Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Usurper

Today's Sunday school class was quite interesting to say the least. Every two years or so I teach this same particular lesson to a different group of third and fourth graders and each time it comes out differently. You may know the story: It's the one about the little boy Joash who became king at the age of seven. You know, the one whose grandmother killed all of her other grandchildren when her son, the king, was murdered by Jehu. Quite an involved and complicated family situation as everyone would agree after reading it in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. I even made up a chart for each of the kids, drawing a bunch of little stick figures, some with crowns on their heads; some with skirts, some on the northern kingdom side of the page and the rest on the southern side; some with frowns on their faces to show they were evil, etc. etc. Well, let me say that by the end of the lesson, I think my young group was more than a little confused about what they had just learned and I'm not so sure whether my little "chart" was a help or hindrance! At any rate, I decided to extend this lesson for another week as there are some important applications that are yet to be made, particularly concerning Joash who only followed the Lord as long as his uncle, Jehoida the priest, was alive. After his uncle died, his true "colors" became evident and we see that He did not love God for himself. You can imagine where I'm going with that.

For some weird (perhaps twisted) reason, I always have been captivated by this story, particularly byAthaliah, the grandmother. Now that I'm a nanna, the fact that any woman who holds such a status could do any kind of harm to such beloved ones so that she could gain the crown really boggles my mind. But obviously, in her case, they were not beloved. And also obviously, there was nothing or no one more important to her than that crown. But this time, I thought about something else concerning Athaliah: she was a usurper. You see, God had intended that only David's descendants would rule in the southern kingdom. Athaliah was a foreigner, not of the royal line of David. I think the fact that for the seven years that she reigned, Judah had a monarch who was a ursurper really hit me. Perhaps it's because of some issues going on right now in our own country with respect to the constitution and the presidency, that I thought about this. THAT I will not discuss here; you may or may not know about it, but it did make me think about that. Wow. Judah had this usurper on the throne, but the best part of the story is that eventually she was dethroned and a legal king was crowned.

SO, the key to that is there were a handful of people who kept the faith and purposed to do what was right. And one little girl in the class salvaged this weeks lesson with her closing prayer. In her prayer she told God that even though different people may be reigning at different times, HE is the one who is really on the throne! Now, is that ever a wealth of truth coming from the mouth of a nine year old! So it was a good lesson after all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Blessings

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I pray that you know Him this holiday season. Christmas blessings are wished for you from my house to yours.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thou Didst Reign on High

This Christmas song says it all. It tells of the great humility of our King who reigned on high, yet willingly adorned Himself in human flesh and humbled Himself to not only be born in the poorest of circumstances, but to live a lowly life, and die the cruel death at Calvary's cross. It also tells of a victorious conqueror who has returned to His throne on high but will return again to claim His own. Do we not have a Savior worthy of praise? Can we not sing these wonderful words with thankfulness? All may be crumbling around us, but can we not know the truth of the lyrics penned by Emily Elliott over a century ago and know they are just as applicable today?

Emily was a woman after my own heart because of her love for children and teaching them the truths of Scripture. I read that her life was filled with benevolent activities in rescue missions and in the Sunday school movement of her time. Now that's a life worth living! Teach this precious hymn to your children and grandchildren, dear ones. I intend to.

Thou dost reign on high with a kingly crown,
Yet thou camest to earth for me,
And in Bethlehem's home was there found no room
For thy holy nativity:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Heaven's arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst thou come to earth,
And in great humility:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest,
In the shade of the forest tree;
But thy couch was the sod,
O thou Son of God, in the deserts of Galilee:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word
That should set thy people free;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore thee to Calvary:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
Thy cross is my only plea.

When heav'n's arches shall ring,
And her choirs shall sing,
At thy coming to victory,
Let thy voice call me home,
Saying, "Yet there is room,
There is room at my side for thee."
And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When thou comest and callest for me.

~Emily E.S. Elliott

Friday, December 5, 2008

He Became Poor

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

For the season that's suddenly come upon us, I thought I'd use my lack of time to make some posts that don't require a lot of thought or preparation. Also, I see everyone decorating their blogs for the holidays, while I don't have time for that either. So, I've decided that I'll be posting my favorite verses and carols which have to do with our Savior's first coming to this sinful world, with a smattering of Christmas images to decorate my blog.

The verse posted here is my favorite; I think I write it on cards and in holiday reflections more than any other. It goes with the hymn/carol that I'm posting next. Can anyone guess which one that will be? Of all the beautiful aspects of the incarnation, this one touches me most: God the Son left all of the riches that were His in glory, to become as one of us, clothed in human flesh, born in the humblest of circumstances. What a Savior.