A Christmas Treasure: A Promise Keeper for Promise Breakers

No one has ever delivered so little according to what he promised, than Man.                     No one has ever delivered so much according to what he promised, than God.

 We promised that we would love the Lord. O did we ever fall short!                                God promised to love us forever in his Son. O did he ever succeed!

This is our focus for worship tomorrow, December 27, 2015. God the Father promised to send his own Son – Immanuel (Isaiah 7 and Matthew 1:21). Immanuel, Jesus, has promised us: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” – Matt. 28:20. The pastor to the Hebrews said in his sermon,

“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me.” Hebrews 13:5-6. After teaching these great truths for our hearts, we’ll make these three applications.

  1. Jesus forgives promise-breakers, even well-intentioned ones.
  2. Since “God is With Us” – then there is grace for honesty with ourselves and with others.
  3. Believe that since Jesus will never leave you, then the grace to persevere and keep your word is always there for you.

May the promises of the Lord be yours!

Let All Dying Flesh Keep Silence, because . . .

. . . that’s the only kind of flesh there is! I love this very ancient song. We sing this song every Christmas at our church. It “is an ancient chant of Eucharistic devotion based on words from Habakkuk 2:20, “Let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hebrew: הַ֥ס מִפָּנָ֖יו כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץhas mippanaw kol ha-erets). The original was composed in Greek as a Cherubic Hymn for the Offertory of the Divine Liturgy of St James;[1] it probably antedates the rest of the liturgy and goes back at least to AD 275, with local churches adopting arrangements in Syriac. In modern times, the Ralph Vaughan Williams arrangement of a translation from the Greek by Gerard Moultrie to the tune of “Picardy“, a French medieval folk melody, popularized the hymn among other Christian congregations” – wikipedia:)

Here are the lyrics, and my feeble attempt to play. The lyrics are profound and biblical. The author believed that the one born of Mary was, and is, the one of Isaiah 6 – Yahweh!, the Eternal God who came in flesh. And so do I. Enjoy!

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the powers of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!


I miss playing for mom and dad at Christmas

By God’s strange grace, I began playing the piano at age 16 with zero knowledge of reading notes. My friend Dave Moore showed me where “middle C” was, and with about 8 months of showing me how to play “by ear”, a love for playing the piano began; and so did a love for playing for mom and dad began. And to this day, I love to play for them – even if it means via technology.

Miss you both very much.

Hope for our sad hearts at Christmas

“Christmas Time is Herel” was written and produced by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi for the 1965 TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Here are the lyrics, notice the last lines, italicized:

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here                                                                                                             Families drawing near                                                                                                         Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

Christmas time has a unique way, unlike other times of the year, of pushing sad feelings to the surface. There are just as many reasons to be sad and cry at Christmas as there are reasons for joy and laughter. I think this is why:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”         Prov. 13:12

This is the way things are with everyone. Everyone wants hope and desire satisfied. But we all know the truth: we all live in a broken-down body in a broken-down world with broken dreams and crushed spirits. We are all longing for an existence, a real place and time, where the joy that Christmas promises will never again disappear. Christmas has a painful way of reminding us of ambushed hope. But the wise observation that Solomon gives is a sign-post that points to Christ. Hope in Christ does not take away the pain that we live with, but it does provide the soul with a joy that one day all the hopes that were deferred in this life will be satisfied in him. This is why scripture records angels, shepherds, Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist, the Wise Men, Simeon in the Temple – all rejoicing that the Christ has been born. There is so much sadness in the world that the hope of Jesus is the only “tree of life” to cling to. Finally, hope deferred no longer.

A Christmas Thought

For God to come to you with the Peace and Joy of Christmas,

he had to spend Christmas alone without his Son.

When the Son of God was growing in the virgin womb of Mary, he was really there – in flesh, by the overshadowing, the equipping of the Holy Spirit. The Son of God was in Bethlehem, not heaven. He was in an animal stable, not with his Father in heaven.

What kind of great love is this that the Father would spend Christmas alone, without his Son, so that you, by faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, could know true joy and peace forever?

Enjoy the song by Sovereign Grace Ministries – we love singing this in worship each year the first Sunday after Christmas.