Monday, December 30, 2013

Names above any other name...

Advocate  1 John 2 :1
Alpha and Omega  Rev. 1:8
Amen  Rev. 1: 18
Anointed  Psalm 2:2
Author and Finisher of our Faith  Heb. 12: 2
Branch  Jr. 23: 5
Bread of Life  John 6: 28
Bridegroom  Matt. 9: 15
Bright and Morning Star  Rev. 22: 16
Chief Cornerstone   1 Pt. 2: 6
Christ   Luke 9: 20
Christ, the Son of God   Act 9: 20
Counselor   Is 9: 6
Day-spring  Luke 1: 78
Deliverer   Rom 11: 26
Emmanuel   Is  7: 14
Everlasting Light  Is 60: 20\
Faithful Witness  Rev.1: 5\
First-begotten of the Dead  Rev. 1: 5
Foundation   Is 28: 16
Fountain  Zec 13: 1
GOD  John 1: 1
God with us  Matt. 1: 23
Good Shepherd   John 10: 11
High Priest   Heb 4: 14
Holy One of God   Mark 1: 24
Horn of Salvation   Luke 1: 69
I AM  John 8: 58
Jesus Christ our Lord  Rom 1: 3
Jesus, Son of God   Heb 4: 14
King over all the earth   Zec  14: 9
Lamb of God  John 1: 29
Light of the World  John  John 8: 12
Living Bread  John 6: 51
Lion of the Tribe of Judah   Rev 5: 5
Lord God Almighty   Rev 15: 3
Lord of All   Acts 10: 36
Lord of Lords  Rev. 17: 4
Lord of the Sabbath   Mark 2: 28
Man of Sorrows   Is 53: 3
Messiah   John 1: 41
Mighty one of Israel  Is 30: 29
New Adam  1 Cor: 15: 45
Our Hope   1 Titus 1: 1
Physician  Matt 9: 12
Prince of Peace   Is  9: 6
Propitiation  1 John 2: 2
Rabbi   John 1: 49
Ransom 1 Tit: 2: 6
Redeemer  Is 59: 20
Resurrection and Life  John 11: 25
Righteous Judge  2 Tim 4: 8
Rock  1 Co 10: 4
Root of David  Rev. 5: 5
Savior  Luke 2: 11
Second Man   1 Co 15: 47
Shiloh  Gen. 49: 10
Son of David  Matt. 9: 27
Son of Man  Matt. 8: 20
Sure foundation  Is 28: 16
Teacher  John 3: 2
Truth   John 14: 6
Way  John 14: 6
Who is, Who was and Who is to come   Rev. 1: 4
Witness  Is 55: 4
Word of Life  1 John 1: 1\

This is not an exhaustive list!!! Glory, Praise and Honor to God, always and forever!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's just another (wondrous) day...

the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147 :11

Love the Beatles! I was really upset when it became news that they were going their separate musical ways. This, I believe, was the title of a Paul McCartney tune on his
first solo album which I believe was just called, "McCartney." They came at a time in
my life when I benefited from their energy, newness and musical talents.

I like to wake early enough to see the sunrise. It's the beginning of a new daily cycle,
a chance to begin anew and refreshed from the night's sleep. It's easy, I think, to take
each new day for granted; yet, each and every one of them is a gift and a blessing...
a chance to do that which is pleasing to God, to act in a way that brings Him glory. I
think that a spirit of appreciation is a great incentive to remembering that each
day could be our last and should be cherished. The beginning of the day is an obvious
time to pray and thank God for his blessings.

Perhaps this will be that glorious day when Jesus returns! We need to be ready, each
day, for the possibility that we will see His glorious arrival and be witness to His
accepting Kingship over all the nations and all the people! 

Perhaps this will be the day that we can share, with the help of the Spirit, the gospel
message of salvation through the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Maybe just
a warm greeting or helpful deed that could start the ripple that leads a lost soul
to the presence of God. 

Perhaps this will be the day that we connect even more firmly with God through
reading His word, following His commands. There is always more to learn about Him,
always more to do that shows our appreciation for this world, our lives and
our hopes for the future spent in His presence.

