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Verse of the Month - Dec 2017

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But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.  (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

Christmastime and the season of Advent is my favorite time of the year.  The sense of wonder and anticipation fills the air through various smells, sounds, and sights.  For the church, this season transcends the temporal and calls our attention to the eternal.  It is a reminder to us that Christ has come and will come again at the fullness of time.

The Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 4 explains the culmination of the promise found in Genesis 3:15.  After sin, guilt, and shame entered the world through the sin of Adam, God foretold of a promised offspring from Eve who would crush the head of satan.  The crushing of satan’s head would break the curse of our slavery to sin and death.  In verse 4, Paul points out that Christ was not slow in His first coming, but rather came at the perfect time.  In other words, God had set the stage perfectly for you and me.  In the keeping of His promise in Genesis, God sent no mere man, but remarkably His only begotten Son.  This God-Man who was under the law, kept and fulfilled the law by walking in perfect obedience to the Father.  Then in verse 5, the Apostle describes the result of this kept promise.  In Jesus, our redemption is achieved.  We see here that through Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Father, an obedience that would ultimately lead to the cross, we are redeemed and adopted.  At the core of Advent is the reminder that the light of men, Jesus, shone into the darkness, and the darkness failed to overcome it (see John 1:1-5).  

The season of Advent is a chance for us to once again reorient our hearts and minds upon the beautiful truth that Jesus came as our atoning sacrifice so that we might forever live in the awe of our Heavenly Father.  The joyous seasonal smells, sounds, and sights are only a shadow of the substantive truth that around 2,000 years ago on the hill of Calvary was the smell of death, the sound of forsaken cries, and the sight of our pierced Savior.  May our hearts and minds rejoice that the same Savior who endured the cross so that we might receive adoption of the Most High King, will one day return again.  In this promise, we who are his children cry out by the power of the Spirit that has been sent into our hearts, “Come Lord Jesus, come!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

Verse of the Month - Nov 2017

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[4] Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!  (Psalm 100:4 ESV)

On Thanksgiving Day, many families and friends will draw together around a table to celebrate the blessings that we have.  Although we as Christians should and are called to be thankful for the freedom, abundance, and many other material blessings that God has bestowed upon us, God invites his sons and daughters into something much deeper.  The call to be thankful is not limited to a day in November, nor a thankfulness that is limited to our possessions, but rather it is an invitation into a life of thankfulness centered upon who God is.  The month of November and Thanksgiving Day are an opportunity for us as believers to orient our hearts back to the Lord.  This is the beckoning of the psalmist in Psalm 100 as it calls us to be grateful at all times based upon the character of our God.  

A thankful heart that has been liberated is only thankful because of its Liberator.  We see this truth in this Psalm.  We are called to be make a joyful noise (v 1); to serve the LORD with gladness and come into His presence with singing, thanksgiving, and praise (v 2, 4); to know that the Lord is God and we are His (v 3); and to give thanks to him by blessing his name (v 4).  Yet, all of these commands are based upon the who God is.  Verse 5 tells us that we are commanded to do these things because the LORD is good, loving, and faithful.  These characteristics of God are fully seen in the Lord Jesus.  

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who displayed God’s goodness, steadfast love, and faithfulness when He purchased us by His blood on the cross and then resurrected from the dead.  Truly He cares for us, the sheep of His pasture.  He loves us with a love that endures forever!  Because God is good, loving, and faithful, we are able to walk in this calling.  So this month, may we as believers dwell upon the deeper things orienting our hearts to who God is.  Let as a church “enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!”

Written by Pastor Rick Bartek

Posted by Rick Bartek with

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