Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Joy in January: Dance for your Life!

Life, glorious life!  How we take life for granted, until...

someone we love dies,

our health or safety is gravely threatened,

we realize our days are waning because of the years...

It is then that we value what we've had all along.

But there's a Life that we never need fear will diminish, be endangered, be lost...

In fact, this Life can grow in our experience even in this time-based, fearful, waning physical life.

What is this Life?

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Advent Devotions: Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

Advent Devotions:  Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

We would give up everything we've ever written to have penned this one verse, a stanza that comes as close as is humanly possible to capturing the splendor of who Jesus is. 
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, p. 173-174

What is that one verse? that one stanza?  Authors Sweet & Viola are referring to the last stanza of the well-known carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

In my opinion, however, it isn't just the last stanza that is all glorious with the splendor of Christ...it's the entire song. In fact, even the stanzas that were removed* from the older version are splendid indeed.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

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2nd Week of Advent: the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

2nd Week of Advent:  the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

"The Good News isn't just that Jesus died for our sins.  The Good News is EMMANUEL...GOD WITH US!"  So declared Deb at the end of our Bible Study.

As John and I drove home that evening, we reflected on her statement.  We recalled a conversation we had had years before when we were discussing what the heart of the gospel ("Good News") is.   The Good News isn't just that our sins are forgiven so we can go to heaven someday (and now we just do the best we can in the meantime).

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"Your heart has knees..."

"Your heart has knees..."

I would like to tell you about Lou, a friend and brother in the Lord.  Lou was a "flower child" of the '60's.  He, of course, would never have missed Woodstock -- along with all his long-haired hippie freak friends.  And Lou loved to share.  What he always shared was the latest "turn on" he had discovered and enjoyed, no matter what it might be. But there was Something missing in Lou's life.  He didn't realize that it was a God-shaped Someone, and He had a Name.  His Name is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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Advent Devotions: Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

We would give up everything we've ever written to have penned this one verse, a stanza that comes as close as is humanly possible to capturing the splendor of who Jesus is.Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, p. 173-174

Hark the Heral Angels

Hark the Heral Angels

What is that one verse? that one stanza?  Authors Sweet & Viola are referring to the last stanza of the well-known carol,Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

In my opinion, however, it isn't just the last stanza that is all glorious with the splendor of Christ...it's the entire song.  In fact, even the stanzas that were removed* from the older version are splendid indeed.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

The creation of this classic hymn was not without some conflict and "cut and paste."  Apparently, according to my sources (Wikipedia and Christianity Today), there were at least four people involved in its composition:

  • Charles Wesley (the original writer, 1739, and founder of Methodism),

  • George Whitfield (a fellow student and colleague with Wesley and a Calvinist, who did some of the "cutting and pasting," much to Wesley's chagrin),

  • Felix Mendelssohn (a composer who didn't think this piece of music fit for sacred lyrics),

  • William H. Cummings (an English musician who in 1855 put the lyrics to Mendelssohn's piece).

But despite all that this piece of sacred music had gone through in its 100+ years of "evolution," it was regarded as one of the Great Four Anglican Hymns and was published in The Church Hymn Book in 1872.

Gordon Giles in his excerpt in Christianity Today, Dec 2007 asserts,

"Hark! the herald angels sing" has become part of the institution of Christmas, and ... it also sounds out some wonderful theology, musically reminding us that Jesus, the "newborn King," is "Prince of Peace," "Sun of Righteousness," "Everlasting Lord," "Incarnate Deity," and, best of all, "Emmanuel" — "God with us." Whatever its creators would have thought about the hymn as it currently stands, it endures as a reminder of the great gift that our Father God has given us in his Son Jesus Christ... Excerpted from O Come Emmanuel: A Musical Tour of Daily Readings for Advent and Christmas. Copyright ©2006 Gordon Giles.

Take a look at this hymn from the Biblical/theological viewpoint.  The following is a Bible study my husband, John, developed  a few years ago for a small group study.  May you be blessed as you meditate and rejoice in Jesus, our Emmanuel, God Incarnate.

images-1

images-1

Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing!

Hark!  The herald angels sing,Luke 2:13 “Glory to the newborn King! Luke 2:14 Peace on earth and mercy mild, Luke 2:14 God and sinners reconciled.”Luke 2 :14; Rom 5:8-11; II Cor 5:18-19 Joyful, all ye nations rise,  Luke 2:10; Luke 2:32 Join the triumph of the skies; With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem.Luke 2:11 Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heaven adored;John 17:23-26; 15:9; 3:35; Matthew 3:17Christ the everlasting Lord! Luke 2:11 Late in time behold Him come, Galatians 4:4Offspring of a Virgin’s womb. Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:34,35; Galatians 4:4 Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hebrews 10:20; Romans 8:3; John 1:14Hail the incarnate Deity.Colossians 2:9 Pleased as man with man to dwell,Philippians 2:5-8Jesus, our EmmanuelIsaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 1:21,25 Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6 Hail the Son of Righteousness!Malachi 4:2 Light and life to all He brings,    John 6:35, 8:12, 10:2, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:5 Ris’n with healing in His wings.Malachi 4:2 Mild He lays His glory by,  Philippians 2:5-8 Born that man no more may dieJohn 3:16; 1John 4:9, 3:2 Born to raise the sons of earth;I Corinthians 15:20-28, 35-49; Philippians 3:20-21 Born to give them second birth. Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Words: Charles Wesley (1707-88), George Whitfield (1714-70), Music: Mendelssohn, from a chorus by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47), adapted by William H. Cummings

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Two versions of this glorious carol...take your pick or enjoy both :)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19w0IHPL4X0[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiP6HtIaJ70[/youtube]

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*Stanzas removed by George Whitfield:

Come, desire of nations, come, Fix in us thy humble home; Rise, the woman's conquering seed, Bruise in us the serpent's head.

