Isaiah 51:12, “I, even I, am he who comforts you…’

My daughter has Irish twins, that is, she gave birth to two babies less than a year apart; her’s are eleven months apart. They are such a blessing to her family and to the grandparents.  Of course, many times the “twins” both need to be comforted at the same time but for different reasons; one has a skinned knee, and the other is sleepy. They have different needs, but they need the same comforter.

We that have put in our faith in Jesus also have different needs at the same time and at different times, but we all need the same comforter. In Isaiah 51:12 the LORD tells us, “I, even I, am he who comforts you….” Jesus gives us further guidance in John  14:26 (AMP), “...But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.”

I don’t think it’s possible to read the Bible and not know that God loves us, provides for us, heals us, cares for us, and has prepared an eternal home for us. These are all accessible to us if we enter the kingdom of God through faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords.

If there were no problems, no hurts, no pains then there would be no need for comfort, but that’s not the world in which we live. The singer, songwriter, and pastor Andrae Crouch said it this way, “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them. I wouldn’t know what faith in God’s Word could do.”

We live in a harsh world, but be full of courage and stand firm for it is the one true God who comforts, defends, and provides for us when we let go of faith in worldly powers and by faith appropriate God’s promises in His word.

I do want to provide a few words of caution that we find in the Bible. The first one is found in Mark 11:24-25, where Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand to pray, if you hold anything against another, forgive it, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your trespasses as well.” and in James 4:3 where we find: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  So, if you want God’s comfort then behave like God’s child.

I want to challenge you to not only seek comfort but to also give comfort. I know I said what some of you feared the most. However, there’s no reason to worry if these opportunities come from the same God that comforts you. In fact, I have a place for you to start.

When you are at a fast food drive-thru window bless the person working there. You’ve got 10 to 15 second. Don’t start a conversation for there’s not enough time for that. Don’t attack them for poor service. If it’s true, tell them you like their uniform or thank them for their help. If this fast food stop is part of your routine, you’ll probably see them regularly. Let them know you recognize them, learn their name, and say their name when they are helping you. Let them know you appreciate them. Comfort goes both ways.

Please take time to read Isaiah 51:12-13 and John 14:25-27.
Isaiah 51:
12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals, human beings who are but grass,
13 that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?
John 14:(AMP), 
25 “I have told you these things while I am still with you.
26 But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.
27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]
Prayer: Father, I ask for peace. Save me from foolishness. I know this is a battle that I fight within me nearly every time I act on faith in Your Word. 
Dear God, my spirit has been made alive through Christ’s work on the cross. Therefore, I will seek out Your promises and hold fast to Your answered prayer. I will remind myself that You said, “I, even I, am he who comforts you…” 
Thank You for Your comfort and strengthen so that I have peace. In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, I pray. 

Only Jesus Can Save

I’ve got Andraé Crouch singing “Jesus Is The Answer” in my head.

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way. 3x
Verse Two:
I know you’ve got mountains,
That you think you cannot climb,
I know your skies are dark,
You think the sun won’t shine,
But in case you don’t know,
That the word of God is true,
Everything he’s promised,
He will do it for you.

We find the scripture for Andrea’s song in the book of Acts.

Acts 3:6 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) Then said Peter, Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, that give I thee: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

Acts 4:12 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)  “…Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other {f} name {g}under heaven {h} given among men, whereby we must be saved.

(f) There is no other man, or no other power and authority at all; and this kind of speech was common among the Jews, and arose from this, that when we are in danger we call upon those at whose hands we look for help.

(g) Anywhere: and this shows us the largeness of Christ’s kingdom.

(h) Of God.


Today, I’ve chosen to use the 1599 Geneva Bible as the translation for our Scripture text. This translation has a fascinating history. The Geneva Bible was produced by John Calvin, John Knox, Myles Coverdale, John Foxe, and other English refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. They fled to Geneva to avoid the persecution of Roman Catholic Queen “Bloody” Mary in England. Mary would not tolerate the Protestant Geneva Bible.

Per Wikipedia, “The very first Bible printed in Scotland was a Geneva Bible, which was first issued in 1579. In fact, the involvement of Knox and Calvin in the creation of the Geneva Bible made it especially appealing in Scotland, where a law was passed in 1579 requiring every household of sufficient means to buy a copy.” And, it was the Bible of the Puritans and Pilgrims since the King James Bible was a translation from the Anglican Church, and therefore not a Protestant translation.

