Friday, December 30, 2011

Jesus ~ Word

A written word, no depth, no tone,
is just a word.  It stands alone.

A written word found in a phrase,
a thought or concept it conveys.

A word among those in a book
may draw me to a new outlook.

A word resounding in a song
will entertain me all day long!

A word can comfort or abuse.
A word can help or can misuse.

A word can heal or devour.
A word can wield immeasurable power.

A word can touch a child’s heart,
can locate hurt, can love impart.

A spoken word is, plain to see,
a great responsibility.

A spoken word has depth, has tone.
A spoken word stands not alone.

For when a word is given voice,
It reaches out demanding choice.

The word giver has thus revealed
A part of self which was concealed.

The word receiver must accept
and then respond; it can’t be kept.

The Word was given to each one
in the form of God’s own Son.

The Word that made the angels sing,
praising Him, the newborn King.

The Word that hushed the violent sea,
the Word that said, “Come, follow Me.”

The Word that gave the blind new eyes,
the Word that could confound the wise.

The Word that made the dead to live,
the Word with power to forgive.

The Word that severed Satan’s cord.
the Word, the Savior, Christ the Lord!

The Word of God stands not alone,
but gathers us around His throne.

The Word that spoke the world to be
spoke because He cares for me.

I Do

He speaks to me;
His still, small voice
says, “Come to Me”.
There is no choice.

I try to do,
I strive to be.
It’s not enough;
I am not free.

I long to feel
His embrace,
to hear His voice,
to see His face.

I am alone,
broken and bare.
I cry to Him,
He strokes my hair.

All that I am
is Christ in me;
the Hope of Glory
set me free!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jesus ~ Truth

Worth dying for…

“And Stephen, full of grace and power,
was performing great wonders and signs among the people…
 But they were unable to cope
with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking…
 They put forward false witnesses who said,
‘This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law.’”…
“When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him…”
 ~Acts 6:8-7:58

“… others were tortured,
not accepting their release,
so that they might obain a better resurrection;
and others experienced mockings and scourgings,
yes, also chains and imprisonment. 
They were stoned, they were sawn in two,
they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword…”
~Hebrews 11:35-37

Worth living for…

 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him,
‘If you continue in My word,
then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.’”
John 8:31,32

 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right…
…dwell on these things.”
~Philippians 4:8

“Jesus said to him,
‘I am the Way,
and the Truth, and the Life;
no one comes to the Father
but through Me.’”
~John 14:5

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus ~ Savior

“But the angel said to them,
‘Do not be afraid;
for I bring you good news of great joy
which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David
there has been born for you a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.’”
~Luke 2:11

A number of judges and other people in the Old Testament
were called savior, deliverer, or redeemer,
for they rescued their countries from oppressors…

“When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord,
the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel
to deliver them,
Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother…
~Judges 3:9
The Spirit of the Lord was with Othniel;
God empowered him to conquer the king of Mesopotamia,
bringing rest to the land for forty years.

…the Lord raised up a deliverer for the,
Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite,
a left-handed man.”
~Judges 3:15
Ehud’s dominant left hand was an unexpected advantage
over Eglon, the king of Moab,
paving the way for the sons of Israel
to conquer ten thousand valiant Moabite warriors,
and bringing peace to the land for eighty years.

“The Lord gave Israel a deliverer
so that they escaped from under the hand of the Arameans;
and the sons of Israel lived in their tents as formerly.”
~II Kings 13:5
Jeroboam II rescued Israel from the Syrians.

“Then the women said to Naomi,
‘Blessed is the Lord
who has not left you without a redeemer today,
and may his name become famous in Israel.’”
~Ruth 4:14
Boaz was known as Ruth’s kinsman redeemer,
one who ‘comes to help or rescue’.

As an obligation stemming from being the nearest blood relative,
A kinsman redeemer’s duty was
to act as a mediator to bring restoration among relatives,
to buy back the estate that his closest relative sold,
or to redeem the land, and sometimes the widow, of a deceased relative.

The Lord raised up others
whom He strengthened to triumph over their enemies;
frequently they were recognized as deliverers, redeemers or saviors.

In order to identify someone as a savior,
there are five aspects to consider:
1.  An enemy
2.  The one(s) in need of being saved
3.  A motivation
4.  An intentional action
5.  Proven success

Being a savior indicates providing assistance, rescuing,
protection, victory, prosperity, security.

The need for a savior implies the existence of enemies,
oppressors, persecutors, bullies, tyrants,
attacking, abduction, fighting, war.

A savior, revealed in the title itself,
has proven to be stronger, smarter, more successful
than the enemy in whose grasp is the one needing of saving.

