Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Passing of Time and God's Promises (click here)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Psalm 71:15

I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
though I am not skilled with words Psalm 71:15 NLT

My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all. Psalm 71:15 NIV


Consider this classic hymn in the light of Psalm 71:15 - the lyrics are below the video.

1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 
 tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
 streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
 call for songs of loudest praise. 
 Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
 sung by flaming tongues above. 
 Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
 mount of thy redeeming love. 

2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer; 
 hither by thy help I'm come; 
 and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
 safely to arrive at home. 
 Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
 wandering from the fold of God; 
 he, to rescue me from danger, 
 interposed his precious blood. 

3. O to grace how great a debtor 
 daily I'm constrained to be! 
 Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
 bind my wandering heart to thee. 
 Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
 prone to leave the God I love; 
 here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
 seal it for thy courts above. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I think about the future - the future of the Western culture, the Western church, the church I attend, America, my family and my personal future. Do you do that? If you do you might enjoy reading my ruminations on the subject. click here

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Watchword for December 11th, 2011

"My future is in your hands." Psalm 31:15 NLT
"My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15 NIV

My times are in your hand;
my God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul,
I leave entirely to your care.

My times are in Thy hands
Whatever they may be.
Pleasing, painful, dark or bright,
As best as seems to Thee.

My times are in Thy hands
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.

My times are in Thy hands
I’ll always trust in Thee.
And, after death, at Thy right hand
my time shall ever be!


“Lord, be pleased to impart unto me, your unworthy servant, this spirit of confidence in You. May I see Your hand in all the events of life—ordering the the minor, as well as in the greater movements of Your Providence. This watching and waiting for the manifestations of Your guardian care—will fill me with thankfulness for all my mercies, and make me patient under all my trials.” (a Puritan prayer)

Charles Spurgeon puts it this way, “The sovereign arbiter of destiny holds in his own power all the issues of our life; we are not waifs and strays upon the ocean of fate, but are steered by infinite wisdom towards our desired haven.”

Watchword of the week December 11 thru December 17.

"Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again." I Thessalonians 5:23

God enables his people to live a holy life. Check I Thessalonians 3:11-13.
"May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.  May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest,
But like a child at home.

Isaac Watts (1719)
Hymn 730 in the Moravian Hymnal

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"...the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety..." 2 Timothy 4:17

Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

O use me, Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where,
Until Thy bless├Ęd face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.

Hymn 646 in the Moravian Hymnal

Words by: Anglican hymn writer, Frances Ridley Havergal (1872). Oh, that the Lord would grant the badly broken Anglican Church such sons and daughters in our day. Daughter of hym­nist William Havergal, Frances was a bright but short lived can­dle in Eng­lish hym­no­dy. She was bap­tized by hym­nist John Cawood. She was read­ing by age four, and be­gan writ­ing verse at age se­ven. She learned La­tin, Greek and He­brew, and mem­o­rized the Psalms, the book of Isai­ah, and most of the New Test­a­ment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.
“My rabbi” the blind man said, “I want to see!” -- Mark 10:51

People in darkness are looking for light,
come, come, come Jesus Christ;
people with blindness are longing for sight,
come, Lord Jesus Christ.
These days of adventure when all people wait
are days for the advent of love.

-- Dorsia Carlson (1986)
#266 Moravian Hymnal

If you are walking in darkness,
without a ray of light,
trust in the Lord
and rely on your God. 
--Isaiah 50:10

Watchword for the week of December 4 - Advent II

He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
--Isaiah 40:11

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Watch Word for the Week of November 20, 2011 - Ezekiel 34:16

Ezekiel 34:16
New Living Translation (NLT)

16 I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice!

The River of Life

The river of life

Water is used to symbolise many things in the Bible; cleansing, new life or healing.

Read Ezekiel Chapter 47:1-12

Here is a wonderful picture of the river of life, symbolising the spirit, life and power of God. Like all rivers, the river of life begins as a small trickle that grows into a mighty river too deep to stand in.
  • If the water represents the spirit, life and power of God, where are we standing? With our feet in the shallows? Or have we launched out into the deep water to be carried along by the power of God’s love?
The deeper we move into our relationship with God, the more the river of life will surround us and flow through us. The river of life brings blessing wherever it passes.

