The excellency of our God—Amid the cold of winter

Look what I found this morning!

A substantial snow—by Alabama standards—blanketed the Birmingham area yesterday. This morning, while there are icy road issues in some places, the snow is still powdery, white, and beautiful as it covers everything!

I have heard that the rose is considered the most “perfect” of all flowers. So, since Jesus is absolutely perfect in every way He is often referred to as a Rose.

Isaiah 35:1-2 came to mind:

The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
… They shall see the glory of the Lord,
The excellency of our God.

While the snow in Birmingham has covered everything and it looks pure, white, and clean, the dirt is just covered up. That’s what we try to do sometimes, isn’t it? We try to clean up or cover up our sin, and fail. The Good News for Christ-followers is that Jesus Christ took our sin and the wrath we deserve upon Himself.

Look at the picture again and you will see the dirt showing throught the breaks in the snow.

The rose here, although a deep pink, seems to represent the shed blood of Christ through which we have been saved from our sin and futile attempts to get ourselves cleaned up.

The green stem represents the stem of Jesse (Isaiah11:1 KJV) which points to Jesus coming to earth and living as fully God and fully man. I’ve heard it said that leaves represent God’s truth, which is the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God that makes us a new creation—gives us new life in Christ!

A wonderful old by Robert Lowry comes to mind, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

And, of course, one of my favorite Christmas Carols—and sadly not very well known by many Christ-followers today— also comes to mind, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

Following are the first and second verse lyrics (go online to hear this beautiful carol):

*Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From, tender stem hath spring!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As men of old have sun.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half-gone was the night.

This Flow’r, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor,
The darkness ev’ry where.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

There is a beautiful arrangement “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming/The Rose**” by Craig Hella Johnson (find it online to listen). The ending combines this carol and song painting a beautiful image of Jesus Christ, our Savior!

Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
     From sin and death he saves us,
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose
     And lightens ev’ry load.

*Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, Words: 15th Century German; st. 1, 2, translation Theodore Baker, 1851-1934; stanza 3 translation Harriet Krauth Spaeth, 1845-1925
**The Rose, Amanda McBroom, Lincoln Mayorga

Devotional for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year

If you don’t already have your copy of Glimpses of the Savior: 31 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year get yours now!

This time of year we get busy preparing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, and all too often we forget the real meanings of these celebrations. As Christ-followers, we can guard against this by focusing our hearts on God’s Word.

Thanksgiving is a time to give God thanks; Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior; the New Year brings new beginnings. This devotional book contains thirty meditations for that purpose. Begin using the book the week before Thanksgiving and it will carry you through into the New Year.

 

The Ultimate Gift of Christmas

purple-christmas-gift

Today on “Think on These Things” we will be discussing “The Ultimate Gift of Christmas.”

 

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is THE ULTIMATE GIFT—JESUS CHRIST!

We will be discussing the difference the Ultimate Christmas Gift, Jesus Christ, makes in our lives on a day-to-day basis.

ToTT logo

Live-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

 

Fully God, Fully Man

ToTT logoJoin us this week as Charlotte and I will be discussing Scripture passages that tell about when God’s precious Gift, Jesus, came to live as fully God and fully man.

Live-stream, listen, or watch at 2:00 PM Central.

Live-stream at: gleniris.net

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM or:
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody / Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

 

 

Thanksgiving Day is Coming

Glimpses of the Savior FRONT cover“Thanksgiving Day is Coming” is a poem I heard my mom recite every November from the time I was very young. I have not found the author’s name anywhere. The poem is the exchange between a turkey and a pumpkin talking about becoming turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.

While we do not have to be concerned about becoming part of some family’s Thanksgiving dinner, we are often very busy with our regular responsibilities, and then add to that the concomitant responsibilities that come with our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year preparations and celebrations.

This is a great time to get your copy of Glimpses of the Savior: 30 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year that my Nigeria MK cousin and I co-authored.

These make great Christmas Gifts! The devotions begin the week before Thanksgiving and take you through the New Year.

Available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and in paperback from Amazon and most bookstores by request.

Christmas Candy and the Church

How is Christmas Candy Similar to the Church?

This morning, I was remembering my mom in the kitchen making her Christmas candies. She made divinity (My brother Tim declared it the best in the world!), chocolate, as well as peanut brittle and pecan brittle.

She combined all the ingredients in a pan and stirred them together. At this point you could still differentiate the different ingredients in the pan. Then, she placed the pan on the stove and stirred as the ingredients began melting from the heat. There was a precise point in cooking that the ingredients ceased to be individual parts like chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, nuts, etc. As the heat melted the chocolate and butter, the other ingredients blended with them to make a delicious treat. You could tell the candy was ready to pour out when the candy would look shiny.

In addition to making my mouth water and wishing mom could be here to make candy with me, I began thinking about the similarities between mom’s Christmas candies and the local Body of Christ (the church).

Mom’s candies were made of a wide variety of ingredients, yet they had one common ingredient—sugar. The members of the church are varied and represent myriad socioeconomic, psychographic, sociographic, and demographic segmentations. Yet, they (we) all have in common One ingredient (Person), Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

In the same way the heat causes the ingredients of the candies to blend together, change consistency, and become one treat; the Holy Spirit works in and through the experiences in the lives of the church members to blend them (us) together in unity and to change us into “the shining light,” as Isaiah 60:1 admonishes the church to Arise, shine for the Light has come!

Regardless of the differences among members of the church, the church is to be radiant with the Light of God and the Light of the World in such a way that She (the church) shines with the Light of the Gospel. The church is Christ’s Body through which His glory is to be shown to the world, to make all men see (Ephesians 3:9).

I pray we will all be mindful of our responsibility to shine brighter than any man-made Christmas lights or ornaments!

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16

*All Scripture passages are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible.

Christmas Carols

Those of you who know me, understand how much I love music as an expression of worship. As I play the piano or sing, the notes are my expressions of awe, love and gratitude to the Sovereign God of the Universe. Music is my way of pouring out my heart, in prayer and praise to the Lord.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Today on “Think on These Things” we will looking at “Christmas Carols.” Using Scripture and carols (hymns) we will look at Prophecy and the Fulfillment of Prophecy.

You may be surprised at some of the Scripture and Carols that we include in our discussion!

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB