Based On: Philippians 2:9-13
Did you know that the New Testament name, Jesus, and the Old Testament name, Joshua, are really the same name? They both come from the Hebrew word, Yeshua. The reason they sound different is that words are often pronounced differently when they move from one language to another and the name “Jesus” has gone from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English. But however you pronounce it, the personal name of our Savior means, “The LORD saves”.
Based On: Luke 2:13-14
The shepherds were doing what they did every night – watching the sheep. The night was quiet and peaceful as a single angel told them Christ was born in Bethlehem. Suddenly thousands of angels, if not tens of thousands, broke the peace of that night and sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” The Christ child came and the angels proclaim that there is now peace. As I look around I don’t see much peace in this world. Where is this peace?
Based on: Revelation 12:1-6
Have you ever witnessed a car accident? Your perspective can make a big difference in how you think about what happened. Imagine that you were just at an intersection and you saw a car coming from your right. It swerved out of its lane and hit a car coming from the other direction. Perhaps you think how foolish it was for the one driver to not pay attention.
But what if you saw the accident from another perspective? What if you were looking down from above and you saw the little boy get away from his mother and run toward the street? You would understand why the driver swerved out of his lane. What if your perspective even included the thoughts of this driver as he recognized that little boy as his own? Your broader perspective helps you better understand the event.
Now let me ask, “With what perspective do you watch the events of Christmas?” Is it from the side, is it from above, or do you know what God thinks about Christmas?
Based on: Philippians 4:4-7
Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is coming – two times when family and friends like to get together. Are there people you look forward to seeing? People who bring a little joy to the gathering? I remember as a kid I looked forward to seeing my Uncle Joe. His gregarious smile and humorous wit added to the joy of the occasion. We looked forward to seeing him. I even remember some of the things he said. For example, as he was leaving sometimes he would say, “I’m glad you got to see me.” He was just teasing us – I think.
Based on: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Think about Job for a minute – that man that God allowed Satan to test so severely. Do you admire his faith? Job suffered so much in a short period of time. He lost all his wealth. His children were all killed in one tragic accident. He suffered from a painful skin disease. On top of all that his friends caused even more suffering by telling him that it was all his fault. The amazing thing about Job is that in spite of all his suffering he held on to the promise that the Lord Jesus was coming. He didn’t know that his name would be Jesus, but the coming of his Savior was the one thing greater than all of his suffering. So he couldn’t help but exclaim, " I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God."
Based on: Deuteronomy 8:10-18
For many generations parents have been telling their children, “Now remember to say ‘Thank you’”. I think even Adam and Eve had to tell their children to say thank you. Certainly they taught their children to say thank you to God – the offerings they made in Genesis chapter 4 were intended to be just that, a thank you to God.
Based on: John 18:33-37
What is it like to have a king? None of you have ever lived in a country ruled by a king, have you? I’m afraid that living under a king is a concept that is foreign to our culture. We can not understand fully what that is like, but let me share a few examples that might give some insight.
Based on: John 5:25-29
Today is “Saints Triumphant” Sunday. No, I’m not talking about the New Orleans Saints football team, even though they are undefeated so far this season. If you are a Saints fan, that might make you feel “triumphant”, but if you are a fan of another football team without a perfect record, you might feel not quite as triumphant. However we are here to talk about an even greater triumph than winning football games. We are here to remind ourselves that Christ’s death was our victory over death. We are here to focus on the victorious life we have and the triumph we will enjoy when God calls us home to eternal life.
Based on: Jeremiah 18:1-11
Just north of Zhengzhou, China there is a road cut into the side of a cliff. It is less than a mile long and only about twelve feet wide with a wall of rock on one side and a sudden drop of hundreds of feet on the other side. It is called “The road that does not tolerate any mistakes”. It sounds like the title fits, don’t you think? On a road like that you have to constantly watch where you are going. You must always be careful to stay on the road. The Reformation is like that. The Reformation is a constant vigilance concerning God’s Word to make sure we stay on the road. We dare not think of the Reformation as an event in the past. No, the Reformation continues.
Based on: Mark 10:17-27
Are you ready for the trick-or-treaters? Halloween is this Saturday and, depending on where you live, you may have kids coming to your door expecting candy. Don’t forget, it is also Reformation Day, the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses regarding indulgences to the church door in Wittenberg – more about that next week.