Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Originally uploaded by Storeyland.
Are you ready for a blank slate, a fresh new canvas labelled 2007?

I am! Not that the Lord wasn't good to me in 2006 but I am expecting even greater things in the coming year. So I thought I would celebrate a bit here online with a fireworks display in anticipation of a future I can hope in (see Jer. 29:11).

Here are some things I'm looking forward to: quick answers to prayer (source: Graham Cooke); a [spiritual] breaking out among North America's youth (source: Wesley and Stacey Campbell); a year of success and fruitfulness (source: Patricia King); a year of increased revelation of scriptures, prophecy, dreams and visions (source: Rick Joyner); a season of clarity and vision (source: Cindy McGill); and one of the greatest years of restoration (source: Kim Clement).

Friday, December 15, 2006



And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:8-14

Angel in Krakow Originally uploaded by wit.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Very Beanie Nativity

Beanie Nativity Originally uploaded by rachelandrew.
I recently searched through hundreds of nativity scenes on flickr Creative Commons and surprised myself by liking this one the best. "Why?" I asked myself. Why do I prefer this one to those that have real people in them or real animals? Why did this one most touch my heart?

Hmmm. I'm not sure we humans always understand why something touches our hearts, but as a writer, I need to try to explain my choice.


The artist who put together this seemingly simple nativity scene was concerned with the glory and awe of the occasion. That's what I see in Mary's upturned face and prayerful posture. What God said would happen, did happen, and she is communing with her Creator, who is also the Father of her miracle baby.


In one word, I would say her face and posture define the word, "poignant." My word for Joseph would be "pensive." I imagine he is feeling the responsibility of raising God's child, the promised Deliverer.

What do you think?

Beany Nativity photo by rachelandrew

Sunday, December 03, 2006



Following is part of a recent prophetic message from Patricia King:

Get ready for great victory and breakthroughs! A season of acceleration is at hand; even though the enemy attempted to bring discouragement, faith will arise to release the power and purposes of God. "Suddenlies" are on their way!

Do not be discouraged at the trials you face at this time, but look to the Lord your God. There is nothing you are facing at this time that cannot be overcome in Christ. What do you need? Is it wisdom? Is it grace? Comfort? Health? Finance? Your need at this time is your next potential testimony of Christ's victory.

Click here for the rest of this encouraging message by Patricia King, as well as scriptures to meditate on to boost your faith to receive your breakthrough.

Sunday, November 26, 2006



As Thanksgiving approached, I mulled options for a traditional meal. Luby's, I decided. They provide a great turkey dinner. Instantly I was aware of a feeling inside that said, "Is that all? Is that to be our "Thanksgiving Event"? Good food, yes, but just food - no family or friends?

We've enjoyed many Thanksgivings in the past surrounded by family and friends. For example, this photo is from Thanksgiving 2005 when we had a wonderful visit with our son and his family in L.A. and were also reunited with a special friend from our past. (Our daughter-in-law, the photographer, is missing from the photo.)

This year I had expected my sister and her husband to be in town but their plans changed. And I certainly didn't feel neglected by my immediate family because we had recently hosted not one but two gatherings of our children and grandchildren, all of whom trekked here from afar. All six of the grandboys, 6 and under, had been together for the first time and had a grand time feeding the swans and fishing in our backyard. (Click here for more on this!)


Years back I would have ignored my let-down feeling and just stuffed it inside. Or later, when I first became a Christian, I might have let my mind reprimand my feelings with religious peptalk about how I didn't deserve to feel let down since I had been given so much. But after years of experiencing the mercies and love of God, that's not what I chose to do. I took what I felt to my Father and released it to Him, something like this: Father, I thank you for the wonderful family you have given us and for the fellowship with them we had in October. Your favor was abundant and I am grateful. I lift to you my desire for something more for Thanksgiving Day than Luby's. Will you please provide something special? Thank you for whatever you arrange.


And here's my testimony to God's goodness. Last weekend, after church one of my favorite ladies asked if we had plans for Thanksgiving. "No," I said. I tried to come up with something cheerful or positive to add but nothing presented itself. "Why don't you join us?" she said. Now, this lady and her husband are the most gracious hosts I know. And she is a great cook. So, you can bet I said, "Yes."