So join me in getting busy! It's another glorious day! Praise God for such a gift!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lost sheep without a shepherd

 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10-9

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28: 18-21

Evangelism. It's a tough topic; yet, it is clear that this is supposed to be something we do
actively as part of a Christian life. I would rate myself "poor" at best in this aspect! There
are a couple of folks that I care very deeply about that I have been clumsily working on
in a rather subtle way. I'm sure that the Spirit is working within me to help but it is
slow going, at best.

There are many lost sheep out there that need to be find their shepherd. I believe that God
seeks all people, taps them on the shoulder, makes His glory openly clear to them and then
waits for their response or lack thereof. So it is God, certainly, that reaches out to these lost
souls. Our job is to be willing, when we are placed in situations where we can communicate
our own knowledge of the gospel and our love of Jesus Christ, to share ourselves and our
love of Christ Jesus.

The responses to my own efforts have been weird and, probably, common. "I have a lot on my plate right now, do not have time for this!" I have gotten the "humorous" responses
given to deflect any serious discussion of Jesus. Sometimes that humor can be blasphemous
and that is very scary! I haven't really run into any especially rude situations, but I tend to
limit myself to "safe" situations. Ravi Zacharius I am not! 

I tend to convince myself that I don't know enough, yet, to carry on a successful conversation, to answer questions clearly and correctly...the fact is that it is the Spirit 
speaking within us that allows for the "right things" to say. "Preach the gospel at all
times, when necessary, speak," is a rough approximation of a quote by St. Francis of
Assisi that really captures a means of sharing God and Jesus. 

We need to relax and approach the need to share with confidence that God is within us
and working to gather His sheep. What a blessing it is to be placed in situations where we
can praise Him and share His life-saving gospel of salvation through the sacrifice of His
son upon the cross. Thank you, Father God!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

HIS way...not my way!

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.
He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven
  and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back His hand or say to Him," What have you done?"
Daniel 4: 34-35

Nebuchadnezzar certainly learned things the hard way! Seemed to have everything
except the willingness to place God above his own level of existence. I am thinking that
grass was not up to his normal standards of cuisine! (also glad not to have gotten that
name in a spelling bee!~)

Pride is the ultimate sinfulness and probably the most difficult to battle. Part of that
stems from our society that teaches the value of self, the love of self, the need to pick
oneself up by the bootstrap and take care of business. We really hate to relinquish
power or importance, even when we can see, if we remove the blinders, that leaving
ourselves in charge usually leads to a train wreck!

Despite Daniel's ability to correctly interpret the king's dream, riches and fame, having
everything and anything made it impossible for him to acknowledge the real King of the
universe...God almighty. Most of us do not have immense amounts of riches, but we do
have a struggle with pride. We often come to the conclusion that we can, with hard work
and stubbornness, take care of life and its problems. We go to God when the going gets
too tough to handle, seeking Him as a last resort.

He is not the last resort, He is the answer and has all the answers because He is sovereign
and in complete charge of this world. Because of His amazing grace, He has given us
the opportunity to swallow our pride, come to live a life that brings Him the glory that
He deserves and turn things over, completely, to the one who is supposed to be our

His way, not ours!
Glory to Him, not ourselves!
All praise to Him, our Father!
Love Him with all your heart! 
HE is GOD!!!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Two steps step back!

Matthew 5: 12-14
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

It's been a frustrating week. As we travel along this road to becoming more like Jesus, we are a Christian work in progress. the "work" being done is being done To us, not By us. That, fortunately, is the blessed job of the Holy Spirit, the worldly active member of the trinity of God. In some cases, there is a lot of work to be done; it's probably not going to be finished anytime soon. I'm talking, here, about me!

This week I was fortunate enough to be challenged, lovingly, by two people who are the love of my life, my daughter and son-in-law. They were loving enough to gently, but firmly, discuss some real issues...sins that were creeping into prominence. I could suggest that I had absolutely no idea that they were showing up in my actions and thoughts, but that would not be true. I realized that they were there, and I was giving into them. I guess that shows that not all sinfulness is hidden, unknown and subtle, even when we truly wish to be living lives of righteousness.

