Monday, December 19, 2011


In 1994 my father preached this message at Faith Crusaders Church in Urbana, Illinois. Though he went to heaven in 2007, his words are yet inspiring.

"Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?

'Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
 'Tis the Lord, The King of Glory! 
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, Crown Him
Lord of All!"

Revelation 1:4-8.   
"John to the seven church which are in Asia:  Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits (the Holy Spirit) which are before his throne;  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.  Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.  Amen.  Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him:  and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.  Even so, Amen.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, which is to come, the Almighty."

"I am Alpha and Omega!  It is as if He had said, "I am A to Z," for Alpha is the first, and Omega the last letter of the Greek alphabet.  He is our everything.   

If He is the A to Z, then He is the Second Adam.  The first Adam forfeited our life; the second Adam reclaimed it for us.  He is our Advocate, He is the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, He is the Amen.  He is the Apostle of our Profession, He is the Arm of the Lord, He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith, He is the Author of Eternal Salvation!

He is the Beginning of the Creation of God, the Beloved Son.  He is the Blessed and only Potentate.  He is the BRANCH.  He is the Bread of Life.

He is the Captain of our Salvation, He is the Chief Shepherd, He is the Christ of God, He is the Consolation of Israel, He is the Chief Cornerstone, He is the Counselor, He is the Creator.

He is the Dayspring.  He is the Deliverer, He is the Desired of All Nations.  He is the Door!

He is the Elect of God, He is the Everlasting Father, He is the Faithful Witness, the First and the Last.  He is the First Begotten, and He is the Forerunner that is entered within the veil.

He is the Glory of God, He is God Himself Incarnate, He is God Blessed forever.   He is the Good Shepherd!   He is the Governor.  He is the Great High Priest.

He is the Head of the Church, the Heir of All Things.   He is the Holy Child, He is the Holy One, the Holy One of God, the Holy One of Israel.  He is the Horn of Our Salvation.

He is the Great I AM.  He is the Image of God.  He is Immanuel, God with us!

He is Jehovah, He is Jesus our Savior.  He is Jesus of Nazareth, He is the Judge of Israel, He is the Just One.

He is the King, He is the King of the Ages, He is the King of the Jews.  He is the King of all Kings, and the King of Saints!

He is the Lawgiver.  He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.  He is our Leader, our Life.  He is the Light of the World.  He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and He is the Lord of All.  He is the Lord of Glory.  He is the Lord of Lords.  He is the Lord our Righteousness.

He is a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief.  He is our Mediator.  He is the Messenger of the Covenant, the Messiah.  He is the Mighty God, He is the Mighty One.  He is the bright and Morning Star.

He is The Nazarene.

He is the Only Begotten Son.  He is our Passover.

He is the Prince of Kings.  He is the Prince of life.  He is the Prince of Peace, and He is our Prophet, Priest and King!

He is the Quencher of thirst for the Water of Life.

He is the Redeemer, the Resurrection and the Life.  He is our Rock and our Salvation.  He is the Root of David, and the Rose of Sharon.

He is our Savior.  He is the Seed of the Woman spoken of in Genesis, and the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.  He is the Son of the Blessed, the Son of David, the Son of God.  He is the Son of Man.  He is the Son of Righteousness.

He is the True Light.  He is the True Vine.  He is the TRUTH.

He is the Unleavened Bread that came down from Heaven. 

He is the Vine of whom we are but branches.

He is the true Witness.

And I violate the spelling to say, He is the One who speaks from the more Xcellent Glory!

He is the Word of God, made manifest that we should behold His glory, as of the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth.

He is One who is Yea and Amen!

And what to do for a "Z"?  Why He is Savior of Zacchaeus, and of all who have fallen into the depths and dregs of sin!  Respectable sinners.  Disreputable sinners.  Jesus Christ is Savior of us all.

