Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Xmas" Takes the "Christ" Out of Chrismas?

For all you folks out there who are upset about Xmas because it takes the "Christ" out of Christmas,

Or, click on this link to see what it's all about.  Have a very Merry Christmas (Or, Xmas)!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A surprising video.

I'm not going to comment on this one.  I just want to let it speak for itself.

The Fullness of God's Word

Spirit & Truth # 254
“The Fullness of God’s Word”
By Greg Smith

Merry Christmas!  God is among us!  Everything’s changed!  Just as the herald angels sang Jesus’ birth and declared God’s monumental arrival on the earth, so too God’s people must go and tell!  Go, tell it on the mountain.  Go, tell it in the cities and in the country.  Tell it in the offices and in the schools.  Go, tell God’s salvation to everyone who will hear it, because God has sent His joy to the world.
You’ve been waiting for Christmas so you can celebrate the season.  You’ve been waiting so you can sing some songs of joy.  You’ve been wanting to seek some solace.  But is that all there is?  Comfort and cheer?  Joy to the world?  Nothing more?
            In Colossians 1:25 (NIV), the apostle Paul said that God had commissioned him “to present to you the word of God in its fullness.”  What is the fullness of God’s word?  It’s more than the customary Christmas story.  It’s more than carols and candles.  The fullness of God’s word is “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people (Colossians 1:26).”
            Paul uses the word mystery.  But this word with Greek origin doesn’t mean what you think it means.  It doesn’t mean something secret that only a sleuth can find.  It doesn’t mean a perplexing puzzle that baffles the brilliant.  The word “mystery” actually means something revealed—like that final scene in a whodunit when the crime is solved and everything set right.
            Paul said the mystery is solved.  The secret is revealed.  Everything is set right.
            What’s the solution?  “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).”  Christ in you, the hope of glory.  This is the fullness of God’s word.  
            You see, it’s not enough to celebrate Christmas, the day when God came into the world.  His name, “Emmanuel,” means “God with us.”  But it’s not enough that God was with us in the flesh, or that God is with us in the spirit.  You can celebrate His advent into the world all you want, but this Christmas I ask you whether Christ has come into your heart.  Christ in you is your hope of glory.  Only then will everything truly change.  Only then will you truly know His peace, love, hope, and joy.
If God is in your heart, then everything’s changed!  God gave His word that we might know and believe.  God gave this word that we might be saved—and more than that.  He wants believers to come to full maturity in Christ (verse 28).  He invites you to go deeper into the mystery, to go and tell it on the mountain that in Christ, everything’s changed.
If you’re not a believer, then God invites you to receive the Babe of Bethlehem and give real meaning to your celebration of Christmas.  He invites you to believe the Lord of life and the message He brings.  He invites you to conceive even as Mary did, inviting Jesus inside so that you can know “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  Won’t you respond to His call this Christmas?

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Beautiful Song About Aging

This morning, I heard this song for the first time, and had to share it with you.  It's entitled "The Dutchman," and was written by Michael Smith (no relation to me).  I wanted to share it with you, because it communicates the kind of love that old couples have for each other.  Beth and I have known many old couples who have been examples to us in our marriage.

Growing old together is a bittersweet thing.  No one wants to watch a loved one decline in physical or mental strength.  But being there to take care of one another is what marriage is all about.

Beth, you and I are approaching twenty years of marriage.  I pray for decades more.  I look forward to the adventure of growing old together.  I love you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Fullness of Christ

Spirit & Truth # 253
“The Fullness of Christ”

