When we discuss the gospel and God’s mission, it is tempting to focus solely on theological statements and activities done by the church. However, at the core of the gospel is not an idea but a person—Christ.
Here in this simple phrase we have mysteries so great that the angels desperately long to understand. In a nutshell, the greatest gift that God gives us is himself. But in order for us to understand the magnitude of what John is saying here, we need to step back and look at the larger story of the Bible.
Sometimes when we come to passages like Matthew’s condensed Christmas story, we don’t come with that childlike curiosity and wonder—looking at the everyday with awe, perceiving the familiar as fascinating. But we should.
We need to see that if our work is to be acceptable and effective, it must come as fruit; it must be the spontaneous outgrowth of a healthy, vigorous life, the Spirit and power of Christ living and working in us.
The Biblical notion of giving thanks digs deeper than merely making a list. It is worth reflecting on the Hebrew word yadah, often translated “give thanks,” to see all that God has in mind for us. There’s more to it than we might think.
Cultivating a thankful heart will result in speaking thankful words. But we all need periodic reminders to be thankful, and, for most of us, developing the habit of thankfulness may require some practice! Here are some practical suggestions for devoting one week to practicing thankfulness.
When we come to the end of the Old Testament, we have no answer to the question of how all these things will be resolved. The resolution is brought about by means of the greatest plot twist in the history of the universe.