Worship Through The Silence

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It is hard to believe Christmas is around the corner. Back in November I began a 5 part series, taking a look at Christmas. On our journey we have learned that Christmas was always the plan of God, even before the world was created. Last week we looked at the promise of a Seed that would come and destroy the works of the devil. This promise of a Messiah unfolds throughout the pages of the New Testament and became the hope of the Old Testament believers. Today we are seven days away from Christmas Eve and many of us will gather to worship with our churches or fellowship with families. We will worship and commemorate Christmas, an event in history which already happened. While we worship an event that has happened, the Old Testament believers were longing for Christmas to come. Hanging on every word of promise from the Lord, waiting for the time of the Messiah.

Then came a time in history when there was no word from the Lord, no prophet proclaiming to the people, just silence, around 400 years of silence. 4 generations pass with no new word from the Lord, no new prophet, generations of Jews hanging on the words of the prophets from the past. I imagine they may have felt God has stopped moving among them. Have you ever experienced the silence of God? A period of silence is when it appears God isn’t moving in or among you anymore. CS Lewis gives an excellent description of a period of silence in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when he describes Narnia, under the curse of the white witch, as “always winter but never Christmas”.

My friends worship through the silence. Worship through the winter because Christmas is coming. Worship through the silence because even though it doesn’t appear so, God is still working. What was God doing in this 400 years of silence? What can we learn from this period of silence?

3 Things We Can Trust

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psa. 103:17-19 ESV)

Trust in God’s love. God is steadfast in his love. Out of love and mercy, God chose to work through the Jewish people. Out of love he chose for Jesus, the hope of the world, come through the Jews (Jhn. 4:22). We must trust in God’s love when He seems to be silent. Trust his love to accomplish what he plans to accomplish, even though it is difficult. He has promised,

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28 ESV)

We must learn to trust in God’s Word. Throughout the pages of the Old Testament we read of the promise of Christmas. Prophetic word coming from God proclaiming a Messiah will come. The promises of God pointing to Christmas. God’s word will not return void. His word will accomplish what He plans for his word to accomplish (Isa. 55:11) God will fulfill what he has promised because He isn’t a liar (Num. 23:19). Part of the problem with trusting God’s word is we expect God to work on our time table. Can you imagine being promised a deliver and waiting generations for it? God accomplishes His word on His time table. Which leads us to our next point.

We must learn to trust in God’s Sovereignty. God sovereignty means God rules, governs and will accomplish his purposes in our world. In these 400 years of appeared silence God was putting His plan in place, in Galatians we read “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son”. (Gal. 4:4) Sometimes we skip things over because they appear unimportant, but turn out to be vastly important. For example, here in Galatians the phrase “when the fullness of time had come” is packed with meaning. Joseph Stowell points out, “Jesus’ arrival during the Roman Empire was perfect timing. The known world was united by one language of commerce. A network of global trade routes provided open access to the whole world. All of this guaranteed that the Gospel could move rapidly in one tongue.” God was sovereignly orchestrating the world, putting all the necessary elements together for Christmas and Christianity to spread. Worship through the silence because we can trust in God’s love, word and sovereignty.

How To Worship Through The Silence

The Psalmist also gives us some pointers on how to worship through the silence. The first, continue to fear the Lord. When God seems silent continue to have a sense of awe for who God is. Much of the lukewarmness among Christians is due to the lack of knowing who God has revealed himself to be. We cant truly fear and have a sense of awe of God if we don’t know Him. When we know Him and our focus is on God, the silence may be difficult, but we will be able to trust in who God is. When the silence is over we will look back and see how God was faithful and working while we were worshipping through the silence.

Be a doer of the word. Being a doer of the word is symptomatic of fearing the Lord. Continue in your walk with Him. Remain faithful to pray, read the word and to obey His word. Continue fellowshiping and serving other believers. God promises to bless your faithfulness.

Recognize it may appear God is silent, but He is still accomplishing His purposes in this world.

Until Next Week
Solid Deo Gloria

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Humble Beast Records being very generous

Go ahead, download all of our albums for free. We made them to give them away.

Moroni From the Realms of Glory

“You’ve got to be careful what you share online. Over the weekend Facebook and Twitter were suddenly inundated with links to a new recording of the Christmas hymn “Angels From the Realms of Glory” mashed up with “Angels We Have Heard on High.” It was recorded by The Piano Guys and features David Archuleta, a one-time runner up on American Idol. It is a creative recording that intersperses shots of the musicians with video taken to record the world’s largest nativity scene. The song is beautifully sung and the music is rich; it is no surprise that it quickly gained over one million views. Well and good, right? Well, except for one thing: Its purpose is to separate you from Jesus Christ.”

How to ruin a Moses movie

In retrospect, it appears we may have been too hard on Noah.

If You Want To Change The World, Do What The Navy Seals Do Each Day

Do you think you can change the world? One person can make an impact on how the rest of the world lives. What if that person is you?… According to Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL for thirty-six years, these world-changers have the same skills that he learned in SEAL training.

