1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, December 25, 2011


In today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" the Word of God will speak for itself:


Yet a ruler…will come.
And He will stand to lead His flock with the LORD'S strength, in the majesty of the name of His God.
He will be highly honored around the world.
And He will be the source of peace.
(From Micah 5)

For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on His shoulders.
And He will be called:
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace will never end.
(From Isaiah 9)


The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means "God is with us."
(From Matthew 1)

"Don't be afraid, Mary…for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And He will reign…forever; His Kingdom will never end!"
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She gave birth to her first child, a son.

Glory to God in highest heaven,
And peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
(From Luke 1 and 2)

So the Word became human and made His home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.
And we have seen His glory.
(From John 1)


Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.
And He will send out his angels to gather His chosen ones from all over the world – from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
(From Mark 13)

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.
Then we will be with the Lord forever.
(From 1 Thessalonians 4)

I am coming soon.
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.
(From Revelation 3)

Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(From Revelation 22)


Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!
And He who sits on the throne will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty.
For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
(From Revelation 7)

Praise the name of the Lord!
Praise Him, you who serve the Lord.
Praise the Lord, for He is good.
Your name, O Lord, endures forever!
(From Psalm 135)

AMEN! Come, Lord Jesus!

May the wonder of a starlit night,
The power of our Savior's might,
The glories of His merciful love,
Bring blessings to you from above.

Wishing each of you and yours a very Merry CHRISTmas!

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DANIEL - End of Story

Jesus, the Savior is born.

Though the world did not know it, a new world order had begun. A brand new King had come to usher in God's Kingdom.

Nothing would ever be the same again.

In many ways, this was the beginning of life.

Yes, God created the heavens and the earth, and everything in it. That was the beginning beginning. The very first spark of life. The generation of all that is.

But the word *beginning* goes beyond that.

I love these words – commencement, opening, launch, foundation, establishment, inauguration.

Baby Jesus – the Beginning of Life.

But how does the story end?

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is found in Daniel, and it prophesies the ending:

"I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge.
His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool.
He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence.
Millions of angels ministered to him; many millions stood to attend him.
Then the court began its session, and the books were opened." (Daniel 7:9-10)

The first thing that occurred to me as I read this passage was the vision of all the angels. Those are the very same angels who watched with bated breath as Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was born into humanity.

Can you even imagine the hush that fell over the heavens at that moment?

Especially Gabriel.

The one who had been given the privilege of telling Mary about the secret plan of God.

I'm sure he hovered close by during the entire pregnancy, during the long trip to Bethlehem, during Mary's labor, and during the actual birth. Did he breathe a sigh of relief when Jesus was delivered safely?

And then, did his eyes grow as big as saucers as he looked at the miracle of God Incarnate – a baby with his Master’s eyes?


And yet, it was the moment that the angels were given their marching orders. War had begun on a level never before seen. The enemy was very, very angry. Spiritual conflict took on new meaning. I can see Gabriel turn to the angelic host and cry out, "Brethren, to arms!"

We who believe in the Savior – including the ones that came before us, and the ones who will follow us – have joined them in the fight.

We fight until the day when Daniel's vision comes true.

And it will come true – God has promised.

There is a court date on the calendar for every person, every nation, every authority in heaven and on earth. At the end of all time, there will be judgment.

"Then the court began its session…"

Can you imagine the hush that will fall over the heavens at this moment?

"…and the books were opened."

I'll bet not even a pin dropping would make a noise.

The end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end commences.

Daniel continues, "I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal – it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14)

(I just have to interject a holy WOO HOO here! OK, I feel better now…)

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is like the period at the end of a sentence. A sentence that began this way, "She gave birth to her first child, a son" (Luke 2:7) – and ends with these words, "And the books were opened, including the Book of Life…Nothing evil will be allowed to enter…but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life." (Revelation 20:12; 21:27)

Yes, the beginning of the story began with a hush – and yet, in a nondescript manger war was declared.

But, one day the story will end – and the Son of God will reign.

I can only imagine the thunderous sound of saved souls and the heavenly host joined together in praise, worship, celebration, triumph…



What does the birth of Jesus mean to you – both now and in the future?

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1 KINGS - In the Middle of the Night

It's dark.

It's 2:00 AM.

I can't sleep.

There are so many thoughts, so many feelings, reeling around in my head right now.

I'm scared – I feel alone.

Oh Lord, I need to feel Your presence. I need Your peace. I need to rest. Please speak to me.

This is how I felt one night last week. Every now and then, I get a night of insomnia. Sometimes I fall asleep OK, but then I wake up later and can't get back to sleep. But, more often than not, I just can't fall asleep in the first place. I can't shut off the turmoil in my mind. I can't calm my nerves, and worries assault me.

I get panicky as I see the minutes, and then the hours, crawl by. It's so easy to feel vulnerable and small at these times.

So, I did an *emergency* "Bible Pick 'Ems."

I opened my Bible, and found myself in the beginning of 1 Kings 5 (my "Bible Pick 'Ems"policy is to read only the two pages I have turned to, by the way). So, I'm thinking to myself: "OK, Lord, I trust that You have something here for me. But I'm in 1 Kings, Lord. I think You've got your work cut out for you!"

And sure enough, as I started reading, there was a listing of the governors who served under Solomon, and a geographical account of his kingdom's boundaries. Oh, and a rousing shopping list of the daily food requirements for the palace. And a rather glowing report of all of Solomon's great accomplishments.

