Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Yesterday morning I had a doctor's visit, and during the course of the visit the doctor asked if I had made any new year's resolutions.  I told him no. This morning I was listening to the local Christian radio station and they were talking about new year's resolutions, and one of the things they brought out was -- what were your accomplishments this past year?  Don't just look at what you want to do, but at how far you have come!  Well, I can happily say that I am studying my Bible more and developing a closer, more meaningful relationship with Christ.  I am become more tender to things of God.  And I have started writing again. 

So what do I want to accomplish this coming year?  Well, I want to get my priorities straight -- God first, family, friends, etc. 

I also know that I need to make a more conscious effort to watch what I say.  Too often I speak before I think, then regret those words.  I need to remember the words of the psalmist, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in they sight, O Lord" Ps. 19:14.  So not just my words, but my thoughts, too.  I have this verse posted on my phone at work.  Sometimes I think I need to wear one of those sticks attached to my head that a carrot is usually attached to for horses or donkeys, and put that verse right in front of my eyes at all times! 

Of course, along with spiritual fitness, I want to get into good physical shape, too.  That means hitting the gym on a regular basis and cooking healthier meals. 

One of the last things I want to do is to allow God to guide my relationships (more specifically relationships with someone of the opposite sex), allow Him to be the One to bring someone into my life or take someone out of my life, whichever may be the case.  I want to surrender to His will for that very close, personal relationship I would love to one day have. 

What about you?  What have you accomplished this year, and what do you hope to accomplish next year?

~  Reese

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index

Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 1979, 1995, 2010

Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index is a listing of words and definitions found throughout the Bible.  The first few pages of the books shows a listing of word studies which can be found throughout.  The word studies give depth to the meaning of the word and how it is used and where it can be found in the Bible. 

Following is an alphabetical listing of words you might want to reference.  Each word you want to look up gives in some cases a short definition, then if necessary breaks down into categories by definition where you can find each word in the Bible.  Each reference is in order of appearance in the Bible.

This book is an excellent research tool for your personal Bible study. You might even find yourself thumbing through and actually reading it!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Christmas thoughts

He left the splendor of heaven,
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha,
There to lay down His life for me.
~ by Dottie Rambo

The song "If That Isn't Love" by Dottie Rambo comes to mind when I think about what Jesus left when He came to earth that Christmas so long ago.  "He left the splendor of heaven!"  How beautiful heaven must be!  And yet He gave that up, already knowing that He was going to die a horrible death on the cross, so that I can one day be in heaven with Him.  As the song says, He came "to lay down His life for me."

In order to understand what Jesus gave up, I believe you have to understand Who Jesus is.  According to the Bible, Jesus is the Word, and He was in the very beginning with God.  Everything was made by Jesus. Nothing was made without Him.  He is also life, and the light of man (John 1:1-5).   If you go back to the very first book of the Bible, the very first chapter, you find that God created the heaven and the earth.  He spoke it into being.  If Jesus created everything (based on John), and God created everything (based on Genesis), you have to understand that Jesus and God are one and the same.  Hebrews 1 tells us that Jesus is God's Son, and that He is the Heir of all things.  He is the one who upholds all things "by the word of His power."  He also "sat down on the right hand of the Mighty on high."  And He is so much better than the angels!  In John 14:8-15 Jesus further states that He and the Father are one.  If you have seen the Son, you have seen the Father.  Jesus gave up, for a time, His position in heaven, His position as the Creator, His position as the One Who holds the world together.  Oh, and He was rejected by God -- remember on the cross where He cried out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)  How unspeakable that must have been!

So, why did He come?  Matthew 1:21 says "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  There is no other way to everlasting life with the Father.  Jesus Himself said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  He is not a way out of many.  He is the only way to everlasting life with the Father. And John 3:16-17 very clearly states  "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.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved."  He didn't come to punish us.  He came to heal us spiritually, for eternity!

Jesus sole purpose in coming to earth, being born as a baby and being tempted as we are (only without sinning), was to die on the cross as the perfect payment for our sins.  Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Before the world was even created!!!