SEAL training is six tortuous months of long runs in soft sand, midnight swims in cold water, obstacle courses, never-ending calisthenics, days without sleep and always feeling cold, wet, and miserable.

The purpose of this training is to seek out those who can become leaders in an environment of constant stress chaos, failure, and hardships.

This is what it takes

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Merry Christmas! Limited Time Offer: 3 Free E-Books

Is the Bible True…Really?
Who is Jesus…Really?
Did the Resurrection Happen…Really?

What should you do, in light of who you are?

Today, I want to look at why it’s important to properly understand your own personal story within that overarching biblical narrative.

Albert Mohler on Exodus movie

The best single line analysis of the movie and its failure to garner either critical acclaim or more viewers was offered by Eric D. Snider of GeekNation: “This big dud isn’t blasphemous enough to be outrageous, emotional enough to be inspiring, or interesting enough to be good.”

Well, I partly agree with the first two points of criticism, but I did find the movie interesting.

SBC President calls for racial reconciliation

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:26, “So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” With heavy hearts, we recognize the deep pain and hurt that has come to many of our African American brothers and sisters. The recent events in America have reawakened many of their greatest fears. Their wounds from the past run deep… We are not black Christians. We are not white Christians. We are not Latino Christians. We are not Asian Christians. We are not Native American Christians. We are Christians! We are followers of Jesus Christ.

What Parents Want to Hear Their Kids Say after Church

Here are 6 of those comments that parents want to hear their kids say after church

Meditation Monday: The Price of Redemption

“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Pet. 1:18-19)

The theme of redemption is central to the Bible and our Christian faith. If you are a Christ follower you have been redeemed, purchased, ransomed and the price was the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But what’s interesting is Peter says ” not with perishable things such as silver or gold”, why did Peter use silver and gold? We will get back to that in a second. As you can see redemption was the theme for our Sunday morning service from Exodus 30: 11-16.

The passage goes over the census tax. When they took a census the people of Israel of the age of 20 and up would have to pay a half a sheckel which came out to about 2/5ths of an ounce. According to Eastons Dictionary the sheckel was,

The common standard both of weight and value among the Hebrews. It is estimated at 220 English grains, or a little more than half an ounce avoirdupois. The “shekel of the sanctuary” (Exodus 30:13; Numbers 3:47) was equal to twenty gerahs (Ezek. 45:12). There were shekels of gold (1 Chronicles 21:25), of silver (1 Samuel 9:8), of brass (17:5), and of iron (7). When it became a coined piece of money, the shekel of gold was equivalent to about 2 pound of our money. Six gold shekels, according to the later Jewish system, were equal in value to fifty silver ones.

As we read in the passage the people were to give a half a sheckel for the ransom of their lives. For those who didn’t pay they would be punished with a plague. The collected sheckels would go to the service of the tent of meeting. Bro. Steve pointed out three characteristics of God we see in this passage.

We see that God is love. God lovingly rescued the people of Israel from enslavement to Egypt. He became their redeemer, deliverer and Savior. Now God is lovingly guiding them into truth and how to come to Him in worship. God is love and he lovingly provides a way for rescue, ransom, redemption for His people.

We see God’s mercy. God’s mercy is on display way back when he selected Abraham and his descendants to be his people. God proclaimed to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. (Exo. 33:19). God’s mercy chose the Israelites and God’s mercy redeemed them and God’s mercy provides a ransom for them.

We see God’s love and God’s mercy, but we also see God’s wrath. God promises a plague on those who do not offer the ransom. God is a loving and merciful God, but His holiness requires  punishment for disobedience. In this case it was a plague.

God’s love has provided a ransom for us also. That ransom is Jesus. Through Christ we are purchased by grace through faith. His mercy allows us to come to Him through His Son even though we are so undeserving.  For those who reject the Son, there is a promised Judgement. When that day comes, God’s time of mercy will be done and what awaits for those who refuse God’s Son is eternal seperation and punishment. Are you redeemed?

Could it be that Peter had this passage in Exodus in mind when he says you were not ransomed “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ”. I think so, good word Bro. Steve.

Until next week
Soli Deo Gloria

The Early Bird Gets The Link

7 Things Christians Should Know About Torture

“Since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Christians in Americans have mostly remained silent about the use of torture or assumed it was a legitimate and  warranted tactic in the “war on terror.” A few Christians have given it serious thought, though, and continue to debate its use and morality. Many still disagree on whether torture is always wrong or whether there are certain extraordinary circumstances under which it is an exception to the rule that we cannot justify doing evil that good may come (cf. Romans 3:8).”

4 types of communication key to strong leadership.

“In my own quest to lead my family well, I’ve found four types of communication key to strong leadership. Think of them as techniques used by a master artist seeking to create a beautiful mosaic. There are horizontal and vertical aspects to each. There are general and personal.

