RESTLESS

RESTLESS

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa. 9:6

Jesus came to bring peace to the earth, but not the kind of peace most people would think. Actually, His life brought anything but peace in the natural world. All but one of His twelve disciples died a martyr’s death. Christ Himself was hated more than any man who has ever lived. Families have been split up, wars have been fought, His life has brought anything but peace to this world. What kind of peace did Christ come to bring? He brought peace that comes from forgiveness of sins. He brought peace that comes from resigning to His sovereign plan. He brought peace that comes from deliverance from the foolish pleasures of this world. He is the Prince of Peace to those who have embraced His love. Here is another one of my Christmas poems, I hope you enjoy it.

HUNGRY HEART

Restless heart you struggle so
Searching for repose
Looking for that place of rest
That rest man seldom knows

Lonely heart-Your grieving so
When will the sadness end
You get back up- to face the world
To just fall back again

Anxious Heart-You worry so
Your trust seems far away
Who can you trust when things go wrong
Who will you trust today

Ambitious heart – it never ends
Will there ever be a time
When you can stop this torrid rush
And place your hand in mine

Hungry heart has found its food
To still this longing soul
To satisfy the heart of man
To make the sinner whole

In Bethlehem the house of bread
Not far from Calvary
I gave my life for you my son
That you could feast on me

Today, your search for peace can be over, we can find our rest in Him. Remember the famous words of Augustine, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee”. You can come to Bethlehem today and feast on the Bread that comes from heaven. This is the place of rest. In the world there is no peace, but there is an amazing peace found in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

THE GREAT SPIRIT DANCE

THE GREAT SPIRIT DANCE

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”
Micah 5:2

In Isaiah’s prophesy (Isa 9:6), as well as this one from Micah, the Lord gives us a glimpse into the eternal nature of our God. This is a hidden, incomprehensible, part of our incredible God. What is eternity past like? What kind of relationship has the Father had with His Eternal Son in this mysterious, unknown time? Does that eternal nature of God have any relevance in my life today? This is what Christmas is all about. The relationship of love between Jesus and His Father is the foundation for our existence and our salvation. Their love resulted in an agreement where Jesus became the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world. As a result, the virgin conceived, and brought forth a Son, born in Bethlehem in Judea over 2000 years ago. This is a poem the Lord gave to me describing this eternal relationship, like C.S. Lewis says, the eternal dance.

The Christmas Dance

Before there was history
There lived a great mystery
A story of joy and romance
The Lord and His Son
They’ve always been One
Embrace in the great Spirit dance
An unspeakable delight
It burst through the night
A joy that’s stronger than wine
The Father and Son embracing as
One in the dance that’s long
Before time
This singing and dancing
This holy romancing
This joy to the world Angels say
It came to the earth at our dear
Saviour’s birth
This joy it begins
Christmas Day!

During this Christmas season maybe you will here the sound of the heavenly celebration and join in the festivities. Heaven is not a boring place, it is a celebration beyond any we have seen or have thought of on earth. Can you hear the singing? The Lord is rejoicing over you. Open your heart, let Him open up your ears. It is time for you to join the celebration, it’s time to sing, it’s time to join in the Father’s dance.

AUGUSTINE’S CHRISTMAS

AUGUSTINE’S TWO GENERATIONS

This is the last installment of the Christmas message of Augustine from the 400’s A.D. The message of Christ’s birth and eternal existence is timeless. May this be your best Christmas ever as Christ is formed in you. Enjoy the message and my comments throughout his teaching.

He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and yet He takes His own rise under the heavens, that’s to say from the earth.

Psalm 85:11
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Jesus, the truth, springs from the earth like Adam. The amazing diverse excellencies of Christ seen in His deity and His humanity.

As God He has more Wisdom than He can mouth, and yet as a babe he hasn’t enough mouth to utter the Wisdom He knows.

As God He is all knowing unlimited in His knowledge, as an infant unable to vocalize His eternal wisdom.

He fills the world with jots and tittles, and yet He Himself lies a tot in a manger.

He has created a masterful world full of intricate detail, yet he lies helpless and dependent as an infant in the manger.

