Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thanksgiving Theology For 2017

Here we are at the end of 2016. It is also the last night of Chanukah. I wrote earlier this week that I would celebrate Chanukah by acknowledging the special miracles that God performs on my behalf each night. I would love to report that each night I experienced the Lord by way of  the wind, earthquake, and fire {1 Kgs. 9: 9-13}. I did not, but God is so faithful to me; just like He sustained the oil in the lampstand for the Israelites as they rededicated the Temple, He has sustained me—not only through Chanukah, but through the whole of 2016. I have so many reason to be thankful to God. He not only sustains and holds me together, He holds everything together. 

Recount all that He has already done on our behalf:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven {Col. 1: 13-20}.

We don’t have to look far to find God’s Grace in our lives. What else could we possibly need Him to do for us?

This has been quite a year; and as I look back, I can see how God sustained and carried me through this year. School was especially challenging, as I went straight through the year without a break (not even a weekend in between classes) from January to December, right before Christmas—taking no less than three class per term. It was worth it though, as I only have two classes to complete between January and March and I will be done!! Yay!

I endured many personal trials that I am not able to discuss here, but they too, took their emotional toll on me. But I can see God’s grace through it all. He truly carried me through. These past couple of weeks have been sweet rest for me, rest that I truly needed after the grueling school year, and I am so thankful to Him. Was it a rough year? Yes. But God is faithful; His mercies are new every morning.

 I wrote at the beginning of Advent, that I desire to nurture a thankful heart, to cultivate a theology of thanksgiving. That means that I desire to be more grateful, and to make worship part of who I am—that I can’t breathe without giving Him praise for breathing His life into me. Being grateful fills us with Joy; Joy need not elude us, we only need to be grateful, and worship. Worshiping opens our hearts so that the Lord can fill it with His joy, and a thankful spirit helps us come to the Lord in humility, acknowledging that it is God’s gift to us, that we would be lost without Him. The brilliant author of Hebrews tells us that we can come in confidence before the throne of Grace to receive what we need; He always hears our prayers.  

We don’t have to search to find God’s fingerprint on our lives. We don’t need to wait for Advent to be grateful or to be more purposeful in bringing Him praise. I am going to be very determined to be worshipful and to fulfill my calling in 2017, but that means spending more time with Him and in His Word, and in prayer. This is how we should spend 2017; He deserves our devotion. Practicing His presence in this way, will grow and mature us in our faith. They are treasures worthy of our searching. Turning my heart to Him, and placing Him above all else in my live is to count it all loss and gain for Christ. Everything else is a waste of our God-given breath. Time is too short, He is coming soon, and we must be about His business. When we focus on the Kingdom first, everything else we need will be given—that is His promise. 

Happy New Year! Have a blessed 2017! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Broken Hallelujah

Saturday night was Christmas Eve, the end of the Advent Journal, and the beginning of Chanukah. Though I am not Jewish, I love celebrating the feast and festivals, because they speak to the person, ministry, and work of our beloved Savior. I wrote to you on Saturday, that I will, to follow along with the Chanukah story, reflect each night on the great things the Lord has done for me. How what is impossible for me, God in His Grace and Mercy performs on my behalf. The Chanukah story tells of a miraculous story; sometimes though, my life can be a little less spectacular.

The Israelites found only enough oil for one day, when they were dedicating the temple anew, but God caused it to burn for eight days. They only found enough for one day, even though they knew it would not be enough, they lit it anyway. If the lampstand burned for only one day, then it’s one day; better than not burning at all. They lit it anyway. It is okay if you didn’t find anything spectacular in these last few days, we don’t need to create anything, or over sensationalize small things to make them look big. God doesn’t need our help to prove Himself miraculous.

I love that they lit the lampstand anyway. That keeps glaring me in the face, because oil in the Bible is very symbolic. The Israelites were instructed in the constructing of the Tabernacle, to bring pure Olive Oil, beaten for the light {see Ex. 25:6; 27:20; 35:14, 28 and Lev. 24:1-4}. Jesus was the fruit of the olive tree {Rom. II} beaten and pressed for us in Gethsemane and He was beaten, bruised, and died a torturous death for us on Calvary. The Oil also represents the Holy Spirit; He fills us with power to be lights and witnesses. The oil was to burn continuously in God’s Temple; it was a sign that He dwelt there. Just like the loaves and the fishes,  He took what little they brought and He multiplied their faithful, obedient offering. What if this is what God does for us? Maybe your story over the past few days of the Festival of Lights, is one of God’s sustaining oil, burning longer than you can muster on your own?

