Just a quick post to note that there will soon be a changeover on this site. Instead of primarily promoting Pleased to Dwell, the site will shift to focus on the sequel that is coming out later in 2016. So there will be a new name on the site, on the twitter handle, etc. Watch this space and let us know what you think of the change!
Just thought you might like to know that the sequel to Pleased to Dwell is nearing publication. The manuscript has been edited and submitted. Watch this space and we will confirm title, cover, date of release, endorsements, etc.
The sequel follows the same ingredient list as Pleased to Dwell – cover to cover through the Bible, one big theme traced, easy to read chapters, light touch, and hopefully a helpful picture of Christ for the reader.
Please pray for the final details to come together in the next weeks!
The coming of Jesus made it possible for sinners in a dark sinful world to be brought into the light of fellowship with God. Everything the devil stands for is in opposition to this. The devil wants darkness, not light. The devil wants sin, not righteousness. The devil wants the lie, not the truth. The devil wants to keep people away from the joy of fellowship with God.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil!
Pleased to Dwell, p194.
People may not be rushing to Hebrews in Christmas devotionals, but maybe they should. After all, Hebrews is a confidence building sermon designed to stir believers to keep on trusting in Christ. God’s plan is to glorify humanity, but we don’t see that plan fulfilled yet. What we do see is that Jesus came, Jesus died, Jesus rose, and Jesus is now glorified.
He has pioneered a way that we will follow. We can have confidence in God’s plan for us because of what happened in the incarnational journey of God the Son. We don’t yet see all that will be ours, but by faith we press on and follow the path laid out for us starting that first Christmas!
At first glimpse the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15 appears to have nothing to do with the Incarnation narrative in Luke 1-2. However, when you think about it, you might realise there is only one journey in the two stories. Our minds go to the younger son and his flight from home and into the arms of the world to live a “prodigal” lifestyle, only to be spit out bereft of both dignity and “dollars.” But this is the wrong journey.
It is the father who makes the most terrible journey, out of an extravagant heart (a pure prodigality), he embarks on the rescue run to bring his boy home whatever the cost to himself. And in the incarnation, it is also God’s intent to go to extreme and extravagant lengths to bring him people home, whatever the cost of humiliation to himself.
Religion may be about our pilgrimages and journeys supposedly heavenwards. But Christianity is all about a different traveller – God himself. He makes the move, he pays the price, he performs the rescue.
When the Son of God burst into this world in a flurry of newborn cries, His mission was bigger than we tend to think. Just surviving to adulthood looked unlikely, but there was so much more. He came to breach the defences of the god of this age, to reveal His Father’s heart to us and for us, and to die in our place that our sins could be forgiven and our fellowship in union with the Son by the Spirit established.
That was quite the mission. But then the New Testament goes further, the mission just gets bigger. In reference to the coming of Christ, Paul wrote to Titus that it is God’s grace that teaches us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. The coming of Christ was not only to breach, reveal and rescue, but also to transform. Ungodly sinners transformed to have godly desires. This worldly sinners transformed to have future oriented hope. Once we see what had to happen in us, Jesus’ mission only appears bigger and bigger! What a Saviour!
At just the right time, God the Son was sent into the world and he came, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law. What comes next? This classic Christmas explanation in Galatians 4:4-5 is still only mid-sentence, but what comes next?
We sell Christmas short when the end result of Christmas was something less than what Paul writes here. He writes of adoption as sons and the sending of the Spirit into our hearts. Too often the Gospel we tell ourselves and others does not go there. Instead in the shrunken Gospel there is just some combination of some of these elements: Jesus makes a way for our guilt to be paid, we get to go to heaven, we get empowered to live better lives, we can now choose to obey God, etc.
Jesus came so that we could have the Spirit restored to us again. And the Spirit is sent, not primarily for improving our behaviour or empowering our obedience (although both will follow), He is sent to restore us to the love relationship of the Trinity. Let’s not sell Christmas short to ourselves, or to others.