As an aside, the Geneva Bible was used and quoted by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress.

So, please remember, only Jesus can save.

I don’t really care.

Many years ago, in a lifetime far, far, away… That’s how my Star Wars began.
I didn’t literally mean lifetimes, but the different life I had when I was young. A time when I spent many wonderful years playing bass and six-string guitar in gospel groups. That “lifetime” is extra beautiful since that is how I met my wife.
During that time I used to write gospel songs, and one that I wrote was “Caught in the in-betweens.” A line of the song goes like this:
Now there's a pain that's deep within,
and God's light just cannot be seen.
You're tossed and you're turned,
but you never quite learn,
    that you're caught in the in-betweens.

(c) 1978, Gary W. Moore

Another phrase from that song asks, “Do you go through the motions without emotions?” There are times in one’s life when it is easy to get in a rut or to be desensitized to the Holy Spirit or to insulate your self and run from circumstances or run from the call of God. We find a reference to this life in Isaiah 29:13, which says: The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught…”

This condition is deeper than apathy. Apathy is a natural coping mechanism. An approach that human nature uses to keep us caught between the healing of God and the will of self. The intent is to keep us “caught in the in-betweens.” We try to live without care. That’s not fulfilling and, let’s face it; it’s not how Jesus called us to live.

So how do we open our scars and allow God’s healing salve into the wounds that put us in this do-not-care condition? God’s tool of choice is praise. As Psalms 68:4-5 declares, “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

God cares. He is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows. Our God cares and He cares for us but we must open ourselves up to God for His healing to enter us, and praise from us to Him is the best way for us to allow the Holy Spirit of God in to pour oil on our injuries, just as the Good Samaritan did in Christ’s parable.

Open your mouth, thank God, sing to Him even if you don’t feel like it or don’t know what to say or sing. The point is to thank God, have faith in God, declare your love of God out loud, and that you are determined to find your joy and purpose in Him. As the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write in Ephesians 5:19, “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,..”






Do you feel dead? Jesus is life!

I was sitting on a bench in our backyard this morning when I noticed our hibiscus plant had withered and two bulbs that had started to grow were now dead. It was kind of sad and it got me thinking about my life.

dead flowers
Withered Hibiscus Plant

There have been times in my life when I was a withered Christian. I had no fragrance*, no “bulbs”, no color. For the life of me, I couldn’t find God; heaven was as brass*. I would fervently pray but no peace could I find. Nothing I do changes anything in my life. I am reminded of Psalms 63:1: (CEV) O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.


Nevertheless, I called out to Jesus. I asked my Lord to show me my faults so I could repent, to teach me how to obey His commands, and to transform me as Scripture says in Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Living Hibiscus Plant

Jesus did! It wasn’t in a day or a week or even a month, but He brought me out of my winter and into spring. Just like my hibiscus plant, I came alive, again, and what He did for me He will do for you for Jesus said:

John 10:10 (BSB) 9 I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.…


*2 Corinthians 2:16 (BSB) For we are to God the sweet aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one, we are an odor of death and demise; to the other, a fragrance that brings life. And who is qualified for such a task?

*Deuteronomy 28:23 (KJV) And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.



His vision is complete

Last time we talked about the day eternity changed. This time I want us to fully understand that when God poured out His wrath on Jesus they had the complete plan of salvation worked out with exact clarity.

# His vision is complete
black and white keys music note
Photo by Pixabay

It’s said that Mozart, the great music composer, never wrote down a single note on paper until he had his musical composition completed in his mind. When it was finished in his mind then, with fervor, he scored the musical composition, releasing all that was built up within him. I don’t know if that legend is true but my wife, for one, has that same proclivity, so Mozart had nothing on her.