He sets the stars in motion, and yet he sucks His mother’s breasts.

Genesis 1:3-5
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

Augustine continues to explore the amazing contrast of deity and humanity. He reveals Himself in His wisdom and power in creation and His incredible humility as a man.

He’s so great as a God, yet so small as a slave.

Philippians 2:5-9
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

God’s greatness and Christ’s humility, He is truly the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

His divinity isn’t underwhelmed by His humanity, nor is His humanity overwhelmed by His divinity.

He is not threatened or decreased by His humanity. His humanity has not depleted His deity, only magnified His glory in our eyes.

He didn’t abandon His divine agenda when He picked up His carpenter’s tools.

Ephesians 1:11
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

His plan of the ages has never altered. God is never responding to circumstances. All things are ordered and developing according to His plan.

He didn’t stop holding His universe together with His mighty arms while He was trying to catch flies with His baby fingers.

Isaiah 9:6,7
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Augustine continues to be amazed at the irony of the power of God and the weakness displayed in the infant Christ.

He put on the clumsiness of the flesh when he entered the Virgin’s womb, and yet His movement throughout the universe wasn’t hampered by the baggy pants. He didn’t take away the food of Wisdom from the Angels while He was supplying us with the sweetness of the Lord.

Micah 5:2
“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

The bread of heaven, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem – the house of Bread. The Lord has displayed His beauty in the miracle birth of Christ. He came to make this heavenly bread available for us all. Today, we can all come to the Christmas feast and delight ourselves in the abundance of our Father’s house. Merry Christmas to you and your house.

OUTSIDE OF SPACE AND TIME

OUTSIDE OF SPACE AND TIME

Last year I read a Christmas message by Augustine preached at his church in northern Africa over 1500 years ago. This is the second installment of part of that message with my own comments included. Merry Christmas.

He’s the Day as the Angels count time; He’s the Clock as human beings tick off the day.

He inhabits eternity with the angels, outside of time and space. In time he is the sovereign ruler directing every detail of history.

He’s the Word of God before there were timepieces; He’s the Word made flesh who stopped the clock when He was made flesh.

John 1:14
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Father’s Word, idea or expression of Himself. When He became a man all history was permanently impacted.

He made the sun with His own hands, and yet He Himself was made under the light and heat of the sun.

John 1:3-5
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

He formed the stars of the universe including our star, the sun, yet as a man he lived under the light and heat of the sun.

He regulates human history from the bosom of His Father; and yet He consecrates this one particular day from the womb of His mother.

John 1:18
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Jesus retained His sovereignty ruling in heaven even as he lived amongst us as a man. His supernatural birth made that day supernatural.

He remains with His Father, and yet He goes forth from His mother.

John 3:13
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

The mystery of the omnipresence and the humanity of Christ is the mystery of godliness. This mystery is life changing, actually it could be called life starting. Life begins for us in the reality of God’s presence. Until we come into living contact with Him we are wandering through life, when He bursts on the scene, we begin to experience harmony and unity with Him. Merry Christmas to you and your house.

TWICE BEGOTTEN

TWICE BEGOTTEN

Augustine was amazed at the two generations of Jesus Christ, how scripture reveals Christ as the eternal Son always in the state of being generated from the Father. He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory. He also was amazed at the miracle of the virgin birth. I wanted to give you an excerpt from one of Augustine’s Christmas sermons. I also included some of my thoughts and some scripture. Enjoy. You and your family have a blessed Christmas.

“Open my lips, O Lord, so that my voice may break out in praise!” So the Psalmist has sung (Ps.51:15). He was saluting his Lord with a chain of seemingly incompatible attributes. And so too I sing this morning.

Augustine is overwhelmed with joy as he reflected on the birth of Christ. His message seems to be delivered as a “song”.

Almighty God the Father I want to praise but, to my amazement, He’s the Infant Christ.

I Timothy 3:16 NKJ
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Augustine is astounded at the beauty and mystery of the incarnation. God Himself as an infant in a manger.

The Lord has made all things, and yet He takes His stand among the very things He’s made.

