Daily Archives: December 1, 2018

EChurch@Wartburg 12/1/18 | The Wartburg Watch 2018

Christmas Prayer by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.
Amen

A thousand people came together to record this lovely song, “Gloria”

Nativity Prayer by St. Augustine of Hippo, (AD 354-440)

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
Amen

This is a Christmas favorite picked by TWW readers. Unless you are a awesome singer (I’m not), this is one to enjoy by listening.

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 NIV

I love this account which records the words of Mary, a woman, in Scripture. I must say she managed all of this with great composure and faith. God chose a woman to bring forth the greatest gift for all men and women.

 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Do you know who Jeff VanVonderen is? He is one of the two authors of the book I always recommend on spiritual abuse. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church. He was a guest preacher at Emmanuel Enid and I didn’t want our readers to miss out on this.

We live in a world that promotes, even idolizes individual performance. Even we Christians often use our performance and other people’s assessments of our performance to measure our personal worth and identity, but what the gospel teaches is completely different. The gospel says, “You can’t do anything, and don’t need to do anything to earn it. It’s a gift.” This doesn’t make sense in our world, but this is the “foolishness of the gospel that makes foolish the wisdom of the world.” It truly is too-good-to-be-true, but it is! link

https://player.vimeo.com/video/301490734?title=0&portrait=0

Jeff VanVonderen: Too Good To Be True from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

You may want to stand up and dance to this version by Pentatonix.

Christmas Benediction link

Let us go from this place proclaiming that we have seen the glory of God
Believing that there is a light that shines in the darkness
Which the darkness shall not overcome
And may the love of the Creator
The joy of the Spirit
And the peace of the Christ-child
Be with you this Christmas, and evermore
Amen.

via EChurch@Wartburg 12/1/18 —

DECEMBER 1 GOD’S DESIRE

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

—Genesis 1:27

I believe there is good sound reasoning back of all this. I believe that He created man out of no external necessity. I believe it was an internal necessity. God, being the God He was and is, and being infinitely perfect and infinitely beautiful and infinitely glorious and infinitely admirable and infinitely loving, out of His own inward necessity had to have some creature that was capable of admiring Him and loving Him and knowing Him. So God made man in His own image; in the image and likeness of God made He him; and He made him as near to being like Himself as it was possible for the creature to be like the Creator. The most godlike thing in the universe is the soul of man.

The reason God made man in His image was that he might appreciate God and admire and adore and worship; so that God might not be a picture, so to speak, hanging in a gallery with nobody looking at Him. He might not be a flower that no one could smell; He might not be a star that no one could see. God made somebody to smell that flower, the lily of the valley. He wanted someone to see that glorious image. He wanted someone to see the star, so He made us and in making us made us to worship Him. WMJ003

Lord, I can’t completely comprehend how or why You created me in Your image, as much like You as a creature could be. But I’ll respond today with admiration for Your creation and with worship for my Creator. Amen. [1]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Saturday Sampler: November 25 — December 1 — The Outspoken TULIP

Maybe Mike Ratliff doesn’t say anything remarkably novel in his blog post, Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? for Possessing the Treasure, but his point really can’t be overstated. Current trends in evangelicalism must never eclipse the authority of the Bible.

Be honest: reading the Bible every day can get tiring. Thankfully, Ryan Higginbottom of  Knowable Word thinks of several ways that Reading the Bible for the Ten Thousandth Time can regain its freshness.

In response to the latest ridiculous Twitter pronouncement by Rachel Held Evans, Nick Batzig posts Jesus and Racial Bias in Reformation 21. I like the way Nick appeals to normative hermeneutics in order to demonstrate proper understanding of a Scriptural text.

A friend whom I highly respect has raised legitimate questions about the methods John Chau used in his evangelistic efforts to minister to an unreached tribe off the coast of India. Although I don’t wish to dismiss her concerns, Jordan Standridge’s 10 Lessons From The Death of John Chau makes extremely important points that all Christians absolutely must consider. You’ll find his article in The Cripplegate.

Check out Parking Space 23 for John Chester’s Reprise: So You Think You Are a Red Letter Christian? Even those of us who claim to believe the entire Bible has uniform authority might find his article to be a little convicting.

I appreciate the thoughtfully written John Allen Chau’s death stuns, angers, and perplexes the world, which Elizabeth Prata posts on The End Time. She evaluates the situation honestly, doing her best to cover all angles of the story. I especially love the hope she expresses as she closes this essay.

Leslie A insists that There’s More to Christianity Than Doing Good Works in an article for Growing 4 Life. Beginning with her brother’s interesting observation on the inoffensive nature of social justice, she discusses the mission we have as Christians — including the ramifications of carrying out that mission.

Think Catholicism has more in common with Protestant denominations than differences? Pope Francis would have you think so! Leonardo De Chirico of The Vatican Files chronicles the pope’s life-long devotion to Mary in 156. She is My Mamá — Pope Francis and Mary to show that the pontiff refuses to separate Christ from Mary.

via Saturday Sampler: November 25 — December 1 — The Outspoken TULIP

December 1 The Measure of Spiritual Maturity

In this I rejoice, yes; and will rejoice.

Philippians 1:18

A believer’s spiritual maturity can be measured by what it takes to steal his joy. Joy is a fruit of a Spirit–controlled life (Gal. 5:22). We are to rejoice always (Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16). In all circumstances the Holy Spirit produces joy, so there ought not to be any time when we are not rejoicing in some way.

Change, confusion, trials, attacks, unmet desires, conflict, and strained relationships can throw us off balance and rob us of our joy if we’re not careful. It’s then we should cry out like the psalmist, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Ps. 51:12).

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33), and the apostle James said, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). God has His own profound purpose in our afflictions, but He never takes away our joy. To maintain our joy we must adopt God’s perspective regarding our trials. When we yield to the working of His Spirit in our lives, our difficulties will not overwhelm us.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 362). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.