Silent Night of the Soul

Silent Night of the Soul


If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Long before Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber created the familiar carol “Silent Night,” Angelus Silesius had written:

Lo! in the silent night a child to God is born,
And all is brought again that ere was lost or lorn.
Could but thy soul, O man, become a silent night
God would be born in thee and set all things aright.

Jesus, thank You for being born into this dark world so that we might be born again into Your life & light.

Silesius, a Polish monk, published the poem in 1657 in The Cherubic Pilgrim.During our church’s annual Christmas Eve service, the choir sang a beautiful rendition of the song titled “Could but Thy Soul Become a Silent Night.”

The twofold mystery of Christmas is that God became one of us so that we might become one with Him. Jesus suffered everything that was wrong so that we could be made right. That’s why the apostle Paul could write, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17–18).

Whether our Christmas is filled with family and friends or empty of all we long for, we know that Jesus came to be born in us.

Ah, would thy heart but be a manger for the birth,
God would once more become a child on earth.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being born into this dark world so that we might be born again into Your life and light.

God became one of us so that we might become one with Him.

By David C. McCasland 


At the heart of the concept of becoming one with Christ is His work of reconciliation in us. In today’s passage, Paul weaves several themes together—life, love, new creation, and the ministry of reconciliation—all framed by a call to act with urgency. It is because of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection that we can be reconciled to God. Those who accept Christ’s gift of reconciliation must “no longer live for themselves” (2 Cor. 5:15). Instead, we are compelled to view everyone differently (v. 16), as people in dire need of Christ’s reconciliation. And what is this reconciliation? God will no longer “[count] people’s sins against them” (v. 19). With urgency, Paul tells us that we are now Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation and says, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (v. 20, emphasis added).

With whom can you share this offer of reconciliation today?

Tim Gustaftson

Manifestations of the Teaching Gift

Titus 2:7-8

We make effective use of our spiritual gift when we are filled with the Spirit; relying on ourselves will just send us off track. Let’s look at both godly and fleshly manifestations of the teaching gift.

Depending upon human reasoning leads to self-indulgence. But by faithfully absorbing and applying Scripture, a Christian gifted in teaching reaps the fruit of self-control (Gal. 5:23). Through one’s desire to learn, the Spirit develops dependability and diligence, yet unless the believer abides in Christ, he or she can become careless and inconsistent. The fruit of peace and patience grows as studies lead to deeper faith, whereas anxiety and impatience result if the focus shifts to “self.”

For those of us who don’t have this gift, it’s possible to incorrectly perceive the ones who do—we might assume they are overemphasizing their studies or being prideful because of their knowledge. However, the characteristics of the gift of teaching show that the opposite is true. These believers desire accurate, thorough understanding so they can share it with us for our benefit. At times, we might regard people with this ability as boring because of the quantity of information they present. We might even suspect that they rely more on knowledge than on God’s Spirit. And yet it is the Holy Spirit who helps them to learn and to speak. We should realize teachers want us to have enough truth so that we can live God’s way and please Him.

As you exercise your God-given gift, pray for the Spirit’s leading. That is how to have the greatest impact for the kingdom.

Death Before Sin?

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Modern evangelicals have found it fashionable to accommodate Scripture to the concept of a very old earth. These views all do serious harm to Scripture, including the current compromise of choice, the “framework hypothesis,” which holds that the passages that seem to deal with science and early history contain only “spiritual” truth but not factual content. Each such attempt to accept vast ages before the appearance of man has many flaws, but perhaps the most damaging to the Christian faith is the problem of death before sin.

The Bible plainly teaches that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Before Adam and Eve rebelled, animals ate only plants (Genesis 1:30). Death came as a result of sin and the curse: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof [the forbidden tree] thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The first death in all of creation occurred when God provided Adam and Eve animal skins for clothing. Sin always brings death. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Indeed, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). That this is not referring to spiritual death only is clear from today’s verse, which deals with physical resurrection from the dead. Just as Adam’s sin brought death on all creation, so Christ’s resurrection brings victory over death.

But here is the problem. If death existed before Adam, then death is not the penalty for sin. How, then, did Christ’s death pay the penalty for our sin? If death is not tied to Adam’s sin, then life is not tied to Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Christian faith is all in vain. JDM

Make full proof of thy ministry

Amos 7

Amos had many visions, and he told them to the people boldly.

Amos 7:1, 2

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers or locusts

Amos 7:3

A famine was threatened by means of locusts, but the prophet’s intercession turned aside the evil. We cannot set too much store by the earnest prayers of holy men.

Amos 7:6

The fire indicated devouring judgments, but the prophet again pleaded, urging the low estate of Israel, and a second time he prevailed. The prayers of the righteous are the shields of the nation.

