Who says Christmas has to come to a close? Who says that just because the boxes and bags get broken down and packed away for use next year that we can’t intentionally and carefully prepare beautiful presents and packages of love and ministry for one another?
Christ is the altar of our faith. He is the feast that sustains us and infuses our life and being with delight and joy, nurture and nourishment and strength (Hebrews 13:10-11). He is the living bread, unlike any bread prepared here on earth. More heavenly than the most buttery croissant, more delectable than the sweetest challah, more rich in sustenance than the most rustic grain loaf, Jesus provides life everlasting, joys unimaginable, strength for the ages.
Share this feast. Read the evangel with someone this year. Bring the testimony of the kingdom to someone who is hungry.
James tells us it is the essence of Christian love to care for the orphans and the widows, the poor in spirit and the impoverished in heart, the sick in soul, and the discouraged (1:27). This is an all-year exhortation, and yet, it’s not difficult to see how now, during the season of warm fuzzy Christmas commercials and reminders of what used to be, when there are not the same number of gifts under the tree, or when the traditional experiences are missing a participant, that the orphans and widows among us need care. Now is when the ache is most pronounced, when the holes seem to echo.
Fellowship and communion cannot happen where everyone arrives as rulers of their own little kingdoms. There is no glory in winning the argument over the best way to do a potluck.
The March may be in our rear view mirror, but the women and children stricken by the culture’s wild road trip to sexual license are lying all over the path in front of us. The March may be over for those who attend, but it’s not for the single mom. Pour grace into her exhausted and lonely life, smooth her path while you help her become strong in Christ, revive her along the way as she walks in obedience, and pray for her to daily submit her household to Him.
A new (old) post at Servants of Grace.
Despite the growing societal disdain for “evangelicals” as a loosely identified political class in America, evangelism (which, by default, is practiced by evangelicals) is a thing. A believer embraces the evangel, the good news, the gospel. To the one who believes, it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), by which we are saved, if we hold fast to it (1 Corinthians 15:2), a truth embedded in the Scriptures which gives eternal life to those who come in truth (John 5:39-40).
In this time of confusion, sorrow, and unrest, when many of us may have forgotten what it’s like to sing with the brethren in worship, there is one thing that binds believers together. We are all learning the same words of the song we will sing together on Mount Zion. Our study doesn’t include traditional methods of voice instruction—no scales or enunciation practice. When we serve one another in Christ through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, we leave behind the distinctions that divide. We lay aside our prejudices and idols; we build harmonies and practice heavenly graces that rise up to God’s ears as ethereal melodies. (This post originally appeared at Servants of Grace.)
Although we reside in the Lord’s garden, the inclination of our still-fleshly lives is to choose our own path for growth. We strive for reproduction of ourselves—more of me! more of me! But God has a way to strengthen and beautify us, drawing forth applause and glory—more of Him! more of Him! And as happens in the cycle of growth, that often involves deadheading and affliction.
Sins keep people, those people we see and talk to every day, separated from God, in direct line of His wrath, and at risk of damnation forever if they don’t repent. Some of them, in God’s mercy and providence, may be your brethren not yet revealed. And when they are reborn and come to Christ, they will need discipleship and, very likely, encouragement and help in their struggles against the most addictive of these sins. They won’t need jokes that trivialize their sin. Sin is not funny business. Theirs nor yours nor anyone’s.
Don’t let conduct or conversation steal away opportunities to proclaim freedom to those enslaved to sin and life to the despairing. (originally published at Servants of Grace)