Mind in Renewal

"Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed through the renewal of your mind" -Romans 12:2

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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

On the Incarnation

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 28, 2009

My good friend Josh writes on the incarnation:

To feel and comprehend the magnitude of the birth of Christ, one need only to turn to the Holy Scriptures where God lays forth His redeeming plan of salvation, giving hope and light to the depraved souls that walk the earth. Before time even began, God knew that eventually sin would enter the perfect world He would soon create. He knew that man, not perfect, because He and He alone is perfect, would fall prey to the temptations given under the domain of darkness and that redemption would have to be accomplished. He also knew, however, that the only path to true glorifying redemption would be a perfect sacrifice, without reproach, that would bear the darkness of the wretched world. Therefore, because of the fullness of His immeasurable grace and truth, God himself entered the world that He would become this perfect sacrifice the world so desperately needed.

Read the rest of his post here.

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Merry Christmas!

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 25, 2009

Christmas. A time to sit back and take a break from the daily rush of life. I hope that during this day of rest, you take time to focus on who Christmas is truly about (Jesus Christ) and why He came (to live a perfect life, die for our sins, and rise again). May Christ’s peace be with you this Christmas:

Luke 2: 1-20:

The Birth of Jesus Christ

 1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them inthe inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

 8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

  15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Isaiah 53:3-5:

 3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

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The “X” in X-mas

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 22, 2009

R.C. Sproul explains why it doesn’t mean what you might think. See his article here.

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The Artificiality of Christmas

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 15, 2009

With the Christmas tree up in my house and hot chocolate in my mug, I would say that the Christmas season is in full swing. And, truly, I love this time of year –the carols, the presentations, the snow, the decoration, and, most importantly, the opportunity to celebrate my Savior’s birth. The whole atmosphere is exhilarating.

But despite all of these things, there is a portion of the Christmas season that bothers me. There is an element of artificiality that pervades this time of year like no other. Every Christmas, millions of people around the world (particularly in America) put up artificial trees, teach their children about a fake gift-giver, and put on a fraudulent show of charity to match the Christmas season. Now, I have nothing against artificial trees, nor do I think that there is anything wrong with Santa Claus.

However, the latter of these problems causes me some trouble. In my experience, too many people fake a sense of joy and kindness just for the sake of the season. For some, this manifests itself in toothy smiles and a seasonal hospitality that covers up an otherwise discontented and angry soul. For others, their charity is obvious by the large sums of money and material goods they give the Salvation Army and Good Will, while throughout the rest of the year they refuse to give anything more than will get them a tax cut. This is so like human nature, to use one particular season to ease the conscience for the entire year. It breaks my heart.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that these people give as they do. There are poor and needy people who need it all and more. If these people didn’t fake what they did, then I can’t think to imagine the amount of people each year that would be left out in the cold (some more literally than others). No, I do not want any of these people to give any less. Count me as the last to discourage anyone from giving, whatever the motive. What I want to see is not less giving, but more giving from the heart. I earnestly desire that people would give from their abundance and serve the poor from a heart made new and released from sin –a heart that is so in love with its Creator that it gives in and out of season, with or without pressure, under any circumstance.

And most importantly, I want these people to put away their facades, to realize their true sinful nature, and to see the blazing truth of Christmas –that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to earth so that He might live and die and rise again to save us all from our artificiality and sin, and to make us real. This is my hope this Christmas.

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Advent

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 8, 2009

Desiring God has several good posts on the meaning of Advent, the period of time leading up to Christmas. Advent has never been something that my family has been dedicated to observing, but these posts make me want to make it a lasting tradition for me and my family in coming years. The symbolism involved and the idea of anticipating Jesus’ birth helps to put my heart in the right place during this hectic time of year. Here are the posts:

What is Advent?
Advent: Standing in the Middle
Looking Back: Advent Candles

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Born to Die

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 6, 2009

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs:

“Born to Die”
They never knew a dark night
always had the Son’s light
on their face
Perfect in glory
Broken by the story
of untold grace…
come that day

Majesty had come down
Glory had succumbed now
to flesh and bone
In the arms of a manger
In the hands of strangers
that could not know
Just who they hold

Chorus:
And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die

And all fell silent
For the cry of an infant,
the voice of God
Was dividing history
For those with eyes to see,
the Son would shine
From earth that night

Chorus

Bridge:
To break the chains
Of guilt and sin
To find us here
To pull us in
So we can join in Heaven’s song
And with one voice around the throne

Chorus:
All the Angels filled the sky
And I can’t help but wonder why
Why the King would choose to be
Be a baby born for me
Be a baby born to die

By Bebo Norman, Christmas… from the Realms of Glory
You can listen to the song here.

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‘Tis the Season

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 1, 2009

It’s only December first and I’ve already been in the Christmas mood for about four days. Saturday night, I walked down my street to watch a Christmas light show at a neighbor’s house. Sunday, I listened to two Christmas sermons. And in addition to that, I’ve only been listening to Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving.

I guess I’m just trying to say that, perhaps more than in years past, I am really ready for Christmas this year. It’s not that I want gifts or anything like that; I’m just excited to be celebrating my Savior’s birth. This is one of the seasons where it’s easy to focus on worldly things –money, traditions, and material things. But, if we make an effort to put the focus where it belongs –on Christ– then this can be a season unlike any other.

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My Christmas Prayer

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 25, 2008

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son as a little baby to grow up and live the perfect life I couldn’t. Thank You for how wonderful You are, how loving, gracious and holy. Without Your Son I would be nothing, the whole world would be utterly meaningless. So thank You for giving life meaning to me.

My prayer this year is that others would know that meaning and experience the gift of Your Son in their lives this Christmas; that they would find the real meaning of Christmas in the life and death of Your Son for their sins. Please lead them to Your forgiveness.

Glory to You this Christmas season. Hallelujah for what You have done. All praise and honor to You. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.

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More Free Music

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 19, 2008

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Christmas Giveaway

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 17, 2008

Trevin Wax is giving away 10 free books and a free ESV study Bible. Subscribe to his blog to be entered to win.

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