My wife, Diana, is a creator of things. From bookshelves to stuffed animals, she can make them, and they are excellent. Curiously, she has said to me on more than one occasion, “I can’t start until I’ve worked the whole thing out in my mind.” Now I’m not saying she’s a Mozart, but there is a connection there.
This “see it all first” talent is a testimony to our God; it’s one of the countless human attributes from the image of God in which we were created. Scripture is full of examples of God’s way of “seeing all” and working within “His counsel” (**Ephesians 1:11**) to accomplish His will.
Here is a passage of Scripture that has meant a lot to me when meditating on the marvels of the “one true God” (John 17:3):
   Isaiah 48: (emphasis added)
    6 I foretold the former things long ago,
        my mouth announced them, and I made them known;
        then suddenlyI acted, and they came to pass
There is nothing in the universe that can stop the will of God. So, be encouraged when you read in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,”says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
For a moment, think about Jesus as the Omega (i.e., “the last”). He will have the last work, the last decision, and the last word.Moreover, take heart, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6); Completion is “the last.”
You can’t see the whole you, your end from your beginning, but God does. God holds a “you” in His heart, and it is complete. There are no missing pieces. If we will only stop trusting ourselves and put our trust in Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, if you will cast all our cares on Jesus, if you will live wholeheartedly and uncompromisingly for Jesus, if you will go as the Holy Spirit guides us, if you will make disciples as Christ’s great commission has told us to do. (**Matt 28:18-20**),
If you let God do His will in you, for you are free to choose good or evil, but if you chose God you can be that whole person He holds in His heart – all the good parts and none of the bad. That is the desire and intent of God. Our Heavenly Father has a vision of you, and He has already stored up all you need to become “you.”  Just let go of whom you think you want to be and give your life to Jesus so you can be the person you are meant to be.
Prayer: I pray this, and I hope you also do.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for completing the way of salvation that God the Father gave you to do. Thank you for calling me, saving me, and adding me to Your kingdom. I know nothing can steal my eternity with you for you said in Jude 1:24, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.
I pray You will teach me to disdain the world and not let it steal my joy. Why do I allow this world to turn my head? Teach me, Jesus, to keep Your commands. Thank you, my Savior, my Mediator, my Lord.
In the will of my Savior, I ask, Father God, for Your vision, Your plans, Your strength, Your endurance, and Your provisions through Your Grace to have free reign in me to complete the unique calling You have placed on my life.
It matters not whether my family or people of this world understands. I humbly prostrate myself before You, Almighty God. I cry out Your Word. I seek the council of your anointed disciples, for You said in Proverbs 11:14, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” I rest in You for this work is Yours, and You share Your glory with no man.  (Isaiah 42:8) I rejoice that it’s not by my skill, talent, strength, cunning, or intelligence that Your call on my life depends. All of me rests on You, oh my God.
Thank You for seeing the end from the beginning. For assuring my place in You, provided, of course, I chose to live in You, for You have made all mankind free moral agents able to chose life or chose death.
Dear Father, I am so thankful, excited, and full of awe by what You’ve promised and what You’ve done and what You now are doing in and through me. It indeed is joy unspeakable. I reaffirm I pray this in the name of Jesus, the name above all names. Cause any part of this prayer that is not in alignment with You to be cast out, and I ask Your forgiveness for any selfish requests I have me.

