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Showing posts from December 12, 2012


December 23
Lesson 4
DEVOTIONAL READING: Psalm 97 BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: John 1:1–14; Ephesians 4:17–5:14

KEY VERSE "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."—John 1:14

Introduction   A.      Grotesque Creatures of Darkness       B.      Lesson Background   I.      Life-giving Light (JOHN 1:1–5, 14)
A.      At the Beginning (vv. 1, 2) B.      In Creation (v. 3)   C.      In Contrast (vv. 4, 5) D.      Among Us (v. 14) II.      Light-walking Life (EPHESIANS 5:1, 2, 6–14) A.      Moving Toward God (vv. 1, 2) B.      Moving Away from Darkness (vv. 6–8a)   C.      Living Right (vv. 8b–10) Be a Living History D.      Creating Visibility (vv. 11–14) Resurrection Light
Conclusion A.      The Light Has Dawned       B.      Prayer       C.      Thought to Remember
The KJV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2012–2013, ed. Ronald L. Nickelson and Jonathan Und…

You Should Do This, but Maybe You Shouldn't

December 24: You Should Do This, but Maybe You Shouldn'tProverbs 26:1–11
We all know the feeling. When someone belittles us in front of others, we want to rail against them or make their lives miserable by filtering our rage through our best passive-aggressive behavior. When a friend continuously doles out inflammatory remarks, it’s easy to snap and say (or tweet) something inspired by the white-hot rage sweeping through us.

We’d be better off turning to the book of Proverbs, which can offer wisdom for dealing with these situations. The book seems to deliver hard-and-fast rules for life we can easily apply—do this; don’t do that. Do this and you’ll prosper; do that and you’ll suffer for your foolishness. However, Proverbs 26 delivers statements that confuse those who live by the rules: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly lest you become like him—even you. Answer a fool according to his folly, or else he will be wise in his own eyes” (Prov 26:4–5). Do we answer the fool o…


Wednesday, December 12
WHY JESUS CAME Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. —Hebrews 2:14–15
Hebrews 2:14–15 is worth more than two minutes in an Advent devotional. These verses connect the beginning and the end of Jesus’s earthly life. They make clear why he came. They would be great to use with an unbelieving friend or family member to take them step by step through your Christian view of Christmas. It might go something like this…“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood…”

The term “children” is taken from the previous verse and refers to the spiritual offspring of Christ, the Messiah (see Isaiah 8:18; 53:10). These are also the “children of God.” In other words, in sending Christ, God has the salvation of his “children” specially in …

Forgiven and Forgiving

December 12: Forgiven and ForgivingProverbs 18:1–24
Idioms are often unhelpful because their overuse has robbed them of meaning. But the idiom “putting up walls” has a twist in Proverbs: “A brother who is offended is worse than a city of strength, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortification” (Prov 18:19).

The writer of this proverb gives us imagery that helps us understand how people react to offenses. Regardless of whether we intend to, we can raise a great structure, like a “city of strength,” in the gulf between ourselves and others. Such barriers make it difficult to reach those we have offended, which may suit us perfectly. But we’re called to live differently.

None of us can live perfectly in this life, so conflict is inevitable. If we have the insight to see that “we all fall short of the glory of God—and more specifically, how we have fallen—we’ll see we have no right to hold a grudge (Rom 3:23). When rifts develop in relationships, we need to own our sin and bring it to…