The sea that is mentioned here is the Dead Sea – which has a very high salt content.
  • What happens as the river of life enters the Dead Sea?
  • Do we have the same effect on our sinful communities and the world in which we live?
Now read: Read Revelation Chapter 22:1-2

This part of Revelation deals with God's provision of food and water. Compare:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. (Exodus 16:4a.)

On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts[a] for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. 23 He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”
24 So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. (Exodus 16:22-24.)

Ezekiel 47:1-12 - see above.

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4:10).

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:32-35).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christ the King

The first stanza of Ian Fraser's poem, entitled “No Place”.

No place had you to lay your head
O Christ whom we call King of Kings;
you came to share
the painful lot
of all the homeless, life’s foundlings.
You had no home to call your own
though earth’s your footstool, heaven your throne.

Isaiah 65:17-25

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth,
and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
18 Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation!
And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness.
Her people will be a source of joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and delight in my people.
And the sound of weeping and crying
will be heard in it no more.

20 “No longer will babies die when only a few days old.
No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life.
No longer will people be considered old at one hundred!
Only the cursed will die that young!
21 In those days people will live in the houses they build
and eat the fruit of their own vineyards.
22 Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses
and confiscate their vineyards.
For my people will live as long as trees,
and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains.
23 They will not work in vain,
and their children will not be doomed to misfortune.
For they are people blessed by the Lord,

and their children, too, will be blessed.
24 I will answer them before they even call to me.
While they are still talking about their needs,
I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together.
The lion will eat hay like a cow.
But the snakes will eat dust.
In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”


Passage differentiates the old order, the present order of human powers and pressures from the new order - a new creation where justice and harmony triumph - but not because of human achievement, plan, politic or "liberal" agenda.

The old order is defiled and condemned - full of weeping, death, oppression and violence - and the absence of God.

The old order is a contrast with the new order.

The new order centers on the holy, holy, holy kingship of God - see Is. 6:1-5.

Note all the times the word "will" is used in this passage.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Watchword for the Week of November 13

So teach us, O God, to count our days that we
may gain a wise heart. Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Revelation 18:21 ff.

The Finality of Babylon’s Doom
21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:
“With such violence
the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
never to be found again.
22 The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters,
will never be heard in you again.
No worker of any trade
will ever be found in you again.
The sound of a millstone
will never be heard in you again.
23 The light of a lamp
will never shine in you again.
The voice of bridegroom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
Your merchants were the world’s important people.
By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people,
of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.”

Verse 21 - the power of the boulder signifies that the power of Rome was forever thrown down. Jesus used the millstone as a symbol of judgment in Matthew 18:6.

Verses 21, 22, 23 - note the use of the word "never" or its varient - ever.

Again, Chapter 18 wishes to compare fallen Babylon with the New Jerusalem.
"...A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." John 4:23

Come, let us bown down and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker. Venite (Psalm 95).

"...Will call you The City of the Lord, Zion of the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 60:14c.


O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might
destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God
and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may
purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again
with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his
eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Revelation 17:8-11

8 "The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction."

This is about contrast - the contrast of the destruction which is to be contrasted with the destiny of the people of God in the new heaven and earth (21:1-4).

1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Note another contrast - God's people are written in the book of life - the people of the world are not. (See 13:13-17).

Note: 17:14 - The beast and the ten kings have no hope of winning a bettle with the king of kings and lord of lords.

Note: John wants to provude yet another reminder that God is in control of reality. God puts a plan into the minds of the enemy that will fulfill the Lord's divine purposes. See also, Ex. 7:3; 35:31-35; Ezra 7:27; Romans 8:18, 21.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ground of the Unity

The Lord Jesus Christ calls His Church into being so that it may serve Him on earth until He comes. The Unitas Fratrum is, therefore, aware of its being called in faith to serve humanity by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It recognizes this call to be the source of its being and the inspiration of its service. As is the source, so is the aim and end of its being based upon the will of its Lord.


