Showing posts from 2014

'Twas the night before Christ was born

'Twas the night before Christ was born
by Tim McKeown

'Twas the night before Christ was born and all through the land
A tax was decreed for every child, woman and man...
Everyone went to his city. Joseph and Mary were there
In Bethlehem the city of David, with her child she would bear

Joseph, a just man, was all snug in his bed
When a dream of an angel came into his head
“Joseph, son of David, fear not when you wake from this nap
to take Mary as your wife despite all the flap:

For her Child conceived is of the Holy Ghost.
You shall call him JESUS, who shall save to the uttermost,"
So away to Bethlehem they went like a flash,
Without a place to stay and with very little cash

Now in the same country, shepherds were abiding in the field,
keeping watch o’er their flock by night, which was calm and still
When what to their wondering eyes should appear
The angel of the Lord, and they were filled with such fear

The glory of the Lord shone round about them that…

Gospel of John Update

Several have asked if I was going to add any more to the Prayer portrait and the answer is yes, but I am coming down to the wire on the Gospel of John for New Believers and to be honest I have had to devote virtually all of my non-ministerial hours to finish up the editing.

Being a self-published book, I have solicited other editors to help me and many have but even with that, I found myself editing and re-editing my work, trying to take out anything that is not just right.

Most recently, my editor has sent some further revisions of my revisions, so I will be busy with this and after my final copy is in, I will put in the final five sessions on prayer to complete that series (yes I hope that also becomes a published work as well).

Pray for the following

* Visual Bible will grant use of pictures from the film "The Gospel of John" to be used similarly to the way that it was used on .

* That all flaws and misteaksmisstakes mistakes will be found before …

Spirit-filled, the Seventh Portrait of Prayer

I am now on the seventh week of seven prayer portraits. Each week at my  joining hearts devotionals blog we have looked at seven Old Testament events, gleaned from them portrayals of prayer, and accompanied with them on how they were reflected in the life of Jesus.

     I hope you have been inspired to be a better prayer warrior, and as we look into the final segment, being Spirit-filled in prayer and walk, I hope you are ready to engage in spiritual battle. Ezekiel breathes life into a valley of dry bones, revitalizing them to do battle. God did that with the nation of Israel. And He wants to do that with you.

     But revitalization only come first by prayers of faith and hearing by the word of the Lord.

I am praying for God's people to get a God-sized vision of what He wants to do in our lives, in our church, in our "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the earth." I am praying for and asking you to pray that we seek God to do what only He can do. 


Week Six, Resolve to Pray

In week six on "Seven Portraits in Prayer", we see the portrait of Daniel's resolve to pray, not matter what. (Use the overview guide below to follow the series on how we should pray, based on seven examples from the Old Testament).

Look with me as we gain insight and encouragement to pray without fainting or losing heart in our prayers to God (see Gal. 6:9). Jesus encouraged us to pray without fail (Luke 18). 

11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 1 (ESV)

I am praying for God's people to get a God-sized vision of what He wants to do in our lives, in our church, in our "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the earth." I am praying for and asking you to pray that we seek God to do…

Expect An Answer: Join us at

We are now in week number five in our series on "Seven Portraits in Prayer." If you are just now getting involved in this series, please go to the beginning of this series and then follow daily, using the links below.

This week, we are discussing Expectant Prayer, based on Joshua 3, when the Israelites went to the flooded Jordan River, fully expecting God to part a path in the waters.

Sometimes we pray without expectation. Other times, we pray without an anticipation that He will answer us. Watch this clip. 

I am praying for God's people to get a God-sized vision of what He wants to do in our lives, in our church, in our "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the earth." I am praying for and asking you to pray that we seek God to do what only He can do. 
Would you join your hearts together with mine in prayer for a vision for His people. 
     I believe that vision can only be seen when we pray, and not until we have prayed. It will linger long after we f…

This week at Joining Hearts: Yearning

     Do you long for God’s presence? How greatly do you yearn for Him? The Bible draws a picture of a deer thirsting after water. In addition to times of great drought and thirst, a deer seeks water when in need of shelter from danger, when fighting an opponent in combat, and when sick with fever and in need of its refreshing coolness. Similarly, it is in times of spiritual isolation, battle, and affliction that we truly thirst for God’s presence in prayer.

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. 5Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquiete…

Have you been there in prayer? Have you seen it in worship? Eyes closed but not so tight to hold in the joyful tears, hands raised, or maybe kneeling or even prostrate on the ground? The music really doesn’t matter. I have heard worship with the latest praise and the oldest hymns. I’ve seen worship in African dance, in Gaelic melodies, by youngest children to oldest saints.

I’ve opened my eyes after silent prayers, only to be disappointed that I was not in the throne room of heaven. I’ve even been so overwhelmed by God’s presence that I’ve literally fallen backwards in a brother’s house in Laguna Vista, Texas, and fallen on my knees in snowy drifts of Glorieta, New Mexico. I have danced at three in the morning, cried streams at the altar wondering what others must have thought, sat soberly and silently, meditating on a skilled pastor preaching his heart out, knowing that I would be forever changed by his words. I’ve laughed beside my grandmother’s casket, and wished my wife’s mother go…

Redirecting to Joiningheartsdevotionals

I am temporarily vacating this blog as I concentrate on my latest project on "Portraits in Prayer."

For the latest Portrait in Prayer, click here or go to

Journaling and other Disciplines

I sat in on our pastor’s new members class Sunday, and Pastor Randy mentioned several disciplines that growing Christians should have. They include “Prayer, Faithfulness in Church, Scripture Reading and Memorization, Journaling, Fasting and Tithing.” It put me in mind of the many who have listed various characteristics or “disciplines” of growing Christians. J.I. Packer’s book Rediscovering Holinesss (2000) summarizes various authors’ lists of disciplines, beginning with Richard Foster who popularized such lists in his book Celebration of Discipline (1978). In addition to the ones Randy listed, Foster included the disciplines of “Solitude, Submission, Service, Confession and Guidance”. Elisabeth Elliot’s list in Discipline: The Glad Surrender (1982) included “Body, Mind, Place (honoring others), Time, Possessions, Work, and Feelings.” R. Kent Hughes wrote Disciplines of a Godly Man (1991) added “Purity, Marriage, Fatherhood, Friendship, Mind, Devotion, Integrity, Tongue, Work, Perseve…

Israel 2014 -- Hezekiah's Water Tunnel; Day 9

The following descriptions in italics come from the webpage of Wayne Stiles, author of Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus. The photos are mine (Tim McKeown) from 2004.

 JERUSALEM - We start late morning at the Temple MountSifting Projectto hopefully find artifacts from soil removed from under the Temple Mount.  

Abraham saw the acreage. David bought the lot. Solomon built the house.

Nebuchadnezzar tore it town. Zerubbabel rebuilt it. Herod the Great expanded it. Titus flattened it. Before these temples stood on Mount Moriah, it was nothing but a hill used for threshing wheat. But today, the Temple Mount remains the most precious piece of real estate in the world. And the golden shrine that graces its crest has become the icon for the Holy City of Jerusalem itself. How did this ordinary hill become holy? Not through battles or land bartering or by popular vote. God chose it. Abraham Saw the Acreage The site of the Temple Mount first appeared on the scene when God told Abraham to go to the land…