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

The creator God – Jesus Christ – enters into the very creation He has made. He became part of creation when he became a man.

He’s the Revealer of His Father, and at the same time He’s the Creator of His mother.

John 1:3, 18
3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Augustine explores the mystery of Jesus Christ, He is the radiance of the Father’s Glory but created His mother before He was conceived in her womb.

He’s the Son of God born of the Father without a mother; and He’s the son of man born of a mother without a father.

Micah 5:2
2 “ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Isaiah 7:14
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

The two generations of Christ, begotten of the Father as the eternal Son yet born as a human from a virgin mother. And now, the greatest of all miracles, He is actually born in our hearts. Just as the Ethiopian asked Phillip, so many years ago, “Who shall declare His generation?” Today, we discover this Christmas miracle. Christ is born in our hearts! What an incredible God!!!

CHARLES WESLEY’S ANGELS

CHARLES WESLEY’S ANGELS

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Mal 4:2

You can tell a lot about what is going on in a culture by the songs they sing. We have been effected more than we know by the songs written in special times of God’s awakenings throughout history. One of the special times was the 1740’s. One of God’s instruments in those days was a song writer and preacher by the name of Charles Wesley. Our churches still sing many of his songs, but the whole world sings one of his Christmas songs known as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. This song is filled with worship and great theology about the unveiling of God’s love to man. One of my favorite parts of the song goes like this.

“Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.”

What an incredible thing, today in malls, shopping centers, church services and Christmas programs around the world, this special message is being proclaimed. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who brings the revelation of God’s love and forgiveness to our hearts. Hail the Sun of Righteousness who is risen from the dead with healing for our bodies. Hail the Sun of Righteousness that has given us second birth that men no more may die. Today the angels are singing, “preach it again Charles” as his words are being sung amongst the nations. This Christmas, listen carefully to the old songs, you never know, you may hear the angels singing just like the shepherds from so long ago. As you do, your world will begin to change. Like the shepherds long ago, like Charles Wesley 250 years ago, the birth of Christ will become a living reality inside of you. When that happens, you will know what life is all about, you will know why you are alive, you will know for yourself why the angels are singing.

THE ANGELS ARE STILL SINGING

THE ANGELS ARE STILL SINGING

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Lk 2;13,14

This was the strangest day ever for these shepherds. They were just simple men, after all, they were only shepherds, they were just ordinary jewish men, just taking care of their flocks, trying to survive and support their family. But this was not an ordinary night, this was the night that would define their lives. They had never seen an angel, they had never met or even heard of anyone who ever had, but that was about to change. Suddenly a light like they had never seen filled the meadow where they were resting, they were suddenly all wide awake. Then they heard it, it was a sound like they had never heard before, it was music, but much more than music. This music was like a living being, it seemed to be full of life itself. It was all around them, it was inside of them but seemed to be coming from these strange, holy creatures that were lighting up the sky with the glory reflecting off of them. They were singing about a Savior, born of a virgin in a manger in nearby Bethlehem. As unbelievable as it sounded, after what they had just witnessed, they knew it was true. Suddenly they were on the run, they couldn’t stop until they found this child wrapped in swaddling clothes in the stable at the inn in Bethlehem.
These angels are still singing, after 2000 years, and they are not about to stop. How could they stop ? Living in the presence of such greatness, they have to sing! Those that have ears to hear can still hear their singing today. Charles Wesley heard the angels singing in the 1700’s and wrote his famous song “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”. Listen to one of the verses of his song, you never know, maybe you will hear the voice of the angels in his song.

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King”

“Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface”. All of us carry the “likeness” of the fallen man, Adam. Christ came to stamp His image in it’s place. As we draw near to the Lord, the hope of Christmas is being formed in each of us, the image of Christ Himself.

