Monthly Archives: December 2010

Under The Shadow Of Thy Wings

Recently, we flew to New England for the holidays. After all the hustle bustle of the week, sitting way up miles above the earth flying seemingly suspended and motionless, it was like somebody had pressed the mute button on the clatter of the holidays. Flying is something I enjoy. Amazingly you can fly through the skies (in this case the friendly skies) with a pilot that puts it all in motion and a fuselage that protects one from the elements and balances the pressure so we don’t explode as we climb into areas of thin air.  The pilot gets direction and instruction from the airport tower ( I like to listen to the pilot channel on the head phones during flight to hear the conversation back and forth between the pilot and the tower). It is really a great analogy on God’s provision for us in providing His son the pilot and indwelling spirt of God. Not that the inside of the plane is exactly like the throne room of God ( many people would definitely disagree) but it offers a relatable analogy.

It really was through God’s provision of His son that we can claim the wings of God.

In Acts 3 Peter explained it to the Judeans what was  newly available from God from the day of Pentecost.

Acts 3:19 (Amplified Bible) So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord;

The same thing is true for us today.  When we acknowledge the final sacrifice for sins in Jesus Christ and that the victory of that sacrifice emerged as  he rose from the dead, we are ushered into the times of refreshing in the presence of a very loving God that we love to turn to. Like the psalmist said in Psalm 36:7:

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.


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OK! It’s Crunch Time! Joy, Joy, Joy!

Don’t worry, be happy! Our culture has concocted all this hoopla! The fresh smell of pine and chestnuts roasting on the fire have become symbols of the good life! Yet this is the time of the year you see people who are tired, stressed and maybe a tad bit isolated. Even gift-giving frenzy has moved to a new level. We get daily reports of how the sales are going and influencing the economy. If you haven’t found the right gift or have to spend a lot of money to get it right, stop! Think about it!

I have talked to several wonderful people this week about “purpose” in life and what it is. It is a funny thing these same people are some of the most purposeful people I know. They have so blessed my life in so many ways and they will continue to do so forever. I am surrounded by some of the most enjoyable people and family to be around. They all love God, they don’t limit Him; they think outside the box. They just know the moment to call, or post a link on Facebook or throw a snowball on Farmville! They invite me to Starbucks, shopping or quote Kenyon to me. They send notes about what  friendship means. They listen to me when I am excited about something and add their own excitement. They help me figure out plans for the holidays. They tell  the truth and love in the best way possible. These are the greatest gifts.

Ok,  Jesus Christ was actually born on September 11, 3 BC. It was in December the magi visited. Those are true points. What he brought was his purpose in life and is the most important point to get. He said it himself:

John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

We can abundantly live blessing others in the most significant ways, just being who God called us to be and not being afraid that we are doing something wrong.  In Micah 6:6-8, God says:

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Now that is purpose!

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Who are Those Guys?

Who were the wisemen? It was the the magi who figured out exactly where to find the child, Jesus.  How did they know who he was, when the political and religious leaders of the day didn’t realize who he was? It is interesting that these men who were ‘Gentiles’ saw a pattern in the stars and saw  significant events involving the planet Jupiter and knew to follow it’s path to Judea. They were astronomers. Astronomy can be a precise science when it pertains to the motions of the planets and position of the stars in relation to the earth night time sky.

Magi were advisors to the oriental kings. They carried tremendous power and influence in there own kingdoms, that often they were influential in the designation of a king. We can read about them during the time of Daniel when certain ones of Judea were carried away captive to Babylon and became part of the Persian court where the magi served. Daniel exhibited tremendous spiritual insight as he listened to God and spoke for Him among these people. The king respected and gave glory to the God of Daniel and made him president over the magi. Daniel would have taught them the Word concerning a coming Messiah. Daniel had a huge impact on these men as they watched him believe God in some very severe challenges.

