God’s Standards

December 23, 2018

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

It is remarkable how different are our human standards of value from those of God. But what should be the criteria by which men recognize hearts of lovingkindness, attitudes of justice, and characters of righteousness? These are the attributes of our Creator and Savior, and it is our achievements in these areas that determine our real standing, in the scales of eternity, before Him. Human wisdom, might, and riches easily generate pride, and pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

Thus the Scripture has to remind us “that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: . . . That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26, 29). We should, indeed, desire wisdom, might, and riches, but not as measured by the world. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). “As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Let lovingkindness become the standard of true wisdom; justice, the measure of real power; and righteousness, our criterion of riches. All are found fully only in Jesus Christ.

If we must “glory” in something, let it be the cross. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). HMM

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Institute For Creation Research

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December 24, 2018
When God Became Man
“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.” (Hebrews 2:7)

We cannot comprehend what it meant for the infinite Creator God to become finite man, even coming “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3). Nevertheless, we can, and must, believe it, for “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:3).

The Scriptures have given us a glimpse of the “emptying” that His incarnation required—the setting aside of certain outward aspects of His deity. He had been “so much better than the angels” (Hebrews 1:4), but He had to be “made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9)—“put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18).

The eternal Word “was God” (John 1:1), but it was necessary that “the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). “The world was made by Him” (John 1:10), but “the princes of this world . . . crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8).

He “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6). That is, He was not fearful of losing His deity and, therefore, did not have to cling to His divine nature and attributes as He became man. Thus, He “made himself of no reputation” (emptying Himself of the outward form of God) “and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).

Yet that was only the beginning. “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). He suffered hell for us, that we might enjoy heaven with Him.

Because He was willing to be so humiliated, He will one day be crowned with glory and honor. “God also hath highly exalted Him, . . . that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:9, 11). HMM

Proverbs 31 Ministries

Suzie Eller

SUZIE ELLER

December 24, 2018
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“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3 (ESV)
He sat in his favorite overstuffed chair. Pictures of his children and grandchildren hung on the wall. His wife of nearly 60 years sat not far away.

Devotion Graphic

“It’s time to go home,” he declared.

My father-in-law had struggled with dementia for a long time. This once strong, funny patriarch couldn’t remember those he had loved his whole life. He didn’t know where “home” was anymore, even as he sat in the house he built and had lived in for decades.

Toward the end, this became a regular battle.

Finally, our family came up with a plan. When he announced he wanted to go home, someone would grab their coat.

“You are right, Jimmy. It’s time to go home.”

He’d pile in the passenger seat of his car, and one of his sons would drive him around. Upon returning, they’d enter the house, and he would be satisfied he was finally home — at least for a while.

In today’s key verse, Jesus announces He is leaving soon. His friends can’t imagine life without Him in the physical realm. It’s shaking up everything that makes them feel safe.

Jesus speaks into their troubled hearts with assurance:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3, ESV).

Their physical separation would be temporary; a beautiful reunion would one day take place. Not only that — Jesus was personally preparing a home for them so they could be together for eternity.

I’m not sure these followers fully understood what Jesus was saying, but one day they would. One day they’d step from earth to heaven and be at home with Jesus.

Last Christmas, my father-in-law’s disease worsened. Family gathered. Nearly 40 of us opened presents, laughed, cried and gathered around his bedside. A couple of weeks later, his struggle was over.

When the call came in the middle of the night, I lay in bed and tears fell. I was grieved to lose my father-in-law, but mine were tears of joy.

I imagined Jimmy strolling into heaven, with his ornery, funny self made whole.

I imagined him greeting his brothers and sisters, seeing his mom and his dad.

I thought about the moment Jimmy took his last breath here on earth and his first in heaven, and how he was welcomed by Jesus, with his restlessness put to ease. His joy greater than any of us could conceive. His mind and body freed.

As our family approaches our first Christmas without him, I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. We’ll sit in that same home with those same pictures hanging on the wall. We’ll open presents. We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll tell stories of how he once danced in the living room, or how he delighted in jumping out from behind things to “surprise” his daughters-in-law or grandchildren.

Yet underlying our sadness is the joy that Jimmy is finally home, and there’s nowhere he’d rather be.

Heavenly Father, losing a loved one is so hard, but that sorrow is especially hard during the holidays. We miss them for a season, but thank You for the truth that they are safely home with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Truth For Today

Revelation 21:4, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (ESV)

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Related Resources

Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places, is a gentle, healing resource for a hurting heart.

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Connect

Join Suzie on her blog where she offers a Christmas giveaway. Or connect with Suzie on Facebook.

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Reflect and Respond

Throughout Scripture, sorrow and joy often walk hand in hand. It’s OK to feel sad. When we love greatly, we often feel sorrow greatly.

As Christmas approaches, many of us deal with challenging life circumstances. Rather than pushing away your feelings, invite Jesus to step into them with you. Share a prayer in our comments section — either for yourself or someone close to you — to welcome Jesus into all you’re feeling this Christmas.