COUNSELOR

COUNSELOR

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa.9:6

Isaiah used the word Counselor to describe the nature of this wonderful child, born of a virgin in Bethlehem. Actually, He is the embodiment of counsel itself, after all, He is the Word that became flesh. The Father in heaven is unlimited in wisdom, the bible cleary teaches the all knowing characteristic of our Lord. Then comes the amazing part, this infinite wisdom and counsel were revealed to mankind at the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the word that came to dwell amongst us. Jesus is the revelation of the wisdom of God, He is that wonderful Counselor that Isaiah spoke about. Adam Clarke spoke about the the unveiling of the wisdom of God in this man called the Wonderful Counselor.
“Logos, which signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or
the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him, who
is the true light which lighteth every man who cometh into the
world, John 1:9; who is the fountain of all wisdom; who giveth being, life, light, knowledge, and reason, to all men; who is the grand Source of revelation, who has declared God unto mankind; who spake by the prophets, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Re 19:10; who has illustrated life and immortality by his Gospel, 2Ti 1:10; and who has fully made manifest the deep mysteries which lay hidden in the bosom of the invisible God from all eternity, John 1:18.”
Jesus is the Wisdom of God. Today, this wisdom and counsel is available. How do I get it? It is very simple. This wisdom is available to us in Christ. If you have Him, rather, if He has you, you have access to the hidden wisdom of the ages revealed in the person of Christ. Embrace His love, seek after the Lord, you will find Him to be the Wonderful Counselor in your life.

WONDERFUL

WONDERFUL

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa.9:6

What a description of this infant king born in Bethlehem. The prophet said, “His name shall be called wonderful”. This word in the hebrew language is pele. This is a powerfully descriptive little word about the very nature of this special child. This word means wonderful, supernatural, incomprehensible, and immediately tells us about the supernatural nature of Christ and everything related to Him. Albert Barnes spoke about the wonderful qualities associated with Christ.
“Anything which is suited to excite wonder and amazement, from any cause, will correspond with the sense of the Hebrew word. It is a word which expresses with surprising accuracy everything in relation to the Redeemer. For the Messiah was wonderful in all things. It was wonderful love by which God gave him, and by which he came; the manner of his birth was wonderful; his humility, his self-denial, his sorrows were wonderful; his mighty works were wonderful; his dying agonies were wonderful; and his resurrection, his ascension, were all suited to excite admiration and wonder.”
There was nothing ordinary about His life, but His birth could only be described as wonderful; born of a virgin, born in an animal stable, His birth announced by angelic appearances, signs in the heavens seen from hundreds of miles away. He was worshipped by kings and shepherds but despised and feared by those in positions of power. Civilization itself is centered on the birth of the child with the wonderful Name.
The Name of Jesus Christ has always carried that supernatural, wonderful quality about it. It is by faith in that Name that we receive salvation, it is through the power in that Name that the chains of sin and addictions are broken from off of our lives. There are healing qualities in His Name, everywhere He goes, people are healed from their diseases. Fear and depression are subject to that Name, the devils themselves flee in terror at the mention of the Name of Jesus. This special season, begin to recognize and honor the wonderful and supernatural nature of your relationship wih Christ, as you do, you will recognize just how wonderful He is to you on a daily basis.

MIGHTY GOD

MIGHTY GOD

6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isa. 9:6

This is one of the most loved prophecies about the birth of Christ. I have to remind myself that these prophetic words were written 700 years before the birth of Our Lord. They describe the various supernatural aspects of Jesus revealed in His Name. This is a poem the Lord gave me about this incredible verse of scripture.

His Name Shall Be Called

His name shall be called Wonderful
A miracle in every breath
The love of God
Revealed to man
Revealed by His life and death

His name shall be called Counselor
The counsel of God for me
The plans of God
Concealed through time
Revealed on a bloody tree

His name shall be called Mighty God
The greatest of all mysteries
The strength of God concealed in a child
This weakness revealed Deity

His name shall be called Father
The one that lived before time
The love of the Father
Displayed in His Son
The love that has now become mine

His name shall be called Peace
The prince of all life has come
The misery and strife
Which had stolen my life
Has bowed its knee to the Son

My prayer is that Christ Himself will become alive in you, to you, and through you this Christmas season. His love is glimpsed in His amazing supernatural birth. May this birth be realized in your life. As it is the real meaning of Christmas, God’s love for the world expressed in His Son, will be seen in you.