in the silent age

Last week I posted about the three days of silence between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ (click here to read).  Ah, did you know that there was another silence?  …which was MUCH longer than three days?

How much longer?

Try nearly five thousand times longer!  This period of silence lasted about four hundred years.  FOUR HUNDRED YEARS!  This silence occurred between the revelations of Christ foretold in the Old Testament (c.a. 400 B.C.) and the incarnation of Christ in the New Testament (c.a. 5 B.C.).  Could you even imagine what experiencing four hundred years of silence must have been like?

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“What fear we felt  i n   t h e   s i l e n t   a g e, four hundred hears can He be found, but broken by a Baby’s cry, rejoice in the hallowed manger ground” – Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground), Chris Tomlin

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In Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of someone who experienced such an anticipatory longing for Christ to end that silence and then experienced perfect joy when He did…25There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s CONSOLATION, and the Holy Spirit was on him.  26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah.  27Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex.  When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: 29Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised.  30For my eyes have seen Your SALVATION.  31You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples— 32a light for REVELATION to the Gentiles and GLORY to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32, HCSB09).

What was Simeon “looking forward to”?

It’s better stated: Who was Simeon “looking forward to”?  The long awaited Promise– the One who would bring consolation, salvation, revelation, and glorification!  Consolation (paraklēsis): comfort.  Salvation (sōtērios): divine salvation.  Revelation (apokalypsis): made fully known.  Glorification (doxa): unequalled splendor.[1]  All these were brought by Christ Jesus alone, as…  Jesus Christ IS the Consolation Of Israel!  Without Him there is only condemnation (John 3:18, 2 Corinthians 1:3).  Jesus Christ IS the Salvation Of All People!  Without Him there is only separation (John 3:16-17, Titus 2:11-13).  Jesus Christ IS God Made Fully Known!  Without Him there is no way to know God (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 4:16).  Jesus Christ IS the Most Splendid Redeemer!  Without Him there is no hope whatsoever of being freed from the captivity of sin (John 8:36, Titus 2:13-14).

You see, “18[t]he birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  19So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.  20But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.  21She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because  H e   w i l l   s a v e  His people from their sins.”  22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him IMMANUEL, which is translated “G O D   I S   W I T H   U S.”  24When Joseph got up from sleeping, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him.  He married her 25but did not know her intimately until she gave birth to a son.  And he named Him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25, HCSB09).

This is the Good News…that He IS the Good News! We do not have to be without God nor without Hope because Jesus Christ is IMMANUEL, God With Us!

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May you and yours have a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year with God and with Hope!

Blessings,

Victoria

On Behalf of the True Hope Ministries Team

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1. In the immediately proceeding portion of the text in Luke 2, we are given a glimpse of another who experienced such an anticipation for Christ to end the silence and the perfect joy when He did… “36There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and was a widow for 84 years.  She did not leave the temple complex, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.  38At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about Him to all who were looking forward to the REDEMPTION of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38, HCSB09).  Redemption (lytrōsis): liberation.  Liberation brought only by Christ Jesus!

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three days silent

How long could you go without hearing from a loved one?  If you’re anything like me, it’s probably not for long.  Even the thought of such a separation makes my heart sink.  I was taken aback by a lyric in Lacey Sturm’s latest song, “Mercy Tree”, which I’d like to share with you:  “Three days silent in the ground, this body born for heaven’s crown”.  The song is about Calvary– the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  This lyric pertains to the time in between Christ giving up His spirit when He breathed His last upon the cross (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30) and Christ rising again when He left the grave empty, securing life (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20).

three days silent

Oh, how the hearts of those who loved Jesus Christ must have sunk in the        d e s p e r a t i o n   o f   e n d u r i n g   t h a t   s i l e n c e.  I had never deeply pondered what that must have been like before…until now.  It must have been THE longest three days ever!  What a mix of emotions His loved ones must have experienced!  Sadness.  Anguish.  Heartache.   Anticipation.  Yearning.  Fear.  Doubt.

After the Sabbath past, the women among Jesus’ disciples had prepared spices to bring to the grave, intending to anoint the lifeless body of Christ.  However, Christ was not lifeless but rather the absolute opposite!  They approached the grave and “[t]he angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.  “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you” (Matthew 28:5–7, NASB95).  Just as He said.  You see, Jesus knew that those three days of silence were coming before they came:  “Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (Matthew 16:21, NASB95).  He promised that the silence would not last!  And that is good news indeed!

Astonishment!  Hope!  Joy!  Relief!  Delight!  Peace!  Comfort!  Isn’t that what you’d experience in reuniting with a loved one after being apart?  Well, reuniting with Jesus Christ is all that magnified an infinite number of times!  How do I know?  I’m glad you asked…

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“On a hill called Calvary, stands an endless mercy tree, every broken weary soul , find your rest and be made whole” (Mercy Tree, Lacey Sturm).

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Christ was crucified and resurrected for you and me!  Oh, what a truly bright and glorious day!  Christ conquered death and secured life for those who believe in Him!  This is the reason He came, born of a virgin as it is written, that you and I would never have to be apart from Him!  It was His good pleasure to reconcile us to Himself and give us eternal hope through His sacrifice, the shedding of His blood, on our behalf (Colossians 1:19-23)!  Praise Him for the mercy tree!

Reconciled To Christ, Never To Be Apart From Him!

Victoria

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Purposeful Placement

You know the axiom, “a place for everything, and everything in its place”?  I believe that there’s a purposeful place for most everything, I truly do.  I’m a fan of order.  But why is a placement purposeful?   What makes it so?  I believe that a placement is purposeful because it is appointed and anointed by God!

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”  And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  6And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  7So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.  And it was so.  8God called the vault “sky.”  And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.  9And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.”  And it was so.  10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.”  And God saw that it was good.  11Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  And it was so.  12The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.  13And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.  14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”  And it was so.  16God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.  He also made the stars.  17God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.  And God saw that it was good.  19And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.  20And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”  21So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good.  22God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”  23And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.  24And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”  And it was so.  25God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.  26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.”  And it was so.  31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1, NIV84).

“For God is not a God of disorder” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NIV84).  Praise the Lord!  I hear those “amens” from my fellow OCDers, haha!  Seriously, think about it… God placed the creation of water and sky on the second day and the creation of every living and moving thing with which the water teams and every winged bird on the fifth day—not the other way around (See Genesis 1:6-8, 20-23).  Moreover, God placed the creation of the land and vegetation on the third day and animals then man on the sixth day—not the other way around (See Genesis 1:11-13, 24-31).  What sustenance would there have been for the creatures of the sea without the sea or for the creatures of the air without the air or for the creatures of the land without the land? 

Clearly, God knows what He’s doing– always has, always will.  “For I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6, NASB95).  You can rest assured that the where’s, how’s, what’s, and when’s of your placement whether it be geographically, academically, personally, professionally, or so forth have been appointed and anointed by God!  Therefore, your placement is purposeful!

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Wait a minute, you forgot the why’s!  Why have I been placed where I am?

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We all have been placed where we are to fulfill the purpose for which God has appointed and anointed!  No matter the precise where’s, how’s, what’s, and when’s of our placements, we are each on a mission– a mission to draw ever nearer to Christ and to encourage others to do the same!

“[E]verywhere I send you, you shall go” (Jeremiah 1:7, NASB95).

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21, NASB95).

Be obedient to God in the place you are, fulfill the purpose for which God has appointed and anointed you!  He has purposefully placed you!

Be Encouraged,

Victoria

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NOTICE: The advertisements on this and referred to sites are neither published by nor subject to With True Hope and as such the content expressed does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of With True Hope. Thank you.