A drive through the Texas Hill Country is always delightful but this one was to be unusually so. As we topped over a hill, I spied a decorated Christmas tree on the shoulder of the highway. My husband's first impression was that someone had left one there but when we saw the next one a mile later, it was obvious what that some inspired drive-by decorator had festively adorned live native trees, topping them off with a star. Neat! Would there be one at the next mile marker, too?

My eyes were straining to see if that could be so. And you know what I saw? Not a third decorated tree but a zebra! And then I saw another one. Two zebras feeding in a field. Real live zebras! No kidding.

It was time to exit the highway so I can't say if other adorned trees waited ahead. To increase my credibility about the zebras, I should say that here in the Texas Hill Country we are seeing more and more exotic animals on ranches, alongside our native deer.


We arrived at our destination with a story to tell and in time for tasty hors d oeuvres, fellowship, and bocce ball outside on a perfect day: sunny and dry, cool and crisp but not cold. Peter, our host, showed us the rose garden and took us with him to feed the goats. Then it was time for a five-star meal and dinner conversation, followed by several "to-die-for" desserts. And I came home with generous portions to feast on again later. Somewhere in this mix, I learned from Mary, my friend and hostess, and her sister, Rose, how to fashion and hand stitch a beautiful jacket from a sweatshirt.

AND THEN . . .

My cup had already run over with blessing upon blessing on this Day of Thanks. But guess what? It wasn't over. Later that evening my neighbor Sarah and I walked just as night was falling, checking on the wildlife in and around the small lake in our community, as we often do. Yes, there are the seven swans. Where are the five resident mallards? How many wild ducks do you think we have now? As we crossed the dam, a flight of about a dozen took off. A second smaller group followed minutes later. They made quite a clatter as they rose above the water and angled just above our heads. They were as loud as Santa on the roof!

The stars were very bright on this clear dark night and the moon was just a sliver. A perfect night for stargazing!

Sarah's specialty is counting shooting stars. She's very good at that. But tonight I out-spied her. I saw three bright streaks and two brief flashes, some of which she uncharacteristically missed.


With all these happy experiences, Thanksgiving 2006 was uniquely delightful and special with many opportunities to give thanks. And so I prayed: Thank you, Lord, that it pleased you to honor my child-like request for "something more" with a cornucopia overflowing with blessing upon blessing. Amen.

2nd photo by bad sector @flickerCC

3rd photo by hol @flickerCC
4th photo by Steven2005 @flickerCC
5th photo by odoyle81 @fickerCC

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And now, may the God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
equip you with all you need for doing his will.

May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
all that is pleasing to him.

Jesus is the great Shepherd of the sheep
by an everlasting covenant, signed with his blood.

To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21 NLT

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Filename: j0402278.jpg Keywords: clouds, Japan, Japanese ... File Size: 398 KB
The Everlasting Covenant was made before the creation of man and the entrance of sin into the human race. Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin in their book The Covenants tell us that it is the heavenly spiritual foundation from which other covenants proceed. It was made in eternity before time began and was between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It does not include man, although it does involve man. The New Covenant, which promises eternal life, brings redeemed mankind into the Everlasting Covenant.

The Bible teaches that before time began, God had an eternal purpose and that he declares his purpose through covenant. The Everlasting Covenant is the basis for all other covenants made in earth since time began. See Heb 13:20-21.


The Everlasting Covenant is grounded in the essential nature of God.
  1. He is eternal. He is above and outside of time. He created time. He therefore inhabits eternity and all he does is eternal. Isa 57:15, Gen 21:33, Deut 33:27, Psa 41:13, 90:2, 93:2
  2. He is omniscient: that is, he is all knowing. Although he gave man free will, he knew creation would fall and he made provision for redemption. Acts 15:18
  3. He is omnipotent. He is all-powerful and sovereign over creation and creatures. Dan 7:17
  4. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere present at all times. Psa 139:7-12
  5. He is immutable. He is unchanging in his nature, being, character and covenant purposes. Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8
  6. God is self-existent. He exists in and of Himself and is independent of time, space and all creatures. He gives life to all creatures because he is the life-source. John 1:1-4, 3:16
In addition, God chose to make covenant available because of his moral attributes:
  1. God is absolute holiness. Lev 19:2, 11:44,45, 1Pet 1:16
  2. He is righteous, that is, perfectly just. Psa 119:142, Deut 32:4, Rom 1:17
  3. God is love. He manifests perfect love, grace, mercy and kindness. 1 John 4:8-16, John 3:16, 14:23, Gal 2:20
  4. He is faithful. He does what he says he will do. Psa 119:144, Heb 6:12-20, 2 Tim 2:13, 1 Pet 4:19

