Friday, December 25, 2009

The star

scan0032 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 ESV
The Star lead the wise men from a far a way place to the house where Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus were living. It was their faithful guide.
Jesus, the bright morning star, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Following Him and His direction, we will always make the right decisions and find the correct way.

The key? Keep the Star in the top place in your life, the first priority, the deciding factor, the ultimate guide. You’ll never go wrong.

“Bright and Morning Star, shine on me. Illuminate my life with your understanding and wisdom. Guide me into your truth for living. I will follow you where ever you lead.”

Other verses: 1 John 1:5; 1 John 2:8; Revelations 22:16; John 1:9; John 8:12; Psalm 119:105

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Jesus: the best present ever

scan0031For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17 ESV
The most dynamic aspect of Christmas is the exchange of gifts. Watching a small child giggle and smile as she gives gifts to others and rejoice as she opens hers will touch the heart of any parent. Giving is the essence of Christmas.

The primary reason for Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus. Through Jesus and God’s abundant grace to us, we receive the gift of righteousness and eternal life. Jesus’ life and sacrifice was the first gift ever given; generosity began with Father God. Eternal life was the best gift ever given.

“Father God, thank you for the gift of righteousness and eternal life. I want to share it with others.”

Other verses: Romans 6:23; John 3:16

Advent 31 – The Star
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Wise Men

scan0034When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  Matthew 2:10-11 ESV
Context: Matthew 2:1-12

To the poor and despised shepherds and the rich and intellectual wise men, God’s message was the same, a King is born and a Savior has come. Worship him, Christ the Lord.

Our life, our possessions and our worship are costly gifts; let us place them at Jesus’ feet like the wise men brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh before Him. The great cost of time, money and effort is minimal in comparison to His gift of grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Let’s worship Jesus as King and Lord.

“My Savior and King, I worship you and place my life, my possessions, and my desires at your feet to be used in your service in the manner you desire.”

Advent 30 – Jesus; The Best Present
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Shepherds

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.   Luke 2:15-18 ESV
The Shepherds and the Angels: Luke 2:8-20

The shepherds acted instantly on the angels’ song and that rocked their world. They went to Bethlehem to see what God had spoken to them: the baby lying in a manger. They shared their story with Mary and Joseph, they told all they met about the child, and they returned to their sheep “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.” Their lives had been forever changed.

The shepherds were transformed because they acted on the revelation God sent them. They changed the world because they shared that revelation with others. What an awesomely simple story!

“God of the Heavens, speak to my life and transform my world. I praise your name for all you have done in me. I am your willing messenger.”

Advent 29 – The Wise Men
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

She Laid Him in a Manger

scan0033 Joseph went up from Galilee… to Bethlehem… to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7 ESV
“Who dares make light of small beginnings?” Jesus was born in a stable, laid in a manger, lived in Nazareth and died on a cross. Nothing indicated he would be of great influence, but he is the most influential man of all times.

Insignificant? I don’t believe so. God lived on earth as a man, so he could redeem us from sin. Maybe it was a seemingly poor and unimportant beginning, but the eternal result is unbelievably, marvelous, wonderful, and awesome. The King of kings’ earthly debut started with a stable as his castle and a manger as his throne. The impact was eternal.

“King Jesus, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. May I present you in a worthy manner to those around me.”

Other verses: Job 8:7; Zechariah 4:10

Advent 28 – The Shepherds
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Born in Bethlehem – Insignificance?

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son… Luke 2:4-7 ESV
It doesn’t matter how insignificant you might feel or if others notice you, God knows you and sees your impact. Bethlehem was small and unimportant, yet God took note and sent His Son there to be born. Because of that birth, the world knows of Bethlehem and her Son; Jesus, the Christ.

As we allow God to be birthed into our lives, He will impact others and we will have a place in eternity’s history. As we allow God to move in us, He will bring security and peace to our sphere of influence and to the ends of the earth.

“Almighty God, thank you for noticing me. Fill me with your Spirit and move through me to bring security and peace to my world.”