What did He GAIN when He came?  If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour, He gained you.  For all eternity.  He was willing to lay down His life so you could be with Him!  II Peter 3:9 sums it up, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  He gives you time to make your decision, but remember indecision can become a decision, as well.

Have a very merry CHRISTmas, and a wonderful new year!  And if you haven't made the most important decision of your life, don't wait any longer.


Humor -- True Story!!

This is Chief
My dad has several miniature horses.  Most of them stand waist high at their shoulders.  The leader of his herd is a stud (until just recently) named Chief -- he still thinks he's the "chief."  Daddy had Chief for sale in the Bulletin Board, and finally sold him to some people in Destin, Florida
Sunday afternoon my dad calls out to my mom "Glenda, you are not going to believe what these people are coming in to get Chief!"  When she asked, he told her a MINI VAN!!  They pull up and the couple gets out, the woman dressed in a full length fur coat and fur boots.  They ask daddy to load Chief into the mini van, and could he please make the horse sit!  Daddy couldn't believe it (I wish I could have seen his face!).  Of course, Chief is having none of this! 
Daddy asked the couple if they had access to a trailer.  Yes, they did.  The woman's mother lives in Prattville and has lots of horses and has a horse trailer.  When they called to ask if they could borrow it, she flat out told them no!  Wonder why?
Daddy told them that if they would give him gas money, he would trailer Chief to Destin for them. 
Guess where they are going to keep the horse?  They have special permission from their subdivision home owners association to keep a miniature horse in their back yard!  I'm sure the association thought miniature horse equalled dog-size!  And what are the neighbors going to do when they start smelling horse?  And what is the horse going to do when he finds out he doesn't have 35 acres to roam anymore?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts of the first CHRISTmas

Once again my thoughts are turned to Christmas.  Not the trappings of our modern Christmas, but that first Christmas so long ago.

Mary was such a young girl to have made such a strong decision for God!  And what did it cost her?  Her family, neighbors, village, and even Joseph probably considered her a harlot.  At least to begin with.  She was ostracized, an outcast, if not physically, surely by people's words and actions.  Mary was not perfect, she was a sinner just like us, but she made a life changing decision to obey God.

Joseph legally could have had Mary stoned for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.  Instead, he obeyed God and accepted her as his wife.  He took care of her and did not have relations with her until after Jesus was born.  Imagine how he must have felt to know that God had chosen him to raise God's own Son?  I am sure there was some fear and trepidation at the thought of that!

Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, God arranged for them to travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.  Mary was pregnant, ready to deliver Jesus, and made a hard journey of several days.  Most doctors of our time would not allow that.

Jesus was born in a BARN!  Barns STINK and are VERY DIRTY!!  Have you ever tried mucking out a stall?  And the manger was a feeding trough!  But that's all that was available for Jesus, God's Son. 

The angel, and then the heavenly host, appeared to the shepherds in their fields at night.  When I think further on this I realize that shepherds were some of the lowest of the low.  Thinking further, wasn't Jesus the great shepherd?  Didn't He call us His sheep?  By the way, I know from personal experience that sheep are VERY DUMB!!  Also, isn't Jesus called the Lamb of God?  Makes me wonder...  By the way, what would I have done if angels unexpectedly appeared to me at night?  I probably would have been frozen in fear!

The wise men who came and worshipped Jesus came from the east.  From very far away.  They were not of His own people.  But they were the ones who brought Him great gifts, and their belief in Him.

Satan tried to get rid of Jesus from the very beginning of His earthly life.  Didn't Herod, the king, have all the baby boys under two years old who were in and around Bethlehem killed?  Think of the great cry of the people that was heard that night as Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt!

God's plan for the salvation of man came long before the birth of His Son Jesus.  However, history changed forever on that lonely night in Bethlehem, and I am so glad it did!

I am sure you can come up with more thoughts for reflection about that first Christmas.  My family and I hope that the true meaning of Christmas becomes the central part of your Christmas season this year!

Merry CHRISTmas!

~ Reese

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Jungle Warfare

Jungle Warfare
A Basic Field Manual for Christians in Sales
by Christopher A. Cunningham
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

This book is a 22-day Bible study for people in the area of sales.  Although I am not in sales, I found this book applicable to my own daily life. 

