Grace

He Could Have Kept the Temple

This morning as I was reading of the finishing work of Solomon’s temple, the overlaying of the gold and bronze, it struck me that God could have kept the temple.

Here is the House of the Lord David dreamed of. Extravagant, covered in splendor and meaning, holy. It would be the place God’s people would make offerings to him, worship him. It would also be the center of all of life in Jerusalem. But for all of its glory and place in redemptive history, it would not last.

Due to the rebellion of the faithless, the disobedience of those made a people it would be stripped of its finery. It would be ruined. There would be rebuilding projects but the Temple would never again match the early majesty. And eventually it would be gone forever, burned to the ground.

God could have kept it though. In his sovereignty he could have maintained its foundations regardless of the unfaithfulness of the people he called his own. It could still remain today as the center of life, where we communed with God, a place of pilgrimage, of power. But he did not keep it.

There was something better to come, many temples made of hearts and flesh. A complete sacrifice that discontinued the need for bulls and lambs. The opportunity to commune with our Creator where we are through Jesus.

God could have kept the Temple but it is glorious news for us that he didn’t. Grace was coming another way. Those that waited longed not for the Temple but for God himself. In Advent we long for the same thing. Having tasted of salvation we desire completion. The return of our King, that he would be the center of all life, the radiance of our days.

Today be reminded of God’s care for you. That his plan brought us here, to longing and hope. And his plan will see us through. He could have kept the Temple, but he chose you.

Grace

A Lamp Shining in a Dark Place

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah 9:2

We have entered into the season of waiting. Advent. It begins not with the eggnog and Mariah Carey but instead a realization of the darkness. That a promise of light came to a people familiar with dark. And that we now await his return, experiencing the very real dark of our own sinful flesh and the brokenness of our world.

We are meant to ache for more. To cry out for light. This year of all years has seasoned us for this very act. We are acquainted with uncertainty, loss, grief, anger, longing.

We have come face to face with our own idolatry. We are beginning to recognize the ways we placed hope in things that are not light. Even our reliance on self above all things has only left us shattered and bitter.

We have lost control. Events of the day are beyond us and our weak attempts at conspiracy to provide answers only leaves us deeper in the dark. We have been brought again to the reminder that there is One sovereign but it is not us.

So we wait. Longing for light.

But we wait with hope. Because in Christ we have been exposed and rescued by light. Each and every day now brings us one closer to his return and eternal reign. The correcting of all that is wrong. The healing of all things. We can trust the promise of Maranatha because a child was born.

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,” 2 Peter 1:19 (ESV)

The lamp is still shining, the day is dawning. Wait well my friends. Look to Jesus. Feel the encroaching darkness and know there is a better home. Cling to his forgiveness, comfort, and new life. As the light has shone on you, shine it among others. Christmas is coming…

Book Review

Images of Advent

Most years when December hits and the Christmas season gets underway our family scrambles to prepare well. We don’t want to lose the hope and longing for Christ in the midst of a commercialized cultural moment. So to that end, we have tried a number of different books, guides, and calendars to get our hearts fully engaged in Advent (the month-long reminder and celebration of the arrival of Jesus and expectation of his return).¬†But each year we feel like we have to start over with materials more appropriate for our season of life and worthwhile for our kids.

This year, instead of hunting for and ordering what might work, Stacy set out to write a devotional for our family that would make much of Jesus and instill an increasing sense of hope in our hearts. The result is our Images of Advent Family Devotional.

Image 11-29-18 at 3.43 PMImages of Advent shares Scripture and a simple devotional with questions for the days leading to Christmas. There is also a paper ornament families get to decorate for each day as a reminder of the good news of Jesus at Christmas.

We are excited to freely give print copies to our friends at Reservoir Church this Sunday but for those of you far off we are glad to make the pdf of the devotional available to you to download.

Please feel free to print, share, and enjoy Jesus in the Images of Advent Family Devotional. Click the links to download:

Images of Advent.

Advent Ornaments.