The prophecy of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2-5

Advent 27 – She Laid Him in a Manger
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

His Name Is John

scan0026And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all wondered.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied...        Luke 1:62-67 ESV
The story of John's birth: Luke 1:57-80 

Given a second chance Zechariah confirmed “John” as his son’s name. In this moment, the Holy Spirit came upon him and he prophesied greatness over his son’s life. Although not a believer at first, being mute for nine months left Zechariah a lot of time to think. He understood and agreed with God’s promise.

Let’s not wait for a second chance to believe and obey. Listen, believe, receive and act in faith, today. Begin with promises in the Bible and continue on with the promises He makes as you meditate on His Word. Declare his goodness, agree with the promise, and walk in the power of His word.

“God of the Impossible Promise, I will believe and act on your promises. Speak to me today.”

Other verse: Luke 1:37

Advent 26 – Born in Bethlehem
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mary’s Song - The Magnificant

scan0025 And Mary Said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generations to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:46-55 NIV
Elizabeth and Mary rejoiced together as their offspring cheered the goodness of God. Elizabeth honored God’s blessing in Mary while Mary praised Him. In their mothers’ wombs, cousins John and Jesus celebrated each other. John delighted in his Lord. What a party!

Mary sang of God’s favor. She gloried in God her Savior and proclaimed His greatness as “the Mighty One.” She exalted Him mentioning the “scattering of the proud” and remembering His blessing over Abraham and his family. What a beautiful song of praise!

What blessings present and past provoke worship in your heart?

"Good and merciful God, I thank you for your blessings. Thank you for my life and my family; for provision and protection; and for your goodness and salvation."

Advent 25: His Name is John
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Announcements

scan0024“I am the Lord’s servant.” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.     From Luke 1:26-38 NIV
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.     From Matthew 1:18-25 NIV
There was a special purpose for the lives of Joseph and Mary; they were the earthly parents of Jesus, God Incarnate. They suffered injustice and misunderstanding. They faced impossibilities and dangers. Even then, through their words and actions both responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. I will do Your will.”

Although we will never live same circumstances Mary and Joseph did, the destiny of God on our lives is still important. Everybody has a special purpose from God and their own circle of influence. Even if there is danger of misunderstanding or false accusation, even if we might suffer injustice, let us say, “I am the Lord’s servant. I will do Your will.”

“Spirit of God, speak to me. I am your servant. Work your will in my life.”

Advent 24: Mary’s Song
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

I Send My Messenger

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:2-4 ESV
Prophecies of John's coming: Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1

John the Baptist was the messenger that prepared the way for the first coming of Jesus, the Messiah. He announced the need for changed hearts and the forgiveness of sins. When Jesus came, people were ready and waiting for him.

Today, we are the messengers that prepare the way for Jesus’ coming: the coming to people’s hearts and the second coming to the earth. We must proclaim the forgiveness of sins for the repentant heart that believes in Jesus and accepts his love. If we do not share the good news, how can the world know the Christ and who will be waiting?

“Jesus, I want my heart to be prepared and I want to tell others of your love.”

Other verses: Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2; Luke 1:76; Romans 10:14-15

Advent 23: The Announcements

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Alpha and the Omega

scan0022I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life. Revelations 21:6 ESV
Who has prepared and done this, calling forth and guiding the destinies of the generations [of the nations] from the beginning? I, the Lord--the first [existing before history began] and with the last [an ever-present, unchanging God]--I am He. Isaiah 41:4 Amplified

Alpha-the beginning…

Before all time was… Christ was God. The faithfulness of God through Christ Jesus is from before the beginning of time until after the end of eternity. He is ever-present, God-unchanging, always faithful, always true. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Even in the most difficult of situations, God is with us. He was there at the beginning and he will be there at the end, He is always present and always the same: unchanging God of love.

…Omega-the end

“Alpha and Omega, thank you for always being with me, unchanging, always good, faithful and true.”

Other verses: Jeremiah 33:11; Nahum 1:7; John 1:1

Advent 22: I Send My Messenger

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Saturday, December 19, 2009

He Is Building His Temple

scan0021 "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Zechariah 6:12-13 ESV

God favors personal relationships over beautiful buildings (nothing against beautiful buildings). He is building a tabernacle made of people that worship Him in spirit and truth; we are the living stones he is using.