What makes this book unique is the use of Mr. Cunningham's grandfather's World War II basic field manual for jungle warfare.  I found this interesting and attractive, since my own grandfather served in World War II.  The book is separated into two sections, with the first section including the Bible study and the second section dedicated to questions and answers.  Each day of the Bible study begins with a section from the field manual, which is then followed by Bible passages and a lesson on how to apply both the field guide and the Bible study to your every day life.  The question and answer section brings up topics that concern salesmen such as "What if my customers don't like me?"  With scripturally based answers. 

I found this to be a very interesting book from start to finish. And as I mentioned earlier, even though I am not in sales, I found many ideas I can apply to my life. I would recommend it to any Christian salesman, or anyone who is interested in World War II.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Music for the soul

Sunday evening my church, East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama, had it's Christmas musical.  The mood was set, the lights were off in the auditorium, and the spots were on the choir and orchestra. Music was offered up giving praise and glory to my God and His Son, Jesus.  I had been studying all afternoon Sunday in preparation for writing yesterday's blog, and was emotionally very tender.  So as I sat listening to the musical, I was not surprised that a song or two gripped me and moved me close to tears.  I told myself I really needed to get a handle on my emotions!  Someone might see my tears!  Suddenly a song came through the air, and it sounded like what you would imagine the choirs of heaven singing!  There was a soloist with choir backup, different parts -- words, melodies -- all hitting at the same time, making such beautiful music.  I certainly can't tell you what the name of the song was, or even what the words were, I can tell you that the tears came fast!  I couldn't help thinking what my grandfather is hearing in heaven, what the heavenly choirs might be singing in the presence of God, because if what I was hearing on earth was so wonderful, what must it be like in heaven?  And to think that one day I'll be a participant!

Have you ever been deeply touched by music?

~  Reese

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am convinced Jesus is the Messiah!

Ever since I was a little kid, my parent's ceramic nativity set (above) has fascinated me!  There are shepherds, wise men, sheep, donkeys, camels, an angel, and of course Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus.  I was fortunate enough to inherit this set from my parents a few years ago.  Now I set it up each year and my sons and I can admire it and remember the true meaning of Christmas. 

What makes this set so special is that it was lovingly crafted by my grandmother, Mrs. Dot Coon in 1973.  Turn each piece over and you will find her name and the year she worked on the piece.  Grandma Coon put a lot of love, preparation and time into each piece.

If you know anything about ceramics, you know you must first take a raw piece of material and clean and prepare it for painting.  All the seams and rough places have to be removed. You have to apply a base coat. You then layer on the colors, and if you are good like my grandmother was, you also apply shading and highlights for extra depth and life.  Then you must finish the piece by sealing it so your painting will last for years to come. 

Just as hours of thought, preparation and hard work went into my grandmother's work, even much greater was the thought, preparation and time put into the birth of the Saviour.  Revelation 13:8 points out that Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."  God had a plan, and that plan has always been, from before the beginning of time, the death and resurrection of His Son as payment for our sins.  Also see I Peter 1:17-21.

There are many prophecies in the Bible that point toward the Messiah.  They say when He will be born, where He will be born and how He will be born just to name a few.  These prophecies begin in the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 3:15 right after the first sins had been committed by Adam and Eve.  God gave the promise of a Redeemer, and in God's words to Satan for his part in the sin, He said "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  Genesis 12:3 says that the Messiah would be of the seed of Abraham.  Later, it was prophesied that the throne of David would be established forever.  II Chronicles 21:7 "Howbeit the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons forever."

Not only does the Bible say that the Messiah would come out of the nation of Israel, it also states that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.  Isaiah 7:14 says "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us!!)."  Genesis 3:15 also hints at the same. 

Lastly, the Bible says where the Messiah would be born.  In Micah 5:1-5 the prophets say that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  Jeremiah 31:15 says there would be great weeping at the death of the children.   And Hoseah 11:1 says that he would be called out of Egypt. 

