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A Spark For Your Heart

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
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December 1, 2020 1:00 am

A Spark For Your Heart

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 1, 2020 1:00 am

Be captivated by the mystery and unexpected of this season! David Mathis, author of the book, "The Christmas We Didn't Expect," helps us to marvel at God afresh with practical thoughts and focused enthusiasm, reflecting on the divine pieces of God's rescue plan for all of humanity found in the Christmas story!

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Author David Mathis says there's a lot that was surprising, even shocking about the first Christmas unwed woman, the virgin birth is one of the great surprises and then the angel come to Nazareth. Such an out-of-the-way place that all the Gospels have to explain what it is because readers have never heard of Nazareth is a backwater deaf people of her to Bethlehem, no city of David small compared to Jerusalem, but whatever. In Nazareth, the miniseries backwater and so it is one unexpected thing after another. This is family life today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bobby Payne can find us online. The family like revisiting the details of the Christmas story each year can remind us of how surprising and how even shocking God's grace is that we hear more about that today. Stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us to talk about getting ready for Christmas today. But before we do that it is giving Tuesday having most rosters are probably heard from everybody. They support about the fact that it's giving Tuesday so we want to add our voice to that as well because this is a particularly critical time of year for ministries like arson and I think most of you probably heard our story by now in family life. Is it literally changed our marriage is changed our lives is change our legacy and I know that we've heard from many of you that it's done the same thing so I feel like you know how critical this ministry is I hope you do. And so we really hope that you consider getting this Christmas yet.

I don't even know honestly if we'd be married and have the legacy we have with a family life that that we can remember we went to as an engaged couple and now all the years 30+ almost 40 years of input from family life has literally changed us and I know it's transformed you and people you love and even your your legacy and here's what I know about year-end and giving Tuesday, giving Tuesday's awesome that I get emails after email and I have to make a decision just like you do like who I give to and some of you can't. This is been a really tough year you've been devastated, possibly financially, and I understand that and you do what you need to do, but some of you have been blessed God's taking care of you, and even blessed you and I would ask you. I would challenge you to consider family life as the one of may be a several, but I hope the one that says I'm to give him to give generously because God is taking care of me. I get to give double what I gave, or little more than I've ever given. Because I know there are people that can't and I can and so I want to tell you as you give, you are changing families like the Wilson's families like yours and we need you more than ever this year to jump in and help and play your part and you can watch God use how he's blessed you to bless others and when you give today we want to say thank you by sending you a couple of thank you gifts.

The first is a a flash drive that contains more than 100 really the top hundred plus family life today programs from the last 28 years with Dennis and Barbara Rainey with Avon and Wilson with other guests we've had here programs about marriage, about parenting about extended family relationships that these are programs that are timeless and they also get a hot new book off the press. He had a okay love like you me a book and will send a copy of the book love like you mean that along with the flash drive. When you make a donation today and you can do that online the family life or you can call one 800 FL today to donate. Thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do and pray for us this month that will be able to take full advantage of the matching gift opportunity. I don't think I mentioned this, but your donation today is can be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $2 million. So when you give your donation is doubled and pray that we can take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity here during the month of December. Again, give online the family life or call one 800 FL today to donate let's talk about the Christmas season.

Did you guys have any kind of a Wilson family tradition. I mean if I called your boys today and said what did you always do at Christmas that was kind of the. The family tradition. What would they say yeah mom buys a whole bunch of dad and mother load that is unlikely they're going to happen to the day, several things. The tree number altogether getting the tree Lee. That's like a big full day food praying before we open any presence reading the Christmas story then you know as a pastor it's really our Christmas service. Yeah that they have to go to which course that meant that the December season for pastors to say that difficult season for pastors and families.

It has many times for me. I was alone with our kids. Most the time till Christmas morning one of the things I was responsible for was the stockings. I'm up big stocking guy that so we would hang the stockings yeah and is 20, yes, I think your stock I just like fun and unexpected things in the stockings that are novelties. This is where I'm to put stuff that silly string, you'll get a can of silly string and stuff like yeah well what I learned later really goes. Our youngest son David would always get stressed out by opening a stocking that had all of the stuff that he thought like my supposed to actually do something with this keep.

But where does it go in my room.

I suspect like I like it at right and does so. So we had to cool on the stockings with the kids.

