Saturday, January 22, 2011


“A man will leave
his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
This is a great mystery:
but I speak concerning Christ
and the church.”
Ephesians 5:31-32 KJV

Sixty years ago on the 30th day of January Donna and I were married in her home church, West Center Street Baptist in Madison, SD. It was 20 degrees below zero, but our hearts were anything but cold. I sang to her “I Love You Truly” and before God and witnesses we promised each other “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Marriage between a man and a woman has been God’s design from the beginning of time. As precious and meaningful as the husband and wife relationship can be, it is but a shadow of the infinitely deeper and eternal relationship between Christ and His Church (true born-again believers) - “The Bride of Christ”.

In New Testament times the Jewish custom was for the bridegroom to leave his father’s house to visit the home of his prospective bride and negotiate her dowry with her father. Once the price was paid the bride belonged to the bridegroom. However, she stayed at home and got herself ready for the wedding, while the bridegroom went back to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. When all was ready, the bridegroom came back to get her. Though she didn’t know when he would return, she prepared herself for the big day - continually looking for his return.

Wow, what an illustration of Christ, the bridegroom, and His bride, the Church! He came to this world to become one of us, yet without sin. Incredibly, He chose us to be His bride. Giving himself up for us on the cross He paid the dowry, making us His very own. After His resurrection as He was getting ready to return to His Father’s house, He encouraged His followers by telling them, I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. Some day, He is coming back to take us, His bride, home. We don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen!! First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

 When our bridegroom comes for us, He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - HALLELUJAH!!! (click on this link and let it bless your heart).

Saturday, January 8, 2011


“The LORD bless you
and keep you;
The LORD make His face
shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV

This passage is probably the most famous blessing in the entire Bible. Aaron, the high priest, and his sons were instructed to pronounced it over the people of God. We recognize it as a blessing that is often spoken over a congregation by the pastor at the close of a worship service. Even though it is known as a benediction, I believe it can be very meaningful at the beginning of a new year. We are so familiar with it, it is easy to miss the depth of the meaning of the words. Allow me to bless your 2011 by paraphrasing these verses with the help of some Hebrew scholars.*

“May The LORD God who exists from all eternity bless you with gifts that meet your deepest needs, and may He like a Sheppard guard and protect you as He builds a hedge around you to keep you safe from the devourer.

“May the loving face of our eternal LORD; shine on you, warming your soul and spirit and driving away any darkness that may still linger in the corners of your life.

“May The LORD God who exists from all eternity be gracious to you making your life beautiful with warmth, love, friendships, community, and the material things you need.

“May The LORD God who exists from all eternity set His loving face on you, and give you peace (shalom);a peace which expresses itself in completeness, wholeness, and perfection; a peace which includes health, and soundness of body and soul; a peace that is rest, tranquility, and harmony; surrounded by prosperity and is a stranger to agitation and discord.”

May this blessing surround and fill your life throughout 2011 and all your years and days to come!

Click on link below to hear the Tyler Junior College
A Cappella Choir sing:


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*For those interested – here are the Hebrew scholars’ notes which I used to roughly paraphrase Numbers 6:24-26.:

When we see the word LORD in capital letters it stands for (Yahweh) God’s name which literally means “He who exists.” Bless in this passage is (barak) which means to “kneel down” and conveys the idea of respectfully kneeling down to present a gift. Keep is (shamar) which here refers to the guarding and protection a Sheppard provides for his sheep at night by building a hedge of thorny brush. Face (paniym) reflects the Hebraic sense of motion as the face reflects many different moods, emotions and thoughts. Shine (or) means to "give light" – “enlighten.” Gracious (hhanan) “A place of beauty”. Nomad camps consisted of many family tents, arranged in a circle, and were viewed as a place of beauty. Not just the appearance of beauty but the action, a place of warmth, love, friendship, community and sustenance. Coutenance (paniym) means "face." Give (siym) literally means to "set down in place." Peace (shalom) means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.