The Priest-King takes us, His lively stones, and nails us together with the spikes of His love and bonds us with the mortar of the fellowship of the saints. When we unite with others to worship Him, the King sits on the throne we erect. Let's exalt Him in our secret place and publicly as a community; this is our spiritual sacrifice, perfect and acceptable to God.

"Lord Jesus, inhabit the songs of my heart. Place your throne there. Join me to others and build yourself a spiritual house to dwell in."

Other verses: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:21-22; 1 Peter 2:5; Revelations 21:3

Advent 21 The Alpha and the Omega
Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Friday, December 18, 2009

King of Peace

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:9 ESV
Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem as the King of Peace, not on a horse as a king of war. He knew he was soon to enter the bloodiest and most difficult conflict of his life, but He also knew that three days later He would rise from the dead, totally victorious.

The time in between his death and his resurrection he “cut off the chariot and the war horse and the battle bow.” He defeated Satan on his own territory. When he rose again, he came “speaking peace and ruling to the ends of the earth.”

“King of Peace, rule in me. As an ambassador of Christ I will proclaim His victory over Satan and His soon coming as King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Other verses: Matthew 21:6-11; John 12:12-15

Advent 20: He Is Building His Temple

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Shoot of Jesse, the Branch of Righteousness

scan0019Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.' Jeremiah 23:5-6 ESV

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:1-3 ESV

Notice the people among Jesus’ ancestors: Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabite. God wasn’t influenced by their sin or race; David was still chosen to be the bloodline of the Messiah. An adulterer and a murderer, he wasn’t an especially worthy man himself.

Besides defects, what do these three have in common? They had faith and they had repentant and obedient hearts. They became the roots and the stump where the shoot of Jesse grew. Jesus, the LORD our righteousness, came from a family of sinful people. That encourages me because none of us are perfect and God still wants to use us. That's grace!

‘Jesus, be the wise and understanding King of my heart. Grow there to be the Branch of Righteousness of my life.”

Advent 19: King of Peace

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Spirit of the LORD is Upon Me

scan0018The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV

God’s Spirit was sent for a purpose. Jesus didn’t minister publicly until the Dove descended upon him and His last commandment to the disciples was wait for the power of the Spirit. Years later, Paul encourages the constant filling of the Spirit. The “oil of God” is important for effective ministry.

The Spirit’s purpose is clear. He brings good news; strengthens the weak; frees the captive; opens blind eyes; encourages the repentant; and gives joy to the sad and crying. The Spirit plants us as solid oaks in His righteousness.

“Spirit of God come upon me as I share the good news and bring hope and healing to the hurt and discouraged. Strengthen me in Your righteousness as I live to bring you glory.”

Other verses: Luke 4:18-19; 24:49; Romans 1:17; 3:21-24; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:18

Advent 18: The Shoot of Jesse, the Branch of Rightousness

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Lamb of God

scan0017Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? Isaiah 53:4-8 ESV

We find the ultimate expression God’s love in the Suffering Servant; the Lamb of God, slain to take away the sin of the world. Father God did not manipulate Jesus to obey His design, nor did the soldiers drag him to his death. He decided to die. He willingly went to the judgment and to the cross, silently, like a sheep before its shearers.

Instead of crushing the bruised or discouraging the depressed, he took their wounds and transgressions on himself; he suffered the punishment for their sins and the stripes for their healing. Jesus: the totally sufficient sacrifice lamb.

“Lamb of God, forgive me, heal me, encourage me. You are the only adequate sacrifice. Thank you for forgiving me and cleansing of my sins.”

Matthew 27:13, 14; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelations 5:6

Advent 17: The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light for the Nations

scan0016I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6, 7 ESV

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6 ESV

My eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. Luke 2:30-32 ESV

Jesus is the light for the nations, the light to the Gentiles. God’s plan is to redeem mankind and to bless the world, not just a chosen few from one nation or a select religious elite. Paul reminds us that God desires all people to be saved and to know the truth.

Jesus is the light. He is the way, the truth and the life revealed to the world so all that believe in Him can be God’s sons. The light leads to the correct path; it helps see beauty and truth. Let Jesus’ light shine in and through you!

“Light of the World shine on me; reveal your splendor. Help me reflect your glory and illuminate those around me.”

