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God’s Gift of Love

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 3:16

This is what Christmas is all about—God’s greatest gift of love to us. We don’t deserve salvation, but it is available nevertheless to all who will receive it.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the church cantata—a production with music and drama that focuses on some critical life lesson we can learn during this special season. For many years I was privileged to take part in the cantata, most often as either a singer in the choir or as the pianist. But even though those days are gone for me, I still enjoy getting to watch all the hard work others have put into the program each year.

Here is one I’d like to share with you. So this evening, why don’t you cast this production to your television in lieu of your regular program. You will laugh, cry, and consider just what the greatest gift truly is.

Photo taken in the Great Marsh, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2010

Praise the Name of the Lord

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Psalm 113:3

The holidays are upon us, and I sincerely hope you will remember to praise the name of the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works on our behalf. To help you think of ways to bless God, let me remind you of some of His names and what these names mean.

El Shaddai = God almighty; God all-sufficient (Gen 17:1-2)

Adonai = Master; Lord (Gen 15:2)

Yahweh, or Jehovah = the self-existent One (Ex 3)

Jehovah Jireh = the Lord will provide (Gen 22:14)

Jehovah Rophe = the Lord who heals (Ex 15:22-26)

Jehovah Nissi = the Lord our banner (Ex 1:15)

Jehovah Shalom = the Lord our peace (Judges 6:24)

Jehovah Rohi = the Lord our shepherd (Psalm 23)

These are just a few of the names God uses to describe Himself in the Bible. If you want to learn more, I recommend reading 32 Names of God and Their Meaning. But first, take a few minutes to enjoy the song below as it too reminds us to praise the name of the Lord.

Photo taken near Bodie Island Lighthouse in Outer Banks, North Carolina, 2010

Completely Clean

The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:7b

I rejoice in every opportunity I get to walk through a forest and surround myself with things God made, unsullied by man’s masterpieces. One such occasion arose several years ago, and just in time to see the gorgeous autumn colors in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia. The color red appeared prominently nearly everywhere I looked, reminding me of the precious blood of Christ, which washes away our sin. Am I a sinner? Yes. (We all are.) But when God looks at me, He doesn’t see my sin; He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I’m not perfect, but my sins are under the blood. I am completely clean before a holy God.

There’s a beautiful gospel song which talks about this very truth. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to enjoy it with me.


Photo taken in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, 2014

O Beautiful for Heroes Proved

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

Your prayers and your alms are come up for a memorial before God.

Acts 10:4b

Photo taken in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, 2014