.
//Invitation: My Prayer Today
O LORD God, please bless the Malagassy students who are so close to completing their journey through school and who still need my support and encouragement. Thank you for Dale and Joyce who have offered them so much. Use me in some way to make a difference now, here, them. I also pray that you will help me do the work you want me to do in my upcoming trip to Uganda. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.