Is that idea of a virgin birth too big a pill for you to swallow? It gets in the way of faith for a whole lot of folks.
Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT dealt with that subject… the virgin birth. He titled it:
Conceived by the Holy Spirit, and Born of the Virgin Mary
It’s a stumbling block for many To think of a baby born of a virgin… The idea can seem like a fairy tale. It can be a pill too big to swallow.
Some people believe Christ was Half God and half human. Only One who is fully God Can atone for our sins.
Only one who is fully human Can experience our suffering and pain. So many deny Jesus’ duality: Jesus was born divine and became human.
Philippians 2:7 “But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
This verse is our first statement of faith: He found Himself as human And humbled Himself. He chose to be dependent on humans.
Jesus could not have been born Without that simple peasant girl; And He suffered all the human pain And a cruel and painful death.
It’s a gigantic leap of faith To fully believe the virgin birth. But, take comfort in knowing Even the disciples had trouble.
Even though they walked With Jesus on this earth, They had trouble believing He was the Holy Son of God.
The initial act of faith Is not that total belief. The initial act of faith Is to invite Jesus into your heart.
When your own life is changed By the love of Christ in you, Then your faith will grow; You will share that faith with others.
Jesus sees the pearls in the dust. Not what we are, but What God intends us to become. In Christ, our faith can help us get there.
We don’t begin as full believers. We begin as that dependent manger child. We begin looking for a Teacher of Wisdom, And Jesus, the Holy Son of God enters.
Let Him walk with you. Let Him help your faith to grow. When it comes to faith, The heart is one step ahead of the intellect!
by Steve Hundley
We have run our yearly race to Bethlehem, O Lord, and many are tired from what has been a very difficult year. We know that You did not mean it that way, but intended for Your Son’s birth to bring us peace and joy and renewal, and a sense of togetherness that comes from this season of love and giving.
In the stillness of this moment we turn our hearts to You as the needle of a compass points to True North. Amidst all the tension of this year, may You remain at the center, calling us to hope and to clarity of purpose. On the eve of a new year, give guidance to us and the nations of the world, as we seek to find our way out of this pandemic. Incline our hearts to modesty, honesty, and compassion. Let us be tender to all of those in need, especially the young, the old, the tired, the poor, the sick, and all who are struggling just to survive.,,
So many have died these last 10 months, O Lord. Hold in Your arms those who grieve, whose spirits are distressed by the loss of loved ones, or jobs, or homes in all of the uncertainty that surrounds them. Speak to us in our worship, we pray, in something heard or seen or felt, that we may go from this place of worship with a renewed sense of Your presence in our lives.
Let the months before us bring rest to a weary world and hope to millions who continue to dwell in darkness. Use us who wait before You to accomplish Your will, through devotion and imagination and love. We pray this prayer in the name of Christ our Savior… Amen
May you, my dear WP friends, find the peace, comfort, hope, and clarity of purpose for which we pray.
How about your clarity of purpose?
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear about your Sunday and your purpose. Hugs!!
If you’ve followed my blog for a week or so, you already know that I journal most days in this little book that is dedicated to my dear and daring daughter, DeAna. I don’t write in it EVERY day, but often I do, when I am up in my sanctuary, motivated by my devotionals. Today was such a day.
Look ahead, my friend Live Life Forward Stare out the windshield Not the rear view mirror
Look toward the future Find the unexpected gifts Share the love and grace You find at every turn
Share the laughter Share uninhibited joy Share compassion Ease each others pain
Find the hidden treasures ‘Neath the tears of sorrow Let them wash you clean Ready for tomorrow
Look ahead, my friend Don’t let the past upset Live life forward And bury all regret
I have positive thoughts about today. It’s snowing here… and it is beautiful outside. It’s warm and cozy inside. I pray you are cozy, too.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek And thank you to all my faithful followers – Your comments make my day! See ya tomorrow.
I am grateful for you, dear WordPress friends. I pray your day was blessed indeed. Merry Christmas!