By Greg Smith

            A couple of years ago, my brother Paul and I had an online debate on our two blogs.  I posted a story about a woman in one of our local shops who told me, "You sure look like Richard Dreyfuss. You even sound like him." Then, with all seriousness in her voice she said, "Are you Richard Dreyfuss?"
My brother was surprised by this story, because people have always told him told him that he is a dead ringer for the actor.  On his blog, he had even posted pictures side by side, of himself and the actor.  Even our mother said she had seen the photo of Dreyfuss and wondered if Paul had simply grown his hair long. 
We asked our blog readers for their comments, and overwhelmingly they voted that while Paul was actually a doppelganger of Richard Dreyfuss, I was in fact the clone of the myth-busting Adam Savage.  It seems that with around 6 billion people on the planet, there are only so many faces to go around.  Everyone is rumored to have a doppelganger, a non-biological twin or double, walking around out there somewhere.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that our Maker made us to reflect God’s own glory.  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  That image was broken by our sin, and now we are poor examples of God’s likeness.  So God planned to restore His image in one sinless man: His own divine son Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” In Colossians 1, verses 15 and 19-20, Paul writes:  “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
In one man, Jesus, dwelt both the fullness of God, and the fullness of frail humanity.  His sinless life and His sacrificial death reunite our heavenly Father with anyone who would again become a true bearer of God’s image.  Colossians 2:9-10 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”  Being the head over every power and authority in your life, He sets you free to serve Him and represent His character to the world.
This means that if you’re a Christian then you become not just a poor soul living out your time on this earth—you become Jesus’ doppelganger for other people to see.  When they see you, they see our Lord.  Colossians 1:27 says that “Christ in you [is] the hope of glory.”  He is your own hope, and when you bear His image to the world, He becomes their hope as well.  This Christmas as we remember that Jesus came into the world as a little baby, let’s also remember that He remains in the world in the witness of every Christian who bears His image and His name.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Fullness of Time

Spirit & Truth # 252
“Fullness of Time”

By Greg Smith

 “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV).”

The Bible says that unbelievers who were once enslaved to sin are now brought near by the blood of Jesus.  Because He gave the ultimate gift of love when He died on the cross, those who were once strangers to God are brought into the family of God.  They are adopted into God’s household and become brothers and sisters of Jesus, who is the only begotten Son of heavenly Father.
Jesus’ life is the pivotal moment of all history, dividing our timeline between B.C. and A.D.  During the season of Advent, Christians wait for the second coming of Christ.  But just think how anxiously Old Testament believers waited for the Messiah’s first arrival.  We count backwards from B.C. to the year 0 A.D., but they had no idea when their Savior would be born.  They didn’t know that the day of His arrival would have less to do with dates on the calendar, and more to do with God bringing things about in the “fullness of time.” 
What is the “fullness of time?”  Simply put, it is God’s perfect timing as He works with events in human history to bring His purposes about.  God does things when He is ready to—not when we think He ought to.  Because God stands outside of time, seeing beginning and end all at once,[i] He is able to interject His will into our human existence, inviting us to trust in His timing.  Prior to Christ’s coming, believers waited without knowing when God would send the Savior.  They only knew that He was faithful, and that He would do it when He was ready.
From the beginning, God was working His purpose out.  When God saved Noah’s family from the flood, He didn’t rescue just anybody—He was rescuing the one who was “perfect in his generations.”[ii]  In other words, God knew that it was from the line of Noah that Jesus would descend, so God saved Jesus’ ancestor out of all humanity.  If God had given the wrong guy the plans for the ark, Jesus never would have been born.  But God knows what He’s doing.  So the Lord’s orchestration of human events continues.  When God called Abraham,[iii] when He passed over the Hebrew houses in Egypt,[iv] and when God promised David that his line would endure forever,[v] God was working His purpose out in human history.  He was working in the fullness of time.  All these, and countless other things, had to happen before the world was ready for the Messiah to arrive.  Then, when the time was right, God sent His Son.
If you find yourself in a waiting pattern, unsure of how God is going to bring his purposes out in your life, then trust that He is operating in the fullness of time.  At just the right moment, God will show you His faithfulness.  Perhaps He is arranging things so they will be just right, creating the perfect setting in which to show you His salvation.  At the instant of your greatest need—and not before—He will act, and demonstrate His glory.  Trust in His goodness, and wait on His plan, which you’ll find in the fullness of time.

[i] John 8:58; Revalation 22:13; Romans 4:17
[ii] Genesis 6:9 NIV
[iii] Genesis 12:2-3
[iv] Exodus 12;12-13
[v] 2 Samuel 7:16