Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” John 8:36 NASB
We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.” Samuel Adams
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” John Adams
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight'
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? 
On the shore dimly seen, thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner: oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The Declaration of Independence

The National Anthem

Happy Independence Day! 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Why do you weep? He is not here! He is risen!

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 
So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb.  The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.  So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.  And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).  Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Garden Tomb: Jerusalem 1992

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Wonder of God's Word: The Prophecies of Christ’s Death

The Bible contains a plethora of prophecies over hundreds of years concerning the Messiah. These prophecies were fulfilled completely in the thirty-year precious life span of  Jesus of Nazareth; many being fulfilled in one day. These prophecies truly accomplish the purpose of the Lord for the earth and mankind. These prophecies carefully pointed to the person, words, and works of Christ.

The following Old Testament prophecies deal with events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ including His betrayal, trial, death and burial. They were uttered by many different prophets over a period of 500 years, yet they were all fulfilled within twenty-four hours on the day that He died for the sins of the world (

Prophecies Relating to Christ’s Crucifixion


And I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages {Zechariah 11:12}.

Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver {Matthew 26:14-15}.


For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend. 14 We who had sweet fellowship together, Walked in the house of God in the throng {Psalm 55:12-14 See also Psalm 41:9Zechariah 13:6}.

Fulfillment:  And immediately he went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him {Matthew 26:49-50}.


Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD { Zechariah 11:13}.

And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers {Matthew 27:5-7}.


“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones” {Zechariah 13:7}.

“But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled {Matthew 26:56; See also Mark 14:27}.


Malicious witnesses rise up; They ask me of things that I do not know {Psalm 35:11}.

Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; and they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward {Matthew 26:59-60}.


I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting {Isaiah 50:6}.

And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head {Matthew 27:30}.


 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth {Isaiah 53:7}.

And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed{Matthew 27:12-14 }.


But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed {Isaiah 53:5 }.

Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified. . . . And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” {Matthew 27:26, 29}.


My knees are weak from fasting; And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness {Psalm 109:24}.

They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha {John 19:17}. 

And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus {Luke 23:26}.


For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet {Psalm 22:16}.

And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left {Luke 23:33}.


 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors {Isaiah 53:12}.

And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. (And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”) {Mark 15:27-28}


Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors {Isaiah 53:12}.

But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves {Luke 23:34}.

I also have become a reproach to them; When they see me, they wag their head {Psalm 109:25}.

And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads {Matthew 27:39}.


 “Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him” {Psalm 22:8}

 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying,  “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. “He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God’” {Matthew 27:41-43}.


 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me {Psalm 22:17}

 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One” {Luke 23:35}.


 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots {Psalm 22:18}.

The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 They said therefore to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” {John 19:23-24}.


For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning {Psalm 22:1}.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “that is, “ My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” {Matthew 27:46}.


They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink {Psalm 69:21 }.

 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth {John 19:28-29}.


 Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth {Psalm 31:5}.

And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last {Luke 23:46}.


 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off {Psalm 38:11}.

And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things {Luke 23:49}.


He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken {Psalm 34:20}.

But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; . . For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken {John 19:33, 36}.


 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me {Psalm 22:14}.

 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water {John 19:34}.


 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born {Zechariah 12:10}.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken. “And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced” {John 19:34-37}.


 “And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I shall make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight {Amos 8:9}.

 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour {Matthew 27:45}.


His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth {Isaiah 53:9}.

And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away {Matthew 27:57-60 }.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Attributes Of God: His Transcendence and Immanence

What is it like for God’s holy transcendence to appear on this unholy planet? [1]

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares 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, NASB).

I have written before, that I love creation. I love witnessing the character and attributes of God displayed in creation. I love the beauty of creation waking up out of the winter, into the arms of spring.