Now display thy saving power, Ruin'd nature now restore; Now in mystic union join Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface, Stamp thy image in its place. Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in thy love.

Let us thee, though lost, regain, Thee, the life, the inner man: O, to all thyself impart, Form'd in each believing heart.

An added tidbit:

George Whitfield changed Wesley's line, "Hark, the herald angels sing!  Glory to the King of Kings!" to the current "...Glory to the Newborn King!" What do you think of the change as well as the removed verses (above)?

2nd Week of Advent: the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.Luke 2:10 NIV

adventwreath_2c
adventwreath_2c

"The Good News isn't just that Jesus died for our sins.  The Good News is EMMANUEL...GOD WITH US!"  So declared Deb at the end of our Bible Study.

As John and I drove home that evening, we reflected on her statement.  We recalled a conversation we had had years before when we were discussing what the heart of the gospel ("Good News") is.   The Good News isn't just that our sins are forgiven so we can go to heaven someday (and now we just do the best we can in the meantime).

The heart of it all is GOD is with US!  In Christ's own Person, heaven and earth meet and kiss, so to speak!  In His very own Self, God and Man are forever joined.

Michelangelo's Adam
Michelangelo's Adam

Because of His Person and His Work, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, joins those of us who were once enemies, alone and without hope, to the Living God.  Now we are friends of God, His children...dare we even say it? in union with Him! GOD with US!  And that is truly News that is GOOD!  And there's a Bible word for that -- reconciliation.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:21-22 NIV

This week, rejoice in the truly Good News:  GOD with US!  No more chasm* between God and us...Emmanuel has come!  (Romans 5:1-11 and 2 Cor 5:16-21) Enjoy singing and meditating on this rich carol.  We'll explore it more next time:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Joyful, all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come, Offspring of a Virgin’s womb. Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail the incarnate Deity. Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel! Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth; Born to give them second birth. Hark!  The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

 

Readings for the 2nd Week of Advent:

Sunday -- John 5:17-24

Monday --John 5:25-47

Tuesday -- Matt 9:32-38

Wednesday -- Mark 8:27-38

Thursday -- Mark 9:33-37

Friday -- Mark 10:13-31

Saturday -- Luke 19:28-40

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Connect to the Voice blog for a free download of The Voice translation and a video of the Christmas story from The Voice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_sQohBF0Kk&utm_medium=email&utm_source=voicenewsletter&utm_term=20121205&utm_campaign=thevoice&utm_content=[/youtube]

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*Navigator Bridge illustration  This diagram is very familiar to many Christians.  But whether it's familiar or new to you, why not click on the link and rehearse afresh the glory of our reconciliation through the Incarnate Christ, our Emmanuel.

bridge illustration
bridge illustration

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Thank you to Ann Voskamp for sharing this awesome story...the Truly GOOD NEWS.  It's a MUST SEE!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNDtHdG5mVk&feature=em-share_video_user[/youtube]

christmas trees at honey run 2011
christmas trees at honey run 2011

Summer Book Club...starting soon!

Are you tired of working hard doing the Christian "to do/don't do" lists (which vary depending on the group you are with)? Are you ready to give up trying in your own strength to get the "abundant life" Jesus promised? John 10:10

Great!  Then you are ready to read along with us the potentially life-changing truths contained in...

The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out, by Dan Stone and David Gregory.

Here's a short description of the book:

Having God's forgiveness is wonderful. Spending eternity with God is great. But for now, where is the abundant life Jesus promised? Why is the Christian life such a struggle? Because getting forgiven is only half of the gospel! The rest of the gospel is not us striving on our own to be good Christians, but Christ in us, living His life through us as we rest in him..

So get your book (available in paperback and on kindle) and start reading. Soon I'll begin posting study questions, key verses, thoughts, songs, prayers, who knows what else.  And as always, please feel free to jump in with your thoughts, questions, verses, etc in the comment section.

Still not sure you want to read with us? Then take a look --

 

 

For excerpts from our book, click on the title below or the icon on the left:

The Rest of the Gospel, by Dan Stone

Discover as never before that Zoe life (eternal and abundant) is yours right NOW...in Christ alone!

 

So get your book, subscribe to this blog (on the right), and get ready for our discussion here on line later this week.

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area and would like to join a live discussion group, contact me for details.

COMING SOON: Fall Book Club

Coming later in September...a study in a truly life-changing book:  The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out, by Dan Stone and David Gregory.

Having God's forgiveness is wonderful. Spending eternity with God is great. But for now, where is the abundant life Jesus promised? Why is the Christian life such a struggle? Because getting forgiven is only half of the gospel! The rest of the gospel is not us striving on our own to be good Christians, but Christ in us, living His life through us as we rest in him.

Get your book, subscribe to this blog, and get ready for our "discussion" here on line in a few weeks.

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area and would like to join a live discussion group, contact me for details.