God’s Justice in the land of Canaan

“This is one of the most morally troubling passages in all of Scripture. It also happens to be one of the most frequently heard objections to the Christian faith today. God spoke these words to the Israelites as they were encamped on the plains of Moab and about to cross the Jordan River into Canaan. God had promised this land to their ancestor Abraham around 500 years earlier (Gen. 15:18-21), but it would be their responsibility, under the leadership of Joshua, to clear out the local inhabitants and take possession of the land. And it’s not simply forced eviction we are talking about here; it’s the slaughter of entire nations, down to the last man, woman, and child. Bible scholars call this ḥerem warfare. The Hebrew word means “to devote something to total destruction.”

How to fight lukewarmness

“As we give thanks to God for his “abounding faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6), it is good for us to examine our own faithfulness. How faithful are we? This is important because “it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). And a gauge of our faithfulness is our level of lukewarmness.”

Something To Look Forword To

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Christmas is a day I have circled on my calendar ever since I can remember. I have always loved the Christmas season. As a kid I would count the days to Christmas for many reasons. One of them was so I could enjoy the extended vacation from school. Another is the receiving of gifts on Christmas morning. What kid doesn’t enjoy gifts? The Christmas church dramas and Christmas Eve services were memorable times of worship and fun. The homemade tamales were always delicious. As a child I looked forward to Christmas.

As I have moved into adulthood, my wife and I have always looked forward to Christmas because of the traditions we have developed with our kids. These traditions have become special times of worship for our family. We still participate in church dramas, for the past three years I have helped my wife with the children’s Christmas choir at church, which is always an adventure. We still love the Christmas services and Christmas Eve with the Reed family has been a heaven sent, as we are states away from our extended family. The tamales are still delicious, giving and receiving gifts is still a highlight of mine. What adult doesn’t enjoy gifts? Christmas is something I look forward to every year because it is the celebration of the promise fulfilled.

The Serpent and the Seed

Let’s take a journey back to the beginning to that fateful day when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The day that sin and bondage was introduced and became a part of human condition and the world we live in. The day the human race succumbed to the lies of Satan and rebelled against our Creator. The day when Adam and Eve ate from the tree and went from a mind with no thoughts of sin to a mind that became filled with sin. On that day when it seemed Satan had won and all was lost, until the Creator showed up with a question so full of grace “where are you?” (Gen. 3:9)

God comes down to the fallen world to seek the lost. Sound familiar? In the midst of God proclaiming the curses which resulted from man’s sin we get a nugget of God’s plan for Christmas in the Proto-Evangelion, the First Gospel declaration.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
(Gen. 3:15)

After God curses the serpent, He turns His attention to Satan, who inhabited the serpent. We learn that there will be hostility, animosity and hatred between Satan, the woman and the Seed. We also learn Satan will bruise the heel of the Seed but the Seed will prevail and bruise Satan’s head. Here we have the first message of the hope of Christmas. The Seed of the woman will one day claim victory over Satan. This promise gave humanity something to look forward to, the hope of Christmas.

The Promise to Abraham

Turn the pages of your Bible 19 chapters and we discover God has chosen to work through Abraham and his descendants. God has been giving Abraham direction and he has faithfully obeyed. God blesses Abraham and Sarah with Isaac in their old age, a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. One day God shows up and asks Abraham to take Isaac up a mountain and offer up his son as a sacrifice. Sound familiar? Abraham faithfully obeys and as Isaac and Abraham journey up the mountain, Isaac begins to ask where the lamb for the sacrifice is. Abraham answers God will provide the lamb. When they arrived to the mountain Abraham builds an altar and lays Isaac on the altar and binds him to it. Abraham grabs his knife and raises it about to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise, until God stops him.

God stops Abraham and gives a promise to Him that builds upon the First Gospel message given in the Garden of Eden,

“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
(Gen. 22: 16-18)

The offspring promised to Eve will come through the offspring of Abraham. Through this offspring, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. The promised Seed will claim victory over the serpent and bless all nations. Giving all of humanity something to look forward to, the hope of Christmas.

The Hope of Christmas

Throughout the pages of the Old Testament hope is promised, pointing to Christmas. Now in our era, we use hope to mean something we desire to happen that may or may not come to pass. We can all hear our children say, I hope I get this new game or that new toy for Christmas. Many times we can interchange our usage of hope with the word wish. When we look at the hope of Christmas, promise after promise of a hope to come written throughout the pages of the Old Testament. God revealing His plan one promise at a time. This hope wasn’t a mere wish to Adam, Eve, Abraham and the many other faithful Old Testament believers. The Biblical definition of hope these Old Testament believers had is what John Piper describes as, “a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future”.

Adam, Eve, Abraham and the many other Old Testament believers had a confident expectation in the promises of Christmas. The hope they had in the promises of God was not a wishful waiting but a confident certainty that one day the Seed of the woman whom would defeat Satan and bless the nations would fulfill His mission. They had this confident certainty because Yahweh, the Great Promise Giver was also the Great Promise Keeper. The Old Testament believers had something to look forward to, the Hope of Christmas.

Until next week,

Soli Deo Gloria