Well, I was so fortunate that they cared enough to "convict" me of these issues; to be honest, I was crestfallen because I do not wish to be sinful! The problem is...I am. We all are. It's our fallen human nature. We move ahead, try hard, pray to be just, and then sin just reappears and slaps us up side the head.What's to be done?

I think the realization that becoming more Christ-like is a long one that requires persistence, giving in to the knowledge that we aren't going to achieve it on our own, praying that we will be open and anxious to repent and turn away when we realize sin has reappeared, are all steps in the process.

The key is Jesus! In remembering what He has done in our behalf.. it is a crucial life goal to please Him. To do that which brings honor and glory to Him. To not pile additional sins on those blessed shoulders or that cross of grace. He deserves better than our sinfulness! He is our Lord and King, worthy of our best.

Pray along with me, that in Jesus' name, the Holy Spirit will bless us with His continuing efforts, His loving guidance, and, when needed, His honest adjustment.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My selfish heavenly wish

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev. 21: 4

Heaven remains a mystery to all of us who long for the time we will be
living in the presence of our Lord and King. We actually know more about
what will not be there, than what will. The descriptions in John's visions
and trips by Isaiah, Ezekiel and Paul leave us with more questions than

We can, I believe, be assured that we need not sign up for harp lessons before
arriving and probably won't need to worry about whether or not we are
too heavy to be supported by clouds. I am pretty sure that we will see many
folks that we love and, sadly, may not see some that we weren't sure were
those called by Christ into His family.

Well, I have a very selfish dream about my first moments in Heaven. I have
no doubt that I will find myself upon my knees. I feel that it may be the case
that I will be totally speechless. I am thinking that this will be the most 
beautiful place imaginable, the most peaceful place possible and a place
devoid of sin, pain, tears, strife and hated. Wow!

Well, here's what I wish with all my heart will happen. I want to reach
out somehow and take hold of the hand(s) of my Lord Jesus Christ. I just
want to touch Him, to hold that hand close to me. I know in scripture
that there will be no more tears, but what about spontaneous tears of
pure joy?

Now I will pray for this moment each day of my life, hoping that my
prayers will be answered with a YES!

There is just one problem, though. There may be a call to the angels
to pry my fingers loose from that hand. Once I hold onto Him, I just
know that I will never want to let go. Selfish, I know. But, oh how I
long to see it happen!

Praise God, all glory to Him, forever and ever!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Move over Dr. Phil... I give you Christ Jesus

‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’—Isaiah 8:9    

Understanding the human mind is certainly not easy! When we become Christian, we
begin to be much more aware of our own inner selves, and it isn't always such a positive
revelation. We find, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that we are convicted and therefore
aware of our sins, ones that, before, we might not have even identified as sins. We begin
to see weaknesses and conditions that we cannot fix without the grace and provision of

Consider, if you will, the unique perspective of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

A truly remarkable scripture, isn't it. I will always remember, with a degree of embarrassment, that it reminded me of a riddle when I first encountered it. But it
certainly isn't a riddle: Jesus is God. He is fully God and, being so, He is completely
aware of that which He created...mankind. Yet, He is different from His creation
because He is God. I give you transcendent, majestic, omnipotent, omnipresent, Holy...
I could go on. Those are God characteristics and differ, completely, from how we
would describe people.

Now the amazing part! Jesus Christ, fully God, came into this world and became
fully man. He was, simultaneously, fully Divine and fully human. He, therefore, was
subject to the same emotions, desires, temptations, get it, He was a
human being.

What a marvelous happening, obviously, because without Jesus incarnate, we would
never have been seen as righteous, would never have been justified by His loving
blood, never have been atoned for through the work and death of our Savior. He did
these things for the glory of His father with a unique perspective on humans: He was
after all, creator and creation. How great must His understanding, compassion and
love be for us. He intercedes with full knowledge and understanding of what it is to
be human and what it is to be God! Praise His Holy Name!!! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Oh Holy Night, Indeed!

Oh Holy Night

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name 

Nothing to add! Enough Said!