Because it is not a covenant between God and man, but a covenant between the persons of the eternal Godhead, we can call this covenant, which was made before time began, the Eternal (or Everlasting) Covenant. According to Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin, this covenant defined the role each of the three persons of the triune God would play in regard to creation and redemption:
  1. The Father orginates all covenants. He makes the promises and gives the words and the terms of the contracts.
  2. The Son is the sacrifice and the mediator of the covenant. He functions as both offering and offerer: sacrifice and priest.
  3. The Holy Spirit is the seal, the sign and the token. He executes the covenant and sees that it is carried out in full.
See Rom 16:26, Psa 106:48, 112:6, Hab 1:12, Heb 13:20.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Behold, God is my salvation;

I will trust, and not be afraid

for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song;

He also is become my salvation.

Isa 12.2 KJV

Monday, October 23, 2006


We often refer to a person's reputation as his "good name."

When a company is sold, often the right to use the company's name is included in the sale. The Hebrew concept of the importance of a name is similar, conveying the nature and essence of the person or thing named, including its history and reputation.


We see in Ex. 3:13-22 that when Moses asks God what His name is, he is not asking "what should I call you." He is asking "who are you? What are you like? What have you done?" Kevin Conner says that to understand a name in Hebrew does not mean simply to be acquainted with it but to have experience and history with the person to whom the name belongs. We know this is true by how God responds, saying that He is eternal, He is the God of our ancestors, He sees our suffering and heals and delivers us.

Jehovah is the covenant name of God. It occurs 6,823 times in the Old Testament. It is first used in Gen. 2:4. It literally means to be or to live. Further, it means The Self-Existent One, I Am Who I Am and I Will Be Who I Will Be.

Because a name contains the reputation of the person or thing named, we should treat the name with the same respect as its reputation. Therefore, God's Names, in all of their forms, deserve enormous respect and reverence.


The covenant name of Jehovah focuses on God's lovingkindness and mercy. This name is used in combination with other names or phrases that refer to how He has moved and will move to redeem those that are his. Here are some examples:

JEHOVAH-JIREH: The Lord will Provide. Gen. 22:14. From jireh (to see or to provide). God always provides at the right time.

JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU: The Lord Our Righteousness. Jer. 23:5, 6, 33:16. From tsidek (full weight, justice, right, righteous, declared innocent.) God our Righteousness.

JEHOVAH-M'KADDESH: The Lord Who Sanctifies. Lev. 20:8. Means to make whole and set apart for holiness.

JEHOVAH-SHALOM: The Lord Our Peace. Judges 6:24. Shalom. Is translated peace 170 times. Means whole, finished, fulfilled, perfected. Is related to well, welfare. Deut. 27:6; Dan. 5:26; I Kings 9:25 8:61; Gen. 15:16; Ex. 21:34, 22:5, 6; Lev. 7:11-21. Shalom refers to the kind of peace that results from being a whole person in right relationship with God and one's fellow man.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE: The Lord Who Heals. Ex. 15:22-26. From rophe (to heal); implies spiritual, emotional and physical healing. (Jer. 30:17, 3:22; Isa. 61:1) God heals body, soul and spirit.

JEHOVAH-NISSI: The Lord Our Banner. Ex. 17:15. God in battle. From a word that means to glisten, to lift up. See Psalm 4:6.

JEHOVAH-ROHI: The Lord Our Shepherd. Psa. 23. From ro'eh (to pasture).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

There is hope for your future:
I love you with an everlasting love,

I am drawing you with loving kindness,

I will lead you beside streams of water
on a level path, where you will not stumble.

I will turn your mourning into gladness,
I will give you comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Jer 31:3, 9, 13, 17 personalized



For covenant relationships to be established, all parties need to understand and fulfill their part of the covenant agreement. God initiated each Biblical covenant by setting the conditions and then calling man to enter into it.

