Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to encode a URL

Here is the html tag:

<a href="www.example url.com">the text in your message</a>

Here is a sample:

My favorite blog is <a href="www.calvinisticcartoons.blogspot.com">Calvinistic Cartoons</a>.

Here is how it will look:

My favorite blog is Calvinistic Cartoons.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas, Past and Present

That is me (7-years-old) sitting between my brother
Keith, and sister Carol at our home in Los Angeles. 

Christmas 1964. My mother and "Papa" at my
grandparents' farm, near Leesville, Louisiana.
Okay, this needs some explaining. The penguin holding
the "Christmas star" was an ornament that kept falling
off the tree and into the manger scene. Ever since then,
we have set it up with the penguin as part of the scene.


Advent: Christmas Day 

"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

-Isaiah 7:14
    Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see Him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in Him, and can sing, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance His miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, "The seed of the woman," not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to His human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that He may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note His humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as "a virgin," not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!
    Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.   

___C.H. Spurgeon

Advent: Christmas Eve

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, 
and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, 
and made thy children by adoptionand grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; 
through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, 
one God, world without end.  Amen.

The Epistle.  Hebrews 1:1 

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners 
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, 
whom he hath appointed heir of all things, 
by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, 
and the express image of his person, 
and upholding all things by the word of his power, 
when he had by himself purged our sins, 
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Being made so much better than the angels, 
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, 
Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? 
And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, 
And let all the angels of God worship him.

And of the angels he saith, 
Who maketh his angels spirits, 
and his ministers a flame of fire.

But unto the Son he saith, 
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: 
a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; 
therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; 
and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
They shall perish; but thou remainest; 
and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, 
and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

The Gospel   John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; 
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; 
and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, 
that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That was the true Light, 
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, 
and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
But as many as received him, 
to them gave he power to become the sons of God, 
even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, 
nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, 
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) 
full of grace and truth.

 The collect, and readings from the Epistle and Gospel are from 
The Book of Common Prayer: First lesson for Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fourth Week of Advent: Thursday

One of our family's traditions on Christmas morning is to read together the words of Handel's Messiah. Each family member is given a copy of the text, and take turns reading a selection, as is shown divided below. The conclusion, we read in unison, beginning with the words, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain..." through to the "AMEN."

"Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!"

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

George Fredrick Handel's

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God;
speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her,
that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardon'd.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low,
the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts;
Yet once a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth;
the sea and the dry land.
And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.
The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple,
even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:
Behold He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

But who may abide the Day of His coming?
And who shall stand when He appeareth?
For He is like a refiner's fire.

And He shall purify the sons of Levi,
that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us.

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain:
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid:
Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God.
Arise, shine, for thy Light has come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people;
but the Lord shall arise upon thee,
and His glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
and they that dewlleth in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

There were shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flocks by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them,
and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, 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 Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth,
good will towards men.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion,
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem;
behold, thy king cometh unto thee;
He is the righteous Saviour;
and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.

Then shall the eyes of the blind be open'd,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap as a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

He shall feed His flock like a shepherd:
He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.

Come unto Him all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and He will give you rest.
Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him;
for He is meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light.

Part 2

Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows,
and aquainted with grief. He gave His back to the smiters,
and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
He hid not His face from shame and spitting.

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,
and with His stripes, we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way.
And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn;
they shoot out their lips and shake their heads saying:
He trusted in God that He would deliver Him,
let Him deliver Him, if He delight in Him.

Thy rebuke hath broken His heart; He is full of heaviness,
He looked for some to have pity on Him,
neither found He any to comfort Him.
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.

He was cut off out of the land of the living,
for the transgression of Thy people was He stricken.

But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell;
nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory?
The Lord strond and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates,
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory?
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things.
Their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their words unto the ends of the world.

Why do the nations so furiously rage together,
and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together
against the Lord, and against His Anointed, saying:
Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn;
the Lord shall have them in derision.
Thou shall break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

HALLELUJAH: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.

Part 3

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh I shall see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.

Since by man came death __
By man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die __
Even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Behold, I tell you a mystery;
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

The trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, 
and hath redeemed us to God by His blood to receive power,
and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour,
and glory, and blessing.

Blessing and honour,
glory and power,
be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb,
for ever and ever.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fourth Week of Advent: Wednesday

"Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary"

By the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment. God wills that His justice be satisfied.  For us to escape this punishment and be again received into favor, we must make full satisfaction to His justice, either by ourselves or by another. (Isa. 53:11; Romans 8:3-4)

We cannot by any means make this satisfaction because we daily increase our guilt. Romans 2:4-5) The manner of Mediator and Redeemer we must seek is one who is a true and sinless man and one who is at the same time true God. He must be a true and sinless man because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin, but no man, being himself a sinner, could satisfy for others. (1 Peter 3:18) He must at the same time be true God, that by the power of His Godhead He might bear in His manhood the burden of God's wrath and so obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life. (Isa. 53:5,11)

That Mediator, who is at the same time true God and a true, sinless man is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness. (Matthew 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 1:30)

"Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary"

The eternal Son of God, who is and continues true and eternal God, took upon Him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, so that He also might be the true seed of David (Psalm 132:11), like unto His brethren in all things, sin excepted.

The benefit that we receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ is that He is our Mediator, and with His innocence and perfict holiness covers, in the sight of God, my sin, wherein I was conceived.

Compiled from the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Days 5, 6, & 14.

But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.   ___Gal 4:3-5 (NASB)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Winter solstice sunrise on 21 December, 2010.
Photo by Joseph Boyd, north of Gila Bend, Arizona.
Joseph drove in from Tucson today; he said that the Mojave
Desert was like one big puddle. 