With the whole of Christendom we share faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe and confess that God has revealed Himself once and for all in His Son Jesus Christ; that our Lord has redeemed us with the whole of humanity by His death and His resurrection; and that there is no salvation apart from Him. We believe that He is present with us in the Word and the Sacrament; that He directs and unites us through His Spirit and thus forms us into a Church. We hear Him summoning us to follow Him, and pray Him to use us in His service. He joins us together mutually, so that knowing ourselves to be members of His body we become willing to serve each other.

In the light of divine grace, we recognize ourselves to be a Church of sinners. We require forgiveness daily, and live only through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He redeems us from our isolation and unites us into a living Church of Jesus Christ.


The belief of the Church is effected and preserved through the testimony of Jesus Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit. This testimony calls each individual personally, and leads him/her to the recognition of sin and to the acceptance of the redemption achieved by Christ. In fellowship with Him the love of Christ becomes more and more the power of the new life, power which penetrates and shapes the entire person. As God's Spirit so effects living belief in the hearts of individuals, He grants them the privilege to share in the fruits of Christ's salvation and membership in His body.


The Triune God as revealed in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments is the only source of our life and salvation; and this I Scripture is the sole standard of the doctrine and faith of the Unitas Fratrum and therefore shapes our life.

The Unitas Fratrum recognizes the Word of the Cross as the centre of Holy Scripture and of all preaching of the Gospel and it sees its primary mission, and its reason for being, to consist in bearing witness to this joyful message. We ask our Lord for power never to stray from this.

The Unitas Fratrum takes part in the continual search for sound doctrine. In interpreting Scripture and in the communication of doctrine in the Church, we look to two millennia of ecumenical Christian tradition and the wisdom of our Moravian forebears in the faith to guide us as we pray for fuller understanding and ever clearer proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But just as the Holy Scripture does not contain any doctrinal system, so the Unitas Fratrum also has not developed any of its own because it knows that the mystery of Jesus Christ which is attested to in the Bible, cannot be comprehended completely by any human mind or expressed completely in any human statement. Also it is true that through the Holy Spirit the recognition of God's will for salvation in the Bible is revealed completely and clearly,


The Unitas Fratrum recognizes in the creeds of the Church the thankful acclaim of the Body of Christ. These creeds aid the Church in j formulating a Scriptural confession, in marking the boundary of heresies, and in exhorting believers to an obedient and fearless testimony in every age. The Unitas Fratrum maintains that all creeds formulated by the Christian Church stand in need of constant testing in the light of the Holy Scriptures. It acknowledges as such true professions of faith the early Christian witness: "Jesus Christ is Lord!" and also especially the ancient Christian creeds and the fundamental creeds of the Reformation.

(Note: In the various Provinces of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum the following creeds in particular gained special importance, because in them the main doctrines of the Christian faith find clear and simple expression:

The Apostles' Creed
The Athanasian Creed
The Nicene Creed
The Confession of the Unity of the Bohemian Brethren of 1535
The Twenty-One Articles of the unaltered Augsburg Confession
The Shorter Catechism of Martin Luther
The Synod of Berne of 1532
The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
The Theological Declaration of Barmen of 1934
The Heidelberg Catechism)


We believe in and confess the Unity of the Church given in the one Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour. He died that He might unite the scattered children of God. As the living Lord and Shepherd, He is leading His flock toward such unity.

The Unitas Fratrum espoused such unity when it took over the name of the Old Bohemian Brethren's Church, 'Unitas Fratrum' (Unity of Brethren). Nor can we ever forget the powerful unifying experience granted by the crucified and risen Lord to our forebears in Herrnhut on the occasion of the Holy Communion of August 13, 1727, in Berthelsdorf.