"Zacchaeus, come down.  I am going to your house today!"  Glorious invitation, and issued yet again:  "Come down in repentance and faith!  Jesus will go home with you today!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011


“Merrrry Christmas!”   The Town Crier lifted his voice above the chatter of villagers excitedly walking down the cobblestone streets of the 16th century English village.  It might have been Stratford.  Or maybe it was Oxford.  Perhaps it was Epworth.  Actually it was probably all three, and in hundreds of other villages and towns scattered throughout Britain. Then the Crier began to sing:

“GOD rest ye merry Gentlemen,
Remember CHRIST our SAVIOR, was born on Christmas day!
When we were gone astray,

As I was asking the LORD for direction at this Christmas Season, I was captured by two words of the carol—COMFORT and JOY!  I thought how illusory and temporary is the comfort of this world.

Jesus himself emphasized the difference between that which the world offers, and what He would bring.  In speaking of PEACE, Jesus said, “my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).

The only PEACE that the world knows is the peace that is imposed by the threat or the actual use of external force.  But THE PEACE THAT IS FROM ABOVE is imparted by GOD to HIS People.  The prophet declares, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”  (Isaiah 26:30)

The only COMFORT that the world knows is the comfort that comes from those around us.  I have often been amazed at the silly words people offer to those who are grieving. I’ve stood at the side of the departed and listened as friends have consoled themselves saying, “she has her angel wings now.”  I have no idea where this idea came from, but it certainly wasn’t God’s Word. 

The COMFORT that comes from GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT is based on the infallible, immutable, Promises of GOD’S WORD.  Our source is the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present GOD who is the CREATOR of the universe.  Our security is in the CHRIST who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.  Our assurance comes from the HOLY GHOST who “bears witness with our spirits,” “intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,” and sanctifies the hearts of the redeemed.

The only LOVE that the world knows is sensual (physical) and temporal.  Too often what the world calls love is actually only infatuation.  The LOVE that comes from Heaven is LOYAL, SPIRITUAL, and ETERNAL!  The Scriptures tell us that this love is longsuffering, always kind, never envious, and does not push itself forward in pride.  The LOVE that GOD imparts,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth:   (1 Corinthians 13)

The PEACE, the COMFORT, the LOVE of GOD are all so different from that of this world. 

Even the GODLY SORROW is different from the SORROW of this world.  When the world is sorrowful over their misdeeds, they are just sorry they were caught.   But GODLY SORROW, the Bible tells us, WORKS REPENTANCE!  That means that GODLY SORROW brings us to the point of sincere repentance.  We are not only sorrow for our sins, we are sorry enough that we will, with God’s help, turn from them!  All of them!

And there is this truth.  THE JOY OF THE LORD is totally different from the HAPPINESS of this world.  The world’s happiness depends on happenings or circumstances.  They are happy when they get a new car.  They are happy when people applaud them.  They are happy when they sit down to a delicious meal.  But when the car is wrecked, when the crowds are gone, and when the meal is finished, then what?

GODLY JOY is centered in CHRIST.  Jesus encouraged His disciples, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  (John 15:11-14)

That’s why CHRISTIANS can take joy even amidst trials and tribulations—they know that their joy is not based on the things of this earth. 

My daughter recently checked out an Apple I-pad from her school library.  As we launched “Google Earth” a program that will literally take you around the world, we looked for the Colosseum in Rome.  It was so amazing to see that screen travel around the world to Italy, then close in on Rome, and finally take us to the Colosseum.  As we looked, I told Tressa about the Christians who died there as thousands of Romans jeered in the stands.  I told her how that parents were forced to watch their children thrown to the lions, how husbands would watch their wives eaten by the ravenous beasts, and how that finally the men would be tortured and killed. 

As we talked about those ominous days, days when thousands were martyred for their faith in Christ, I was reminded again of our Savior who “for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Father.” (Hebrews 12:2).  

Ah this is a joy that is, as the Apostle Peter tells us, “joy unspeakable, and full of glory!” (1 Peter 1:8).

Dear readers, at this season, do not forget:
are found in the SAVIOR who was born of the virgin in the City of David!  Now that is what I call, “Tidings of comfort and joy!”