Although we don’t commonly use this term to describe someone today,
perhaps a policeman, a fireman, or an ER doctor
could be considered modern day saviors.

So what sets Jesus apart as ‘The Savior’?

“For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life. 

“For God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but that the world might be
saved through Him.”
~John 3:16,17

1.  The enemy:  Satan
2.  The ones in need of being saved:  Everyone
3.  His motivation:  Love
4.  His intentional action:  Death
5.  His proven success:  Resurrection and Life

Only God is able save us from death
and from eternal separation from Himself.

Jesus is The Savior
because He is God,
and God is Love.

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;
you are Mine!
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior…

“Before Me there was no God formed,
and there will be none after Me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
and there is no savior besides Me.”
~Isaiah 43:1-3,10,11

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jesus ~ Rock

“…and all drank the same spiritual drink.
For they drank of a spiritual rock
that followed them,
and the rock was Christ.”
~I Corinthians 10:4

While thinking about this passage of Scripture,
a childhood memory surfaced
which hadn’t come to mind for many years.

My dad used to tell me
that one of the most important things to consider
when buying a piece of land is the availability of water;
city water, well water, Artesian spring,
or even a stream, if it didn’t have a habit of drying up.

Whenever he contemplated acquiring some property
without a water source previously established,
he would hire a well-witcher who would walk the acreage
while carrying a long forked stick.

The man would hold the forked end, one tine in each hand,
and point the stick out in front of him parallel to the ground.
Whenever the end of the stick was drawn downward,
that meant there was water under the ground.

Dad described to me how water, coursing through rock strata,
was filtered of contaminants and impurities
as it flowed hundreds of feet deep beneath us.
Dad liked well water the best.

A good water-witcher might ascertain
where several underground streams crossed
and would advise us to have the well drilled at their intersection.
The streams were likely to be flowing at different levels,
so when the well was drilled, it would be fed by several sources.

As a child, I questioned the validity of such practice
and wanted to watch my dad try it;
if Dad could do it, then it would be real to me.

The well-witcher smiled as each of us gave it a go in our yard;
my dad knew where the sprinkler lines were buried.
It didn’t work for Dad or I,
but a few of my brothers felt the stick tug downward
in exactly the right places.
Dad said it had something to do with body chemistry.
I was suspicious nonetheless.

As Moses led the people through the rugged, arid wilderness,
water sources above ground were scarce.
After being released from generations of enslavement in Egypt,
it was unlikely that the Israelites would know the location of springs
or would understand how to read strata.

God told Moses to tell them where to go,
and they went.

...and God was with them…
 “…(they) were all under the cloud,
and all passed through the sea;
and all were baptized into Moses
in the cloud and in the sea;
and all ate the same spiritual food,

“and all drank the same spiritual drink,
for they were drinking from a spiritual rock
which followed them;
and the rock was Christ.” 
~I Corinthians 10:1-4

Jesus Christ was their Rock;
cleansing, filtering, purifying.
Through Jesus flowed their strength and their song,
the springs of their salvation,
the water of life.

As God caused the manna to rain from above
and the often unseen water courses to follow them,
just so was their every spiritual need provided for
through God alone.
 “’Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid’
for the Lord God is my strength and song,
and He has become my salvation.’

“Therefore you will joyously draw water
from the springs of salvation,
and in that day you will say,
‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on His Name…”
~Isaiah 2-4

“…It is done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end. 
I will give to the one who thirsts
from the spring of the water of life
without cost.”
Revelation 21:6

Jesus Christ is my Rock;
cleansing, filtering, purifying.
Through Jesus flows my strength and my song,
the springs of my salvation,
the water of life.

And as the often unseen streams of living water follow me,
just so is my every spiritual need provided for
through God alone.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jesus ~ Everlasting Father

Everlasting Father:
“For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

This is my first Christmas after Dad passed away.
I miss hearing him on phone saying,
“Good to hear your smilin’ voice!”

Although his mind wandered during his last months of life,
we were able to capture nuggets of conversation
rich with deep joy, contentment,
and an excitement about his future
in the presence of his Everlasting Father
in all His glory!

Yes, Dad is gone,
but I am not Fatherless.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jesus ~ Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace:
“For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us;
and the government shall rest on his shoulder:
and His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

The forefathers of the United States of America
set out to establish our governing authority on several levels;
the federal government would have a very limited power,
a bit more weight of influence would be given to individual states,
and the larger portion of powers to oversee would play out
on a local level; counties, cities and townships.

Their intent was to prevent the formation of big government.
Big government, on higher levels, would mean
more powerful governmental control,
which, by nature, would constrict the voice of the people,
which, in turn, would mean
less ability as citizens to maintain individual rights and freedoms,
which would eventually result in some form of oppression.