Just recently they sent me an article they'd seen online about all of the Trader Joe's items you should get the stuff stockings with and they said that just go pick out what you want and let us know so we can put it in your stock hand this year and were talking about how to focus on the right stuff at Christmas and we got David Mathis joining us this week to do a David, welcome back. Thanks David. We hear that David is a writer is a speaker. He works for desiring God ministries.

He's the author of an Advent devotional and we really should say your book the Christmas we didn't expect is not a how-to guide for families on how to go through Advent. It's a devotional for all of us to be reading through during the Advent season so that we can be re-captivated by the, the mystery, and the unexpected that this season is all about. So it doesn't become so common that we just we we forget the amazingness of all of this right the world and our society has very much an agenda for your Christmas yeah they were not intentional, as Christians, we will just fill it up with everything the world pressuring right into it and so it's a kind of call was put Jesus at the center. Let's marvel at him fresh this Advent lessee. This is an opportunity when the world is changing its colors and its tune. December has its own music. It is by far the most distinct month of the year in our society. It is an opportunity for Christians.

It hasn't always been this way with the pagan world.

But for some reason we have this situation. Let's make the most of it. And let's be intentional about keeping Jesus at the center and marveling at him in the season. I think that's the word intentional because if or not we will get sucked into the commercialism gifts the songs the movies and it can be easy to lose Jesus and the nits that I'll never forget being 16 years old, having just given my life to Christ, sitting at and midnight service at church sobbing because it was the first time I realized what Christmas is really all about the fact that God came down and was with us like that was mind blowing and life changing to me and I was so grateful and thankful that I finally figured out what this Christmas season is about and we can keep thought to our kids but we have to fight for it, or else they too will get just sucked into.

Let's give a good gift and let's watch the Grinch tonight.

One of the the biblical themes around Christmas. This one of the significant biblical themes is the idea of the virgin conception which really better than Brooke virgin birth.

It's the virgin conception Mary conceiving. Having never known a man.

First of all, explain why that's significant beyond just it being an anomaly. The virgin would conceive only significant because God did it and that's how God tells us he did and so the fact he puts in Scripture makes it significant. What is God saying to us in doing this way. Why did God do it is what he could've done it otherwise. We chose to this way and what's he saying to us in that one of them is this the supernatural that on the very front end of Christmas there is a supernatural virgin birth to the front of Jesus life. There's a supernatural resurrection at the end of Jesus life as he comes back to life in the great resurrection to his life is set off by the supernatural at the front end in the back and enter something fitting to set this life, often with the supernatural at both ends.

Also what the virgin birth shows us virgin conception is the depth of our need. Humans could not bring about their own Redeemer. God had come in from the outside. This is not something we can work we can achieve we can make. We are desperate we need rescue and in the virgin conception. There's an echo of God making the rescue now would be 1/3 thing that God's when he takes the initiative. We don't take the initiative in our salvation we respond. The angel comes and doesn't say all Mary could we have your permission to carry this out.

The angel announces, behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you call his name Jesus. So God takes the initiative even in the gentleness with which he comes to Mary.

He announces what is going to do and God carries out his rescue mission to save his people as he comes in Christ and another unexpected. I know you have a lot of him in the book but is it's literally the God of all creation is entering time and space history. You would think it's going to be the most glorious glass out of the heavens and become so humble about that night we have our human expectation.

Do we not know if it fits a member growing up I think of age 6, when we did this Christmas play at our church called Angels away or maybe there's some Southern Baptist listeners out there who did Angels away the phenomenal play over the songs. I can still do go through the Old Testament prophets because of one song we did in there, but one of the songs was called if it was up to me and different Angel step forward and say how they would do it and he'd be a great military ruler, he'd be a great athlete in and we have our human conceptions of glory. We have our human anticipations in ways that we would do it and God shatters his ways are greater than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and he puts that on public display at that first Christmas. No human thought of this. This is how God does it, and he shows his greatness. He shows his fuel your glory that he does things far and above beyond all we can ask or think. Paul says in Ephesians 3 he does it beyond what we can expect is humans and that is on display over and over again at that first Christmas and then David talk about what's so unexpected about the wise men in the wisemen, but the column wise men is is interesting publicity stunt right and left it more than three claim is right that the three things dudes are kings. They are not king Magi is where we get the word magician that the Magi go to the book of Daniel and read about the Magi, also called the sorcerers or the astrologers. One of the greatest surprises.

