This and That – 12-24-11

Stop Ignoring Joseph – …we need to be careful that we don’t reduce Joseph simply to a truthful first-century Bill Clinton: “He did not have sexual relations with that woman.” There’s much more to be said. Joseph is not Jesus’ biological father, but he is his real father. In his adoption of Jesus, Joseph is rightly identified by the Spirit speak­ing through the Scriptures as Jesus’ father (Luke 2:4148). – Russell Moore

Denise Sproul Memorial Message –  A little bit over a week ago I got a phone call from my son. Denise was beside him.R.C. Jr. said to me, “Dad, we have a tough decision to make. The doctors here at the hospital have recommended that we put Denise in hospice. She may have a few days left of consciousness and peace that she can spend with her husband, family and kids. And yet on the other hand, they have one last experimental, intense chemotherapy they can try. The medical odds of success were astronomical against it. What should we do?” I said, “Son, if it were me on that bed, I would choose hospice. I wouldn’t want any more medication or any more suffering there. However, if I were a mother and there was one chance in a thousand that I could survive for the sake of my children, I’d take that chance.” … Like Paul, she was torn between two alternatives. One—to depart and be with Christ. Two—to endure more affliction for the sake of her children. And that’s the decision she made. I said to R.C., “Whatever she decides, we’ll have to stand behind that decision, especially you.” And he did. She made the decision, but the physicians were not able to get her platelets high enough to even have this final medical solution that she was willing to undertake… And so she came home. She got to see her children one more time—her parents, her sister, her siblings—and then she died. And the second alternative came to pass in the providence of God, which the apostle Paul assigned a value to. You heard what he said to the Philippians: “I have a desire to depart and be with Christ, parenthetically, which is far better.”  – R.C. Sproul

Can We have A Truce on the “War on Christmas?” – Here’s the real deal… we’ve already destroyed much, if not most, of the religious signficance of Christmas.  Seriously, celebrating the birth of the Christ child is a side-bar at best in a month filled with gross materialism and consumerism, gluttony,indebtedness, insane busyness and for many too much booze.  Sure, the 3x per year church attenders get their fix of religiousity at the annual Christmas Eve Communion Service in which millions of people participate in a sacred church ordinance unworthily.  Sure, many of us set a nativity set on top of the TV or the bar.  Yep, we drop a buck in the red kettle or send a shoebox to an Ethiopian child.  But when it comes right down to it, I don’t think Jesus feels honored by the way we celebrate the alleged (and probably inaccurate) date of His birth.  He probably feels sad… Whether or not there is a “War on Christmas” we know that there is a spiritual warfare that happens every day of the year.  It began in heaven, took root in Eden and will not be settled until the end of this age.  Everyday the genuine believer should face spiritual opposition if they are seeking to live Biblically and authentically.  Scripture tells us that the Gospel will be a constant offense to the non-believer.  It has the stench of damnation for those who the condemned.  It is a Sword and not a dove to those who reject the Bible, repentance, Jesus and grace.  That’s the real “war” we face.  – Dan Burrell


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