Other verse - 1 Timothy 2:3

Advent 16: The Lamb of God

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Servant King

scan0015Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth. Isaiah 42:1-4 ESV

Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:43 ESV

The title public servant is common but the concept of being a leader and a servant isn’t. Isaiah’s servant is anointed by the Spirit and brings justice, but his justice will not bruise or break. The Servant King, just as the Good Shepherd, will guard the weak and dependent, taking them in his arms to protect and carry them.

Jesus came to serve. He became a man and died an unjust death. He gave his life so we could live. Instead of pursuing a political kingdom with its riches and power, he humbled himself and become a servant. Through service his kingdom was established.

“King Jesus, anoint me with the spirit of service. Help me not promote myself, but to love, care for and bless others.”

Advent 15: Light for the Nations

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The way up is down; the road to influence is the path of service.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Proclaim the Good News from the Mountain Top


I rewote this post as The Shepherd King I think it better follows the sequence of the prophetic names of Jesus. Still, we do need to go and tell the good news to the world. - Earl
You who bring good tidings to Zion, get up to the high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with strength… be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah. Behold, the Lord God will come with might, and His arm will rule for Him. Isaiah 40:9-10 Amplified

We emphasize the less important things so much that we often forget the actual reason we celebrate Christmas. We must remind ourselves and others of Jesus’ birth, God became a man.

Go to the top of the Mountain and proclaim the good news and publish His peace. Especially at this time of year, don’t be ashamed of Jesus and CHRISTmas. The angels sang it to the shepherds and the shepherds told it to the people they met. Their joy was uncontainable. They had to shout it out. And You?

“Emmanuel, God with us, I want to share the good news. I want to express the joy of You in my life. I want to shout it from the mountain tops.”

Other verses: Isaiah 52:7; 61:1; Nahum 1:15 ; Romans 10:15

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Shepherd King


He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11 ESV

And I will set up over them one shepherd… he shall feed them and be their shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23-25 ESV

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 ESV

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I know my own and my own know me. John 10:11, 14, 15 ESV

The devoted shepherd carries the lambs and gently leads his sheep. He feeds and protects the flock. He drives evil away from the fields, so the sheep can sleep in peace.

The LORD is my shepherd; I lack nothing. He supplies pastures of fresh tender grass. He finds calm waters. He provides a peaceful atmosphere where the sheep can rest. When the flock is attacked, the Good Shepherd protects the sheep from danger. He gives his life for his sheep. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

“Good Shepherd, I place myself in your care. Lead me, guide me, feed me, and protect me. You are my Shepherd. I want to hear, know, and obey your voice.”

Other verses: Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:26-30

Advent 14: The Servant King

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Belt of Righteousness and Faithfulness


With righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist and faithfulness the belt of his loins. Isaiah 11:4-5 ESV

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1 ESV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV

The Anointed Judge brings good news to the broken, wounded and captive. Righteousness and faithfulness are His foundation. He heals our wounds and strengthens our broken hearts; he frees us from the habits that enslave us and the thoughts that imprison us. He provides for us his righteousness, victory and life.

Even though we are unfaithful to him, He remains faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Christ provides for our forgiveness, healing and freedom. He is faithful and true, and his mercies are new every morning.

“Anointed Lord, forgive my unfaithfulness. Anoint me to announce your goodness. Help me minister to the poor and wounded, the broken and captive, and be an example of your righteousness and faithfulness.”

Other verses: Rom. 3:3; 1 John 1:9

Advent 13: The Shepherd King

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prince of Peace

scan0012 For to us a child is born, to 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 ESV

Isaiah prophesied Christ the governing ruler and his birth as a son. His name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Living under His direction as our Counselor and Extraordinary Strategist, we will make the right decisions. Submitting to the sovereignty of Mighty God the warrior, we will experience His victory. Accepting the forgiveness of the everlasting Father, we will feel loved and accepted in Him. Allowing the Prince of Peace to reign over our lives, we will know peace and relationships will be restored with Him and others.

“Prince of Peace, establish your Kingdom in my heart, reign in my life, counsel me in my decisions and pour out your love through me.”