Scripture clearly states that man must "enter into covenant." Isa 56:4,6 says that man must "take hold of the covenant."


We saw previously (click here) that God initiates covenant to demonstrate his love, grace and mercy to man. It is his way of commiting himself to personal relationship with those that are his. Covenant is also how God expresses his will and purpose for man.

Once covenant is made, God requires man to "keep the covenant." This language may be unfamiliar to us, but it is very scriptural. To keep the covenant is to remember it and to consistently and continually live by its terms. Man has the responsibility to commit himself fully to the covenant God calls him into through faith and obedience. The blood of Christ is the only cleansing agent for sin.

See Gen 9:15, 16; Deut 29:1, 9, 12; 2 Chron 15:12; Psa 103:17-18, 111:5; Jer 34:10; Lk 11:52, John 6:28, 29; Rom 5:12-21; Heb 3-4, 11:8.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We see things not as they are, but as we are.

-Anonymous Proverb

When I'm looking at others and judging them,
I'm really just looking at myself (and my standard),
instead of actually knowing and responding to the other person.

-David Danielson
Sermon: What Does Koinonia Look Like?
Romans 14:1 - 15: 7
October 7 - 8, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How can we be secure in an environment of great change?

The answer is: our security is in the covenant nature of God. He is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God (see Deuteronomy 7:2-9)...

Covenant between God and man is His oath sealed in blood, a bond that makes us one with Him. It is sharing the life and purpose of God, under His sovereign administration. Our security is in the assurance that He keeps His covenant Word to us. It is not in circumstance, and certainly not in our ability to always be right or do right...

God sets His affection upon the people of His choice in order to express Himself to all people... Covenant is never an end; it is always a means to an end...the accomplishment of His will.

- Charles Simpson
Excerpt, Pastoral Letter 9/99

Monday, October 02, 2006



When we look at our Bible we see it divided into two parts, each representing a major covenant from God. We call these divisions the Old Testament and the New Testament. But why does God make covenant? And what does that mean to you and me?

Kevin Conner and Ken Malmin in their book The Covenants see a progression of nine covenants in Scripture that reveal our God as a covenant-making God throughout man’s history. Not everyone agrees that there are nine covenants, but my goal is to gain a better understanding of covenant by considering the events listed in this book. Because covenant is how God relates to man, we will also be learning more about the nature of God.

This article will consider background information. Future articles will look at specific covenants.


Modern society doesn’t really understand the meaning of covenant, especially its emphasis on the shedding of blood. The English meaning of covenant assumes a mutual understanding between two or more parties that bind themselves to carry out specific obligations. In some cases only one party assumes obligation. The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for covenant, Beriyth, refers to a compact or pact and involves passing between pieces of flesh. In the New Testament there are two words used for covenant, but only one of them is used for God’s dealing with men. This is the Greek word kiatheke and it means “a disposition, arrangement, testament or will.”


Throughout scripture we see that it is never man who approaches God and asks for a covenant. God is always the initiator. Considering this, the simplest way to understand covenant is to think of it as a contract drawn up by God and presented to man to accept or reject “as is.” Although the covenant is for the benefit of man, he is not allowed to change or amend it. God is the all-wise Creator and man is his creation. Covenant is evidence of His love toward man.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


David wasn't thinking of being king when he was tending sheep;
he was just doing what God sat before him.

- John Fisher

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Our guest writer today lives in England. We began exchanging emails when he critiqued my "Garden" article. I returned the favor by critiquing some of his writing. My favorite, inspired by Psalm 23, appears below. It turns out that what I thought of as an excellent poem was really written as a song. It, and other songs and writings, are for sale. If you're interested, or if you just want to read more of his work, click here. An MP3 of the song is available by request. To communicate with Geoff, use the Private Messenger after following the link.


My God protects and cares for me
As a shepherd tends his sheep.
The lake is clear and still for me
And by its banks I sleep.

My God renews my soul for me
And guides my wayward feet.
His name's a shining light for me,
His love for me's complete.

My God is with me in the vale
As death's dark shadows grow.
And as the evening light turns pale,
The more his strength I know.