Here is the Christ child comes long expected the trained theologians of the day are 5 miles away in Jerusalem.

They give the answer to the Magi when they ask. Oh yeah, Micah says we want to Bethlehem and they'll even bother to make the 5 mile journey down Bethlehem and the pagan astrologers come and they bow and it is a sign of what God is doing among the nations.

He's going to take pagans and he's gonna make them into his people. He could take astrologers he can teach them a new vocation because it is very clear that the Old Testament that astrology the kind of things the Magi do is abominable and is just clear in the New Testament as they encounter various magicians in the book of acts to the Bible is very clear about this vocation of being a Magi. This is not allowed and yet one of picture of the sinners that God invites to come to a son he doesn't say clean up your act. First, and then you can come. He says, come on where you are with all change you of changes to worship as they battle as they rejoice with joy that is exceedingly great. They are being changed is a picture of what what God's doing.

Among the nations that it is so beautiful you are saying earlier about the humility, the humble surrounding the how the king of the universe is born to me think about the statement guys make and because in the Old Testament and really any perspective.

The only emotion you had when you approach anywhere near God was fear because you are revering the powerful God, you are afraid. And now who's afraid of the baby. I mean he's make a statement to the world and he is like everything about this, they probably had to walk by Maher rhodium which is a statement the King Herod I build my own mountainous is in the most powerful man in the universe. They walked by a symbol of power to a little stable cave. You know, to a little baby to say this is the most powerful person ever in the universe in history and you don't have to be afraid that's that's a lie of power.

This is real power in its humble ease about unexpected time beautiful is that. And yet then they run and tell that to the world how often it is prophecy and with Providence that we have are certain expectations and then on the other side we look back and get all the floors yeah course, I would've known, and I would've known and no, you wouldn't have known secure human, and God did it his way with his higher ways. In his higher thoughts and we look back and we see it all isn't that just like God exists, God is so secure that he doesn't need to come with an army. This God is so stable he so strong that he can humble himself to be weak because he's got this in control he's not threatened. He's not insecure into it's a mark of Jesus divinity that he comes so lowly and yet many rejected him his own people rejecting him, not realizing this was the Messiah. He didn't return expectation Friday. The Magi are not there, like the day after Jesus was born right when you do your nativity scene at home that I had an hour spent all day coming for the they probably showed up later. Mary and Joseph were still in Bethlehem. Months later, when what your understanding of how this works. We hear in the story of the slaughter of the innocents from the haired young children that he did so up to age 2. That was the command so there's many assumptions about church history that the Magi came later. Luke chapter 2 is giving us kind of the story of that first night. That's the shepherd's time that's married pondering treasuring these things in her heart. We don't hear about the Magi there and so the assumption is been drawn, church history, they came later and that's one reason that the visit of the Magi is celebrated later on January 6.

So apparently Mary and Joseph stated they hung around Bethlehem for a while after Jesus was born, we don't know how long maybe a year or more before they fled to before they fled to Egypt will what what about the choir that shows up with the shepherd.

First of all affected shepherds get the birth announcement that's pretty remarkable right and these are the blue-collar workers of the day, so it is not that shepherds were so well respected, they were the dignitaries of the first century. That's not why they were invited to his birth. This again is a mark of this divine lowliness that God would do it in this way and that he would extend his arms open to the shepherd to say all right. I'm not coming to save the popular I'm not coming to save the acknowledge I'm not coming to save those who have the ability to do this for themselves. I'm coming with my arms open to save all Blessed are the weak, blessed are those who are who know their hunger. Blessed are those who know their lowliness.

I'm inviting those in and that's that's what happened with the shepherd's yeah question that you're answering that I think the critical question is what does the way God entered the world reveal about who God is, because you know in an entrance usually reveals something to me think about how queens travel in our country. I mean millions of dollars are spent for all the glamour and glitz to bring you a VIP through a town right the God of the universe is making a statement ending about this is my character by coming that way. That's what you're getting at is so unexpected is like who would do this, he's revealing something very significant to his love for us and that he is approachable. He is humble he is with you right it's a rescue mission. This is not a cameo. This is not just to show us hey your human I'm God I can be human to like this is not a grand moment here. He's coming on a rescue mission to save his people, which is why the song what child is this I remember seeing that as a kid, maybe as a teenager, even as a collegiate thinking.