There's a question for you! When one considers the following: aborted babies, maimed and
killed soldiers, poverty, hatred, bigotry, crime, depression, suicide, mental illness, physical
illness and death...seems like we can say with a great deal of confidence that heaven is not
here on earth!

English Standard Version 
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[a] John 14: 2

If one took a survey asking people to point towards heaven, I am guessing that the vast
majority would point upward. Now this is quite subjective, for someone in Santiago, Chile
would surely be pointing in a different direction than someone in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I once camped out in the Black Hills of South Dakota and saw, for the first time, a true
starry night! Phenomenal! But I didn't see heaven. I am certain that no one in the International Space Station, nor anyone using a high-powered telescope nor an electron
microscope has seen heaven.

So, does this mean that there is not heaven? ABSOLUTELY NOT! We are limited by
the dimensions of space, time, etc. as human beings. Jesus appeared suddenly among
his followers after the Resurrection, but I wouldn't suggest trying to walk through the
nearest wall. We, simply, are limited in many ways. GOD is not! Heaven can be anywhere
that a sovereign God chooses it to be. Because God is truth, we can believe, without
reservation, that He is in heaven.

Heaven is the place where God resides. He is the absolute Lord and King of this place,
joined at His right side by Jesus who intercedes in our behalf. There are angels, there,
and saints who have come before us, praising and glorifying God. 

Heaven is the place where we long to be!  The very essence of our existence, from conception
to the final breath we take, yearns and longs to be with God and to live in His presence.
It is what we were made to do, the place where we were meant to be. It is our HOME!
When I consider that there are people who live their lives rejecting God, rejecting Jesus
as the only possible pathway to salvation and choosing to live their lives out pointed in
the direction of eternity outside the presence of God, I literally shudder. Those are
lost people that we need to be praying for. Pray that it isn't far too late! Praise our gracious

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How, then, could we NOT pray?

And I tell you, rask, and sit will be given to you; tseek, and you will find; uknock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for4 a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, wwho are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father xgive the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11: 9-13
Prayer is an interesting subject for us all. It is, obviously, a direct communication with
God that is a personal involvement with Him. The bible, God's word, suggests that God
welcomes and desires to hear our prayers; He is glorified by the fact that we are dependent
upon Him and aware that He is sovereign and in control.

At our church, Crossroad Christian in the McKinney area, I started to send out bi-weekly
prayer request lists, mainly because I found myself unable to remember who I was
wanting to pray for. Old age, again. So this was a way to not only remember prayer needs
but also to share them with others and track the apparent success of prayer 
from the standpoint of positive answers. I am amazed at the number of prayer 
offerings that seem to have been answered in a positive way! I would have to say that
prayer works.. big time.

I think, personally, that my praying has greatly increased my trust and faith in God. I
haven't "heard" from Him personally, by voice, but I have the increasing assurance that
He is listening and that He will answer in his own way, in His own time. It's so
comforting to understand that, despite what I encounter, problems, hopes, dreams...
He is there to listen.

Obviously, God is true to His own directions, promises and answers. He is willing
to listen and consider, but, as we would expect, he will be true to His own decisions.
Sometimes He will answer our prayers with a "Yes!" Sometimes, He will answer
them with a "No." We need to go to Him humbly with appreciation for all that He
has done and is doing in our lives.

Pray enthusiastically, pray frequently and pray with the expectation that the King
of the universe is not too busy, amazingly, to listen and consider. Praise God!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What you don't know....

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. Rev. 14:3

It's very embarrassing when I consider how very much I did not know (and
do not know) when it comes to being a Christian. Let's take hymns and singing,
as an example. During the first sixty years of my life, when I attended church
irregularly at best, I would participate in singing hymns with the other
folks, yet I had no clue about the purpose of that singing or those hymns.
Seemed like nice songs. I'm  not the greatest of singers, but I would simply
join in and sing my best. In a lot of cases, I'm not sure I even  bothered to
really consider the words that I was singing.