Amos 7:9

He would judge the nation as a builder tests a wall to see. if it is upright, and after that he would break down all that was out of line and unfit to stand. The sinful house of Jehu had now ruled for four generations, there would be but one more king, and then like the dynasty of Ahab, it would be swept away. This prophecy was delivered at Bethel, in the very centre of idolatrous worship.

Amos 7:10, 11

This was only in part true: Amos had not said that Jeroboam would be slain. We can never hope to have our case fairly stated; our enemies will exaggerate.

Amos 7:13

As muck as to say, “You are not wanted here. Judah is the place for those of your way of thinking; and besides, your rough manners are not fit for this courtly shrine.” Little did the false priest dream of the rejoinder he would receive.

Amos 7:14, 15

He spoke not out of any wilful ambition, but by divine commission, and was not therefore at all likely to be silenced by the threats of men.

Amos 7:17

In a few years these words came true. Woe unto those who stand up against the Lord and oppose his servants.


O Lord, thy chosen servants bless,

That they may faithful be;

Thy truth upon the conscience press,

And sinners win to thee!


In holy watchfulness and prayer,

O keep them near thy side;

May they with loving zeal declare,

A Saviour crucified.


Great God! to thee I’ll make

My griefs and sorrows known;

And with a humble hope

Approach thine awful throne;

Though by my sins deserving hell,

I’ll not despair;—for, “Who can tell?”


Vile unbelief, begone;

Ye doubts, fly swift away;

God hath an ear to hear,

While I’ve a heart to pray;

If he be mine, all will be well—

For ever so; and, “Who can tell?”


Then let us not despond,

Inquiring “Who can tell?”

For in the sacred word

The question’s answer’d well:

That all who come to Christ shall be

Saved now, and through eternity.


Since from our faith thou dost withhold

No blessing of thy grace,

Make us in confidence most bold

Thy promise to embrace.


Full many an arrow may we aim

With faith’s most mighty bow,

Strengthened by thine all-conquering name,

Our sins to overthrow.


At twice or thrice let us not stay,

But the full number dare;

Since thou dost not a limit lay,

Why should our hands forbear?


Is there ambition in my heart?

Search, gracious God, and see:

Or do I act a haughty part?

Lord, I appeal to thee.


I charge my thoughts, be humble still,

And all my carriage mild,

Content, my Father, with thy will,

And quiet as a. child.


The patient soul, the lowly mind,

Shall have a large reward:

Let saints be humble and resigned;

And ne’er provoke the Lord.


Jehovah hath spoken!

The nations shall hear;

From the east to the west

Shall his glory appear;

With thunders and tempest

To judgment he’ll come;

And all men before him

Shall wait for their doom.


Woe, woe to the sinners!

To what shall they trust?

In the day of God’s vengeance,

The holy and just!

How meet all the terrors

That flame in his path,

When the mountains shall melt

At the glance of his wrath!


O God, ere the day

Of thy mercy be past,

With trembling our souls

On that mercy we cast:

O guide us in wisdom;

For aid we implore;

Till, saved with thy people,

Thy grace we adore.


Long hath the night of sorrow reign’d;

The dawn shall bring us light:

God shall appear, and we shall rise

With gladness in his sight.


Our hearts, if God we seek to know,

Shall know him, and rejoice;

His coming like the morn shall be,

Like morning songs his voice.


So shall his presence bless our souls,

And shed a joyful light;

That hallow’d morn shall chase away

The sorrows of the night.


With broken heart and contrite sigh,

A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry;

Thy pardoning grace is rich and free;

O God! be merciful to me.


I smite upon my troubled breast,

With deep and conscious guilt oppress’d:

Christ and his cross my only plea;

O God! be merciful to me.


You Have Jesus As Your Personal Intercessor

Hebrews 4:14

According to this verse, Jesus is your High Priest, and He lives forever to make intercession on your behalf (Hebrews 7:25). This means there is never a moment when Jesus Himself is not interceding for your victory and success. The devil may try to tell you that you’re standing all alone in your walk of faith; he may tempt you to believe that no one is aware of the difficulties you are facing as you pursue God’s call on your life. But that isn’t true. Jesus is aware of everything you face, and He’s making intercession for you right now.

No one wants you to succeed more than Jesus Himself. He knows the challenges you will face as you pursue what He has put in your heart. He knows the devil will try to abort your dream. He knows you will face moments when you are physically tired and mentally exhausted. Jesus understands every single emotion and temptation you will ever face. Remember, He also faced temptation during His own walk of faith.

Hebrews 4:15, 16 says, “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

This verse says that we are to come “… boldly unto the throne of grace….” The word “boldly” vividly portrays how much God wants you to come to Him, for it is the Greek word parresia, which gives the idea of boldness, frankness, forthrightness, and outspokenness. This clearly means God wants you to be very direct about telling Him when you need help! You never have to be timid or fearful about telling the Lord exactly what you are facing and what you need, because He encourages you to speak up and be bold!