My God prepares a meal for me,
Invites my foes to sup.
His blessings pour like oil on me,
His love spills from my cup.

My God will watch me evermore,
His care will never cease.
He'll call to me at heaven's door:
'Come in and share my Peace!'

Photo (c),, Daniela Haussmann,
made available at flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You will be blessed if
you obey the commands of the Lord your God . . .

You will receive a curse if
you reject the commands of the Lord your God

and turn from his way by worshiping foreign gods.

Deut 11:27-28 NLT

Friday, September 15, 2006


The following is a creative piece I wrote for a contest using the topic, "Garden." See if you recognize the characters. ~~~~

Dearest Evie, where are you? What is that you have in your hand? Yes, it's pretty. Please don't eat it. Don't even think about how it tastes! Who told you it will make you wise?

Can't I talk you out of this? You've never gone against me before. Or against our Awesome Friend who walks with us in the cool of the evening. Remember that I told you He created this garden and all that is in it? As I have told you before, He put us in charge of everything and told us we could eat from all the trees except this one. If you are hungry for something new, why don't we pick fruit from that other tree, the one called Life?

I fear things will never be the same if you eat this forbidden fruit. Disobeying will change you. We will be separated in some way, living together, yet apart. I cannot bear that.

If you are determined to eat, Dear One, then I must eat, too, so that whatever happens, we experience it together.

. . . Oh, Evie, what have we done?

Genesis 3:6 & 7

Photo by Magalie L'Abbe flickerCC

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


"He that is jealous is not in love."

--St. Augustine


Friday, September 08, 2006

What a person desires is unfailing love.

Proverbs 19:22A TNIV


My last several articles have been about the love of God, both as it flows to us and through us to others. It was my intention to do a follow up article with an illustration. For some time I pondered how to illustrate the love of God. Nothing seemed suitable. Earlier I used a photo of Niagara Falls when I wrote about God's power. But what picture can accurately show God's love?


Saturday I attended the funeral of Walker Best, a young man of numerous accomplishments. In high school he won many awards, two of which were valedictorian and Best All Around.” At A&M he continued his stellar academic performance as an honors student in biology. Walker’'s dream was to be a doctor and he had been invited to interview at 5 medical schools. He lacked only 6 hours to graduate in December and will be awarded his BS in Biology by A&M posthumously.

Yet what people most remember about him was his ability to love others. Over 1200 people attended his funeral. Several publicly shared memories of Walker, many others shared privately. Few talked about how smart he was but rather his joyful commitment to Christ, his radiant smile, his character, his caring hugs, his nonjudgmental nature. Person after person spoke of his kindness, his loyal friendship, and his ability to put others before himself.


Walker's philosophy was simple: Love God and love others. Found on his computer was also this injunction: "Love much, hate little."A slide show featured photos of family and friends, some from his personal computer. On the corner of several photos he had written some of his favorite scriptures, including Romans 12:40-43.

In view of the testimony of so many, it seems fitting to use Walker'’s photo to illustrate the love of God.


August 22, 1983 - August 26, 2006

A life well lived
to the glory of God

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Share with God's people who are in need.
Practice hospitality

Roms 12:10-13

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Further down the page (click here) two kinds of love were discussed: Agapao (Do you choose to love me?) and phileo ( I love you personally and affectionately.) In another article, I gave excerpts of the definition for Agapao from the Vines dictionary. To further help us understand biblical love, below (appearing in italics) is a definition taken from Vines of Phileo.


Phileo is distinguished from agapao in this, that phileo represents tender affection. The two words are both used for the love of the Father for the Son for the believer, and. of Christ's love for a certain disciple. The two verbs are never used indiscriminately in the same passage; if each is used with reference to the same objects, as in the examples just mentioned, each word retains its distinctive and essential character.

Phileo is never used in a command to men to love God, agapao is used instead. The distinction between the two verbs finds a conspicuous instance in the narrative of John 21:15-17. The context indicates that agapao in the first two questions suggests the love that values and esteems. It is an unselfish love, ready to serve. The use of phileo in Peter's answers and the Lord's third question, conveys the thought of cherishing the object above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of the highest veneration.