Why would we sing about nails's beer will pierce him through the militias have happiness in this world will worry about the death in April we talk about you holy week and Easter in his as I grew up I really owe it belongs right here in this is a rescue mission. Yes nails's beer will pierce them through Simeon will have his prophecy to Mary saying that a sword will pierce your soul as well, meaning skin.

Pierce him can be pierced. He's coming here to die for his people.

He's coming to rescue a people that it is interesting to think again were were focusing on the baby that the humility and at the same side it's an act of war because we've got a spiritual realm that's existed before history is almost like prehistory 101 the angelic around the heavenly realm of the earth is created into that realm and so there is a as you said a rescue mission that requires a warrior to come slay the enemy of our soul and that was I mean, it's a beautiful tender story and at the same side behind the scenes is like oh my goodness this is the most aggressive move in the history of of the world. God is going to come gentle but firm. As I has a mission that involves that's slain coming later in the life and death Thursday going all of history taking this moment and just as the angels are appearing to Mary appearing to Joseph in a dream, appearing to the shepherd. You can guarantee the demons are watching as well and this is happening on the stage for the spiritual principalities and powers to see God is bringing them to defeat he's humiliating them he shaming them. He's delivering deathblow to Satan.

Here he surprising Satan with this attack to a child or Satan is expecting some great ruler with power like Herod to come and he thwarts that kind of effort and comes in this rescue mission until yet the Angels are watching they are they are looking into this. The good angels are in all of what he's doing. They long to look into these things and he comes as a rescuer, not for angels. There's no rescue to be had here for demons.

He comes as man to save man, which is why the angels look into this with such longing. It's amazing what would it be like for God himself to become one of your ranks in your specie that when Lucifer rebelled, God did not become an angel to save the rebellious angel no Redeemer for angels. But when Adam rebelled. God became the second Adam and so the angels look and go how he must love these people in order to become one of them to save them.

He's gone beyond with them.

What he did with us. Talk about the significance of what it was. The angels said to the shepherds and I say said, rather than saying because I'm just letting you know why there's nothing in Scripture that indicates that they were singing yes that's true, Mike. Are you back a male annual said he has annual amounts and suddenly there was with the angel of the acquirer of the heavenly host. That's why we think they were singles are called the choir sang know the word choir flyers in here but there's nothing that indicates they saying here's why that's significant. I've had somebody point this out to me that the angels sang at creation.

The angels will sing again at the second coming, but in between. This person said there is no indication of angels singing even at the birth of Jesus. They speak, but the Bible doesn't say they saying so here's what here's if if you want to imagine the singing I won't. We will artfully five years. Here are two time Park. The Herald Angels said said is how we should sing that song, but the message was glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill among men with whom he is pleased.

What is that mean well I think thing is more fastening Christmas is what that first angel announces wheezes, fear not, behold, I bring you good news of great joy and was soon so significant there is that he talks about great joy which is not a common phrase in the Bible. Joy is common. A typical English translation will have 200+ mentions of joy, Old Testament and New Testament joy joy joy God made a world of joys, their various joys in our lives we know joy. But what is unusual is great joy and there's great joy when David bring Solomon into the throne and when Solomon dedicates the temple and when Nehemiah rebuilds the wall and at the resurrection. There's great joy and at the birth of Christ. There's great. Joyce was so significant that first Christmas is that we are not just announcing joy at Christmas, which is one of things it's a reason to observe this season take the opportunity. The advent season in a way that you may not take the month of November or the month of January that this is an occasion of great joy of a joy that is surpassingly joyful compared to the normal joys of our everyday life in God means to show some.

This is one of the most significant events in history the world here as Jesus comes in to begin his life and his Jesus rises again to complete the work of redemption for us.

So now go start singing great joy to the world, the Lord is come and hurt the Herald Angels said in order to be more biblically you can't real practical and talk about how can we really carve this into our schedules.

