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A Weekly Word from John

12/14/2014 TJoy: Matthew 2:9-12


3 wise menKnow Jesus, know Joy. No Jesus, no Joy.

Reflections on Matthew 2:9-12

As we walk though this season, some experience Christmas as a time of sorrow. Broken relationships, lost loved ones. Loneliness. Statistics can’t lie, this is true. But, although our world is fallen and its people broken, this is why He came. God saw our brokenness and heartache caused by sin and death and He came to heal. He came to bring gladness of heart.

When the Wiseman from the east came bearing gifts, they didn’t just decide one morning to get up and caravan 800 miles from Susa Persian to Jerusalem. They didn’t randomly decided to road trip for three months because they were bored. They had been studying ancient documents and confirming with Hebrew scholars for years, watching the skies and anticipating the Day that healing would come. They were looking forward to joy.

The Hope of the Messiah

11/30/2014 The Hope of the Messiah: Luke 2:27

nativityWhy Celebrate Christmas?

Simeon and Timothy - Men of Hope:

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10 NIV) 

Hope is confident expectation in something even though we may have to wait for it. Two biblical characters demonstrate this for us as missionary Bill Martin, and his son Will personified. Simeon waited most of his life longing to see The Messiah. Luke tells us in his gospel that God, through His Holy Spirit, had revealed to Simeon that the day would indeed come. Following the birth of Jesus, the day arrived for his presentation in the temple. (Luke 2:27 ) As soon a Simeon laid his eyes on the baby, he knew his promise was fulfilled. He blessed the holy child knowing that his confident expectation had been finally realized. 

The Lamb and the Scroll

11/09/2014 The Lamb and the Scroll: Revelation 5:1-14

scrollCharles Wesley wrote in one of his famous hymns, ‘Changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise
. (Love Divine all Loves Excelling)

As John was caught up into heaven and became a witness of the vision of praise in the throne room of God, with the myriads of angels, thousands upon thousands; he must have felt lost in wonder, love and praise. Not only do we see the ABILITY (v.5) of the Lamb who was slain who sits at the right hand of the Father on the throne, but we also see his WORTHINESS. (v.9) to open the scroll. What is this scroll? This book? It is the eternal, unfolding plan of God to be carried out in final triumph because the Lamb is triumphant. He has conquered temptation and death itself.  

The Promise of Peace

12/7/2014 The Promise of Peace: Ephesians 2:14

Why Celebrate Christmas?

The Promise of Peace

Christmas Truce 1914One of the qualities that we desire the most but experience the least is the quality of peace.  World conflict, personal uncertainties, relational issues… They all produce an unsettled feeling. Anxiety, worry and fear tend to crowd into our daily lives. Jesus promised peace! 

‘I have said these things to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33 )

Christmas peace was promised and declared by the angel to the shepherds at the birth of the Savior. The angelic choir filled the sky with rejoicing. Thirty-three years later, he himself becomes our peace with God by taking God’s wrath upon himself on a Roman cross. But along with this, his inner peace comes to us as we come to him in faith. (See Matt. 11:28 ) It is a supernatural peace that passes all understanding; especially when we are filled with an abiding prayer life. (See Philippians 4:6,7 ). The peace of Christ can bring a calming force to all our anxious moments and all our conflicting relationships if we humble ourselves and allow His Spirit to rule our thoughts and words. Peace of mind will also come as we focus on His perspective for our lives.   

Attitude of Gratitude

11/23/2014 Attitude of Gratitude: I Thessalonians 5:15-24

thank youThanksgiving season… The bright colors of fall turn to auburn brown. The air gets a little colder. The heat goes on. The television commercials are already ringing the bells of Christmas. Our minds turn to our historic roots of the Pilgrims who, in spite of hardship, landed on the shores of the New World with thanksgiving prayers in their hearts.  

Some may cynically say, “What on earth do we have to be thankful for? Our branches of government are deeply divided; barbaric war activity in the Middle East; the ebola virus kills thousands in West Africa and has even crossed our borders.” We want to put on a happy smile but, inside, we long for reasons to be thankful.

God’s Reign and our Hope

11/09/2014 God’s Reign and our Hope: Revelation 4:1-11

calm seaIt’s helpful to remember that Revelation was written to give suffering Christians encouragement to endure the persecution that was increasingly common. In Rev. 4 John is pulled up into the heavenly throne room and beholds the glory of God. Everything he sees in this vision serves as a reminder that God is in control: His reign is not being limited or challenged, he’s not up for re-election, he has no rivals. God is fully in control.

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PO Box 145 · 63 Rockwood Road (Route 115) · Norfolk · MA 02056
508-528-5862 · office@ebcnorfolk.org