So how do we know that Jesus is the Messiah?  Each of the above prophecies was fulfilled through the birth of Jesus.  In Luke 1:31 the angel told Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a son, and when Mary asked how that could happen since she had never known a man (was a virgin), the angel further explained in verse 35 "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."  Matthew 1:18-25 tells that Mary was found to be with child BEFORE she and Joseph came together.  Joseph considered divorcing her quietly, but the angel of the Lord appeared to him in verse 20 and said "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."  Verse 23 of the same chapter is a direct quote of Isaiah 7:14 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel."  Joseph "did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and called his name Jesus" (verses 24 and 25).

Remember that the prophecies told that Jesus would be born of the line of David?  Matthew 1:1-17 gives this genealogy.  Matt 1:1 "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."  Note that verse 17 says "and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ."  Joseph's right as Jesus' father was as of an adoptive father, not a physical father.  But Jesus was Joseph's son by law. Also, this verse specifically points out that Jesus was of Mary.

God moves in His own way.  He works things out to His own will.  Joseph and Mary did not live in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth.  They lived in Nazareth.  But because Joseph's family was of Bethlehem they were required to travel there to be taxed, and while there God brought about the birth of Jesus.  Matthew 2:1 states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  This is a fulfillment of Micah 5:2.  Matthew 13-18 describes the visit of the angel to Joseph in a dream, warning him to take his family and flee to Egypt to flee death by Herod.  Verse 15 points out that they were in Egypt until the death of Herod "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of by the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'out of Egypt have I called my Son.'"  This was a fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15.  Verse 15 tells how Herod ordered the death of all the male children ages two and under that were in Bethlehem and all the districts, based on the time he had heard of from the wise men (Jesus' birth).  Verses 17 and 18 say this was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah saying, "in Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."  Jeremiah 31:15 fulfilled.

All of the prophecies concerning the Messiah's birth and early childhood were filled in the birth of Jesus.  If that wasn't enough, God gives further evidence of this with the appearance of the angels to the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20, proclaiming that something very extraordinary had occurred.  "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Upon the presentation of Jesus  at the temple (Luke 2:25-39) when He was eight days old, Simeon and Anna had the privilege of meeting Him and giving praise to God.  Simeon had been told by the Holy Ghost "that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ."  The Spirit lead him to the temple on the day of Jesus' visit, and Simeon blessed God, saying "Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel" (verses 29-32).  Anna the prophetess was at the temple and "served God with fastings night and day," and when she saw Jesus, she "in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem " (verse 38).

There was a loving plan for salvation, the birth of the Messiah, Jesus.  And just like my grandmother marked her work, God's mark is all over His perfect plan!  He wanted to make sure we would recognize Jesus!  Do you recognize Him?

~ Reese

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts of Christmas

Daddy, Christmas early '80s, Madras, Oregon

December is here and thoughts are turning to Christmas!  For kids, it's thoughts of what Santa Claus might bring, have I been good enough to get on his list, and is there time to amend my ways?  For adults, there are thoughts of parties, gifts, budget, stress.  But what is the true meaning of Christmas? 

 My thoughts have constantly been turning to just this question.  As a Christian I want to, and should, focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  It should be my primary concern.  Sure gifts, parties, and all the trimmings should still be in my thoughts, but I need to look at them from a different perspective.  I should look at them as a result of why I celebrate Christmas. 

True Christmas celebration is about the Babe in the manager.  But Who is that Baby, and why should He be worshipped?  Was He a man?  Was He God?  Or was He both?  And if He was God (which I believe to be true), then He STILL IS GOD!
I want to personally explore several areas over the next few blog posts.  Among them are the following:

~  His birth was prophesied.  How do we know that He is the One Who was prophesied of?
~  Why should His birth have such meaning?
~  Why was He even born?
~  What did He give up to be born here on earth?
~  Who does Jesus say that He is?  And don't I also have to answer that question for myself? Doesn't that answer have an eternal impact on me?
~  He called Himself the I AM.
~  If Jesus was Who He claimed to be, what did that mean for His own personal future (death and resurrection)?

So, what is the real meaning of Christmas?  John 3:14-17 explains it all.  "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.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."

Have a wonderful CHRISTmas!!