You know what are some things that you guys have done Bob in your family to make sure that were really getting this in our hearts and in our homes stated and what kind of practical things besides reading Scripture every day like are you guys praying as a family. Are you praying with your wife. Are you reading the Scripture more than just the one where it splits just you and your wife a great way to build any habit is to get it early in the day as possible once a day gets going and rolling. There's a chance some's gonna come up and interrupt it says a morning person and I said someone who's made use of a morning person you didn't live that way another 20 years of life, but the earlier we can get to it. The mortal set the page the trajectory for the day so if you want to break up the advent season into individual days. Why not flight is a banner over each day whether it's personal devotions, or that gathering the family together. I love taking a single verse explaining it to my kids praying through it together and then we launch into the day just to have that reminder hey this is great, it's Christmas season were coming up on Christmas were in advent here. Let's start today with that reminder and then growing up, our family would do a an Advent candle on the Sundays we handed a once a week yeah rhythm.

They are growing up we have the. The advent calendar would do a Sunday reminder of that and that there there can be weekly rhythms to it. Some churches will do that with a light the Advent candle as part of the service on Sunday and only think there is some personal rhythms that may help you remember the season keep Jesus central something for the family that's perhaps daily.

Something may be weekly and then as a church family to an opportunity for any pastors were listening or lay leaders in the church. Think how can we make the season special how to take an opportunity grandparents you can do it soon. Oh yeah, and ends all adventure the best for that great for that when we do the Advent wreath at our church so we let the first candle this week as we sang welcome welcome Emmanuel M. Come the long expected Jesus.

I think having Christmas music on in the house, but I would cite to try and have Christmas music on. That's about Jesus not just about Rudolph and Frosty room soon those are so high like all of the all be home for Christmas I want all of but there's something about Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

There's something about a little town of Bethlehem or something about those songs that just getting those in your children's heads and hearts. Maybe you've got a guitar and you pull it out and you sing it together as a family.

Maybe you teach your kids.

Some of these classic carols go to the hymnal.

If you have a hymnal in your home and you should go get out the hymnal and find the songs in your hymnal that will not include sleigh bells ring are you listening or jingle bells right but sing the songs of Jesus in the season and clamp those in your kids heart even at bedtime is a great time for discussion with kids that are a little bit older, not toddlers necessarily, but this may be on those evenings to talk about a Bible character that was in the Christmas story when he think it be like to be Mary not to talk about Elizabeth to talk about the shepherds in the field to be great just to listen to candidacy tell the story of the shepherds were in the field and this is what the angel said it be so interesting just to get kids to kinda identify with the characters in the Bible would be great if God would do to dad what he did to Zachariah and he could speak several maybe get a copy of David's book and I think with older kids.

You can read a few paragraphs and just talk about that at the dinner table. The point is intentionality were back to that making this something that's purposeful and don't let this season get past you and go we missed an opportunity to take advantage of the opportunity God's given you and David, thanks for helping us kick off the season, likely here and thanks for the book. I think that could help a lot of folks. Let help a lot of us during this Christmas joy. Thanks for having here now you can go to our website family like to find out more about David Mathis Advent devotional the Christmas we didn't expect daily devotions for advent.

Order a copy from our website.

Family life or call to order 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. Now, as you have probably heard somewhere today is giving Tuesday and it's a good day for you to think about year-end donations to ministries or organizations that God has used in your life over the last 12 months and in family life is one of those ministries or organizations. This is a great time to make a donation for a couple reasons.

First, your donation is gonna be matched dollar for dollar. We got a matching gift fund that goes up to $2 million. We want to take full advantage of that. So any donation you make today will be matched and will send you as a special thank you gift today. A copy of my book. Love, like you mean it will also send you a flash drive that Scott, the top 100 family life today programs from the last 28 years so you'll have a library of some of the best programs we've ever done on marriage and parenting on family issues. Interviews with people whose names you will recognize all of that comes your way. When you make a donation today on giving Tuesday go to family life to donate or call one 800 FL today to make a giving Tuesday donation and a thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do. We appreciate you that tomorrow will come in turn our attention to a very challenging topic.

We want to talk about the struggle that some people face with what's called gender dysphoria. How should we understand that how should we think about it. As Christians, how can we have compassion for those who are wrestling with this desire and still stand for the truth of Scripture J.

Allen wrench will join us tomorrow to talk about this. I hope you can be with us as well. Think our engineer today. Keep Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson and Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. A crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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