Truth for Life - December 1, 2016

December 1

Complain Less, Give Thanks More

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men! - Psalms 107:8

If we complained less and were more thankful, we would be happier, and God would be more glorified. Every day thank God for ordinary mercies—we refer to them as ordinary, and yet they are so priceless that without them we are ready to perish. Let us thank God for our eyes with which we see the sun, for the health and strength to walk around, for the bread we eat, for the clothes we wear. Let us thank Him that we are not among the hopeless or confined among the guilty; let us thank Him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts. Let us praise Him, in fact, for everything that we receive from His generous hand, for although we deserve little, He provides an abundance.

The sweetest and the loudest note in our thankful songs should be of redeeming love. God's redeeming acts toward His chosen are forever the favorite themes of their praise. If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our hymns of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, lifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ—our shackles of guilt have been removed. We are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can anticipate the time when we will be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Even now by faith we wrap ourselves in the fair linen that is to be our everlasting array and rehearse our unceasing thankfulness to the Lord our Redeemer. Child of God, can you remain silent? Stir yourselves with thoughts of your inheritance, and lead your captivity captive, crying with David, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name."1 Let this new month begin with new songs.

1 Psalm 103:1

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Micah 6

verse 2 Luke 15

Child in the Manger: The True Meaning of Christmas

What is Christmas? For many it is a time for holidays, parties, family gatherings, gifts, meals together, music, and special events. For others it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas takes place at the onset of winter with its cold weather and short days. There are more incidents of depression at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It is the best of times for some, but the worst of times for others, to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.

The birth of Jesus divided history into two major epochs. Until the dawn of our hyper-sensitive age, even the way we dated events underscored this. From time immemorial, every day, week, month, and year has been described as either “B.C.” (“Before Christ”) or “A.D.” (Anno Domini, “in the year of our Lord”). Even the modern, pluralistic style abbreviations, B.C.E. (“Before the Common Era”) and C.E. (“Common Era”) cannot obliterate the indelible impress of Jesus birth. For what makes the “Common Era” so “common”? And what explains the dividing line date? The answer is the same: the birth of Jesus. At the very center of history stands the person of Jesus Christ. And He does so because He is at the center of God’s story.

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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

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