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Archive for the ‘Promise’ Category

Christmas — the Birth of Our Divine Warrior

06 Dec

I love the celebration of Christmas especially when it turns my focus to the incarnation of the Divine Warrior who would come and rescue us from the kingdom of darkness. Though we may sing, “Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright,” our theology suggests that more than that was going on that night. Hell was raging. Satan was fuming. The demons were preparing for the greatest confrontation between the powers of evil and the power of God.

Way back in the Garden, God had ordained that hostility would exist between Satan and those whom God had created in His image to worship and serve Him. The Old Testament narrative portrays that hostility in the frequent attempts of various enemies to destroy the people of God. Time and again, Yahweh fights for His people and delivers them. He chooses warriors like Gideon and David who fight the enemies of God and His people.

As we read these narratives through the lens of the New Testament, we realize that a great spiritual hostility lay behind these physical battles between nations. The attempts to eliminate the people of God were designed by Satan to thwart the coming of that One whom God promised would come and ‘crush the head” of Satan.  The Lord’s sovereign and powerful interventions in behalf of His people renewed hope that the ultimate Divine Warrior would come and defeat the great foe of mankind.

Christmas is the birth of a King, a Warrior King, a Divine King. Though He is the Prince of Peace he comes, not to appease or accommodate evil, but to destroy evil and to crush the evil one.  He is born to defeat sin, Satan, and death.  The life and ministry of Jesus vividly portray the confrontations He had with Satan and the demonic world. Unlike the first Adam, Jesus comes through every time as one who triumphs over evil.

Satan was relentless in His attacks against this One who is called “the Son of God” and within the eternal plan of God is allowed to incite the mobs to kill Jesus. Death would be Satan’s final vanquishing of the Divine Warrior.  Death was Satan’s last and most powerful weapon to bring against Jesus. However, little did Satan know that God would use this powerful weapon of death to be the very means by which Satan himself would be defeated. Satan unleashed his great fury in the death of Jesus only to have it recoil and crush the great enemy of mankind.

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Heb 2:14-15 ESV)

“Up from the grave He arose with a might conquest of His foes. He arose a victor from the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose. He arose. Hallelujah Christ arose!”


 

Loving the City?

02 Sep

Loving the City?

Urban Ministry and Urban Living often attract those who are infatuated or flirtatious with the mystique of the city and even some who profess to love the city. Some of us simply love the gospel and the density (crowded neighborhoods) and diversity (economic, ethic, educational, cultural, and age differences) of people who are found in the city – offering an opportunity for a strategic advance of the gospel.

We should be cautious about the phrase ‘Loving the city’ because it can be no more than a cliché of those who either do not know the city or those who have come to believe that it is mark of spiritual achievement when you can say, “I love the city.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

Reflections on Suffering (Job 29-30)

30 Aug

 

Reflections on Suffering (Job 29-30)

Job’s life had radically changed from prosperity to suffering. Job felt like God’s watchcare over him had also changed. He now feels like God is not lighting his path nor being a friend to him. There was a former time when Job remembered that ‘life was good’. He recalled the favor and respect that he had from others because of the apparent ‘blessing of God’ as seen in his prosperous life. Job remembered when his trouble free life allowed him to focus on pursuing the needs of others. He was able to face the despair of others with confidence and a smile. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Are ‘extended sabbaticals” pastoral examples of how to care for the soul?

15 Jul

Are ‘extended sabbaticals” pastoral examples of how to care for the soul?

Recently a few high profile Christian leaders have taken long sabbaticals from public ministry to give attention to the care of their souls. This is a luxury that most of us in and outside of ministry cannot afford but perhaps one which we all desire from time to time.  However, most of us are caught up in the exigencies of daily life, family, ministry, community, etc. and depend upon the gospel to nurture our souls in the midst of the stresses and challenges of daily life.

If there is a pattern of sin in the lives of these men that disqualifies them from ministry, then I understand the extended sabbatical and would recommend that they get a job and learn to live the Christian life in the midst of the challenges of life outside of ministry.

If there is no disqualifying sin, then is this growing pattern of ‘extended sabbatical’ a pastoral example setting forth the way for everyday Christians to deal with their sin and failures in life? Or has elitism evolved in Christianity in which a privileged few need special treatment to address their superior spiritual needs? Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Words of Encouragement

28 Jun


Life is often discouraging. The daily news and our own experience tell us that life can be discouraging. Loved ones die in war, of illness, and of tragic accident. What appeared to have been a happy marriage ends in divorce. Children who once brought joy bring heartache in their rebellion.

Yes, life is often full of bad news. Even though we naively expect a fairy tale ending where “everyone lives happily ever after,” to our dismay life in this world doesn’t always turn out that way. Even in those moments where you think you’re winning and getting ahead, there’s a set back. You know how it is when you’ve just been able to set a few bucks aside and “bang” the car breaks down or a major appliance goes on the blink.

How can we face discouragement while living in this fallen world? Read the rest of this entry »