I began the Advent Journal so that I would nurture and cultivate a thanksgiving theology; to become more grateful to the Lord for all that He has done for me, and all that He will do. It is my worship and gratefulness that brings Joy. But life can be hard; suffering and pain seems to surround us, and it can be hard to praise God in the midst of so much hurt and pain. Sometimes our hallelujahs are broken. Not broken in that we don’t offer them, but that we offer them even in our brokenness.

I am flabbergasted that I am staring 2017 in the face; I have prayed and confessed to the Lord that I need a New Year. What if during this beautiful Festival of Lights, we set our eyes on our Light of the World, Jesus Christ, and bring whatever oil we can find each day, deep down inside, and offer it to Him as a sweet-smelling fragrance, and believe Him to ignite a new fire in us that burns for Him—hotter than we have ever known. What if we rededicate our temple {1 Cor. 6:19-20} and bring the oil—even if it is only enough for today? He will be faithful with our offering. I pray that you bring yourself to Him with all the oil you can muster. That He will fill you to overflowing, so that we will not be ill prepared and found asleep when He returns, but that we will be about His Kingdom and that we will burn bright for the world to see. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas! O Holy Night!

Merry Christmas! 

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees

O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, o night divine!

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
Christ is the Lord!
Their name forever praise we

Noel, Noel
O night, o night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, o night Divine
Noel, Noel
O night, o holy Divine

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent Journal Day XXVIII: Unto Us A Child Is Born

Christmas Eve is upon us. Unto us a Holy, Beautiful, Divine Child has appeared unto us, to dwell with us; to save us from our miserable selves. He came, fully God, the Second Person of The Godhead, clothed in our human flesh—fully God; fully man. The Greatest Gift ever Given. 

My   advent journal comes to a close, for tomorrow, Christmas, brings Advent to a conclusion. My journal will not completely end, for I began this Advent Journal to help me cultivate a thanksgiving theology, one that cause me to be thankful every day; I will live this eucahristic life—no matter what I am facing, no matter how grueling the trial, or mundane the routine. I will keep an Advent attitude all my days; for He came once in a stable as the Savior of all mankind, but He will come again as King. I will be grateful to Him every day. I will worship in heart, and in attitude; I will worship. I will worship. God gave the best of Himself when He sent His Son; does He not deserve my best? If He does nothing else for us, this Gift was enough to last for all eternity.  

Eucharistic living is illustrated in remembering what Christ did for us. Remembering the Lord’s death is proclaiming all He did for me; something only Christ could do. Bulls and goats could not redeem, only the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God performed what was for man, impossible. This is how I worshiped tonight; to be thankful for what He has done, and to proclaim that He will come again.

 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes {1 Cor. 11:25-16 NASB}.

I love that tonight is also the first night of Chanukah. Though I am not Jewish, the story of Chanukah is beautiful. You will not find it on the pages of Scripture, it occurred during the intertestamental period, between the Old and New Testaments, during which times the heavens were brass for four-hundred years. Though the event that created the Chanukah liturgy, Jesus celebrated the Festival in the New Testament pages—the Festival of Lights. Jesus, the Light of the World. This link will walk you through the story, but the story is that the brave Maccabees worked at restoring the Temple after it had been defiled by the Syrian-Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah; the Law required that the menorah burn continually, it was the Israelites who were required to bring the oil as an offering. However, they found only enough oil to last for one day. In obedience however, they lit the Lamp with the oil they found, and miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply for the menorah; the celebrated on the eighth day to commemorate God’s miracle. He is the God of what is impossible for man. God is a God of miracles.

 I love to acknowledge the Jewish feasts, they all speak to the person, work, and ministry of Jesus Christ. This miracle for the Maccabees is one more illustration of the character and nature of the God we serve.  

I am going to celebrate each night of Chanukah by scouting the Divine in my life; where God does the impossible—that of course which is impossible for me. I am praying for God to show Himself to me in a new, miraculous way each and every day. Will you join me?

