Month: December 2020

Shepherds of no real interest

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Since the world has deconstructed Christmas to nothing more than a single sentimental day-gathering which involves spending lots of money, we turn to God’s Word for more accurate information. As we live in a world which places great importance upon personal recognition and acknowledgement by others, Shepherds of no real interestwe look to God for the qualities which He prioritises. It turns out, more often than not, God uses people of no fame, who have no spectacular abilities, and receive no public recognition. Such were a small group of nobody shepherds God chose to notify first about the birth of Jesus.

Yes, Christmas is all about JESUS. And every person in the Bible connected with the coming of God’s Son simply serve to amplify the greatness of Immanuel’s entrance into humanity (Mat 1:23).

Only Doctor Luke slips the record of this group of shepherds into Luke 2:8-20. Virtually nothing is known of them; no names, no group numbers, and no background information, they simply appear. They were doing what they always did, caring for sheep in the countryside somewhere near Bethlehem. Unexpectedly, the quiet dark of night was abruptly interrupted by the appearance of an angel surrounding them with the glory of the Lord. The angel announces, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

As if that was not enough, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14). Understandably, the shepherds were filled with great fear (Luke 2:9). The angel informed them where this baby Saviour was, and curiosity inspired by the anthem of angels singing in the sky caused them to leave their sheep in pursuit of Jesus. Their lives would never by the same. They believed and became the first respondents to heaven stepping into their small and seemingly insignificant part of the world.

These shepherds did not delay. There was no personal evaluation of beliefs, no approval from others was sought, and there was no procrastination; they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger (Luke 2:16).

Being first to arrive, even before the important Magi, they stepped into the animal stall at the rear of the local Inn, where Christ the Lord lay in the animal feeding trough. Every facet of this reeked of humility without any of the glitz and glamour our modern-day minds would imagine. These ordinary shepherds introduced themselves to Mary and Joseph with the amazing story of the angel’s announcement.

Just as the angels announced Jesus’ arrival with praise, so these shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen (Luke 2:20). These shepherds were the first Christmas evangelists. They were not the focus of their own stories. Their feelings were not up for public appraisal. No, they simply couldn’t keep the good news to themselves, others had to hear of it. They didn’t simply speak in a matter-of-fact manner about the events. No, they glorified and praised God for all they had witnessed and been enveloped in.

Today, we ordinary people of this world have the privilege and opportunity to proclaim the Jesus of Christmas. Like the shepherds, we get to be Christmas evangelists, declaring that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). We get to praise and glorify God for the gift of His Saviour Son – may we do this with much joy!

P.S.   I now sign off “The Pastor’s Pen” for 2020 and shall join you again in February 2021 should the Lord not return first. I pray the Lord keeps you safe and well as you rejoice in Him over this Christmas period.

God’s Word – Unparalleled and Sufficient

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As Christians, we realise our continual need for the truth of God’s Word. The Bible enlightens us with the fact that God’s Spirit empowers God’s Word to accomplish the things within us that could never be achieved any other way.

As believers, we are dependent upon the gift of faith (Eph 2:8) that God’s Word - Unparalleled and Sufficientcomes from hearing… the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Our reliance upon God’s living and active word never lessens, and it alone has the truth necessary for discerning (our) thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). We live in constant need of ongoing sanctification by God’s truth, and His Word satisfies that need fully (John 17:17). Scripture feeds us the required spiritual nutrition so that we will not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of our mind, that by testing we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

Because all Scripture is breathed out by God it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, God’s Word is useful in all of life for the purpose of growing and enriching Christlike character in God’s children. Scripture is applicable in all circumstances and it is God’s resource for producing His desired results in your life. In fact, Paul says that God’s Word is so rich in spiritual resources, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).

Even though we may fluctuate in our Christian walk, God’s Word is the constant foundation of truth that we stand upon. We come to it over and over for encouragement and refreshment when we are disheartened, for realignment of our thinking when we stray, and for wisdom to respond to life beyond our natural abilities.

We immerse ourselves in God’s Word as the wellspring of God’s knowledge. In Proverbs chapter 2, Solomon summarises the many benefits to be experienced when we explore and apply God’s Word in our lives. And in Psalm 19:7-11, David unfolds for us the comprehensive and practical nature of God’s Word. Therefore, we rejoice in its sufficiency, and we surrender to its supremacy.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11).

We are daily dependent upon knowing God’s truth and apply that truth through obedience. As we humbly apply His truth to our thoughts and behaviours, we experience the blessings. If we neglect or ignore God’s truth, it is always to our detriment. Therefore, our attitude to learning and applying the Bible is critical to our well-being. Then, as Proverbs 2:10 says, wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

I encourage you to bathe in the soothing Word of God. Invite God’s Spirit to wash and refresh your spirit. Surrender to the transforming authority of Scripture. Worship in awe of knowing the beauty of Jehovah and His Son, Jesus Christ. Then, share these realities with someone else as you speak well of the Saviour.