Good Christian Men Rejoice!

Sunday night at church, one of the requested favorites was Good Christian Men Rejoice.  The words to this Christmas carol are accredited to Henry Suso who lived in the 14th century.  As we sang the hymn, I couldn’t help thinking about the immutability of our God!  Immutability refers to God’s unchangeable quality – something definitely worth our rejoicing!

Think of it: in the 1300’s, seven hundred hears ago, a German monk wrote these words:

Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today;
Ox and ass before Him bow; and He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened the heavenly door, and man is blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all, to gain His everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!

That was before Columbus discovered America!  It was before King James ordered the writing of the Bible translation which bears his name.  No one knew what a ‘germ’ was, and Shakespeare wouldn’t come on the scene for another two hundred years! In the 14th century, there was only one church: the Holy Roman Catholic Church and it was having its problems: the moral level was at an all-time low and the church had two popes – one in Rome and one in France.  In fact, Pope Clement VI is quoted as saying:

“What can you preach to the people? If on humility, you yourselves are the proudest of the world, puffed up, pompous and sumptuous in luxuries. If on poverty, you are so covetous that all the benefices of the world are not enough for you. If on chastity – but we will be silent on this, for God knows what each man does and how many of you satisfy your lusts.”                                  (http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/westtech/x14thc.htm)

During the 14th century, the world was in an upheaval in every way.  France and England we in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War; the Black Death or bubonic plague was sweeping the area and left one-third or an estimated 20 million people dead; and a mini Ice Age when the Baltic Sea completely froze over.

In the midst of all this, Henry Suso wrote a poem and the words were later translated into our present English version Good Christian Men Rejoice! … Christ was born for this!  We have so much to rejoice about.  Although we may look upon the times in which we are living and see corruption and confusion at every turn, REJOICE – Christ is born!

As we enter into the holiday season, may we not forget these words.  May we rejoice when tempted to complain about the long lines or high prices.  May we rejoice when snagged in traffic and time is at a premium.  May we see how minuscule our problems really are compared to a lost and dying world!

Rejoice – Christ is born and He makes all the difference!

Lesson from the Three Little Pigs

“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” 1 Cor. 3:12-14

I suppose none of us would classify bricks as gold, silver or precious stones; however, I find it fascinating to see the parallels concerning the Three Little Pigs and the passage above for the Christian.

We all know the nursery rhyme and the moral behind it: build a solid house – it will save your life from the big bad wolf! Isn’t the Bible verse saying somewhat of the same thing?

Notice the foundation is already laid.  This admonition is for the born-again believer whose foundation is firmly laid on the blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow! But then what?  Have you ever seen a foundation that was laid, but there was no building on top of it?  Perhaps the money ran out, or the builder did not plan wisely; however, in most cases, a foundation is laid for the sole purpose of building a house.

So, what is your house?  May I say that it is your life, your work, your focus.  As Christians, we often stress that we are not working for our salvation, and that is absolutely true; but we are to be working – spending our time on that which is either precious of worthless.

Does our life depend on it?  Not our eternal life – that’s the foundation, but the eternal lives of our children and grandchildren may depend upon it!  I don’t know about you, but I’m alarmed at the rate in which we are losing our children to the Big Bad Wolf! Perhaps it has something to do with our building?  Precious of worthless?  I think Ron Hamilton said it best in his song, More Precious Than Gold:

More precious than gold much better than silver

Is the price of a soul God wants to deliver.

There are people around you crying out for a Savior,

And their lives are a treasure of worth beyond measure more precious than gold.

People around me are grasping

Pleasures that leave them so empty;

Each day I see them hurried and hopeless,

 Rushing down the path to eternity.

 

Christians are losing God’s riches,

Fooled by the worlds empty pleasures:

Seeking the worthless,

Leaving the precious,

Deaf to the words of the Savior.

Mount Zion Marathon – www.majestymusic.com

Hope Deferred

 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Proverb 13:12

When I got the email that the publication of Twelve Smooth Stones was pushed back to March, I experienced this verse first hand.  It seemed like I had waited forever for the August date and March was not even on my radar!

They had told me at that time that editing would start in late fall, and I anxiously waited to hear from them again, all the time thinking that instead I would receive a “dear John” letter!

Well, the editing has begun – hence the slow-down in blogs!  Sorry about that, but the dead line is just around the corner for the first editing.  How exciting!

Thank you to all of you who have been so supportive in this book project.  I must say that I am SO excited.  For so long, it just seemed like a dream, but now it’s a reality.

And isn’t that just how we will feel when we see our Lord in the air?  He will be there – really be there, after centuries of hoping and looking and waiting!  What a glorious day that will be!

Keep looking up!

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