To read the entire Advent Journal click here:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Advent Journal Day XXVII: Prepare The Stable

Just two more sleeps till Christmas. I can’t believe it…Christmas came so fast. Next week we will be entering into a New Year. This Advent season I purposed to create a thanksgiving theology, not just for Advent, but I need to put more effort into cultivating a grateful heart; one that celebrats Christ every day of the year—not only at Christmas. In Advent we prepare for Christ’s arrival, but our hearts need to be prepared to receive Him each and every day; He is coming again, and we know not the hour {Matt. 24:26}.

No matter where you have come from, or what you have done, you cannot be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus {Rom. 8:31-39}. He came to a humble stable to tell the all the world that He came for all mankind. There is neither Jew or Gentile, slave or free, man or woman, rich or poor in Christ Jesus {Gal. 3:28}. The Bible also tells us that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit; Christ dwells in you. He dwells in me. Prepare the stable for Him {your temple} to receive Him every day. He has so much in store for you; Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. He saw so much worth in you, that He came to save you. Let’s be prepared for His arrival.  

My favorite Christmas movie is The Muppet's Christmas Carol, and at the end when Scrooge encountered his final ghost of Christmas (Muppet's version), he sings this song. I think it speaks beautifully to how we should cultivate a thankful heart, all year long, not just at Christmas.

Thankful Heart

With a thankful, with a endless joy
With a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me
Nephew and niece to me
Will bring love, hope and peace to me
Love hope and peace to me
Yes, every day will end and every day will start
With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart
With an open smile and with open doors
I will greet welcome, and what's mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health
With a glass raised to toast your health
And a promise to share the wealth
Promise to share the wealth
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On a sea of love and a thankful heart
Life is like a journey
Who knows when it ends?
Yes, and if you need to know the measure of a man you simply count his friends
Stop and look around you
The glory that you see
Is born again each day, don't let it slip away
How precious life can be
With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise with every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise
Used now to sing your praise
And beg you to share my days
With a loving guarantee
That even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart
I will hold you close in a thankful heart
In a thankful heart

To read the entire Advent Journal click here:

[1] The Muppet's Christmas Carol, Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Advent Journal Day XXVI: Who Do You Say That I Am?

“Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” {Matthew 16:15-16 NASB}

Christmas is a wonderful time. It is a time to celebrate the Advent of the Messiah. There are many ideas and thoughts about who Christ is, and even those who claim the Christian faith do not agree. Some believe Him to be a prophet, a good moral teacher, and some the Messiah, the Christ who came to save the world. C.S. Lewis said concerning the skepticism surrounding Christ:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”[1]

This is a pretty provocative challenge, but I think it is apropos in this season. Each of us should reflect on Jesus Christ and who He is in our life. Is Jesus the center of our universe, or something we fit into our schedule on Sunday? Do we celebrate Him in a liturgical way through the year, or do we celebrate Him every day; every moment? Can I go several days without giving Him a thought, or is He my oxygen; breathed deep into my soul? These questions beg an answer. Many have offered their opinion on who Jesus was, but as you reflect on Jesus' heart-wrenching question, meditate on who the Bible declares Jesus Christ to be. Prepare your heart to receive Him.

ADAM: (1 Corinthians 15:45) And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
ADVOCATE: (1 John 2:1) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
ALMIGHTY: (Revelation 1:8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
ALPHA AND OMEGA: (Revelation 1:8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
AMEN: (Revelation 3:14) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
APOSTLE OF OUR PROFESSION: (Hebrews 3:1) Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
ARM OF THE LORD: (Isaiah 51:9) Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
(Isaiah 53:1) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH: (Hebrews 12:2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION: (Hebrews 5:9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
BEGINNING OF CREATION OF GOD: (Revelation 3:14) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
BELOVED SON: (Matthew 12:18) Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.
BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE: (1 Timothy 6:15) Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
BRANCH: (Isaiah 4:2) In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
BREAD OF LIFE: (John 6:32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
CAPTAIN OF SALVATION: (Hebrews 2:10) For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
CHIEF SHEPHERD: (1 Peter 5:4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
CHRIST OF GOD: (Luke 9:20) He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.
CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL: (Luke 2:25) And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
CORNERSTONE: (Psalm 118:22) The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
COUNSELLOR: (Isaiah 9:6) 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
CREATOR: (John 1:3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
DAYSPRING: (Luke 1:78) Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
DELIVERER: (Romans 11:26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
DESIRE OF THE NATIONS: (Haggai 2:7) And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
DOOR: (John 10:7) Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
ELECT OF GOD: (Isaiah 42:1) Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
EVERLASTING FATHER: (Isaiah 9:6) 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
FAITHFUL WITNESS: (Revelation 1:5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
FIRST AND LAST: (Revelation 1:17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
FIRST BEGOTTEN: (Revelation 1:5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
FORERUNNER: (Hebrews 6:20) Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

