Timidity is infectious. Many a church would be stronger if it were weeded out–just as Gideon’s army was. Its weakness lies in its great numbers, not because numbers necessarily weaken–but because there are so many half-hearted people on the church roll. They have lost their interest, if they ever had any, and are indifferent, without thorough consecration. They add no strength–but only hinder the other members and dampen their zeal. —J.R. Miller
It is true, to a great extent, that great numbers weakens the church, because weak people are in the numbers. More can and ought to be said about helping the timid and fearful in those numbers to come to faith, but when sought outside of the will of God, the desire to have greater numbers weakens the church and undermines its mission and health. Continue reading
“… he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth” Lk 1.15
No one is born into spiritual gianthood. Some are born with a silver spoon in their mouths, into wealth and privileged position in this world, but none come forth from the womb with spiritual stature and power.
John the Immerser was an exception, as the chosen one to go before the Messiah and announce his coming. He played a special role in the divine plan of redemption. An angelic visit and miraculous moment surrounded his conception and birth. He was filled with the Holy Spirit before his birth. Continue reading
Merry Christmas to you and yours, with peace
And joy and love — may all your borders increase —
Except for added inches around your waist —
Of all the pies and cakes may you get a taste.
May presents be just what you want and need,
The day be happy, and all your jokes succeed,
Consuming food without your gaining weight,
With only meat and carbs upon your plate.
May Christmas be the day of children’s laughter —
And adult naps, made necessary after
A full repast — And most of all, may you
Enjoy the gift of God — enjoy anew
The people he placed to celebrate at your side —
Together you’ll have the best yuletide.
Sufficient for the day is evil’s work,
But more is gentle grace we must not shirk.
For every need, his mercies overflow
The humble heart — God is never slow
To answer prayer and act on our behalf.
Every morning brings us manna’s loaf.
Empty of fruit his word does not return,
His people work, and from his wisdom learn.
From heaven fire descends by justice’ hand,
The meek and lowly of heart inherit the land.
Along the farthest coasts and islands of the sea,
As far as richest mind can reach to the world’s extremes,
The folly of man pursues, and from it none is free:
The wisest, best and purest — none is what he seems.
Of God’s good plan in Jesus Christ we all have need,
Incurable, sinful hearts in him can be made whole;
Divine redemption — rescue — starts with but a seed,
The powerful word of God can save a sinful soul.
A sinner like me! For me came God in human flesh,
The murky truth of Jesus’ birth is mystery
Revealed — in him we see the mercy of God afresh —
That love which hung upon, and not below, the tree.
Make fun of lists? Who’d do a thing like that?
By lists mankind for years has lived and thrived!
And God likes lists! Sons of Jehoshaphat,
Our dos and don’ts, the virtues God has prized.
If God can make much use of lists, then we
Can also, to good effect — certainly!
Unless your mind can always act on cue,
Make a list to know what you should do.
The tongue a blessing? Now there’s a thought!
Let few be teachers — what weighty task!
With dangers and trials the work is fraught —
For wisdom and rein of lip you must ask.
In common have the rich and poor
That God gives life to both;
To hate one’s neighbor saints abhor —
God blesses love and truth.
The crimes of man seem cruel and cold —
except our own, acceptable and reasonable.
We justify without limits — sin
a construct in our agile minds.
Society’s ills are a shame — but we
carry no guilt — we separate
ourselves, with ease, from human blame,
refusing to stand as worst offender —
assuming, brashly, the place of judge.
Inspired by “A Collect for the Renewal of Life“
O God, the King eternal, light
Dividing, piercing densest dark,
Who puts the shadow of death to flight,
To birth the morn with brightest mark: Continue reading