Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Almost Gone


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

The presents are gone from under the tree. The wrappings, ribbons and bows are all in the trash, and all the guests left days ago. Not many days remain in what’s left of this year, and soon we’ll be singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

The older I get, the quicker the years seem to zoom by. This year is no exception. I must confess that this year has been somewhat of a disappointment to me. You may attribute that to the state of politics, the economy, the rise of terror, the decline of morality in our nation, etc., and while all those things can put a damper on one’s outlook, they really are not the source of my disappointment.

I started this year with the genuine hope that this would be the year that Christ returned, and we, His children, would be taken up in the clouds to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).  Many of the signs seemed to converge to make a good case for this being the year. First there was the third Blood Moon of the rare tetrad at Passover in April that was preceded by a total solar eclipse in March. Then the fourth Blood Moon of the tetrad appeared during the Feast of Tabernacles in late September. Add to that, the final Blood Moon followed the end of the Shamitah which modern “prophets” saw as a sign of economic collapse, (which did not occur in any way to cause great consternation). To boot, all of this leads to the Year of Jubilee, which began on Rosh Ha-Shanna, September 13.

All this year, I have looked toward the eastern sky and cupped my ear for the sound of the trumpet, and it didn’t come.

Jesus did not come. 😦

I am disappointed, but not disheartened or discouraged. After all, Jesus said, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32, emphasis mine). The modern day prophets made some good guesses solidly based on Scripture, but they obviously missed it. To their credit, none would dogmatically set a date for Christ’s return, and all offered the disclaimer that God is not bound by their speculations. Still, there was the hope.

Should that hope be abandoned simply because mortal men guessed wrong? As Paul would say, “God forbid!” Jesus promised to return: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3, emphasis mine). There is absolutely no reason not to believe that He will do as He promised. The Old Testament is full of prophecies foretelling of His first coming, and all were proven true beyond any shadow of doubt. So accurately were those promises fulfilled, that the probability of one man fulfilling just eight of them is a virtual impossibility, yet Jesus fulfilled them all. If Scripture proved true about His first coming, then it will certainly prove true for His second coming.

A few days still remain in 2015. Jesus may return before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, or He may yet delay. Twenty-Sixteen is the Year of Jubilee and that would be a great time for Christ to return. And what if He does not come in 2016? So what! Jesus promised He will return. In the meantime He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8, emphasis mine). “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20, emphasis mine). We must do this because, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine). Likewise, we should not be willing that any should perish.

Does this mean I should stop looking and listening? Of course not! “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3, emphasis mine). “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). So, no lollygagging! There is work yet to be done! “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46). Perhaps in 2016!


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Christmas Trees

Cross Christmas Ornament on tree

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.    (Galatians 3:13)

For most of my adult life I have bemoaned the blatant commercialization of Christmas. Long before the satanic observance of Halloween, Christmas displays start showing up in stores enticing consumers to bring their offerings to the god of mammon. Featured in every display is a wide assortment of Christmas trees in all shapes, sizes, and styles all professionally adorned to put the buyer in the Christmas spirit. Who cares if it is still 90° outside in Texas! What would Christmas be without a Christmas tree!

What does a Christmas tree have to do with Christmas anyway? Google is a wonderful thing and a great resource for information on a number of things, including Christmas trees. Generally speaking, the Christmas tree has pagan origins typically associated with the winter solstice and the lengthening of daylight. The evergreen tree symbolizes life, and the arrival of longer days shows the triumph of life over death and darkness. One can easily see the association of the evergreen with eternal life and the coming of the “Sun of Righteousness” (Malachi 4:2). However, it is doubtful that the “Sun of Righteousness,” whom we celebrate, arrived during the winter solstice.

Not long ago I discovered a sweet story about Christmas trees. It is “The Legend of the Three Trees.” The story tells of three young trees and their dreams of what they wanted to be when they grew up. The first wanted be made into a beautiful chest and hold a wealth of treasure. The second wanted to be made into a great ship that would carry kings. The third just wanted to stay atop its high hill and point men to God. As the story concludes, the first tree was made into a feed trough which held the greatest treasure ever – the Christ child. The second was made into a simple fishing boat that carried the King of King and Lord of Lords. Finally the third was made into a despicable cross on which the Lamb of God was sacrificed. Atop that lonely hill, that ugly tree pointed the way to God.

Perhaps that is the best image of a Christmas tree – the old rugged cross with God’s greatest gift hung on it. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16). No brightly lit and decorated tree could be more beautiful than God’s Christmas tree!

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Why Jesus?


But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.    (Galatians 4:4-5)

At this time of year we pause to consider and reflect on the entry of God into the world in human form. When we take the time to seriously ponder this wonder, the notion that He chose to make His entry as a helpless newborn baby, makes us marvel in awe. He, “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7, emphasis mine), as a baby. Why? And why in this way?

Too often we get caught up in the “story” of Christmas and overlook the greater significance. God had to intervene into the hopeless human condition in order to ransom back His most prized creature ruined shortly after creation. Man, Adam, disobeyed God’s only prohibition. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17, emphasis mine). “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:6, emphasis mine). What weakness is there in man that even in a pristine environment that, without a need or care in the world, he cannot keep one simple commandment?

That single act brought the curse of death upon all subsequent generations – not only physical death (Genesis 3:17-19) but, worse, spiritual death separating us from our Creator (Ephesians 2:1). “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 8:12, emphasis mine). Being that man offended Holy God (and because God is eternal, the offense is eternal), only man can right the wrong, and the only thing that can reverse the curse of death, is the gift of life. God tells us in His Word, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11, emphasis mine).

As a temporary measure, God (I believe in the form of the pre-incarnate Christ) offered the first blood sacrifice to atone for (cover) the sin of the first couple. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21, emphasis mine). In order to make “coats of skins” innocent animals had to shed their blood to cover the nakedness of the disobedient couple. But animal blood is insufficient; “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Neither is the tainted blood of man sufficient to take away sins because the sacrifice must be “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5). The innocent blood of animals cannot qualify because the sin belongs to man, and the blood of humans cannot qualify because it is blemished with sin.

Enter Christ. Innocent animal blood was insufficient because they are not at fault; animals did not sin. The one responsible for sin and death is the only one that can pay the “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23). That responsibility falls on man, but man’s blood cannot atone for sin, because man’s blood is tainted by sin. So God became man, engendered in a virgin’s womb, gestated for nine months until the proper time to be delivered as a helpless baby. Then, He grew up as a normal child (Luke 2:52) into adulthood, and He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, emphasis mine). Jesus, God in human flesh, voluntarily became “a lamb without blemish and without spot” – the only acceptable sacrifice to atone for the sins of man. John the Baptist recognized Him at the beginning of His earthly ministry: “and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, emphasis mine) – perfect man; sinless blood; problem solved! Thus, He is the only path to redemption. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

As we celebrate this Christmas, let us look beyond the baby in the manger. If you do not know the Savior, this is a great time of the year to get acquainted.

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Why I Would Never Force my Kids to go to Church

Good parents make their kids do all kinds of beneficial things that kids don’t want to do, but in the end, those things are good for them. Here is a good practical lesson…

Source: Why I Would Never Force my Kids to go to Church

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