Though I love creation, I love the Creator, who transcends it all. He is wonderful and beautiful. He is magnificent and glorious; He is the incomprehensible Creator who exists outside of space and time. Transcend means to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed. The Lord {El Shaddai} created the mountains, the oceans; He created the stars and named each one. Everything seen and unseen are the work of His hand. God did not have to create anything, He chose to do so as a sovereign act; nothing outside of Himself caused Him to do so. Eph. 1:11 declares that God works all things after the counsel of His will. The Lord is unique; He is the only transcendent Being. He is above and distinct from all He has made.  Ephesians 4: 6 declares that there is one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Psalm 97:9 says, For You are the Lord Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods {cf. 108:5}. All things are upheld by His mighty power {Heb. 1:3}, yet He is upheld by Himself alone. The whole universe exists in Him and for Him that He may receive glory, honor, and praise.

God’s transcendence is illustrated for us through the Word by His holiness and righteousness; revealed to us in Jesus Christ. How can a holy God, who transcends all that He created, be present with such a lost and broken planet, filled with lost and broken people? Closely tied to His transcendence is His immanence (nearness). It is in His immanence that God chooses to draw near to His creation and to sustain it through the Son:

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 {Col. 1:15-17 NASB}.

Jesus Christ tore the veil {Heb. 10:20; Eph. 2:14} of separation to draw all mankind into a close, personal relationship with Him. He who transcends His creation, in His love chose to not only draw near, but to dwell with His creation, in Christ, the Word made flesh {Jn. 1: 1-5, 14-18}, to break the bonds of sin, and to live in our hearts and minds through the indwelling power of His Holy Spirit.

God’s transcendence is vital to our lives. He is bigger than any problem or trial that we face. How can we not trust Him? He holds the universe together. He is powerful and mighty enough to create and hold all things together, He is powerful and mighty enough to hold you and me together through every trial.  We experience His mighty power when we trust in Him, and when we worship Him with our whole heart; acknowledging His greatness, power, and magnificence. We experience His immanence when we draw near to Him, through Christ and His Spirit dwelling in our hearts. James encourages us to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us {4:8}, and Peter encourages us to cast all our cares on Him {1 Pet. 5:7}, because He cares for us! This great, big, transcendent Creator of the universe cares about you and loves you—so much that He came to dwell with you, and take care of you.

The Disciples who walked the earth with Jesus, broke bread with Him, were His closest companions, witnessed His transcendence and immanence. They are with Him to feed the five-thousand {Matt. 14:13-21} or to heal a woman bound by Satan for eighteen-years {Luke 13:15-17}; He washed their feet {John 13:1-17}. They see Him in His immanence, drawing near to care for all mankind, to give hope to the hopeless and to release the captives {cf. Is. 61:1-3 ; Lk. 4: 17-19}. He displayed His transcendence and divine power when He transfigured before them, drawing them to their knees in awe and wonder {Matthew 17}.  He is their Rabbi and friend, but He is also the Lord Almighty, all-powerful and glorious.

We, too, can experience both God’s immanence and transcendence through our relationship with Jesus, and in our prayers and worship. We must worship Him, acknowledging His transcendence, that He is the One True God, all-mighty, and all-powerful, who created and holds together the universe, and His immanence by approaching the Throne of Grace {Heb. 4:16}, to receive the grace we need, and cast our cares on Him{1 Pet. 5:7}, because though He is the transcendent God, in His immanence He truly cares for you.

 [1] D. Brent Sandy, Plowshares And Pruning Hooks (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2002), 77.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sabbath Sanctuary: The Scent Of Water And A Resurrection Plant

For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant {Job 14: 7-9 NASB}.

The desert. This blistering, thirsty land is used often as a metaphor to describe a spiritual season, one in which we find ourselves parched and seeking for God when He seems silent; brass heavens. The Psalmist illustrates this quite poetically:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? {Ps. 42:1-2 NASB}. 

I recently saw the pages of Scripture come alive in God’s beautiful and glorious creation. I love when the Lord through His creation, illustrates spiritual truths. I was watching Planet Earth: Africa and watched in amazement, as the narrator described plant life in the Sahara Desert. There is a ball of weed, severely dried out and at all appearances seems dead. It is similar to tumbleweed, but its branches are much thicker and more brittle. This weed is tossed about in the wind, but it takes strong winds to blow it across the dry desert sands.

