Information, celebration, and a devotional on the coming of Jesus Christ for families, Bible study groups, and anyone else who wants to add truth and richness to the Christmas season.
By Mark D. Harris
Advent (Latin adventus) refers to the coming of Jesus Christ. On the first Sunday of Advent, we remember God’s love for us, exemplified in the first candle…hope. We also reflect on the symbolism of the wreath itself. On the second Sunday, we think about the peace that He gives us, especially in this season, through His Son. On the third Sunday of Advent, we consider the third candle, joy. On the fourth Sunday, we focus on love. Finally, on Christmas Eve, the Christ candle reminds us of how Jesus Christ is the source of each of these.
Continue reading “Advent Wreath – History, Meaning, and Celebration” →
Our Lord loves us and He gave us our bodies, however they may be, for our enjoyment and His glory. Christians do not hate the material world… we love it.
The other day I read an article written by a hospice chaplain from South Carolina entitled “What the dying really regret.” The author interviewed an elderly woman who was dying of cancer, who said:
“I know I’m supposed to hate my body…Everyone told me — my family, my school, my church. When I got older, magazines and salesgirls and boyfriends (told me), even if they didn’t say so out loud. The world’s been telling me for 75 years that my body is bad. First for being female, then for being fat and then for being sick…But the one thing I never did understand is, why does everyone else want me to hate my body? What does it matter to them?” Kerry Egan, CNN, 17 Oct 2014
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A commentary on the Song of Solomon
Interpreted for centuries by most Jews and Christians as an allegory about the love of God for His people, modern commentators hold that this is a story about human love, which secondarily reflects the perfect love between God and His people. Though God is never mentioned, His presence permeates the book. There is widespread mention of the wonders of His creation as well as the constant restraining (and liberating) presence of His moral code. Notably, in the Song of Songs the woman did most of the speaking. It is magnificent poetry with extensive use of olfactory imagery. Remarkably, it never mentioned having children as the purpose for marriage. Romantic love was beautiful and desirable for its own sake.
Continue reading “Song of Songs – The Mystery and Majesty of Human Love” →
A lot of influential people oppose marriage, and young adults today are believing their lies. We all suffer. And Christ has a better way.
By Mark D. Harris
“Marriage is like a three ring circus; engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffer-ring.” Anon.
“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”. Irina Dunn, Australian feminist, 1970
“The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.” — Linda Gordon, American feminist historian
“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” — Robin Morgan, MS Magazine Editor
Most consider Saint Valentine’s Day a time to celebrate romance. In the past, romance was associated with love and marriage. Adults in the Western World today still associate the romance of Valentine’s Day with emotional love but often do not associate it with marriage. With fewer people getting married, divorce rates high, and the media continually disparaging the bonds of holy matrimony, marriage seems passé, or even dangerous. Certain laws, such as the marriage penalty in the tax code, discourage marriage. The US Supreme Court recently ruled that homosexual marriages are legal in the United States. A man in Montana applied for marriage licenses with his two wives, and based on recent events, there is no reasonable legal basis to forbid him. Marriage seems to have become whatever someone, anyone, says it is.
Continue reading “A Christian View of Marriage” →
For those ready to stop playing at religion, what do they do if they really want to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ?
Webster defined “condition” as “anything called for before the performance or completion of something else.” A condition of graduation with an MDiv, for example, is the satisfactory completion of a certain number of courses and mastery of a certain basic body of information. Dr. Mike Mitchell postulates several conditions for discipleship, including self denial, renunciation, leaving all, steadfastness, fruitfulness and love. Anyone who wishes to be a true disciple of Christ must demonstrate these qualities. It is important to differentiate “disciple” from “follower”. Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology suggests that the word disciple (μαθητής mathētēs) may be rendered “pupil” in English but actually connotes a far more personal attachment and commitment. The idea is that a disciple is a pupil with a personal relationship with the Master. While one can be a casual follower, one can only be a devoted disciple.
Continue reading “The Conditions of Discipleship” →