Archive for December, 2010

Everything New

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Revelation 21:5

I know that this verse is not actually talking about “the New Year.”  But I do think that we can make an application to that and I think that we can hopefully learn something and take some encouragement from it as we approach another New Year.

When you think about it, it would be a sad and depressing place if not for the Lord’s promise to make things new.  He has promised to make us a “new creature” when we are saved.  He has promised to create in us a clean heart.  Without these promises, we would have no hope.  I like the idea of a “New Year” because it is an opportunity to do better.  We can’t exactly “start over” every year, but we can take January 1 as a starting point to improvement.  We obviously will never have a “perfect” year, but we can always do better.  There is always room for improvement.

While we won’t be perfect next year, right now the slate it clean.  Let us ask the Lord to help us have a year that would honor and glorify Him.  He has the power to “make all things new.”  We have access to that power through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Let us avail ourselves of that power this year.  He has been a wonderful Saviour this past year and I know that He will be a wonderful Saviour this year!

Happy New Year!

Our Ways vs. God’s Ways

For my thoughts are not your thought, 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 55:8-9

At first glance, these verses seem to state an obvious truth.  Obviously, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  Obviously, God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts.  No Christian would disagree with those statements.  But have we ever really stopped to think about what those statements mean?

I will be honest – I do not understand why God does some things and allows other things.  When I say that, let me also say that I do not question God in these matters, but I still don’t necessarily understand them.  I’m sure that nobody who has ever lived has completely understood everything that God allowed to happen.  But there is a huge difference between confessing that we don’t understand a matter and questioning God’s judgment in that matter.

I am a human.  I do not think like God thinks.  I can not see the future and I can see very, very little of the past.  In fact, other than my immediate area, I really can’t even see the present.  God can see all of those things.  We may think of things in terms of past, present and future, but God is able to see the whole.  He is able to see everything as one interconnected whole.  His thoughts are not our thoughts.  What we may grouch about as a “missed opportunity” one day might be a missed heartache the next day.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.

His ways and thoughts are not only different from ours, they are “higher” than ours.  There is no comparing them.  God wants what is best for us.  I heard it phrased in a sermon one time “do you really think that you want more for yourself than God does?”  The Bible tells us that “his ways are not grievous.” 

We could keep going and going with this, but suffice to say that any time our thoughts and ways disagree with His, He is right and we are not!

Returned and Restored

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55:7

This has to be one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible.  It shows us “the way back home.”  Sometimes we stray from the Lord.  Sometimes we disobey Him.  Sometimes we even rebel against Him.  Like the prodigal son, we sometimes wander “to the far country.”  Not all of us stray to same degree or in the same way, but not one of us is perfect.  We are all, to one extent or another, “prone to wander.”  It is to those wandering ones that this verse is written.  If you have strayed from God, here is the way to go home.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.”  When you find that you have strayed from the Lord, the first and most obvious thing to do is to quit straying.  That sounds simple, but sometimes it’s the hardest part.  It’s easy to tell an alcoholic to stop drinking, but it’s a little more difficult for him to do it.  Just about everyone I know who smokes says they need to quit, but very few of them actually do.  Whatever sin you have found yourself in, stop it; or, in the words of this verse, “forsake your way.”  Turn around.  Again, this is not easy to do in our own power, but we have the Holy Spirit to help us resist temptation!

After we have “forsaken our erroneous way,” we then need to come to the Lord for forgiveness and cleansing.  The next part of the verse tells us “let him return unto the Lord…”  He has promised to forgive us if we will come to him, humbling ourselves and confessing our sins.

The last part of the verse is a wonderful promise that if we will forsake our wicked way and will return to Him, “he will have mercy upon him” and that “he will abundantly pardon.”  It doesn’t just say that He will pardon us; it says that He will “abundantly pardon” us.  That is a promise that we can rely on!

On a personal note, I have been there.  I have strayed from the Lord.  It’s not a pleasant place to be and it breaks my heart to see people struggling on in their sin, never stopping to think that the Lord will forgive and heal them if they will only return to Him.  If you find yourself in that position today, please don’t keep resisting the Lord.  There is hope and it is found in Jesus Christ!

Peace of the Children

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.

Isaiah 54:13-14

It seems today that much is said about “peace,” but there is actually very little of it in the world.  The peace of God is sadly unknown to most people.  While I do not yet have children, I would think that one of the things that most parents would want for their children is for them to have peace in their lives.  No parent would want their child to experience a life of turmoil, heartache and struggle.  They want them to lead a life in which they are at peace both outwardly and inwardly.  In the same way, these are also the things that we would desire for our own lives.  We want to be at peace.  We want to be “far from oppression.”  We want to “not fear” and be far from terror.  Those are all desirable things that any person, believer or not, would want in their lives.  And I think these verses give us a key to getting them:

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord…”

This leads to the “great peace” mentioned in the next part of the verse.  I love the way the Bible words things.  They “shall be taught of the Lord.”  That phrase “taught of the Lord” could mean “taught by the Lord” and it could mean “taught about the Lord.”  I think both are true and either would make sense in this passage.  It is the Lord Who teaches us and what He teaches is more about Himself.  What a glorious thought!