Advent 12: The Belt of Righteousness and Faithfulness

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Born of a Virgin

scan0011The Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us). Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Divine choreography: God wrote the script, directed the play and was the primary actor. He desires our participation and allows our improvisation with complete knowledge that the redemptive plan will be fulfilled.

A righteous sacrifice to cancel the price of sin required a perfect man. God himself was the only one that could take the part and his stage entrance was the virgin birth.

God came as Jesus. Born of Mary, a virgin, he lived as a man on the earth, he died and was resurrected. God with us is the divine act.

“Emmanuel, dwell in me. I will be a part in your play so the world can see and know and experience your love, heaven on earth.”

Advent 11: Prince of Peace

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Righteous Scepter

scan0010I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. Numbers 24:17a ESV

But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8 ESV

The star and scepter speak of the Messiah’s royalty and authority. He would rise a powerful king to destroy all the enemies of Israel. The religious leaders interpreted these ideas exclusively as a national, political leader that would free them from Roman oppression. They disregarded the Christ that walked and talked with them.

Hebrews extends the metaphor to a scepter of uprightness. Jesus came to rise as the righteous king of power and authority in our hearts, establishing his kingdom of righteousness there. We must therefore receive his authority and extend the Kingdom of Heaven to the ends of the earth.

“Righteous King, rule in my life. I accept your righteousness and authority. Empower me for the purpose of influencing others in just and moral living.”

Advent 10: Born of a Virgin

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Snake on a pole

scan0009Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:9 ESV

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14, 15 ESV

In Numbers the serpent image used in Genesis is renewed representing temptation and the results of sin. For murmuring against the authority of God in their community the people of Israel were dying. We too have rebelled against God and our relation with Him is lost.

John foretold that the “Son of man” was to be lifted up like the bronze serpent in the desert. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy by becoming sin and dying on the cross. If we will look up to Him in faith we will have eternal life. What an awesome gift.

“Merciful LORD, forgive my rebellious thoughts and actions. Cleanse me from my disobedience. Restore my relationship with you. Give me your life.”

Other verse: Isaiah 53:4-5

Advent 9: The Righteous Scepter

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prophet’s trumpet [a prophet like Moses]


The LORD your God will raise up… a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen-- And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18b ESV

Moses spoke with God and for God. There was no other prophet like him: humble and meek; full of power and resolution; obedient and courageous. He prophesied the Messiah’s coming declaring he would be “a prophet like me from among you.”

As the Israelites obeyed Moses, they were led out of slavery into the land of promise. Jesus, God Incarnate and the greatest of all prophets, leads us out of slavery to pride, rebellion, and fear; into the promise land of life in abundance.

Lead on!

“Jesus, lead me out of bondage into your freedom. Reveal to me the areas in my life in which I am still a slave and the promise land I should, by your Spirit, aggressively conquer.”

Advent 8: Snake on a Pole

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Sacrifice of Isaac

scan0007 Abraham … looked and… behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket... [he] took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called… that place, "The LORD will provide"; the angel of the LORD called to Abraham [again]… and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you… [parts of verses from Gen 22:13-17 ESV]

Abraham demonstrated faith through obedience and his son was saved. God provided a ram so the promise, Isaac, would not be sacrificed. Abraham then named the place, “the LORD will provide.” God had made a way where there was no way; He supplied a sacrifice where there was no sacrifice.

We have no righteousness of our own, but God offers us His righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus. In the same way that God provided a ram for Abraham through faith, faith is our key to receiving His forgiveness, righteousness, life and blessing.

God loved us so, that He gave His only son. John 3:16

“Jesus, I receive your forgiveness and life that was provided for us as a gift through the sacrifice of your life on the Cross. Thank you.”

Advent 7: The Prophet's Trumpet

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Promise of a Messiah

scan0006Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.

God didn’t wait to solve the problem of man’s transgression. Genesis 3:15 declares the Christ’s virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection and victory. The complete story was foretold.

Jesus, born of a virgin, was the offspring of woman. Wounded for our transgressions, his death was temporary. It was just a bruised heel. Yes, He rose from the dead on the third day. Yet, the damage inflicted to the enemy’s head was permanent and fatal. Satan suffered total defeat when the bruised heel shattered his skull. Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us complete victory over Satan. God’s promise revealed.

