Friday, December 08, 2006

The Birth of Jesus

When a baby is born, all eyes are fixed on the newborn child. The doctors and nurses are concerned for the health of the new one. Eager to catch a glimpse of the tiny baby, family and friends rally around the couple. As soon as everyone is satisfied that the baby is healthy and happy, attention turns toward the mother. How is she doing? Does she know how to look after her baby? Is she mature enough to put her baby's needs before her own? Oftentimes the father is forgotten or brushed aside.

Nevertheless the father's first reaction to his wife and newborn child is very important. It sets the tone for the emotional foundation of this family unit. Although all children are a gift from God, a firstborn child is very special. When our first child was born, I woke my husband up in the middle of the night and told him I needed to go to the hospital. He quickly dressed and carefully set my suitcase and me into the car. Eagerly he drove to the hospital and then quietly sat with me for hours. After Debra was born, my husband rushed to phone our families. He was so excited that he told everyone she was three feet long! Actually she was twenty-two inches.

Consider for a moment God the Father's reaction to the birth of Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God promised to send the Saviour. After two thousand years of planning and preparation, Jesus was born at the appointed time. God the Father sent his angels to tell the shepherds the good news. An angel told them, "I bring to you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11).

The Father is filled with great joy because the Saviour is born. Jesus will complete the work the Father sent him to do. It is guaranteed. This marvellous salvation will be available to all people. Many angels joined the first angel and sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).

May you know the peace of God by trusting in the Saviour today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Unity of the Scriptures

<> Have you ever had trouble reading through the entire Bible? Once when I was a teenager, my Mom offered me ten dollars if I could do it. Sadly, I never took her up on her offer.

My book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, traces the history of salvation throughout the Scriptures. It shows how the Lord planned and carried out our salvation from the beginning to the end of time. God’s plan is the greatest love story ever told! How Satan and people react is an important part of the story.

This book started out being an essay about eschatology or the end times. Twelve years ago I offered to do some research for my pastor on the apostolic fathers. They were the first few generations of Christian authors after the apostles. He thought that they should be closest to the truth. However, a booklet by George Fletcher changed my focus from eschatology to God’s marvellous plan of salvation. I had never thought about the timeline of the Bible before.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord promised to send a Saviour. Throughout the Old Testament God prepared for the coming of the promised Seed. Therefore the first part of the book is entitled Waiting for the Promised Seed. The last chapter in this section deals with Jewish writings between the Old and New Testaments. The second part of the book, called Responding to the Promised Seed, considers the work of Jesus on earth and the development of the early Church. The final chapter discusses the beliefs of the first few generations of Christian writers after the apostles. This is the essay that I promised my pastor!

This story has a villain—Satan. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, Satan became a defeated foe. The cover on my book shows very emphatically that Jesus is the victor.

Dr. Adams, past principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary, kindly checked the book for theological accuracy and made many suggestions. Mostly he asked me to add parts of the story that I had left out in the New Testament. Then a Christian editor critiqued it for sales appeal. He said it was well written, but people would want to know who I am and why I write the way I do. Therefore he told me to do three things, which I did. My testimony is scattered throughout the book. There are pull quotes to draw the reader into the book. Every chapter ends with five “Points to Ponder.”

It is a very easy read. My ninety-three-year old mother-in-law read it in two weeks and then proceeded to be a missionary in her own home. My heart’s desire is that the book will encourage all believers to reach out to those around them with the good news of the gospel. To me, the book has turned into a very long tract.

Some other people are reading it more slowly and using the book as a launching pad for their own personal studies. My daughter-in-law discovered that the index is an excellent tool for her to teach Bible characters at the Christian School where she works. There are also maps and, of course, a timeline. “Points to Ponder” at the end of each chapter serve as a devotional guide.

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