Friday, December 28, 2018

The Equation of Infinite Forgiveness


There is a mathematical way to think about the love of God. Because His forgiveness is infinite, there is no way to subtract from it and make it less than what it was. In other words, it does not run out or have limits. It is a simple equation, but one that is not always easy for us to grasp. If we can do so, though, it can be a great inducement to faith for new believers and long-time Christians alike. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas Carol Contemplation: "Joy to the World"


The final entry in the Christmas Carol Contemplation series looks at “Joy to the World.” The words were not originally intended for the celebration of Christmas, which provides two valuable lessons. First, God can make great and unexpected use of our efforts. And second, the real purpose of the hymn is still suited to this holiday. It reminds us that Christ’s first coming will eventually lead to His second. The story does not end in the manger, or even on the cross, but in the glorious return of the King of Kings. That, above all else, is the reason to celebrate. And the celebration does not have to stop on December 25th. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Waiting for Christmas


The Gospel of Luke tells us of Simeon and Anna, two elder saints overjoyed by the arrival of the Messiah. Simeon is sometimes seen as the lesser of the two because his response did not include evangelism. However, that is not the point of his story. He is a model of how to wait for God to move in our lives, and it would be wise for us to learn to do the same.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Carol Contemplation: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" & "O Little Town of Bethlehem"


"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" share enough in common that I felt the need to discuss them together, but the contrast between them makes the real impact. One song describes the explosiveness of Christ's coming, while the other focuses on His humble beginnings. They remind us that God has revealed the Savior, but we have to be willing to notice Him and the mercies He brings.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christian and Secular Hypocrisy


The coverage of the 2016 scandal at Ole Miss is a good illustration of the damage Christian hypocrisy can do. But it also goes to show that there are non-Christians who want to see the worst in believers and refuse to see what the faith is really all about. The followers of Jesus are not perfect. They are redeemed. We are still held accountable for our mistakes, but the fact that we call for a high moral standard does not make us unforgivable when we sometimes fail to achieve it. God knows that. It would be nice if our adversaries could grasp that, because then they might see the value in salvation, as well.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Christmas Carol Contemplation: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"


The classic carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is an inspirational reminder to rely on God in the most troubling times, drawn directly from the experiences of author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. However, it is missing an explicit focus on Christ, who is the reason we celebrate in the first place. We cannot forget that the hope we have in God comes directly through Jesus, not through a general sense of goodwill.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

"LOL Nothing Matters"


The old internet joke "lol nothing matters" should not usually be taken seriously, but I've done it, anyway. At root, it is an attempt to deny meaning. Philosophies that embrace this mindset are dangerous and incoherent. We can laugh at the joke, but we shouldn't forget that it sometimes is a mask for pain. People are looking for meaning. We have to try to show it to them in the form of God's love and His purpose for our lives.