Monthly Archives: December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

img_1156Christmas greetings one and all! I’m reading by the fire most every morning this cold season a chapter or two from “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer. His subtitle is “The Human Thirst for the Divine.” That seems apropos when pondering Christ coming to earth as a man, which is the meaning and story of Christmas. Allow me to share a couple of his paragraphs with you, while at the same time encouraging you to read Luke chapter 2. It’s full of wonder and mystery.

    Behind the veil is God, that God after whom the world, with strange inconsistency, has felt, “if haply they might …find Him.” Acts 17:27

     He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation. Now He waits to show Himself in ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.

img_1159I pray He does show Himself to you this season, as he did to shepherds, wise men, and prophets of old. I’m presently involved in a men’s Bible study of Isaiah, perhaps the greatest Hebrew prophet. It’s intriguing and joyous to me that in the midst of pronouncing God’s coming judgments on Judah and Jerusalem, as well as, their violent and morally decadent neighboring nations — a grace filled course correction and the removal of evil on a mass scale, if you will — the prophet pauses several times, almost mid sentence as it were, with joyful proclamation of a future king who will save people from their sins and their enemies.

Isaiah’s very name is the main theme of his book… “Salvation is from God.” It happens to be the same meaning as Jesus’ name. “God is salvation.”  “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

img_1161Some examples of joyous proclamations amid judgment proclamations from this prophet 700 years before they happened include:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:1–2)

img_1151When I read that last sentence, “…the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light…” And Tozer’s sentence “He has discovered Himself to some extent in nature, but more perfectly in the Incarnation.” I think of Bethlehem Star, that excellent DVD I watch every year at this time worshiping in wonder and awe. It’s about the magi in search of the child king, as recorded in Matthew 2. Give it a look! You’ll be glad you did. 

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

I want to leave you with one last thought this Christmas season, and it’s from Micah the prophet, a contemporary of Isaiah, prophesying the same judgments to the same people at the same time, and with similar shouts to all about the future coming King. He recorded for us and people of all time…

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)


This One will be our peace…. (Micah 5:5a)

Merry Christmas!





Blessed is the Nation… 2016

img_9627If you follow this blog, you may have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet about the election in social media. I’ve been quiet period, and quiet in my own soul. Oh, I’m aware of what’s going on around me and tumult in the nation, even though I’m seldom on Facebook and almost never watch the news on TV. It’s just that I put my trust for our national well being, and my personal well being in God, and not in man, or the political system. Psalm 131  could well be my creed in this matter. Yet I intend to write more often on this subject in the days ahead, as led, to espouse the light the Bible shines on this matter, and on our path as a nation.

I’m very aware the government of God and the governments of man are both realities and that they intersect at times, if not at all times. 🙂 There is much teaching about this in the Bible. I’ve tried to understand it and do my part led by God’s teaching and the laws of our land. God’s Word, His giving us a free will, and world history make it imperative that I be as active as legally permitted, that I vote, and that I pray. Still my trust is in the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, not man, nor the political system of the USA or any other nation.

img_9628You can read my only pre-election writing in the last post. The election was easy for me from the beginning. I didn’t struggle to decide. It could be summed up in three or four Bible verses that came to me early in the process. [1] “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12) [2] “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) [3]  “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) And with most (but not all!) of my friends and family I voted for the platform that stood for the most right and against the most wrong.

I believe this article by Thomas Sowell in the Wall Street Journal and other news papers around the country hits the main points quite well. The Constitution. Contempt for the law. Real leadership. Supreme Court justices. And more.

img_9633Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about, some do not, and some will contest who or Who gets to decide what’s right and wrong? That’s the real problem as I see it. We have good news and bad news in the outcome of this election.

The good news is we have a reprieve. And what a welcome relief it is to many of us! We were being led and going down a path that would have invited or required God’s judgment on our nation, according to the Bible, and as demonstrated in history.

Painting of my wife's church in SE Arkansas

Painting of my wife’s church in SE Arkansas

The bad news is we are still a deeply divided nation as shown by the popular and electoral vote. The results were 48% to 46% in the popular vote, with both coasts seeing things differently than the interior of the country. The results were 20 states to 30 states and 232 to 306 electoral votes. Surely as you watched the venom of the candidates during the election and the venom of the voters during and after the election, one must wonder about our division as a nation and our character as a nation. I would suggest that we haven’t been this divided as a nation since the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided” speech comes to mind. Of course Mr. Lincoln borrowed this quote from Jesus Christ almost 2000 years earlier.

Our Times . Acts 17:26

Our Times . Acts 17:26

If you fear God, and believe the Bible, as our founding fathers did, and Christians do in every age, you feel we have been given a reprieve from judgment. A time to breathe easier, while gearing up to further work and prayer for healthy spiritual and moral change in our nation, and in the world we so clearly affect. I pray we can come together and farewell with God’s help.

A quote from Elton Trueblood in my book at the beginning of chapter 3, “Understanding Your Times,” comes to mind.

The greatest problems of our time are not technological, for these we handle fairly well. They are not even political or economic, because the difficulties in these areas, glaring as they may be, are largely derivative. The greatest problems are moral and spiritual, and unless we can make some progress in these realms, we may not even survive. This is how advanced cultures have declined in the past. 

Let’s rest a bit and enjoy a small, but major victory for our country, or that’s the way I see it.  Then let’s get back to work; the work of the kingdom, the ongoing work of the King!

Christmas Peace in His Name

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.'” (Matthew 6:9–13)

But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” (John 5:17)