If we want our children (or ourselves) to have that “great peace,” we need to be “taught of the Lord.”

Lengthen Thy Cords…

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes…

Isaiah 54:2

I understand that this verse is technically dealing with a restored Israel, and not with church-age Christians.  But, I also think that the application is the same in this case: we are supposed to live “big.”

By “living big,” I don’t mean that we are to live extravagantly or beyond our means.  I don’t mean that we are to live our lives in the pursuit of material things or fleshly desires.  By “living big,” I mean that we are supposed to live for a purpose greater than ourselves.  And that we should always be wanting more of the Lord, and more of His Word. 

Sometimes we get comfortable in our routines.  I know I am as guilty of that as anybody.  I love getting into a nice, comfortable “rut.”  But sometimes God wants us to “enlarge thy tent, and stretch forth the curtain of thine habitation.”  Sometimes the Lord wants more for us than we maybe want for ourselves.  He wants us to be closer to Him than we are.  He wants us to love Him (and others) more than we do.  In order to do those things, we have to prepare ourselves. 

He also tells us to “spare not.”  The Bible is full of “overanswered prayers.”  Isaiah spoke of Him “pouring water on him that is thirsty.”  If we open our mouths, He will fill them.  He has promised that, if we will call upon Him, He will show us great and mighty things. (Jeremiah 33:3)  The promises are there, but will we take them?  Will we have the faith to “enlarge our tents?”  Will we have the faith to live a “big” life for Him?

Christ Our Redeemer (Hymn)

Christ Our Redeemer
John G. Foote (?)

Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due.
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.


When I see the blood, when I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save;
As He has promised, so He will do;
Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.


Judgment is coming, all will be there.
Who have rejected, who have refused?
Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.


O great compassion! O boundless love!
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
Oh, He will pass, will pass over you.

I love this powerful hymn.  “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”  What a great picture from the night of the Passover.  “Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save; As He has promised, so will He do.”  I am thankful for that every time I think about it.  I know that I, of all people, do not deserve any mercy or kindness from a holy God.  But “all who believe are safe from the storm.”  What a wonderful thought!  There are so many different truths contained in this hymn; I hope you will take the time to think about it for a minute.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Hymn)

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Charles Wesley (1739)

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

When I was a kid, I thought that it read “Hark, the Harold angel sings…”  I knew of no angels named “Harold”, which I thought was strange, but I sang the song without giving it much thought.  At some point in the last 20-some years, I did realize that it was “herald angels”.  That aspect of the song now makes more sense.  🙂  But, be that as it may, this is a great hymn.  Any time you get a hymn from Charles Wesley, you know that you are going to get some great truth and some good doctrine.  This hymn is no different.  Think about these lines:

“Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” has got to be one of my favorite lines of any hymn.

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail th’incarnate Deity, Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.” -“God with us”, what a thought!

“Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die.” – This is exactly what He did!

I’m going to stop there because if I don’t, I will just end up repeating the whole song again.  What a great hymn.  I am going to start a campaign to make this hymn a “year-round” hymn.  It is too good and has too much truth in it to be relegated to one month a year.

One Gift

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

It is Christmas Day, and I hope that you are enjoying the day and spending some time with friends and family.  I just wanted to take a minute to thank God for the one gift that we can all be thankful for: sending His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die for my sins and for your sins. 

He came to save His people from their sins.  He came to save me from my sins.  I am a wicked, vile, evil sinner.  But Jesus Christ came to this earth, became a man, and died for my sins.  If Christmas is nothing else, it is a day to remember our Lord Jesus Christ and to remember His gift to us.  He gave Himself that we might live.  I am so thankful!


For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

We have looked at many different figures in the Christmas story.  But the Christmas day and even the whole Christmas season would have no meaning deeper than maybe a nice time of being with family and exchanging gifts with loved ones without the inclusion of one more person.  Me.  If the Christmas story is not personal, then Christmas is just a nice, if not slightly hectic, holiday and a day off of work.  If Jesus is not real to you, then Christmas and the whole Christmas story loses it’s meaning.  But it is real to me.

This verse sums it up to me: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour…”  Unto me.  He came to be born of a virgin in a manger, but He came for me.  He is my Saviour!  And, no matter what else you think of this Christmas season, think of that fact.  Jesus Christ came to and for YOU! 

Merry Christmas!



And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  For with God nothing shall be impossible.  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.  And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38

I don’t usually use this many verses at once, but what more can be said about Mary.  There have been volumes written about what she must have felt like and what kind of a person she must have been.  I will only dwell on one thing about her.  In my opinion, she gets some of the highest praise that any human has ever received: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured…”  To be visited by an angel and told that you are “highly favoured” by the Lord is quite an honor.  But, even above that, she was chosen from all of the other women to be the human vessel used to bring the Lord Jesus into the world as a baby.  God in human flesh, the Saviour of the world, would come into the world through this simple girl named Mary.  I think that one of the reasons Mary was chosen is shown in her attitude in verse 38, after the angel is done speaking to her.

“…be it unto me according to thy word.” 

Oh, that we might have that attitude toward the Lord and toward His Word.  Simple faith.  Simple obedience.