Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Review: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream [Book]As I began reading this book, I was really excited, and even convicted on some personal issues of mine own, such as consuming too much of my “blessings” and not sharing enough of them. But the book never turned the corner for me from there. His 5-fold response is nothing Radical. Instead, maybe the book should have been called “Refresher.” 

Like many who have already reviewed this book, I do find it leans a little too heavy in the guilt area. I much rather would have read more about all that the Bible has to say on this subject and less of the areas the author felt were “off balance.”  It seems to me as if the author never considered any truths from Proverbs.

Overall, I would say this is a good, but not great, book for every Christian to read. Just follow the old adage of “take the meat and spit out the bones,” and you will be challenged to indeed make some changes for the Lord.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Monday, December 20, 2010

From Swaddling Clothes To Grave Clothes

Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Today, when we consider swaddling clothes, we often think of something similar to a baby blanket. But what does the word "swaddling" mean? Consider the definition given in Webster's 1828 dictionary - SWAD'DLE - to bind, as with a bandage; to bind tight with clothes; used generally of infants; as, to swaddle a child. The question I now ask you is this: What was so prophetic then about the swaddling clothes?
These types of clothes were often used in bandaging the wounded and wrapping the dead.  So, Jesus left heaven and when he took on the flesh of man, was immediately wrapped in these bandages. And what was the last thing He had on before He rose from the grave – bandages.
 Luke 24:12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass

So, when Mary and Joseph bound baby Jesus tightly in the swaddling clothes, it was God’s way of pointing to the future and showing that He was coming the first time as the Suffering Saviour, the Ultimate and Final Sacrifice for Sins. It shows that He was sentenced to die for man ever before He was born.  Remember – He had no bandages on before He came, nor after He left because the Sacrifice was complete!

He was given swaddling clothes…grave clothes…a death sentence…to start His earthly ministry – but He left death at the grave because He was the Ultimate conqueror of death, hell, and the grave! Those grave clothes represent our sin – and they were left dead in the grave - Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So, when you see a manger scene this Christmas season, remember that God Incarnate was born with a death sentence, as exhibited by the swaddling clothes that wrapped His body tight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why We Have Lost The Joy of Christmas

Luke 2:10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

  1. Money Has Taken Over The Holiday
  2. Myths Have Taken Over The Holiday - Christmas should be about:
    1. Christ, and not a Character
    2. Calvary's Tree, and not a Christmas Tree
    3. Christ's Empty Grave, not a Christian's Earthly Gifts.
  3. Men Have Taken Over The Holiday
    1. They have changed it - new name, music, etc.
    2. They have conformed it - worldliness
    3. They have criticized it - argue the date of birth, claim pagan origins, etc.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Multiply the Impossible

Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Most of my readers are familiar with the first couple of chapters of the Gospel According to Luke in relation to Christmas. As I was re-reading these chapters for upcoming messages this Christmas season, something new stood out to me this time. Now, we all realize there is nothing new in Bible; but as we like to say when we buy a used car, "It may not be new, but its new to me!"

Something that I never considered before was the timing of what Gabriel tells Mary about her cousin Elisabeth. I began to imagine what was going through Elisabeth's mind the past six months, and what is now going through Mary's mind as she contemplates all that Gabriel tells her. It must be reassuring for each of them to know that they are not the only one in this boat of impossibility. 

I began to think how sometimes when we see God bless us and do something impossible in not only us, but others around us, our attitude begins to change. If we are not the only one who God is blessing at this time, then we silently get upset. This reveals the true nature of our heart - we are selfish and prideful. Our desire should be to have God bless us in a way that will give Him, and not us, the glory - and that His blessings of making possible the impossible will be poured out on others. 

Our prayer should be that God will multiply the impossible in our life and the lives of those around us this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting For The Snow

Psalm 130:6  My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. 

This morning our girls woke up and their excitement bubbled over as they peered out of our large front window in the living room. Why, you ask? BECAUSE IT'S SNOWING!!! Darci and I are not so excited. What is the difference? I believe one of the differences is in what you are anticipating.

My daughters are looking forward to playing in the snow, building snowmen, and tobogganing down the large hills (BTW, to my southernly-challenged friends, a toboggan is NOT the warm hat you wear during the winter. The picture above explains what a toboggan is.). 

On the other hand, when the wife and I see snow, we see harsh driving conditions, high gas bills to keep our home warm, and hours and hours of shoveling and de-icing. 

You see, the difference is in the anticipation. As we begin the season that is set aside to celebrate the first coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, are we waiting with anticipation for his Second Coming? Is our heart full of love and anticipation for that glad reunion day? That day should be looked toward with joy and anticipation, and not dread fear.

When you begin to think about all those things you are anticipating this Christmas season, is the Lord's return one of them?