Let’s start when eternity changed

I remember as if were yesterday when my mother grabbed my arm and dragged me out of a Sunday night church service. It was at Temple Baptist Church. I was six or seven years old. I had squirmed, made noises, refused to just lay down on the floor and sleep. I was in full rebellion mode and after about 30 minutes of this Mom had enough. If it were possible, steam would have been coming out of her ears.
Dragging me, Mom opened the side door in the sanctuary, pulled me through, and suddenly we were alone in the church’s hallway. The real punishment was about to begin but she “hid” it from the congregation. Oh, they could hear it but their eyes were shielded by the wall of the sanctuary. That was both merciful and even more painful, for this punishment was personal, from Mom to me. And, oh yes, I deserved it and so much more than she applied.
She was so angry she could hardly look at me. There was no “last nerve”; that was gone. Much in the past had been building up around my behavior and now I’d hit the tipping point. If not for her mercy, her wrath would have left me wounded in spirit as well as in body. No, neither of those occurred, although she spoke some unvarnished truths and I got my butt smacked, nothing worse occurred. Still, she got through to me and I never behaved that way in church again and I have never forgotten her anger and how I had hurt her by my actions.
Now, for a moment, let me take you back to when Father God poured His wrath out on His one and only Son, Jesus. It’s the day eternity changed for Jesus, the Son of God, never had and never would again Jesus be separated from God the Father. In all eternity this is a unique event.
Jesus is hanging, bleeding, suffering, on a cross. It is “The” cross. The wood is gone but we rarely pass through a single day without glimpsing, somewhere, sometime, a symbol of that cross. The cross of Jesus is where our salvation was bought.
The culmination of thousands of years of God’s wrath is now poured out, unrestrained, upon Jesus because He willingly took this unimaginable ordeal, pain, and punishment, as a substitution for the judgment and punishment you and I deserved.
We find a first-hand account of this the book of Matthew, chapter 27:45-46:
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
God the Father hid this punishment from people. He caused darkness to cover the land from noon until three. Just like my mom’s punishment, people could hear but the punishment was hidden. This was a very personal matter which no one should watch. It was the fulfillment of what the triune God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, had planned in eternity past. It was a punishment that Jesus suffered beyond anything we ever could understand.
The Reformation Study Bible’s commentary says, regarding Matthew 27:46:
why have you forsaken me. Jesus’ desolate cry is a fulfillment of Ps. 22:1 showing the depth of His distress as He suffers separation from His Father. Later the apostles realized that Jesus was enduring the dreadful wrath of God’s judgment on sin. This was all the more agonizing to One whose relationship with the Father was perfect in love. The cry is Aramaic, except the Hebrew “Eli.” Mark gives the Aramaic “Eloi.”
The punishment that Jesus took upon Himself did not change Him but it did make the way by which you and I might receive forgiveness for sin. The completion of our way to salvation was fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s death. Our hope for eternal life was made real through the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father awaiting His time to call His own to His marriage supper.
As for me, returning back to our pew after my behavioral adjustment was embarrassing because I knew I was too old to have behaved the way I had and to have received the punishment all in the congregation knew I’d received. No, I was not scarred forever, I needed no psychological therapy, and I still love my mother though she passed away a number of years ago. What she did was good for me. What God did was good for “…there is none good but one, that is, God…’ (Mt. 19:17)
© 2018, Gary Moore
Photo by Harley Upton on Unsplash

Finding Christ in Christianity

picture of an open Bible


Thanks to @theaaronburden for making this photo available freely on @unsplash

After prayer and pondering, I’ve decided to refocus this blog. Over the years I’ve slipped from excavating to discovering Christ in Christianity to one of writing more of a general topics blog. Starting tomorrow, I’m shifting back. I hope you’ll be blessed by this change. It’s a small change but one that takes us back to the genesis of this site.

I decided to start this blog after one of my sons said he was struggling with his faith. Specifically, he felt that Scriptures did not align. He began calling himself a “red letter” Christian, believing the words of Jesus, printed in red, were true, but he questioned the veracity of everything else.

I understand his perspective, especially in our world where people have confidence that they can reasonably understand anything just by Googling it. If we’re looking for a hotel review or the best deal for new tires or even learning about Lupus on WebMD, Googling is entirely valid. However, this is not the case when tackling 1st-century events that have spawned two thousand years of commentary covering every nook and cranny of the divine Word of God.

Therefore, instead of adding more verbiage and thereby moving us even further from the Truth of Scripture, my goal is to take us on an expedition that unwraps as many layers of commentary as we can so we get down to the bedrock, or more specifically, the Rock, Christ Jesus. We’re going to be discovering, once again, Christ in Christianity.

Ok, this is serious stuff but let’s be joyful. As Jesus said (red letter), “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” – John 15:10-12 (NIV).

As for versions of Scripture, I will use several Bible translations such as NIV, ESV, KJV and so forth. Why? Because we’re excavating to uncover Jesus. No, I’m not implying that any mainstream translations are inaccurate. But each translation carries its own agenda. For example, the agenda of The Message is to make God’s word as accessible as possible to the widest audience of modern readers. That’s good. Still, valuable nuances may be de-emphasized or  lost in translation. As for the KJV, it carries with it a very high level of entry that is quite challenging for those whose primary language is not English. Therefore, as we embark on this journey, I will seek, from mainline translations, the Bible version that most clearly points to Jesus, because that’s my agenda. Tomorrow we start!

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