Strong's Concordance says that phileo is to be a friend to, to be fond of an individual or an object, to have affection that denotes personal attachment, sentiment, feeling. Agapao is wider, requiring a deliberate choice as a matter of principle, duty and propriety. The two are related, phileo being chiefly of the heart and agapao of the head.


The crux of the matter is this: the love God requires from us is an earnest concern and interest in the well-being of another. This concern should motivate appropriate and beneficial action.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sugarland, TX 1-06


His love is designed to overwhelm all things, especially fear,
shame and low self-esteem.

He does not keep a record of our sins or failings.
He has mercy that can never be properly understood
or articulated, just experienced.
And the only way we can explain mercy is by being merciful ourselves.

Jesus the Redeemer gives us value in the eyes of the Father.
He sees and he speaks to our potential.
He both protects us and releases us to fulfill all
that he wants us to see
and to know about ourselves.
He has a dream about you and everything in his heart is to train you,
develop you and bring you to the place
where you can live out that dream.

The good news is you are loved outrageously.
It doesn't matter what you do or don't do. That's irrelevant.
God doesn't love you based on how well you are doing.
He loves you because he is love.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


What's on my mind is what I love.

Friday, August 25, 2006


"God loves you right where you are
but he doesn't want to leave you there."

--Max Lucado


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Excerpt from Vine's Dictionary


The characteristic word of Christianity, [agapao] can be known only from the actions it prompts. God'’s love is seen in the gift of his Son...But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects...It was an exercise of the divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself.

...In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential love in them towards the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver.


Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ...Christian love is the fruit of his spirit in the Christian.

Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to his commandments...Self will, that is self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all and works no ill to seeks opportunity to do good to all men and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

John 21:15-17

After they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others do?" "Yes, Lord," he answered, "you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Take care of my lambs."

A second time Jesus said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," he answered, "you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep."

A third time Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter became sad because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" and so he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!" Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep." Good News Bible


One explanation for the three questions is that Peter’s answers brought redemption to his three times of denial. But is there more going on here? Richard Trench, author of New Testament Synonyms, thinks so. He emphasizes that the two different meanings for the word love used in this passage are a reflection of the dynamics of the relationship between Peter and Jesus. In the first question, the Greek word for love is agapao. (As in, "Do you choose to love me?") When Simon answers, however, he uses the Greek word philo (As in "I love you personally and affectionately.")


In his second question Jesus again used agapao. According to Trench, the word used in the first two questions suggests judgment and deliberate choice; the word Peter used in his answers, and the one Jesus used in his final question speaks more of attachment and personal affection. Trench reasons that agapao on the lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as he passionately yearned to do. For this reason, Peter substitutes his own stronger “I love” (philo) in his answers. When Jesus questions a third time if Peter loves him, he uses Peter’s word, the word for love that describes personal attachment and affection.


Understanding the difference in the meaning of the two words brings a deeper dimension to the dialogue and, therefore, to the relationship between Jesus and Peter. And by inference, to other believers, who can be assured that their Lord values not only choice but passionate affection as well.


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Previously, I mentioned visiting Liberty Revival Church, aka LRC, in Houston, TX. (The address and a photo of their sanctuary is down the page a bit.) It is a unique church without pews, without walls, on the cutting edge of technology, founded 19 years ago by Ernie and Lyn Fitzpatrick. On their website at LRC is described as progressive, yet traditional in values.


You don't have to live in Houston to profit from Ernie and Lyn's expertise. If you're a woman, you will be incredibly blessed, and possibly transformed, by reading Lyn's meditations. Her latest one details how she went from "blah" to blessed. Here's an excerpt.

Recently, I went through a period of feeling like God was a long way off . . . I've walked with him long enough to know it'’s not a forever thing, but it really stinks while you're in it. I was lonely, directionless, and generally blah. I had run down the spiritual checklist of what to do when you find yourself in the desert: keep praying, keep reading your Bible, confess all your sins, forgive where needed, press in, persevere, etc., etc. Life was still very dry, so I ditched the checklist. It didn't seem to be getting me anywhere, so I went back to blah. You know you're a mess when every other sentence is, “Whatever.”

That's the blah part. The blessed part comes through a revelation of God's love involving a sunset-colored dog named Lady. Find this devotional and others on her beautiful website at or click here. Lyn's transparency and her spiritual sensitivity are evident in all her articles.