So, NOW I'm thinking to myself, "OK, Lord, this isn't really helping me much here."

He said, "Keep reading."

And then, all of a sudden, there it was. JUST what I needed to hear:

"But now the LORD my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well." (1 Kings 5:4)

I cried.

Yes, if you want to be technical, Solomon relayed these words in a message to King Hiram of Tyre. It was Solomon's way of letting Hiram know that his father, David's, work of war and conquest was finished. David had been unable to build "until the LORD gave him victory over all his enemies" (verse 3). Solomon is telling Hiram that there is peace in the land – and now it's time to get started on a certain little Temple-building project!

That is the context of today's verse – and I am not diminishing the very real necessity of reading Scripture in context. The Word of God should not be twisted or misconstruedjust because we want to fit a square peg into a round hole that suits us better.

However, it is the WORD of God.

And I fully believe that God can use it to speak to a very real need at a very certain time.And, at 2:00 in the morning, this verse washed over me like a lullaby. I was overcome by the faithfulness and mercy of Goda Father who would lead me to those completely calming words – right smack dab in the middle of 1 Kings.

Instantly soothed, I began to think about them.

Word by word, here's how it spoke to my very weary heart:

BUT – (in spite of the thoughts and feelings reeling around in my head, God had something ELSE to say to me)

NOW – (not tomorrow, but NOW, at 2:00 AM)

THE LORD MY GOD – (the One and Only LORD, who is MY God)

HAS GIVEN ME PEACE – (serenity, calm, stillness, quiet, tranquility)

ON EVERY SIDE – (peace with Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, and peace in every circumstance through the power of His Holy Spirit)

I HAVE NO ENEMIES – (if God is for me, who can ever be against me?)

AND ALL IS WELL – (God is still on His throne, He is still in control – now, and for eternity, it is well with my soul)

Yes, the perfect words, at just the perfect time.

I turned over and fell quickly asleep – for I rested in the shadow of His wings.

He is so good to me.

How I love Him…

"I lay down and slept…for the LORD was watching over me." (Psalms 3:5)

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." (Psalms 4:8)

"…the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he…never slumbers or sleeps. The LORD himself watches over you!" (Psalms 121:3-5)

How has the Lord spoken to you with just the right words, at just the right time?

(I'm linked today with Charlotte over at Spiritual Sundays. C'mon over!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

JOHN - Jesus Speaks

Sometimes "Bible Pick 'Ems" lands me right in the middle of an unfolding scene.

Today, I found myself sandwiched right in between Jesus' arrest and His crucifixion. Our poor Lord, being beaten and taunted – shuffled around to various "authorities" to decide His fate.

Didn't they know? – (rhetorical question…)

His death was a plan put in place before the world began.

But as I looked at the two pages that I turned to in my Bible, what jumped out to me was all the little red letters.

Jesus talking.

So, I put all of them together. Here's what our Savior, on the eve of His crucifixion, had to say to His accusers:

"Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.

If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I'm speaking the truth, why are you beating me?

Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?

My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.

You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.

You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin."
(From John 18 & 19)


I am made speechless by the Lord's words.

First of all, as an English major, I am impressed at their cohesiveness. Because, you see, these words were not said at the same time or the same place.

Some were said in front of the high priest, some were said before Pilate (at two different times) – and there was a lot of shuttling around in between.

So, I am amazed at how the Lord's words sound like one paragraph, spoken at one time. He absolutely knew what He was saying at any given moment.

Second of all, I believe those words could be said this very day to any person alive. Those words still have the same impact, the same power, the same authority they did almost 2,000 years ago!

Why? Because they speak truth.

Third, I love that Jesus says He spoke "where the people gather." Yes, His message is meant for the people. Jesus sought out the places where the people were. He met them on their own turf – and gave them His Truth. We ought to do the same. Jesus said,"You want to know about Me? Ask those who heard Me."

Friends, that would be us – we are the ones who have heard.

Fourth, though we can't read the tone of Jesus' voice, sometimes I think I can hear it. So, when He says to Pilate, "Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?" – I think it's more than just a quest for information. There's some irony in there.

I think Jesus is implying that Pilate had already heard His message – perhaps He is implying that Pilate was interested.

"Are you asking your own questions, Pilate? Or have you heard about me from others and you're interested? Hmmm??"

Pilate’s retort sounds defensive to me: "Am I a Jew?"

Jesus always causes a reaction, doesn't He? And it's curious to me how often He makes people defensive and angry, testy and argumentative. Few people are apathetic about His Name.

The rest of Jesus' words hold such power.

My kingdom is not earthly – it is not of this world.
If it was, the world would want to save Me.
The reason I was born? To testify to the Truth.
And those who recognize truth – Absolute Truth – outside of their own logic and understanding?
Those are the ones who will recognize Me.

And the closing words of Jesus are words that are spoken to every ruler or authority on this earth and in the heavenly realms – you have NO POWER over Me.

So, as we approach the coming celebration of the birth of Jesus, I am captivated by what we learn about Him at the approach of His death.

He didn't come into the world as a king – but as a King.

And He was born to die…for us.

Have you ever just gone through the New Testament and read only the red letters?

Take some time and let Him speak to your heart through His words – only His words – in the Word!

(I'm linked today with Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays and Peggy at Soaking On SONday!)

"When in doubt, search God out!"