It is the Lord's will that Christendom should give evidence of and seek unity in Him with zeal and love. In our own midst we see how such unity has been promised us and laid upon us as a charge. We recognise that through the grace of Christ the different churches have received many gifts. It is our desire that we may learn from each other and rejoice together in the riches of the love of Christ and the manifold wisdom of God.

We confess our share in the guilt which is manifest in the severed and divided state of Christendom. By means of such divisions we ourselves hinder the message and power of the Gospel. We recognize the danger of self-righteousness and judging others without love.

Since we together with all Christendom are pilgrims on the way to meet our coming Lord, we welcome every step that brings us nearer the goal of unity in Him. He Himself invites us to communion in His supper. Through it He leads the Church toward that union which He has promised. By means of His presence in the Holy Communion He makes our unity in Him evident and certain even today.


The Church of Jesus Christ, despite all the distinctions between male and female, poor and rich and people of different ethnic origin, is one in the Lord. The Unitas Fratrum recognizes no distinction between those who are one in the Lord Jesus. We are called to testify that God in Jesus Christ brings His people out of every ethnic origin and language into one body, pardons sinners beneath the Cross and brings them together. We oppose any discrimination in our midst because of ethnic origin, sex or social standing, and we regard it as a commandment of the Lord to bear public witness to this and to demonstrate by word and deed that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.


Jesus Christ came not to be served but to serve. From this, His Church receives its mission and its power for its service, to which each of its members is called. We believe that the Lord has called us particularly to mission service among the peoples of the world. In this, and in all other forms of service both at home and abroad, to which the Lord commits us, He expects us to confess Him and witness to His love in unselfish service.


Our Lord Jesus entered into this world's misery to bear it and to overcome it. We seek to follow Him in serving His brothers and sisters. Like the love of Jesus, this service knows no bounds. Therefore we pray the Lord ever anew to point out to us the way to reach our neighbours, opening our hearts and hands to them in their need.


Jesus Christ maintains in love and faithfulness His commitment to this fallen world. Therefore we must remain concerned for this world. We may not withdraw from it through indifference, pride or fear. Together with the universal Christian Church, the Unitas Fratrum challenges humanity with the message of the love of God, striving to promote the peace of the world and seeking to attain what is best for all. For the sake of this world, the Unitas Fratrum hopes for and looks to the day when the victory of Christ will be manifest over sin and death and the new world will appear.


Jesus Christ is the one Lord and Head of His body, the Church. Because of this, the Church owes no allegiance to any authority whatsoever which opposes His dominion. The Unitas Fratrum treasures in its history the vital experience of the Headship of Christ of September 16, and November 13, 1741.

The Unitas Fratrum recognises that it is called into being and has been sustained hitherto only by the incomprehensible grace of God. Thanksgiving and praise for this grace remains the keynote of its life and ministry.

In this spirit it awaits the appearing of Jesus Christ, goes forward to meet its Lord with joy, and prays to be found ready when He comes.

Revelation 15:1-8

Today's reading was Revelation 15:1-8

I was struck by 15:8a - where it reads: "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power..."

The Temple being filled with smoke signified God's glory and power. Now in light of that let's check these citations.

"At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke." Isaiah 6:4.

'On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain[a] trembled violently." Exodus 19:16-18.

"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." Exodus 40:34-35.

When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.

12 Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” Exodus 8:10-13

The smoke that filled the temple refers to the shekina cloud first associated with the tabernacle and then the temple. It symbolizes God's speicial presence and that he is the sourse of the judgments (Ex. 40:34ff)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Revelation 14:1-5

1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

Verse 1 - The Lamb standing on Mount Zion is to be contrasted with the dragon standing on the shifting sands of the seashore (13:1).
Verse 1 - Foreheads of God's people are branded with God's Name - contrast this with Revelation 13:16-17. The people of earth are branded to their god. This branding for or against the Living God suggests union and ownership. Those without God's Name are neither owned or are in union with Him.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.


Chapters 12 & 13 have prepared Christian believers that as the end draws nedar they will be harassed and sacrificed as sheep. Chapter 14 shows that their sacrifice is not meaningless.