Dear ABR Friends,
God’s plans are sometimes mysterious and sometimes shrouded, requiring us to apply wisdom and discernment to understand His purposes. Yet when the Lord speaks or acts in history, His will is often demonstrative and clear. In truth, the Lord has secrets and He acts in accordance with the counsel of His own will. His transcendence and omnipotent glory are overwhelming to us who are His creation. He is great and awesome and shrouded in unapproachable light. The Majestic Glory is sovereign over all He has made and over the lives of all human souls. We properly tremble at His glory and humble ourselves in dust and ashes. We cry out with Isaiah, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Is. 6:5); or with Simon Peter, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8) after seeing the glory of Jesus manifested in an act of miraculous provision.
We are dependent on the Lord to reveal Himself to us. We are powerless to ascend the heights of heaven on our own, or to burst into His throne-room to make demands. It is God who breaks into our lives, and indeed into this world, to reveal Himself, His plans, and His purposes. We are rightfully humbled by our utter dependence on the Lord. Indeed, it is when we are at the end of ourselves and our human reasoning and efforts that we so often most intensely cry out to the Living God. When the light is dim and hopes have been dashed, we ask the Lord to reveal Himself and to show His mighty arm.
So it is with triumphant praise that we worship Jesus with you at this season of the year. God broke through all the darkness and corruption of this world when His holy Son was born in humble Bethlehem. Jesus’ arrival demonstrated the awesome love of God: He was sent in spite of the fact that we are sinners. God’s love was revealed most poignantly through His amazing grace for those who so often turn their backs on Him. It was God’s plan and purpose to do this…to provide a way for us to be born again into a new and living relationship with Him!
Now in the Christmas season, we can be enamored with many things: the sights, the sounds, the memories, and dare I say, the food! Many of us have such fond memories of Christmas that we often try to keep those feelings in our hearts throughout the year (and we should!). But may I ask you, may I challenge you, to see the true glory of Christmas: the beloved Son of God, humble and lying in that lowly feeding trough in Bethlehem? His humility and love are the towering glories that we celebrate at this time of year. We praise God for His awesome plan of grace to save His people from their sins!
As I wrap up these brief words of Christmas blessing upon you and your family, may I ask you to remember the ministry of ABR at this time of year? Roughly half of ABR’s annual support arrives during the holiday season and through the end of the calendar year. ABR is a faith ministry that is dependent on the provision that comes from God’s people. Would you kindly consider the most generous gift you can for our ongoing needs? In the coming weeks and months, ABR staff will be making important presentations at the Near East Archaeological Society meetings in Atlanta; operating our winter excavation in Israel at Khirbet el-Maqatir; opening a new museum exhibit at the University of Pikeville in Decatur, Georgia; and making presentations in many churches. We were recently featured on BBC Radio when ABR Associate Dr. David Hansen provided expert commentary on biblical warfare in the Old Testament era, while on the Stand in the Gap radio program heard in stations across America I was able to share with believers the critically important work ABR is doing in helping churches, pastors, and scholars affirm the reliability of Scripture in a skeptical world. We also just wrapped up our Philadelphia-area Bible and Archaeology Conference, where three of our scholars presented evidence for the presence of Israel in ancient Egypt.
In these and many other ways your prayers and support are at work to reach out to those who need to know that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that the Bible is God’s steadfast word of truth in these days of chaos and confusion.
Thank you for standing with us as we contend for the truth. And thank you for your end-of-year gift of support that will enable us to continue in this important ministry.
Celebrating the Humble King,