Ernie, a former businessman, has a heart to help people prosper in the business world by embracing Kingdom principles in business and personal spheres. He blogs on current events, politics and finance at click here. Ernie also is the author of three e-books available on the church website, as well as,,,, and


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What you see above is a Sunday morning service at Liberty Revival Church in Houston, Texas, located near Northwest Mall at 16200 State Highway 249. My family visited there recently and when the music started, many in the congregation went forward to stand in front of the praise team so they could take a more active part in the worship. Without making a conscious decision or speaking to anyone else, I found myself up front, too. I didn't want to miss out on anything. And it was really good.


Sometime later, I looked down and was surprised to see my 5 year old grandson standing to my left, his face aglow, clapping to the music.

Praise music isn't new to him. His mom plays it in the car and he sings along. And over a year ago, he sung "Jesus, my Loooord" to me on the phone and told me that Jesus is his Lord, even though no one has formally led him in that confession. At our house he asks me to put on the "Jesus music" and he plays it as loud as he can. Then he runs to his Papa to share his excitement. Of course, we think he is special and I'm proud to show him off in this article. Jesus thinks he's pretty special, too. He loves him deeply in a personal way, as He does each of us. But there's something more here I want to say: children are experiencing God today in a way that most of us have never seen.

Jeris J. Cribbs in the August 2006 issue of The Voice of the Prophetic magazine writes that we are increasingly seeing God move in children today in " . . . a Joel 2, Acts 2 demonstration." There are three articles in the magazine about God moving on children. Steve Shultz has one called Out of the Mouth of Babes, in which he tells a true story about God using children to save an American Soldier.


And then there's Akiane, an 11 year old painter, whose parents were atheist before Jesus began visiting her when she was four years old. Her most compelling painting, in my opinion, was done when she was 8 and is called Prince of Peace. She has been featured in many magazines and newspapers and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Why not check out her website and see which of her paintings is your favorite? Click here.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


"Prayer is greater than the problem."

--Joyce Meyer


Sunday, August 06, 2006


ISAIAH 59:19

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

In Old Testament times a standard was considered a token of protection and fidelity. Although I have loved this scripture for years, and often turned to it when feeling overwhelmed, I appreciate it even more after reading this definition of standard from Unger's Dictionary:

"God's lifting or setting up a standard implies a peculiar presence, protection, and aid in leading and directing his people in the execution of His righteous will and giving them comfort and peace in His service."

Our covenant with the Lord positions us under this powerful standard.


To illustrate this scripture to God's church today, I have chosen to use the Christian flag. It was conceived over 100 years ago at Brighton Chapel, Coney Island, New York by Charles C. Overton.

The white on the flag represents purity and peace. The blue stands for faithfulness, truth, and sincerity. Red, the color of sacrifice, brings to mind the blood shed by Christ on Calvary, represented by the cross.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

If we keep . . . going through the trials
that are in our lives by faith,
eventually the blessings of God overtake us.

--Chuck Pierce


Sunday, July 30, 2006


"I started understanding what it meant to be a friend of God,
and it changed my whole view of worship.
We have the privilege of talking with God and hearing Him speak to us. It’s not a monologue.

--Israel Houghton, Worship Leader,
Author of "Friend of God"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sugarland, TX 1-06


He has an immense, immeasurable and eternal compassion.
His compassion is always greater than our sin.
He is scandalously forgiving.
His mercy burns as it destroys shame.
He has unbounded patience, unending goodness.
His love is so compelling it heals us.
It strips away all our pretense and restores us to happiness.
His grace is the empowering presence within
that enables us to feel good about ourselves.
His mercy is his total favor given gladly to the undeserving heart.
He is the kindest person I have ever known.
His goodness is so outrageous and shocking
that it is disreputable to the religious minded.
He is the happiest person I know;
he has the happiest disposition of anybody you will ever meet.
He is enthusiastically fervent in his pursuit of us.
He is amazingly humble and gentle
but he is also a powerful warrior king who loves to fight
and who laughs at his enemies.
He has a fabulous servant spirit, needing no title, status or position,
but he joyfully sets an example of simple heartwarming slavery.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,