This weed, though it looks dried-out and dead, when it finds just a small puddle of water, hard to find in the Sahara, it roots itself in the puddle. Once this weed finds a small patch of water, what once seemed dead, comes to life and unfurls. This alone is a miracle, but it needs one more. It waits for the rain, but the rain must come before it dries out again. The rain pours down on its dead, dry branches, and as the rain falls, it knocks the seeds off this dry bushel and within hours, fresh, new, green shoots emerge and break through the sand. This amazing plant within weeks of sprouting, flower and develop their own seeds. The hot sun beats down and dries them out and the cycle begins again. This plant is not a weed after all; it is a resurrection plant. These plants, while in their dried-out stage, can blow around in the Sahara for as long as one-hundred years, yet when the wind and rain come, it resurrects to spread its seed through the desert.

Do you have dreams that seem to have died? Do you feel dead and dry spiritually? Jesus can resurrect everything that seems dead; all your hopes and dreams. Your purpose and calling are not dead; at the very scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs{v.9}, like this resurrection plant in the Sahara Desert.  Rest this Sabbath weekend in the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life {Jn. 14:6 NASB}, He is resurrection life.

Below is a video of this miraculous plant. As you watch, let it speak to you, let God speak to you and bring back to life those things that seem dead. Rest and believe that they will sprout forth again at the scent of the Living Water of Jesus. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Wonder of God's Word Part V: Christ Revealed~ His Righteousness

The last time I wrote concerning Christ revealed in Scripture, was a few years ago; longer than I care to admit. The season of Lent has moved me to contemplate Christ and all that He has done for me. Not only in my life, but for my life, through His sacrificial death and resurrection. Placing pen to page, I attempt to show you the Beautiful and Glorious Christ. 

I wrote before concerning the prophecies in Scripture of His birth, and in the last post in that series, I penned what the Lord prophesied through His Word concerning Christ’s Character; how will a broken, unrighteous, sinful world know that the One who came, and made extravagant claims concerning Himself, is the Messiah. That is where I will pick up again.

I left off with the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s holiness. Jesus, the Messiah, is the second Person of the Godhead; He did not “begin” at Bethlehem’s manager. Jesus is the pre-existent second Person of the Godhead, and was with God in the beginning; “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am’” {see Jn. 8:58 NASB}.  He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the beginning, and was an active agent in creation. He brought with Him the attribute of pre-existent holiness. I turn now turn to His righteousness.

Righteousness. We all seek to live right before the Lord, but so often we fail. The only way that we can be righteous is through Christ’s shed blood. Righteousness means being ‘right’ or ‘just’ in all things. The pre-existent One is Righteous, because He is God. The act of making us righteous is justification. Scripture uses righteousness as judged by the standard of God’s holy law, by which God reveals to us His character, and is illustrated through the Decalogue {Ten Commandments} {see Ex. 20:1-17}. [1] 
God the Father is righteous (just); Jesus Christ the Son is the Righteous (Just) One; the Father through the Son and in the Spirit, gives the gift of righteousness (justice) to those sinners who repent. When we repent, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness {see 1 Jn. 1:9}. We are made righteous through the Holy Spirit working in us.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the  Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities {Isaiah 53:11 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord {Is. 54:17 KJV}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions {Heb. 1:8-9 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus {Rom. 3: 25-26 NASB}. {Author’s Emphasis}

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him {1 Jn. 2:29}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous {1 Jn. 3:7}. {Author’s Emphasis}

Jesus is just and righteous in all His ways. His life was a witness to His righteousness. He was obedient to the Father, He never deceived anyone, and His life and ministry was perfect before the Father. Because of His sinless life, He was qualified to be our righteousness. Therefore, He is the Righteous One. 

[1] Herbert Lockyer, All The Messianic Prophecies Of The Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 87. 

To read all the posts in this series click here: Who Is This Jesus?