Several years ago, I taught Astronomy at the local high school and the deeper I got into studying the stars and planet motions I knew there was no accidental design involved in their display. It is  a truly humbling experience. I imagine those magi saw and understood the same thing and their conversations with Daniel must have been exceedingly rich.

On one occasion at an Astronomy teacher’s conference, someone asked about the Bethlehem star. At that moment we were looking at a computer program that could come up with the exact replica of the night time sky, once you programmed in latitude, longitude and a range of dates. So I told the computer operator to type in August/September  3BC over Bethlehem and up came a representation of the sky  around the time of Jesus Christ’s birth.  The sky spoke for itself. There had been a couple of beautiful conjunctions involving the constellation Leo (the king constellation) and Regulus (king star in the constellation located between the feet of Leo the lion) and the planet Jupiter (the king planet). It was beautifully represented!

It is also beautifully spoken of in the Word in Genesis 49:9-10

Genesis 49:9-10 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 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.

God is the designer of the universe. In Psalm 147:4, the psalmist says:

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

Who were the magi? They not only journeyed to see him, they also provided wonderful gifts to support the new king. I’d say they were very humble, respectful men of action.

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Organic Wisdom

To be labeled organic, food must be certified. In order to be certified, standards must be met. No synthetic substances, genetically altered or radiation-treated substances will pass the tests. Even the seeds from which a crop is planted have to pass standards. The Word of God is like organic food to our minds. 

In Philippians 4:8 God tells us how to wholesomely nourish our minds:

8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true (God’s Word is true), whatsoever things are honest (respectful), whatsoever things are just (God is right), whatsoever things are pure (uncontaminated), whatsoever things are lovely(dear to one), whatsoever things are of good report (well-written); if there be any virtue (spiritual excellence), and if there be any praise (applause), think on these things.

When we are free of the pollutants and contamination of the world, we can live Philippians 4:6-7:

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Unity of The Spirit

When Jesus was alive he said  “I and my Father are one” and then later prayed in John 17: 20-21;

Neither pray I for these [apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Paul later taught in regards to the unity of the spirit of God:

Ephesians 3:4-6There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

In the first century, life was physically very different from the life we know today. Yet the major happening on the day of Pentecost right after the ascension of Jesus Christ brought the unity of the spirit of God into the lives of willing people. Peter was the first to speak about what had happened. He did not have the whole picture yet but what God showed him he shared. The people had gathered from all across the known world at that time to celebrate one of three yearly feasts.  Jerusalem had a huge population at this time of the year. Many of the people who responded to Peter’s magnificent sermon drastically changed their lives.

Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear [respect] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Our culture is different today, but the unity of the spirit is the same. We don’t travel to the temple in Jerusalem to the feasts. We now have a written record of the apostle’s doctrine. We have the seven church epistles by Paul explaining the gift of holy spirit and what we are to think and do about it. We too can praise God and share in God’s grace in one  with the thinking of the first century church!

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Where is Your Ephesus?

Last spring I brought home from Wisconsin a flat of Impatiens to plant in two pots for our patio. I planted them and since they like shade, we moved them to the front porch. It is a tighter space so the two pots were side by side. As time passed I noticed that one pot was completely green – no flowers! The other pot was over-flowing with flowers. So I separated them and within days the flowerless pot produced flowers! H-m-m-…

In I Thessalonians 4:11-12 there is great practical application of the Word for each of us individually as we grow:

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Paul writes about this practical walk that just doesn’t apply to us physically but spiritually as well. He lists three things to do and two explanations of the purpose of doing those things:

1. Study to learn by exerting oneself from a love of self (self-honor) to be at rest or at ease within oneself.

2. Do your own business (personal affairs) in a continuous  and on-going process. Romans 12:11

3. Work with your own hands. Colossians 3:23, II Timothy 2:6

4. That you may walk honestly toward them that are without. Walk as it becomes one who has the fullness of the spirit in him.

5. That you have need of not one thing!

God has made us complete spiritually. It is God that causes us to bloom as we bask in his sonlight individually and rely on him . As we do this we have so much to give others.

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