Transcript of a special Christmas message. .During this Christmas season, next to the original Christmas story, the most re-told story is that of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” There have been all kinds of versions made for it. Animated versions with the Flintstones and Mr. Magoo. A version with the Muppets. A sci-fi version, a western version. Even some detective programs have taken to making their own spin on this story. It’s a timeless tale. It was written in a culture strongly influenced by the gospel. And there were some powerful truths in that story and some great lessons to be learned. There was that
If you haven’t read the modern parable the title alludes to, it’s here: What Are You Hanging Onto? Would you ever look at a sobbing child who is being bullied at school and yell at her for crying, telling her that’s why no one likes her? Would you ever say those words to a child you love dearly and have authority over? A child who respects you and looks to you for guidance, protection, and comfort? I was that sobbing child. The person who uttered those words never remembers saying and doing such hurtful things, but those words were uttered, for they burned deep into my
20 Then Jacob made a vow: “If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear, 21 and if I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God. 22 This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me.” (From Genesis 28, HCSB) At first glance, nothing may seem to be wrong with what Jacob is saying. God does watch over us and provide for all of our needs. He does keep us safe.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” (Psalm 143:10) David prays for instruction from God on how to do God’s will, and presumably what God’s will is to start with, at a time when he is being pursed by the enemy, who sounds more like depression than a human enemy in this psalm: his soul is crushed, he sits in darkness, his spirit faints, his heart fails–or he is overcome with dismay. David remembers first what God has done in the past and cries out to God to speak comfort to him
“ And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) In a classic putting of the cart before the horse, the rabbi’s words are delivered to us as the verse of the day the day after his disciple Peter expounded on it. In context, this speech is recorded right after Peter confesses Jesus is not simply another John the Baptist, Elijah, or some other prophet, but the Christ,