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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Discipleship Isn't Easy

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ means to be His follower. We follow Him in His dying and rising to new life. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that baptism into Christ is an initial step. 

We follow Him in his servanthood. Deep study of the servanthood of Jesus Christ reveals the heart of God. There is no sentimentality, no enabling of misguided behaviors, and no self-service.

To be a disciples of Jesus Christ means to be His student. We are to study the divine pattern that He embodies through the study of holy Scripture. Many find it helpful to study the lives of effective Christian disciples.  
The Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles urge us to be imitators of Jesus Christ and this requires obedience exemplified by moral behavior, service to others, and the love of God at work in us.

The Lord's Prayer is really the Disciple's Prayer and it should be part of our daily devotions.

Related reading: Praying Hebrews 5

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ancient Images of the Nativity and Mary and Jesus

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

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This image of a Mary and the Christ Child was found on the walls of the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. It dates to the 3rd century.

This lovely nativity scene dates to the 4th century.
It was found on the island of Naxos in the South Aegean.

Below is another nativity scene found at a 4th century sarcophagus in Milan.

This is an image of the Magi bearing gifts, found at 4th-century sarcophagus in Rome.