A Chorus of Angels with Joy in Their Hearts

Luke 2:14

It’s easy to imagine what Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, or the Magi were thinking and feeling when they encountered the baby Jesus for the first time. I can imagine the mix of excitement, nerves, and expectation as they wondered when God would reveal the details of his plan and what kind of man this child would grow to be.

But have you ever thought what the angels of Luke 2 were thinking and feeling? I hadn’t until I read Rev. C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon on Luke 2:14 titled “The First Christmas Carol.” http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0168.htm

Luke 2:14 records what the angels sang about the birth of Christ, overlooking a hillside full of sheep and shepherds. Spurgeon pointed out that, compared with the breadth of their experiences, this was a fairly humble job for a chorus of angels. These angels sang the soundtrack of creation, looking on as God spun into being all that we know. Several among their number had carried messages to kings and emperors. But on that night they carried a birth announcement to salt-of-the-earth people. And yet they didn’t hold back an ounce. They gave their highest praise. And Spurgeon said, “Methinks, they sang it with gladness in their eye; with their hearts burning with love, and with breasts as full of joy as if the good news to man had been good news to themselves.”

Why were the usually somber angels so delighted on that night? Because in the person of Jesus, all of God’s promises were fulfilled. All the attributes of God were manifest in a form that all men and women could see and experience for themselves. In the baby Jesus, God made himself accessible to us.

To the refrain they add, “. . . and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Not since the garden had true peace with God been available to mankind. Since Adam’s sin, there had always been enmity between God and men. The sacrificial system carved out an unsteady ceasefire, but lasting peace was finally possible on the night that God closed the distance between heaven and earth. He came to us because we could not go to him.

So as you celebrate Christmas this year, carve out some time to celebrate like the angels did—by giving to God the highest praise of which you are capable, and reveling in the peace that he made possible for you and me.

by Ray Deck III

The Words of Our Mouth

Psalm 19:12-14

Our voices can be tools for great good. For example, we can talk to our heavenly Father on behalf of ourselves and others; we can speak the truth of Jesus Christ and sing praises to Him; we can train, motivate, encourage, and warn; and we can express loving devotion to one another.

However, our voices also have the power to injure. It often starts out with something small—a comment regarding a church policy or a brief conversation about an acquaintance can snowball, causing unforeseen damage. At times, we may express our opinion in a critical way (“Did you see how he . . . ?”) or out of curiosity, ask a question that elicits the negative (“Do you know why she . . . ?”). Our questions and comments may sow seeds of doubt and distrust that can hurt someone else’s reputation. Another word for this is “gossip.”

God has strong things to say about gossips—they separate close friends, betray confidences, and stir up dissension. And notice how God views a gossip’s traveling companions: Romans 1:29-30 describes them with terms like unrighteousness, wickedness, and greed, as well as slanderers and haters of God. The Lord takes our words seriously.

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth about your words, and let it transform any heart attitudes that might be prompting gossip. “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt. 12:34). Be one who protects the reputation of others, whether family, coworkers, believers, or unbelievers. Be a blessing with your words.


“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

In this scientific age, it is essential for us to remember that “science” can never answer any question beginning with “why.” Scientific research seeks to answer questions of “what” and “how,” and sometimes “where” and “when,” but it can never deal with “why” questions. Such questions require a moral or theological answer.

Probably the most vexing of all such questions is: “Why do the righteous suffer?” Or, put another way: “Why is there evil in a world created by a God who is good?” The question becomes especially poignant when personal calamity comes and we ask, “Why did this happen to me?”

Many think the book of Job was written to answer such questions, for Job was one of the most godly men who ever lived, yet he suffered more than anyone. But God answered Job’s searching questions only by pointing to the wonders of His creation. God has made us for Himself, and He is “forming” us for His own holy purpose; that is all we need to know right now. “What I do thou knowest not now,” said Jesus, “but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

Yet even Jesus in His human suffering cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). We do know, at least in part, the answer to this question. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

For answers to the other “why” questions, we may well have to await God’s own time. Until then, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28), and we can say with Job: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). HMM

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.— Ephesians 6:7.

YET take the tiny stones, which I have wrought,
Just one by one, as they were given by Thee,
Not knowing what came next in Thy wise thought.
Set each stone by Thy Master-hand of grace,
Form the mosaic as Thou wilt for me,
And in Thy temple pavement give it place.

WHAT God may hereafter require of you, you must not give yourself the least trouble about. Everything He gives you to do, you must do as well as ever you can, and that is the best possible preparation for what He may want you to do next. If people would but do what they have to do, they would always find hemselves ready for what came next. GEORGE MACDONALD.

Nothing can excuse the neglect of the duties of the position of life which God has conferred upon us. All is delusive where these are not attended to, and made much of. FREDERICK W. FABER.

If you would advance in true holiness, you must aim steadily at perfection in
little things. ABBE GUILLORE.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. James 4:8

Enoch walked with God. — Can two walk together, except they be agreed? — It is good for me to draw near to God.

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you: but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. When they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, … and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.

Genesis 5:24. Amos 3:3. Psalm 73:28. 2 Chronicles 15:2,4. Jeremiah 29:11-13. Hebrews 10:19-22.

Understanding what the will of the Lord is

Understanding what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5:17

This is the will of God, even your sanctification. — Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. — This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. — We
know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

We … do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. — The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, … give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe.

1 Thessalonians 4:3. Job 22:21. John 17:3. 1 John 5:20. Colossians 1:9. Ephesians 1:17-19.