Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega
Have you ever tried writing a story?

If you have, you’ll know that it’s important to set out the beginning, the middle and the end.  Lose one of the three, and your story will suck.

Without a beginning a story has no explanation; people you don’t know are doing things you don’t understand in an unclear location and with no context whatsoever.  Without an end a story is pointless!  Characters may be introduced, relationships develop and the plot might thicken, but there’ll be no resolution, no closure, just dissatisfaction.

Imagine any trilogy you like without parts one and three. Pretty frustrating, right?  Well, that’s what life can sometimes feel like; we appear in the middle of a story and may very well die before it reaches a conclusion.  Death is more annoying than anything else, isn’t it?

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God. (Revelation 1:8a)

[Jesus said,] ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ (Revelation 22:13)

The Bible tells us clearly that just as Alpha and Omega begin and end the Ancient Greek alphabet, the beginning and end of our story is God himself. Without God we have no context or explanation for life; naturalistic science may be able to hint towards how things happen, but have no hope for telling us why. But in Christ we have a cause and a reason for living; we understand why we’re here.

Without God we have no certainty about the future; we only need to look at the credit crunch to see that every other foundation we build our lives on is flawed, inconsistent and unpredictable.  But in Christ our future is secure.  An eternity of infinite joy and peace is guaranteed.

What if we thought, and acted, as if it were all about Jesus?

 

I hope you have enjoyed this guest post by Sam Isaacson.  Sam describes himself as “a normal Christian, writing a blog for normal Christians. I’m not a church leader or a conference speaker or anything like that, I’m just a normal Christian getting on with my normal life, just like a lot of other Christians.” You can connect (and encourage) Sam on twitter, google+ and by visiting his blog

Image used with permsission by jayneandd

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Almighty, Our multi-coloured God

Almighty God - A day in the mountains

Heather, Micah, Jonny and Harrison

I asked my son Harrison (6) to describe me.  He said I am big, I have big feet, big ears, big hands, a blue shirt, brown hair….. and so on.  Then I pointed out that everything he described was physical, everything could be measured in some way.  I then asked if he could  describe what I was like and the conversation took a different tack.

How do we describe the indescribable?  When we meditate on the names of Christ it is tempting to analyse the names, to break them down into component parts.  The name Almighty literally means ‘ to hold all strength’.  This is not something we can understand, we cannot comprehend the strength of the ocean never mind the One who made it, the One who flung stars into space.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev 1:8

Let me take a different approach.  I can tell you my wife’s name, I can tell you her height, weight, eye colour and age.  But you do not know her.  I can send you her CV (Resume).  You will then know her education and professional accomplishments.  But you do not know her, many others have equivalent CVs.  I can tell you stories about how we met, about her many adventures in childhood, I can tell you about music, books, places she loves, I could show you videos and photos or share things she has written.  All this will help you know about her and you might even FEEL like you know her, but you do not.  Even if I could share every memory I have with you , you still would not know her.  You will not know her until you become part of her story and she part of yours.  Then the journey to knowledge begins. 

We cannot know Jesus by definition, nor by reputation or history.  We might know what Jesus likes and dislikes.  We may know that He is infinite in time, in space, in power and in knowledge.  We might know that he is good, that he is kind, that he is merciful.  But still this is not knowing Jesus.

And for the good news (gospel).  Jesus left behind stories, not definitions.  He inspired people to keep telling the stories.  In these stories the person of Jesus starts to take shape.  We realise we want to know this Jesus, this water walking, storm stopping man who is God.   In the stories and lives of those around us and those who have gone before we find a multi-coloured picture of Jesus not a black and white dictionary definition.

All stories of Jesus, whether written, sung, prayed or lived have one purpose, to point you and I in His direction.  As we seek, we find ourselves invited to become part of His story as He is already part of ours.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.  John 17:26

This post is part of a series on the Names of Christ  – the most recent posts in the series are found here

Advocate – 3 lawyers walk into a bar

Law Courts

3 lawyers walk into a bar, the first says “today I was advocate for a burglar, he refused to plead guilty but because of my skillful argument he only got 6 months”.

