Jesus is the Reason

When the Judean shepherds were out in the field feeding their flocks by night, they met angels who told them about baby Jesus’ birth. Out of all of the people on the earth at the time, the announcement was first made known to them—the lowliest of society’s outcasts.

Born to be King of Kings, our Lord and Savior’s earthly birth began in a lowly stable; his bed, a manger—an animal’s feeding trough. The Lord of all creation, who became our Immanuel (God with us), came to rest among the animals because there was no room for him in the inn.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’” (Luke 2:10-12).

It’s unfathomable how much love it took to go from Heaven to earth and become flesh for no other reason than to fulfill his father’s will and die for mankind to live.

The mystery that is God incarnate and everything about his story is above and beyond our finite comprehension, though we believe. It’s a mystery even the angels desire to look into (1 Peter 1:12). He always was and always will be; however, God stepped from infinity into time to please his Father. Our father’s love could not be kept in Heaven; his love is too large.

By his love, he sent his son to earth to seek and save those who were lost. By Jesus’ very birthplace, it shows just how meek and lowly he is, and there is no one too despised or rejected that he will not bring into his fold.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).


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We are what we eat

In the Sermon on the Mount, found in chapter five of the book of Matthew, the Lord gave eight beatitudes, or blessings, to the people. In verse six we find, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

What do you hunger for? As believers, we know that riches, honors, and the pleasures of this world amount to little when it comes to God’s kingdom or even our own true joy. For the momentary pleasure these things may lend, the happiness factor doesn’t really satisfy for very long. The new car “smell” is only for a short time. Vacations come to an end. Even food and water can carry us only so long before we need to replenish ourselves.

In speaking of God, St. Augustine once said, “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”

The universal traits of the human heart include the desire to seek out something to fill our restlessness. Unfortunately, many of us, even after being saved, can look for this completion in the wrong places. What we’re searching for is only found in Christ. That is where we are fully whole, established, complete, and satisfied.

While some may wish to find their own righteousness in what they do, say, or stand for. True righteousness, the one that fulfills and sustains, is only imputed spiritually through the bestowment of the Lord. Self-righteousness, piety, and one-foot-in-the-world mentality will not be blessed by the Lord, and those who seek these things still remain starved and wanting.

In the words of John Piper: “If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

We truly are what we eat.

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Exalt much?

King David came a long way before writing some of his psalms, particularly Psalm 34. Through his exploits in battle, some became jealous of his exalted name among the people, namely King Saul, which led to David’s fleeing to Gath out of fear. He attempted to live there without revealing his identify but was soon discovered. When King Achish learned of David’s identity and reputation as a soldier, he seized him. While under house arrest, David began to dwell upon his situation. Realizing the danger he was in, he made a pretense of being insane to obtain release.

David looked back upon these events and came to understand that he acted out of fear of man and not out of fear of God. He was humbled before God and wrote Psalm 34 to praise him for deliverance in spite of his deception and sin and also to teach the principles pertaining to the “fear of the Lord” which David learned through his painful experience. David acknowledges he should have trusted in YHWH (the Lord).

Now he promises to persistently praise his God. His praise, even though it stemmed from a specific life event, is ongoing. David is committed to praising God at every opportunity and at every turn. Just as we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), David promises to praise without ceasing.

At all times, in every situation, under every circumstance, before, during, and after trials, as well as in the blissful days of utter joy, to bless the Lord is never out of season. His praise should continually be in our mouths. What a blessed state to have our mouths full of God’s praise.

Put on the new self(ie)

How are you dwelling these days? For some, the word “dwell” may be misunderstood. Dwelling in the Lord and his word is far different from just reading or being acquainted with it. One may have a scripture verse dear to their heart and read it often or may even have it memorized. Dwelling in the Lord in the life of a believer constitutes living out the verse as though its very essence has inhabited the thoughts, will, and actions of the hearer.

In chapter three of the book of Ephesians, Paul talks about the behaviors a Christian ought to practice: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness.  In verses 16, he adds dwelling in the Lord’s word. He stresses the teachings of Jesus should live within the believer powerfully.

 In applying the meaning of the verse to one’s everyday life, we all need to grow in Christ and we often need guidance and admonishing along the way. His word in David’s psalms speaks clearly to the lesson plan in our school of learning about Christ.

 With regard to spiritual songs, Paul never spoke of a preference to any one type of music over another. His purpose here is to state that all types of music are to be used to let the word of Christ dwell richly within us, and the singing is to be done with an attitude of thanksgiving rather than focusing on ourselves or our own desires.

 Similarly, in Ephesians 5:19, he says it again, “…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.”

 May we all through God’s grace dwell in the Lord richly, and may our hearts always be tuned to God’s praise as we “put on” Christ every day.







God’s Portrait

God’s Portrait

 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”


He weaves a new dawn each day

from the shadows of night

while the sun bears a golden wand

to dispell the darkness.

In measured time, He unravels the buds,

polished finer than silver to sprout His light

on retreating winter’s frost.

His glory spreads everywhere:

in the song of sparrows…

a blue moutain’s arc…

the setting sun…

The rocks and hills declare His name.

Each moment, His glory enrobes the landscape

in quilts of love—the tapestry is endless

as the grains of sand.