When you come to this wonderful throne of grace, this verse promises that you will “… find grace to help in time of need.” The word “time” is the Greek word eukairos, and it describes a well-timed moment, the right time, a convenient time, a suitable time, or an appropriate time. You see, there is no better time for you to approach the Lord boldly than when you have a need. That is an appropriate time for you to be bold with Him and to really express your heart.

As our High Priest, Jesus understands everything you and I will ever face. He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. As a father has pity on his children, so the Lord has pity on us (Psalm 103:13). He knows our frame and that we are made of dust (Psalm 103:14). Because Jesus is aware of our infirmities and limitations, He has assumed the role of our Intercessor. As our personal Advocate, Counselor, or Attorney, Jesus pleads our case before the Father and lays claim to our lawful rights.

You need never wonder if you are alone in your journey of faith. Jesus is right there with you, praying and interceding for you, for your calling, and for every need you are facing right now.


Lord, I am so thankful that You beckon me to come boldly to Your throne of grace. It is so reassuring to know that You want me to not only come to You, but to speak up and boldly make my needs known. According to Your Word, there is no better time for me to be bold than when I am facing a need, so today I am going to be very bold and tell You what is on my heart and what I need. I thank You that Jesus is my High Priest and that He understands me and everything that affects my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that no one wants me to succeed more than Jesus Himself. He knows the challenges I face as I pursue what He has put in my heart. He knows I will face moments when I am physically tired and mentally exhausted. Jesus understands every single emotion and temptation I will ever face, and He is always right there to provide grace to help me in my time of need. God wants me to be very direct about telling Him when I need help, so today I come boldly before His throne to tell Him about the needs I am facing in my life. I never have to be timid or fearful about telling the Lord exactly what I need because He encourages me to speak up and be bold!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. What is the single greatest need you are facing in your life?
  2. Have you been bold to tell the Lord about your needs and what You need for Him to do on your behalf?
  3. What is stopping you from going to the throne of grace right now? Don’t you think it would be a good idea for you to take a little time to go before God’s throne today and ask Him for an extra measure of grace to help in time of need?

As our High Priest, Jesus understands everything you and I will ever face. He can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Because Jesus is aware of our infirmities and limitations, He has assumed the role of our Intercessor. As our personal Advocate, Counselor, or Attorney, Jesus pleads our case before the Father and lays claim to our lawful rights


Dads, Want To Ruin Your Kids?

Here are seven sure-fire ways to do it:


1. Don’t inconvenience yourself with managing the home. Rather, leave it to your wife. That will pretty well ensure a shrill atmosphere as she carries the emotional burden of running the household. Don’t let her rely upon you as a backup in discipline or in setting a positive tone. In time she will burn out and grow resentful, but you will be free to continue an adolescent lifestyle of self-indulgence through your adult years. “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.” (1 Timothy 3:4)


2. Don’t bother to encourage your kids. As one old man told me, “When I was growing up there werent enough atta boys.‘” When the kid gets a “B” on his report card, jump on him; when your boy strikes out in Little League, let him know he should have done better (never mind the fact that he hit .333 for the day). “Fathers, do not exasperate your children… ” (Ephesians 6:4a) (See Genesis 31:14, 15; 1 Samuel 20:30-34; Colossians 3:21)


3. Choose not to get personally involved in their lives. That is, give directives. Be the boss. Keep your distance emotionally. Never say, “Im sorry.” Stay at the office longer, and miss their ball games and concerts. Bring your work home with you. Don’t bother to tuck them in at night or tell them stories. Be a perfectionist. Scold them when they spill their milk. Be sparse in handing out affirmation or compliments. “We dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God… ” (1 Thessalonians 2:11b, 12b) (See Matthew 7:9, 10)


4. Don’t worry about modeling the values you claim to embrace. Ignore the fact that your kids desperately need a dad who is genuinely authentic. “I will be careful to lead a blameless lifeI will walk in my house with blameless heart.” (Psalm 101:2a,c)


5. Absolve yourself from the responsibility of instructing your children in spiritual matters. Leave it up to your wife or the church. That will pretty much guarantee the fact that the boys will view Christianity as a weak proposition. Your daughters, in all likelihood will look for men like their father: Spiritually insipid. “Fathersbring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4a,c) (See Genesis 18:19)


6. Stunt their development by exercising such a standard of control and perfection that a lack of trust is communicated. Could a father’s actions here reflect his lack of confidence in how he raised them? “(Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) (See Romans 15:1)


7. Criticize and undermine your wife, especially in front of the children. Never demonstrate affection toward her in their presence. Allow the kids to drive a wedge between the two of you. Argue a lot, and be sure to always “win.” “Husbandsbe considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respectand do not be harsh with them.” (1 Peter 3:7a,c; Colossians 3:19b) (See Ecclesiastes 9:9; Proverbs 5:18, 19; Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29)



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