The second replied, “today I was advocate for a mugger, he pleaded guilty, apologised and returned the wallet, but because the offense was violent I was only able to get the sentence down to 18 months”

When pushed the third lawyer replied, “today I was advocate for a selfish traitor.  A wretch who betrayed the High Kings trust.  A man with lies on his lips and murder in his heart, a dangerous man to whom nothing can be trusted, repeat offender no less.  His  crime was treason and to make it worse the High King Himself sat in judgement.

“What happened?” his friends exclaimed.

Well the King welcomed him into his family, offence forgotten, debts all paid in full, dressed in royal robes of finest silk.  He promised never to leave him nor forsake him. He spoke warmly of this man, like the apple of His eye.  He prepared a mansion, a position of responsibility and authority.  Righteousness, peace and joy in the presence of the King was the sentence swiftly executed. Turns out he was actually created for adoption into the royal family.  Last I heard he was sitting down, a feast spread before him to eat with princes at the Kings table.

“How is this possible?” protested the lawyers.

“Well, tonight I am executed” answered our Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous – 1 John 2:1

I pray

Thank you, Christ our Advocate

The headline post “Names of God” provides an overview of all posts with this tag.

For the most recent Names of God posts click here

Image by Matt H Wade used under license

Abraham’s Seed – Promises

“and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”     Gen 22:18

Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one,”And to your offspring,” who is Christ.  Gal 3:16

64091_10151186834796987_2091898201_nOn Jan 1, 2013 a rainbow stood proud over Belfast.  As we were pointing it out to the boys a friend (that’d be Calvin) posted this photo with the caption ‘Promises!’ on Facebook.

Jesus is the sole fulfillment of the promises of God.  In Jesus all the nations (even Northern Ireland) of the earth are blessed.

I pray

Father, thank you for not backing out, thank you for promises made and promises fulfilled.  Thank you that there is hope today and tomorrow.  Thank you that your promise is true in Abraham’s Seed, Jesus Christ.

The headline post “Names of God” provides an overview of all posts with this tag.

For the most recent Names of God posts click here

Visit here for other posts about Abraham

 

Names of Christ

Jesus

This recent post on The Insomnia Chronicles inspired me to spend a little time thinking/exploring/praying through the various names of Christ.

“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you”   Psalm 22:22

Thanks to Chilly for the following inspiring (and handy) list, I will add links as I write some thoughts and prayers.