GLORY OF THE LORD: (Isaiah 40:5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
GOD: (Isaiah 40:3) The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
GOD BLESSED: (Romans 9:5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
GOOD SHEPHERD: (John 10:11) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
GOVERNOR: (Matthew 2:6) And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
GREAT HIGH PRIEST: (Hebrews 4:14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
HEAD OF THE CHURCH: (Ephesians 1:22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
HEIR OF ALL THINGS: (Hebrews 1:2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
HOLY CHILD: (Acts 4:27) For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
HOLY ONE: (Acts 3:14) But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
HOLY ONE OF GOD: (Mark 1:24) Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL: (Isaiah 41:14) Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
HORN OF SALVATION: (Luke 1:69) And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
I AM: (John 8:58) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
IMAGE OF GOD: (2 Corinthians 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
IMMANUEL: (Isaiah 7:14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
JEHOVAH: (Isaiah 26:4) Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
JESUS: (Matthew 1:21) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
JESUS OF NAZARETH: (Matthew 21:11) And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
JUDGE OF ISRAEL: (Micah 5:1) Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
THE JUST ONE: (Acts 7:52) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
KING: (Zechariah 9:9) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
KING OF THE AGES: (1 Timothy 1:17) Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
KING OF THE JEWS: (Matthew 2:2) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
KING OF KINGS: (1 Timothy 6:15) Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
KING OF SAINTS: (Revelation 15:3) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
LAWGIVER: (Isaiah 33:22) For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
LAMB: (Revelation 13:8) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
LAMB OF GOD: (John 1:29) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
LEADER AND COMMANDER: (Isaiah 55:4) Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
THE LIFE: (John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
LIGHT OF THE WORLD: (John 8:12) Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH: (Revelation 5:5) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
LORD OF ALL: (Acts 10:36) The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
LORD OF GLORY: (1 Corinthians 2:8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
LORD OF LORDS: (1 Timothy 6:15) Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
LORD OF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS: (Jeremiah 23:6) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

MAN OF SORROWS: (Isaiah 53:3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
MEDIATOR: (1 Timothy 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT: (Malachi 3:1) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
MESSIAH: (Daniel 9:25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
(John 1:41) He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
MIGHTY GOD: (Isaiah 9:6) 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
MIGHTY ONE: (Isaiah 60:16) Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
MORNING STAR: (Revelation 22:16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
NAZARENE: (Matthew 2:23) And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
ONLY BEGOTTEN SON: (John 1:18) No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
OUR PASSOVER: (1 Corinthians 5:7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
PRINCE OF LIFE: (Acts 3:15) And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
PRINCE OF KINGS: (Revelation 1:5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
PRINCE OF PEACE: (Isaiah 9:6) 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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
PROPHET: (Luke 24:19) And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
(Acts 3:22) For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
REDEEMER: (Job 19:25) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
RESURRECTION AND LIFE: (John 11:25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
ROCK: (1 Corinthians 10:4) And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
ROOT OF DAVID: (Revelation 22:16) I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
ROSE OF SHARON: (Song of Songs 2:1) I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

SAVIOR: (Luke 2:11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
SEED OF WOMAN: (Genesis 3:15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
SHEPHERD AND BISHOP OF SOULS: (1 Peter 2:25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
SHILOH: (Genesis 49:10) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
SON OF THE BLESSED: (Mark 14:61) But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
SON OF DAVID: (Matthew 1:1) The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
SON OF GOD: (Matthew 2:15) And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
SON OF THE HIGHEST: (Luke 1:32) 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:
SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: (Malachi 4:2) But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
TRUE LIGHT: (John 1:9) That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
TRUE VINE: (John 15:1) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
TRUTH: (John 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
WITNESS: (Isaiah 55:4) Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
WORD: (John 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
WORD OF GOD: (Revelation 19:13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1952), 56.
*All Scripture references are from the King James Version of the Bible (Public Domain).