Throughout the history of the world
various governments have been established
and have increased in size and power
until the adopted styles of governing with power 
have saturated their cultures with corruption.

Thomas Jefferson once said,
“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

God endorses big government
… really big government,
… His own big government is the only possibility for success.
... His big governmet which is all powerful,
yet upright, just and good.

In fact, His plans include
a government with no end to its bigness…

“There will be no end
to the increase of His government
or of peace…
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” 
~Isaiah 9:7

…and, as a result, there will be no end
of peace.

His plan, from before creation was that,
although the best laid plans of the mightiest dominating powers
would rise and fall,
He would govern the hearts of mankind
and His peace would be established in our midst.

Now imagine, for a moment,
that you can trade shoes with God.
Go ahead; establish peace…
“Thus says the Lord,
‘Heaven is My throne
and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me? 
And where is a place that I may rest?”
~Isaiah 66:1

God any ideas?
If you did, they would never work.
Many have tried.

Jesus was born for this,
and He is the only One with shoulders enough for the job.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus ~ Nazarene

“…and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; 
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets: 
‘He will be called a Nazarene.’”
~Matthew 2:23

“Wouldn’t it be fun to drive Route 66?”
Hearty cheers of approval resounded from the back seat
as we pulled off the interstate.

We cruised along with genuine excitement
eagerly anticipating the appearance
of a quaint rural village
with old fashioned gas pumps,
a tiny schoolhouse,
a little whitewashed church with a bell,
and the quintessential coffee shop
declaring red checkered table cloths and free coffee refills.

After driving for nearly an hour
through desolate nothingness,
a faded “Reduce Speed” sign riddled with bullet holes
cast a glimmer of hope
that our dream town was just around the bend.

And there it was…
Three or four old boarded up buildings shivered in the breeze
as a weathered sign too faded to read
dangled by one old rusted chain.
A gust of wind powdered the already colorless scene with dust
and tossed a dozen tumbleweeds across our path.

We wondered aloud
romancing our imaginations
with a sheriff, bad guys, a tinny saloon piano
and other stories of what might have been
so long ago.

Suddenly, a barefoot child dressed in rags
dashed out from between two buildings.
A mangy mixed breed dog tagged along
sniffing here and there.
The fragments of a screen door slammed abruptly,
jolting us even further from our reverie.

There were no cafes, no churches or schools, no gas stations,
no quaint little curiosity shoppes.

As we turned to head back the way we came,
my heart yearned for the future of that child
living in desolation and hopelessness…

But what defines hopelessness?
Must an abiding place be marked with significance on a map,
and have a WalMart within a reasonable distance?
Can God dwell in such a place?

What good could come out of Nazareth?
~John 1:46

Protocol for a King’s proper arrival,
a worthy heritage,
an apportioned declaration of glory,
an established destiny,
or a padded lifetime retirement plan
was not to be…
  “…He had no form or majesty
that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him. 

“He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,
and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised,
and we esteemed Him not.” 
~Isaiah 53:2,3

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jesus ~ Mediator

“For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus…”
~I Timothy 2:5

Mediator:  someone who intervenes between two parties
                to resolve a conflict or ratify a covenant.

“Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant,
so that those who are called
may receive the promised eternal inheritance,
since a death has occurred
that redeems them from the transgressions
committed under the first covenant. 

For where a will is involved,
the death of the one who made it must be established. 
For a will only takes effect only at death,
since it is not in force
as long as the one who made it is alive. 
Therefore not even the first covenant
was inaugurated without blood.” 
~Hebrews 9:15-18

“You have come… to Jesus,
the mediator of a new covenant,
and to the sprinkled blood
that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
~Hebrews 12:22,24

After reading through these Scriptures and typing them out,
I went to bed for the night.
Soon, I began dreaming that I was in a courtroom
filled with witnesses of my every sin;
every witness was Jesus.

The voice of Jesus called the session to order;
He was the Judge presiding over the hearing.

Then He stepped down from His place
and began to walk to and fro in the front of the courtroom.
Proclaiming Himself as the Lawgiver,
His gaze fixed upon me as he read the Books of the Law
which He had written.

When all was declared, I felt numb,
unable to utter a single word on my own behalf.

Jesus began speaking as my attorney,
standing in my defense.
Then He methodically declared my deeds as His own.
He presented, as evidence to the court, the scars in his wrists.

He removed his white cloak
and draped it over my shoulders.

I watched as they took Him away
instead of me.

How could Jesus be the Judge, the Lawgiver,
the Mediator and the Witness all at once?
How could He step down
from each and all of these powers to rule?
How could He take my death sentence upon Himself?

He is God.
 “For I am convinced
that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities,
nor things present nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”
~Romans 8:38,39