“Christ, I receive the forgiveness you died for and the righteousness you rose to give. You are my victory, my LORD.”

Advent 6: The Sacrifice of Isaac

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Fall of Man

scan0005When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:6-8 ESV

Mankind’s history starts with a personal, face-to-face relationship with God. Adam and Eve began their life in Eden with an incredible opportunity-to know God and to be known by Him; and a protective limitation-don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Incredible!

The wonderful story became a depressing tragedy. Adam and Eve pursued their selfish desires instead of following the caring guidelines of God; they ate the prohibited fruit and became conscious of good and evil. The result, fear, hid them from God, isolating them from the very life-giving source that had created them, Father God. Unbelievable, but true!

“Father God, I do not want to be cut off from you. I long to know you as I am known. I want to live according to your wisdom every day.”

Advent 5: The Promise of a Messiah

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

The Creation of Man

scan0004Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ESV

Genesis 2:7, then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. ESV

The amazing aspect of the creation of man is God didn’t just speak Adam into existence. He bent down and with his hands made man’s body out of the dirt. God was personally involved.

God then invested of himself by breathing his life into man. In this way, God created man in his image, spirit. The rest of creation shows the glory of God and God’s spirit is everywhere, but man holds a particular distinction over the rest of the animal kingdom. Man is spirit and God’s Spirit dwells in man.

“Jesus, breathe your breath in me even as the Father did in Adam and as you did in your disciples. Spirit of God, give me your living life, today.”

Advent 4 -The Fall of Man

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He is… Creator and Sustainer of the Universe

scan0003He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Col 1:15-17 ESV

Not only was Jesus before the creation of the earth, He is also the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe. He is the intelligent designer of our world. He holds all things in their place. Ephesians says we are the workmanship of his hands and John taught us that without Christ we can do nothing. As the center of our universe, Jesus is the gravity that holds our life together so through Him we can fulfill his design and purpose for our lives.

“Jesus, Creator and Sustainer, I give to you the throne at the center of my being. I want all I say and do to be controlled by your gravitational pull so I will always please you and complete your design for my life.”

Other verses: Heb 1:3; Is. 48:13

Advent 3 - The Creation of Man

Advent 1 - In the Beginning

He was… In the beginning

scan0002 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 ESV

It all began before all was…

Jesus is God: always has been and always will be.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The belief that Jesus is God is the distinguishing point of Christianity and all else we believe is built upon that truth. If Jesus is not God, Jehovah, Yahweh, we are no different than any other religion or belief system.

“Jesus, my God, my LORD, my Savior, who always has been and will always be, I give my life to you, to serve you and to extend your Kingdom by manifesting Heaven on earth, today.”

Advent 2 Creator and Sustainer of the Universe

Advent – Emmanuel, God with Us

PICT0097For the Rutledge family, 15 or so years ago we began celebrating Advent with the Advent Tree and the Advent Wreath. The tradition started with some ideas from Focus on the Family. We took those readings and made them our own over the next 2-3 years. Now, we have a month of symbols and verses that help us remember why we celebrate Christmas.
The focus is not the date, instead our desire is to remember that God was born as a baby in Bethlehem, he lived and grew up in Nazareth, he died on the cross for our sins, he was resurrected from the dead, he ascended to Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. All had been prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. Christmas reminds us of the beginning, God became a man and dwelt among us.
We made the symbols as a family, adding to them each year and changing the order until we were satisfied. Now we have our sequence with symbol and verse that remains the same each year, yet each year we present and remember the symbols in a different way.
Today I start, late, a series of posts on based on our celebration of Advent. It’s actually going to be simple:

  • a title – the main idea
  • a verse – God’s truth for us
  • a symbol – a visual aid to help us remember
  • a thought – a challenge, an idea, a remembrance for the day
  • a prayer – I want today to be His day
Since I’m almost two weeks behind I will do two posts a day until I have caught up. I don’t want to wait until next year to follow through with my idea and share with you our tradition and celebration. Enjoy and remember…
“God is with us, Emmanuel.”

