Saturday, December 15, 2012

Real Hope for Newtown and the World

In light of today's events in Newtown, it is helpful and important to hold on to the Source of hope in times of tragedy:

1. God is not caught off guard or surprised by the presence of evil in the world. The Gospel is honest about the prevalence of sin and brokenness. God cares. God grieves. It is exactly because we need a Savior that Jesus came, and one day will come again to set things right.

2. We are not powerless. We are not defined by the evil of others. Turn off the TV and the endless loops of repeating sound and video bites. Instead, turn on the prayer. Pray for the families who lost loved ones, for those around them affected by the immediacy of the tragedy, the first responders, community leaders, and others The Lord puts on your heart.

3. Seize the opportunity to actively represent the real hope, justice and love of God's Kingdom. Find a way to encourage or comfort at least one other person. Be a hope-bearer. The prophetic message of Christmas from Isaiah 9 is:

2The people walking in darkness 
have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness 
a light has dawned...
6For to us a child is born, 
to us a son is given, 
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of his government and peace 
there will be no end. 
He will reign on David’s throne 
and over his kingdom, 
establishing and upholding it 
with justice and righteousness 
from that time on and forever. 
The zeal of the Lord Almighty 
will accomplish this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 Bible Fun Facts

Happy 12/12/12!

With all the 12/12/12 hype, here are just a few Bible Fun Facts to enjoy and use to dazzle your friends.  As far as numbers go, the number 12 is one of the most important in the Bible:

  • There were 12 patriarchs from Shem to Jacob
  • There were 12 sons of Jacob
  • The families of Jacob's sons formed the 12 tribes of Israel
  • Jesus' first public appearance and words were in the temple at age 12
  • Jesus called 12 disciples
  • Jesus had 12 legions of angels available to Him (Matthew 26:53)
  • 12 apostles were set apart for the birth of the Church (Acts 1:26)
  • The Bride of Christ is pictured with a crown of 12 stars (Revelation 12:1)
  • The New Jerusalem is described as having 12 gates of pearls (Revelation 21:21)
Can you think of more?  What similarities or patterns do you see for when 12 is used in the history of God's people and in the Bible?  Any meaning for us today?  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Oh...and happy 12/12/12. What might God do in and through you today?