When I was a a little guy in church I do remember really enjoying listening
to my dad sing. Onward Christina Soldiers is one hymn I distinctly remember
enjoying as I would listen to his voice. It is all about being a soldier for Christ
battling against the powers and minions of Satan. 

Well, much to my embarrassment, I have come to have a revelation, of sorts,
concerning the singing of hymns in church. That singing, those songs and
the whole purpose of participation, is for the glorification and praise of
God. It is a heart-felt, passionate effort to personally praise Him and
please He who has given so much to those undeserving. I have a feeling that
He enjoys this praise even when the singing may fall short, musically.
He is God who has blessed us with Grace and the possibility of one day
being in His presence, for eternity, atoned by the blood of His son that allows
people like me to be righteous with the righteousness of Christ.

The words above, taken from Revelation, reveal that there is a song that
we cannot find in the hymnals at church. Its words are known only by those
who have been taken into heaven already. The number is most likely just
symbolic of "many." I will bet that the song is the most beautiful song ever
heard and the most wonderful song ever sung. I cannot wait to wrap my vocal
chords around it and sing as I have never sung before! Praise God!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

God's Work In Progress

Clive Staples Lewis

   "Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps,
you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the
leaks in the roof and so on; you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not
surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably
and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that
He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing
here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You
thought you were being made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace. 
He intends to come and live in it Himself."

Yes, C. S. Lewis is so phenomenal, isn't he? Probably the most quoted Christian one can
find, yet he was converted to a believer in Christ during a motorcycle ride and discussion
with friend, J. R. R. Tolkien. 

What caught me about the above quote is the Truth that God is working on us constantly
once we welcome Him into our lives. He is, after all, the master architect, the master creator
who fashioned the universe, suddenly, from nothingness. Nothing, no job or task, is too
great for Him, as He is sovereign, completely.

How remarkable that He would care enough to fashion us into beings that might glorify
Him; How loving that He would provide a way for us to be members of His family,
taking sinners capable of doing little of import and changing us into justified, adopted
children, filled by the Holy Spirit and guided along the journey toward eventual sanctification
in His Holy presence. 

The key, here, is moving over, letting go of the steering wheel, swallowing our pride and
need to be in charge so that He can get on with the business of rebuilding. He knows
what is in our best interest, He knows what changes need to be made. He, and He alone,
needs to be master of our lives, our King, our God. What do we do? Trust, pray, get quiet and
praise His glorious name!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Father God: The Ultimate Holy Shopper

I just hate shopping! There is probably a phobia attached to males who are required
to shop. It's really close to the phobia that covers fear of malls, in my case. Someone
could use a stop watch to time my "in and out" when it comes to most of my shopping,
even in this holiday season. I love to get things for people, to see them open a gift;
it's just the process that gets to me!

Well, God didn't' and doesn't have a shopping problem! Can you imagine the potential
difficulty God could have just looking at the numbers and variety of those he might shop
for? He faces the task of finding a gift that is age appropriate, gender appropriate and
perfectly reasonable for all; but No Problem! He, also, doesn't have to worry about
gift wrapping; this, for me, is third on the phobia list! It causes all ten of my hand digits
to automatically turn to thumbs! He doesn't face the human problem of having someone
open His present and "fake" a positive emotion. No fake smiles, here. No awkward
expressions upon opening that fruit cake or seeing that horrific tie!

God, in His glorious Grace, has given to all who would choose to receive it, the gift
of eternal salvation, based upon the work of His son, Jesus Christ. It's a gift that truly
keeps on giving, since it brings adoption into His family for all eternity. It isn't
just a gift for "good girls and boys," it's a gift for people despite their inability to earn
or deserve it. Some would label this gift, a "free" gift, and I understand the concept that
it is given without a cost; yet, in my heart, it's a priceless gift that came only after the
payment of the glorious Christ upon the cross, bearing all the sin of this world, separated
from His Father, alone and humiliated. I think the cost was great.

This awesome and truly generous gift is one that should never be undervalued or
returned. It is, quite frankly, the greatest gift ever given. The truly perfect gift. But,
after all, what else would we expect from the glorious God of the universe. Thank
you, Father God, for this life-fulfilling gift!