Advent 1 - He was… In the beginning

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Life with Advent

I will this evening bring life to Thoughts and Reflection by making a daily post about Advent, the coming of our LORD.

Although I'm actually several days behind to do a daily post for thirty days, one a day until Christmas, I will catch up and do posts as daily as possible.

Let us not forget the reason for the Christmas season, the remembrance of the birth Jesus of Nazareth, God incarnate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Glow

We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

As Moses’ face glowed when he came down from spending 40 days face to face with God, our face will “glow” more and more as we spend more time in God’s presence, face to face with Him. We will reflect the Lord’s glory. Therefore, first lets enter His presence with confidence and stay there. Secondly, let us not cover our “face”. Without apology let us shine God’s glory with unveiled faces. Finally, let us be continually changed with a constantly increasing glory being seen in our lives.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Prologue

Uncared for and in disarray, the abandoned village stood hidden in the shadows of a forgotten forest. Covered with thick moss and moist decay, the lonely walls stood neglected, longing for a concerned soul to clear the fallen trees and rebuild the broken and rotting structures. The cold, fertile ground lay desolate, leaf and limb strewn, soaking up the stagnant drizzle that gives birth to greater growth, covering the past with deeper life crushing waste, blurring the history of a once beautiful Eden with ungrateful abandonment and forgetful sleep, deep beneath death and despair.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Meditation has more to do with filling yourself with His thoughts than it does emptying yourself of yours.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Sincerity is worth more than trying hard.

...a thought from July 3rd.

See post on A Look in the Mirror

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Liberty and Freedom - random thoughts for thought

These are random thoughts for thought, not necesaritly agreement or
disagreement with them. Let's think a while.

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty
is always in vain." - John F. Kennedy

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from
the hand of God." John F. Kennedy

"If you are faithful to what I have said, you are truly my disciples.
And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!" - Jesus

True liberty and personal freedom are directly related to learning,
knowledge and practice.

Ignorance might be bliss, but it does not lead to true and lasting
freedom and liberty.

Knowledge is necessary for advancement and success, but if it's not
true and accurate or if it is not lived and applied, it does not lead
to liberty.

Practice is always necessary, but practice does not make perfect.
Others have said, "perfect practice makes perfect." We must put in
practice the knowledge we have learned. Interesting thoughts...

Learning, knowledge and practice must all go together to acheive
liberty, freedom and success. Learning and application / practice of
new and accurate knowledge of the truth will lead to freedom.

These three (learning, knowledge and practice) are vitally important
to attain and maintain freedom, liberty and success in any area of our

freedom - The capacity to exercise choice; free will

liberty - freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction,
hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking,
speaking, etc., according to choice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Works and Faith

So then they said to him, "What must we do to accomplish the deeds (works) God requires."  Jesus replied. "This is the deed God requires - to believe in the one whom he sent." [NET]

Then they said to him, how may we do the works of God? Jesus answering, said to them. This is to do the work of God, to have faith in him whom God has sent. [BBE]

So, the question here in John 6:28-29 could be:

What works do we have to do?    or

How do we do the works God does?

To either one the answer is the same. Believe [have faith in] in the one he [God] sent, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Can't Do It. -- OK, Watch This

Interestingly, Andrew, in John 6:9, brings forward a boy with 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish to ask, "but what is this worth when there are so many people? Jesus, we can't do anything. What we have just isn't enough."

Andrew was presenting the impossibility of the situation: 5000 men plus others and this kid gives us his lunch.

Jesus took the very challenge of only having 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish, and used it for a miracle. He used the very proof of lack to provide for the masses of people.

Jesus, take my life and make it a resource for your miraculous working to provide today for the masses of hungry people.  


 "No man was ever wise by chance." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To My Lord, My Grace

Joy and pleasure in Your presence
Knowing You in effervescence
Not in public presentation
Nor Spirit power demonstration,
But peace and joy -ecstatic grace-
Alone with You in the secret place.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


 "Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well." - Josh Billings

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Alfred Lord Tennyson - "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

thanks for the reminder

"be subversive, missional, relational.......please"
My friend, thanks for reminding me to never forget we have a mission achieved primarily by relations in a non-religious manner. Forward with the cause!!!