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Advent Journal Day XXV: God's Unfailing Love

Christmas is fast approaching. Shopping, baking, preparing for the festivities, all can drain one of Joy. Though Joy can elude us, Love too, can be hard to muster. I wish I could tell you that I perfectly love everyone, every day, and that all the chores and to-do lists are delivered with Love; and with lots of sugar on top! I wish I could tell you that I don’t snap at my husband or children, or mother; or the clerk at the store. The true mark of a disciple is that we love one another {see Jn. 13:35}. I was tempted to perform a word search on how many times love is found in the Bible; how many times we are commanded to love one another. I thought better of it, as I did not want to beat myself over the head further. Thank you, Jesus, for Your Grace.

The truth is, that I fail miserably at loving perfectly. I don’t love my family as I should; I don’t love God as I should. Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. We all fail at loving in the fullness of Christ, and others fail us—miserably. The biggest travesty is how much we all fail God in loving Him as we should. But God’s Love never fails. God’s Love was demonstrated in that He sent His only Son {Rom. 5:8}, the pre-existent Second Person of the Trinity, fully God and fully man, clothed in flesh like us, to seek and save the lost {Lk. 19:10}. It doesn’t matter how much our love fails or falls short, His Love never changes. His Love never fails. I found over thirty verses {there are more I didn’t list} where Scripture drips like honey with His Unfailing Love. Be encouraged. As we seek hard after Him, as we koinonia with Him, and abide in Him, He will fill us with His Love to pour out on the world. That is how we find Joy,  that is how we find Love, in His presence is fullness of Joy {Ps. 16:11}, in His presence we find all that we need.

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling {Exodus 15:13}.

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love {Ps. 6:4}.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation {Ps. 13:5}.

He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever {Ps. 18:50}.

For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken {Ps. 21:7}.

For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness {Ps. 26:3}.

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love {Ps. 31:16}.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him {Ps. 32:10}.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love {Ps. 33:5}.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love {Ps. 33:18}.

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you {Ps. 33:22}.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings {Ps. 36:7}.

Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love {Ps. 44:26}.

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love {Ps. 48:9}.

{For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with BathshebaHave mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions {Ps. 51:1}.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever {Ps. 52:8}.

Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation {Ps. 85:7}.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days {Ps. 90:14}.

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me {Ps. 94:18}.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind {Ps. 107:8}.

Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love {Ps. 109:26}.

May your unfailing love come to me, Lord, your salvation, according to your promise {Ps.119:41}.

May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant {Ps. 119:76}.

In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth {Ps. 119:88}.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption {Ps. 130:7}.

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame {Ps. 138:2}.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life {Ps. 143:8}.

In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant {Ps.  143:12}.

The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love {Ps. 147:11}.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you {Is. 54:10}.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness {Jer. 31:3}.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love {Lam. 3:32}.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Advent Journal Day XXIV: A Sonnet

The Story of Love: Displayed In A Manger.

On day six I created man, formed him in My Image
I breathed into him My Living Breath of heaven
In perfect koinonia we lived in Peace and Love
Then the Deceiver came; koinonia broken; Garden breached

My Love for humanity, My fallen ones, was not swayed
Judgment came to all that day, yet My Love displayed
In a Promise the heel is bruised yet He will crush the head
Through his seed redemption shall come; blessing for all the earth 
Redemption ordained before the world began; My Love eternal
A shoot from the stem of Jesse, a branch from his roots bearing fruit 
A star from Jacob, scepter from Israel, governor in Judah, pre-existing One
Majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, and working wonders

The Greatest Gift, humility and Love, displayed in a manger;
Holy Cradle, God Incarnate, Love Divine, A Child born, a Son given
Immanuel God with us, The LORD your God tabernacled among you
 Son of God, Son of Man, God in the flesh; Wonderful and Mighty

The Love of The Eternal Father manifest in His Son, His Throne is forever
Filled with the zeal of the Lord, from swaddling cloth to Crimson cloak
His Love provided the Ram for a dark and dying world, propitiation made
—Garden restored.

© Piper Green, 2016

To read the entire Advent Journal click here:
Advent Journal: A Theology of Thanksgiving