Did you get to actually be with your family? Or did you ZOOM with them as we did? The picture above is Christmas Eve morning. Bob & I had the opportunity to see and talk with (left to right) our son, Ty, [then that’s us], group shot of our grandson and granddaughter with our son’s in-laws, then my niece, Jodie & her husband, Bill and son, Liam, from their home in PA, our daughter #2 Laina in the Baltimore area, and our daughter-in-law, Monika, in CA. We had a wonderful hour-long conversation. Next best thing to being together in person! Thank you, ZOOM!!
What are the gifts that brightened your day today? I hope you are feeling as blessed as we are.
Bob & I are using our relatively new smoker to smoke a standing rib roast for our Christmas dinner. Like technology, things like smokers and cell phones require a learning curve. We’re on the uphill side of that curve!
We called our neighbor/friend, Whooter, for help this morning when we were trying to figure out how to do this. Dear Whooter texted us back, sent us a photo that made our day, and gave us the advice we needed. Love that guy!!
Whooter gave us a great recipe for a rub to put on the meat, and meat thermometers to help us know we are headed in the right direction in the smoking process. God bless him! Do you have neighbors who are life-savers for you at times like this?
As we prepare for our Christmas dinner, we are listening to the horrible news about the bombing in Nashville this morning. So sad that there are such sick people out there! How could someone intentionally do something so devastating?
Our prayers go out for those who were injured and prayers of gratitude that there are no known fatalities. We have friends who live in Nashville- not far from this blast. And I have a cousin who lives there. My heart goes out to all those in Harm’s Way. We all are affected by such atrocities. It makes us all feel vulnerable. It saddens my heart.
God be with those firefighters who were injured. May they recover fully and be home with their families soon.
Thank God for each minute you are given to share the love, joy, and peace that are Jesus Christ’s gifts to us. Have a very Merry Christmas, my friends. Our standing rib roast WILL be done soon. I am counting on it.
Sigh… The smoker keeps shutting off. We may have to call Whooter again! (That’s just an internet photo!!)
Merry Christmas, my friends. What did you do today?
No, I don’t want to go back! I don’t want to revisit the old normal. Surely as we move from 2020 to a new year, we’ll create a better normal.
This is my prayer this Christmas: Lord, help us learn what You have in mind for us to learn from this rare year we’ve just survived.
Letter from a Wordsmith
With his permission, I am sharing with you the first part of a Christmas letter I received this week from my former pastor, Rev. Brent Mitchell. He is a master wordsmith! He said what’s in my heart so much better than I could have said it.
“Mark it how you will, 2020 was a year not lost, but forever to be remembered for both its absences and its unexpected gifts.
By the middle of March, it became apparent that what we thought as normalcy had left its predictable confines for parts unknown, leaving no forwarding address.
Masked and gloved, we were left to fend for ourselves absent even the comfort of shaking hands or intimate conversations, the communion around tables, camaraderie of birthdays celebrated, the sacred closeness of hospital visits.
Absent of the humanizing connectivity, of those familiar and holy intersections, we were left to laugh alone, to cry alone, and hope in seclusion. It cost us treasures we never knew were so valuable and time that cannot be recalled.
“But admit it: There were unexpected gifts. There were letters we finally wrote, the books we never touched until now, the prolonged stillness that allowed us to think again, and listen to what our hearts were saying.
We talked to God because the hours got quiet enough to hear His still small voice. It happened because we watched enough TV to realize we had watched TV enough, and golden silence gave us gifts that weren’t insipid.
“I think, in short, that if we were paying attention, not only did we get older, but almost certainly wiser because even a painful awareness of what lurks in our hearts and minds is worth more than gold.
The gift was rediscovering at a visceral level that we really are never alone; nor in the absence of everyone, are we left unloved.
“My prayer is that when this is over, and it will one day be over, we won’t forget the things we learned the hard way this year: that God willing, we’ll never go back to the tired normalcy of endless distractions, of busyness as usual, and the noise that never ends.”
The Mitchell Musings December 2020
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I leave with you my hopes and wishes for a most Blessed Christmas.