Fourth Week of Advent: Tuesday

 Colossians 1:15-23  The Preeminence of Christ

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Fourth week of Advent: Monday

Saint John Baptist's Day

The Collect.

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour by preaching repentance; Make us to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for truth's sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
(Isaiah 40:1-11)

The Gospel

Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
(Luke 1:57-80)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday in Advent


Meeting of Mary and Elisabeth

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."

And Mary said,
"My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

(Luke 1:39-56)

Click here to listen to Stanford's beautiful rendition of MAGNIFICAT

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Saturday

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible."

Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38 (NKJV)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. God with us.

"We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
(The Collect from the Book of Common Prayer)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Friday


Luke 1:1-25

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.

11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

18And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."

19And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."

21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 22But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
23And so it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 24Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 25"Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Thursday

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Wednesday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:
behold, thy King cometh unto thee:
he is just, and having salvation; lowly,
and riding upon an ass,
and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow shall be cut off:
and he shall speak peace unto the heathen:
and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea,
and from river even to the ends of the earth.

(Zech 9:9-10 KJV)

The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
performing "Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Tuesday

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Third Week of Advent: Monday


Jeremiah 23:5-6

"Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD,
"When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

"In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
'The LORD our righteousness.'


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Third Sunday in Advent


Luke 2:8-20

8 And there were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for,
behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone
away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another,
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which
is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph,
and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad
the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things
which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising
God for all the things that they had heard and seen,
as it was told unto them.

"A special treat for Advent Season"

I have always appreciated listening to the voice of Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, one of the four regular hosts on the White Horse Inn radio program. On the show, whenever they need someone to read a passage from Scripture or from other literature such as Pilgrim's Progress  or one of C.S. Lewis' classics, it is always "Dad" Rod who gets the assignment.  It was not until a recent post on the White Horse Inn blog, however, that I discovered that Dr. Rosenbladt is also a very good singer. Click the link below to hear Rod singing O Holy Night.

"O HOLY NIGHT" sung by Rod Rosenbladt

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Saturday


Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

To proclaim the year of the LORD's favor -
and the day of vengeance of our God.

To comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion.
To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Friday


Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Thursday


Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen to me, you islands;
hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the LORD called me;
from my birth he has made mention of my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,[1]
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow[2]
and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, "You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."
But I said, "I have labored to no purpose;
I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.[3]
Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand,
and my reward is with my God."[4]

And now the LORD says--
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,[5]
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD
and my God has been my strength--

He says:
"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."[6]

This is what the LORD says--
the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel--
to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation,
to the servant of rulers:
"Kings will see you and rise up,
princes will see and bow down,
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."


1. The servant conquers through preaching.
2. His words are effective.
3. The servant's complaint is fulfilled in Christ's rejection and suffering.
4. Vindicated and rewrded after his death and resurrection.
5. One purpose of the servant is to reconcile the Jews with God.
6. He will bring the gospel to the nations.
Today the ascended Christ brings the gospel to the nations through his body, the church. (Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Peter 2:9,10)
*Notes are based on those in the New Geneva Study Bible Copyright © 1995 by Foundation for Reformation.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Wednesday


Isa 42:1-4

"Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.

"He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.

"A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.

"He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."


* Matthew 12:14-21

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Tuesday


Isa 40:9-11

Get yourself up on a high mountain,
O Zion, bearer of good news,
Lift up your voice mightily,
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news;
Lift it up, do not fear.

Say to the cities of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
Behold, His reward is with Him
And His recompense before Him.

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

From Handel's MESSIAH:
O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd
The Monday - Saturday scripture readings for the first two weeks of Advent, and Monday - Thursday of week three, are Old Testament passages that speak of the coming Messiah. Michael Rydelnik, born to Orthodox Jewish parents, has written a book in which he "...makes the case that the Old Testament not only contains many direct Messianic prophecies, but itself is an eschatological, Messianic book, wholly pointing forward to Jesus the Messiah."
Dan Phillips posted an excellent review of The Messianic Hope on today's Pyromaniacs blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Second Week of Advent: Monday


Isa 19:19-25

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance."

"For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."


"We know not of any event in which this prophecy can be thought to have its full accomplishment short of the conversion of Egypt to the faith of Christ, by the preaching (as is supposed) of Mark the Evangelist, and the founding of many Christian churches there, which flourished for many ages. Many prophecies of this book point to the days of the Messiah; and why not this? It is no unusual thing to speak of gospel graces and ordinances in the language of the Old-Testament institutions."

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-which means, "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 NIV)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:1-7 NIV)

The Collect.

BLESSED Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning;
Grant that we may in such wise hear them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Week of Advent: Saturday's Scripture Reading


Isaiah 11:1-5

A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him -  [Matthew 3:16]
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD -
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, [John 7:24]
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteous will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist. [Eph. 6:14]

Friday, December 3, 2010

First Week of Advent: Friday


Isaiah 7:10-14

Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test."

Then Isaiah said, "Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.


Matthew 1:18-25
Luke 1:26-56

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Week of Advent: Thursday


Deuteronomy 18:15-19

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die."

The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Week of Advent: Wednesday


Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Week of Advent: Tuesday


Genesis 3

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"

The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,

"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

To the woman he said,

"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

To Adam he said,

"Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `You must not eat of it,'

"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


Monday, November 29, 2010

First Week of Advent: Monday


Genesis 1:26-31

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.



First Sunday in Advent

Repent ye; for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand. __ Matthew 3:2

Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. __ Isaiah 11:3

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 Saviour which is Christ the Lord. __ Luke 2:10-11

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. (The collect from the Book of Common Prayer)

Isaiah 9:2-6
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned...

For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)


Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending : Lichfield Cathedral Choir