Why We Need Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Today, this second Sunday of Advent, I listened to a sermon which gave voice to something I’ve bee thinking and feeling a lot lately:

I’m sick of living in this world.

I know that sounds negative and perhaps, makes you wonder about my emotional health and what kind of sermons I hear. But, I believe my reflections and the sermon’s arise from sound minds.

The sermon was an exposition of Isaiah 59:8-20 and this lyrical theme from the Christmas hymn O, Holy Night:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining…”

I know most people don’t really believe in religious notions like sin. Most no longer believe that human error ascends to the level of offenses committed against an almighty, law-giving God.

Long lay the world...

But the Christian does.

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Will God Forgive Me? Again?

Will God forgive me? Again?

I asked this a lot when I was a young Christian.

I was very uncertain about the answer.

guilt illustration

[Illustration courtesy of Martin Bolchover Art & Illustration]

Sadly, I gave myself plenty of opportunities to ask the question; I am a frequent offender against God’s law, aka, a sinner.

Like the Apostle Paul, I know what it is to feel enslaved to the wrong I hate, and powerless to do the good I love (Romans 7:15). But neither Paul, nor I can trespass God’s law (slave to sin or not) without experiencing conscience-consequences: Shame. Guilt. Despair. Self-loathing.

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Jesus: Not Your Average Substitute

[Hello Readers, I had something in my head and heart that I wanted to share with you today, but I just haven’t been able to get it into the right words. So, I hope you’ll find this updated post, originally published in October 2010, enriching for your spiritual life today. God bless, Lon]

The gospel tells us the good news of what Jesus did to redeem His followers and to restore them to fellowship with His Father. Today I wanted to remind myself, and you, of the means–the how–of that good news. He accomplished our redemption by taking our place, by replacing us.

Caravaggio's "Crowning with Thorns", 1607

[Caravaggio’s “Crowning with Thorns”, 1607]

He volunteered to sub for us.

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