Abraham’s Seed (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16). – view post
Advocate (1 John 2:1). – view post
Almighty (Revelation 1:8) view post
Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 22:13). view guest post
Amen (Revelation 3:14).
Angel (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 23:20,21).
Angel of God’s presence (Isaiah 63:9).
Angel of the Lord (Exodus 3:2; Judges 13:15-22).
Apostle (Hebrews 3:1).
Arm of the Lord (Isaiah 51:9; 53:1).
Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
Beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).
Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
Beloved Son (Matthew 12:18).
Branch (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12).
Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48).
Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15).
Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).
Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10).
Captain of the Lord’s hosts (Joshua 5:14,15).
Carpenter (Mark 6:3).
Carpenter’s Son (Matthew 13:55).
Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6).
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).
Christ (Matthew 16:20; Mark 14:16; Luke 23:2).
Christ Jesus (Acts 19:4; Romans 3:24; 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1:30).
Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39; 1 Timothy 1:12).
Christ of God (Luke 9:20).
Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
Commander (Isaiah 55:4).
Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25).
Cornerstone (Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20).
Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
Creator (John 1:3).
David (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23).
Dayspring (Luke 1:78).
Deliverer (Romans 11:26).
Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7).
Door (John 10:7).
Elect of God (Isaiah 42:1).
Eternal life (1 John 1:2; 5:20).
Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).
Faithful witness (Revelation 1:5; 3:14).
First and Last (Revelation 1:17; 2:8).
Firstborn (Psalms 89:27; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5).
Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).
Fountain (Zechariah 13:1).
Glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:5).
God (Isaiah 40:9; John 20:28).
God blessed forever (Romans 9:5).
God’s partner (Zechariah 13:7).
Good Shepherd (John 10:14).
Governor (Matthew 2:6).
Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).
Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).
High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).
Holy Child (Acts 4:27).
Holy One (Psalms 16:10, with Acts 2:27; 3:14).
Holy One of God (Mark 1:24).
Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14; 54:5).
Horn of salvation (Luke 1:69).
I AM, (Exodus 3:14, with John 8:58).
Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
Jesus (Matthew 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1).
Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:11; Mark 1:24; Luke 24:19).
Judge (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:8).
Judge of Israel (Micah 5:1).
Just One (Acts 7:52; 22:14).
King (Zechariah 9:9, with Matthew 21:5).
King of Glory (Psalms 24:7-10).
King of Israel (John 1:49).
King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14).
King of peace (Hebrews 7:2).
King of righteousness (Hebrews 7:2).
King of Saints (Revelation 15:3).
King of Salem (Hebrews 7:1).
King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; 27:37; John 19:19).
King of Zion (Matthew 21:25).
Lamb (Revelation 5:6, 12; 13:8; 21:22; 22:3).
Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).
Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).
Leader (Isaiah 55:4).
Life (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 1:2).
Light of the world (John 1:8; 8:12).
Lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1).
Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
Living Bread (John 6:51).
Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4).
Lord and Savior (2 Peter 1:11; 3:18).
Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).
Lord God Almighty (Revelation 15:3).
Lord God of the holy prophets (Revelation 22:6).
Lord Jesus (Acts 7:59; Colossians 3:17).
Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 11:17; 16:31; 20:21).
Lord of all (Acts 10:36).
Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8; James 2:1).
Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 44:6).
Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16).
Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).
Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3).
Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).
Messenger of the covenant (Malachi 3:1).
Messiah (Daniel 9:25; John 1:41).
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).
Mighty One of Israel (Isaiah 30:29).
Mighty One of Jacob (Isaiah 49:26; 60:16).
Morningstar (Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19).
Most Holy (Daniel 9:24).
Nazarene (Matthew 2:23).
Offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).
Only Begotten Son (John 1:14, 18).
Our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Prince (Acts 5:31).
Prince of life (Acts 3:15).
Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).
Prophet (Matthew 21:11; Luke 24:19; John 7:40).
Rabbi (John 1:49, 20:16).
Ransom (1 Timothy 2:6).
Redeemer (Job 19:25; Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 60:16).
Resurrection and life (John 11:25).
Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Root of David (Revelation 5:5; 22:16).
Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1).
Ruler of Israel (Micah 5:2).
Savior (Luke 2:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 3:18).
Second Adam, Man (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47).
Seed of David (2 Timothy 2:8).
Seed of woman (Genesis 3:15).
Servant (Isaiah 42:1; 52:13; 53:11; Acts 4:30).
Servant of Rulers (Isaiah 49:7).
Shepherd (Mark 14:27).
Shepherd and Overseer of Souls (1 Peter 2:25)
Shepherd of Israel (Psalms 80:1).
Shiloh (Genesis 49:10).
Son of David (Matthew 9:27).
Son of God (Luke 1:35; John 1:49).
Son of Joseph (John 6:42).
Son of man (John 5:27).
Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61).
Star (Numbers 24:17).
Stumbling Stone (1 Peter 2:8).
Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2).
Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16).
Teacher (Matthew 23:8; John 3:2).
Tender Plant (Isaiah 53:2).
True God (1 John 5:20).
True Light (John 1:9).
True Vine (John 15:1).
The Truth (John 14:6).
The Way (John 14:6).
Wisdom (Proverbs 8:12).
Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Witness (Isaiah 55:4; Revelation 1:5).
Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6).
Word (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7).
Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
Word of Life (1 John 1:1).